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Simon E

A life without gaming

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Time to start off this journal-thingy!

Right now I'm actually eight days into it already, and it's been going surprisingly well. Might be because of the heat-wave that descended over our part of the country last week, it being around 30 degrees Celsius or 86 degrees fahrenheit (which is really damn hot for a Swede like me). I've spent the days outside longboarding, walking and playing a little pokemon go with friends (a sort-of video game that I'm not going to give up yet, because it makes me go outside and hang out with friends, two things I want to do more. Also, I don't feel the same temptation for it as I did with games on the computer, but I'll keep an eye out for that.) 

When inside I've been struggling with establishing writing and drawing habits, and well, I've come to the obvious conclusion that creative stuff is just so hard to do sometimes. I think I've managed pretty well though. 

As for urges/cravings, there hasn't really been that many, but sometimes random gamingvideos can pop up in my recommendations tab on youtube, and when that happens it instantly feels pretty rough. Especially today, where the title of some video stated that apparently my single favorite character is in a really good state in leagueoflegends at the moment. Not what you wanna hear when quitting haha. But I kinda just said screw you and went about watching some drawing tutorial instead. 

Overall, I feel pretty damn good, and I'm excited to keep going. Since I keep a daily journal on paper I might not check in here very often, but I'll attempt to do it atleast once a week.

Peace, and have a wonderful day :)

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Day 1: Alright, so alot has happened since my last post, which is no surprise since it's been almost two months. I have both bad and good news. Starting off with the good ones:

I managed to reach 45 days without a problem. During this time I didn't feel any urges at all to play, and slowly but surely I created some constructive habits, such as writing atleast 500 words every day, drawing consistently and studying somewhat seriously (probably for the first time in my 11 years of school.) It felt awesome. (Notice "felt"? Yeah, that brings us to the bad news.)

I only managed to reach 45 days. The only other time I sucessfully abstained from gaming that long in the past 8 years the exact thing happened as now: I feel literally no urges at all after quitting, and I'm thinking, this is easy, I can finally do it, I can finally make it work. Then, suddenly, these immense cravings appear from out of the blue, and since I'm so unprepared, I have no time to build up any defenses, resulting in the relapse. These moments of immense cravings usually coincide with external problems (not even problems, just things I have to deal with, things I have to react to.)

Found this poem in the preface of a book I read ("Station Eleven") that really resonated with me:

“The bright side of the planet moves toward darkness
And the cities are falling asleep, each in its hour,
And for me, now as then, it is too much.
There is too much world.”

Considering how introverted I am (if I'm allowed to use that word), people and all the stuff concerning people tends to exhaust me. My ideal life would consist of me living in a cave in the forest, writing and drawing all day, maybe have a few spontaneous philosophical discussions with passing travelers, but nothing more than that. Since that is practically impossible I confine myself to my own cave with league and a few virtual buddies. The inital relapse didnt last long; I played for maybe four hours then deleted league again, but what it did do was break my streak, which is more damaging than the small amount of time I played. Since that night two (three?) weeks ago I've been relapsing again on the weekends, simply because of the fact that I can't muster enough commitment to start over with the detox again, for real. The whole situation kinda reached it's climax yesterday, when I played for 14 hours straight and stayed up until 4am before crashing. This happened for two reasons; first, it's what my brain told me to do. There was too much world, so I had to escape. Second, because I kinda made it happen. I thought that if I push myself to the point where I'm about to literally collapse I would realize that gaming really has the potential to fuck up my life, and after that I would be able to make the decision to quit with atleast some resemblance to willpower. 

And well, it kinda worked. I slept way too little, woke up late and felt overall awful today; haven't managed to write or do anything productive. A good kind of awful though; this is what's necessary for my thick brain to understand that it's not sustainable, gaming cannot be a part of my life (Considering how I have to discover this fact over and over again, I might be a special kind of stupid)

So I'm starting on day 1 today. Came across the quote "Fall seven times, stand up eight", and tinkered with it a little for it to suit myself:

"Relapse a thousand times, quit a thousand and one". (Honestly it doesn't feel like I'm too far away from reaching that number.)

