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NEW VIDEO: Psychologist's WARNING About VIDEO GAMES

pdallair91

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  1. I definitely appreciate your desire to inspire some kind of team spirit @Amphibian220. Identifying the behavioral patterns we regret is certainly essential to recovery. However, I don't mean to condemn your post (I don't think it's "bad") but I can imagine why so few people are jumping in. First of all, there aren't many active users on this forum; you might have better chances to have deeper conversation on the Discord server. Second, not everyone is keen to expose themselves on public forum like this. Third, not everyone is keen to exposing not just themselves but "gamers" as a whole, which would include many of our peers. Even if many participants are anonymous, there's an underlying element of "judgement", towards our selves and others, that can't always just be brushed under the rug with a playful "come on guys" tone. Anyways, this would probably be a more successful thread in a private/professional setting (therapy, support groups, family, friends, etc.) Anyways, I am making a lot of assumptions, perhaps projecting myself on others a little too much, so take it with a grain of salt. I do believe you have the best of intentions and like I initially said, I do appreciate the "team spirit" aspect I imagine you're going for. So, I'm going to contribute a bit. I second the patterns you and @Nico Indigo have mentioned so far. Another one for me is, as I am likely to neglect sleep and clothing hygiene, I tend to do the same related to food and cooking. I often procrastinate on doing the dishes and going grocery shopping, in fact, I'm kind of doing that now (even though I'm not gaming). I will often order fast-food just to "save" (*air quotes*) the time and effort by avoiding shopping and cooking. I put air quotes their because, in the end, I often just end up wasting that time on instantly gratifying things. Even if I do dedicate the time towards more constructive/wholesome activities, the poor dietary choices involve have long-term effects of their own. Whatever people add here, I wouldn't be surprised if we could all summarize it as neglecting someone's needs (physical or emotional), especially our own. Even if I stop gaming, if I continue to neglect other more important things, my problem isn't really fixed now is it? Identifying these things like we're going here is an essential step but in many cases, far from the last. I really envy people who can seemingly just start and maintain a healthy habit. However, many of us aren't starting from that same place as they are. Many of us have far more deeply rooted problems. As much as I know on behavioral level what I could do to perhaps live a "better" life, it's not just uncomfortable to make these changes, it's downright agonizing. I can't just change the way I behave, I need to change the way I think and feel as well; I need to address the cognitive parts of this whole mess. And that my friend, is quite the challenge (if it wasn't I wouldn't be here). If anyone has anything to say about the changes they are trying to achieve in terms of cognition, I'd love to hear more. You DM me if that'd make you more comfortable. Personally, one of the things I'm trying to free myself of is that all or nothing mindset. One of the key sets of emotions behind, for me, is the fear of failure — or more accurately in my case, fear of making mistakes. I'm afraid of being punished, despite my best effort. A lot of times when I procrastinate, give up, or push myself too hard, it's often because of 2 things: 1) I can't do a "good" job and 2) not doing a "good" job is "bad". Whatever the definition of "good" for the task at hand, it's a bunch of expectations I'm afraid or disgusted by the prospect of not meeting; expectations that are often my own might I add. If my expectations weren't so high, if I allowed myself to make mistakes more often, making changes would be more achievable. So yeah improving my ability to lower my expectations and wholeheartedly accept perceived mistakes would make a huge difference. Not sure how I can put this into practice right now but I'll figure something out. ANYWAYS, good luck on your path and take care. Peace out.
