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Zala

Hello all, it's Zala

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Hi everyone, it's Zala. I apologize for my grammar mistakes in advance. Second language and all of that. Let me tell you a bit about myself. I'm a woman and I'm 30 years old. I spend too much time playing games. I think most of you are probably younger than me, which makes me quite embarrassed.:$ But then I do feel ashamed and guilty most of the time anyway. It's mostly due to playing games and not doing the things that I should be doing. I haven't joined a community like this before. My friends and family don't really know the extent of the problem.

Anyway I have been playing games since I was about 8 years old. It wasn't much of a problem until I was like 23. A later bloomer, I guess. At that time I have finished all my college classes and exams, but still had to write my final thesis. Earth Eternal was a big obsession of mine. I was still living at home at the time, but played games for 10-14 hours per day. I got out of it and finished my thesis just before the EE game got cancelled. It was the first time I decided to quit gaming and it lasted for about three months. After I finished my thesis, I got into Sims 1, 2, 3. I tried to quit gaming dozens of times after that. No real success. About a year ago I saw Cam's Ted talk, stopped playing for about a month but then started with playing games on my phone. It just went badly from there once again.

I like playing old, strategic or race games. I guess I don't mind the boring kind of games. With my new phone, phone games had a great pull. I don't like first person shooter games and don't really enjoy the social aspect of gaming. Even in EE I was a loner most of the time. At level 60+ I joined a great group, but haven't really tried to make friends there. My friends and my boyfriend don't play games. If I tell them a bit about how I think gaming has become a problem (only a bit, since I still keep lying to myself most of the time, about how gaming isn't really a problem for me), they laugh and don't really understand, how I find games so entertaining. They don't know that I have cancelled our coffee time to play games. They don't know that when we hang out, I think of how much fun I would have in a cozy room playing games. They also don't know that I get excited, if they cancel our plans for any reason, because now I won't be losing time not playing games.

I've been living with my boyfriend for 5 years and just this weekend he said: Edited by Zala

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Hey Zala! On this forum you'll fit right in being 30. There are more of the 30+ crowd struggling with this gaming issue than you probably think. (Did you know the average gamer is 35 years old?) :)

Part of why you experience the fatigue when you aren't gaming is because of the depletion of dopamine you're experiencing from overgaming. You can watch some of the science about that here. The 90 day detox will be great for you to commit to, which will give you enough time for your brain to recover and then you will notice a + in your energy levels I bet!

Also when it comes to feelings of guilt/shame/disappointment, I always recommend reading the work by Bren

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Hi Zala. Welcome! I'm 33 and also not a native English speaker.

Tomorrow: I will go to a local library. I will take a couple of books and I will not take my computer with me. I used to be very productive in this kind of settings. There is some sort of competition going on in group study rooms. Where I can say to myself, I will work longer and be more focused than the person sitting before me. Or maybe I just like this feeling of control, feeling that I used to get from my parents. It's not that other people are actually controlling me, it's just that my brain seems to interpret it this way. Everyone is studying, so you must do it as well. Has anyone had the same experience?

Absolutely. Gaming started to take more of my time since I started working from a home office. Having nobody around meant I could take a break with a game every now and then. Then the breaks became longer and closer together. No big deal, but work is not going to take care of itself so I'll just rob my family of my presence instead.

We are all coming together here, where everybody else knows what we are going through. Enjoy journaling!

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Hi Zala! This is great. I'm also female, non-native speaker, 35. I relate to so much of what you shared. Am also between jobs, so that made it easy to relapse. I made a suggestion in my introduction post about incorporating a ritual into the quitting process. I think women especially might benefit from it. Let me know what you think?

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#Cam So I guess in 90 days my brain should start to work normally? Or I should be able to get excited about other things? In the meantime I probably shouldn't get to hard on myself. The video you posted is quite interesting. I think I never gave it 90 days. There are some things I consider to be a part of my personality and they might not be. I haven't considered that. We have Daring Greatly even in my native language. I just need to make that trip to the library. Will post in my diary.

#Tom Thank you for your kind words. Yeah I guess the ones we love always come second to gaming. Awful thought. I've read in some book that sooner or later every addict is confronted by his family and/or friends. He needs to choose between the drug and his family/friends. And if after that confrontation he keeps using (playing), he proved, that he loves his drug more than he loves his family, friends.

