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Creative Quitter's Journal


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My first journal post!  Quit cold turkey as of yesterday (Nov 5, 2021), after playing games since childhood.

Initial Thoughts:

-I've skimmed several people's journals and some of the reddit posts, and you guys are fantastic, even just for caring enough to try!!!  You give me hope too.

-Games originally weren't intended to have the negative effects they now have on people.  Funny how good things can get ruined when there is human greed involved on the part of corporations, exploiting needs in the rest of us.  
-Seems when any feedback loop/pavlov/skinner box or gambling is involved is when the negative effects begin.  In the old days, it was poker and betting (still is of course); now machinery and computers hypercharge it.
-I've never seen people have negative effects from playing Monopoly or Ticket to Ride in a group (except the odd kid that's losing and decides to throw the board off the table in protest).
-I still have a love of the concepts and creativity that went into making games, having designed them: a love of the keepsakes, designs, little parts and pieces.  Games should have been a far more positive thing than what they have been turned into. 
My Goal:  To specifically quit Video and Computer games completely - to fully break the "Loop" I end up in every time, and replace the time with things I want to do while still breathing!

Today:

-I've started watching more of Cam's videos, particularly the symptoms of withdrawal.  I rarely get headaches, but funny, today I've had a mild one - and only during the hours I normally start casually playing a game!  Here I thought I was a 'casual' gamer but years of it makes me believe this is proof I really do need to quit and spend that time wholesomely.

-Beginning to work out what to do with the extra time, and how to re-balance my schedule.  
-Anything that is overstimulating has been brought to my attention - dopamine depletion.  Lot of studying to do.

All for now, thank you for creating this space.

-TCQ



 

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Nov 7, 2021

The clarity of mind and body I'm already feeling is strange but great!  I still have a strange headache and yet I feel good overall - if anyone knows what causes the headaches I'd love to know!  Cam mentioned them in one of his videos (the signs of withdrawal one) but there must be some chemical cause in the body?

Considering the various hobbies, or re-taking up old ones I've neglected for a while, organized and cleaned the home a bit.  Weirdly not 'really' missing anything just yet.  Hoping this mild but continuous headache goes away.  Carrying on!

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Nov 8, 2021

On my lunchbreak.  Did have some vivid dreaming last night, but the headache is beginning to subside and my sleep is improving... I seem to be naturally getting sleepier earlier, and getting up earlier!  Happy about it!!!  :16_relieved::11_blush:

Starting to realize just how much overall distraction I have in my life.  Two jobs is enough but I also have a ridiculous amount of tabs open in multiple browsers - it's dawning on me that while my tendency to escape into gaming goes hand in hand with any other unnecessary distractions I've used that is taking time away from what I REALLY want to do with the limited time we call our "lifetime."  Reminding myself, our time here is limited, there is so much more meaning to our lives, its all for a purpose.  That said probably constructive to think of the past time "wasted" on games and these other distractions as a micro part of the macro view - that we have to LEARN.  We experience and hopefully learn from it, and turn it all into good things.

In considering my hobby list I realized the potential for too many hobbies as "distractions" - and so I've decided to limit it to things that REALLY are a part of who I am.  Tucking more into the gardening and sunshine, gentle walks, and reading for relaxation in the evening.

This week I'm going to re-organize my browsers and tabs and eliminate unnecessary distractions!  Onward and upward...

Edited by The_Creative_Quitter
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Nov 9, 2021

So I've hit my first bit of stormy waters today!  That pang of "missing something" - and thinking back to my first childhood D&D session around a table.  Weirdly, I miss the social factor, even though for quite a while now all of my gaming time I kept to myself.  I have been in guilds and loved them but my stress levels lately made me less social than usual.  I've been tempted into the "find a replacement" mode - but if I'm honest with myself, I don't think replacements like a D&D tabletop online group or something would work for me.  It might be a nostalgia thing too - reading the old adventure books, I might enjoy it for a few minutes then feel like "been there done that."   
I'm facing some really deep stuff and trying to be hyper honest with myself - any desire to think about these things is an escape mechanism.  I've got to get back into the work projects I want to accomplish and press forward and not let any negative voices delay or stop my progress, which is what I've done for too long.  Procrastination is a hell of a demon to shake off, but I'm sick to death of him.  Fear is another one - fear of failure (or success) - in fact its the biggest one.  Reminding myself all things happen for a reason, we are here for a reason, and to carry that out as best I can.