  2. Day 8 — Accidentally Hypervigilant Starting in February 2020, I've been through short-term disability, a failed attempt at gradually returning to work, long-term disability. 2 weeks ago was the beginning of my second attempt at a gradual return to work. So far, things have been... decent. As I've expressed in my last post in this thread, my coworkers have been very welcoming and easy going on the tasks delegated to me. Psychologically however, I haven't always been as stable as I was hoping for. I'm still prone to make things harder than they need to be. Don't get me wrong, putting in a extra effort can feel good sometimes; when our efforts yield noticeably better results. However, there are often times where that extra effort just isn't worth it, or maybe I don't even have the skills (technical, social, emotional, etc.) to make it happen. I often don't even notice when that's the case until I'm deep into it and regardless, I have a hard-time letting go (i.e., lowering my expectations). Case and point: Yesterday I did a half-day shift in the afternoon. I arrived at the office at 12:30pm and so I initially intended to leave around 4:30 to 5pm. I knew I only had one simple task to do, but I was so determined to make the "best possible solution" that I ended up spending the entire afternoon practically writing an essay about the problem and various solutions. Figuratively speaking, I was tasked to build a doghouse but I ended up making blueprints for a condo, a cottage, and a mansion. When I was done I happen to run into the user I was doing this for and after trying to justify the extra complicated solution I was like "The problems I'm preparing to handle are never going to happen, right?" At that point It was already around 5:30pm, past the time I initially intended to leave. After all, none of the tasks given to me where urgent. And yet I jumped on another task (a code review) and ended up extending my stay until 6:30pm. By the end I was tired, hungry, and frustrated. I had to cancel plans with a friend and I turned to cheap instant gratification (not video games, just to reassure you, though it did cross my mind). Luckily, I hand an appointment with my psychologist this morning so I used it to talk about what happened. We agreed that I had went into a state of hypervigilance; I was really sensitive to details, seeing problems and even threats where their weren't any. I was seeing "warnings and red flags" in the code, in the tools that we use, in my methodology, and so on... For those who've read The Subtle Art of not Giving a F**K, it's pretty much what Mark Manson would call a feedback loop from hell. But why does this happen? What beliefs where driving me and where do those beliefs come from. Luckily, it's not my first introspection rodeo. I brought up that the irrational belief (or an academic might say: the cognitive distortion, or schema) was: "I NEED to do this perfectly. I'm going to be in trouble if I don't." As I've called it before: The Fear of Failure. Having this subconscious bias makes sense. Growing up, I had a dad that yelled a lot, a mom that criticized a lot, and peers that ostracized me a lot. But when my efforts stood out, when the outcome was beyond expectations, boy did I get some praise then. Nowadays however, I'm surrounded by professional and respectful colleagues. When I make mistakes now, in the context of work at least, I'm much more likely to experience constructive feedback more than anything else. Deeply accepting this reality the way I just described it, especially when I am experience that state of hypervigilance, is easier said than done. There's emotional regulation tool I learned about from Dialectical Behavior Therapy called Opposite Action, which would probably come in handy. If I remember correctly, it is ideal for situations when our feelings don't fit the reality before us, which is pretty much exactly what I described above. I'll need to look into more details on this, their should be more specific advice if I can narrow down my feelings to 1 or 2 specific emotions mentioned in the handouts I have. ANYWAYS, that's it for me today. I'm gonna go bowling tomorrow. 😅 Wish me luck! Peace out and take care folks.
  3. Oh, comrade. I feel for you. Don't blame yourself for not having the right knowledge, tools, motivation, etc. I mean, we live in a society that expects uneducated/unsuccessful parents to pass down the emotional intelligence needed to succeed to their kids. We expect parents to be able to pass on these skills somehow. Depending on where you live, parents were deemed generally unqualified to teach our youth how to cope with sexual impulses, yet, we judge that they're somehow qualified to teach kids how to cope with emotional impulses overall? Psychology experts have been arguing for it for decades but we rarely see emotional intelligence skills taught in school. Whether you had a chance to acquire and master these tools/skills, like any other set, depends on your luck of the draw in the lottery of birth. The system, overall, isn't making it easier to acquire and master these tools/skills if you aren't born and raised under the right conditions. Depending on where you live, one could even argue that the system makes it harder now more than ever to get proper education of any kind as the cost of living keeps increasing, outpacing the increase of your average income. The lack of access to proper education on the matter isn't the only problem but my point here is this: I strongly believe, the lack of these skills/tools is a systemic problem, not just an individual one. It's not entirely your fault if you