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NEW VIDEO: I Replaced Gaming With Real Life (Nicco Transformation)

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Tom

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I was sticking blocks together with a pickaxe. Wait, what? I never played Minecraft in my life! This must be a dream. Oh yes, it is. Good morning.

Dreaming about gaming is not new to me. Scrolling lines of text. Exploring. Fighting. Rocket jumping. And games I never played or that don't even exist.

Thinking about gaming is not new to me either. Lately I've been going over map routes and card combinations at the most bizarre moments. This happened today as well, in flashes. I just took notice of the thoughts and let them go.

Deciding to quit had a good effect on my mood. I found it easier to focus on work and I felt a bit more energetic. For my weight training session I switched the usual metal for some reggae, just for fun, and I was pleased with my performance.

Then I grabbed a basketball and went to shoot some hoops at the park across the street. I chatted with a couple of mums and appreciated the fact that I wouldn't have met them had I been playing video games instead. My wife and kids joined me and we spent the rest of the day together. I felt even better.

Now I'm writing ten lines and deleting nine, recollecting good and bad times and making the necessary comparisons. It's so simple after all: identify your real priorities, draw your own map and follow it. Rinse and repeat. I've done it before, I'm doing it again. No problem.

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Thanks Chris!

What tricked me back into excessive gaming was thinking I had almost arrived where I wanted to be in life, combined with all the stress I accumulated along the way. I told to myself I deserved a break, and that's absolutely true. But my situation is not the same it was when gaming worked as a relief. It was like taking the wrong medicine, and I'm also not the same patient anymore.

So yes, realize that we're in an endless journey and that we're constantly changing, suck it up and carry on :}

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Day 3. Isn't it cool to run through tall grass, faster than anyone else and as deadly as the shotgun you are carrying? Good morning. You are still dreaming of gaming, aren't you?

Whatever. Some quiet time in bed. Focus on breathing. Mind is calm and up we go.

I made lunch for everybody and did some chores. Sang along to some French songs: if I don't use it more I'm going to keep searching for words when I need it at work. Felt good.

A nice walk, then play time with the kids. Focusing on their fun makes all the difference.

My wife remarks that I never go out by myself. She's right, so here I go. No gaming tonight. Time to get off the train.

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Right, so I tripped on my way home and smashed on the ground. I was looking at my phone to get directions and didn't pay close attention to my surroundings. Of all places, my glasses fell down on the train rails. Not that it would have been that easy to find them as I need them to see in the first place :) First thought? That's what you get for going out: you should stay home and play games, saving money and trouble. This thought kept popping up for a bit but I didn't have time for it: I still had to get home. I brought my mind to think of it as such: I had a fun evening. It was time to get new glasses anyway. I'm fortunate that many years of martial arts taught me how to minimize fall damage.

Day 4. A few hours of sleep, some work around the house, and out to meet a local family at the park. Good connection, we'll meet again soon. Shooting hoops becomes more fun the longer I do it. Fell asleep telling bedtime stories. Make no time for gaming = have no time for gaming.

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Day 5. I woke up before everybody else. Quiet time in the morning is always a blessing. Wrote down my dreams, came here to write my other journal and started reading others. I had to force myself a bit to connect with fellow GameQuitters. Why should anyone care for what I write? I thought it over and came to the conclusion that we are here to get out of our comfort zone, so I won't allow myself to lurk.

A productive workday, interesting and challenging as usual. Morning break with the book in Dutch. It does become easier if I give it some uninterrupted time and enter a state of flow. In the afternoon yesterday's mom came to visit with her daughter so I had another quick break, enjoyed coffee and homemade cake.

Work would never end so I had little playtime with the children. They were playing an educational game on the emulator I set up on the TV. This made me feel a bit anxious for them. We are caring parents, we don't allow much screen time and they usually keep busy otherwise, but I'll be wary anyway. I know the causes and the symptoms to watch out for, so I guess my experience will come in handy.

We had a Skype chat with my brother. We don't talk often enough. This changes as of today.

Lifted weights after dinner. All in all a good session. So close to my personal records, gonna crush them soon B| Shoulder presses are a bitch though.

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Woke up early again. 6.15 is a good time. I miss getting up earlier, but this way I spend more time with my family who thankfully likes having me around :)

Wrote down two dreams in my dream journal. I started having longer and clearer dreams. Again one was about gaming. I decided not to get annoyed at that. Next time I'll just pay close attention.

Engaged a bit on the forum and procrastinated by reading an article on procrastination.

Today I found it harder to concentrate at work, so I did what I had to do, not what I wanted to. My spark ignited around 3 PM so I rode the wave until I completed a project I was struggling with. It took long but aaaaah, finally!

