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eaglemarin
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Hi!

Today I deleted my account to a mobile game, once again. This time I'd only played for 3 days, but knew that the game was becoming all-consuming for me once again. I had to delete it. I'm thankful that I caught myself.

Before this I hadn't played any games for quite some time, a year maybe? I lost track. I became addicted to gaming about 10 years ago. I went through professional counseling for the addiction for a number of years and my therapist (who has almost become a dear friend by now) helped me to beat the addiction. I relapsed many times of course throughout the years but I was able to catch myself each time before letting things progress too far.

Today I googled "game addiction" and the harms of today's mobile games, and it led me here. I just completed the first chapter of Respawn.

For me it is not about perfection and more about the overall progress I'm making. I'm also learning that I have a "all-or-nothing" relationship with gaming. It's either I don't play any games period or I go all the way in. My resolution is to quit gaming cold turkey for 90 days, following what the program recommends. 

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Welcome eaglemarin, glad you are joining us on this adventure! I can relate to mobile games being all-consuming for me, and having an all-or-nothing relationship with gaming. It's taken me a long time, and many many relapses into realizing that gaming is something that WILL take over my life and make it unmanageable if I play. Looking forward to seeing your progress over the 90 days, I just started my challenge a couple weeks ago. 

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21 hours ago, white cloud said:

Welcome eaglemarin, glad you are joining us on this adventure! I can relate to mobile games being all-consuming for me, and having an all-or-nothing relationship with gaming. It's taken me a long time, and many many relapses into realizing that gaming is something that WILL take over my life and make it unmanageable if I play. Looking forward to seeing your progress over the 90 days, I just started my challenge a couple weeks ago. 

Thank you white cloud. I'm glad I found a community of people who are in a similar position as I'm in. I will try my best to keep updating my progress. Good luck on your journey as well 🙂

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Yesterday was Day 2. No gaming, yay.

Overall it was a good day. I did my best to stay engaged with work and knocked out several tasks from my weekly to-dos. Relief and a sense of accomplishment filled me, and I let those feelings sink in a bit. They are stark contrast to what I felt Mon-Wed when I was spending about 12-14 hours a day gaming. I was gaming during work hours as I teleworked. Shame? Yeah, I felt shame. What else was going through my mind? I knew this could not be sustainable. I knew I'd have to delete this game in a few days, and I abandoned all self control to enjoy the game while it lasted. It's a familiar cycle for me. Thankfully I self terminated the cycle sooner this time. In all honesty, I'd rather not have to go through these emotional rollercoasters and just quit gaming for good.

I took my dog on a walk yesterday during lunch break around the neighborhood. It was warm and sunny outside. It reminded me of another time, roughly 6 or 7 years ago, I was walking my dog early in the morning, returning to civilization from a month-long gaming blackout period. I had just deleted the game the night before. It was early and the neighborhood was really quiet. The sun was shining down at an angle on my face. I remember thinking wow I hadn't seen sunrise in like forever. It felt really good to reconnect with nature and reconnect with myself after I stopped gaming, finally just being able to have feelings again.

Besides work, I did some Christmas decoration around the house yesterday. I watched World Cup highlights, so happy Argentina won in that cliffhanger match. Last night, as I sat by my computer I felt the urge to game again. It would've been okay to play games because it was my down time and I could choose whatever I wanted to do. I knew though if I had downloaded the game I wouldn't be able to stop playing it. I got on GameQuitter.com and watched the videos in Chapter 2-3 and read the workbook instead. It was a good decision on my part because after completing these activities my urge to reinstall the game was gone. Danger averted 🙂 

Today is Saturday. I have a soccer match to play in a few hours in the winter league starting today. The league should keep my mind off gaming. My weekend goals are 1) focus on my hobbies and 2) make up the hours I lost to work due to gaming. I have a couple of hobbies that I do regularly. But I like the idea of discovering new ones. I downloaded the Hobby Ideas workbook on the site and will take a look. Indeed it's important to find replacement to gaming to fill the void.

Edited by eaglemarin
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Day 3-4

I held out the temptation to reinstall the game over the weekend. There were a few times I thought about my in-game character, the daily rewards I missed, and even entertained the thought that I could play with moderation, having a routine of sorts to log on half an hour to complete the daily activities then log off. How did other players manage? Then I thought - ha, nice try I haven't managed to control my gaming habit every single time. It's probably true most people can manage how much time they game. I'm in the minority who can't control my gaming habits. Gaming could give me short-term fixes but I will be much happier and better off in the long term without gaming. Even though real life can be filled with boredom.

I completed the Respawn Chapter 4 and really thought what Cam recommended makes a lot of sense: finding and maintaining hobbies that fulfill three different needs - mental stimulation, resting, and social.