have yet to master the skills you needed to "succeed" in this world. So like I said at the beginning: don't blame yourself. Life isn't fair and don't ever let anyone convince you otherwise. Traumatic events are undoubtedly at the root of almost every addiction. I was yelled at and shamed (often inadvertently) by my parents while being ostracized and bullied by my peers at school... clearly my environment wasn't promoting the acquisition and use of a proper emotional tool-belt I'd like to have by now. Based on what you said about your family, it seems rational to say they didn't help you build that tool-belt either. Kids like you and me, we barely had a chance, we were practically bound to "self-medicate" one way or another. I don't know about you but I've been to a lot of addiction meetings and whether it was video-games, exercise, weed, alcohol, gambling, sex, hard-drugs, etc., it's always rooted in someone feeling trapped for a long period of time at some point in their life. Whether it was a soldier on the battlefield, a minority hiding from oppressive/violent bigots, or a child just crying for some encouragement instead of punishment from their parent(s)... every addict has a story like this. We were all victimized in ways that create a strong desire for some relief (that need to escape), and that's what video-games felt like they were doing during those times for you and me. They didn't just feel fun, they felt like one of the most reliable sources of comfort/safety. At some point in our lives this level of "consumption" felt less destructive than any alternative we had access to. While the conditions of our life may have objectively changed, unfortunately, that subjective feeling towards it and video games as the most reliable source of comfort didn't. Now we have to make an extra effort to see things as they are, to see the alternative sources of comfort we have access to, etc. Anyways, my point here is this: It's tough but you're not alone. There are people like you out there, that have chance to better understand how you feel, and what you've been through and they wouldn't blame you for it. Anyways, just to repeat my points: It's not entirely your fault and you're not alone. You did the best you could think of at every moment in your life. And you look at you now, you're here, acknowledging what's lacking in your life and trying to do something about it. That's some awesome self-awareness and tenacity. You're getting better at this (and by "this", I mean your life). It's gonna take time, you're gonna fumble and stumble but you'll get back up. You can be proud of yourself, you're amazing. 👍 Achievement unlocked. Here, have a flippin' balloon to celebrate --->🎈 Cheers to you mate (or anyone reading this really). ✌️ You got this.
  4. Yeah, I understand how some games might be hard to let go. Personally, this revolves more around franchises or "brands". Like, a new title from a particular studio/design team or a sequel/re-spin/spinoff of a game I liked comes out. So, yeah, as you seem to imply, I think we differ whereas I tended to change games more often. Sure, I ended up spending hundreds or thousands of hours on one game from time to time (especially sandbox or open world games) but the vast majority of my games were like an impulsive 10-80 hours. Like, not necessarily as fast as possible but trying to finish the main story/campaign and moving on was a normal approach for me. I enjoy the surprise of originality/novelty, I don't like "too much" repetition. I do this in other hobbies as well, like, I really don't enjoy playing the same board game multiple times in a row unless it changes a lot from session to session. I tend to prefer playing chaotic alignment characters in tabletop RPGs and improv. Even in my sociopolitical views I tend to favor "radical" changes. Anyways, this bias towards "novelty/progress/change" has it's disadvantages because it makes it very difficult to develop and maintain new approaches long enough to reap the long-term benefits. It's like, I depend a lot on short-term extrinsic "rewards" for something to "stick". My psychologist has mentioned multiple times that I might have a mild case of ADHD but he doesn't have the qualifications to make a full assessment. I really ought to get that sorted out...
  5. During my recent relapse, I was watching a lot of video reviews of the game I was playing. I don't remember exactly which video said that but I do remember hearing "it's addictive" like its a good thing. It's clear that when the game has micro-transactions that one is less likely to consider it ethical for the game to be addictive. It disgusts me a little that someone would praise something because it can likely leads to harmful (and therefor excessive) levels of consumption. It probably wasn't that person's intention — it's likely they're pretty ignorant — but I can't help but feel like addiction, and by extension people suffering from it, get downplayed here; like it's "no big deal". Honestly, I wish I could tell this person how serious of a problem addiction can be. Personally, I don't see how calling something "addictive" ever ought to be framed as anything other than a warning. Like, I wish it was more obvious to the general public how addiction implies self-destructive behavior. Maybe then we wouldn't so non-nonchalantly encourage people to engage in addictive behavior. Do you feel like people and the media downplay/trivialize the impact of addictive substances or content? How do you feel when people encourage you to engage in addictive behavior? How do you react in such cases? What would be more ideal for you?
