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NEW VIDEO: I Quit MMOs and THIS Happened

5 days in, feeling a little crazy...

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I'm 5 days into my 90 day detox, and feeling a little crazy, so I thought that writing some of this stuff out may help me out some.

I'm 27 years old and have been gaming most of my life. I remember playing my sister's NES, and the euphoria on Christmas morning when I got my SNES. I've had lots of consoles and built many PCs since then. Gaming in school didn't seem like a big deal, because I easily kept my grades up with minimal effort. My parents complained that I spent too much time on the computer, but ultimately I was an A student, so they didn't really do anything about it.

The first feeling of addiction I had was with Starcraft, as I'm sure so many others have had. I loved playing the game with my friends, but then I found that I wanted to be online all the time. I tried to nail down rare Battle.Net names and trade them for Starcraft CD Keys. I'd use those keys to power bots which could flood a channel and attack enemy clans.

Then came Warcraft 3, and then I got into Counter-Strike. A few of my friends at school and I created our own Counter-Strike server. That was awesome. We started playing World of Warcraft together, then some went separate ways, but I kept playing.

I have lots of very fond memories of playing World of Warcraft when it first came out. I had a great sense of achievement of having one of the best priests on the server, and being a part of a 40-man team which did things nobody else had done yet on that server. I became lead healer and then raid leader, and that was awesome. I was able to lead my team to victory -- a team mostly comprised of people older than me, and nobody seemed to care that I was in high school.

Freshman year of college I got paired with a random roommate who has become one of my best friends, and he was an avid EverQuest player. I got him to play WoW with me, and we played together for years afterwards.

I always dreamed about having a really powerful, sweet gaming computer that could play all the games I wanted on ultra settings with no lag, and after I graduated college and got a full-time job building websites, I could finally afford it. (Well, I couldn't really afford it, but I bought it anyway).

I met my wife, got married, and she learned that there were some nights I just needed to be alone on the computer, playing my games. She isn't a gamer. I tried to get her to play with me but it never stuck with anything we tried. She helped show me that the times I was really stressed out were the same times that I often needed to be alone at the computer.

About a year into our marriage was when I got the sweet gaming rig and really started playing a lot of games again. I quit my job around the same time in order to work for myself as a full-time freelancer, and I did pretty well for myself. As a contractor, I more than doubled my annual salary, but I worked ALL the time. I just couldn't seem to get all the work done. I was blowing deadlines and my estimates were all off, and all the while I was gaming every time I felt like it or felt stressed - which was a lot of the time. It wasn't unusual for me to spend 1 or 2 days out of the whole week just playing games all day and all night long.

There have definitely been times that I told my wife I couldn't spend time with her because I was so buried with work (and I was), but when I sat down to do the work, my hands would instinctively open a game, and I would spend the rest of the night doing that instead of working. I feel really guilty about that. The time I spent with her didn't seem as fun to me anymore. Not that I didn't love her or enjoy her presence, but it just wasn't the same as gaming. I'm sure this is ringing bells with others reading this.

This year I stopped freelancing and took a full-time job again because I couldn't get my workload under control, and I needed something I could leave at 5:00 and come home from. Turns out, I really just came home to game most nights. As of last month, my wife and I have been married for 3 years. She has had an unreal amount of patience for me. We found out that we're expecting our first child, which is insanely awesome, but terrifying at the same time. It really got me thinking about my life and what I'm doing with it.

I don't want to be in a 9-to-5 job forever. I want to own a business. I loved the feeling of ownership and success that I had when I ran my own freelancing business. I want to create and own something that will provide for me and my family for years to come, and then I want to work because it's fun. I want to have financial independence from an employer, and to be my own boss. I have had a few different ideas of how to make that happen, but none of them included hours of gaming every night.

So, I started wanting to quit, or at least cut back on gaming. I tried, and then Overwatch came out. I wasn't going to buy it, and then a friend of mine gifted it to me. Shit, now I have to play. That night I stayed up until 4 AM playing Overwatch with friends, and yes I had work the next day. I felt guilty for not playing, since he gave it to me, and guilty for playing, because I knew it was a waste and I was making my work life miserable.

Finally, I came across some of Cam's videos and the Game Quitters site. Everything started to really make sense -- the reason everything else seems boring, the reason I go to games when I feel stressed or upset. the erosion of my willpower. Everything was ringing a bell, and all at once I realized I have been legit addicted to gaming for years, and I knew I needed to detox.

Today I'm 5 days into my detox, and I have all the signs of it. I've definitely had mood swings, spells of depression, boredom, gaming dreams, urges to "scratch the itch" that manifest in mindless Reddit browsing, opening the same websites over and over, even though I just looked at them. And I'm feeling a little crazy. I told my wife all about my detox plan and she's been super supportive and patient. I told her last night that I feel like a crazy person off his meds, and that's really how I felt and feel.

I know I need to fill the gap that gaming leaves, but right now I can't imagine any hobby or anything else being able to even come close. I'm hoping that as my detox continues I will begin to be interested in other things.

So that's my story. Day 5 and feeling crazy. Hopefully this helps someone else, but at least I feel like it's helping me to say it.

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@quittintime This is how I started running (I know running isn't for everybody but hear me out). The mindless internet browsing, boredom and itching-nerve to play was constantly a part of me. One day I was sick of that feeling and I put on some shorts and running shoes and just started running in whatever direction I was facing. I poured out all my worries and it manifested into running. I needed to do something or I was going to go crazy! At the end of the run (I just stopped when I felt like I was going to pass out) my mind was cleared or perhaps too tired to think and my legs were on fire. 

The craving went away for that day and I decided that I would take this victory with me and carry on through the battle the next day.

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Welcome to the community quittintime!

I can definitely relate to a lot of your story, especially not really enjoying time with my girlfriend when we hung out. I would always be thinking about gaming and feeling jittery about playing again. You are 100% doing the right thing, especially if you want to start up your own business again. It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and a lot of talent. Keep up the good work on the detox!

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Welcome to the community!

You have a compelling story, I hope you can turn things around by getting rid of gaming.

I have also had my struggles with filling the gap that gaming left, but identifying what needs gaming fulfills is a key step. There's plenty of resources like Respawn on this website you can use to help you with that, but it may require multiple activities to fully replace gaming. Hit me up if you'd like more detail on this.

All the best on this new chapter of your life :D

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