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qwethm987

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I am hereby starting my journal, since I think it is a crucial tool if I am going to keep track of my process and kick my addictions for good. I will call today day1, even though I didn't play anything yesterday either. I did however watch some "clash royale" gameplay while eating breakfast, and I don't think it matters whether it is me who is playing or if I'm wasting my time watching someone else.

Day 1:

Today is the first day in I don't know how long, where I have had the opportunity to play and watch gameplay/streams, where I have resisted the urge. It is my fifht day without porn and masturbation and it is the first day in a long time where I've only eaten actual, home made food for all my meals. I haven't eaten any candy and I've only been drinking water the entire day except for a glass of apple juice at breakfast (no need in throwing it out, I might as well empty it ;-))

I started the day with a 6km run (~4 miles) and then came home to eat breakfast. Normally I always watch gameplay videos or netflix at all my meals (unless I eat with other people), but today I just tried to enjoy my food without any distractions. I spend the following hours uninstalling all games on my pc, phone and laptop, and I set my steam-account for sale on reddit. It doesn't seem like there are a lot of buyers, so I might end up just deleting it. I also finished reading "respawn" and thought there were some good points. I also dug out my notes from back when I read "The slight edge", and it was nice to be reminded of some of the points Jeff Olson makes in that book. I especially found one qoute that I think will help me in my endeavours: 

    "Its not a question of your mood or your feelings. And its not a question of will power. Its a question of simply knowing."

No matter how I feel, how strong my urges are, how much I try to rationalize that it might not harm to play for a little, deep down I know that isn't what is best for me. I simply know that I want to stop, and whatever it is that is giving me these urges, isn't really me. 

I've also changed all six strings on my guitar and played for about an hour in total. It's been a long time since I've done that. I also played a little bit of piano, but I mainly focused on the guitar today. Other than that I've spent around 2 hours on codeacademy, I've read in one of my books, and I've meditated for the first time in months.

The only regret I have for today is that I've seen two episodes of "a bit of fry and laurie" a british comedy show from the late eighties. However, this isn't much of a problem compared to the time I usually spend, and since I unsubscribed to netflix last night, I just watched these 2 episodes on youtube. I also had some troubles as I took a shower, and started getting urges to masturbate, but with a swift change in the temperature of the water, those urges quickly disappeared.

I am leaving for a Danish folk high school tomorrow (nothing like the American high school) which I am super excited for. I am sure this will help me a lot, since I'll be away from my gaming computer, I'll be living with others, sleeping in bunk beds, making it less likely that I'll want to masturbate. And of course I will be doing a lot of fun activities with a lot of (hopefully) fun people. 

So far so good. I am hopeful, and I think I might actually be able to radically change my life. I am really glad I found this website and bought respawn, and I'm overwhelmed with the positive response I've gotten on my entry post. It's so nice to feel welcome, and I definately want to be part of this community.

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No matter how I feel, how strong my urges are, how much I try to rationalize that it might not harm to play for a little, deep down I know that isn't what is best for me. I simply know that I want to stop, and whatever it is that is giving me these urges, isn't really me. 

Continue to remind yourself of this. Remember, your life will change one day at a time, so focus on that and let the results compound over time!

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Day 2:

I've arrived at my new school. I haven't had any time to think about playing or masturbating, since the day has had a tight schedule. I am quite proud of myself, since I've been very open and welcoming to all the new people I've met. I haven't had my phone out of my pocket or any other type of "shield". I've just engaged in conversation and met a lot of cool people. I really really think the decision to go here, was the right choice for me. I hope that everything will continue going great here.

Today I've been thinking about a qoute from The Slight Edge. "Be happy and the reason will appear.". I've compared this to a Viktor Frankl qoute "Happiness is like laughter, you need a reason for it to surface." I must admit that I can relate to the Frankl qoute better. I think you can have a positive attitude, and you can try to make the best of situations, but this is kinda like a fake laughter. You need an actual reason to be happy and to laugh with both your mouth and your eyes. I think this Danish folk high school can help me, and the friendships and activities I find here, can become the reason behind my real happiness.

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I think you can have a positive attitude, and you can try to make the best of situations, but this is kinda like a fake laughter. You need an actual reason to be happy and to laugh with both your mouth and your eyes.

The key part of this is that it's you who chooses what the reason is. That's why a gratitude journal works so well to help you be happy. Because you're consciously choosing what it is that you are grateful for - instead of expecting it to magically appear.