  6. Did you mean like games played at the same time (alternating between them)? Did you mean how many games "completed" or "finished"? Some of us had been gamers for like decades. Like, I didn't keep count of course but I personally must've tried at least 500 different games over the course of ~25 years. I mean, I bought (or received as gifts) 300+ games and then there's all the free browser based and mobile games, games I rented or borrowed, games my friends owned, games in businesses (arcade cabinets and demos) or public places (like the children's hospital, conferences). So, I'm a bit flabbergasted that your highest option is only 25+. 😅 No disrespect, I don't know how old you are and your addiction is just as valid as mine. And like, kudos to you for stopping early, if that's the case. Maybe developing an addiction right off the bat (like with our first few games) is a more modern phenomena. It feels reasonable to assume that gaming have never been more addicting than it is today, considering the high level of stimulation and how easily accessible games are now. I mean, I have a marijuana problem as well but at least I can't just download marijuana or go get me some cheap extra addictive browser-based or mobile marijuana. 🤣
  7. Day 5 — I'm doing ok It's Friday and I'm having a good week. Nothing mind-blowing but little victories here and there. First of all, I started my gradual return to work last week. Although I only worked 8 hours this week, I did receive a rather warm welcome, had time to finish a task, document, and submit my work. I got to meet one of the newer employees and we seem to get along pretty well. I got to chat with some of my old coworkers and mentors. Pretty heartwarming really. On the technical side, I have some catching up to do but I'm making a deliberate effort to acknowledge my limitations and not "over-promise". I'm trying hard not to try too hard. 😅 One of the most common pitfalls when I try to be productive, as I've mentioned many times in previous post, is that "all or nothing" tendency. Like, I'm super motivated at first. However, if things don't go according to plan, the fear of failure (anxiety) starts to pile up and the "prophecy" fulfills itself; the anxiety and shame build-up becomes to hard to handle and I give up. The saddest part is that none of this pressure comes from my actual peers, most of it comes from me. I always have the opportunity to express my feelings and opinions or ask for help with the work, I'm often in one of the best positions to determine if the task is too hard or not, but I don't. So, I'm taking it easy for now. If gonna take a dozen weeks to ramp up and even more if I feel the need to. Right now, I'm working less than 20 hours a week and I'm not taking anything with a stressful deadline. I need to take the time to get acclimated to the changes returning to work implies and that's ok. After watching a video last Wednesday, I began reflecting on self-acceptance and said to myself "It's ok. I'm proud of you." I burst into tears. It's ok to feel the way I do, considering all the circumstances that have led up to the present moment. I'm proud that I'm trying my best, even if it isn't always enough to get what I want. I really wish I got that kind of feedback more often growing up, maybe then it would be more intuitive to have these thoughts on my own. Anyways, I can't change the past but it isn't to late to start manually injecting myself with these thoughts now. Hopefully, they'll come more naturally in a time of need. Maybe one day, it won't feel too good to be true, maybe I won't cry. Peace out folks. May you feel safe, happy, and live with ease. May you accept yourself just the way you are now. Take care. ❤️
  8. Day 1 — Wakey Wakey 'sup peeps? To anyone who's read some my previous posts, it might not come as a surprise that my ~3 weeks of absence correlates with a relapse. Throughout February, I experienced quite a bit of emotional turmoil which triggers cravings for pleasure as an escape mechanism. On top of the political storm in my area in February, my disability insurance provider (Sunlife — or as I like to call 'em: Sucklife) out of nowhere decided to accelerate my return to work. I was willing to attempt a gradual return to work but they gave me no say in terms of the schedule. Based on some third party expert that has never talked to me or my personal therapist, and who happens to live and practice thousands of kilometers away from where I live, who apparently had no idea what treatments I had access to nor did he have any recommendations, they concluded that I should be able to return to work 2 months faster than the period I'm entitled to. In order to extend this, I would, once again have to jump through hoops, prove to them that I can't keep up with their demands. This process can take months (and cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars) within itself... it's a real dick move on their part and I honestly hope there is a hell with a special place for people that enjoy the profits generated from this industry. Anyways, this all coincided with the release of a game that had it's grips on me since it was first announced to be in development (back in 2019, before the pandemic). Even if I didn't follow news about it, it's release made it into my youtube recommendations and trended on reddit. I ended up giving in, buying it, and playing over ~190 hours over a ~2.5 week period. Why did I give in? It's tempting to blame it all on external factors mentioned above but that's not quite right. I'd be a fool to not at least