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Hey guys!

My name is Harsha. I introduced myself under the name WarfangTheGreat on the reddit page, so I don't know if I need to create an intro post here (If someone could let me know that would be great). But I wanted to start doing these journals because I wanted to feel like I'm held accountable by people who have gone through similar (or maybe even some of the same) experiences I have, rather than the people I had asked before. They're all amazing people who care about me very much, but they don't understand my struggles, and it makes it hard to ask for their help.

This is Day 1 for me, and I wanted to use this journal, my first one, to explain, more to myself than anything, why I've decided to quit gaming (sorry that this is such a wall of text, but I'm not sure where else to share my story):

There's two reasons, the first being the fact that I'm, once again, on the verge of being unable to attend college because I might have my financial aid revoked due to poor performance. At the beginning of last year, winter quarter of 2015, I had gone so far off the deep end when it came to playing video games that I failed all my classes, and decided I had to take time off of school to deal with it. I went back to my parent's place for the rest of the year and took a variety of community college courses in order to fulfill some GE requirements, while simultaneously committing to change my lifestyle. I had taken on some crazy schedules: for example, there was one summer session where I had 9 hours of classes, and had to be in school from 10 AM to 10 PM, something that was brand new for me at the time. I succeeded in getting all A's in every class I took, so I thought that I had fixed my problems, and looked forward to my return to my main university, which I did at the beginning of this year (for winter 2016). In reality though, I had only done a patch job, and the signs were all there that I hadn't fixed anything: I had continued to waste enormous amounts of time surfing youtube, watching esports, and the like, and hadn't really spent any time on improving myself.

Regardless, the first quarter went ok. Despite repeated hiccups and relapses, I managed to attend most of my classes and pulled off decent grades (not the 4.0 I wanted but it was a decent start). Then came this quarter. Fooled by the successes that I had, I decided to start playing some old games that I had managed to avoid during winter, particularly League of Legends, because I convinced myself I had more self control than I used to. This was completely wrong. I skipped most of my classes, didn't submit any homeworks, and even though I managed to pull off good grades on the exams in two of my classes despite barely know what the professors looked like, I can't say the same for the other two. But even as I saw myself spiraling out of control once again, I didn't make any changes past some half-hearted attempts. I had put effort into making friendships, joining organizations, and establishing hobbies, in my first quarter back, and I stopped all of them over the last two months. All of this culminated in what happened this morning (I'm writing this past midnight so it's technically wednesday, but I mean tuesday morning): this is my finals week, and I had a final at eleven thirty today. Instead of studying for it, however, I stayed up all night playing video games, and had to learn two weeks worth of material (remember, I hadn't attended a single class, so I had no idea what I was looking at) in an hour. Luckily, this final isn't for one of the classes I was struggling in, and despite my ignorance I managed to figure out two thirds of the exam, so I might still pull off a passing grade. However, it was a wake up call, not because I haven't done this before (this is exactly what I do before every test, except I usually stop playiing video games around 2 AM and start studying all night, which gives me enough time to learn the material I missed; not a good habit, but at least it worked, unlike this time), but because I need at least a hundred percent on one of my friday finals to even pass the class (I don't even know if I can pass the other one with a hundred percent, but I won't lose my financial aid if I pass three out of four classes) and there is no way I will get one if I play video games all night again. I don't wanna go back to my parents and tell them, "Hey, your son failed again." They've done nothing but support me every step of the way, and the only real drive I have left in life is the image of me going up to my mom and dad and telling them "Hey ma, pa: I made it." It's something I want more than anything else on the planet, and it's always been beyond my grasp thanks to video games, poor life choices and poor self-discipline. I don't want it to be beyond my grasp anymore. 

The second reason is the one I really don't know how to deal with: three weeks ago I found out that a close friend of mine was in jail. I was trying to contact him for a few months and was getting no replies, until I found a facebook message from his girlfriend (who I wasn't friends with, so it never notified me) who had let me know about a two months back. She had contacted me asking me to write a letter on his behalf about his character, as his lawyer had requested all his friends and family to write a letter for him to submit to the judge, as it might have reduced the severity of his sentence drastically, this being his first offense. I agreed to write one, but instead of writing one, I wasted the last three weeks playing video games, and never wrote it. My friend had always been there for me. He would travel for hours to come to my place almost once a week just to spend time with me, and was always there if I was a little down. However, when he needed me, I played video games instead. I had three weeks to write one letter, and I didn't take half an hour out of my day to write one. Honestly, I'm not sure how to feel about any of this, and I'm pretty sure I don't deserve any forgiveness for this, but I know that if I sit down pitying myself now, or blaming myself and writhing in shame, I'm never going to change and become someone who will never do this again. His sentencing was today (again, I'm writing this past midnight, but by today I mean tuesday), so it's too late to submit a letter now. I'm to afraid to message his girlfriend and ask what happened; after all, how can I reasonably explain why I never wrote a letter? I just want him to be safe, but clearly I didn't do anything to try and ensure that, even though there was something that was in my power to do, however small it may have been. 

