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Progress Journal


rkalajian
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7/21/22 - Day 5

Making the choice to cut video games out of my life has been both liberating and nerve wrecking. It's a hard thing to do with 5 other gamers in the house (wife and 4 kids.) I can't avoid conversations about video games, though I do keep gently reminding the kids that dad doesn't play them anymore.

At this point I've uninstalled all the games and gaming services from my computer. Even Solitaire. I've moved my Switch out of the bedroom and back into the living room so I'm not tempted to play at night. I've removed all my gaming posters and stickers that I had on my walls and devices. I even changed my PC's wallpaper to something non-gaming related. The only thing I cannot remove is the Hyrule Crest tattoo on my calf ๐Ÿ˜„

While I understand gaming has been a huge part of my past, I'm trying to erase as much exposure to video games as possible to help keep my mind off of them.

While gaming isn't the only addictive behavior I'm giving up, it's certainly the one that was most pervasive in my life.

Over the past three months I've made many changes in my habits:

  • Moderating video game usage, leading to giving them up entirely 5 days ago
  • Daily 10-minute guided meditation
  • Reading, almost daily
  • Taking time to enjoy downtime, not looking to always fill it

I'm also trying several hobbies, some of which I've had in the past, some of which are new:

  • Crafting tabletop terrain for use in D&D
  • Gunpla model building
  • Board gaming (a longtime hobby of mine that I had stopped when my video game addiction was at its worst during COVID)

So far I'm enjoying the fact that I'm not always waiting for the next time I'm going to play video games. There are still plenty of times where I'm tempted, or I try to convince myself that gaming an hour here or there won't be too big of a deal, but I'm able to reframe my thoughts and move on to other things. Of course, it's only Day 5. Time will tell how well I do in the future.

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7/24/22 - Day 8

The weekend has been a bit harder, as expected, but I've been managing to keep busy. I've done a TON of reading, went to the pool with the family, and are planning on starting to watch His Dark Materials with the kids. I tried to sit down and do a puzzle, but it made me more anxious than anything. I've also decided to re-inventory my board game collection in hopes that it will provide a few evenings worth of work to help the times when it's hardest to resist playing games.

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7/26/22 - Day 10

After a tough weekend I'm back into the swing of the work week, which makes things a whole lot easier since I've got something to occupy my mind for most of the day. Evenings are a bit tougher, as it is getting harder and harder to find things to occupy my time when my wife and kids take an hour or two of screen time to unwind. While I'm still working on my board game inventory, I've also decided to pick up work on the (tabletop) RPG I had started working on a while back. Other than that I've still been doing a TON of reading.

Here's some daily habits I've maintained so far:

  • 10-minute guided meditations
  • Reading

Books I've finished recently (over the past 3 months):

  • Good Omens
  • Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
  • Stormlight Archives books 1, 2, and 2.5
  • Trigun Vol 2

Other hobbies I've picked up, or re-picked up, but cannot be done every day:

  • Gunpla model kits
  • D&D terrain crafting

Interests I've been looking into, but haven't started

  • Mini block architecture kits
  • Knitting

While I also have been enjoying the occasional meal out with the family, I've dropped a significant amount of weight over the past 6 months, unrelated to giving up gaming. I'm down from 300 pounds to 258 pounds, and am lucky to have enrollment in Omada Health through my insurance to help me keep on track and to give me tips on better eating. Can you believe that I actually CRAVE salad sometimes? It feels weird.

The craving to game has not gone away, and I don't know if it ever will, but I'm sticking to this.

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ย 

7/28/22 - Day 12

A rough day today.

I work for an advertising agency as a web developer, and I was invited to a brainstorming meeting for a new client that just happens to be a company releasing a new MMO. I'm now trying to find the best way to tell the owner of the company that it is not in my best interests to sit in on this meeting, even though I have a very detailed past with video games and content creation.

So here I am, writing this even though I really want to play a game right now. I'll probably end up reading instead, but my skin feels like it's crawling right now.

Oh yeah, turns out knitting isn't a good idea to try. Years of gaming and typing has left me with pretty severe carpal tunnel, and arthritis in my fingers. Apparently knitting is the best thing for my hands.