I've also read, in "The power of habit", that during times of recovery from addiction it's apparently extremely important with a supporting group, actually it might be what makes or breaks the whole attempt to quit, which is slightly downputting since I hate being dependant on others, being somewhat of a lone wolf/one-man-army-guy wanting to do everything on my own, but if everyone here are anything like Cam I know I'll be in great company.

So I might check in here more often (more often than once every two months atleast), and I'm grateful for any insights/supporting words you guys might have (also open at any time to having the previously mentioned philosophical disucssions ;))

As always, I apologize to anyone struggling through my bible written in slightly awkward english, and I hope anyone reading this has a great day :)

Simon

Edited by Simon E
Added #day of detox, for structure.

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Hey I woudl advice you to Journal consistently every day( or every twod ays or every week). It seems like you are not really knowing what the reason/Triggers of your relapse was. Writing over your Feelings and experiences can give yourself the possibility to identify such things and be prepared next time. Another Thing that helps against such suddenc ravings is to put the walls really high. Meaning delete oyur league account. block all site containing the keyword league etc. It seems extreme, but if it works who cares?

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It's ok to rely on others. Let it go.

 

I've also read, in "The power of habit", that during times of recovery from addiction it's apparently extremely important with a supporting group, actually it might be what makes or breaks the whole attempt to quit, which is slightly downputting since I hate being dependant on others, being somewhat of a lone wolf/one-man-army-guy wanting to do everything on my own, but if everyone here are anything like Cam I know I'll be in great company.

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 Day 5: I think I figured out the cause of my recent relapses; I've been seeing the weekends as these massive chunks of time that I simply have to get through, time that I have to kill, and, well, that mindset is pretty flawed. This is closely connected to me seeing all my productive tasks as work, something anti-fun, and when I'm done with those, I thought I needed a reward. 

But it shouldn't be like that, I should be really careful with the time I have, especielly weekends where I'm able to do whatever I want. I'll have to change my outlook on the productivity thing; in an ideal world I will crave drawing and writing as much as I did (do) with gaming. I do believe it's possible to let these activities serve as escapes from the real world in the same way as gaming did, and honestly, I wouldn't mind letting them become my new obsession. If you want to be great at something, obsession is a necessity.

Another things that's troubling me is the whole idea with fun. I sincerely doubt anthing will ever come close to being as fun as league was, but does that matter? Is it necessary to spend a certain amount of time every day having "fun", or is it possible to go through every day only making progress/doing fulfilling tasks and remaining sane/happy? In a sense, by being like a machine, just doing doing doing without getting distracted. 

 

Kind of a meh post, didn't feel it today. Just rambling.

Edited by Simon Ebbeståhl
#day of detox

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Day 6: Been having this weird sensation lately, both now and during my previous detox attempt.

It arrives at night, when the day is over and all the decisions I've made that day is history, unchangeable. Essentially, it's like this: I go through the day, I laugh, talk with my friends, I do stuff, some of the stuff makes me happier, some of the stuff doesn't, that's not the point. I'm not reflecting over my actions, I simply do the thing I'm doing then move on to the next, whether it's standing around waiting for class or whatever. I'm not thinking that much.

It feels like I'm just passing through life. Everything is happening, and I'm somewhat a part of it, but I'm not reflecting over my position. I exist, but am I living? I feel like nothing more than a high-functioning sleepwalker, and when the day is done, and it's time to turn off the lights, I ask myself, is this it? Another day gone and never coming back. Is it supposed to be like this? Going through the world without thoughts, feelings, without affecting or getting affected all that much.

Maybe this is caused by the years spent of gaming; the way I relate to the world might've become slightly twisted, slightly off. Or maybe it's really nothing and I'm just overthinking the whole deal. 

On a different and more relevant note, I'm now 8 days into the detox. It's the weekend right now, meaning it's the time when most of my cravings show up, but I'm handling it fine; it really isn't too bad. I've been distracting myself through the gym and the krav maga (my current martial art). Will update if it gets any worse.

Also, "Wake Up" by EDEN is literally the best song ever created. If there's one thing to take away from this journal, it's this; go listen to that song, or any song by EDEN. You won't regret it.

Peace, for now, I guess.

