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Captain's Log - JSmith

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 4.2.2018 | Day 21

So I finally completed Week 1 Day 1 of the One Hundred Pushups workout planner I'm following. Been on the first day for the last like, two weeks, but I finally managed to do all five sets. Nice to see I'm getting stronger. Skipped doing squats because of some lingering pain in my leg still. On Wednesday I'll use my free personal training session I got when I signed up at the gym to make sure I'm using correct exercise form.

I'm not doing this 2000 words quota anymore. It's a fucking wreck. If I had honestly taken the time I needed to fix details and minor plot holes in my outline before putting words on the page, I would have been there all night. But no, I just wanted to hit the quota, and my quality is suffering for it. I'm not Stephen King. I can't just write write write. There's too many DETAILS, too much to BUILD still, even with this long ass outline I spent the last month making...fuck. I'm gonna take my time and write correctly. Which means I'll probably spend tomorrow redoing everything I've written. I should also reread that writer's manual I picked up a long, long time ago. It wasn't that relevant back when I didn't even have scenes planned yet, but it's super relevant now.

Was considering going to the bar around the corner to play pool there. Thought maybe I could meet some people that way. But gosh, $7 an hour is a lot.

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 4.4.2018 | Day 23

Lot of shit going on right now.

Saw a couple movies in the theater recently. Ready Player One was the most interesting of the two. I'm surprised it didn't trigger me as much as I thought it would, but I found that a lot of the themes in the movie resonated with me, and with this.

Went back to my time-based minimum writing quota. Decided to reread The Writing Manual from BubbleCow, and take notes so it was ingrained in my head. Will hit the draft again tomorrow.

Knee is still fucked up. Did two squats today and it screamed. Signed up for a free personal training assessment next week. Hopefully it will be better by then. If not, then I will definitely see a doctor. Honestly I thought it would have healed by now.

Stressed out right now by all this relationship stuff still. I was just messaging my therapist about it. My feelings are going in a million different directions it seems, and I can't tell what's true and what isn't. Or perhaps I know exactly what I want and the reality of it is super scary. Like, what if all I really wanted socially was one girl to be with? So then I should focus on getting that, and cut out all the other bullshit. This girl I mentioned a couple posts ago, the one I started talking to again long distance, gone. Friends? No, I don't want that shit. I don't care about making friends. Maybe even this journal. Well, no, this journal can be useful for other reasons than just connecting with other people. Maybe. 

Honestly, that might have been the most true to my heart thing I've said all day. But I have to consider the consequences. Does it make sense to pursue a relationship right now? To me, no. I'm going back to school in five months, and I am literally in the middle of a transformation. Why would I get into a relationship now? I've already talked about sacrificing to be successful later on and stuff, so I won't repeat it here. Also, I would have to tell this long distance girl that I no longer wish to communicate, and that's going to be really painful. Not to mention, I know the loneliness creature is lurking around the corner. I call it "getting low" now, because it's the same creature that leads me to old bad habits, like roleplaying. In fact, I told my therapist it's what led me to talk to that long distance girl again, because I was low and she was just an email away. We even talked about finally meeting each other, like for real. But I was jumping on it for the wrong reasons. And I found out recently that she's actually still involved with someone else, though not "officially". Still, she's gonna be with him for two months before seeing me, so...wtf lol I should just stop this madness. I'm thinking I really should just be brutal about this, because even though it would be painful at first, that's the only way I'm gonna get to what I truly want. Maybe, I don't know. Any advice would be appreciated.

And then my laptop screen went haywire just a couple hours ago (I'm using the living room computer currently), so now I'm stressed out about that too. Wonderful.

Edited by JSmith
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Captain's Log - JSmith | 4.5.2018 | Day 24

So my laptop screen appears to be useable today, though I have a feeling it won't stay this way forever. It's been getting progressively worse so I looked into getting another screen. This computer is old in general, about how old my previous laptop was when its motherboard graphics fried resulting in similar but worse screen issues (as in it literally just stopped working). If it's a gpu problem with this one as well I'll have to get a new one because motherboard reheats are risky to do by yourself and shops can run quite high on cost. Even if it was just the screen I still wonder if I shouldn't even bother and just replace the whole thing anyways, since something else could break you know?

Every option is too expensive because I'm still looking for another job and my cash reserves are slowly going down. Good news is I applied to three more jobs today so if I keep up the pace the law of averages should get me something. In theory. I hope.

I can't stand job interviews. Not because I can't do them, but because they feel silly. Like a game. Oh well.

