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  1. Had a couple of really tough days. Although I promised myself this wasn't going to be a problem anymore it clearly is. The amount of times I've clicked on an installer package only to remember the commitments I've made to at least try to replace gaming with other things again and cancel the process is mad. Life is weird at the moment. I have lots of positive things to write home about. New job. Baby on the way. Loving wife. 16 weeks of marathon training behind me. But at the same time I still have this urge to just click self destruct and blow it all to hell. Almost like I don't feel like I deserve to be here, in this position. Although I've got a really strong relationship, we've had some horrible arguments over the last few days about some long standing wider family related issues that I've forgiven and started to move on from and she hasn't. It's not her fault, she feels more hurt and much more impacted by it than me, but I've been 'lucky' enough to have spent lots of time at home thinking about the person I want to be and deciding that forgiveness, compassion and letting go of my unrealistic expectations of other people is the only way that I can get myself out of the rut I worked myself into to end up feeling like I need games, internet and TV to fill the void for. I want to be a good father, good husband, good friend, good colleague and generally just try to leave the world a better place when I'm gone, no matter how small that impact might have been. But those things are very abstract and I'm aware that I need more concrete plans with more realistic targets rather than just holding up an example of 'good' and then berating myself when I don't meet it because the goalposts have moved again. Then again, goalposts move and that's just part of life. My motivation to do any work for the last few weeks of my current contracted role is incredibly low. I'm getting through it but it's getting harder and harder not to get distracted. Procrastinating has just become a default setting and I don't feel like I have a routine anymore. I know that's my own problem, I can blame the pandemic all I want. But it's feeling more and more like a challenge to fix it. But I can start by getting off here and getting back to what I want to be doing, which is getting through my work list. There we go.
  2. Wow. How out of control things got after August. I managed to stay pretty focused until the stress of managing a lot of different things and spinning lots of plates got to me and I cracked. I remember being sat at home after helping one of my mates to navigate on some fells for a race we were both doing. He was doing the 30 mile distance, I the 12. The routes overlapped so it was a good opportunity for us to get the lay of the land, have a good day out and then eat some well deserved food. Unfortunately we got a tad lost and rather than covering 15 miles, we ended up going 19. It might not seem like much but it was hot and the terrain is tough going. the extra 4 miles equated to an extra hour of running/fast hiking which at the time just floored me. I remember getting home and being a mixture of elated that I'd managed to push myself but also feeling dog rough. That's when I cracked. I remember having a conversation with my mate about addictions and relapses. He had a problem with alcohol and drugs, we spoke at length about moderation and allowing ourselves something as a reward, particularly during the times of COVID. I think that sparked something in my brain. I finally had the permission and excuse I'd been angling for to start gaming again, but with the promise that I was going to control it. Even my wife, who had agreed to be my voice of reason wasn't bothered about me doing it, as long as it didn't take time away from us (which was one of the huge reasons why I stopped). Anyway it got out of control. I reconnected with a friend who is a big gamer and we started essentially competing with each other to play and finish certain games. It got a bit out of hand, eventually the 'allowed' time crept more and more into everyday life until I was gaming again during the day when I was supposed to be working. I'll stop there because it's just more of the same really. It hasn't stopped me from achieving things in the last year. I've done very well on an internship I started in October 2020. That's finishing soon and I've secured employment on a really competitive graduate scheme. My wife is pregnant with our first child and we celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary. But I can't shake the feeling that it's all come at a great cost because I was always fighting with myself over what I should be doing in my spare time. It's a difficult one because with lockdowns, there was so many activities that I'd started to put the feelers out to at the start of 2020 that just got shuttered. After the panic and chaos of the last year, going back to look at those isn't a simple choice as it was before. With the pregnancy, we're both scared of putting the baby at unnecessary risk. I don't know how I feel about joining indoor clubs or spending time in crowded places if I really don't have to. Not easy choices. I also am running a marathon in 3 weeks, my first in years. I've trained well, but running and gaming have this strange relationship where one enables the other but only in a certain direction. I tend to reward myself for running and achieving with gaming sessions because although I get a lot out of running, it's hard work. So my brain often comes up with the idea that because I've smashed a 50 mile week, I deserve to sit and do nothing but play video games all day/week. Well. That's me as is now. It was hard writing all that. I'm sure that as I move forward I'll focus less on what I haven't done or haven't got and start to think about what I want and the things I'm doing to try and achieve that. I will give myself time. I will break things down into management chunks of time and plan my days out a little better again. I will plan for weather, I will plan for seasons, I will plan for what I do when I finish something or achieve something and want to reward myself. Ultimately, I will try to be on my own side going forward rather than being big brother, always focusing on everything I'm not doing and berating myself for not making things happen the way I feel like they should have in my mind. Thank you to anybody who read this and stay strong y'all.
