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I'm new here but not new to the process of trying to quit things. 

For years it's been porn that I've been trying to quit. I still am but generally I use it much less than I used to. 

Right now it's gaming. A decision that has been a very long time coming. For background reference, I'm 28 years old, male, living in Australia. I started playing games when I was 5 on a Gameboy. From then until now it has been my most regular hobby. All throughout my teenage years it was what I woke up with on a Saturday and what I did when I got home from school. 

I'm on Day 7 now of no gaming and no watching Twitch.

It's been so far not that difficult with the gaming, especially days 1-3 I felt a lot of motivation and very empowered in my decision.

The issue I'm facing is that since the night of Day 3 or 4, I've been using porn daily, something which I hadn't done in a long time. I can really feel the lack of dopamine in my brain due to not gaming and not watching Twitch. I realise now I was probably on average gaming 2 hrs per day, and then watching 4-6hrs of streams, depending on the day - generally late into the night, too. So bedtime is when things are hardest as my body and brain are expecting to sit back and let the pleasure and entertainment roll in.

When I was watching streams and I had an urge to watch porn it was easier to ignore that urge and focus on the streams. Now when I have the urge it's full-on and I seem to just do it. I'm reminded of the mice who keep pressing the lever for more cocaine. So tonight I'm going to plug my phone in away from the bed and have my book at the ready. In the past when I was dealing with porn I also used to do headstands or something physical to distract myself, so I might try doing that again before bed. I find headstands really flush all the blood from the bottom of the body upwards, and that seems to make the physical desire to watch porn dissipate. 

Despite this new challenge I'm facing now that I've stopped gaming I am really proud of myself for not gaming, and I've noticed a difference in how I am and where my mind goes in my downtime. I've been playing much more guitar, reading more and also writing. I've also been thinking about how I can write in a way that might get published or might be useful on a blog for others to engage with. I'm noticing the clutter around me in my bedroom and I have a desire to clean things up and straighten it out - I haven't acted on it yet though, ha! 

I'll leave it here for today, with some little reminders. 

Tonight:

- No watching of pornography
- Stretches and a headstand before I get into bed
- Phone on charge away from my bed on my the far end of my desk
- Kindle at my bedside for reading

Edited by blueclouds
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Welcome to the forum!

Some tips on the detox,

walking long distances and fasting will control desires in an excellent way. Walking burns excess carbohydrates and takes away the need for a bad habit. It also makes me sober and focused.

I also control snacks intake. When you can control your diet, you start to become the master of your habits. 

 

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On 6/22/2022 at 2:15 AM, Amphibian220 said:

Welcome to the forum!

Some tips on the detox,

walking long distances and fasting will control desires in an excellent way. Walking burns excess carbohydrates and takes away the need for a bad habit. It also makes me sober and focused.

I also control snacks intake. When you can control your diet, you start to become the master of your habits. 

 

Thanks Amphibian. 

That does make some sense to me. I have thought a lot about walking more. It's a cold winter down here in Melbourne, Australia at the moment, so it's harder to get up early and get out. 

I have definitely been snacking more since stopping video games, something to watch out for. 

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Posted (edited)

My second update:

13 days game free - still working on my other habits

The not gaming is continuing to be a successful decision and experiment. I really haven't struggled that much with urges for gaming because the last few months I had such a consistent experience of not enjoying the gaming, or feeling really dissatisfied and empty afterwards. 

But the porn usage has been harder to kick. I've had some days off it but mostly been watching. Surprisingly though, despite the porn usage increase and watching more Netflix, I still feel a lot better than when I was gaming. I think there's something to be said about diversifying bad habits, and also perhaps actually enjoying the guilty pleasures. For example, I've been really enjoying the story and excitement of the Netflix show and I'm not ashamed to say I've also really enjoyed the pornography (well maybe there's a little bit of shame there). I used to feel a lot of guilt about it. But that never really helped me. And I guess I don't watch any hardcore stuff whatsoever, and have always been pretty clean and had standards for what I watch. 

That doesn't make it healthy for me though, and I am working towards cutting down the usage, and more generally towards bringing more healthy habit replacements in. I did some great cleaning and cooking today, and i've got a night shift this evening, and day shifts through Thursday. The next few days will be focused on eating well, doing some stretches each day, cutting out porn, and sleeping better. 

I also plan for my next update to be sooner. 

Edited by blueclouds
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It actually is a stepped erosion of decency. First step is all the films and tv shows that are deemed acceptable because they pass the censorship board, but contain indecency. Even younger children are permitted to watch them.

There was a lot of information on the news in the past decade about the financial crisis that was a result of rampant fraud and unchecked speculative activity by rogue traders.

The big Media con is now getting exposed slowly, as more detailed and rigorous research into media products reveals the insidious tactics used to control the consumer.