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@Cam Adair I have to respectfully disagree with you. I think you're right that I can choose my outlook, that I can change my attitude. I can choose to be positive. But I really do not think I can choose to be truly happy. I can choose to be glad or content, but true happiness cannot come from writing a gratitude journal. I might have too high standarts of happiness for my own good, and I know that several studies find, that gratituded increases  happiness, but it doesn't take a lot to increase your happiness when you're depressed. 

 

Day 3:

This is my my first week of nofap, which I am quite content with. However, I must admit that I am quite drunk right now. I've drunk 12 beers, and hence I have broken my streak of being alchohol free. I might feel ashamed or disappointed in myself tomorrow, but right now, I am actually glad I drank, since I am in a new place, with a lot of new people, and it is a lot easier to get to know new people when I'm drunk. I know that I should just practise opening up more while sober, but since I haven't practiced it before, and I can't wait introducing myself to my new friends, i felt like i kinda had to get drunk, if i was gonna open up. I now that this justification probably isn't bullet proof, and that I might regtret it tomorrow, but right now I am really to drunk to care. I would like my journal to be longer, but I am really really tired, and I'm not even sure what I am writing makes sense, so I'm just going to sleep.

Hopefully my might will be clear enough to write a proper journal tomorrow.

Btw it's a 24 day streak of no alchohol, so I did keep sober for quite some time.

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@Cam Adair I have to respectfully disagree with you. I think you're right that I can choose my outlook, that I can change my attitude. I can choose to be positive. But I really do not think I can choose to be truly happy. I can choose to be glad or content, but true happiness cannot come from writing a gratitude journal. I might have too high standarts of happiness for my own good, and I know that several studies find, that gratituded increases  happiness, but it doesn't take a lot to increase your happiness when you're depressed. 

Writing a gratitude journal alone will not do it. It will only contribute. The only reason you're not happy is because your perspective (or as you call it, standards) cause you to be unhappy. There is no thing that can make you happy, but your choice to do so.

These kids in Tanzania I hung out with had "nothing"... yet they were the happiest kids I've ever been around. From speaking with them, I know that their life was built on a foundation of simply being so grateful to be alive. They literally sang songs saying "asante sana" over and over again, which means "thank you very much". They chose to be happy, that was it.

IMG_0595.thumb.JPG.62e65d14e5ab6ddecdc1a

As someone who's been depressed much of my life, I definitely relate to the difficulty of being happy amongst depression. Depression in my eyes is being "sad" even when things are going WELL. But that doesn't mean you can't do your best to choose otherwise. :)

My challenge to you would be to define what happiness is to you. What does being happy even mean?

Edited by Cam Adair

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@Cam Adair Thank you very much for the thourough answer. I've read your answer several times now, and I do realise that what I mean by happiness might actually better be described as euphoria. Being in an unrealistic state of joy, where no worries or anything can reach you. I realise that it is never gonna happen at least not permanently), and that I really should put things in a larger perspective. I have all the means to live, and even though I do not see a meaning, I should at least be grateful over the fact that I am as priviliged as I am, and that I live in a rich country like Denmark.

And I truly am grateful. But I also fit pretty well into your definition of depression, and even though I realise how lucky I am, I still find it hard to appreciate my life. I have a lot of things to be grateful for; I have a loving and supportive family, I have a high IQ and am a quick learner, I never have to worry about going hungry, I can get any medicine for free from my doctor (thank god for Danish health care), I live my life excactly as I want to, whether I want to be an atheist, gay, trans, left-wing, a nazi, or whatever, I can do it here in Denmark.

My only problem is that I don't think any of the above really matter. My true enemy is my nihilism. I really don't think my life has any sort of purpose. Even though I have so many things to be grateful for, it is proven by the kids in Tanzania, that I don't need any of these things to live a good life. You can get used to almost any circumstances, and if you can't get used to it you die, but that's where we're all headed anyways. 

Whenever I do not occupy my mind these thoughts pop up. I used to deal with it with gaming, and I do try to keep my self busy by socialising with all the new people I've met here at the school. Because I really have no reason what so ever to be unhappy. I have no urges towards neither gaming nor masturbation nor eating unhealthily. I am sourounded by nice, friendly and open minded people with whom I share a lot of interests. I have difficulty imagining in what way my life could be better, and yet I feel shit.