  3. Totally didn't control it. Didn't have a plan. Just went back to using it as a way to hide from stress. The stress of a new job, the stress of dealing with isolation over winter, the stress of feeling like a failure a lot, the stress I was having from going to counselling and talking about some more of my issues. I've decided to come back and ease my way back into the community, try to be a bit more compassionate with myself and others. I looked back over a few of my old posts and noticed how angry I was at myself, which started to project onto lots of other things in life. It's been a rough year, for everybody I suspect.
  4. This is really fascinating. Whilst I'm not against the idea of gaming detox, in my experience I think people place too much emphasis on it as a cure all. It's a great idea to shelve the habit as much as possible so that you free up some time to figure things out, I'm very keen on the ideas of habit stacking, changing your environment and like you say, deciding what identity you want and working towards that. Atomic Habits is one of my favourite books. Somebody bought me it earlier this year and I've been trying to follow many of the ideas and principles in it. I know Cam does talk a lot about rebuilding your identity in his videos and respawn stuff and doesn't really push the detox too much as an endpoint. I think a lot of people see that as an easy fix with their frazzled brains and think it's as simple as just giving up, but we should all be compassionate on ourselves and each other right? It's a long learning process. Let's be hear to encourage and catch each other when we fall.
  5. This is really interesting. I come at this after having a really difficult year. I managed to quit for over the 90 days but became a bit too focused on just counting the days and expecting things to get better. After pushing myself really hard towards the end of the summer last year (managing wedding arrangements, doing a big fell race, getting a new job etc) all whilst during fluctuating UK lockdown conditions, I finally gave in and allowed myself to game again after 6 months of nothing. Of course there was the sneaky internet rabbit holes that I told myself were an ok replacement but really were doing me just as much damage, probably leading me to still feel just as bad as when I was gaming too much. Anyway, fast forward a year and I've been trying to 'game in moderation' but really don't know how to feel about it. The stuff about coupling liking and wanting is really useful because it shines a light on why I'm constantly writing and thinking about wanting to not fill my time endlessly with TV, gaming and browsing the internet but why I keep going back to it as a default. I know this discussion was from last year but thought I'd offer a thanks for it being here.
  6. Well, I went back. After surviving 6 months of lockdown without gaming, I rewarded myself for all the ongoing stress of trying to get the last stages of a wedding sorted and also going out and doing an epic run as part of a recce for a fell race. I spent the afternoon on my own gaming, feeling pretty good about myself. Since that day I've allowed it back it and said I'd control it, but I can feel the need to now install GOG and Steam and have started looking around for other games to play despite not even being anywhere near finished the one I started. To be honest, I found the whole idea of having an addiction hard, I still do. My counsellor said I needed to be careful self-diagnosing and making what might just be behavioural issues pathological and suggested some alternative ways forward so I'll try those. Feels good to write about it, but I'm not sure where to go from here because on one hand I feel free allowing myself to do it, but I really need to put plans in place to control it.
  7. Just read this after a wee bit of a tiny relapse. It's inspired me to try a bit more of a moderated approach this time around and actually put plans in place rather than just quitting cold and then not really planning for anything to fill the time (even though I have plenty of things I could do). Thanks for being an inspiration, hope you're still doing well during lockdowns.
  8. Day 89! One day to go folks! Game free for 89 days 😉 In all honesty I still have a long way to go after tomorrow, such as processing how I've been struggling with my physical health since quitting, some other dependencies creeping in. But I'm taking all this as a step forward, towards being able to reduce everything down to a manageable level. Had some really honest conversations about my mental health with friends and family, started being more open about how I feel and why I might be feeling like that. Starting to get into a decent habit of running, walking and strengthening around the madness of Coronavirus. Hope everybody is staying safe out there!