And it is not only the fault of other people who misappropriate our money or rob our time through addictive products. Its the lack of our discipline that does that. 

 

Edited by Amphibian220
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  • 2 weeks later...

23 days mostly game free

Mostly because I played some Super Smash alone for short periods twice, which was in part testing my new TV for friends coming over. I had 2 nights in the last week where friends came over and we played socially. Which were really fun. It definitely stimulated that part of my brain that loves games and I found myself thinking about Super Smash and also I watched probably 2 hours of YouTube over the last 3 days which was gaming related. Asides from that though, I haven't opened Twitch for 23 days, nor have I turned on my PC. On the Sunday past I felt tempted but it wasn't near strong enough to get past my resolve to live differently and the memories of what it was like to have so much of my time and attention disappear. 

I feel like in the last week the absence of gaming has been very noticeable in deeper and subtler ways. I haven't watched porn in 3 days which is in part because my partner is back from a long trip and because I'm consciously trying to avoid it.

My uncle died on unexpectedly on Sunday as well. I'm still processing that. I have 6 uncles and two aunties and he is the first to pass. After I found out in the evening I had a dream of his son and some of my cousins playing a guitar solo together to honour his death. Since then the realisation and implications of his death has come in waves. Yesterday I took some time off work. I called my dad and my mum and spoke with them about it. It was my dad's brother and he seems to be doing OK with it; he's also slowly processing and also in shock. 

I said earlier that the absence of gaming has been very noticeable in subtler and deep ways. I'm not even sure what I mean by that. It just feels like it's not there, and that feeling is sometimes mild and almost unnoticeable and at other times obvious but surreal. Which is actually quite analogous to the feeling of losing my uncle. My emotions feel thicker and seem to last longer. I'm kind of flat and irritated at times. I still find. myself confused at what to do with my time. And I feel like this is only the beginning. Because gaming still feels like a part of me and my consciousness. I can easily fantasise and imagine what it would be like to game. I can still practice how to play games mentally - something which improved my skill in games a lot. I do it for guitar as well. So I'm very curious how my brain and the places my mind wander will change over the next few months of not gaming. I feel almost terrified writing that sentence. It's like taking the safety off, or making a jump without a parachute. 

I meditated yesterday. That felt good. Pretty much after the first week of quitting I had a daily impulse to meditate but I kept resisting it or finding reasons not to follow through. But yesterday I did it and it made me hungry for more. It also showed me how stiff and sore parts of my back and legs were, which was good inspiration to keep practicing sitting on the floor and working on my posture. 

So.. to continued progress and healing. I hope things feel a little easier and flowing over the next few days, as I feel fragile and like I could breakdown right now. 

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26 days (mostly) game free

Since my last post I've not played any games, nor watched any porn. I did watch around 45 mins Super Smash game play on YouTube the other day. Asides from that the streak has been very clean. I've meditated 15 mins 4 of the last 5 days, and also done light stretches afterwards which has been great for my stiff legs. It's been good to sit on the floor and also to address my lower body. As gamers, I think we often forget that we have thighs, calves and feet that all need attention and care.

But today has been really hard. I do traditional Indian dance class, been doing it around 2 years, and the last few months I've only made it to a scattered amount of classes. A lotta reasons for that. I'm trying to get back into the habit though and quitting gaming is helping. Today at class I got very kindly slaughtered by my dance teacher on how far behind I am to where I should be. It hurt. Learning dance is already something I struggle with as it's so far outside my comfort zone - which is one of reasons I started. It really brought up some feelings of inadequacy today. My teacher was very kind but also very clearly demonstrated that I need to put in more effort to make it to class and to work on things and think about dance outside of class. By the end of the class I was happy I made it through and happy to get out of there.

When I got back today I had this pretty big urge to game. It didn't help that I turned on my PC for the first time since I quit to put my Kindle on charge. I didn't do it though. I turned off my PC. I hadn't felt an urge like that since I started. What I started thinking was how when I play games and I'm learning and winning it feels so good sometimes. It gives me that sense of being adequate and thriving. It kind of made up for the parts where I wasn't. And I often played games after dance class. So today I didn't have that backup, and I've been feeling pretty tender since.

I'm also navigating some thoughts and criticisms of my partner that are coming up and tomorrow is the first day I'll be seeing all my family since my uncle died. So a few things going on. I just did some meditation and stretches though and going to watch a movie and have some cuddles with my partner which will hopefully be gentle and restful. Feels good to post too.

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Great start, I think one of the greatest experiences is when you go on a detox and at some point your body frees itself from dependency on overstimulation. You wake up and realize you don’t need to go on watching films or playing video games to get distracted. 

The natural responsibilities is what we should be pumped for. Like working towards getting a dream job, communicating with our family members and helping them out, working on making our bodies healthier.

