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So here I am, after a life long struggle with games it's time to put a stop to it entirely. Let's do this!

I'm Nico, a 35 year old guy from the Netherlands and I've moved to Switzerland mid last year to live with my Swiss girlfriend after having been in a long distance relationship for about a year a half.

My gaming history dates back to when the Nintendo and Gameboy entered my life at a very young age and needless to say, it wasn't for the better. It wasn't too long after that gaming became the most enjoyable and important thing in my life. I can still remember when I was playing Warcraft III on the pc so much that in order to stop I broke the cd's only to find myself back in the store the day after to buy it again. Not once but multiple times. 
Being a sucker for fantasy games, 2005 changed my life for good when World of Warcraft was released and boy oh boy, that game blew my mind and socks off.

Fast forward to 2019, where I owned my own coffee truck for about 3 years which was doing well (my girlfriend at the time helped me a ton to make this business come to life, on a very frequent basis I fell for urges to play all sorts of games, from video games to table top games such as Warhammer but she pulled me back on track every single time) and I was loving life. Swimming regularly, surfing, mountain biking and being social with lots of fun things in my agenda. Life was great at that moment and I remember telling my dad "I can't believe why I've wasted so much time playing games, this is hundred times better".

Then I had a bad crash riding my mountain bike and broke my collarbone so badly I had to undergo surgery and I couldn't work for about two months. The funny thing is, and that realization just hit me, during that summer I had seen the announcements for the relaunch of WoW classic and I never considered playing it. You probably already guessed it, after that big physical and also mental set back, I did what I always did when life set me back or became challenging, I turned to games.

I picked up WoW classic to give it a go whilst I couldn't work and was recovering from the surgery and it gradually sucked me into the deepest hole I've ever found myself in. I've had very bad streaks of gaming before playing Call of Duty for 16hrs a day for weeks on end only to stop because I had to work (if I hadn't called in sick) but this was another beast entirely. I think it was a combination of playing and everything else related to the game and guild I was in on discord. It just never stopped. I went to bed with it, woke up with it and all I did with every spare minute that I had spare was engaging with it in some way or form. 
After spending nearly two months in Portugal on a work away trip to escape the ever increasing addiction at the start of 2021, I felt somewhat better and ready for the planned relocation to Switzerland. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out the way we both envisioned it and right before Christmas a couple of weeks ago, she told me she had enough of it. I had at that point tried everything I possibly could to control my addiction by setting up parental controls multiple times but to no avail. I'd just get them removed because I was the account holder without my mum knowing. I was out of control and even the thought of giving it all up and not playing anymore, which my close family had mentioned a few times, where simply unthinkable and not an option. 
I still can't grasp how I could deliberately destroy the relationship with my girlfriend, whom I had thought I'd spent the rest of my life with, and lie and manipulate to get my fix. 

Hitting rock bottom did it though, after hearing that she had enough I quit on the 17th of December and haven't played the game since. We spent Christmas separated being with our own families and I'm so grateful that she has given me another chance. Quitting WoW and the guild sometimes feels like I've amputated an arm but I know I'm making the right decision. Initially I just gave all my in game belongings away and put parental controls on for max 1 hour per week playtime so that going back to playing was very hard. After the first two modules of the Game Quitters course I realized what really needed to be done and I've requested Blizzard to delete my account entirely two days ago. 

This time it ain't going to be the same as the countless times I tried to quit or thought I had quit. I'm going to focus on the roots of the problems that cause my gaming addiction and built myself from the ground up again so I can withstand all the temptations out there and finally free myself of this gruesome addiction. 

I feel strengthened by the fact that I'm not alone in this and if there's anything I can do for anyone of you, please don't hesitate and reach out!

Much love,
Nico




       

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Welcome to the forums! My BattleNet account was deleted on December 28th, so we’re on the same boat.
 

If parental control isn’t enough for you, I suggest changing your environment. Something like selling your gaming rig or at least GPU if you’re not working with graphics; getting rid of gaming peripherals and buying office mouse and keyboard, or something more fancy like Logitech MX master or trackball mouse. 
 

Wishing all the best, you got this!

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Thank you so much for the warm welcome! I haven't been online much since posting my introduction hence the late reply. 

I can't stress it enough that not being alone in this makes a huge difference. My account will be gone in a few days from now and it honestly feels like a relief. 
That are so really clever suggestions, thank you. I have had to deal with some nostalgic feelings and my mind wandering off thinking about WoW but I've fortunately haven't experienced many cravings until now. 
In the case that I will I won't hesitate and apply some of the things you suggested. I ain't going back.

I wish you the best too, we got this!

PS: I like your foot note a lot. That is pretty damn impressive mate, well done! These achievements outweigh anything that can be acquired in games ten folds. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts and reading books about habits, dopamine and the likes and I'm fascinated about all these topics. I feel like I'm completely having to rebuilt or reshape myself from the ground up in order to take control back over my own life and happiness and I'm really excited. What made you decide to stop social media and to quit watching youtube/twitch?
 

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On 1/10/2022 at 10:45 PM, Nico said:

I've been listening to a lot of podcasts and reading books about habits, dopamine and the likes and I'm fascinated about all these topics.

Have you read Atomic Habits by James Clear? If not, I can highly recommend. Currently I'm applying practices which are described in this book.

 

On 1/10/2022 at 10:45 PM, Nico said:

What made you decide to stop social media and to quit watching youtube/twitch?

I feel like social media is just a big waste of time and especially I don't like how people tend to show themselves in a better way than they are in real life. It feels like instagram page and real person are 2 different characters. This constant pretending and lie disgusts me. I want something real, not an illusion.

When it comes to Twitch everything is very simple. I wrote about it in my diary so I'll just quote it here:

"I've almost done reading Atomic Habits, the most important thing I've read so far regarding eliminating bad habits is that you don't really need a lot of willpower and self-control to stay away form it. It all comes to reducing your exposure to cues that trigger the craving. For example, a lot of new people here ask whether it is okay to watch gaming related videos and streams after you quit or not. Of course watching such stuff is the biggest trigger you can imagine, so you start craving to play really hard and it would take a lot of effort to resist a temptation. If you would not watch such content, you wouldn't have the cues, thus nothing will trigger cravings. That's the reason why I relapsed a week ago: I was bored so I decided to watch some Overwatch on Twitch, which immediately resulted in very strong cravings, so after a couple of hours of resisting I gave up and played by making an excuse that I'm ill and can't go outside now, so it's not that bad.

That was a good lesson that I shouldn't engage in a behavior that is connected to Overwatch somehow, because it'll trigger a craving."

I still use YouTube mainly for educational purposes or something like cooking recipes. I've unsubscribed from everything related to entertainment because it's so easy to start a video and binge watch for the rest of the day. I think that YouTube when not used correctly can cause a big problems with procrastination and just remove focus from what is really important at the moment. I have countless days when I needed to study, but I started watching something on YouTube while eating breakfast and just couldn't stop till the evening.

When I quit gaming for the first few times, it was very hard to manage my time. Things were simple when I was gaming all day. Now I have a lot of free time and instead of doing something useful I stated binge watching Netflix, anime, movies, YouTube. That's just not what I want. I've quit because I wanted to put my time in something meaningful, not just waste it in another way.

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