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The Journey Within


Pierce
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The new more effective way is my notepad. Problem is, it's very easy to not use it or to not follow the time and website allotments I write on it. Seems like I contradicted my first statement. Except, I don't believe it has to be that way. The notepad provides structure, and discipline can flow forth from there. I feel that I have a better picture of what I need to do. I just need to do it.

Day 337 without gaming, 0 days without compulsive internet use

Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

"Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing." -Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5

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I use a notepad app on my phone which allows text files and daily checklists for myself. I also set reminders for myself to keep me on track. I know it's electronic but for someone analytical like me, it really helps me do what I need to do.

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  • 7 months later...

I wrote out a long post and just deleted it. I don't want to post a sob story and I don't want to post something inauthentic. So here's the truth.

 

I made it a year.

 

Sounds fantastic. But it didn't mean much. My root addiction to the internet was still there. I fell back the next day. I'm still in relapse right now. I'm possibly at the lowest point in my life internally, even though externally I still have a ton of things going for me. This has led to very strong depression. More than I can handle sometimes. Because while this addiction exists I am a shell of a man.

So that long post about how I'm going to change. I'm not going to post it until I mean it. But I'm also not going to wait to come back here until I have some success story. Because I tried that and it's  well over half a year now. 

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@info-gatherer Good advice man. I've yet to have a morning that didn't make the past problems look insignificant. Thanks.

@Cam Adair I don't know how often we've thanked you for all that you've done for this community, but I want to take the time to repeat it right now. You're the man. Means a lot to hear from you.

Day 1

I needed the kick in the pants to admit where I was at in the world. A bit embarrassing, but I'll get over it and it's definitely better than being stuck.

I feel a lot better today. The only time I was on a computer today was to type up patient reports for my ER clinical last week and to journal. I've mainly been reading an old fantasy novel in my house for entertainment. I felt a bit lazy lounging about so much, but it's exponentially better than being in front of a screen. Feels like the difference between overindulging on fruits and vegetables vs overindulging on fast food. I also made sure to go for a long walk this morning to replace running since I'm sick. Trying to get my fitness and meditation habits back.

Anyway, as promised, here are the goals I set for myself for the next year starting today:

"For one year I will not

  1. Watch TV, movies, or YouTube (unless Khan Academy, music while doing something productive, or required by school).

  2. Play video games or go to video game related websites.

  3. Go to any other site that is not for educational or productive reasons, such as social media.

 

To fill this time I have many habits that I would like to build. The core ones include:

  • Reading (I have a list of books that could last me at least a year).

  • Fitness (running, pushups, pullups, crunches, yoga, rucking, and weights).

  • Meditation.

  • School/work.

 

Lesser habits that are still important (meaning all remaining time should be allocated towards them) include:

  • Meeting with friends or participating in activities where I can meet new people.

  • Cooking new recipes.

  • Cleaning.

  • And other fun skill building activities such as playing the guitar.

 

I’m charting these habits on Habitica, but they are the cherry on top of my primary goal. The reason I’ve set it up this way is so that I will be completely focused on my detox goal, and have lots of healthy activities to easily fill its void that I will be pressured to do."

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Thanks man!

not sure where you live/what the weather is like but the easiest way I’ve found to spend less time in front of screens is to be in nature more. It’s hard to go on my phone while I surf for example, or when I’m on a hike without reception. Reconnecting with nature could be powerful for you. 

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Now, THAT’s a list of goals! Also, I suggest you to

-replace YouTube with Spotify or similar services for music, it’s not a trigger and works better

-I understand why you’re banning movies, but as a movie lover I have to say that not all movies are equally a waste of time. For example art house movies and documentaries are not, in my opinion. Maybe you could put a rule that you can only watch movies you have got in DVD, so you would be forced to go and rent one every time instead of browsing your favourite streaming service and having instant gratification

 

But these are just details, the important thing is that you are committed to changing your life in a meaningful way and I root for you!

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@Cam Adair It's cold in the south still, but I go orienteering (competitive hiking with a map and compass) once a month. I wish going outside was more accessible for my life right now, but going running more often is one way I can do so.

@info-gatherer Good points; I'm still trying to tweak my goals. I can be a bit of an idealist sometimes, and maybe my goals are too rigid. I'm just curious to see what it would be like to pare down how much screen time I get for a whole year. I'll keep your advice in mind if I need to make changes, and I like the bit about using Spotify instead.