#Svet It's an intriguing thought this letter of yours. I will definitely give it a try. I'm so glad to have met you, I will certainly keep a close eye on you ^_^

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#Cam So I guess in 90 days my brain should start to work normally? Or I should be able to get excited about other things? In the meantime I probably shouldn't get to hard on myself. The video you posted is quite interesting. I think I never gave it 90 days. There are some things I consider to be a part of my personality and they might not be. I haven't considered that. We have Daring Greatly even in my native language. I just need to make that trip to the library. Will post in my diary.

?It's hard to know exactly but the general rule of thumb is that depending on the extent of your gaming, 90 days is a good amount of time for your brain and body to detox back to normal dopamine sensitivity levels, and in doing so it will have a positive affect on your ability to enjoy "normal" (non-gaming) activities and you should see a boost to your willpower as well, amongst other positive changes (more energy, stability in your emotions, etc..)

For some it will take more than 90, some it will take less. But 90 is a good gauge to focus on. But you are correct that within this time period you shouldn't be hard on yourself. And really ever, because being hard on yourself creates discouragement, guilt and shame and lowers your self-esteem, which in turn decreases motivation and the negative spiral ensues.

So instead what I've found is understanding the difference between "being hard on myself" and holding myself accountable is important (listen to this podcast for more on that) and also to celebrate the small wins (acknowledge and recognize yourself when you are doing the right things, no matter how small, because this is what will build self-esteem, create positive emotions and associations and boost motivation), creating a positive feedback loop (watch this video for more on that).

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Howdy Zala, welcome to the forums! That was an interesting read especially towards the end where you mentioned about trying to take charge of your life again and recover so to speak. I think the more you try and the more time that passes as you do, the easier it will get but the first step is usually the most difficult as some say. For me right now, even though ideally I'd give up gaming completely, it still feels overwhelming to do it. I think if I find some other alternatives to it, I can make it happen but realistically, I may have to make them happen rather than expecting them to happen instead.

I talked about setting up a new routine in another post and in that, I'm going to start dedicating time properly to posting on here and checking out the videos made by Cam on the Game Quitters Youtube channel. I have considered doing the 90 day method too, but I've thought about not gaming these past couple days and it feels impossible even though it shouldn't be at all, far from it. That's how bad my issues still seem to be, even if they don't seem so bad at first glance. I have noticed I do suffer from that 'little bit longer, one more level itch' and thus I end not quitting my gaming sessions when I'm meant to.

In fact, reading your post and Cam's response before mine here, it's making me realise a lot myself too. I've been giving myself some 'slack' lately as I've been very ill for over a week now at least and only just making my final recoveries from it. But, honestly, I feel like I'm trying to delay the inevitable and whats necessary for my own good. Although, what Cam said about being hard on ourselves is so very true, I can speak from experience on that for sure.

I'm going to check out those links too as well Cam, thank you. I think just to finalise though, we really do use gaming to escape our problems hence why the addictions, the extra long sessions begin and prosper too. I have considered uninstalling Steam, I have a WiiU downstairs with some games, but honestly, I want to be rid of them. I purchased it earlier this year and I regret going back to Nintendo after a few years of avoiding them. I really don't like the direction they've taken, like with Valve and maybe some other companies, the whole industry even possibly to think of it.

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Howdy Zala, welcome to the forums! That was an interesting read especially towards the end where you mentioned about trying to take charge of your life again and recover so to speak. I think the more you try and the more time that passes as you do, the easier it will get but the first step is usually the most difficult as some say. For me right now, even though ideally I'd give up gaming completely, it still feels overwhelming to do it. I think if I find some other alternatives to it, I can make it happen but realistically, I may have to make them happen rather than expecting them to happen instead.

I talked about setting up a new routine in another post and in that, I'm going to start dedicating time properly to posting on here and checking out the videos made by Cam on the Game Quitters Youtube channel. I have considered doing the 90 day method too, but I've thought about not gaming these past couple days and it feels impossible even though it shouldn't be at all, far from it. That's how bad my issues still seem to be, even if they don't seem so bad at first glance. I have noticed I do suffer from that 'little bit longer, one more level itch' and thus I end not quitting my gaming sessions when I'm meant to.