 

Edited by Simon Ebbeståhl
#day of detox

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Also, could someone explain the ranking system real quick? Does your rank depend on the number of posts you write? (Refering to the "New Member, Veteran, Old Timer" thingy).

If that's the case, this forum better brace itself; I'm going to be everywhere ;) Nothing can stop me from reaching that number one rank - I will become the very best, muahah.

Lame jokes aside, I'm honestly curious.

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Day 13: Weekend has arrived, meaning it's time to welcome back our dear guests, the cravings. This week the show also features a couple special guests: greet mr and mrs mood swing with a big applause. 

Seriously though. Autumn has arrived here in Sweden, which essentially means it will now be windy, rainy, gray and dark for more than half a year. Fan-fucking-tastic. Got urges to play a completely different game than the one I've quit recently (Rome 2 Total War), probably because of the weather. It would be awesome to indulge myself in a cozy campaign in a world separated from this one.

About the previously mentioned mood swings; I've been bouncing between feeling unstoppable and feeling nothing but utter despair. (The latter usually dominates.) Yesterday I studied at the local library for four hours straight then went home, crashed in the couch and watched netflix for four hours. Had no motivation or strength to do anything after that so I simply went to bed really early. Basically I'm either invincible or brittle to the point where a slight gust of wind would make me fall apart. 

I'm also experiencing conflicting feelings about what activities to do for enjoyment. My friends either go out drinking (which I can't see the point of. Mainly because I think it's meaningless, but also because I don't want to switch my gaming addiction for an alcohol one) or play video games. Which I want to do, but obviously can't. Or well, I can, but I won't. Hopefully. 

It's just that I can't imagine a world in which anything will ever be as fun as the gaming was. Is this because of the fact that my brain is messed up? WIll this change?

Since I'm in last year of high school I have been, after noticing how terrifyingly fast the time passes, contemplating the future, to some degree. I thought I wanted to become an author, but the words have a tendency of not wanting to be written. Of course I won't give up on that dream at the first sight of struggle, but it made me doubt. The other option I can even think of now is becoming a doctor. I've always found school relatively easy, and so I've managed to maintain pretty good grades in spite of the gaming. (Not in a very healthy way *cough* procrastinating to the last second *cough* but it worked.) I do not have straight A's, which means this path is quite uncertain, but I'm positive I'll get into med school somewhere, although maybe not at the top universities. 

That is, assuming I even want to. The thought of studying for another 7-13 years sends shivers down my spine, and I would also end up with quite a debt (not as bad as in e.g. USA, but it would take a couple of years to pay off). The end result though - actually saving lives - would be pretty awesome.

The conclusion: I'm not certain of anything.

TLDR: I'm lost, depressed and have no idea what I want to do with my life. Also, the weather is shit. Yay.

As always, I'm sorry for putting you through this mini-bible (or mini-Quran), and I hope you're having a better day (week? Life?) and better weather than I have. 

Signing out.

Edited by Simon Ebbeståhl
#day of detox

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It's just that I can't imagine a world in which anything will ever be as fun as the gaming was. Is this because of the fact that my brain is messed up? WIll this change?

Yes. At the moment I think video games are much less fun than going surfing, hanging out with friends, travel, etc. But it takes time.

With the weather changing to be more gray, it's really important that you're exercising daily. So if you don't have that regime setup yet, start there. It's ESSENTIAL. Also, you should be taking a Vitamin D supplement each day. I take 5000IU but you may want to consult with a professional on that - pharmacist or someone.

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@Cam Adair Thank you for your answer. I suppose I'll just have to put blind faith in the hope that it will change. 

I do in fact exercise quite a lot (krav maga three times a week, and gym two to three times), so that's something. In fact, Im about to leave for sparring training in 30 min (hopefully I'll get through it without losing too many teeth).

About the vitamin D thing; I drink fortified oatmilk that contains 30% of the recommended intake per 100ml, I will have to look up how much that really is and if I should be supplementing. Since I'll have virtually no access to sunlight in the coming months that might be necessary.

Also, I checked my coach.me statistics on a whim late last night, and I realised something: in the last 92 days I have only been gaming for 8 of them. I found that chocking, and really uplifting. 