 

Talking about today is almost as embarrassing as coming back here to admit I've been living back in addiction for so long. I almost pushed today's post back to tomorrow, but I know it's important to keep the habit up. I don't find playing video games all that entertaining anymore, they seem very repetitive, but their stories still captivate me. This morning I was thinking about how agonizing it would be to wait a year to play Doki Doki Literature Club for the first time. I'd been studing a lot about the theories and philosophy of the game, and it's deep, controversial topics spoke to me. So I started out doing a little bit of research on the game, cheating my own goals a tiny bit by going to gaming websites, and of course that led to taking a mile. Watching lets play for the rest of the day and not getting any school work done. The school work was another large reason why I did this. All of my school work requires using a computer, and so I find ways to avoid the work once I turn one on. This has gotten so bad that I even gave my personal laptop to a friend for safekeeping, but temporarily borrowing one from my parents or using those at the library down the street doesn't stop me from going on youtube.

I'm glad I'm putting this all in a public place. I can't skirt it under the rug. It makes me take greater personal responsibility for my actions and find solutions. I'm looking forward to reading, getting school work done, and going to class tomorrow.

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Still sick today, but feeling much better. Going to class was fantastic. Being around friends and learning more about my trade is a well needed reprieve from home life. We did drug dose calculations, and even got to go home early. Had a few patient contacts to enter in for my ER clinical last week once at home, and I procrastinated. Started off as Jordan Peterson lectures and then went off to lots of TV. Wasn't nearly as fun as reading. It was more to avoid work than it was to find something entertaining. I got it done though, and am about to do some reading before going to bed.

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Day 1

Much better. I hung out with a friend I hadn't seen in a while for most of today. Our interactions usually spark growth in one another, and this was no exception. We talked about our careers, women, and overall growth. I came up with a practical game plan for the next few months. My next step is to pass the test required to get a higher certification at my job, and then to get my own car.

Being out socializing made it less tempting to waste time on the internet, and when I got home tired I wanted to read more than anything.

Tomorrow I have another ER rotation, so I'm going to get plenty of rest for that.

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Day 2

Got done with my 12 hour er clinical a few hours ago. I was still reticent about going in the morning, but I'm glad I did.  When I got home I wanted to eat dinner and join my dad in watching star trek, but went running instead. It felt amazing to push myself. 

Both situations apply to a self help principle I learned a couple years ago: the hard thing is the easy thing and the easy thing is the hard thing. When I was with my friend yesterday we passed one of the local fire stations. I wanted to go in and find out more about getting a job there, but started getting social anxiety at the last second. He reminded me of whatI already knew: I was cheating myself if I chickened out. So I went in and got to know the paramedics there.

One obvious example I chicken out in is with women. When I purposefully go out I can be very smooth because I have the energy and intentionality to consciously build a social flow. In everyday life I'm more likely to be in my shell. So being surrounded by beautiful nurses at the er, and even beginning to flirt with one of the cute nursing students and having her giggle, I kicked myself when I let my anxiety prevent me from striking further conversation with her before I had to leave. This kind of situation happens all the time. As I walked to my ride home I realized that this attitude of staying within my comfort zone instead of aggressively pursuing growth generating opportunities is my single greatest detriment in life. This is not an exaggeration. I have the tools and know how to move forward , I just often lack the will to execute. This in mind, I'm curious to see how it applies to the next few days.

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Start small and build momentum over time. Pushing up against your edges is always uncomfortable - that's why they are your edges. The only way out is through. Exposure therapy. :)

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Monday I woke up extremely tired, but pushed myself to get around for class. A storm was on the way so our instructor cut it short after we took a drug dosage quiz and went over it. When I got home I was just feeling really down from the lack of sleep and likely a few other indeterminate factors. My mind chose negative things to think about. It latched on to when a patient was screaming as I worked on her IV the previous day. I was beating myself up for failing there. I just wanted the negativity to stop. Then I realized that the laptop I was borrowing was newer and could run DDLC. I had looked up so much about that game and now I could actually play it. So I pushed my goals aside and installed it. And for the hour I had that laptop I was in pure bliss. I couldn't remember a time I felt this good in a long time. In return, the rest of the day I was miserable because I wanted to play it more, but needed to give the laptop back.

The next day I had access to it again. I played it many hours and almost beat it. I wasn't nearly as hooked, though. I did a few errands and was even bored at one point. I wanted to get on here and journal, but felt like a hippocrite because I wanted to finish the last bit the next day.

So today I felt much better. I took a few quizzes, beat the game, deleted it, got more school work done, meditated, cooked, and I'm about to workout. Playing the game wasn't nearly as destructive as the time I've spent on YouTube waiting to be able to play it during times I couldn't. The former used some time, but was something I consciously chose and enjoyed. The latter was a numbing agent either to fill the void of pleasure or to avoid the pain of productive work. That's why as much as I want to spend less time on video games, movies, and electronics in general this detox is mainly to eliminate the habit of mindless web surfing or video watching so that I can build my life in the direction I want it to.