In fact, reading your post and Cam's response before mine here, it's making me realise a lot myself too. I've been giving myself some 'slack' lately as I've been very ill for over a week now at least and only just making my final recoveries from it. But, honestly, I feel like I'm trying to delay the inevitable and whats necessary for my own good. Although, what Cam said about being hard on ourselves is so very true, I can speak from experience on that for sure.

I'm going to check out those links too as well Cam, thank you. I think just to finalise though, we really do use gaming to escape our problems hence why the addictions, the extra long sessions begin and prosper too. I have considered uninstalling Steam, I have a WiiU downstairs with some games, but honestly, I want to be rid of them. I purchased it earlier this year and I regret going back to Nintendo after a few years of avoiding them. I really don't like the direction they've taken, like with Valve and maybe some other companies, the whole industry even possibly to think of it.

?Hi Koyotelcarus, I hope you're getting along well with not gaming

I understand where you're coming from, unfortunately my own addiction meant that my vision of why I was quitting blurred when triggered by seeing my brother play games or something similar. I'd recommend that if you're feeling confused about playing games again, that you write how you're feeling in a book or any other paper you can find. This method has helped me to reflect on what I am feeling and why I am feeling it. I tend to do it before I go to bed as well to reflect on how I've been and performed during the day, I suppose it is a sort of diary.

Another thing that would be helpful that Cam mentioned in one of his videos, is that instead of trying to run from your addiction and not think about it; to accept that it once meant something to you and perhaps that it gave you a sense of purpose. When I accepted this, it helped me to fully understand why it is I played them and turn me in the right direction to filling up the 'gap' that it filled. These things included doing what I can to help my family, even that helps to provide a sense of purpose. To finally say goodbye to video games, I tried what I think Svet came up with, to write a letter addressed to my games, and explain why I was saying goodbye; acknowledging what they meant to me in the past but highlighting the need to move on because it had become a problem.

I hope at least one of these methods will help you to fully overcome your gaming addiction!

Good luck with your recovery!

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Howdy AlexTheGrape, thank you, it's a struggle that's for sure to be honest.

Ah yeah, I've had ideas like that suggested to be me before but I never took them up to be honest. I think I'm going to make a start on it as I have a notebook but I did notice the Journal section on here too...It does go with what I recently said on here about how writing things can help cement them in your head, it makes you notice what you're saying and thus refelect on it as you said.

Ah yeah, I might do that after all actually. Instead of writing a letter to each game, I can write a letter to myself about my gaming addiction and thus refer to the games instead? Like an open letter to myself, kind of thing? But yeah I could write it towards the games and explain how they benefited me and how I need to move on and what not. Like breaking up with someone you used to love?

Thank you anyway, I appreciate it. I definitely like these ideas especially that letter one actually. I think I'm going to look into working on it right now to be honest! Whilst the inspiration and motivation are still fresh! :P I think I'll do it on here somewhere ideally, if I can find somewhere to post it :).

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Howdy Koyotelcarus, its a unique greeting you've got there for online forums!

That's great! I wrote my own letter to one of my games yesterday, and I hardly even think about it anymore! It really cemented my own thoughts. You can write a letter to whatever you like, its your letter after all!

I currently have my own physical diary, and I'm also contributing to my online journal. Double whammy reflection!

If you want a place to post a journal, just go to the journals page, then for each new day just write it as a comment. You can check out my own one as an example:

^ That's a link above, have a good day, I look forward to seeing your journal!

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Thank you haha, I just thought of using it randomly but I think it resonates with my appreciation of the Wild West as well as Texas and my favourite Anime character tbh.

Oh yeah? Thats quite interesting then, it must have been like venting yourself or even giving closure for yourself? Regarding the game? I just wrote up a letter to myself and a few games and what not, just typed out what I was feeling at the time to be honest. Its certainly had it's impact on me!

Oh wow haha, I can only imagine the potential of actually doing a 'double diary' kind of thing like that? Do you write the same things in the physical diary as well as the online journal?

Thank you very much anyway, I need to go sleep now to be honest but I should be able to check it out tomorrow. I might have to make a journal, would definitely help me commit to this and thus also self-reflect and help myself, so I'll look into it :).

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