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It's Quittin' Time - 90 day detox journal


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After my first post yesterday, I felt a little better after writing about my situation. So here's the start of my 90 day detox journal.

I'm also going to check in on a few different metrics each entry and rank them 1-10 on how I'm feeling that day.

 

Overall Detox Goals:

- 90 days without gaming or gaming-related sites/videos

- Also removing mindless TV watching. OK to watch 1 or 2 specific shows each week, but not to come home and crash and turn the TV on to watch whatever's on for hours.

- Trying to reduce/minimize overall computer time, but it may be difficult since I am a programmer for my job and I sometimes do freelance at home.

 

Day 6

Attention/Concentration: 4/10

Irritability: 9/10

Depression: 5/10

Restlessness: 9/10

 

Today was a typical day at work; I got stuff done despite some intermittent problems concentrating and wandering off to reddit or other timewasters. I generally felt like the day was going really well until I got home. Wife and I ate dinner together at the table and she asked me what I wanted to do tonight. I said I didn't know, but looking back on it, I think I wanted to just be alone to think and write about how I'm feeling, but I was scared to tell her I wanted to be alone, because I was afraid she would get upset for me not spending enough time with her. Well, she got upset anyway because I said I didn't want to play a board game or card game or watch a movie together, and I didn't have any other ideas.

She says she needs quality time together. I know that's the #1 way she feels loved by me, and it's yet another reason why I'm deciding to detox, because there have been a lot of times gaming has gotten in the way of me loving her the way she needs, because I either don't want to spend time with her, or the time I do spend with her, I'm not really "there". My mind is off thinking about gaming.

At any rate, she says she needs quality time and that sometimes I should just force myself to play a game with her. I got upset because I felt like she really didn't understand how I was feeling but was trying to tell me what to do, and I lashed out and raised my voice. I'm not proud of it, and even while I was still lashing out I was thinking to myself "I don't recognize this person that I am right now". Needless to say, I left the conversation feeling really ashamed. I apologized for getting upset and she apologized too, but it definitely still stung.

I think one of the reasons it started to upset me so much is that I needed to feel like I was in control of my own life. Like I can choose what it is I want to do and when I want to do it. Gaming is all about having complete control over your character(s), whether it's WoW or CS:GO or Overwatch or Starcraft or Skyrim or what have you. When I'm at work, I do what my boss tells me to do. When I get home, I really want to feel like I control my own self, and without gaming, I'm realizing that I don't have that feeling anymore.

I think her simple suggestion came across to me like a command, like I didn't have a choice in the matter and that at home, too, I wasn't able to control my own life. Of course that's not what she meant, but it was easy for me to take it that way.

The thing i don't know is, should I look for other ways of feeling "in control", or should I be looking for ways to change myself so that I don't need to feel "in control"? Maybe both?

If I'm honest, I am a bit of a control freak. I never have a problem telling others what they should do, but I often take offense when someone tells me. I want to feel and be independent, not relying on anyone else, and that's a large driving factor behind wanting to run my own business. So I don't think that's 100% bad, but I can definitely see how that can be really bad when at the extreme.

I think my gaming has allowed that part of myself to grow beyond what it really should be. I gave myself unlimited gaming, which gave me unlimited sense of control, and now that I'm 6 days without both, I'm reeling. I'm having a really hard time knowing what's true or not about myself anymore. I used to think that I was just passionate about gaming -- clearly a lie to mask my addiction. What if I'm not the person who wants to be in control and in charge? What if that's just an aspect of my personality that has been severely warped by gaming? I think this early into my detox, it's hard to tell. I really hope to get some clarity on this and much more like it over the course of this 90 days.

So, new concept/idea: Gaming addiction is personality cancer. It stifles and suppresses some parts of your personality and allows rampant, uncontrolled growth in others. Neither is a good thing.

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Nice to see you've started a journal! You'll easily keep yourself accountable for doing what you want in the long term, and we can help you when there's a slip up.

Wanting to spend time with family is a noble motive, so keep your detox going, I'm rooting for ya!

Later on in your detox you'll be able to tell if you're passionate about gaming or if it was just an addiction like you said, but I'd say don't stress about it for now.

Have you tried meditation? It helps me to clear my mind of unhelpful thoughts, it could also help you keep grounded and focused on the moment.