I knew I had to do something drastic this morning. I remember the subreddit stop gaming that I had run into a while back, and decided to start my detox. I submitted a ticket to Riotgames this afternoon to delete my League account, and uninstalled all games from my laptop. I know one thing about myself: me and gaming just don't go together. I'm not very good at them to be honest, and am so much better at so many other things. I've always excelled in academics until now. Despite having struggled with gaming for nine years, I still pulled off decent grades until I entered college, despite having very low homework grades throughout high school. Now, however, my mind has dulled to the point where I am no longer sure that I have any intelligence left. I used to be obsessed with this idea of "excellence of mind and body", and although I've never achieved excellence of mind (I've been addicted for too long), I used to exercise and involve myself in physical activity heavily and had really made good headway on the "excellence of body" part. My gaming addiction used to be bad, and it prevented me from having a lot of things, but now it's become inexcusable. I can't live with it anymore, and I really want to see myself as the person I keep dreaming I will be, the person who's going to go up to his mom and dad and tell them that I made it.

I know that one of the biggest reasons that I'm constantly met with failure is due to my lack of planning. I never prepare properly for situations, and don't try and thing of efficient strategies to deal with any hardship I face. Honestly, though, I have no idea how to make a plan. If anyone reading this has any idea how to make a plan or are good at planning in general and has any advice, I would appreciate it immensely. My current plan involves nothing but trying to get through this week by studying for finals, something I hadn't done, and making sure I eat and drink water, something that I don't do while playing games (I sometimes eat once a day or not at all while playing, I just forget). I haven't really thought of what I'm going to do after that.

Thank you to anyone who reads this, it means a lot to me to be heard, something that I haven't been able to get always. I want to use this forum as a platform to truly accomplishing change, and I want to thank everyone in this forum, whether you read this or not, for just creating a place where I can at least share what has happened in my life freely, instead of concealing details like I have to with a lot of my friends and family because they can't understand my struggles (not because they're bad people or because they haven't struggled, some have gone through far worse than I have and come out strong; I guess gaming addiction is just a different ball game). Finally, I want to thank Cam for all his videos, I've watched quite a few today and they've really helped give me perspective on everything I'm going through.

I want to continue with these journals, and I want to use them as a means to track my progress and analyze different ways to solve some of the hiccups I encounter every day, so I hope to do so. If anyone reads this and wants to give me advice as to how to use these journals, or let me know about any technicalities like posting an intro here, let me know.

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Glad to hear your story.  Maintain a growth mindset, and know that you can make the changes you need to to feel good and do good in the world. You're not alone.  I've also neglected others and very important matters just to stay in that gaming comfort zone.  feels awful.. .  I feel like i did damage.  I'm proud of you for letting it move you to act.  I'm acting too.  Let's keep going forward!

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Hi Harsha,

It feels like you tell my own story in some variations. i also failed all classes one semester because of LoL and just couldn't manage to stop it. I did also never do my work in highschool and had no problems and pretty good grades. In College things are different and it needed me around 2 Years to realize it. Then I used other games to avoid the stress, And barely passed the most of my exams with binge learning. Basically I used to evade stressful situations with gaming, which made the situations even worse. Seems like your study history and the thing with your friend fall in the same category. I also battle with schedules. I would advice you to focus on not gaming and studying the next to weeks. Don't use other things like youtube or reddit or game streams. If the stress comes up and you can't focus on studying, stand up walk around the block ( or do something else physical) to release the stress.

Try to get your sleep schedule in order. Pretty much for everything willpower related regular 8hours of sleep are the base(helps enormously with studying too, you need to sleep to learn new things that your brain can process the new facts). Create a morning routine if possible. Something like wake up. Listen to some music and eat. Go workout for 30min. Shower and start learning instantaneously. This will be hard at the beginning but will make you be very productive and full of energy. This helps me a lot if I have to get things done.