Time to find something else to try out!

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8/1/22 - Day 16

Just got through a really tough weekend, where the urge to game, specifically Fortnite, was strong. I was able to get through it again, keeping myself busy with a trip to the library with the family, followed up by a nice walk, trips to the public pool, and a good book. Last night was probably the hardest, so my wife suggested I take my oldest out for some parking practice before his drivers test. I honestly didn't want to do it, but he and I ended up having a great time jamming to some music while he practiced his different parking styles in the local middle school parking lot.

In other news, I'm started to get rid of some stuff that I no longer need, putting my 3DS, Steam Controller, and PocketGo up on eBay. I've also started to open up more, letting other people in my life know of my addiction, and how I'm purging video games from my life. Support has been surprisingly positive, even from some of my "gamer" friends.

Here's some daily habits I've maintained so far:

  • 10-minute guided meditations
  • Reading

Books I'm currently reading

  • Oathbringiner
  • Impact Winter
  • The Monsters Know What They're Doing

Interests I've been looking into, but haven't started

  • Mini block architecture kits

I'm continuing to eat better and lose weight. It may be time to add some exercise into the mix.

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8/5/22 - Day 20

20 days in. I wish I could say it's getting easier, but it's felt much harder lately. On top of that, I've been starting to question my own identity. I know it's not reasonable to define one's self by their interests, but I've always identified as a "Gamer". Now, almost overnight, it's gone from "Gamer" to "Addict."

I know I am many other things. I'm a father, a husband, a friend, a storyteller, and more. Gaming has just always been such a huge part of my life. I've given talks, run programs, presented awards, written news/reviews, managed streams, and more. Now all that has been replaced with a word that's not presented in the best light.

I'm sure this is all part of the healing process, but it doesn't make it any easier, especially going into a weekend. What looks like a rainy weekend at that.

SO...what's the plan? I'm hoping to get the kids back to the table for some D&D this weekend, and maybe sit down as a family to watch a movie. I'm still in the middle of a few good books as well. If worse comes to worse I'll just have might wife strap me to the bed (Kidding...though, hey. Could be fun.)

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Here's some daily habits I've maintained so far:

  • 10-minute guided meditations
  • Reading

Books I'm currently reading:

  • Oathbringiner
  • The Waystation
  • The Monsters Know What They're Doing

Interests I've been looking into, but haven't started:

  • Mini block architecture kits
  • "Book Nook" model kits

ย 

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8/11/22 - Day 26

Overall, things have been going really well and I've been feeling pretty good. Cravings still come and go, but they mostly come from a specific trigger. Sometimes it's a song that reminds me of a Fortnite emote, sometimes it's the kids talking about a game, or even just seeing someone with a Zelda t-shirt or something. My wife has been a huge help when my cravings hit, helping me work through them and finding something else to distract me from thoughts of gaming. I'm lucky to have good support at home. I've read way too many stories here and on reddit of people who aren't so fortunate.

I have to admit that I have found myself scrolling through Facebook more over the past week, though each time I catch myself doing it I stop. It's not like I'm actively doing much other than scrolling, so it's a completely pointless activity. I've started to browse Thingiverse for items to 3D print instead, hoping to turn the scrolling into actual printing/crafting for the various tabletop games I own. I also took some time to queue up a stack of books to read once I'm done with the current series I'm working on. I think I've got enough on there to last me another year or so now ๐Ÿ˜„

I'm still planning on attending GAA meetings, though I'm waiting (and actively helping to advertise) for a local meetup in favor of attending the Zoom meetings. I'd love to both get some extra support, and offer support for those who don't have any other support system.

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Here's some daily habits I've maintained so far:

  • 10-minute guided meditations
  • Reading

Books I'm currently reading:

  • Oathbringer
  • The Waystation
  • The Monsters Know What They're Doing

Books I've finished since my last post:

  • White Sand Vol 1, 2, and 3 (graphic novels)

Interests I've been looking into, but haven't started:

  • Mini block architecture kits
  • "Book Nook" model kits
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