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Gaming the System 006 - James' First 30 Days As a Digital Nomad in Thailand!

Regular Robert

21st century Ulysses.

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@Cam Adair
Funny that you ask, because this Sunday I am happy that I wont need a special routine. I bought a ticket to a concert like ... half a year ago. They rescheduled the date of the concert a few months ago, so that it will be hosted this Sunday. But yeah, in general, I should make some plans to fill the Sundays of my life. And thank you for commenting, of course! :)

@tirEdOrange
Thank you for the flattering words. I can totally agree on your concept of success. It should always be determined by one-self what success actually is, no matter how long it took to achieve or if it was delayed. I like the word "rescheduled", since I just wrote it above. The success got rescheduled ... by a couple of years. :P And of course, I hope that your greatest hero will always be you, you and ... you, of course!

I am sorry that my replies today are a bit short, but I am really tired. So, I'll just continue with my journal:

Day 8:
My Monday was pretty great. Seriously, after yesterday's depression, I feel really good. Day 6 was like an avalanche of emotions, day 7 was like being buried under that avalanche, today I am back on the track.

I felt able to tweak my daily goals a little bit. Before today, I would set one daily goal. Today I tried to set 4. The goals are tiny, but that is quite nice. It frees me from the massive pressure to succeed. I wanted to write 2 pages, I wrote 2 and a half. That is cool for me right now. No force, no pressure. Some things take their time.

After getting out of bed, I wanted to run, so I ran 1,2 KMs, that is 0.74 miles. I felt able to go on, but I did not want to overextend. Especially, in the morning, leaving me tired and worn. So I stopped when I felt it was right to stop. I will increase the distance in the future.

After that, I wanted to pick up an issue that kept bothering me for quite some time and still keeps bothering me: The basement. The basement is a mess ever since we moved in. Somehow, I could not really be bothered to tidy it up. Today, I began. It still is a mess but I made the first steps. It is quite interesting that - while reading other journals - many people seem to improve their living places. It is like, when you clear your mind, you want to clear the place where you live. Anyway, I went downstairs and I did not really know where to begin. Since I always wanted a way to mount my bike to the wall, I thought it might be cool to begin right there. So, I took my bike, rode to the home depo, got some stuff and came back home. And I built a first, little wall mount for my bike. It is really nothing special as you can see from the images below, but it was a huge step in my mind. Because, I realized how much I loved riding my bike. I sold my "good" bike a few years ago when the sickness got so bad that I was not able to ride a bike, but a a few weeks ago I bought a cheap "walmart-quality" bike. I think, I already knew that I needed to go out more. And today, I noticed how much I love riding my bike, being "free" and not bound in that way and how much fun it is to clean it and work on it.

After that, I pushed all the crap in my basement into one corner after checking what it actually is and ... how much. There is a lot of unnecessary stuff in there, but also quite a nice amount of tools. I always loved to craft things, I even crafted some of my furniture back in the days. After scanning the items, I decided how to proceed. I got an appointment with the local trash removal service to get rid of the bulky stuff. There is even a dead palm tree in there. But the appointment will be in 10 days, so until then, I will try to get rid of the small items. There are a lot of empty bottles. I think people from Germany will know that problem of hoarding empty bottles. Tomorrow, I will recycle them. After that, I might try to craft some more shelves for the tools. I took a picture of the current "basement situation", to compare it to future pictures. I think that will be cool to witness how the place changes.

When I was done with the basement, I granted myself a little treat and rode(!) to the supermarket and bought nothing but a liter of coconut water. One of Cam's videos reminded me of how I loved to drink that stuff before the whole procrastination era. I went to the supermarket where I would usually have panic attacks. This time, just like the last time, no panic. I felt uncomfortable, but that is okay for me. I think the problem is the mass of impressions. Everything shouts BUY ME, TOUCH ME, LOOK AT ME and I usually have issues filtering all these impressions. The place was crowded but ... yeah, its Monday, people need to buy stuff, I guess. Drinking the coconut water was a pure pleasure. I felt so damn empty, yesterday. But today, I really had a blast. I ate a bunch of fruits with the coconut water.