But enough of my first world problems:

Day 4:

As stated above, everything is going fine and I should really just be grateful. I haven't gamed in 4 days, and the only time I've thought about gaming today, is right now while writing this entry.

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Imho Nihilism is no reason for Depression. The lack of purpose in the world jsut means that you can choose whatever purpose you want. Sure it would be nice if there was a plan for everyone, and a Definition of a good life. But that there isn't( I am convinced of this). That doesn't mean that you can't ahve a personal purpose. For me personally this is living a happy life where I share my feelings in good relationsships, challenge myself and live a life where I am congruent with the morals I posess. Are these morals objective? Surely not. Doesn't make it less worthwhile for me pursuing this life. Could I rot for a Computer triggering my brain wiht postiive stimulation only instead? Sure but it wouldn't make me living a live like I want. I  know that this would lead to Isolation, less confidence,and a bad physical status of mine. And all this would suck way more then having to work for my version of a good life.

I personally never was depressed in the sense that everythign is good and I am still feeling sad so i can't really give you good tips to get out of this hole.

 But it could be worthwhile to check out if there is a physical reason for this. Sometimes Vitamin D deficencies or homonal disbalances can be reasons for depression. Sometimes there is such an easy fix and People don't find it because we search for more cmoplex problems in the psyche. 

Good Job on the 4 days of journalling!

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I can really relate to that rationalizing about getting drunk.

I also don't want to come across as a boring weirdo while everyone around me is having fun, especially if there are attractive girls around. It's the same with porn - I don't want to be seen as kind of hypocritical prude. And even less I want to explain to every stranger the actual reasons why I don't drink and stay away from porn. But hey, even less than that I want to have to do respawn all over again, since it's not gonna be any easier just because I already did it once. It's still a relapse, no matter how justified the reason behind it.

All those behaviours do have substantial benefits. You mentioned much easier socializing, getting along with people you like. And I can find these veritable highly justified reasons in all of the addictive behaviors. Let's look at porn. For example, I can watch it a little bit with my girlfriend, and it will add some spice in our intimate relationship, right?

The problem here is that now the price for those benefits is ridiculously high. And it will remain this high for the rest of my life. But that's OK, since those "legitimate" benefits of indulging are far outweighed by the benefits of abstaining.

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Gratitude is a muscle like anything else - the more we use it, the better we get at using it. Most of our time is spent on looking at what's wrong in the world, what's wrong with us and where we fuck up... and we spend no time looking at the opposite. So for most of us, seeing the negative is simply better trained.

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It's now been a week since my last journal. I haven't written anything in a while, but I have been reading in the forum. There has been several reasons behind me postponing writing, mostly because I haven't really had the time, but also since I didn't know what to write. I want to apologize for the following wall of text, but I have a lot on my mind right now, and I don't expect anyone to read it all. Just writing it out and clearing my mind helps me a lot.

@WorkInProgress: Thank you very much for your input. Like you, I too think that there is no plan, no given purpose. I really envy those, who has found their calling in gods or who are in other ways certain of their purpose and so on. But I don't know what purpose I want to give myself. I've learned that I don't really need much to live, and so everytime I set a goal I have a habit of rationalising it away; Get a promotion? Well, I already have everything I need, so I don't really need it. Get a girlfriend? Well, I will loose most of my independence, and we'll probably end up growing apart anyway.
Furthermore I feel like I am constantly changing. Most of the goals I set today, will be invalid to me in a month. What I look for in a girlfriend changes like the wind, the music I'm into, what I want to work with, even my morals I feel like are changing constantly. I read a book recently, "The Stranger" by Albert Camus, and I felt so oddly related to this nihilistic psychopath, who didn't feel remorse or joy or pain.
But you are right. I find more and more things that I care about, even if it is just a little. I have had no urges to go back to gaming, and though I ultimately think it doesn't matter whether I game or not, I do not see myself going back to gaming, since I have more moments of sincere happiness now, than I did 2 weeks ago. I am hopeful, and I force myself to try new things, and ultimately I hope to find a "passion" or something I will make a career out of or something. I am a lot more optimistic than I was when I wrote my last entry. I really do appreciate your input.