You are feeling the pressure now to pass the exams which is good. It makes you study. But try to keep the stress level at bay. If you are freaking out nothing will be learned. If you realize you are panicking over anything just sit back and breath very slowly in and out for ten times. This is long! It will feel awkward but helps most of the time. If you just can't take it any more try to read some fiction or just lie in your bed and do nothing for 30-60min.

I think the key to planning is to start very small. In the evening sit down for 15min. Think about the things you need/want to do. Then think about how much you can realistically do tomorrow and block times for them in your (google)calendar. Plan enough break times(at start I would plan the same time of breaks as working time). Put the hardest things in the start of your day, where you have the most willpower. Then cut the half of your (less important) tasks and make them optional.

Write every evening in your journal and be honest about your fails and be very proud of your victories. Be absolute honest in these journals because if you are anything lik eme you tend to lie to your self about things and I can tell you that this is the biggest obstacle in improving anything. Also read other journals if you start to procrastinate or think about games. Some of them are really inspiring and it helps a lot to see that other people struggled  with and overcame the same problems.

Sorry for the massive text, but i could relate a lot to your problems and wanted to share as much as possible. Feel free to pm me if you have questions. I will surely read your journal. We got you back and you will get through this!

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Hey guys! It's been a while since I wrote in this journal, so I'm glad to be getting back on this. Before I begin writing about the last seven days, I just wanted to write a few replies to the comments:

byrdmath: Thanks for the support! You know, I think it's important to feel some guilt about the mistakes you've made in the past until you've worked to become a person who won't make those mistakes again, but your support makes me feel really good and eases it a little bit. Sometimes, it just feels so good to not be alone in the struggles you're facing. Let's both make it through this eh? I'm ready to take the next step in my life, and the fact that people like you are with me on the same journey makes me all the more confident in the future for me, so thank you for that :).

WorkInProgress: First of all, awesome username :). I also wanted to say that everything I said to byrdmath applies to you too, thank you so much for showing your support by looking at what I have written in my journal and sharing with me some things that you have learned.

Thanks for the advice of walking around the block, I used it multiple times while trying to study. Over the last week I sacrificed sleep in favor of cram studying, so I didn't end up taking your advice of correcting my sleep schedule last week, but I intend to do that now. I'll be honest, my sleep schedule has been screwed up for so long that I can't even remember what it felt like to be on a good one, even though I know that my life will be better if I get on a good one, so I'll make sure to work on that. I'm currently writing this journal at 12:00 am, and probably will go to sleep between 12:30 and 12:40 and wake up at 9:00, but, over the next two weeks while I'm home for break before summer session 1 begins at my school, my goal is to change my sleep schedule from 11:00 to 8:00. I also intend to work on my planning and routine creating skills, this being what I believe my Achilles' heel. I am not really sure how to make good plans and stick to them, so these next few weeks are going to be a lot of trial and error, but it will all pay off.

I looked at all the advice, and I will take them all to heart (especially the one about being honest in journals, lying to myself is a problem I have too, one that has played a big part in getting me into this mess in the first place), but the pieces of advice you gave me that I mentioned above are the most pertinent ones I need to work on as of today, and those are the ones I will focus on utilizing over the next few weeks. Thank you once again for your support!

Journal: Day 7

I'm so glad to be writing another one of these journals, and now that finals are over, I intend to make this more of a daily thing. If I ever do end up missing a day, I'll be sure to include a detailed reason why in the next journal that I write, so that I have something that will keep me accountable.

Before I begin talking about the last week, I want to mention an event that happened on saturday night: I went over to my friend's place to hang out, and we were bored so my friend suggested trying a video game. He isn't a gaming buddy (he doesn't like video games, he and I have been good friends from freshman year and do all kinds of things like rock climbing, go to trivia and stuff), and he suggested something I wasn't ever interested in (I don't really play one player games, don't find them interesting), so we sat down for the most excruciatingly boring 20 minutes we've ever had and then decided to watch American Ninja Warrior and just talk instead. I wouldn't be mentioning this in the first place, but the reason I am is because while figuring out things to do, we tried to set up his roommate's ps3 (which ultimately didn't work), then debated playing smash (something I should definitely not play because I used to play it heavily as I felt good enough at it to play in tournaments; I turned him down and gave him the excuse that I have been "playing it too much" even though I had been avoiding it like the plague, but when we were finding it hard to find something to do I suggested playing smash agian before quickly realizing what I was doing and changing to the other game we tried to play). Does this constitute a relapse? I'm really not sure.