All the best for finishing your detox :D

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Hey I definitely can relate to this urge of cotrol. One thing you have to realise about games is that they take control away from you. With giving them up you can decide how to live your life. You aren't forced anymore to sit down and spent all your time on the computer if your stressed. I think addiction is the biggest loss of control there is. You let a substance a behaviour or whatever take control ybout your life.

About your relationship(I am married since Decembre and over 6 years in a realtionship with my wife SO I ahve alteast some knowledge or at least experience to share)

It is important that you can communicate the things you wrote down here to her. Just apologizing for your behaviour if you are sorry is a good start. But I would advice you to talk to her why it came so far and what your feelings are. I am sure as you have more time(maybe at the weekend you find more joy in spending time with her.

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I could relate to gaming as a way to be in control. But at the same time, I felt so out of control because I couldn't control my obsession with games. 

 

Thanks for sharing, and I am interested in reading about how things go

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End of day 9

I'm feeling much better than I was a few days ago. Today was a good day, it was the first day since my detox started where I didn't have work and didn't have lots of other things to do. I was worried that it would be the day with the greatest temptation to relapse, but I found it pretty easy not to play today, I didn't feel very tempted.

My wife and I got up and ran some errands this morning, then we came back to the house and she wasn't feeling good and just wanted to lay around and watch TV. Normally, I would lay around with her and watch TV with her, but today I watched about half of a movie that was on TV with her, then got up and did other things. I felt so productive and good about myself to get up and do something, even if it was just cleaning up or doing laundry.

I started reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. @Cam recommended it in one of his videos -- I think it was one about how not to relapse over summer break, but it was really a relevant video to what I have struggled with, which is feeling out of control. I'm going to try scheduling things in my life and building some structure into my day as recommended in the book.

The real reason I chose this book to read first is because of something Cam said in the video. He said if you are a night owl, not a morning person, consider reading this book and it will change your life. I've always identified as a night owl, and definitely not a morning person, and I've known for a while that staying up late and not getting up early isn't really the best way of doing things, but I suppose I've sort of written it off as something that's a part of who I am, not something I can change. So, I was definitely interested and started reading today. I think I'm about halfway done, it's a really quick read so you should check it out if you struggle with mornings.

I think one of the reasons detoxing can be so life changing (if you're serious about it) is that, for me, it is really starting to cause me to question and challenge some things I've thought about myself for many, many years. Things like that I'm just not a morning person, I'm more of a night owl and that's something I can't help -- This may sound really stupid to some people, but the idea that I can completely change this was novel to me. I've always just thought, some people are morning people, and other's aren't. I'm one of those that isn't. /shrug. But that's not true at all.

Other things I'm rethinking are: 

  • I'm just passionate about games (this is a common one, I think).
  • I have more control when I play games (Thanks for your perspective, @WorkInProgress -- you're totally right, playing games takes control away, when it actually feels like they are giving you more control)
  • I don't have time to do the other things I want to do in my life -- I found that I had a TON of time today to do whatever I wanted since I didn't waste the day away playing games.

 

One thing I'm still struggling with is finding interest in other less stimulating activities. One in particular that comes up a lot is playing board or card games with my wife. I love spending time with her, but for some reason playing board/card games just sounds terrible. Right now I'm telling her I don't really feel like playing a game, and she's really understanding, but this coming week I want to really push past the terrible feelings and play a few games with her. Who knows, maybe it'll be ok again!

Thanks everyone for the thoughts, advice, and kind words! It really does make this a lot easier to have a community of people who understand what I'm going through and actually recognize gaming addiction as a real thing.

 

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Day 13

Wow, the fact that my journal is on the second page of the forum and the last post was just a couple days ago.. that's crazy! So many people quitting gaming! This is awesome. 

I felt a lot better towards the weekend, and this week has started getting rough again. Not a strong desire to play games, but that constant feeling of restlessness. The itch I can't quite scratch. I've ended up mindlessly going to Reddit all the time, and I think as a result I'm going to have to remove Reddit and a few other sites from my browsing. It's going to be hard, but I'm going to do it. Wish me luck...

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Day 13

Wow, the fact that my journal is on the second page of the forum and the last post was just a couple days ago.. that's crazy! So many people quitting gaming! This is awesome. 

And it's only growing month over month. A year ago there were 3 of us. Lol.

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Day 13

Wow, the fact that my journal is on the second page of the forum and the last post was just a couple days ago.. that's crazy! So many people quitting gaming! This is awesome. 

And it's only growing month over month. A year ago there were 3 of us. Lol.

1 more post until you reach 4000 posts Cam!

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