acknowledge they had a strong impact but on the other hand, I personally wasn't prepared to handle the cravings I'll inevitably experience time and time again. As much as I was aware I had them and that I wasn't supposed to give in, I had become "out of touch" with the deeper motivations (i.e., my personal values) behind all of this. Basically, I wasn't mindful enough to skillfully fulfill some of my personal values. The deeper motivations that are particularly at play here are what I like to call "Competence" and "Autonomy" (which typically amount to a sense of "Control" or "Power"). Watching the world around me apparently, and metaphorically, burn while not having much of a choice in my own recovery pace leaves me feeling quite powerless. What I really wanted when I turned to video games this time, was a sense of "control", not just over the virtual world I get immersed in but also seemingly over my own emotions. However, as I'm sure you all know, this sense of control I gain from gaming, over my emotions especially, is an illusion. The emotions are still there, the only difference is that I'm not paying attention to them. The only real way to gain some control over these emotions is to acknowledge them and handle them with care. What I need the most right now, I believe, is to change my perspective away from shame and anger, towards compassion and kindness, especially for myself. Anyways, I'm going to leave this at that. I'd like to mention that if it wasn't for my therapist, I might not have even considered what my personal values are and how they might be coming into play here. This, to me, is definite proof that proper psychotherapy can make a difference. It took me a while to address this wake up call but I'm glad to say I'm up and about now. *tap myself on the back* 😅 Time to smell some of the roses. ❤️🙂 Peace out folks.
  9. Day ??? — Fear of Knowledge CW: Canadian Politics First of all, let me make this clear: I'm not posting this here to start a heated "conversation" (i.e. "debate"). If you don't agree with me, please don't reply to me here, in this "personal journal" thread. If you want to quote me in yours, that's fine, I will offer you the same courtesy as I am asking of you now; I will not engage with you directly on your journal (if at all). Everyone needs to express their feelings about polarizing topics sometimes. If you feel like I'm judging you personally, keep in mind that I don't know you and thus it definitely wasn't my intention. Anyways, here goes... For those that aren't aware, I am Canadian (maudit osti francophone syrop d'érable orignal maudit criss poutine de coliss). The recent political situation in Canada has been rather unpleasant for many over the past 3+ weeks, although it appears to be coming to an end, at least for the people that weren't directly affected by this. A rather small and yet very disruptive minority of anti COVID-19 mandates (vaccines, masks, and other limitations) advocates; i.e. the self-proclaimed "Freedom Convoy". I don't want to get into the nitty-gritty of it all so I'm just going to point out that, according to many polls, ~60% (if not more) Canadians did not support this "protest", and that's not to say the rest outright supported it either (~5-10% tend to just answer neutrally) and I side with that 60% here. In the end, after more than 3 weeks of ongoing disruption with no sign of diplomatic resolution, this assembly was deemed unlawful by our government and law enforcement stepped in to put a stop to it. Throughout this period, I was often "triggered" to engage in impractical polarizing discourse on social media, sometimes with family members and often times with complete strangers. I wasn't always kind and compassionate towards the opposition and neither were they towards me. Judging from the sheer quantity of accusations being made back and forth between people and groups, It was a very polarizing, and distressful by extension, situation for many Canadians. One of the things that irritates and scares me the most is the sheer baselessness (or "anti-sciency-ness") of these anti-vax, anti-mask, covid-hoax stances at the core of this "protest". I mean, it's a good thing to be skeptical of scientific studies and such, in fact, that's why peer review processes are downright fundamental to the scientific method. However, the "skepticism" of these viewpoints can often easily be traced down to simply not understanding the science and/or not trusting reliable sources; i.e. the poor application or the lack thereof "scientific-literacy" and "media-literacy" skills (deliberate or not) seems to be at the base of a conspiracy theorist's thought patterns. To be fair, this skills aren't easily acquired and I haven't mastered them either. I don't know what is surely being taught in elementary and high-schools now, but it wasn't in the common curriculum of my youth that I learned about some of the rigorous studies behind the scientific theories I was being taught. Similarly, it wasn't in the common curriculum of my youth that I learned how to evaluate the reliability of sources (to be fair, I'm probably still not very good at it). To put it more simply, I didn't come out of high-school with the scientific-literacy and media-literacy skills I have now, I continued to acquire some here and there because I wanted to. However, what if a set of beliefs you've been upholding (i.e., one of your ideologies) comes into question by inquiring or simply applying these "scientific-literacy" and "media-literacy" skills. Well, I doubt you'd adamantly want to keep going down