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Amazingly enough, it's been 127 days since I officially quit gaming cold turkey. I played something for only a moment a few days ago, but I'll get to that in a second.

I'm 21 years old, and I'm going to University for Political Science. Born in Canada, but spent a few years in America.


How did I end up here?

My childhood video games were on the N64, GBA, Computer and Gamecube. Looking back, I can say that at the time my relationship with video games was healthy.

In 2005, I finished elementary school and moved to Florida. I experienced serious culture shock, and was bullied for being too polite. I'm guessing others saw me as soft and weird. I hated my new school, and I just wanted to leave. I did not have anyone I considered a friend. Yet, for a variety of reasons we could not leave. I would start idealizing and dreaming about how much better it would be in Canada. During this time my best friend back home got me into playing an MMO called Star Wars Galaxies. It would be a game I would play for the next 5 years or so, and while for the first two years I used SWG like a functioning addict, when I got into Grade 9 I started to slip. My math grades went down, I think I started to play SWG more, even when I had not yet finished my work.

I started the first two months of Grade 10, I started to have some real friendships forming, then I moved back to Canada. So I was dropped into Grade 10 in Canada, I enrolled in a high school I was sure some people from my old school would be at. I had built returning to Canada into a romantic idea, that I would cross the border and all of my problems would be solved. That didn't happen, the first people I met from my old school I totally bombed at making friends with them again, I could barely speak to them. I bombed at making friends in general. While I did make some "friends" they really had nothing in common with me, I think I believed they were the only people I could make friends with. At the time, I did not want to accept the fact that my idea of returning had been wrong. I fled to SWG at first, but for some reason I did not become a full addict until after I "quit" SWG and started playing other video games. I would play video games and neglect all other responsibilities. I would lie to my parents about my grades and homework, even to the point of photoshopping myself better grades.

In my last year of highschool it became apparent that if I wanted to go to University I had to clean up my act big time, and I promised that I wouldn't change my grades. I didn't do so hot, but I did graduate and get temporary grounded for my semi-poor grades. Regardless of graduation, I did an extra year in highschool (quite common here) I got myself together, more in some areas than in others, but I walked out of high school with really nice grades. Since I spent so much time on my computer, I applied for Computer Science, and was accepted.

Once I got into University, I quickly slid in a mostly downward direction, getting myself removed from the co-op program, and having the constant threat of being removed from the university if I didn't pass my courses each semester thereafter. I kept my averages up just enough to pass each semester, some how, and still did not tell anyone (including myself) about the grades I was getting. In 3rd year I started become aware of the situation and I realized I had to get away from computers. I loved my Political Science classes, so I knew I had to make the change now before I graduated. I applied for transfer in the summer, and took two courses in political science so I could qualify to change. Yet, video games kept getting in my way, until finally it was enough for me to say I was done, it's time to take control of my real life. I quit June 7th 2015, and made a very nice turn around in my summer semester.

I left out some important turning points towards ending my addiction, and keeping it gone.

Leading up to Quitting

  • The summer between high school and university, I started playing WoW (again). One night, after getting into bed at 5am I thought to myself "Did I really have fun?" and I realized the answer was no, and it was the last time I played WoW.
  • In the summer before my 3rd year of university, I applied for a program that would match me up with an incoming international student, and be their "first friend" in Canada. That person became a very good friend of mine, and through her I met other people who became really great friends, and my now girlfriend. They were the first real friends that I had in a long time, and the only ones I've had that I did not play video games with. They had me leaving the house and living a life in the real world.
  • The implications of them caused me to clean up my look, and the way that I dressed. In generally they helped me build confidence in myself. Having friends and a girlfriend I think subconsciously boosted my self-esteem, and made me more likely to deal with my other problems.
  • Before this summer started, I was planning on playing a new mmo a friend recommended to me, until I came to the same realization as I did for WoW, and it started to give me the same feeling for all of the games I played
  • On June 7th 2015 I found r/stopgaming and Cam, and that is when I realized it's time to put video games to rest.