Starting a new week! I'm pumped. Hope to continue the game-free streak.

 

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You’re doing great! Good job in recognizing the urges and choosing not to act on them. You made an important realization by acknowledging that you can’t control your gaming behavior. As hard as it might be to admit to yourself, it seems you’re handling it well. That shows strength and maturity on your end. Keep it up!

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Day 5, 6, 7

I'm back for another update. Three more days have almost gone by without gaming! I still had thoughts about gaming, but those thoughts weren't frequent or intrusive. They sometimes came up unexpectedly like last night I was driving in the car and I thought about the game again. Fortunately I wasn't even near a computer.

I am working on improving productivity. I started writing down weekly goals and put them in a quad chart based on the importance of the task and how urgent it needs to get done. It's a method from the 7-Habits book by Stephen Covey. The idea is to tackle important and urgent tasks first, important but not urgent tasks next, etc. This has helped me to get one important paperwork started which I had been putting off for over six months because it doesn't have an explicit due date.

On the flip side I'm feeling stressed out at work. The stress is what led me to download the mobile game last week. I need to find better ways to handle this stress. Focus on one task at a time to catch up and then have a frank conversation with my boss about being overtasked and ask for help with delegation. Try finding new environments. Working at home has had too many distractions. 

I've been doing pretty good at going outside after work (away from my phone/computer), soccer, gym, having dinner with a couple of friends at a restaurant. And I will continue this effort for sustainment.

 

 

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On 12/12/2022 at 12:49 PM, Paul A. said:

You’re doing great! Good job in recognizing the urges and choosing not to act on them. You made an important realization by acknowledging that you can’t control your gaming behavior. As hard as it might be to admit to yourself, it seems you’re handling it well. That shows strength and maturity on your end. Keep it up!

Thank you Paul for the comment. In other blog posts I saw that several people mentioned AA. It reminded me the phrase "grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference". I come back to this phrase from time to time to remind myself what I can and cannot control in my relationship with gaming. To accept that I cannot modulate my gaming habit is the hard part, but after repeated relapses in the past I'm able to recognize my limitation better and better.

Edited by eaglemarin
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Day 8,9

Last two days haven’t been bad. Work has been busy. We had a slew of activities from office holiday party to  end of year reviews and awards. I got an award for the project that I manage . It became one of the top projects for our org. I’m proud of my work and it does feel nice to be recognized for it.

Yet I have doubts on whether program management is my cup of tea. The lack of control on how the project is gonna land, lack of direct reports to delegate tasks to, endless meetings to attend and briefings to give to people who aren’t technically competent, working with people with difficult personalities all lead to stress. My time and attention are fragmented into many tiny pieces and all of the pieces feel like they belong to someone else. I’m probably having burnouts right now. Sometimes all I want to do is just to scroll on my phone mindlessly to block out the noise. 

In comparison when I was an individual contributor I had better control of my time. I enjoyed solving problems and I was given a great deal of autonomy. 

I can’t wait for the weekend to start! I already have plans for playing soccer, having coffee with someone, shopping for and sending a care package for my family. Above all I feel like I need a lot of rest. 

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Have you ever read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? I think it addresses pretty well the differences between leadership and management, and how to be a leader. I thought it’s especially pertinent to your situation, especially in regards to the stress you’re feeling. Might be worth a read, in addition to any other books on leadership out there.

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On 12/16/2022 at 7:38 PM, Paul A. said:

Have you ever read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? I think it addresses pretty well the differences between leadership and management, and how to be a leader. I thought it’s especially pertinent to your situation, especially in regards to the stress you’re feeling. Might be worth a read, in addition to any other books on leadership out there.

Thank you! I am currently reading this book 🙂 

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December 17-24, Days 10-17

It's been a week since my last update. I want to keep updating my progress. 

The past week I came down with a nasty flu and was bed ridden for two days. Two of my family members caught Covid too. One fortunately already recovered and my mom still has symptoms though not severe.

The sickness had a disruptive effect on me. I did not play any games - still holding on strong - but the inactivity in bed and in the house gave me the incentive to binge on YouTube and Netflix. And once I started watching sport highlights or a show it's very hard for me to stop. The next video/episode is automatically queued up. All these algorithms that keep you consuming the contents for as long as they can make you are subtly manipulative and frankly make me kinda mad. Browsing Reddit is hard to stop too, as everyone can probably relate to.

Now that I've regained health I need to double down on having better routines. Getting back on this forum is the first step. Wish everyone a Merry Christmas if you're celebrating it.

 

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On 12/24/2022 at 1:07 PM, eaglemarin said:

Now that I've regained health I need to double down on having better routines. Getting back on this forum is the first step.

I’m realizing the importance of better routines myself. The more you can automate your day through routines, the more guesswork it takes out of your daily planning. Hopefully you can figure out the routines that work best for you.

