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Progress Report


Alex Ericson
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Hey guys,

Figured it would be a good time to update how things are going.  The first day I stopped playing games and deleted all my games, I had a talk with a friend about it and she told me if gaming is what you love than why get rid of it?  So I excitedly went back home and started downloading WoW, which takes like 5 hours to DL.  Not having the time that night I instead read my Game of Thrones book and relaxed which was nice.  Then at work I was impatiently trying to figure out what to play when I got home and decided on my hunter, you know get a new pet have some fun running around wrecking face, I was very excited.  So all day I was absorbed into this notion of playing again.  

Finally I did get home to play and right away logged into WoW and onto my hunter and all I did for 15 mins was sit there, I forgot what I was doing.  Then it struck me hard that this is an insane waste of time, and I'm better than this, and how could something like this control me so much, and I couldn't even go 2 days without some sort of viral entertainment!!  I was literally blown away and disgusted by my actions, so without moving a pixel on screen I shut down my computer, and over the next several days and weeks I worked steadily on changing my environment.  

First I tore down my desk that I use primarily for gaming and also because I have a chrome book to stay in touch with my internet obligations, I put my computer under my bed where it has been for almost 2 weeks now.  I think the environment triggered a response for me to start gaming, that my room was enabling my subconscious to immediately follow a routine I have concretely pounded into place.  Then I came back onto this site and read some more about the 90 day detox program and I went onto amazon and bought The Slight Edge for my kindle, and I'm 78% complete with it right now and it is truly one amazing philosophy to adopt.  One thing that helps me is that quitting gaming is a long and winding road, but if you do little things everyday and focus on a routine than you will slowly move towards improving yourself and not having a sensation for games, but a sensation for life.  

I have to go to work right now, but I will keep you all posted about further developments.

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Hey Alex! Awesome to have you start your journal here. The Slight Edge is an amazing book. 

One thing that helps me is that quitting gaming is a long and winding road, but if you do little things everyday and focus on a routine than you will slowly move towards improving yourself and not having a sensation for games, but a sensation for life.  

This is exactly what you want to do. Good job man, you're on the right path. :)

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Isn't it funny how we and others just accept gaming all day as normal and acceptable, so long as you love it? When we talk to others, we need to keep in mind the big picture view we have over the topic of gaming. Most don't understand addiction or that they are addicted. If you let go of this awareness it's easy to get carried away and say, well why not! Let's game! We have to remind ourselves that it's not what we want. Not who we want to be. There is something bigger and better out there to accomplish. :)

Proud of you! I've been thinking about rearranging my room for a "new" feel, maybe I will soon. Glad it worked for you.

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@Laney Ya it is funny I totally agree with what you said, to them games are just a fun activity, but for us it is more of a complete lifestyle that becomes consuming almost the same way drug or alcohol addiction is described.  Thank you for the support!!  I think the change of environment was a great turning point for me, because I was use to sitting at that desk for hours at end, so a change was necessary to not trigger my past emotions and routine of gaming.  Instead I spend more time outside of my room or if I'm in my room it's for writing or reading or personal development time.  Keep on fighting the good fight and let me know if you decide upon changing things up environmentally.  

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I think it could also be said that what you are doing quitting games is a sort of changing the environment of your mind. not the deepest thought, but if you can see the value in changing your physical environment and have physically experienced a benefit, you can make that leap that you are doing the same thing with your mind,and you should also expect to see gains in that act. 

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This is very inspirational, Thank you !! I have played dota for 1 game today and i felt like shit. We have to aim our life goal of what WE want to be and decide which action leads to that goal. For me, I want to achieve spiritual growth and gaming isn't gonna lead me there. So cheer up everyone, keep fighting together !

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This is very inspirational, Thank you !! I have played dota for 1 game today and i felt like shit. We have to aim our life goal of what WE want to be and decide which action leads to that goal. For me, I want to achieve spiritual growth and gaming isn't gonna lead me there. So cheer up everyone, keep fighting together !

Yep! 100%. This is about living in alignment. :)

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Hey thanks all for commenting on my thread, I haven't been too great at keeping up at it, but I will make more of an effort!

@karpet I totally agree with what you are saying and I think that is a very deep statement you made.  I feel like the battle in your mind is the most difficult part and often hard to control.  Taking away that physical trigger also did sort of program my mind that his is not how things are going to be that there is a change and you are just going to have to deal with it.  I like your idea about keeping a clear and open mind and I think that adding meditation to my routine would be a great course to help clear the mind and keep focused on the right direction.  