One thing I really liked today was that I had close to none cravings. Everything was awesome. A bit scary, though. Being happy for no obvious reason. I just felt alive. I could have spent hours at the home depo, imagining the rocket ships I could build when I just had all their stuff, ahaha. Just kidding, but some people might know that feeling. Getting a thrill out of every idea, being easily inspired. I even made a noodle salad.

Yeah, not sure why, but I am really happy today. Now, I am just tired, but as a person who deals with insomnia quite a lot, it is nice to feel tired in a healthy way. I think, I forgot half of what I wanted to write initially but that is fine. I will upload the pictures now and oh, I'd like to share my current background quote with you. Like I said in a different part of my journal, my PC "surprises" me with a random quote every 12 hours or so. Its another Bruce Lee quote but, yeah ...:

"To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to either spend or waste and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever!" ~ Bruce Lee

P.S.: One of the pictures shows a little dream of mine. One day ... one fine day.

 

 

 

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Day 8:

Boy, I done fuckep up today. At least I kind of feel this way. But only kind of. I was talking to my last real life friend today ... via steam. He lives 800 KMs away, so we keep in touch by using steam. He told me that he ordered his new filming equipment and can't wait for it to arrive. God, I know that feeling. When you are really into something and can't wait to get the tools to get started on a new project.
Anyway, we talked about Game Quitters. He knows that I am on my detox and he supports me. In fact, when I told him about it the first time, he began to abstain from digital distractions as well. I really liked that. It shows, that we share some interests. The most important one is probably creating a life without a nine to five job, but instead having a life filled with creativity and autonomy. Is that even a word? "Autonomy"? I have no clue. Still, we talked about GQ and I told him about Alex's awesome interview and in the heat of the moment - you know, when you are entirely euphoric about something you really want to do - I asked him if that would be a cool way to begin with filming. Creating a documentary about quitting video games. Limited to germany, since we would have to travel a lot, I guess. It was just an idea, but I instantly fell in love with it. He made a point saying that it would be nice to have some scientific information on that topic as well. We discussed who would make a great person to interview and we pinned one down. Then, I really fucked up. I watched YouTube content about the guy and he made some great point. However, a majority of this content were elitist talk shows. And I watched them and I became real angry. Because he would state so much scientific data about how harmful computers and smartphones are in the early ages of a human and people just talked him down with stupid opinions. You know, "online journalists" negated scientific data of a specialist. The worst thing was, the talk show was about specialists in jobs. But the only specialist in the room was made fun of by online idiots who got applause for making Trump jokes. That really insulted my intelligence somehow. Because I got the feeling, that no matter what one will do, people will always laugh about you. They'd rather hear an "exciting" opinion than true scientific data. And I probably spent like 4 hours watching his content.

Though, one thing about it is quite nice: During these 4 hours, I wrote 4 pages for my book. My book is a mirror on society. It is about the protagonist who is searching his own way through this life, while bonding with a 15 year old girl. He learns  a lot, hates a lot, especially himself and experiences a lot. It is platon's odyssey in a modern environment. A take on Joyce's odyssey with computers, smartphones and a man that feels like being a domesticated wolf in a domesticated society. So, that input, even though it enraged me, made me write quite a lot. And today, I just realized that I am on page 99 measured in dinA4 sheets. So somehow, I am close to a non-existent border. I realized that I have 40k fixed words in the story and about 60k words in notes and story elements that still await to be implemented. You could say, the book is almost done. But that creates a huge amount of fear and pressure. Right now, right here, I am making my words public. But I am doing that to a minority of people that have the same goals like me. Publishing a book (I don't even have a publisher) is kind of a different story. Some people might love it, some might hate it and some might just go "meh" on it. Though, I still have the feeling that this is important to me. So I will have to continue. I want to continue.

Still, today was a wild and unstructured day. I fulfilled my daily goals, but the feeling of being shaken remains. I had no cravings, but I also substituted my old behavior by watching YT content. Although, and this is why it feels so ... wild, I did that because I talked about it with a friend of mine. And it inspired me. So, I am not really sure if it was a substitute or actual input. I believe that in the beginning of the detox, it is hard to tell one from another.
Though, I smoked like 3000 cigarettes and drank half a bottle of wine. And I had some minor desire for junk food, but "good" junk food. Sushi is not that bad, I guess. But I know that I have good feelings about that kind of food, so I guess that was kind of the desire to substitute.