All this said, I know at some point I will want to reward myself a little bit for all the hard work.  Pondering buying a fun jigsaw puzzle for myself and the spouse - or digging out the old rubik's cube, crossword puzzle book, whatever.   Anything more than that seems like too much of a temptation, hook leading me farther back into wanting to play PC games/mmorpgs.

My need for more social interaction, I think, will come once the work I need to do gets done.  Pushing forward - first land mine avoided for today.  And weirdly, a bit of the headache is back - I was never prone to them.  Hoping to find a clue as to why dopamine withdrawal can cause these mild headaches...

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Nov 11, 2021

I could have sworn I posted yesterday?!  Oh well, busy at work.  One thing I've found working in my favor with regards to temptations...   I thought I would look at some form of "productive" games - then I'm reminded how everything these days has "in-app purchases" or some other hook to sell my data ... some catch or other.   Then I get hugely turned off LOL.  I grew up at a time where games were truly great, and you paid ONCE for them and owned it, no BS attached.
Games at the start of that time period were what they probably should have stayed being:  a bit of simple, time-limited innocent fun  -- not life-sucking wallet leeching grinds to take up your whole life and move you towards the agenda of everything - your life itself becoming a fake 3D game.   Not going there, no thank you, better things to do with REAL life, breathing the fresh air, looking at the REAL creation around me and appreciating these blessings.

Side note - there is no shortage of hobbies.  I'm having to focus down on hobbies as well realizing there really just isn't enough time!   If anyone ever reads my posts, may you be Blessed in your life and endeavors, and stay healthy and free.

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Nov 12, 2021

The initial "shock" of quitting games cold turkey, at first left me a bit A.D.D. I think, as far as filling my time.  I explored a new hobby this week, and found I enjoyed it, BUT that it still takes too much time away from what I want to be doing work-wise.  Learning to focus, and re-focus again seems to be a challenge especially after having games be a part time of my life for so many years.

Still haven't had a hard-to-resist craving to play yet (hasn't been very long yet lol), but don't doubt I will at some point especially on rough days.  Praying I stick with it and do what needs to be done in life with the time I have been given here.  Still going...

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Nov 13, 2021

No games today, still going, late evening entry.  Day to day, little changes, ups and downs, going to sleep earlier then falling off the wagon and a late night.  Just part of the process again, adjusting mind and body.  Weirdly part of what seems to help is going way back in my memory to a time where I really didn't play games - specifically happy times, and recalling how I lived, daily habits, waking times, physical activity and so on.  

During the time I've played too much, I haven't been able to focus on reading - whereas I used to read voraciously.  Staying away from the games seems to have begun to clear my mind again, reading is becoming more fun again.  All for now.

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Quote

Weirdly part of what seems to help is going way back in my memory to a time where I really didn't play games - specifically happy times, and recalling how I lived, daily habits, waking times, physical activity and so on.  

During the time I've played too much, I haven't been able to focus on reading - whereas I used to read voraciously.  Staying away from the games seems to have begun to clear my mind again, reading is becoming more fun again. 

can relate, paradoxically, I stopped my passion for reading when I entered university 😄 Being away from home and having developed a habit to spend most of my time alone in my room watching movies/series with few to none friends seemed to had gotten the worst out of me. I never really recovered from those habit building. I lost discipline which back then made me who I was and the success I received in life. Nevertheless the path to success and the different ways to approach where much clearer and simpler than adult life: You learn for your subjects in school and succeed as you never skipped any class and repetition ensured that you never got lost. With uni it seems that I always find myself in a rush and the question I ask about certain topics seem to be of no interest to groupmates or teachers. Also I lost so much knowledge and memory over the time. This is quite likely due to my poor sleep. I really ruined many parts of my life with this way of living.

I think those realizations are powerful and building upon them is a path to success.