So it has been over a month now since I tore down my gaming lifestyle and I must say that things are going very well for me.  I have read all of the slight edge book and it was a great read, I have implemented a couple habits into my life from that book that have helped me a lot.  I'm hoping to better my understanding of the principle and how to use it more effectively.  One thing that I notice is I had no goal or direction for my life.  Ever since I accomplished my college degree I felt like there was nothing else, like I finished what I wanted.  The slight edge gave me better control over that and to set higher goals for myself.  With video games the achievement was so convenient you didn't have to think about it much because it was given to you.  With games like DOTA and WoW these achievements really drove us to play because they gave you a sense of purpose.  Honestly if you're not convinced if you're addicted to gaming just take a few minutes and think about your life goals, if you can't come up with something significant than you're most likely addicted to games and get all your lifes fulfillment from them.

Right now I toke upon myself to run a marathon on my 30th birthday coming up in around 4 months.  I have been training hard and have focused on small goals like running a 5k, 10k, half marathon first to build up my confidence a little bit haha.  It is kind of crazy, but honestly is what I needed and I couldn't ever make a plan like this without ditching my gaming habits.  Sure running isn't the most fun on the planet, but once you start desensitizing from the gaming stratosphere you would not believe what is enjoyable to you, it's actually incredible or thirst for entertainment now.  

Actually that brings up a good point about another book I have been reading called Positivity.  I'm on a section now that goes over the negativity we are given through media outlets like new, music, tv, video games and how we get addicted to violence that we crave it from everything we view.  Me for example would play violent video games, listen to violent music, watch violent tv shows, and absorb into violent news  stories.  I think a lot of my anger problems came from overexposure to violence that I reacted to stressful situations in a violent manner instead of learning and being more accepting of them.  I'm no psychologist so I do recommend reading the book for yourselves and get some great information on the topic.  

Also I should include a status update about everything going on.  I revamped my room by throwing away my desk and that has helped.  My computer currently is under my bed until I can figure out what exactly I want to do with it haha.  I was thinking about getting a writing hutch that doesn't have the capability to hold a computer very well.  I know it is risky because as a gamer if there is a will then there is a way right, so I'm holding onto the idea, but not acting for now.  I fill like I have a lot more mental clarity to remember things that happened that day.  I use to struggle in the past to even recount if I had brushed my teeth or turned something off, I was very forgetful, but now I can recall things better and also be more aware of the present moment as well.  I have gone through a couple days at work where I was pumping myself up all day to dig all my computer stuff out and start playing again, because the day sucked so much that I just wanted that getaway, that release, who cares right?  Well you know what I told myself, I care, I care and I don't want to go through all this again and I like the way I feel and I care about myself too damn much to suffer anymore from this stupid false reality...It's time to live your life and not somebody else's.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Cam,

I've been doing pretty good.  I did happen to go through a relapse.  Kind of funny how desperate you can become after awhile.  I tore that desk apart, but the top piece was too big to completely toss until I could figure out a way to get rid of it.  So I dug it out one night and set it on top of 2 plastics drawer things and made a make shift desk out of it and dug my computer out and hooked it all up.  I wanted to get back onto my computer at first and my intentions were good, but one thing led to another and I started playing WoW again.  This has been happening for about a month now.  I get home and turn my computer on first chance I can get.  I work fulltime and am still in a committed relationship so I dont have much free time to myself anymore.  I have taken up a few things like minimalism and also running.  Actually 2 weeks ago I completed my first half marathon so that was very gratifying for me!  But...there is still that itch, that terrible itch to play.  To cave in and reward myself for all this hard work I've been doing to just do something easy that doesn't require so much energy..  I guess what happened is maybe I overwhelmed myself by trying to change too much too quickly.  I have also been struggling with a chewing tobacco addiction as well.. It is another crutch I have when I feel stressed out or stretched too thin.  

But ya I came back to this site for some support or words of encouragement after I gamed 6 hours straight because I couldn't win a match...typical horde problems they always lose haha.  It's kind of funny that sometimes I don't want to stop playing while on a losing streak that I would much rather log off after a win no matter how long it takes.  I guess I'm just that way though, have a stubbornness about me where qutting isn't an option, makes dealing with addiction a real son of a bitch however.  