that road. A couple of days ago, I re-watched a 2021 video by PhilosophyTube entitled "Ignorance & Censorship". Some of the things that stuck with me after watching it were that: Your ideology is characterized as much by the beliefs you don't have than the beliefs you do have. The same can often be said about behavior (it's not just what you do, it's also what you don't do). Sometimes people go out of their way to remain ignorant in order to maintain their personal status quo. (Doxastic Anxiety) For example, Abigail Thorn, who isn't a vegan, points out how she's deliberately choosing not to acquire more knowledge about factory farming, and even, up until that point, deliberately chose not to believe that she was doing so (deliberate ignorance of her deliberate ignorance). With doxastic anxiety and doxastic courage (deliberately challenging one's own ignorance, I assume) added into the mix, one could argue that there actually are moral ("good") and immoral ("bad") ways to think. For example, Abigail Thorn, talks about how cigarette companies have systematically taken advantage of the doxastic anxiety of smokers via small injections of doubt about cigarettes causing cancer in the public discourse. Here doxastic anxiety and it's deliberate reinforcement can cause a lot of harm. You can totally call it confirmation biase on my part because it sure felt good when I made associations between anti-vaxxers and cigarette smokers, the far-right activists that spearheaded this "protest" (that I hadn't mentioned so far) and cigarette companies. The nonsensical speculatory (and often racist/xenophobic) narratives spouted by far-right advocates (whether they believe what they're saying or not), like the cigarette companies' private and therefor selectively disclosed studies about cancer, reinforces anti-vaxxers, like cigarette smokers of old, to remain ignorant about the harm they might be causing to themselves and others. That's why this "anti-science" positions scares me. How far will we let our own ignorance or the ignorance of our friends and family go? What can we do about this without risking to impede on innovative ideas that ought to be researched and debated? How do you teach something to people that don't want to learn it? Anyways, it's a complicated topic and my understanding has been stretched out to become pretty thin but yeah... it's pretty depressing... I'm starting to believe that although it isn't bad to be passively ignorant (I don't know X, I never needed to know X to make the "right" decisions), on the other end however, being actively ignorant can be pretty harmful (I don't know X, and ought to know X in order to make the "right" decisions, but I'm going out of my way to avoid knowing X or even admitting that I don't know X). Anyways, it's complicated topic that I don't know much about. But I think it's safe to say, things wouldn't go out of hand so much if we were more willing to admit whenever we don't know or understand something important. Anyways, in the end, I relapsed again Saturday. Right now, it's 2:30pm and I'm still sitting in my underwear in front of the computer, engaging in my own form doxastic anxiety, deliberately choosing not to look into what might benefit me the most in the long-term, what could help me maintain "sobriety". I'm literally scared of learning more about the potential benefits of making radical changes like fully deleting my steam account or getting rid of my gaming PC. I don't and I'm not really trying to know if I can succeed at this. At least, not in the present moment. The only thing I can say is that at least, unlike the participants of this "Freedom Convoy", I'm not harming anyone but myself with my negligence, for the time being. Right? Anyways, peace out comrades. I hope you have a nice week.
  10. Day 9 — Insatiable Cravings I'm tired. No, I mean literally. It's ~9pm and I it's becoming hard to focus. So why am I here? Well, although I'm tired part of doesn't want the day to be over. I had loads of fun today and I don't want the fun to stop. Part of me was trying really hard to convince the rest to play some video games. It felt insatiable. For a while, the phrase "I NEED video games" was echoing in my mind. Luckily, some of the advice I've received in the past popped it's head: Check the facts & keep try to keep it non-judgemental. I had to force it but the thought started to alternate between "I NEED video games" and "I simply want to play video games", the latter gradually become more often present. I don't need games. I mean, I won't die any faster or stop enjoying everything else in life without playing video games. Actually, I might die slower depending on what I decide to do with my time. 🤣 It's easy to recall why I decided to quit once I've calmed down. It's mostly because it's too hard to stop playing once I'm started. Like, I tend to neglect important things far more often when there's gaming involved. Not to mention the shame I experience as a result. In the moment, when I'm at my most vulnerable, it can really take deliberate effort for these reasons to come to mind and even if they do, the don't seem to feel as "true". Maybe I ought to right them down, assert them more often and recognize the extra things I accomplish because I haven't given in to my urges. For example, I'm about to go to bed at a more reasonable time. 👏 Anyways, I'm glad I have this platform and you comrades. Coming here to journal was enough of a distraction to let the intense cravings pass. I'm gonna follow through on what I ended the last paragraph with. Peace out folks.