I read A LOT of forum posts today and I enjoyed all of them. I cannot put that feeling into words. That feeling of being among your kind of people. People that share a similar history, similar goals and such. It feels so much like "being home". Outside of GQ, I could not get this kind of acceptance for my desire to distract myself. Sure, my girlfriend and the friend I wrote about are a huge support, but otherwise, I am alone with this. And I believe "we" are kind of alone with this.

I opened a new thread today about a book. A book about GQ. Not about the hard data, but about the personal stories. I still like this idea. A book so that people would get an idea of what is going on inside of some of the gamers. Also, it might help some gamers to understand their actual feelings as well. And if not, it still might be a good read. I will see how people respond to the idea of a printed medium about the story of some game quitters. I like to dive into writing stuff. I just do.

As said before, I fulfilled my daily goals. But today was just different. An emotional roller coaster again. Fulfilling the goals felt like a chore. Yesterday, when I wrote my journal, I had one unfulfilled goal and that was reading 2 book pages. At least two pages of a book of my choice. In bed, I grabbed a Terry Pratchett book I already read. But I know that I like them and it went quite well. Though, after 10 pages or so, I noticed that I would constantly have to re-read certain phrases. It is not that hard to read TP, but my concentration went over board. I can only hope that I will be able to increase my concentration span in the future. I read 15 pages and stopped afterwards. Today, I will go on. It is a beginning. That's what it is. A beginning.

A last thing to mention might be that I am listening to music like ... a lot lately. But nowadays I can really listen to it and feel it. I like that feeling and am looking forward to the concert on the weekend. It has been ages since I last participated in a concert. I am curious how it will be.

And now I would really like some sushi. That's about it. I am done here.

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Day 10:

Short journal entry today. Had a late appointment and a bad night. Felt very worn and tired. Had only minor cravings. But I made some plans for the future, which is nice. In general, I felt very anxious but spent a large part of the day outside of the apartment. I guess tomorrow will be a better day.

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 Hi @Robert Arctor ,

I just read your entire journal (it took a while, but I read it lol) and wow. You've been through a lot. And even with all the adversity in your life, you've still made it a point to improve your life. That is truly inspiring. Some people who went through what you did may have drowned themselves in addiction, in an attempt to ease the pain. Hell, some might have even committed suicide. But you've found a way to move forward, and you're making an effort to make a better life for yourself. That is worthy of admiration. You certainly have mine. I will continue to read your journal to see your progress. Stay awesome, Robert. Stay awesome.

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Man. I really enjoy reading your journal - you have a smooth way with words, and interesting thoughts and experiences. It's nice to find another aspiring writer; I'm also working on a novel, one I hope will launch a lifelong career (cause what better use of ones time is there than isolating onself in their room to make up stories?)

Will keep following your journal. Good luck with everything!

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@Paul A.
Thank you for your kind words. To be entirely honest, I am writing all that stuff down because I feel that it is necessary to do so. Not to impress people. Though, I am always happy if people can actually find something in my words. And the honesty continues: I might have had some hardships, but I wasn't always strong. There were times where I was at real low points in my life. I have had my experience with drugs, as I stated somewhere. And I also had suicidal thoughts. At one point, I was so exhausted and filled up with the feeling of guilt and hopelessness, that I tried to saw off my left hand with a circular saw. I drank a whole bottle of anaesthetics before I did that and it kicked in the moment my arm hit the saw.  I blacked out, fell down and hit my head on a wooden board. 3 days later, I woke up in a mental hospital with a large sewed wound on my left arm. So, you see, I am human like everybody else. I have my limits and I can totally understand why people want to "end the suffering". Although, I did not try to kill myself. But I needed some kind of valve to let off the steam that people pumped into my head. You know, the "You are dumb, weak, lazy ...etc" comments really got to my head at some point. After that situation, I never hurt myself again, because it would not help me in my situation. It would vent the stress for a brief moment, but the conclusion was that I had to get rid of the stressors, not of my hand.

So, if anybody would talk to me about having suicidal thoughts, I would probably try to reinforce their self-esteem. Because there is no real reason to take one's own life. It makes more to change one's own life. Still, I do not see weakness in having such thoughts, since every thought of that kind is just one's own mind, telling the person that something really sucks.