After Quitting

  • I confessed to my girlfriend as an addict, told her everything and apologized for not telling the truth about parts of my life.
  • R/stopgaming has always seemed to have timely posts by people who have just relapsed before I tried to.
  • Cam's videos often arrived at good times too
  • I confessed to my Girlfriend as an addict
  • I realized what it meant to be a grateful addict, and have slowly realized what my problems are and how I got here.

A few days ago Star Wars Galaxies came back to life, it shutdown in 2011 but someone got the source code and is hosting an illegal server. I was so confused and stressed on what to do, I got advice that fell on both sides of the spectrum. I ended up installing it and playing it for 15 minutes before I left for class. I logged in and created a new character. It was then that I learned why I had missed it so much, because it sheltered me for so long. Yet, the reality is that now it's over, I don't need to be sheltered anymore. I am never going to play video games again. I'm glad I took a peek into that game, else I might not have been able to understand what I now understand. Star Wars Galaxies, and my gaming can now really and truly rest in peace. It's really not over yet, and I still have things left to repair and rebuild, but here I am now.

I do not think I have captured my full story, or my full understanding of it, but I guess that's okay and I'll leave this as it is.

Game Plan

I read a suggestion on r/stopgaming to read a book called "The Slight Edge". I really enjoyed it, and in some ways it has become part of my life, but I'm still working on it.

My game plan is to keep myself on the success curve, and to do more than just survive each semester. I am going to get myself organized this semester, and every semester hereafter, and give it as much as I can give it. Part of getting and stay on that success curve for me is to write down and share my story with others. It makes me think about myself and my problems, which makes it much more likely that I will find a solution.

What do I bring to the table?

I'm here because after 127 days I know it still isn't easy. For other addictions, they say that even after you quit you are still an addict, and I agree with this sentiment. I hope I can bring my experience and perspective to the table to help other people making their own journey. Whether that is being someone who gives advice, or someone who just listens it does not matter to me. No two people's journeys are the same, and different people have different perspectives, so at the end of the day you should do what you think is the best.
I also want to find support when I need it as well, and be apart of a community that has an understanding of what it means to be an addict.

If I have time available, I am always open to chat!

If you read all of that, thank you! If you read only some of it, thank you too! Hopefully I'll get to know lots of you, and we can continue to build upon this community!

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Thanks Tom!

My summer was taken up mostly by work and school, and visiting my girlfriend. But in my spare time I did some reading, started riding my bike, got back into learning languages and watched some anime, maybe a little more than I should have. When the summer was over I spent a week traveling with my girlfriend, and that was a really great experience.

One of the first summers where I actually had an answer to "What did you do this summer?" that wasn't "Nothing really, just played video games".

Biking was maybe the best thing I ever did, especially in the beginning. Unlike other exercise it did not leave me aching in pain and unable to exercise again for a few days, so it became easy to build up momentum. I could go for a 45 minute biking, then take a 45 minute shower and maybe only have an hour left before bed, which was time to read or study.

As for now, I'm still looking for a balance between my school work with non-work. I spend too much time randomly browsing the internet, but I do still study Portuguese and read. Once I have better organized my time, I think I will be able to better fill up that time with different activities. I'm currently thinking about doing more reading, picking up the guitar again, more time studying portuguese, and more time trying out other hobbies!

Edit Thanks Cam! Glad to be here, thanks for your videos and help along the way :D

Edit 2: I've also had the desire to learn how to draw landscapes and architecture, I took an architecture class and high school that was really great, and I alway loved drawing! I should really try to work this in, I think this would be great.

Edited by Guest
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Thank you Alex! It feels pretty good to be at this point, but I know it'll get even better with everyday that passes!

Hey Joe, I was reading your journal earlier, I'm glad you've decided to make this journey as well! Thanks for the advice, I've realized that now and I think I can feel better being myself.

180 days to turn around, because 180 degrees you would be facing the other way! Haha

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