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My Story - I didn't think I was an addict.


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Hey guys! I started my no-gaming journey a while ago, but I only recently discovered this website, so I figured that connecting with other like-minded people would be a good idea. I started this post with the intention of keeping it short, but clearly that didn't happen! Forgive me for pouring my heart out all over this forum. I hope this will help somebody out there.

So, I grew up with gaming. My friends and I would play Pokemon on our GameBoys after school, I'd go over to their houses to play Smash Bros or Halo, etc. It wasn't the only thing we did together, but we were little boys after all, so we relished our time when we were transported to these new worlds inside the screens. Fast-forwarding to my first year at college, and 18 year old me was still a gamer. I initially went to an art school, and planned on majoring in game design, but that didn't work out so I transferred to a state college. I switched my major to English. I lived at home, for financial reasons. Every day, I would game. I didn't think I was an addict. I probably played two hours a day, maybe three on the weekends, but I managed my homework well enough and got A's and B's like I had always gotten. And gaming wasn't my only interest, after all. I loved to read and write - that's why I changed my major to English. I wanted to be a writer. I had dreams and hopes, and I wasn't spending so much time in front of the screen that my life was deteriorating. I was healthy, I did well in school, and had friends. So, why did I quit gaming? 

I wasn't being honest with myself. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that I wasn't doing enough to accomplish my dreams. I told everyone I wanted to be a writer, told everyone that I was currently writing. For a while that was actually true - during the summer of 2014 I was pumping out 2,000 words a day of this novel of mine. I got 40,000 words into it before I got hooked by a re-playthrough of Assassin's Creed 2. After that, nothing. I didn't write a single word for two years, save for school essays and exercises. I was content with hovering just above mediocrity. I never met with professors and asked for advice on what goals I needed to be reaching for, I never got involved with writing-related organizations or events at my college, I never searched for internships or jobs that would expand my network, and so on. I did nothing. When I should have been working towards my goals, I gamed.

Looking back on it, I realize that it wasn't because I was lazy. My inaction stemmed from not believing in myself. I know that sounds incredibly corny, but any fellow writers out there know that when you say to people "I want to be a novelist/poet/playwright/etc" you get weird looks. People don't believe you can make a living that way. You need a "real" job. The funny thing is that nobody around me was saying that - my parents and siblings were always supportive, and I never heard any of my professors say "find something else". It was all in my own head. I didn't believe I could be a novelist, that I'd never reach that dream, so why even try?

So, to escape this feeling, this conviction that I wouldn't succeed at my dreams, I gamed. Gaming gave me an objective, and I was always being rewarded for achieving whatever goals the game set out for me. Eventually, gaming was joined by internet surfing (Reddit and Youtube, mainly). I spent hours doing, really, when you think about it, nothing at all. I never failed a class or hurt my health because of this - I always turned in my assignments on time, even if it was at the very last minute, because I had spent the previous days gaming or surfing - so I never felt like I had a problem. Over time, my self-control eroded to the point of nonexistence. Even if I really wanted to get a jump on my assignments, I'd browse Reddit/Youtube or play games instead. This went on and on and on like this until the end of last year. For perspective, I'm almost 22 now (two more days!) That means this had been going on for nearly four years.

This past December, over my winter break, I had a lot of free time, and sat down and really reflected on myself. I accepted the fact that I was an addict, a slave to gaming and web surfing. But what could I do about it? Quit? But I've been gaming my whole life, I can't let go of that, right? Wrong. Gaming wasn't who I was as a person - I had to recognize that fact, that I'm not defined by gaming. So I decided to quit, completely. Since my self-control was totally in the toilet, I knew my decision to quit had to be absolute and uncompromising. I sold my gaming PC (which was tough to let go of), and I even sold my Nintendo DS and my Wii, even though I hadn't touched them in forever. For my laptop (which can't do much but web browsing and word processing), I installed a program called Cold Turkey to restrict my web surfing, setting it to completely block Reddit, Youtube, and a whole host of other distracting websites (It's a bitch to uninstall, too, so relapses are highly unlikely).

Since January 15th, I haven't gamed or gone on Reddit/Youtube, and I feel amazing. It hasn't been a wild success right off the bat, of course. I'm not writing 2,000 words a day again, but I have written several shorter pieces that weren't related to school. I'm doing much more reading than when I was gaming, and I'm procrastinating much less on my schoolwork. I can slowly feel myself coming back together again. I'm reading a book on self control so I can build a solid writing work ethic and call myself a writer once again.

So, forty-six days into my Ninety-Day Detox. Will I ever game again? I'm not sure. But I'll definitely never let it take control of me again, and I'm excited to connect with the people on here who share that same goal.

If you've gotten all the way down to this point, give yourself a pat on the back haha! That was a hell of a lot for an intro post.

Edited by EscapistNoMore
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Thanks for sharing man. It's awesome to have you join the community here. 46 days is incredible and something to be proud of. 

Looking forward to following along. There's a few other members here who love to write so you'll be in good company. ;)

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Hey, congratulations for stopping playing video games. And for being so honest with yourself. I can totally related to your reasons for gaming. I have kind of the same things going on in my life and used games to avoid being really responsible for the things I wanted to do. Probably because I am afraid of failing. 

I hope you soon write more words each day and that your new habbits stick with you!

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My inaction stemmed from not believing in myself. I know that sounds incredibly corny, but any fellow writers out there know that when you say to people "I want to be a novelist/poet/playwright/etc" you get weird looks. People don't believe you can make a living that way. You need a "real" job. The funny thing is that nobody around me was saying that - my parents and siblings were always supportive, and I never heard any of my professors say "find something else". It was all in my own head.

 

Oh man, this is so real. We're always the best at fooling ourselves.

2k words per day is awesome. How long did that take you per day on average? With this level of output, you can really churn out piece after piece :D 

On the other hand, I'd like to say that as a writer, you often do need a real job to pay the bills. I love writing and wanted to be a writer as well, but the more I looked into the world of publishing, the more I read that it's a winner-takes-all market out there. This article also influenced my thinking a lot, and therefore I postponed my writing and changed my degree from English to sciences. I'm not saying you can't do it, I actually think that now once you quit games you're more than likely to be successful (and 2k words per day, that's amazing), I just wanted to offer a different perspective to look at things.

Good luck :)

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My inaction stemmed from not believing in myself. I know that sounds incredibly corny, but any fellow writers out there know that when you say to people "I want to be a novelist/poet/playwright/etc" you get weird looks. People don't believe you can make a living that way. You need a "real" job. The funny thing is that nobody around me was saying that - my parents and siblings were always supportive, and I never heard any of my professors say "find something else". It was all in my own head.

 

...

On the other hand, I'd like to say that as a writer, you often do need a real job to pay the bills.

Oh, totally. I'm well aware that I need to find a day job that covers those expenses and allows me to write on the side. I'd love to write for a living, but I know that it will take some time to get there!

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