@happykhan
Thank you for the support. I wish you the best for your own journey and I hope you will always have the courage to move on when you feel like not having the strength to move on.

@SimonE
Thank you for your words of kindness. Hopefully, you will reach the point where writing turns into the non-job you want to pursue. To be entirely honest, I believe that it is very much possible to become a writer, even if you did not study literature or anything else. After all, all you have to do is write and write and write. Pursue that dream and make it possible. I wish you the best on your path.

Day 11:
So, where to begin? Today was a strange day. One of those strange days. My sleeping disorder seems to have kicked in again. I sleep like ...well, let's just say I do not sleep well lately. Last night, I dreamed of Quake 3 Arena, Civilization, Fallout 1 and some absurd game that was basically made up by my own mind. I think, I have never dreamed about video games before. I had night where I would close my eyes and see video game content. Usually after playing for 20 hours straight and partly being under the influence of something, like alcohol, caffeine or such. After playing for so many hours straight, I could not keep my eyes closed without seeing muzzle flashes and such. Those were bad days. But last night, I really dreamed of game related stuff. And I haven't been playing Quake in like 15 years. But it was part of my childhood. May be that is why it crept into my mind while I was asleep. I can only hope that this wont be how the nights go from now on.

After waking up, I felt very tired and worn. I did not set any daily goals the day before. Instead, I thought it might be a good idea to do it the same day I am going to pursue them. It did not work as intended because it took me way too long to come up with daily goals and while thinking of some goals, I was sitting in front of the PC, which is already bad. 'Cause that is what leads to the cravings, at least for me. Sitting in front of the PC, not doing anything really. That is when the thoughts come up. "I could play a match of- ..aww, damnit. I don't play anymore". So I fought these thoughts and began my day with walking the dog. Having a dog is kind of annoying and great at the same time. One will always have to walk the dog. Rain or shine. So, this way I am "forced" to go outside. "Forced" is written with quotation marks, because even though I am responsible for the dog, it is still a decision I make. I could as well decide to let the dog rot in the corner. But I decide to be responsible and walk the dog. I am pointing that out because I met many people that had the "I must"-sickness. I must go to work. I must walk the dog. I must eat. I must call my parents. I must this and I must that. And I will often have a hard time explaining that all these things a decisions. "You do not have to go to work" - "But I must, otherwise I do not get any money" - "Exactly. You CHOOSE to go to work in order to have money to buy something to eat, pay your rent and yadda, yadda". We will always make decisions. Some decisions seem to have only one logical option, but in the end, they will be decisions. So, I do not have to quit playing video games. There is no "I must". I could easily go on and waste my life away. But I do not WANT to do that, so I DECIDE to quit. I feel that this mindset makes a huge difference. Because, it puts ME in control. And if I am in control, I can navigate myself towards my goals.

Aside from that, the day was strange. I said it before, I will say it again. Strange. I felt strange. After walking the dog, I did all my 27b/6 stuff. Bureaucracy. Pay this, pay that. Fill out form X to make sure consequence Z wont take effect. This is usually a process which makes me feel like a robot. But luckily, I finished it in no time. After that, I tried to work on what I really like to do. I wrote. I wrote 1500 words, 6 pages on a Final Draft script. Today, I did not feel like working on my novel. Sometimes I do have times like these. Not feeling like working on that one project. So I worked on a side project. Still, I felt like I was procrastinating my main project. I am not sure. I am really not sure if that is true or not. For now, I am not trying to judge this feeling. I guess it comes with the detox. Not being sure if I procrastinate some times or not.
After that, I felt empty. I wrote and read so much. The script involves a lot of reading, since I have to gather the information I need from other scripts. One of these scripts was a diary of an old man I know. I read one part that just wont get out of my head. In the 70's, he met with an old friend from school and he said to him, that they should have a class reunion at some point in the future. And his friend said "We are having one right now". The guy did not understand that immediately, but after a brief moment, he realized that all his classmates were killed in the second world war while defending Berlin. That kind of got to me. I had to imagine that everybody I went to school with would have ceased to exist. I would not cry for many of them, but still ...life can be so fucking cruel. And then, I thought about myself. I did not have a great war, nor did I have such a hard time as a kiddo. But still, my issues weight heavy on my shoulders. It should be clear to everybody, that you cannot compare problems, but it still got to me. Most people have a hard life. But not most people do get to be happy. I want to be happy, so I will fight on. Still, it really got to me.