I didn't manage to read my book. I spent more time with my wife and children though, time I would have spent gaming. I love being with them.

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Hey Tom, I enjoy reading your journal. I also felt a change in mood when I first quit gaming, like a weight off my shoulder.
Spending more time with your family is probably the best thing to do. I do not have a wife or kids but I can imagine they bring more happiness in your life. I talked to a woman today who has a 4 week old baby. She said 'every rumor you hear about taking care of kids is true. Waking up at midnight taking care of the kids and making time for them, but they sure bring happiness'. I hope I get to experience that one day.

Engaged a bit on the forum and procrastinated by reading an article on procrastination.

I procrastinated on reading a sentence about procastinating on reading an article on procrastination. Something something -ception :P
Man I need to go to sleep. G'night!

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Nice one Thomas :)

Day 7. Woke up early again. Strange, although I had the second fragmented night in a row (the l"terrible twos" are a thing) I felt pretty good throughout the day. No dreams I could recall clearly though, just some flashes, which I dutifully noted.

On second thought: of course I felt pretty good. Not even a sleepless night could have done too much damage. And it's thanks to some new posts here that shook me deeply and finally got me to talk.

Yesterday evening, after I was down with my journal, I went to bed and my wife was still awake. I had mentioned GameQuitters and the fact I have quit gaming before, but we never had a conversation about that. I explained what I'm doing and why. She was attentive, engaged. She always welcomes when I open up, which is not something I do frequently.

She would never have imagined my feelings towards gaming. To her eyes it was just an innocuous way to spend my time, a hobby. It was hard for me to find the right words and to overcome the feeling of shame when explaining that gaming was in fact everything I thought about most of the time. The feeling of being deprived of something fundamental when I had to be with her and the children instead of gaming.

I also talked very concretely. You see, that day I told you I had much to think about, I looked into what makes me happy and what makes me unhappy. What energizes me and what drains me. What I do and what I want to do. This is what I came up with. That's why I chatted up that mom in the park, and now there's a new friendship blooming between our families. That's why when you are at home and I want a break from work I come to you. And so on and so forth.

She told me everything sounds strange to her. In fact I've always fulfilled my duties and I strive to be a good husband and father (what would be the point of being one otherwise...). And I understand her: I did a great job at planning my life around gaming! High five! :D Also my tinfoil hat prevents anyone from getting into my head, which is where the magic happens.

She admitted to not being able to grasp the full extent of what I'm going through because it doesn't resonate with anything in her personal experience. How cool is that? Respect! And that's why she's as glad as I am that I found a place where I can confront my demons and maybe help others in the same situation.

The rest of the day: work, barbell, introspection. The first goodbye letter (@Svet, that was a great idea you had). Playtime with the children. All good stuff. Cheers to that.

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Day 8. A long, convoluted dream and a shorted one. Both quite clear. Just a minimal reference to gaming, if any (might be I expected it and fabricated a false memory). That's good! I'm gaining my nights back. 32% of my life.

So, dream journal, then morning family time. Is it just my impression or everybody is in a better mood since a week or so? For sure at least I am. I even look forward to waking up because I start enjoying the day right away.

My elder son came by to say hello after school. I invited him in and we talked for a while. I like taking breaks this way. They leave a feeling of connection that lasts for hours at least. With any game I was never satisfied. Five more minutes!

Now I just want to spend some time here on the forum before going to bed. I care about the people here. I never felt this way for an online community. In fact I'm quite averse to social media, and yet here I am, wishing that everybody feels alright.

Compassion, that's the word.

Edited by Tom
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Now I just want to spend some time here on the forum before going to bed. I care about the people here. I never felt this way for an online community. In fact I'm quite averse to social media, and yet here I am, wishing that everybody feels alright.

Compassion, that's the word.

Hi Tom, it sounds like our recovery is going really well!

I started reading your journal today, and it is wonderful to see another fellow game quitter see progress. I like the idea of writing dreams, I write my journal and a personal diary, so I'm sure adding my dreams to it would be beneficial.

When I joined the forum, I didn't think that it would be so supportive, as my previous experiences with forums were rather boring. I'm glad to say that it's people like you that provide the support that fellow game quitters need! On almost every post or journal in the past few days I have read, you are there giving support! I applause your effort.

Keep it up and I look forward to seeing your story unfold! :)

Edited by AlexTheGrape
Had a random question mark at the start.
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I'm not a big fan of social media either. I quit facebook a few years ago because I just kept getting on my nerves. I also got hooked on a stupid facebook game and knew I needed to get away from it. No twitter for me. I reddit sometimes, but I try to really limit the time I spend there.

Reading your journal has been a joyful experience!