  9. Me too. One of my friends who I used to talk about games a lot with thought I was being harsh by quitting games back in January. A few weeks ago he messaged me saying that I'd chosen a tough time to not be allowed to game. My response? Now is the BEST time. If I can't fill the extended time I have at home with things I've been wanting to try for years without turning to a video game, then I'm never going to quit long-term. Granted I love being outside and there's severe restrictions on that, but there's other things to explore that can often feel like 'wasting time'. I'm lucky in that I'm still employed and working from home, however I can understand people who are struggling financially at the moment might be more vulnerable to addiction from a wide range of behaviours. Anyway, welcome to the Forum! I always think for a geek like me who loved story based video games, there's so many slow burning activities that can replace gaming and be meaningful like writing, reading, painting miniatures etc. They don't offer the instant gratification or feedback that games do but I find people are more interested when I talk about it and I feel a sense of pride just by mentioning it. Let me know if you want to discuss anything more 🙂
  10. Welcome to the forum @mscottb. Thank you for sharing your story, I'm really grateful to have read it. I hope that you find a way forward that works for you. I remember the days of Classic WoW, the nostalgia felt from those initial feelings of wonder and discovery and how they never match up to going back to it, even when you're happy, especially when you're happy. I've found I'm at my most vulnerable when I've started to build something positive again, I get scared after pushing past the initial rush and start to doubt myself, self-destructing a little bit. Good to see you here talking about your experiences. Hopefully you have plenty of good people in your life to discuss this with as well. Speak soon. 🙂
  11. Day 76 World turned upside down by all this Coronavirus stuff, but I'm using it to smash through to the 90 days. Still haven't touched a game, although I think about it a lot. If I can't have all this free time (although I am still working from home full-time) and replace gaming with more meaningful pursuits, I figure I'll never do it. Although I can't go out much, I am exercising as much as is reasonable. I've been working a lot on my mental health, including going the The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters again and taking it seriously this time (carrying it on for more than a few weeks and sticking with it). I still need to organise counselling but am uncertain of how it'll work under the current circumstances. I'd ideally wanted face to face, but if I can get some online help then I'll happily do it. Not much else to say really, getting closer to the goal. I'm finding more and more little things to change that are linked to my addictive behaviour and gaming, like spending ages flicking between shopping websites, twitter feeds and other pointless rubbish. Starting to work on removing those habits as I get closer to the detox goal. Hope everyone is ok with the strange goings on.
  12. Also how is everybody doing in general? Learning more about a lot of the stuff I posted above is keeping me very busy, amongst the usual life stuff and work. It helps me understand how to balance the different aspects of myself and keep to some routines in the hope of staying sane 😄😄
  13. Hi all, So I was a bit angry when I posted about this initially, and even though I'm here to get help I'm also here to be challenged so that I can think about things a little differently and start to move forward with things. I wasn't able to respond because I didn't know how people could disagree with how annoyed I was and at first I failed to see how it could be different for other people, but having spent some time away, I'm coming around to seeing how other people's experiences are different. It was really interesting that you made the point about being ex-streamers, I guess I never grew up with that. I'm not sure when it really became a 'thing', I only became aware of it back in 2014 when I started teaching junior school and a lot of the kids I came across wanted to be youtubers or twitch streamers. The social aspect of gaming for me existed for a few years when I was young, playing Diablo 2 or WoW when it first came out. After coming to university it vanished almost overnight, something else awoke in me and I've spent years trying to find new social experiences. Almost by accident I built a network of people I have come to love and respect through running, but we're all a little addictive and geeky in our own way. None of them game though, and although it eventually came out recently, I used to hide that I did it from friends and family because I was ashamed of it. Let me just say now, I don't think anybody should be ashamed of it if it doesn't cause problems with your life. As with all vices, the question of whether it's an addiction and measure of harm contains such grey areas, it's such a unique and individual experience that I wouldn't even dream of judging other people for their choices. I've seen some of the successful twitch streamers and they genuinely seem happy and fulfilled. I hope that they are because it looks like a ton of fun. The reason it's so difficult for me to grasp that side of gaming is because I've always had such positive factors in my life outside of it. Because I only ever chose to lose myself on the internet and in gaming when I was running away from my own fears, I never had a community of people to connect with. My relationship with gaming was exactly like that of an alcoholic, drug user, gambler...it was too painful and hurt too much to look inside and face my own fears, insecurities and intrusive thoughts, so I ran away from everything and everybody, even fellow gamers. The funny thing was I actually never felt like I was very good at any games, didn't compete online, didn't really have much success in MMORPGs or join communities...which I know was an extension of the problems I was escaping from. I'm actually much more competent at life outside gaming because I truly, genuinely care about it, whilst games to be are just a distraction to pass the time. And again, I'm not passing judgement because if my circumstances were different, if I had a ton of friends who were gamers and had a social side to it, I'm sure it would be a happy distraction. But I don't, and it's not. Some of my comments, such as "being bludgeoned again and again," or "some dude on youtube" were definitely made in anger, possibly whilst I was drinking on holiday and also without me really proofreading this and thinking about how it came across. If I go seeking those arguments then of course I'll find them. And I agree 100% with your statement about role models and parenting. Many of the kids I taught who idolised youtubers had poor family dynamics and I appreciate that many streamers might be a source of