So, writing was off the table. At some point I just have to let it rest, since my concentration is not at it's peak anymore. Before I wrote, I had hopes to feel satisfied afterwards, but I did not. There were still cravings and there were still doubts about whether I am a writer or not. Doubts have the mean characteristic of sneaking up on people when their defense is low. My defense was low, that is why I spent a couple of hours listening to music, watching TED talks and talking to my last friend via steam. That is not entirely bad, but I still feel that I need something to fill my day with. I am still missing activities that "make me feel good". After watching 2 episodes of Family Guy, I stopped. I realized that this is only mildly entertaining, so I knew it was time to let it rest as well.

I tried to use 750 words for the first time, since somebody suggested it to me and I felt it would be a good time to try it. Although it seems to be a nice thingy, it wasn't for me. It is a feature that I would have to use in my browser and that is where the temptation waits for me. So I guess, I'll stick to "Focus Writer", which is a neat tool as well. Still, I finished the 750 words and looked at my summary. It was funny, because it told me that my "family" seems to be on my mind. I just assume it mistook the "Family Guy" stuff for me thinking about my family. As said, I finished the 750 words, but I was done at about 600, since I wrote so much at noon. In the end, I just wrote non-sense, which was kind of entertaining. "If you are happy and you know it ..." and such. But it wasn't all that bad, because this tiny feature taught me one thing: I do not like unfinished business. As I said, I was done at about 600 words, but knowing that I would get a big "X" for it and knowing that I would not have finished my task, I just had to go on. That is a feeling that I got a lot lately. I feel the need to finish my shit. And that is good. Real good. Because that was what I did not when I was gaming all day. I did not finish my shit. And that led to feeling of being guilty, depressed, anxious and so on. Getting stuff done however, gives my mind the permission to rest assured! I like that. I really do.

Now, there is nothing much to say anymore. I will do the dishes in a few minutes, but first I need to check the oven, because I tried to bake a loaf of bread. It did not go to well, that's what I can say about it, but I will still finish it and damn, I will eat it because I made it. Although I did not feel great today - in fact, I felt like crap most of the time - I still feel that I am in control of my life and that is worth the effort! Today has been a day that I would have loved to use to relapse, but I did not do it. That is good. Life is good.

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These gaming dreams happen to almost everyone if they dothe detox. My wife even dreams about Smoking now that she quits it. It seems a way of the brain to restructure and getting used to the fact that this addiction is now your past and not your present anymore.

I sometimes still have the must-illness but I totally agree with you. Thank you for reminding me of this.

Edited by WorkInProgress

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You're completely right about the part about obligations, and that they are merely an illusion. You do not even have to live, and thus, there's nothing in life you must do either. When you realize that fundamental truth you will feel a certain freedom - one that cannot be taken away. 

I feel like we need to remind ourselves of that again and again. Following the law, paying rent, wearing clothes etc. The world makes us believe that these things are set in stone, but they're not. They are only true as long as we choose to believe in them. It's hard to put down these thoughts in words, but I agree with you, and have been thinking alot about matters such as these before.

Any day you do not relapse deserve to be called a sucess. Good job.

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You're completely right about the part about obligations, and that they are merely an illusion. You do not even have to live, and thus, there's nothing in life you must do either. When you realize that fundamental truth you will feel a certain freedom - one that cannot be taken away. 

As Viktor Frankl says, "the last human freedom is our ability to give meaning to our circumstances." The last human freedom is our freedom to choose what life will mean to ourselves. 

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Day 12:
One of those "nothing special happened today" kind of days. Well, okay. I finished my second weekly workout, I rode my bike and had a good time. But after all my daily routines, I realized that my mum called me two days ago, so I called her back today. It was quite nice, but we spent 3 hours on the phone, trying to get her basic software installed. She got a new PC and I do not live close to her anymore, so we tried fixing every thing on the phone. She is almost 70 years old and has her troubles with the left and right click. In the end, I coached her through the installation of TeamViewer, so that I could remotely do all the stuff. As said, it was nice, but really exhausting. I never use to be on the phone for more than a couple of minutes.