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Day 9. A good day. Great dreams, one game related and a bit scary but just until the point I figured out it was a dream and changed it.

The highlight of the day was the evening. I attended the local TEDx event with the aim of getting to know interesting people and experiencing how I fit in with the group.

The evening's topic was willpower. Interesting format: around 20 attendees, a presentation including three other talks, and room for discussion. I had some good conversations with four people, one of them a previous acquaintance I was very pleased to meed again. I found it to be a healthy, stimulating environment with people of any age, nationality and background. I plan on becoming a regular.

When leaving I had a chat with one of the organizers. He invited me to be the curator for November's content. That was unexpected! I accepted gladly. Now let's kick some ass!

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Day 10. I slept poorly and woke up exhausted. Well, I'm not new to weekend exhaustion but I thought it wouldn't have hit this time. I tried to make the best of my day, spent time with my family, retreated when I was having too much. Still, everything felt like a chore and I couldn't wait for my kids to fall asleep and the decibel level to go down. Highlight of the day: talking with my mom for over an hour.

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Still, everything felt like a chore and I couldn't wait for my kids to fall asleep and the decibel level to go down.

?That sounds familiar. I don't have kids but when I visit my or my bf's family I have the same feeling. Sometimes I hear loud screaming in my head "Eat fasteeeer! Drink your juice, we need to gooooo!" :D:D It's great to hear you had a long conversation with your mom. I' m sure she appreciates that.

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Day 11. Woke up still tired. Somehow I managed to have my children tidy up their toys. I played a bit with them, tidied up here and there, played some music. I read a book on social skills suggested by Travis.

I called my grandmother and had a nice long conversation. It will be good to see her for Christmas along with all the other relatives.

Went out to buy groceries, came back and summoned my family to help me out with our weekend family tradition of making homemade pizza. Did everything to be in bed early.

Gratitude journal:

  1. VoIP. Skype and the like are a boon to expats. Especially with dirt-cheap calling plans.
  2. eReaders. I can make the text as big as I want.
  3. My grandmother still being alive and well. There's a reason we call her Highlander.
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Day 12. Woke up at 5.45 to have extra time for myself. 15 minutes of meditation, then a friend came to pick up his bike. Saying hello to a friend in the early morning is a nice way to start the day.

I reached out to a friend who is feeling a bit down. We made an appointment for Friday. It will be nice to see her after a long time and I hope I can cheer her up a bit. Otherwise I'll make her pay for my drinks ;)

I found that one of my favorite cartoons of when I little, Alfred J. Kwak, is a Dutch-Japanese cooperation coming out of a Dutch theater show. That's awesome! Today I watched the first episode with my children. We all enjoyed it and will continue the story tomorrow. It's a fun way to keep learning the language.

After that I spent some time with my elder son talking about good and evil, drawing from the episode we just saw. It's interesting to see how he is growing up to have his own opinions and beliefs. And it's a pleasure to spend time with him.

There were a couple of times today when I had cravings while dealing with some grunt work. Nothing unbearable.

Gratitude journal:

  1. Digital sharing services like YouTube saving old, unmarketable stuff from oblivion.
  2. Extra mouse buttons. They are incredible for productivity.
  3. Expat friends. We go through the same hurdles and can support each other.
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Great progress Tom, I hope you're proud of how far you've come. It sounds like you are really connecting with life and the people around you, and I hope that is working out really well for you. Keep the updates coming, I enjoy reading about how well you're doing! Take care, friend!

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Don't forget to share your thoughts on the books you read! Eventually I'm going to read every book that is spoken highly of on these forums!

?Of course! Here's my opinion on Superhuman Social Skills.

Great progress Tom, I hope you're proud of how far you've come. It sounds like you are really connecting with life and the people around you, and I hope that is working out really well for you. Keep the updates coming, I enjoy reading about how well you're doing! Take care, friend!

?Thank you! Your support means a lot to me.

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Day 13. Woke up at 4.30. Quite irritated to be honest. If there is one thing I need above all is sleep. Children apparently don't agree.

So I went into the woods and meditated by the lake. Took my time making breakfast, reading, pledging for GamdQuitters and replying to a couple of posts. I started with Duolingo and found it to be excellent. Thanks again Elegwa :)

I watched a couple more episodes of the Dutch cartoon with my elder son. He likes it very much. Good! New father-and-son activity for the winter. Yes, we skipped autumn.

The kids fell asleep at a decent time so I finally got to spend an evening with my wife. It's incredible how little time we have for ourselves as a couple.

Gratitude journal:

  1. Eggs. Delicious, healthy, filled with protein. And they look like me.
  2. My family. We are growing together nicely, and having fun while at it.
  3. Shell scripts. Write once, use forever.
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