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Congrats on finishing your first half marathon. That's awesome! So two things you've identified is wanting a reward when you work hard and needing an outlet to deal with stress. Any ideas how you could fulfill those outside of gaming?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay so I did end up failing my first 90 day detox and at first I didn't feel very bad about it.  We are all human and make mistakes and falter  What can I say I love WOW and it is a game I have always enjoyed immensely since I've started playing it.  I mostly love the release I get from playing it, the puzzle's I get to solve, the structure, the fluidity, the open world to explore and the memories I've created.  I'm not trying to advocate gaming here, but to merely figure it all out inside my head to hopefully be more successful in the future at finding meaningful alternative to gaming that I can buy in to.  Today I decided late in the night that I'd like to make a second attempt at my 90 day detox.  This came shortly after I came home all excited to play WOW after a weekend away from my computer.  

It was all I could think about for the most part and I was biting my finger nails to get my chance to play again.  All I needed to do was to get through the weekend with my girlfriend, work a day at work, then come home eat dinner and wash the dishes before I had my time to play.  Through out all of those activities, WOW was on my mind.  Who was I going to play?  What was I going to do? The scenarios were practically endless...Even though I don't have the ability to play the game I still made plans like I was actually playing and I think that is a serious problem with gaming addiction for those of us that aren't fortunate to play out all of our addictions on screen.  Instead we fantasize about playing even in dreams, which I know from experience happens a lot after a heavy gaming session.  So needless to say I decided that I'd play my 5 top level characters on my main server to get them running on garrison missions and what not to "stay ahead" because the thing about WOW is once the expansion is out the current content dies and you won't have as much of a chance for achievements and what not, blah blah blahs that happen.  I have until August before LEGION comes out so I have been feeling pressured to get "caught up" in-order to not miss out on whatever is out there and to get my achievements to prove to myself that I'm one of the originals from the game and that I stuck it out through shit content, although I think it's still fun.  

I know that there are much more important things to do in life then fantasize about gaming and I wish it was easier to deal with, but I'm currently stuck.  I've come a long way over the past several years and am very proud of where I am in life and grateful for all I have, but still in the back my mind is the constant pitter patter of gaming strategy and planning that overtakes most thought and becomes quite exhausting.  What I would do for a bit of clarity in my mind to not have to think so much about gaming...I feel like this is what it's like for drug addicts, even the recovered ones...is that constant urge and reminder of what it was like to have what you once did from your addiction, whatever that might be.  For me it's gaming and also some parts internet addiction.  I admit it through and through that I still have problems, even-though my time played on games now a days is laughable from what it once was, it is that urge and feeling I get when I play or think about it.  

So for this reason I will try once more to tackle this goal I had 90 days ago and try to make it successful for this next 90 days to come.  I hope to keep my journal on here updated, but do enjoy a pen and paper much more.  

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Hi welcome back!

Seems like you given this a good time of thought. Such reflection is important to succeed this detox.As I stopped gaming I felt a nice sensation of freedom because don't had think all the time about the next game and when I would be able to play again. I "just" didn't gamed any more. I hope you experience the same liberation.

 

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Day 1 Attempt#2:

Today I focused on my work and didn't think a whole lot about gaming.  Work went very well today and I used one of Cam's tips to reach out more to people at work socially by getting involved and it was a nice experience.  I kept my mind busy with what I wanted to get done throughout the day, even making a to do list and getting a lot of the things i needed to get done out of the way so that was very uplifting.  When I came home I rearranged some things and made a space that wouldn't provoke gaming and also that is clutter free to allow more to get done productively.  I still do retain my gaming computer, but merely made it into a docking station so I can stay current on the Game of Thrones season, which has been amazing so far!  I do have a task laptop that I use for my general internet use to check emails and update journals, but I do like having a more powerful computer for data reduction, downloading, storage, and streaming video or music so I think I will keep my desktop.  I'm going to bed a bit on the early side so I can wake up and tackle a 8 mile training run before I go to work...Marathon's are tough to train for I must say.  

A question I do have on my mind is, what does everyone else do with there systems or computers when they are intending to quit gaming?  Do you store your system (keep it out of sight), give to a friend, sell it, or re-purpose it for other activities?  I'm curious about this and if anybody feel the urge to answer that would be awesome.

 

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I started my 90-day detox yesterday, and I have uninstalled all of my games and am continuing to use my laptop as normal. I have deleted my youtube watching history, deleted my browser viewing history unsubscribed from gaming-related subreddits and forums. I know that I will only truly succeed at this challenge if I can choose not to game even if I have the option to do so.

My next challenge is to find something competitive and engaging to fill the huge void of time I have recently reclaimed. I'm keen to see how you progress, I'll keep updating my journal daily.

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Hey Alex welcome back. What you were describing is called Salience or Pre-occupation. Definitely one of the things you want to be very aware of. It doesn't mean you're "addicted", but it is one of the signs to pay attention to.