When that task was done, I head a real annoying headache. So I "relaxed" for the rest of the day, only focusing on my routines. I did not write any word today, but I am looking forward to tomorrow. Now, I will just finish this day's journal and probably head to bed. I guess, sometimes it is okay to "lay low" for a day. Also, helping others - even if it results in a headache - is quite nice.

So, that is is basically it. Almost 2 weeks without games, yaay.

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Good job calling your mom. I try to call my mom every few days. The way I see it, at some point sooner than later my mom will pass, and I will have wished I spent more time calling her for 5 minutes to chat. Might as well do that now!

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Day 13:
Just a short summary today. I feel that every time I begin writing my journal that late, I cannot really focus on it. So I guess, in the future, I should begin to write my daily journal a tiny bit earlier. Will note that.

Anyway, my day was nice. Aside from writing, I put my Rode USB microphone to use and recorded some of my notes, as well as a text to listen to before I go to sleep. I mentioned that I have a sleeping disorder and I believe that I can "calm" it a little, if I work on it. Here in Germany, it is already Sunday. So it is basically day 14, somehow. Almost 2 weeks without gaming and I have mixed feelings about it. I realize that it opens doors that were closed before, but I also know that there is still a long way to go. But, I am looking forward to ... - I guess - walk it? (I was in the middle of the sentence when my girlfriend thought it was a good idea to jumpscare me in order to help me get rid of my hickup. It did not help and I forgot the sentence, hahaha.) Well, I thought about quitting smoking tomorrow but I am not entirely sure, since I would like to get the cravings under control first.

Mh, not so much reflection today. I am just really tired and happy that another day passed without playing video games to escape reality.

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Day 14:
Oh, boy. What a Sunday. I thought about it and I do not want to read my own rants when I read my journal in the future. I want to stay positive. So, I am trying this again with a more positive mindset.

I learned something on day 14: Do not take anything for granted. Be grateful for the support you get and show your supporters that you acknowledge them. I like the idea of knowing and valuing what others do for you and me. And this is what I want to remember.

So, I am very grateful to be a part of this community. To be able to share my thoughts with people who walk with me for a while on this very interesting journey. I am grateful that there are people who help me back up when I stumble and fall. And I am very grateful that I do not feel alone. I really appreciate that. It is easy to see the things that are "bad". But I believe that it needs strength to see all the good things when one is lying on the ground, feeling hurt.

I apologize for my angry rant. As said, this should not be the place to rant. Rather the place to see the good one can achieve every day.

Edited by Robert Arctor
Positive mindset

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Hi Robert, I read your introduction a week ago but I never got around to writing here! It seems you're doing yourself a great service to move forward with your life, especially since it'd be so easy to continue how you've previously done for so many years - it's a comfortable (but unhelpful) way about approaching life and so is very difficult to leave.

I'm glad you've taken something away from that concert, and has reminded me that showing appreciation to people who believe in you is important.

It's amazing how much effort you're putting into journaling, you're setting a great example and sorting your life out by putting it to paper. Props to you man and keep it up!

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@Cam Adair, @WorkInProgress
Thank you guys! I am happy to be a part of this. Not only because I benefit from quitting games, but also to witness other people taking this action in their lives. Really grateful to be a part of it.

@AlexTheGrape
Thank you, mate. I really appreciate these words of kindness and don't worry, I totally understand that one cannot comment all the journal entries. ;) Like I stated above, I am just glad to be a part of this community. There is no actual place for game quitters, where they could talk, share stories and support each other. No patting shoulders, nothing. So it's just awesome to be part of this community and see it grow into a safe haven for people who want to change.