Anyway, so about last week, finals were hard, and the whole week was hard in general. After the fiasco that brought me to this community in the first place (I didn't even study for one of my finals, I just played video games all night instead), I uninstalled all my games and cracked down on studying. Before my last three finals on thursday and friday, i stayed up almost all night for two consecutive nights to ensure I knew all the material I needed to know, and that was honestly the most effort I've put in a good while in anything in my life. Despite that, some of it was too little too late and I didn't end up doing as well on my finals as I would have hoped, and that makes me sad, but at least I can look back and say that I started off this journey that I'm on well, even if the start came a little later than it was supposed to. I particularly feel like I made a lot of silly mistakes (possible a result of the sleep deprivation), which resulted in the sub-optimal grades I got, but if I hadn't stayed up all night studying it would have been a whole lot worse as it wasn't silly mistakes I would have lost points on but sheer lack of knowledge. Ideally in the future, I'll make sure I keep up on my studies so I get a good night's rest before exams and still know everything I need to know.

I still haven't delete my league account yet. I submitted my ticket for deletion, but they are requiring me to provide them with more information that I can only get by re-accessing things like my purchase history, something I'll only find if I reinstall the league client. I'm not looking forward to doing it, but it'll be something I have to do to be rid of it forever. Now that I'm home, I think I'll inform my parents of what I'm doing so that they can keep an eye on me as I delete my account. I actually haven't told them of the details of what I'm doing, such as joining this forum or deleting all my games, at all. I've always been a person who likes to tell everyone everything, about my life or about what I'm doing or anything really. Every time I tried to tell others like my parents about an attempt I'm making to quit gaming, it would fail as I would convince myself that saying the words was enough. This time, I'm not saying a word till the end of my 90 day detox. The itch I feel to tell everyone I know in person what I'm doing somehow guides me to do better, as it reminds me of how much more I can do, but it's not unbearable as I still get to vent out here on this forum where there are other people who are facing similar struggles to mine, so I don't have to put out any images of "the changed man" and can just be honest. Honestly, the biggest reason I can't stick to what I'm doing when I go announcing what I'm doing is I play up my image bigger than it is, and in my mind that image gets to my head and I don't end up taking the actions needed to back up my words, so I'm not going to let that happen this time; being able to be honest here is what makes this forum a nice place for me to vent, as I can say anything and everything and it will just be the truth.

The most important thing I have to do right now is learn how to plan my days properly. I need to be able to trust my ability to follow through on the actions that I say I will take, and that comes with proper planning. I want to learn how to plan my days well, so that I can become that kind of person. I've also let the stress of the past few days bog me down a little too much. I'm facing a lot of stress due to the dire situation I'm in with my school and financial aid: if I lose it, I don't know that I will be able to continue attending college, and I might lose my chance at getting a good education. But what I've learned from my parents and pretty much everyone else in my close family is that these kinds of stresses will always be there, and we can't let them get to our heads. I want to start taking one day at a time, my goal for every morning being a solid plan, a goal for every afternoon and evening being a solid follow-through, and a goal for every night being a calm mind, regardless of the stresses that exist. I think that these goals are really good ones to have, and I intend to go at a slow but steady pace and work towards all three of them. 

I've always been an extremely anxious person. I've been very addicted to video games, so seriously that they have ruined my life and multiple attempts to stop playing them have failed miserably. There have been times a while ago where I was in quite severe depression, and even though I worked out of those they have left a mark on my life and thinking. To think that I might be looking at a future where these are all things of the far past is awe-inspiring.
But, now that I got that "wow this is gonna be awesome when this change is complete" statement out of my system, I'm going to focus. Seven days is not long enough to already be dreaming of the days where I'm doing everything I want to do and am everything I want to be as though they're coming tomorrow, and I will respect it as such. I will keep writing these journals and giving updates on my life, and keep making change. 

One last thing: what do you do when you feel that loss of hope that change is not possible? I have felt that many times in the past, and it has driven me right back to failure. What do I do when it comes this time? (I say when and not if because it always comes, regardless if the reasons why are a little bit different each time). If someone can give me some suggestions I would appreciate it immensely. 