 

@Alan Thank you for your reply. The motto of my new school is "freedom to be different" and everyone here are very nice and nonjudgemental, but though I try not to care what others think of me, I deep down want to make a good impression and make friends. There are a few others here, who don't drink, and they seem to be having fun. But I just feel like it is nearly impossible to have fun at a party where other people drink their mind out, while being one of the few sober ones. Since my last entry I drank a couple of beers every day until the weekend, where I drank a lot of beers, but I haven't touched anything since, and I've decided that I'm not going to drink except for friday and saturday evenings. I know that there are substantial benefits to absatining from alchohol, especially regarding physical health, but being drunk with my new friends (and my old friends for that matter) is just something I enjoy too much to let completely go of. Unlike gaming or porn, I actually think partying has some rather substantial benefits too, both in the short and long term, and though it comes at a price, I've decided that it is worth it. I might reconsider later. 
Though in my case I do not think it applies to a limited alchohol consumption, I really like your metaphore that abstaining from things comes at a price, but that the benefits far outweighs these costs and I thank you very much for your perspectives.

@Cam Adair So far I've been focusing a lot on being grateful for what I have; that I am attending this new school, that I have everything I need to cover my basic needs, that I've met some new friends. But reading your comment made me realise, that I forget to be grateful for MYSELF and that I spend way to much time thinking about in which ways I could become a better version of myself. Of course this is important to do sometimes, if I want to improve, but you're right, that I should also remember to thank myself for what I have done and become so far. I will really try to focus on this, and I think this will help me greatly. Thank you for the insight.

Day 11:

First of all, I want to thank myself that I've abstained from gaming and streaming games for 11 days. I've already reached a point where I don't really have any urges to play anymore. I've also gone 15 days without masturbating. This has been quite a lot harder, and I am glad that I have been able to fight the rather strong urges. This has mostly been accomplished by taking really cold showers and immediatly distracting my mind with something else like push-ups or reciting arabic words.
I'm also grateful that I have pushed my own limits since arriving at my new school. I've spend a lot of hours practicisng my guitar, and I've even written a song. I've forced myself to socialize and I've gotten some really great friends by playing sports, playing board games, partying and just hanging out. I've started learning arabic and icelandic from some other students (students teaching others is a really big part of going to a danish folk high school), and i'm also learning to give a good massage and how to do skipping tricks from other students.
I'm very grateful that I had the courage to choose the teacher-taught subjects, dance and theatersport. I especially dreaded theatersport, and I was sure it would be really uncomfortable. And it was. But only in the first 5 minutes. Then I forgot how shy and unsure I was and just rolled with it. I ended up having so much fun with my fellow students and my excellent teacher. Dancing was also really fun (and hard) and I look forward to the next lesson.

All in all, it's been a great week. I am satisfied with myself, and it is on purpose, that I haven't written anything negative in this entry. I might do that tomorrow, or whenever I write next time, but not today. And I can clearly feel, that I am feeling happier and more at rest than I did when I started writing this awful long wall of text.

TL;DR:
Everything is going well, and I am trying to go easier on myself and give myself some credit.

 

Edited by qwethm987

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@Cam Adair So far I've been focusing a lot on being grateful for what I have; that I am attending this new school, that I have everything I need to cover my basic needs, that I've met some new friends. But reading your comment made me realise, that I forget to be grateful for MYSELF and that I spend way to much time thinking about in which ways I could become a better version of myself. Of course this is important to do sometimes, if I want to improve, but you're right, that I should also remember to thank myself for what I have done and become so far. I will really try to focus on this, and I think this will help me greatly. Thank you for the insight.

Exactly! Gotta appreciate yourself too! :)

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Congrats with your progress! (especially with the nofap on hard mode!)

As for gratitude, I was skeptical at first, but then I asked myself: What have I got to lose? 2 to 3 minutes a day?

Do it for 3 weeks. Then decide if it is worth it.

Don't expect to find purpose right away. Be patient and keep trying new things out. You're already doing great, in my humble opinion!

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Gratitude is definitely worth trying. I've come back to it few days ago and I see how good is it :) And please, don't believe people who are saying that you need to fap. I believe you can live without it :)

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Well... I quite quickly went back to my old habits. I don't excactly remember why or how, but I guess I just have to try again. 