Day 15 - 17:
Ever since my girlfriend entered her holiday phase, I decided to switch from daily journal entries to one in three days. The thing is, when my girlfriend is around, quitting games is a hell of a lot easier! Of course it is, but I feel the necessity to mention this and explain that to my future-self:

So, dear future Robert. When or if you ever read this journal entry, know one thing: You are not alone. That is very important. When your woman is around, you have somebody to talk. You don't have to go to the supermarket alone. You can walk the dog with her. Everything shines when you can do it with a person you really like. That's why I did not have any cravings lately. The opposite is the case! I tried the social gaming thing, yesterday. We played Divinity. It was her choice and she wanted it. I agreed and joined, keeping all the thoughts that other people shared with me regarding this topic in my conscious mind. I was ready to get cravings. I was ready to get sucked into that world. But none of that did happen. When you know how the instant gratification machinery works, it can be kind of entertaining. When I gained a level in the game, I reminded myself that I did not gain a level in the real life. And it was really easy. We spent some time, we talked, we ate and we laughed. And at some point, we did not want to go on. We both felt tired and saved the game to continue it at some point in the near future. It was easy to shut the game down. It felt okay.

Well, it felt more than just okay, in fact: I wanted to close the game, because I had enough of the entertainment it delivers. After we stopped playing, I opened my notebook to check my emails and there were 2. One from "HumbleBundle" and one was the "FinalDraft Newsletter". First, I opened the Bundle e-mail. But I was not interested in the new games bundle. I did not care at all. And for a fact, no matter which game they would have offered, I could not find a way to care. One of my old behaviors wasn't only playing games, it  involved buying games as well. Having a huge backlog guarantees that you will always have something to play. Anyway, I closed the damn mail.

Then, I opened the FinalDraft e-mail and read about the annual writers competition. I just bought the software a few days ago, so I was too late to join the writers competition, but next time, I will. I read the mail and found some nice information about how to sell your scripts using the internet and such. That was really good and then I realized, what I was actually doing! I did not give a damn about the game related email, but I completely focused on the information that can be useful for my life and my goals. That was awesome. It felt all so natural and when I woke up this morning, I was already planning which script to finish first, so that I can publish it and yadda, yadda. All in my head. Without actively thinking about it. You know, it was in my head already. There, where you would find the distraction related stuff suddenly was productive, useful stuff. I am really focusing on improving my life and personal growth. I can't stress that enough: That is fking awesome! Even though it's baby step by baby step. But I can see results already.

Today is not only day 17 of my game detox. Today is actually also day 3 without cigarettes. Well, I have them in the apartment, but I did not smoke any in the last three days. I feel that it will be horribly hard to quit smoking, but I just do not want to do it anymore. We will see how that will work out. I am already shoveling tons of food into my belly, ahaha.

So, back to the game quitting progress. For the near future, I will try how the social gaming thing works. If it does trigger me, it will be gone. But for now, I seem to be safe. I am at my own computer right now, steam is a click away, but I don't care. I like that. No cravings. Also, I will see how to improve my productivity and concentration. That is basically it for now. I might add a little more later on. But for now, yadda yadda. Robert - out.

 

Edited by Robert Arctor

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It's quite uplifting to read your reflections upon company and gaming, and I agree with you. Having someone you love, someone you can talk to - that's valuable beyond measurement. When we are alone our fears and cravings and struggles are always lurking inside us, always present, but when we are together with that special someone they are not that scary anymore. The light of the ones we love outshine the the darkness within us.

Also, big respect for making the decision to quit smoking. You will be grateful in the long run, I'm sure. 

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@Simon E
In hindsight, I believe that feeling lonely was one of the reasons why I played daily. Even if you live in the same apartment with somebody else, you can feel and be alone. If you have a memory that you did not share, a scary or sad memory, you will probably feel alone with it. And I often felt alone with my troubles ... a lot. But having fake company does not satisfy. Not at all. All the hours I played with online friends ... I don't really miss them. Because after all, I was alone the entire time. I might have had a few voices in my ears, due to teamspeak, but I was alone in my head. Not even in the room. The dog was always there, but I could not see it. I was alone around people and that does really suck.

But now, when I have real company, nice people around me, I feel fulfilled. That is the kind of company, the kind of talk, the kind of social life I want to have. Social media, video games, they all just give the impression of being part of something. But when the power lamp on the computer ceases to shine, one is left in the real world again. And all these things he or she is part of, are so far away. Don't get me wrong. It's great when you participate in things, even in things far away, but before you act globally, you better make sure that you have a foundation ... locally. Like, when you spread your arms, this is the area where you should work, enjoy, love, kiss, cry. And if something is out of reach, it is important to get there. With ones feet and arms. Not with ones fingertips on the keys. Getting off track again ... time to sum up.