Not everything is absolute shit, it seems.

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Day 14: I've come to the weird conclusion, that for me, the most natural replacement for gaming is school. 

Now, before you disregard me as a lunatic, listen. School gives you a clear and defined purpose: (learn stuff and) get good grades. It tells you how to achieve this goal: study. There's always math to be done, assignments to be written, speeches to be prepared. There is also a certain level of competetiveness; theres a number of other people facing the exact same challenge as you, and I find it interesting to see who'll be better at managing the task. 

For someone who considers school to be insufferable and useless, all this probably sounds really silly. But I've always had quite an easy time in school, and lately, when I've been beginning to handle it in a more serious way, I've realized that I love the feeling of finishing an assignment way before its due, way before anyone else has finished it. The competetive side of me also loves the feeling of scoring a higher grade than the majority of the class, preferably higher than anyone else. 

The things school and gaming (atleast LoL) gives you are really similar; a defined purpose, a defined way of striving towards that purpose, a kind of competetiveness, and also a social side. 

Comparing this to writing and drawing, and it's completely different. When let's say I'm drawing, I have no purpose (well I do have a vague idea of what I want to be able to draw, but that barely counts), no idea of how to reach that non-existing goal, no people to socialize or compete with, since it's something I do traditionally at home. This results in me lacking motivation for doing these things, even though that's what I want to dedicate my life to. Maybe I have to figure out a way to create the previously mentioned areas in the writing and drawing, but at that I feel kinda lost. 

But well, I do not intend to become some school-workaholic dude, even though there's nothing inherently wrong with studying seriously. If I want to become a doctor I'll have to study like a maniac. 

I'm not certain of the point of this post - I'm confused and life is complicated. Atleast I've got some writing done (yay).

 

Edited by Simon Ebbeståhl
#day of detox

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Hi Simon,

Why do you want to replace gaming with only 1 activity? it is quite hard to find such an including hobby/acitivity that covers the same needs gaming does to that level. Will school be enough? 

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@Ironfly Thanks for your input. No I'm definitely not looking to find a single replacement activity (not as a permanent solution, atleast); in fact I have so much I want to do. But the ideal scenario would be just that; to find one thing to pour all my energy into, one thing to become a master at. That's kinda how I prefer it to be (but I can't see myself being happy if this one thing is school, although that'll have to be it for now atleast)(Yeah I'm contradicting myself again and again, deal with it)

If there's something you plan dedicating your life to it would be pretty important for it to fill all necessary areas (constant growth, challenge, competetiveness, sociality). If you have to do different things to experience these four I imagine you would feel fragmented, no? Maybe not, that might just be me. Or maybe it's not the case even for me, I don't know.

As I've concluded before, I'm not certain of anything (not even if anything else than myself exists - the world might just be something made up by my mind. Thanks, philosophy).

I'll just keep testing stuff out and see what grants me the most happiness/fulfillment.

I'm about to fall asleep at any second, something the quality of this post is showing. Sorry lol

Edited by Simon Ebbeståhl
I suck at English

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Now, before you disregard me as a lunatic, listen. School gives you a clear and defined purpose: (learn stuff and) get good grades. It tells you how to achieve this goal: study. There's always math to be done, assignments to be written, speeches to be prepared. There is also a certain level of competetiveness; theres a number of other people facing the exact same challenge as you, and I find it interesting to see who'll be better at managing the task. 

School is a great replacement! The key is to make sure you also have a few things lined up for when you need a break from school - so those are things like going to the gym, hanging out with friends, etc. But focusing on school and using it as your primary replacement is certainly a great idea. :)

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@Cam Adair I suppose it is, huh. (But it just sounds so boring haha). 

I'll focus on school for now then, and keep struggling with my creative activities on the sidelines, see if I can figure out some things. 

I also find it kind of perplexing (that's a word, right?) how you can be everywhere, Cam. Not saying I don't appreciate it, it's honestly awesome how many people you are helping. I know for sure I would still be sitting hunched over the computer feeling miserable day out and day in if it weren't for your videos and blogposts. Thank you.