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Hey congratulations on the 7days! This is a big achievement. Many people relapse pretty hard in the first few days where the urges are the strongest. I think your sleep schedule should be your first priority now. You could try out apps like f.lux who filter the blue light out of your screens. This helps many people because, this blue light is similar to daylight and let your body produce hormones to stay awake. Even better would be to evade screens for 1-2 hours before you have planned to go to bed. Also it is important to plan your time where you go into bed and not the time where you want to sleep. If you do that you will trying to force yourself to sleep and pressure your self to sleep all ready. This self talk is the most secure way to insomnia. You accomplished your goal if you go to bed at the time you planned, be proud of that acoomplishment and accept it if you can't sleep at first. This will get better if you stay consistent. That's what helped other people the most. But I have to admit that I  luckily always had a good sleep so maybe someone else can share more personal experience.

To deal with anxiety and depression I would advice you to try meditation. Self-Awareness helps with the realisation that what you feel at the moment, is not necessarily what is objectively true.  This allows you to endure stresses and still stay in control of your life. You realize that fear, depression and other things are there and that it feels really really bad. But that this feelings are similar to a knee wound or an headache. They are something you feel, but they don't have to steer your actions. Also many scientific studies have shown that meditation has many positive effects like for example improved capability of withstand impulses. Basically you train your willpower if you meditate regular. An easy way to start this is to use the guided meditation of the app headspace. They have a free 10 guided 10min meditations which you can just do every day in the morning or evening. Here is consistency more important the length. If you are able to meditate every day for 5min this will give you a way greater return then doing it 25min every 5days.

To keep the bigger picture in mind it is a good idea to write down a letter at your future self, where you state, why exactly you decided to quit gaming and just formulate all the bad influences and things gaming did to your life. If you come later to the point where you feel like: "Hey I made it for x Days! Everything is going fine. Why shouldn't I allow myself to game for a while?", then you go back and read this letter.

To your last thing. I could imagine that it will help you to realize that all passes in life. Be it successes, youth, joy but also depression. There is nothing like a permanent state of mind. If you see this, you realize in such times of helplessness, that this too will pass. You lived through many of such episodes and there is no reason at all why this one shouldn't go away too. It doesn't matter how much you fail, it doesn't matter how long it takes, but it will be over at some time. Accept that you are in such a state and as soon as you are able to do something about it again do it. Maybe @Cam Adair or @kortheo have some more insights, how to deal with this feeling. If something happens to me I usually just lie in bed or on the couch and do nothing, until I feel the bored and annoyed enough, to do anything productive. If I start doing anything(even if it is just doing dishes or stuff) this feeling goes away almost every time.

Good luck dude. Your way of thinking is right at the moment. You got this!



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For me when that feeling comes I notice it and re-commit that THIS, this exact feeling is a question being posed at me: Am I really going to not change? No, fuck that, I want to change, and I'm going to use this as an opportunity to continue pushing forward. The quote in my sig is a mantra I use during this time. Change is what we do as humans, we change every day, we just don't always notice it. But we can be intentional in the ways that we change if we choose to do so.

These two videos will help you too:

- How to Overcome Adversity
How To Get Out Of A Funk

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One last thing: what do you do when you feel that loss of hope that change is not possible? I have felt that many times in the past, and it has driven me right back to failure. What do I do when it comes this time? (I say when and not if because it always comes, regardless if the reasons why are a little bit different each time). If someone can give me some suggestions I would appreciate it immensely. 

I guess I would say simply that change is always possible. Habits and actions are patterns that are ingrained into us in our brain. It can be very difficult to change them. But our brains and our habits are plastic and we can change them for the better. This is just fact.

It will be harder for some than for others. It's all about committing to what you want, being patient with yourself, and always trying again and again. When something isn't working, try a new approach. Find a way to do habits that is sustainable. Make it easy. For example, if you can't meditate for 10 minutes to start, start with 5 instead. Can't do 5? Do 2. Etc. And then over time you'll be able to build up in a way that feels natural and sustainable.

You have a lifetime of bad habits behind you. They are deeply engrained. It's normal for it to be really hard at first. You can create new habits but it will take time before they start to feel natural and easy, because they're new. You just have to look at the long game and grind it out even when you feel like quitting - especially when you feel like quitting.

Best of luck!


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