I spent most of my writing time today looking over this new writing program I picked up called Scrivener, from the same site I got The Writing Manual. I looked over the tutorial and then I was thinking about whether or not I wanted to move over all my novel content into the program, or if I even wanted to use it at all. It looks like an efficient program, but I might not really need it, especially since I'm already so far into the process. And I'm annoyed because all of this is killing the momentum I had with actually working on my draft. And not only that, but I looked over the last few scenes I wrote during that experimental words quota thing I tried, and they're so bad part of me feels like I need to redo them. So in short, I'm stuck. Do I keep hammering out the draft and leave the rewriting for the next run, or do I go back and fix/reorganize things?

Edited by JSmith
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Captain's Log - JSmith | 4.6.2018 | Day 25

Was tempted to make a post last night or this morning, because I was so close to relapsing last night it was crazy. It went something like this. The loneliness bug hit me again, much sooner than I was expecting. I could have talked to that girl online, but I decided not to, since I knew that wasn't what I really wanted. Instead I tried sitting with it. Sat there for a few moments, just letting the feelings wash over me. Very strange. Then I decided to watch some youtube videos to distract myself. It was late, and I didn't have anything else to do (not actually true, but day-to-day speaking), but I wasn't tired yet. Decided to watch some star wars videos. One of them had (without my knowing) a cinematic from a video game that never actually came out. Don't know if it was that cinematic or the video in general, but right afterwards I experienced the most powerful urge I think I've ever felt, honestly. Not only was the urge related to star wars, since it was a star wars game I was thinking about playing, but it felt linked to the loneliness bug. Whenever I feel lonely, I stop caring about making myself better, and it's easy to regress to old habits.

But I fought it, and eventually went to bed. So I won.

Had the most interesting dream that night. I was a Fleet Commander, like you see in sci-fi stories. I was assigned control of a massive fleet of spaceships, serving as cargo distributors for some Chinese galactic trading company. I had initially accepted some kind of military-based work (the jobs came and went and I picked one like a mercenary), but it got switched up on me. Anyways, I had to meet with all the pilots and give a speech in this big room. There were at least a hundred pilots in the room when I walked in, and a lot of them looked like kids (I think that comes from Pacific Rim: Uprising, if anyone has seen it). I got to the front of the room, and just as I was about to start I felt nervous, so I grabbed this sheet from this older woman giving details about our mission, looked over it real quick, and then gave my speech. As soon as I started talking the nervousness went away and I felt like a total badass.

Welcome, everyone. I am Commander (insert real full name here) and I am the (something) of this little operation we have here...

Our job is to (something about delivering cargo)...we're like the FedEx of the universe...

If I had written this in the morning, I would have remembered both those lines entirely. But I do remember the looks on the pilots' faces. The smiles and cheering. Maybe we were going into battle haha, who knows. But dammit I was in control and I was the man in charge. It was a great feeling. Other crazy stuff happened in that dream (including a fight between everyone and myself in a shopping room versus an angry Mike Tyson - thanks Ip Man 3 - we lost) but I wanted to include this part because it really resonates with me, and with the design of my journal.

Anyways I woke up in awe, hit the gym as usual, then got to work on my novel. Followed @Cam Adair's advice (thanks man), just got right into it, no more thinking about stuff. Hit 40,000 words today, a pretty decent milestone. Feeling excited. Was offered a job interview today as well, which I accepted, then applied to another job once I was done with my writing. Pretty productive day today.

I'm a little worried about future gaming urges and the like, but unlike when I did the detox a year and a half ago, I have a super crystal clear reason for quitting gaming: to finish my book. I don't know what I'm gonna do afterwards. I'll probably go back to gaming, honestly. I still like games. But I'm gonna finish this thing first, and get paid. Maybe during my time away I'll decide I no longer want to game, and that's fine too. As long as I get paid. I guess the thing I really want is freedom.

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 4.7.2018 | Day 26

I'm in trouble.

Gaming urges are getting worse. They were there when I woke up this morning, after I went to the gym, while I was doing my minimum writing quota, and they're here now, as I'm typing this sentence. I had a dream last night that I was playing another mobile game.

My mind is doing that thing again, trying to convince me that I can play games and do the other things I'm doing. And I'm listening. I still have all this time at the end of the day, after errands and working out and writing, and I don't know what to do with it. I was going to write some more, but I checked out a video meeting from this site my therapist recommended to me, about sex and love addiction. Spent the last hour watching that, and now I'm done and the urges are back, in full force. Is it because of the movies I've been watching? Am I being triggered by other threads on this forum? It wasn't nearly this bad last time I quit gaming, but my actual life was so much better. I had my own place to live, I was making money, I was also getting exercise then, I was also working towards my dreams then, and I was meeting with friends.