 

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@Ironfly Thanks for your input. No I'm definitly not looking to find a single replacement activity (not as a permanent solution, atleast); in fact I have so much I want to do. But the ideal scenario would be just that; to find one thing to pour all my energy into, one thing to become a master at. That's kinda how I prefer it to be (but I can't see myself being happy if this one thing is school, although that'll have to be it for now atleast)

If there's something you plan dedicating your life to it would be pretty important for it to fill all necessary areas (constant growth, challenge, competetiveness, sociality). If you have to do different things to experience these four I imagine you would feel fragmented, no? Maybe not, that might just be me. Or maybe it's not the case even for me, I don't know.

huh! if you explain it that way it sounds actually pretty good. i've been looking for such a replacement myself to (not school as that isnt an option right now) but i couldn't find it just yet. I hope this goes well for you (i can certainly see the potential of the whole plan :). I will keep following your journal.

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School is a place where you can find hobbies, hobbies such as biology, geology, music, religion, plastic arts, computer science and so on! You don't need to like everything that a school has to offer, just the disciplines you resonate with. Than devote your time to read and practice in those areas.

School depends. Depends on the mentality of the teachers and how they evaluate students, depends on the educational program, depends on time and space.

 " I have never let my schooling interfere with my education " - Mark Twain

 

Mark-Twain-Quote-4.jpg

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Day 15: Checking in. 

Went to the library with a friend and studied for the chemistry test tomorrow. My head is about to burst open with methane and oxidation and gas laws, but we managed to get through everything the test will feature, so that felt good.

When I got home I considered whether to go training or not, but decided against it, since I exercised yesterday (not a legit excuse but hey). Instead I made myself a snack and crashed on the couch, feeling really tired. After facing tempations and fighting an internal battle (which I lost) I watched some league videos (since I had some cravings. Did watching league material make the cravings go away? Surprise - no).

It all made me thinking (Oh no. Brace yourselves, people). I do miss the good times gaming has given me, but I realize I can't integrate gaming into a healthy lifestyle. But why is this? Because I'm addicted. Why am I addicted? Why won't everyone who play video games (or abuse heroin, or watch porn, or... Etc) get addicted? 

According to these guys https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ao8L-0nSYzg addictions do not arise because of the high level of stimulation the thing (video games, drugs) provides you with, but because it caters to a certain basic human need unfulfilled in you. 

If you are lacking something fundamental in your life, you are more likely to become addicted (to what doesn't really matter)(The addiction isn't the cause, but the symptom of another problem - something many people here at GQ have realized). But if you live a fulfilling life with meaningful relationships, activities you love etc. you won't become addicted.

This might be why not everyone who does something potentially addicting gets addicted; either they already live a satisfying life, or atleast the specific fundamental need that the potentially addicting behavior caters to is already satisfied. 

So my question is: if I managed to build a meaningful existance for myself, would I be able to play video games without having to face the risk of completely losing control?

This raises alot of doubt.

1. If I have a meaningful and fulfilling life, maybe I wouldn't even want to play video games.
2. Maybe the video gaming would begin to compromise my improved life, and make everything collapse and fall to ruin again. 
3. Maybe my brain is already wired in a way that won't ever let me play video games (league specifically) without the dopamine production going ham and influencing every other part of my life.

I just thought it was an interesting idea, because that's something I envy in others and really would like for myself; to be in control of the gaming, and not the other way around. 

Because right now, I could play video games and still do all the things that has to be done (school, writing, guitar, exercise). How do I know this? Since alot of the time I'm really inefficient; minutes or even hours can go by where I just space off, drift into trains of thoughts, watch crappy youtube videos/netflix series etc. If I had gaming to look forward to, I believe I could eliminate all these timekillers and get my stuff done faster and better. The only problem is ofcourse that I have no control over it, so, currently it's not an option. But maybe control can be achieved?

IDK, maybe it's all wishful thinking. It was just an idea that crossed my mind and one I felt could be developed. If you have any insights or arguments against it (maybe believing me to be tremendously stupid for ever thinking such a thing), please let me know.

TLDR: Playing with the thought of gaming in a healthy way. Also describing my fascinating day of studying and dozing off in my oh-so-comfortable couch.

Signing out.

Edited by Simon Ebbeståhl
I suck at English

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