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Dec 29th, Day 20

Woot! It's been 20 days. It's a small victory in my mind for abstaining from gaming for 20 days. I thank this website and this forum for being the catalyst of my decision to quit gaming and the support that I need in executing that decision.

Because of the holidays and being on leave I have more time on my hand. In the past few days I thought about playing casual games like FIFA or the Sims, both games I enjoyed years back. What kept me from downloading these games were 1 - the thought that I'll break my promise to myself, 2 - the hassle of downloading and installing all the expansion packs. Being lazy can help my case 🙂 

I struggle with starting and maintaining a good routine. Throughout my whole life I've struggled with this and I've tried many time management tips/tricks and nothing could really work for me. This probably has a lot to do with my personality. Being an I/ENFP, intuition and feeling are my dominant traits. I prefer having flexibility in my schedule and living in the moment a bit. Planning my day down to hourly segments feels quite  suffocating like it's taking the joy out of my day. Let alone actually being able to execute the plan. This is how I feel with my free time. Work tends to be different because it's both a responsibility and sometimes a passion for me. I've been a professional for a long time to know to take work (a responsibility) seriously. Sometimes when a project was really underway and I felt a lot of passion for it I became engrossed in it and I wouldn't want to stop working. I think what would work better for me in terms of a daily routine is to not over plan it, rather pencil in uninterrupted time for deep and focused work every day to get the most important  tasks done, and leave room for exploration and being spontaneous. 

Today I wasted a lot of time on YouTube again 😞. Ugh.

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On 12/24/2022 at 1:43 PM, Paul A. said:

I’m realizing the importance of better routines myself. The more you can automate your day through routines, the more guesswork it takes out of your daily planning. Hopefully you can figure out the routines that work best for you.

It makes a lot of sense to automate some of the routines. For me at least the planning stage takes up so much of my mental resources that quite often just thinking about it brings me anxiety. Nine out of ten times I don't follow through with my own plans anyway. But if we can rely on some automation it takes that mental burden away. One anecdote I remember from a Podcast was Kevin O'Leary (Shark Tank) talking about his "time management" trick. The first thing he does in the morning is to work on the three most important things for the day before anyone or anything could interrupt him. It's an example of automate a routine that pays dividend to one's long term wellbeing. 

Edited by eaglemarin
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  • 2 weeks later...

01/06 Day 28

Happy New Year! It's been a little while since the last update. I went to see family and friends in another city. Then work started immediately after I came back. One week in, things are still a bit slow, and I'm taking this opportunity to do the best I can to manage my workload, expectations, and try to stay on top of things. 

I've been reading the 7 Habits and Highly Effective People book over the break, just finished the 1st Habit. There have been many insights throughout the read thus far. What resonates me the most perhaps is where it talks about ways to put us in control of our lives immediately:

We can make a promise - and keep it. Or we can set a goal - and work to achieve it.

It really speaks to me. I know how easily I slip up on my promise and how terrible I feel afterwards. I felt I had no control over what's happening at work and some other areas of my life. Making commitments to ourselves gives back that control and agency. I can really start by promising others less but make every promise count as much as I can. 

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01/08 Day 30

It's been 30 days that I haven't played any games. No computer, console, or mobiles games, nada. I'm proud of myself for this accomplishment. I am working on cutting back the time I spend on YouTube next.

I plan to update more about healthy habits I build into my daily routines as many of you have shared. More to come.

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01/09 Day 31

Routines provide structure. I think what I need the most right now is a regular bed time so I can improve my sleep schedule. I have to admit that I am terrible at keeping routines. I have almost no confidence I will keep the routines below. But I need to try. I picked up this AM+PM guided journal while I was at the checkout line the other day and it's actually great by focusing on morning and evening portions of the day only. 

Try not to overwhelm myself, I'm only going to stick with 3 habits for morning and 3 habits for evening.

Morning routines:

Make Bed, Have Healthy Breakfast, Exercise (any counts gym, walking, jogging, soccer drills)

 

Evening routines:

Read, Plan for next day, Go to bed at 11pm

Here we go 🙂 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

01/17 Quitted games for 39 days

Despite of the initial challenge, I don't have urge to download any games or play them right now. Once I began occupying myself with things that bring more meaning I realize that I don't think about gaming too much.

Things that have replaced gaming: playing sports, talking to my dad, taking care of my dog, and connecting with two of my close friends.

On the other hand, I'm not doing well with the routines. I went to bed anywhere between 11-12pm last week then Sunday night I stayed up till 2am. Health-related reasons set me back from exercises, although this is temporary. Going to try to start over.

I hosted a dinner party at my house over the weekend. It was a success! I'm quite happy about it despite of some of the stress beforehand 🙂

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