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Day 2:

My day started out pretty good, I woke up and ran 5 miles.  I went to work and had a nice day there, quite busy day it helped to keep my mind off of things.  I did get a craving while driving home, I was tired and ready to be home but had a long commute ahead of me to get there and I was halfway home when a hot red mustang zooms by me sporting a red horde sticker...which is the faction I played on WoW so that gave me mad cravings to play and just say you know what lives way to short might as well game type of thing, but I resisted the urge with positive affirmations why I am qutting.  When I finally made it home I ate some dinner and watched a couple shows on the TV with the family.  Then I decided to go for another run for 3.5 miles and that really helped to clear my head.  I usually wake up and run all tired, but it seems like running after work was very enjoyable, especially with the weather being so gorgeous and the sun setting so late.  

After my run I was carousing this site and landed on the respawn button.  I figured I would wait until after my shower until I'd pull the trigger or not, try to weigh the options.  I ended up doing a basic respawn and I feel very good about the material that is given to me and the satisfaction of taking action to finally conquer gaming.  I made it 2 months into detox before my relapse so I know that I'm almost there and all I need is an extra push, respawn should give me plenty of motivation to start living a life that I want to live.  Plus I know this might be a secret, but I get a sticker to put on my car so that some day I will blast past that mustang sporting a game quitters sticker and say in your face!!

 

 

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Day 3:

Came home for dinner and had to go shopping for groceries because I didn't have anything.  Usually this would aggravate me, but since I had free time I could leisurely go to the store and pick out a nice dinner, then come home and make it all.  Typically while gaming i'd just get fast food because I didnt want to waste any precious time away from the screen.  Sometimes going slow and thinking things through is key and I can see the amount of clarity you can inherit from not being so rushed in life.  Often times I'd be in such a rush to get home and game, meet all my obligations I suppose first then spend every minute of free time gaming.  This is probably why I'd ignore my friend and not make any plans with anyone, but that was what I wanted to be alone and game so it isn't all that bad it is just good to know that I can also enjoy a less chaotic lifestyle too and this is refreshing.  I'm sort of a bit on the tired side and didn't get to read as much of respawn as I wanted to today, but that's okay.  Oh that's another thing is while not gaming at night I can actually tell when I'm tired whereas while gaming during the night I could be up probably 4-5 hours past the time I was actually tired, in my younger years I'd also pull all nighters to level up in the game, even once I played for almost 48 hours straight on my laptop..pretending I was sleeping, but actually just played in my bed and tried my best to be quiet.  Oh the good memories I had from gaming, but I haven't been that addicted to games in such a long time, now I'm just doing my best to ween myself off from them.  Anywho I have the day off from work and am going to do my long run of 18 miles tomorrow instead of saturday, plus I have a ton of errands to get done, which will be great!

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Day 4:

I'm going to do today's journal entry a little bit early because I'm going out with my GF tonight to have some beers and ramen, should be a good time, but I know I will put off journaling afterwards.  Today I woke up and had the day off from work and figured to fit my long run in today and did an 18 mile run, which is the longest I ever have ran before and it was very exhausting.  After the run I came home and hung out with the family then went to go get my winter tires exchanged for summer tires on my car, but they ended up not having the tires in stock so I have to go back next week to get it done.  Instead I went and had my haircut and washed the car and washed my moms car too.  I did do a lot today and am feeling a bit tired so I figured I'd read a little bit and write my journal before I go pick up the girlfriend and have a nice weekend together.  I'm also looking forward to mothers day this weekend, we are all going to brunch together, so that should be an awesome time and will rack me up more days of being game free.  Gaming did pop into my head once today, because they have this gaming arena place near my house by where I was going to get my tires changed and they pretty much have gaming computers there that you can rent out and they have all the most popular games installed so LOL and WOW are predominately featured there and are the games I mostly played.  I wasn't going to go in there or anything, but it just got me thinking about gaming is all, which is ok we will always have ques like this it is what makes us unique, we were apart of a culture and who knows maybe one day when we tell someone what we did all those years ago with gaming it will shock and add to your own mystique.  I know that is the reaction i get now when I tell someone I skateboarded for 10 years and they just say no way and I say WAY!  

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No way...you skateboarded for ten years?  Awesome!  hehe

I'm seeing from your post that you are already pre-planning your day in advance, or at least looking forward to something else besides gaming.  Like when you saw the gaming arena, and it triggered you for a split second, your mind also remembers that you and your GF are going out to have a good time.  So, basically you always have something better planned, even for those odd times that you get triggered, you have something else that's fun throughout the day to look forward to.  Good work.

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