I can tell you that in my experience a one hour boxing workout beats by a long shot any electronic distraction.

Realizing you can tackle issues and are free from addictive screens is by far one of the most empowering moments in your life, a prize worth working for.

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Posted (edited)

Day 34 game free

In the last week I think I've watched one 25 min YouTube video that was game related. I also played Tetris online for 5 mins while finishing up work. It was kind of an old habit at the end of my shift when there was nothing to do. I felt so bored by it.

Today is hard, though. I was meant to see a friend but they're still infectious with Covid so I couldn't see them. Usually it wouldn't be such a bummer but I haven't seen many friends lately. And I'm realising now that a lot of the regular contact I had with one or two of my close friends was through games. Since quitting games I actually haven't hung out with a friend one-on-one but I have been to some social gatherings.

I've spent a good chunk of time with my partner lately which has been good but I can also get triggered spending heaps of time with my partner as I'm not used to it fully. Only been living together about 6 months and I'm someone who has needed a lot of alone time from everyone.

What I'm mainly trying to say is I feel in a bit of a bind. On the one hand I like my alone time and am used to spending so much time alone because of all the games I played. On the other hand I don't game anymore so the amount of time I have to myself is a LOT. And I like spending time with my partner up to a point and then I need my own life. But lately seeing friends has proved difficult. I even find myself having this anger when I think about my friends. I think maybe it's a reaction to quitting games (and limiting my time on distracting websites) while they haven't. I feel like I'm changing.. I'm worried I won't relate with them in the same way anymore.

In general, the decision has been great and I don't want to game. I do have this feeling of emptiness with me at the moment. Meditation has really helped, reading has really helped, spending time with my partner has really helped. But I notice on some days this desire for stimulation. My mind is so firm on not gaming that it often comes out as a desire to watch porn. To escape and let my brain soak in the pleasure. I did watch a bit of porn in the last week and masturbated a bit. I haven't gone the full way with porn for at least a week. Today I am feeling the pull. I'm going to stay strong, though. I think beating the desire for porn is really key to my recovery, as every time I watch porn it gives me that superficial high and then my brain wants more. I need to starve the desire basically, and let my brain reset. Already so much resetting has occurred through not gaming. I've been more disciplined in the past week then I have in over a year. Meditation daily, stretches, organising, focus at work, thinking about what important tasks I need to do etc. Also showing up to my dance class more consistently and with greater presence.

Feels good to write. It's been a rough day so far and I have my uncle's funeral to go to tomorrow, so there's a bit of heaviness afoot. Hopefully some meditation and some movement can help.

Edited by blueclouds
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On 7/17/2022 at 12:30 PM, blueclouds said:

But I notice on some days this desire for stimulation. My mind is so firm on not gaming that it often comes out as a desire to watch porn. To escape and let my brain soak in the pleasure. I did watch a bit of porn in the last week and masturbated a bit

Hi, first of all, your 34 day game-free streak is awesome!

But over-stimulation is an issue for all of us gamequitters. And porn can bring worse things back.

I think Cam has a lot of good stuffs on dopamin detox for us to read up on.

Anyway, you got this!

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Day 37 game free

It was my uncle's funeral yesterday. I honestly really enjoyed it - asides from my uncle's passing. It was a beautiful funeral and I saw a lot of family I hadn't seen in awhile and it was amazing to have everyone together. I haven't been to a funeral in 5+ years and before that it wasn't someone significant in my life or to my family. So experiencing and witnessing how death affects me and my family is new.

Put simply, yesterday was a high in many ways - it felt like he was brought back to life by the stories people told of him and because hundreds showed up to say goodbye. Today has been a real low. I've been thinking a lot about his kids and wondering how they'd be feeling today. The reality of his death is sitting with me, knowing that we'll never celebrate him like that again and there won't be any new stories of him. 

And this is all in the context of me struggling with not gaming a bit. Losing some momentum in myself. Feeling a bit burned out. Trying to work today (phone counseling) was too difficult. I had to tell my manager that I needed the day off. I didn't have the emotional space or energy to hold others. I did do two great long calls in the morning where the people were really appreciative. I'm proud of that.

Anyways, I'm pretty grouchy today all round. Noticing myself being reactive towards my partner. She is understanding and supportive, though.

New commitment for the next 7 days is no searching or watching porn.

I've only missed one day of meditation in around 2 weeks which is also awesome.

Writing this has helped. It's reminded me that my reactions make sense and that I'm actually doing really well considering the challenging circumstances.

Also, thanks for your replies and support. It helps.