  11. Day 5 — I have cravings but I can endure This is going to be really short, I just thought that journaling this moment, recognizing and being grateful for my effort, is going to make it more memorable. I was experiencing strong cravings for the past couple of hours. I was bored and I didn't want to feel bored, I was craving stimulation, i.e. instant-gratification. But the cravings were too intense for a simple snack + anime break or wtv, it was an insatiable craving. So, I sat down with it, took the time to calm down and read-up a little bit on some notes and handouts I have around mindfulness. I was reading about Adaptive Denial, a short-term distress tolerance strategy for people that suffer from addiction. I haven't read much about it but it sounds like a "faith-based" where one just stops trying to reasonably justify their abstinence and simply stick with it out of faith that it will succeed. As a staunch atheist, I'm quite skeptical of "faith-based" systems but I must admit that sometimes it is to my detriment; applying high-levels of scrutiny towards myself can be harmful at times. It felt soothing for me to realize that I didn't have to prove to myself that this abstinence is the "best" path or that I will definitely succeed. These cravings, sure, they come around every now and then but they also go away, they don't last forever. I'm going to be patient, I can stand this... somewhere else... away from my PC. 😆 Peace out!
  12. Hey @CoolMan29, First of all, welcome to the Game Quitters forum! A while ago, I made a post in my personal journal about the "5 stages of change" that my Addiction Recovery Program uses to give us a better idea of where we are at. Just seeing you here, acknowledging that your behavior is causing you problems is a good sign; you're at least on the second step ("Contemplation") on your path of progress. Improving one's understanding of the problems we face, instead of instinctively grasping at straws*, is a critical step forward; as G.I. Joe would say, "Knowing* is half the battle". One of the things that really slows me down sometimes can be found in the language that I use to describe my own behavior. If there's one thing that I learned (in theory at least) in therapy is that introspection should be done without judgement. That's not to say that not holding ourselves accountable for our actions would be beneficial. Au contraire, analysing our own behavior and the outcome of which is part of that "Contemplation" step I mentioned above. However, when we use vague blanket labels like "good" or "bad" tends to leave us feeling like there's little room for progress. For example, I try to refrain from calling myself an "addict" because, as with many social constructs, there's a lot of negative connotations associated with that I'm just better off not identifying with. Even if the there weren't any negative connotations, I am so much more than an "addict"; I am a "survivor", a "mentor" to some, and a "friend" to many, and a "human being" (I swear! beep-boop). Anyways, my point is: try not to be so hard on yourself buddy. Statements like... Might be wearing you down. I think it would be fairer towards yourself to simply say "I don't feel satisfied with some of my cognitive-behavioral tendencies, such as prioritizing the short-term gratification I get from games over the long-term benefits I could get from further education." I know it's a mouthful but it is more accurate and objective. You have a hypothesis there at least, if not a theory that you've proven to yourself by now, something that you can work with. If you can afford consulting a psychiatrist or psychotherapist and haven't done so yet, it would give them something more concrete to work with too. I'm not an expert but what you are describing sounds a lot like executive dysfunction, a group of symptoms which can be caused by a lot of different things (depression, ADHD, brain injuries, etc.) It would probably beneficial to at least confirm whether this is the case or not and where it comes from if it is. I'm starting to wonder if I should go for an ADHD test myself (it was proposed a few times by my psychologist but it's not free). Maybe I'm projecting myself on you too much here. I recently relapsed for like... well too many times to count... I am getting back up, it's been 6 days now. I think I am getting better at getting back up and preventing from falling again at least. Still, I tend to feel a lot of shame and the language that I often use probably doesn't help. Maybe one day I will have cultivated enough self-value to more easily brush off this change but right now I, like you perhaps, seem to depend on external factors a lot. Anyways, good luck on your path buddy, give yourself a hug for me. * I should point out that grasping at straws isn't inherently bad and there are limits to how much knowledge we need to proceed, if it's even possible to acquire. Sometimes, "grasping at straws" is our only option given the circumstances. However, if, like me, you find yourself grasping at the same straws over and over again despite being left mostly empty handed, it's probably a good occasion to take a step back and contemplate "What's going on?" (queu the He-Man meme animation of the Four Non Blonds song).
