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Miguel

It's now or never!

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It's now or never!

 

Let start introducing my self. My name is Miguel and I am a Brazilian guy currently leaving in Germany. I am at my beginning thirties and I was suffering with video game compulsion. I said I was because I decided to stop once and for all, and it has been 57 days since I did. I know I am just at the start of my journey, but it feels so good that I have managed this far…

 

My liking to video games, as for most of you, started when I was a kid. It started when I got a Turbo for christmas and then further developed when I was upgraded with a Super Nintendo. At that time I would spend hours and hours playing "Donkey Kong" or "Metal Warriors", my favorite games by then. But interestingly, later on, from the 17 to the middle 20's, besides still liking games, I kind of stopped playing it. I did it because I did not have any console, and I was too busy studying to get in and out of the university. I did not stopped completely and I would play it whenever I had a chance, but to be honest the chances were quite meagre. One of my roommates had a computer, on which I used to play AOE, a game that enticed me completely. but as the computer was shared by all of us, which means ten people, it was hard to play on it for more than two hours in a row. During my holidays, the matters were quite different. As I studied in a city far from my hometown, I always went home during my vacation. Even with all the complaints from my family, it always ended up with me playing hours and hours without stoping. But whenever I got back to the university, due to the the fact that I did not have many opportunities to play, my game pattern would return to the baseline level. 

 

After finishing the University, everything changed when I bought a notebook. It was much easier to play, and I did play whenever I felt bored, or frustrated, which would happen quite often. I decided to go for a master at the same University, and went on to stay more two years on that city. Many things happened on that two years: I got a girlfriend, I had a new project to work on, I moved to a new apartment sharing it with only one more person instead of 9. But one thing didn't change - I was feeling alone, I did not have friends and this was affecting me a lot. I did had a girlfriend, but unfortunately she was living 750 Km away,  and although we tried to talk often with each other, it was not enough to stop me feeling empty. With all this buzzing on my head, it was hard to not give in to my desire for playing, for watching porn or for anything else that would keep me away from my thoughts, doubts and frustrations. The situation was even worst by the end of my stay there, when I didn't need to go to the university and could stay "working" from home. At some point I was so desperate that I even broke the cd that I had to play AEO. It was so easy to give in when the CD was just in front of me that I decided I could not continue in that way because I had things to do and I could not waste my time playing games. It worked, well at least partially. I did stopped playing AEO but soon enough I started playing something else. I would also kill an enormous amount of time compulsively watching episodes from tv series, one after the other without stoping. When my time there was over, I did managed to finished my master, however everything else in my life was a black whole, no friends, no girlfriend, no motivation whatsoever. 

 

It was exactly at that point when I got the opportunity to come to Europe. That was something I had always in mind, and the idea was even sweeter whenever I stopped and contemplated my situation. I was depressed and had had enough of the city I was living in. Moving to Germany looked like a solution to all my problems. It would be my first time in a plane, my first time abroad, my first time seeing snow. I was going to a beautiful city, I would work in a nice environment surrounded by people from all around the world. The idea was incredibly beautiful. I would finally be happy, only I wasn't. I came thinking that changing the place I was living in would change me, but in the end I was pretty much the same. Not long after my arrival, after the ecstasy of the new beginning started to fade off, my old and annoying habits would surface again. I started again a marathon of series watching and porn, and every hour I spent like that would make me feel really bad, and to deal with all this bad feeling I would watch more and more of it. It was a vicious circle.

 

As if all the bad habits I had were not enough, I decided to buy a console. I was so sure that I had to buy it that I bought a game even before buying the console. I bought the console and in the beginning I would manage to play ‚healthy‘. But soon after that I got hooked, and I wouldn't be able to stop it before I finished the game. After finishing it, I was able to stay clean for some time, but then I would always get a new game, and then I would play it compulsively until I finished it. It was feast or famine.

 

The interesting thing I realized is that I think all my bad habits are somehow connected. As soon as I started giving in to gaming, I would also start to give in to series, porn, bad food, bad sleep. It’s like I needed to say „NO“ to all of these in order to stay clean, but if I said „yes“ for any of this, everything was lost. As you can imagine, this situation was only getting worse and worse, and then I decided I needed help. I looked for psychologists, I had three different in a window of two years. None of them solved my problems. The last one, with which I have sessions for two years now, started showing me that I had to be the one solving my problems, I had to stand on my own feet, no body else could do it for me. But although I wanted to get better, I kept making mistakes. I already had a console at home and had problems with it but I decided I deserved to buy a new one, I needed a PS3. And you have to agree, if things were bad with only one console, it definitely wouldn't get better with two. Add to that the fact that things in my work were in a bade shape and you have a recipe for disaster.  

 

I got to a point I was feeling bad for everything. I was feeling bad for not being responsible at work. I was feeling bad I was not taking care of my self. I was feeling bad I was alone. I was feeling bad because many people thought I was having a great time, but in fact I was depressed and desperate. I was feeling bad that once I started playing I could not stop it. I was feeling bad that even if I didn't want to play, I was not able to refrain my self from it. On that point I decided it was enough of feeling bad. I needed to do something to get out of the hole I have dug for myself. Ok, being honest, I did hit this point several times. But the last time I did, it was different. This time I had a great idea of asking google for ways of stoping playing video games and it redirected me to game quitters.

 

Reading Cam’s article on how to quit video game forever and watching his videos on TED made so much sense to me that I did not hesitate to delve in the 60 + ideas of things to do on your free time and to purchase RESPAW. With those materials I would start to understand why some times I could not resist gaming and why it appealed so much to me. It was interesting that some strategies were not new to me, like trying to put a barrier between me and the games by leaving them at my office during weekends, or doing online courses about things I was interested in, or meditating. However those techniques used on its own were not enough, at least not in my case. I was fulfilling part of my needs, but not all, leaving open spaces where gaming could sneak in. One of the important area I was missing was the social one, even more in my case because gaming did not contribute much to it as I never played online, even when playing games that made sense doing so. Reading Cam’s article I realized I needed to combine the strategies. I needed structure, direction and purpose in order to live a more meaningful life. 

 

I have to say the true, I did not stopped playing right away after reading the materials. In between I had a trip. I did not play during it but I did play before and played once more  when I was back. This last time I played from 6 pm to 3 am and on that day I decided I need to stop all that. I was tired of waiting for a solution that would never come. I decided if I wanted to change I had to try and find something that worked for me. I stopped playing games on that day and I haven't touched one ever since. It has been 57 days today and it will be 58 days tomorrow. As I said before, It’s now or never, and I consciously chose now!

 

 

 

 

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Hey Miguel! Great to have you join us here! Sorry for the late reply, my keyboard was broken and it finally got fixed today. BTW, I have a sticker en route to you right now! :D Congrats on 57 days so far! That's truly incredible and you should feel proud of yourself. 

We're here to support you so let us know how we can help.

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Miguel, bem-vindo :) I liked your "feast or famine" analogy. Congratulations for picking up the courage to quit and making it this far!

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Hey Tom and Watermelon,

Obrigado! This new journey we are tracing now is hard, but being part of this community surly makes the way up feels a less steeper. Thanks for the support! ;)  

Edited by Miguel

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Hey Miguel! Great to have you join us here! Sorry for the late reply, my keyboard was broken and it finally got fixed today. BTW, I have a sticker en route to you right now! :D Congrats on 57 days so far! That's truly incredible and you should feel proud of yourself. 

Hey Cam,

Guess what just arrived at my place after a transatlantic trip.
Thanks for the sticker, and thanks for the motivation letter!
Thanks for giving us an opportunity to growth! 
 

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