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12 hours ago, Marius said:

can relate, paradoxically, I stopped my passion for reading when I entered university 😄   With uni it seems that I always find myself in a rush and the question I ask about certain topics seem to be of no interest to groupmates or teachers. Also I lost so much knowledge and memory over the time. This is quite likely due to my poor sleep. I really ruined many parts of my life with this way of living.

You're my first comment on here, thank you for that!

I'm past my University days though I have attended a few college classes in recent years for various reasons (personal growth, business skills etc) -- from my perspective, school these days isn't what it should be.
You appear to be a critical thinker to me, a somewhat rare trait in this day and age and that's to be commended.  I'd venture a guess you will realize that what you learned from school/uni isn't what you expected; more along the lines of... a prescribed formula based on specific agendas (whatever your degree may be) -- and that the REAL meat of your learning will come to you throughout your life, in real world experiences.

...Not saying that to necessarily harp on school, but to say that there is so much more out there to look forward to - and I have a feeling you will do so well (if you aren't already) because of the fact that you care and you think critically.  May you make the most of both your school time and life experience.  

12 hours ago, Marius said:

I think those realizations are powerful and building upon them is a path to success.

It does take some -almost- uncomfortably deep inner self examination, doesn't it?  Early this year I had a near death experience - and miraculously blessed to have come through it - and it has left me realizing just how incredibly valuable our time is.  Rather than being upset with myself for having spent time playing games...I'm trying to look at it as something I felt the need to do at the time, but am ready to (and really must) now grow beyond that and become more self-actualized.   I know if I don't, deep down I won't be happy!

 

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Nov 14, 2021

Quick entry tonight.  I was more social today than I've been in a while - work was an excuse to do so, but hey why not!  I'm finding my home life beginning to change in small positive ways.  One twinge of missing games this morning, but I ended up too busy to think about it!

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Nov 15, 2021

I suppose having to write a quick night journal is a good thing.  A short twinge of missing games this morning, but my time is being more easily filled than I thought it would be - planted my first garden row today after work, good being out in the air and getting hands dirty, been too long.  Not a fan of the plastic sterile life that technology seems to slowly lead us toward - purposely going in the other direction.  Memories of being a kid and playing in the mud and not caring.  Good stuff.  Thank you for reading (and the hearts!) - hoping to do some more reading of you fellow quitters' posts again later in the week - I have found this so valuable already.  

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Nov 16, 2021

Another day, no games BUT yeah I find a little bit too much of my spare time in the evening (instead of going to gaming) is going to random internet readings.  May take some conscious efforts to time and limit that kind of activity.  I keep asking myself though, will I really be productive during that time?   (We all need a certain time to wind down and clear our brain.. just chill out right?)   Don't know.  At least I haven't tried reinstalling a game yet!  Work in progress.

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Why don't you try to fill the time in a schedule like explained in respawn? This has not to be something exhasuting or very mentally demanding. If you are exhausted from your day physically and mentally do some of the relaxing hobbies Cam mentioned. Or find something yourself. From my experience with many times of relapse I can say that mindlessly browsing the internet has always led me down a dark path in the past. just schedule your evenings with something that you will be proud of in the future and still is not too demanding for you. The question you have to ask yourself. What is it that makes you go into that surfing mode? What do you hope to find? Is it just you seeking the next adrenaline/dopamine rush? Limiting that kind of activity might help you to build a clear mind.

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On 11/17/2021 at 2:37 PM, Marius said:

The question you have to ask yourself. What is it that makes you go into that surfing mode? What do you hope to find? Is it just you seeking the next adrenaline/dopamine rush? Limiting that kind of activity might help you to build a clear mind.

Thanks Marius!  You pointed out something I missed - its beyond the adrenaline/dopamine boost of just the games.  I have a habit built of reading too much of the news, which can exhaust me further - not like I can do much about the goings on in the world.  Might get out the "Leechblock" extension in my browser and limit the time there.    Working all day then going between news (potential anxiety-feeder there!) and the games (escapism) was probably serving to further exhaust me. LOL ..  More calming habits may indeed be in order.  

 

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Nov 18, 2021

Working on:  Mental clarity, Focus, "Less is more" mentality.  Is anyone like me and has 3 browsers open with a ridiculous number of tabs?  It's partly excusable because some of its necessary for work, but not the rest.  I wonder if there's a browser-tab limiter... 