DDLC taught me two things I want to share here. One was the importance of reading and writing, which I hope to use as a replacement for my time on devices. The other was that the root of downcast moods come from the lies we tell ourselves. Fixation on failure, or fear of future failures are both lies, because they paint a fatalistic picture that doesn't have to be the case. Joy and peace could be waiting there instead, if that's the road we allow our minds to go down.

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Day 1

I'm glad I had such good momentum yesterday to carry into today. I didn't get up to work out when my alarm went off, but still got up in time for class. We went over the upcoming midterm material in pharmacology and had a very interesting lecture on technical rescue in my second class. Learning about the firefighter side of things really amps me up for the future since I've been in the medical portion for so long.

When I got home I really wanted to just relax and watch Rick and Morty or some other mindless activity, but knew that would be shooting myself in the foot. I read a book I got out of the library about the US political system instead, and learned how the electoral college works in depth for the first time in my life (it surprises me how ignorant I've been about how my own government works). I was having a lot of fun reading, but knew I should work on school work. So I meditated some, went for a run, and as soon as I started on the work the urges came back. There were there to avoid the pain of real work. So I made dinner, talked to a friend on the phone, and now I'm typing this up. A little bit of a bummer I didn't get the work done, but I allowed my detox to begin which is the key. I feel really good about it. Like the feeling of a shower and a haircut after being greasy for a long time. A little mental cleaning.

Ive started writing poetry every night, so I'm looking forward to that in a little bit, and am going to wake up early tomorrow for my workout. Early morning workouts are the best.

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Day 2

In the long interim when I wasn't writing in this journal I picked up a job as an EMT for non-emergency medical transports. I thought it would give me good experience with my basic skills to prepare for when I am a paramedic in a year. I do one shift a week usually, and today was the one I chose for this week.

I struggled to get out of bed, like yesterday, which led to missing my workout. I didn't beat myself up too much because it's one of my secondary goals for this detox, which is why I'm glad I set it up this way. I was working with a pretty cool guy I went through my EMT class with, but I found out he was a non-driver, so I drove the ambulance all day. On paper this looked like a great opportunity, but we drove over 150 miles  only three patient transports total. I was so sore from sitting by the end of the day. 

It wasn't that bad an experience, but I once made a promise to myself that I wouldn't work a job unless it lead to personal growth. This one no longer does. So to better utilize my time so I can read, study, and workout more I'm likely going to quit it. On the bright side, though, I can finally understand why people who worked a lot were always confused about why I spent my free time so unproductively. When you work hard and have little free time you value the time you have. I hope to take that perspective while still having lots of unscheduled time to create the best of both worlds. This also reaffirms that I should get back on the pre med path as soon as possible, after I've learned more about discipline from being a paramedic.

Im exhausted and have a 12 hour ER clinical early tomorrow. I'm going to read to raise morale and then go to bed soon.

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Day 3

On the way  to my ER clinical this morning I thought about how cool it would be to learn to draw. Yet another skill of many I'd like to learn, but I know I should focus in and triage the most important ones for now. It was a long day with lots of down time to read on my phone, and it made me yearn even more to read at home, which is a good sign. During active times I enjoyed helping nurses with tasks ranging from menial to critical. One of the doctors even came in and said we saved the life of a woman who was in septic shock through our aggressive treatment. 

At lunch I saw a large group of cute nursing students, but still chickened out of approaching them. It's funny, I am very confident and assertive in a professional setting, but it all seems an enigma when it comes to how to start small talk with random girls. Even harder to maintain it. It's all a matter of experience. Making small talk with strangers more often might be a good practical exercise. 

Maintaining a positive, even childlike, joy about life is the best way to go I've found over the past few days. On that note I'm excited to be able to rest tomorrow and read even though I have a seemingly insurmountable amount of work to complete. If I break it into small chunks and use my time wisely I should be able to make a dent in it. That would feel great. Time to write poetry now.

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Imo approaching a GROUP of girls is generally a bad idea, unless you are introduced by someone. 1v1 is a better scenario if you want to get to know the person.

I’d love to read some poetry by you. Are you ok with posting it? Or PMing it?

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@info-gatherer I'd usually agree, but this was a very approachable situation. I just chickened out. Water under the bridge.

I'll attach one of my poems at the end of this post.