  13. I don't know how reliable the article or data is but... https://www.destructoid.com/even-rich-men-make-time-for-videogames/ When you think about it there's also some people that have become successful through gaming or adjacent careers as well.
  14. Day 1 — I took a 2nd arrow to the knee. Stating the obvious: I hadn't logged in for a couple of weeks. As those who have read my previous post in this thread might understand what the title of this post implies, yes, I have relapsed and I'm getting back up now. So, what happened? While experiencing the discomfort I described in my January 21st post in this thread, I neglected to mention that I was already "cheating" at that point. I had convinced myself that it wasn't "too much", that I'd be able to get right back on track when I'm back home. Unsurprisingly, the time spent playing and the number of different games increased. I made it back home on January 23rd and now sitting in front of my PC, unlike I had anticipated, the cravings started to become even stronger. I staved off my cravings with junk food for a couple of days. Yup, that's what I was doing when I wrote my last post. Ironic how we often don't heed our own advice. I don't remember what day exactly, I wouldn't be surprised if I relapsed on the same day I described the 2 arrow parable, but around that time I gave in to my cravings, purchased a game on steam and played ~8-12 hours a day for ~2 weeks. I wasn't sleeping well, I wasn't eating well, and neglected my hygiene (more than I usually tend to). For e.g., it was 5 days after my return that I finally took the time to go make a serious grocery trip. I basically lived off pasta, chips, and pizza during that time. Anyways, I'm coming out of it now (I think). I finally got to spend some time with friends I hadn't seen in a long time and I have plans for this week. I think this has helped me find the will to take better care of myself. Another thing was a realization I had last night. I was having trouble falling asleep so I contemplated my situation. It had been a couple of times now that I had told myself, before going to bed, that it was my "last day" of gaming. Of course, I wouldn't have had to say I did this multiple times if I didn't fail to abide by my statement the next day. I think that what was happening is that I was still clinging to the privileges I had while I was on vacation at my mom's place. I wasn't taking care of my living conditions at home because I rarely had to for ~5 weeks over there. It's as if I was looking (or more accurately: waiting) for an easy way to get back up to the pace I used to have. This desire for something that I cannot have, that was my second arrow. There's an interesting quote from one of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy handouts that I have. It's not the best quote I ever heard but it describes what I had to accept, not just in theory but also in practice: In other words, I needed to let go of my desire. I needed to notice the feelings of discomfort that I would likely feel throughout the day rise, acknowledge it, label it and just sit with it for a while. I don't have to be ashamed and there's nothing to be afraid of. It's O.K. This discomfort is just a small part of who I am as a whole and as with everything else, it is temporary. 🙂 With that in mind on top of the energy boost I got from my social contacts, I managed to uninstall my games today. I actually went one step further than usual and completely uninstalled Steam for the first time. 👍 Anyways, it is what it is for now and another thing is just that: I'm super hungry. 😆 Take care folks. May the force be with you (unless you're a Sith Lord).
  15. If I could, I would play strategy boardgames almost everyday. I own around 30 different games and a lot of expansions. Boardgames aren't as harmful to me as video games, I believe. 1) because it's difficult to play too much without getting other people involved and 2) it's hard to get people involved (at least in my area) 😅 but seriously, cleaning up and setting things up in between games really gives one time to figure out whether they should call it quites then and there or not. It's rare that I find myself regreting that I played too much. I am a little more careful around games with single player variants and offers to play online/digital versions. Both of these feel like stepping stones to relapsing to me. It's really the social and tactile elements, on top of the cerebral nature, of the experience that I try to appreciate. One thing that I really need to watch for in this hobby is spending ($$$). It's very easy to get sucked into a shopping spree, buying new games, expansions, promo content, fancy components, organizers, etc. There's always that one person in your group that likes to really "pimp" his games. 😅 There's definitely a few games in everyone's collection that have only been played once or twice, if at all.