great comfort and joy for children and adults who maybe didn't have those relationships. This I understand, it stirs some feelings in me a little. The further discussion about what roles people in the family and how this affects family dynamics interests me a lot. Society obviously dominated the roles of parents within a family unit, what is more socially acceptable is what most people do. Yet I think the idea of fixed roles runs contrary to everything that is being discovered about the human brain. Thanks to Neuroscience and Psychology/Psychiatry, we know so much more about the brain and as such the concept of mind, which is really what this all comes down to. The evidence supports the theory that the cold, discipline focused father and warm, caring mother is essentially the animal aspect of our brain, the part that keeps us fed, watered, reproducing, defending our territory, attacking others etc. Generally this part of the brain in males is much more geared towards spatial awareness, finding multiple mates, solitude, hunting etc, whilst in females it's much more focused on maternal goals such as securing a strong, healthy single mate, developing relationships, multi-tasking (to reduce threats and risks to offspring) etc. This brain is extremely powerful and the first to react to challenges, threats and unknown circumstances. However, we humans have our pre-frontal cortex and related sections that form our humanity centre, where we use logic and rational thinking to build societies, seek alliances and achieve many other dreams and desires. It's this part that many respected psychiatrists are now claiming is the person we want to be and it's almost impossible to generalise across this aspect of people. When people break free of stereotypes, whether that be gender, race or age, it's this brain that is the driving force behind that. Almost counter intuitively, It's the person you want to be and also the person that you are right now. The problem is, we all have this primal brain that's much stronger, much quicker and much more aggressive that takes control when we often don't want or need it to. The trick to managing this part is to sit and develop the mind every day to remove the habits and beliefs that have been ingrained over years of nature and nurture. I believe that's where fixed gender roles comes from. Ingrained beliefs that have come from accumulated experiences. Whether people choose to accept them or not is entirely within their control, unless of course they live in a society where to dissent has severe consequences. Speaking as somebody from a democracy, I get to choose what my fatherhood will be like in the future. Of course I want to have discipline, security, routine, authority and be able to provide. But those drives aren't what I see as 'me', they're just the animal instincts that I know will help keep my family safe, teach them resilience and help them to be realistic about life. I also love to write, read, listen to music, run, debate and think deeply about things, all pastimes many people would describe as being 'warm' or 'feminine', but I'd like to be able to share that side of me with my children, regardless of what gender they are I could talk about this for hours, particularly as some of the work I've been alluding to is helping me to heal and reconcile the different aspects of my personality, recognising problems but not treating myself as a problem. I'd be interested to know people's thoughts.
  14. I also felt like that, however that's where I believe the problem lies. Gaming has become so much more than just a way to unwind and waste time. At least watching TV is passive, I feel like it has an end point, at some point I want to get up and walk away from it all. With gaming once I started I didn't want to do anything else because how can any other activity live up to the promise of a modern AAA game? I understand the social connection arguments around gaming, but I didn't have that. I shut myself away from people to game because I was escaping from some stuff, not sure what yet cause my counselling hasn't started. I made friends through hobbies outside of gaming when I was younger and my relationships with them only suffered when I retreated again. Personally, and this is purely opinion, I don't buy into the career talk and social side of gaming with twitch and YouTube. I know people are making money, I get that because every time I raise a concern I get bludgeoned with the same argument again and again. It feels very Hollywood, where everyone looks happy and putting on an awesome face because that's what they need to do to get the views, sponsors, donations etc. I'm happy for people who make something of it, they've clearly got a touch of the innovative about them coupled with a good support network. But I worry about the greater % hanging on their every word, just as with other celebrities in other industries. And that's the key for me. Nobody sees the reality of the rise to fame and glory. If articles encouraging people to increase their time gaming are going to pop up as 'advice' on websites that are supposed to be reputable, it makes them no better than clickbait in my eyes because every person's life is different. It's time you just can't get back and if you don't have families that essentially keep you whilst you indulge then you're risking an awful lot, particularly during a pandemic like this. I hope nobody thinks I'm being harsh. I'm very passionate about these issues from working with vulnerable kids and adults in the past. I'm happy gaming isn't stigmatised as much as it used to be when I was a kid, however at the same time I do feel that the current trend of it becoming so mainstream and high profile is only sucking more gullible people in with the simple aim of pumping as much money out of them as possible. Creating more addicts and leaving parents, carers, key workers etc at a loss when they're considered less of an authority than some dude on YouTube.
  15. Cool. Thanks for the discussion folks. I was pretty riled up that day so wanted some clear heads to help calm me down. Good to see different opinions and also hear how some people deal with hearing or seeing things that might trigger negative emotions linked to gaming. The problem I have with the tone and nature of it is that the more I get out and about again, the more I see gaming less as a hobby and more like watching TV, just a way of passing time without actually learning anything. So when somebody recommends people use their free time... It's like our national broadcaster just asked some kid to write an article which ended up being "Omg all the time to gamezzz..." and then stuck it on their home page. Grr. Made me angry. I also used to be a junior school teacher and met so many kids who just wanted to be a YouTube star and play games when they grew up. I guess my own problems tie into how I dealt with that emotionally as well. Thanks again for the counter views and support. You're a great bunch to have around to talk about this stuff 😉👍