Yesterday, and I don't know if I should feel guilt over it, but I did try a couple of phone exercise games - just to make my walk/jog time a little bit more fun (and maybe there is a twinge of missing PC games there).  I only found one that kind of worked for me - but it wasn't exactly a 'game,' more of an audio-story that makes you run in a High-intensity interval training pattern.   The rest of them, the text is so small I can't read them or they just were too boring - probably this worked in my favor.  

My goal is to reach 1 year with no real (sedentary) gaming as such, then next November, reassess and MAYBE reward myself with a bit of strategy game time as a reward only -- but MMO's are my real weakness, I don't want to play them at all again, ever.  All for now.

Edited by The_Creative_Quitter
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Nov19, 2021

Writing earlier in the day today, have commitments tonight.  I must be feeling some craving for games - before bed (when I was tired and not thinking much) I got out the default Microsoft solitaire and played some Spider solitaire - which is pretty much the only game left installed on my PC...  for about 5 minutes (lol) and thought, "Why am I doing this?"  My brain is used to at least little challenges of some sort!  Needless to say, bored quickly and went to bed.  This morning my mild headache was/is back (has to be due to quitting, I was never a person to get headaches)...  

So one of you brought up Escapism as a topic in your journal - and I was thinking about that word.  There must be a difference between escapism and healthy use of imagination - as a believer in a Creator, I don't think he gave us an imagination if we were -never- to use it.  My day job involves zero imagination whatsoever.  My second job (Artist) involves using my imagination constantly... but it's ... "active" and takes my energy, whereas the gaming is passive and consuming what others have created.   The Artwork takes hard work, thinking, planning, problem solving... the gaming (at least in MMOs) - I can't really call it "work" even though it felt like it - it was habituation, being on a treadmill/grind.  At a point I no longer cared about the stories, even - I only wanted the satisfaction of having achieved the "end goal" but was damaging myself by mindlessly grinding so much!  It became .. yes, I see it now, rather an addiction, indeed.   I honestly did NOT think of it as an addiction - maybe "compulsion" is a better word?  Or maybe they are the same thing.   Compulsion to defeat X number of <this monster> for <some reward artificially made "special" but really wasn't special at all, nor real/tangible>...  And so is it really "escaping" or is it actually being enslaved into an illusion where you are still actually "working" (expending energy, and wear/tear on your body and brain) only not reaping any valuable reward?...   

I'm sure many would argue that point - especially gamers and game creators.  This is my candid point of view with myself.  When the computer is off, those 'rewards' have not added anything tangible to my life, and in fact have taken precious time away.  Just reminding myself.   (Side note: I once worked in the game industry, I chose to leave a long time ago.  I do not do artwork for the games industry.)

Maybe tomorrow I will write out a "Grateful for" list.   All for today, take care, whoever may see this.     

Edited by The_Creative_Quitter
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Nov 20, 2021

Twinges of wanting to play.  Asking myself why...  A: "It's the weekend, I want to chill out."  I can do that other ways that won't suck me back into that endless grind.

I may try to add a random factor to making my artwork, make it a little more fun.  That may be one thing I miss about games, the random challenges.

7 Random little things I'm grateful for:  

-Cool, dry weather
-Gardens
-The ability to find fun in things besides games
-Paint
-Interesting textures that form on our old shower wall and window
-Hummingbirds
-Pie
 

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Nov 21, 2021

I sometimes keep in touch with those I played MMOS with...  The social factor is always tough and tempting...  That's a big problem in our society today, I think.  People are seriously craving good times with other people, in groups - people with similar interests.   But life is being made so difficult for many of us (not all but yes, many, depending on where we live) that our options are very limited.  I'm one of those people right now.  The people around me, though I live in a populated area, don't have anything in common with me OR if they do, they are too turned inward into their own lives to reach out, or trust or make any semblance of real friendship around them.  I know the reason for this, but won't go into it.

One of my goals is to move, for sure.   If I go spend time in MMOs with old "friends" I think it will only further delay my ability to find new jobs and digs and be able to move.  So I continue on.  Praying for the will not to play games and to keep FOCUSING!