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41 days game free

I feel like shit lol

I had a big week with my uncle's funeral and then I had some big sessions of Indian dance. I struggled to counsel people. I struggled to feel good in my relationship sometimes. I don't know, it's just been hard. It's not really that hard not to game, but I have felt cravings and I have DREAMED so much about gaming. I dreamed I ran a gaming store. I dreamed I was playing Halo from childhood. I dreamed I was playing LoL multiple times even though I was mostly playing dota, TFT and Destiny. Hadn't played normal league for years apart from some one off games. So yeah it's been there. I do fantasise about playing super smash sometimes. But the thing is my commitment to not gaming is so much greater than my desire to game. But.. despite that I do feel like I'm in a mild depressive episode. I get this pain in my chest, like a hole in my being sometimes. One thing I miss most is going into discord on the weekend, chatting to friends and playing some casual games. That's like really the thing I miss the most. The streams seem so pointless to me. But the gaming with friends when it was casual seems like it would be such a relief right now. And like.. I do think that maybe I could do rock climbing with friends or something like that, and at some point that would be good, but right now I'm actually real busy.

I also have my second eye operation coming up this Friday which will mean I'm in bed for about a week, no screens at all for 3 days after. I'll be taking painkillers and listening to audiobooks & podcasts - that's how I managed it last time.

I also watched porn like 3 times in the last 5 days, so that part has been a failure. Still been meditating every day. Had a few too many late nights. I would say overall I'm definitely struggling a bit with really taking care of myself. Despite that, my diet is good and I'm doing lots of exercise. But sleep could be better. Also my relaxation could be better - that I feel is so hard to master, because I have this desire to keep busy but I also know I need to slow down. But I used to just play games most of the time when I had time to "slow down" so that means I'm so used to over-stimulation. I think it's getting better, though.

I sure as hell hope it gets better. This feels like a real rough period I'm going through.

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First off, I think you are doing a good job exercising, eating and meditating reguarly

The social aspect of gaming is legit enjoyable: I used to have a lot of fun in co-op/ team games like Dota or Left4Dead 2 or MMOs. I was not even good at those game. But being in there and sometimes have a connection with someone liking or wanting to do the same thing is what I missed. My counter-point to this is those connections do not last and they are not actually strong. I now know for sure that non of my gaming friends would support me if I go through a tough period. Some are nice, but most they can do is drop in once. And then they go back to gaming. That's how it went for me and my game friends.

You are upset with yourself for watching porn but I think right now, what most important is getting your sleep schedule together. Exercise won't make up for it. If anything exercise after a terrible night's sleep will wear you out mentally and the cravings can get stronger. You can check out this clip of Kobe Bryant talking about how sleeping just 30 mins more helps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdrVVJPlUK4

 

Wish you a speedy recovery! Tough period or no, let's take this journey one day at a time together as gamequitters

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

62 days (mostly) game free

It's been awhile since I've posted and I've missed it. I had a right eye operation two weeks ago that meant I could barely read a computer screen without bringing my head close to the screen and straining. For the first three days after I wasn't allowed to look at screens at all and was on opiates to manage the pain. Things have improved a lot, though. My vision is still blurry but I can now read a computer screen without too much strain.

It's been an intense time though as I haven't been able to work and get headaches if I walk outside when it's really sunny - even with sunglasses on. I've listened to a lot The Witcher audiobooks - which are absolutely amazing. I also listened to Carl Sagan's Cosmos (mind bending), and ironically Ready Player One which initially really had me craving games but by the end of it not so much.

I put "mostly" in the start of this post because I have been playing some chess and over the last few days I watched a couple hours of chess streams through a chess app. The chess definitely started out innocently enough and didn't feel like a normal gaming session. But I have noticed I got a little obsessed on one day or two in terms of playing a lot in a row and also being attached to my rating. I've since stopped playing as much and am choosing to watch much less streams - going to get to none over time I think.

I still plan to keep playing chess here and there as it actually takes a lot of patience and while I have not heaps to do it's been a nice way to keep my head engaged without the crazy dopamine hits of regular video games. It's definitely toeing a line, though.

I also started listening to a fair bit of audio porn during my eye recovery and have stopped myself over the last few days. I'm a bit irritated by the stopping but feel ready to make some very firm and lasting boundaries around my porn use now. It was really hard with my eye recovery as I was mostly bed bound for the first 10 or so days.

My relationship with my girlfriend has been surprisingly good over this period but I have noticed some anger or frustration coming up over the last few days. I'm looking at that and working on it at the moment.

Finally, I'm happy to say I haven't stopped meditating and have missed one day in the last forty days. I've also been playing lots of guitar and have even created a few of my own melodies that I'm going to continue working on.

Overall, things feel pretty solid and the no gaming has really opened my eyes to other ways I can spend my time. it has been difficult and I've missed gaming a lot some days, especially in recovery with less to do than normal - although it would be very difficult to game with my eye how it is anyway. The porn is still an issue and one that needs addressing, now. And the chess also needs to be monitored.

It's good be able to write again, there's been a lot I've wanted to be able to share and record these past few weeks.

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