What do I have now? Just the gym and this novel. No room of my own to focus and work, not even a bed to sleep on. Maybe I should go live with my dad, if he'd take me. But I know why I'm not doing that. I would just be trading one set of problems for another. Yeah I'm complaining, so what. It's the truth. Things aren't the same, so why should I expect the same experience?

The bigger question is, what do I do now?

Actually, the urges have weakened a little bit, as I'm writing this out. Maybe this helps. I guess all I can do for now is keep resisting. Writing this makes me feel like a heavy addict. It wasn't even that bad when I quit again. I was gaming, and writing, and looking for work, and I had already gotten accepted to school. It just wasn't enough for me. But if I go back, who knows what I would be giving up? Maybe things will get better in the future, maybe I'll be able to get even more work done. But if I go back, who's to say I won't lose all these good habits I've been building? Just play casually, you can still have fun. Yeah, right. I'm too competitive for casual play. It might work at first, but in the long run, who knows. I might end up spending all my money again. I might even regress into the other bad habits I've dropped. That would be the worst case.

Okay, enough ranting. I'll just...sit with it I guess.

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@Dannigan No need to apologize, I appreciate your advice.

I can't say for sure if I had "real" feelings for her. We used to have a "relationship" online years ago, and I was certainly attracted to her personality, but I told her recently I don't know if it was real or not because we never met face to face. Being in contact with her again after all that time was weird because while part of me desperately wanted to feel those "highs" again like you mentioned, ultimately I realized it's not to be, because of all the reasons I mentioned before.

I've been thinking a lot about how to re-establish connections with real people, but I really don't know. Hopefully I'll get employed again soon and I'll have less time to be "bored" and more human interaction. Until then, *shrug*.

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 4.8.2018 | Day 27

Still getting bombarded with these gaming urges. Nothing new happened today. Woke up, hit the gym, showered, had breakfast. Spent a lot of time on here today, more than I usually do. Reading journals, commenting where I felt appropriate. Got a lot of writing done as well, about 3000 words. I'm panicking about my novel length again. I'm only about halfway through my outline, but most of the remaining pages are just planned dialogue. Will continue and see how it looks.

I finished everything so early today. Before 6pm I was done writing. The urges just wouldn't leave me alone. I could have written more, but I did the quota plus a little extra, and I wanted a break. Just...watched movies and sat around for the rest of the time, until now. I thought to myself, there would be no difference sitting here staring at a screen versus playing a game on my phone, if I'm not gonna use the time anyways. But then I realized my dopamine levels would probably be skyrocketing right now if I was playing. Right now they're super low, I can feel it. Not even watching action movies, not even watching STAR WARS does to my brain what gaming does. It's a whole different level.

Tomorrow I'm taking a trip to the school I'll be attending next semester, for an advising session. Gonna meet with an advisor and pick classes. Hopefully I'll also know how many semesters I need to finish. Hopefully not too many. I chose Computer Science as my major. Did I mention that already? I'm too lazy to check.

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 4.9.2018 | Day 28

Oh goodness. I've been busy all day. Haven't had a day like this in a long time.

Woke up super early to workout before having to get ready for my advising session. Gaming urges were still jabbing me in the gut as I sat there waiting for my sister to arrive to drive me over to the school. The session was interesting, but confusing as well. Transfer credits, course requirements, skill areas, study areas, graduation requirements, major requirements, so many details. I got back home and suddenly had like, 80 things to do. Laundry, emails, conversations on the phone, troubleshooting, more laundry. Had to take a bus to go fax some document so my school could get my 5 year old AP scores :p. Got to writing last, and I was tired and still urging pretty badly. But I got it done. I'm at 50,000 words now. Didn't I just hit 40k??? ON FRIDAY XDDDDDDDD

Now I have no choice but to go to sleep now, instead of relapsing. I have to get up early again tomorrow for a job interview, so that's gonna be fun. Honestly I think it's pretty bad that I'm even considering making an active choice to game again, but this shit isn't going away and I don't know why. But you know what, I won't hide anything. If I do, I'll own it on here.

Maybe I'm getting too caught up in the terms "addiction" and "relapsing". I said I would stop gaming simply to devote more energy to my novel, and I absolutely have. Though I've picked up other habits as well. I sleep without my phone and I've been working out every day. I've almost hit 30 days, this has become sort of my standard. Okay I should go to bed now.