7 Random little things I'm grateful for:  

-This forum and the people in it, who care enough to struggle against this
-Rib-eye roast and sweet potatoes for dinner
-The way plants actually move, and grow, and almost have personalities if we watch them closely enough
-NOT having an ant problem 
-Crisp Cotton sheets
-Interesting shapes
-Spiders that kill the pests on my herb garden

Edited by The_Creative_Quitter
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Nov 22, 2021

Last night was the first night I dreamt (vividly enough to remember) I was playing a game - I woke up from the dream... heard the music in my head and everything.  So weird, plus another mild headache today.  I was craving playing last night, having thoughts of installing "just on the holidays" or something.   Trying to shake myself and say WHY?  There IS a desire to escape, life can be difficult.

It kind of scares me that what Cam said about these symptoms is true - it proves to me again, that I had a degree of addiction or compulsion that I had NO idea was there - or was denying it to myself for a long time?

Working on time limiting other distractions, and lessening Procrastination...  All for today.

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Nov 23, 2021

More notes on WHY I would want to "reinstall for the holidays" - and they are some of the most insane, pointless reasons.  Achievements/goals I never finished but wanted to finish.  Just to know that I finished them?!  What comes after, more of the same (or nothing at all).  (I'm ranting to myself here) ...   I could sit here and type out "I completed <this achievement> in THAT game" and it would hold the same 'value' <zero> AND waste FAR less time than if I actually go back into the game and complete them!!!    I know what's behind it - wanting to escape, knowing how some of my real life goals are very difficult to achieve...knowing the real life goals hold no guarantees like the 'in-game' achievements do.   THAT is, and has been my danger - falling into that black hole dressed as a colorful, beautiful fun illusion.  Fear is a life killer.  Fear is the enemy's tool.

The world I am in is my Creator's world, faults and ugliness and all the beauty and good things in between... and I do NOT believe I was put here just to endlessly escape it.  I have value, and a purpose.  Carrying on...

It's getting late.   3 Things I am grateful for:

-- A long enjoyable shower
-- Smiles
-- Cool Breezes

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Nov 26, 2021

Jogged off some Thanksgiving dinner.  Watched Fellowship of the Ring with loved ones...which reminded me of my time playing LOTRO.  lol..   First thought about how gorgeous that game was (and probably still is), how much fun playing the Shire area was.... but then reminded myself how dark and depressing a lot of areas were, how bad the camera was, and how utterly awful they made it once it went "Free to play."  Nostalgia is one thing.. endless ads and grind-fest is another.  

Don't want to spend lots of time in a fake world, however appealing - definitely don't want to LIVE in one, hence, avoiding certain new "social media" that are popping up trying to trick people into living life in fake worlds.  NO THANKS!    All for now.  :7_sweat_smile:


 

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Nov 27, 2021

The little gaming demon on my shoulder keeps nagging me with "but you still didn't finish those "Achievements, you could just go back in and finish those, THEN quit"...  
When you want to heal your life by resisting a long-term compulsion to (even part time) play immersive games that give you a sense of achievement while letting you escape other emotions and priorities... the TRUE achievement is resisting.  I am in that battle now.
It's a huge achievement day to day, to resist something that has been DESIGNED by teams of people, studied and tested over many years... to deliberately attract and addict.  A Trap.  Like Pleasure Island in "Pinocchio"...  Resisting before it makes an @$$ out of me and my life.  It strengthens my resolve to think that I am back in control of my life and can put my time to better use, before that time is gone.

7 Things I am grateful for today:

-Loved ones
-Musical Instruments
-Dirty dishes that become clean dishes
-"Elbow grease"
-Coffee (I will probably repeat this one often)
-Naps
-Brisk Winter evenings

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On 11/28/2021 at 10:35 AM, Marius said:

You are doing great, keep going! Best wishes from Germany

Thank you Marius!!!  :100_pray:   Germany, must be so nice there this time of year.  On my bucket list to visit someday, stuck in crazy CA, USA here.   So busy yesterday and today.  Going to count this post as today's journal...:7_sweat_smile:  Still going...

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