So, I agree with you entirely. This darkness inside can only be lit up by real company that actually care whether we live or not.

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Day 21:
Back to writing my journal. 3 weeks "without" gaming. During the three weeks I tried the "social gaming" twice. My girlfriend wanted to play something together, so I joined and tried it. Like I said in a different thread, I did not really like it and I would rather not do it again. Once away from the games, everything else feels so much better, thus games are kind of boring and shallow.

I feel a lot more active lately. I get stuff done. I went to visit my mother, which was quite nice. She was happy that I swung by to say hello. Usually, I have issues when it comes to riding a train, but these anxieties seem to constantly get better. I like it that way. Though, I still have to find more activities. Especially for Sunday and for days when I do not want to spend any money at all. Free activities that are not really demanding. Today, I wrote for like 2 hours straight. With no real breaks. It was really good, but afterwards, I felt tired. My mind was tired. Instantly, I thought about how great it would be to play a "relaxing game". Just like the old days. I did not do it, of course. But in times like these, I see that I am missing activities. I will look into that particular problem.

Another problem is my sleep. I am really tired right now. 8 o' clock and I am really tired. That happens often lately. In the old days, I was never really tired. I should have been, but due to the fact that my mind was bound to a game, like my eyes were bound to a screen, I did not feel that I was tired, although I was. Nowadays, I get tired easily. I hope that this is only a temporary "jet lag" and that I will find my balance at some point.

Aside from that, I am really feeling good. I love that my day is filled with interesting stuff. That I can actually feel my life. Also, it is day 7 without smoking. My girlfriend still smokes and I really, really, really would like to just have one, but I know that this is only an old habit. Though, this is a tough time. Not playing was kind of easier, because the triggers are easy to dodge, at least in my life. But people smoke around me like... all the time. I will get over it, but right now, it is tough. I cannot lie about that.

My current short-term goals are the basement and a writing project. The basement is self-explanatory. It looked like crap and was entirely crowded with stuff I could not even remember owning. Now, it is transforming into a room at least. Within the next three weeks, I want to turn it into a usable workshop for my bike. A place where I can spend time crafting, maintaining and repairing stuff. Always loved that. Miss it. Want it back in my life. So, three weeks. Does not have to be a beauty in the beginning, but I want it to function. After that, I can always place ribbons on stuff to make it look gorgeous.

The other goal is a writing project. I bought myself a new software. I mentioned that in an early entry. So, I still have to learn how to use this software efficiently and of course, I should actually put it to use. I used it for another project, but I do not want to have to many construction sites at the same time, so I focus on older stuff that should be easier to start with. Within the next three weeks, I want to get one episode of a fictive TV show done. This should teach me how to use the majority of the functions of the said software. Three weeks from now. If I fail, it'll be okay for me. 'Cause, like... if I make it half way through and than get a blockade, I still managed to finish half of it within three weeks. That is more than I finished in the past three years. So if I fail, I want to fail good. Real good. But let's not talk about failure. Everything will be cool in time.

The rest of the time, I will work on making daily goals a habit. Three weeks are not enough for me to turn a chore into a habit. I am a slow habit-creator. Well, that's okay for me. I will go on and I am convinced that even if it is tough, really tough, sometimes, it will be better in the future.

Can't wait to see how deadlines work for me. So, till the next time...

 

Edit: A thing that I forgot and still would like to mention: I really miss gardening. I miss having a garden. I miss sitting in the dirt, watching the ground live. I miss tending plants, harvesting. I miss being part of my own little wilderness. I thought about having a garden a lot in the past days. I do not want to buy another piece of land, because I want to be unbound. Free, just in case I want to leave. Just in case I have to heed a call. You know, adventure awaits out there. But I really miss it.

Edited by Robert Arctor

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Hmm... What are you going to harvest first in your garden? :)

Btw. during beginning of detox sleeping issues are pretty normal. You will harness your sleep within time.

Greetings, Mad Pharmacist

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I think getting back into gardening would be really great!

I also want to say I love your attitude and all of the action you're taking. Really happy you're a part of our community.

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