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I want to preface by saying that I skimmed through many of your past journal entries just now, so I may very well get details wrong. Feel free to correct me. That said, I can see that we truly are in similar in many places in our lives. 

First off, I know I'm late in saying this, but it's good to have you back on the forum. I'm the same as you in this regard, and I've noticed we have many other returness as well. On the one hand, it's sad that for so many of us our detoxes weren't enough, but on the other hand it's good to have good people staying on the forum supporting each other and continuing the fight.

It sounds like you're going back to school after having struggled in the past. Did that myself. I was pre-med and had to switch to a paramedic program just to keep my gpa alive so that one day I could come back. A lot of depressing nights came from this. I also had a really rough experience with a girl around this time, which reminds me of the long-distance girl you've been talking about. Coming from the experience I'll say something that may or may not be helpful in your situation, but I've found has been so for me. You are mentally stronger now than you've ever been before, and therefore these hard times have been invaluable in becoming the man you seek to be. Your dreams are still within your grasp.

So I want to say I'm proud of you man. For continuing to combat bad habits, for continuing your education, for working on your body and mind, and for refusing to remain isolated even when it's the easiest thing to do. And it's especially cool that you're writing a science fiction novel as you do all of this. I've found that creative endeavors are the best for replacing gaming.

I don't know if you've ever seen the anime The Wings of Honneamise, but you remind me a lot of the protagonist in it. It's about a young man who's training to become an astronaut, and doing so allows him to develop into the kind of person he wants to be.

The bridge is yours, Captain.

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 4.9.2018

Removed the day counter, because I did play a couple mobile games just a little while ago. I honestly pretty much knew this was going to happen, only question was after how long.

I woke up, worked out as usual, talked to an old college friend, had a job interview, wrote over 3500 words at the library. Then I came home and decluttered a little bit, something I've been meaning to do for a long time. Played the games last, with the rest of the time I had. There was no mad rush or high like I was thinking might happen, not really. There was that familiar feeling of exhaustion that came with getting caught up over all the details. That could change in the future. I have no intention of going all out or anything like I was before, since I know it's not worth the time and money I would need to give up. And so I'm still wondering if they're even worth playing at all. I'm not trying to justify what I've done, I just want to share where my mind is. I feel drained (a little better now that I've eaten before coming back to finish this post :p). I threw out my gaming mouse, mousepad and ethernet cable, which I had stored in a box, so I know I'm still not going back to computer gaming anytime soon. There's only the possibility that I could end up wanting to be super competitive with mobile gaming, like I was in the past, which seems kinda silly right now.

Sorry @Pierce, sorry to everyone I disappointed. It is what it is.

I have a personal fitness assessment tomorrow at the gym. Finally gonna get some assistance with my exercise forms. Then more writing, of course. And that's it. I should probably apply to another job as well, since I have no clue if I'll get the one I interviewed for today or not.

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I use not dissapointing everyone on GQ as motivation as well, but the truth is the main reason we feel disappointment is from ourselves. From my perspective you got a lot of good things done today, including setting up another layer of defense against gaming, and even posted right after relapse. You're doing great.

As for interviewing, my dad always taught me to, "keep the line taut". What he meant by this was to apply broadly, and as an added bonus you'll have more confidence in your interviews because you know that this is just one of many options. It's the whole abundance mentality concept.

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 4.11.2018

Had my personal fitness assessment. It was an...interesting experience. I'm trying to remember exactly what they told me, but basically, well apparently, bodyweight exercises alone aren't an effective way of building muscle. I just don't get it. Humans haven't had weights forever. What did the Spartans do to build their strength??? Of course they tried to sell me a personal training plan afterwards, which I can't afford at all. I think I will eventually look into vitamin supplements and omega-3's they told me about. I just don't want to do anything complicated.

Writing was writing. Had to rest for a little bit after the first pomodoro, because I ran out of energy for some reason. Eventually got the rest done, and made some good progress too. My novel is definitely too short. I'm at the final battle and I'm haven't even cracked 60k words. Hmm. I know my location and character descriptions will need work, so that may make it longer, but I can't think of anything major to add. I'll just have to see.

Got an email back from the job I interviewed at yesterday, no offer :( but at least they didn't make me wait. Applied to another one today. One a day should do it, and I already have a few applications still being looked at.

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Flax seed is a great source of omega-3's. I make my own protein shakes and put a liberal amount of it in them. The shakes are also super cheap and healthy since they're home made. Let me know if you're interested in the recipe.

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