 

I woke up at a nice and early time to get started on my work today. Took a walk and read for a while first. I alsreserved a book on how to draw from my library since it would be an easy thing to add to my nightly schedule. When the time came for school work my mind was in rebellion. Got a little bit done but then succumbed to watching tv and let's plays for the rest of the day. This really is like hardcore mode.  I noticed my mood and overall attitude about life dramatically decreased. This is why it's such an important undertaking, no matter how difficult it is. I at least got the bare minimum I needed done, and will have to play catch up on my non clinical days this week.

I'm experimenting with a new poem type each week, and this one I'm trying the ABC style:

Climb

Always looming

Beyond reach

Clenched fists

Drawn breath

It is insurmountable in my mind.

 

Abler frames failed

Braver souls shrank

Climbing down the sheer

Doubling back the path

I walk past them.

 

A peak above

Bare hands on stone

Clutching the moment

Declaring the time

That hope was first to reach the top.

Edited by Pierce
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Heyy thanks for sharing :) I didn’t know about the abc form, I guess one never stops learning. I’m not sure I understood everything, the 2nd stanza is expecially obscure to me (but hey my english sucks, so...)

Don’t worry about losing motivation, it will come back eventually. Maybe try to enforce a strict set of rules to prevent you wasting your time and your momentum. I specifically advice you to ban let’s plays and every gaming-related internet content. They just make detoxing more difficult.

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@info-gatherer I enjoyed sharing what I wrote, though I agree it is an obscure read. I enjoy adding hidden depth to my poems, though it's still a skill I'm working on. And don't sell yourself short, from what I've seen your written english is indistinguishable from a native speaker.

And lets plays are definitely banned. I just override my own rules a lot. Finding unity between my conscious and subconscious so that they both want the same thing is when I accomplish the things I want. That's really what I'm looking for in life.

 

Another day at the ER. I got a lot of work done and did a ton of IV's. The nurse I chose to work with was swamped all day, so it felt good to ease her burden a bit. I even got one of her patients to laugh and switch to a really good mood after breaking down about her home life. I'm exhausted now, but I have to say that I'm valuing and enjoying these experiences more.

At home my dad was watching star trek, and I gave in to temptation and watched it too as I ate. I just watched a few youtube videos as well. Not too bad after a productive day, but I'm not going to count it.

Tomorrow I'm going to sleep in and read a lot. I want to set myself up in the best situation possible to want to get work done. Looking forward to it.

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Day 1

Im at an overnight ER rotation right now, and I'm taking a break. We were getting a lot of traumas earlier.

As far as the day goes, relaxing in the morning set me up for success. I meditated some, hung out with my dog, and then was ready to write a short paper for my paramedic operations course. I took a quiz, went running and got fantastic haircut. After unkempt hair for so long it feels amazing to look good, and I've been walking around more confidently on account of it. I even fit workout in after being so erratic about it in the past. Hopefully I can get some more school work done before heading back to my patients. Life is good.

Growth

Aspirations as a seed

Broad roots

Carrying nutrients

Deriving strength

The journey is the destination.

Edited by Pierce
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Staying up all night during that clinical really took a toll. I snuck in half an hour of sleep when I found that it was going to be a slow night and the nurses had it under control, but my body didnt want more than that. Surprisingly, I was able to skim through 90 pages of one of my books on politics and finished it. The rest of the night I was just trying to stay awake, though I did get more experience with IV's and blood draws, and a nurse that was a former EMT took me under her wing to teach me a few tidbits about physiology that I didnt know.

When I got home at 7:30am I plopped into bed and slept until 1:30pm today (though I lay in bed when I woke up for an unknown quantity of time, so I dont know how much sleep I really got). I just felt sluggish, like I was sick, from so little sleep. I knew it was a bad idea, but I've spent my time on the internet watching various things all day. I almost wanted to lie about this being day 2 of success on here, but that would break one of the my cardinal rules of not lying to myself and would overall just be unwise. So for the last couple hours I've been devising a pen and paper game. I know its another miscellaneous use of time, but at this point I'm trying to build positive momentum so I can get a lot done tomorrow before going back to the grind of ER clinicals on Friday.

Expectations

Always there

Brief or lasting

Cast aside

Determined trying

The value of an expectation is how far it's breathed to life.

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6 hours ago, Pierce said:

 I almost wanted to lie about this being day 2 of success on here, but that would break one of the my cardinal rules of not lying to myself and would overall just be unwise.

Thanks for being honest and not fake.  It takes courage to be truthful.  You and @info-gatherer's journals are a great help to me, among others that I will mention throughout the course of time.  It's because you guys are being real.  No one's here to judge. 

I made my own pledge to be as candid, truthful, and raw when I write in my journal.   Anyway, keep up the good work.

Dani

Edited by Dannigan
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