Day 1, 2. try:

This time it might be a bit easier. I am no longer attend the Danish folk high school, so I'm not constantly surrounded by good friends and loads of activities, but it seems as if I've fundamentally changed somehow. Last time I tried to quit, I had quite strong urges to play, but lately the urges have been at most moderate. About two weeks ago I deleted the only game I had on my phone, which I had been playing quite intensely. It was a very competetive game against other players, where you slowly upgrade your profile and reach higher ranks. It's a freemium game, and the top players spend thousands of dollars to get the best things for their profile. 
The way (I felt like) I played the game was like this: I loose a match to someone who plays poorly but has stronger troops -> I get annoyed and upgrade my troops -> I get a higher rank -> I loose to someone who plays poorly but has even higher troops. And that can go on forever. I suddenly started thinking "to what end do I play this game?" First of all I got very little joy out of the game, since I spent most my time being annoyed. On top of that I would never be able to get amongst the top players since they literally post thousands of dollars into the game. So; Either I had to make my own goal as to how high rank I wanted to go to, or I simply had to delete the game. I chose the last option. I started to apply the same thought of "to what end?" to the other games I played and it seems to have helped, since I haven't played for a couple of days now. I have however watched youtube videos of people playing, so I start my counter from today.

I know quitting gaming isn't as simple as thinking "to what end.". It takes hard work. And that is why I start writing in this forum again, even though it's going fine right now. Because I know myself, and I know that I will get strong urges again at some point. Last time I quit, it was also going great. Right up until it didn't. I got sloppy, I didn't write in my journal, I didn't remind myself of how well my life was withouth video games and so on. Hopefully I will do better this time. I will definately try to at least keep up my journal. 

I am quite hopeful. Sunday I move to the other side of Denmark, but I leave my gaming computer with my mother (with whom I live now.). I do however bring my phone and laptop, both of which are devices on which I can easily play. But not having my large PC definately helps.
I've also gotten a girlfriend which have greatly boosted my confidence and made me want to try harder to achieve things in my life.
Lastly I am starting my studies at a university next wednesday, so I wont have as much sparetime as I do now. It will be easier to abstain from gaming, if I simply don't have any time. At least that's what I hope.

It's good to be back, and hopefully I'll do better this time.

Edited by qwethm987

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Hey, qwe, good to see you posting and continuing with your journal. Yes, takes work but you have a good attitude and I think you'll be successful if you keep at it. Yeah I briefly had an obsession with a mobile game, Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes and found myself pouring money into it to get new characters or keep up with my guild mates.

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Day 5, 2. attempt.

I haven't updated my journal the last couple of days, since I've been quite busy. I have been moving from one end of Denmark to the other, and in the process I've made it considerably easier to quit gaming. I left my gaming computer at my old house, so now I only have acces to my phone and my shitty laptop. This makes it impossible for me to play my favourite games. Of course I can still play simpler games on my phone, but I don't really have a hard time abstaining from them.

It's been easy for me to fill out my days, since I have had a lot of packing and unpacking to do, and I feel that as long as I am busy, I'm not thinking about gaming. Today however, I have nothing that needs to be done. I have to go to the post-office, and that is it. I know it is ridicoulus to complain about having too much time, since I quit gaming to get more time, but a full day of having almost nothing that NEEDS to get done puts a lot of pressure on me. Luckily I am starting at my university the day after tomorrow, so in a couple of days, I will have a more "appropriate" amount of spare time. If I was still gaming (and had my pc) I would probably play for 10-12 hours today. Instead I am going to make sure I have everythig I need for uni, I am going to play some piano (I am currently re-learning "Fantasie Impromptu" by Chopin, I could play it 5 years ago, but since then my skills have deterioated quite a lot.) and I am going to sketch a bit with my pencils. 

I think I will keep writing in the mornings from now on. I get up at 5:30 everyday, since I want to eat breakfast with my girlfriend before she goes to work, but I don't want to move around the house and be too noisy before 7:00, since we live with her parents and I don't want to wake them. So from 6:15 when she leaves and until 7:00, I want to spend my time quietly, and journalwriting is a great way to do that.

All in all things are going great. I get some periods during the days where I feel quite unhappy, and it is during those times I usually would numb my mind by gaming. Since that is no longer an option I just try to make myself busy and ignore the feelings, and that usually makes me forget them go away. The rest of my time I feel fine, though I do get bored quite often, since nothing seems to entertain me quite as much as gaming. But I do think that is to be expected, at least until my reward systems in  my brain bounce back from the overstimulation the gaming caused. 

Everything is going great, I'm luckily not suffering from any of the serious withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, sleepdisturbance or anything like that, so I really am grateful and I think that I will do even better once I start at my university. This will also let me meet new people, so hopefully I will get some new friends, now that I've moved away from my old friends. I really don't have anything to complain about, so I'll try my best and have a great day.

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Sounds good, qwe. It's good that you're keeping busy, especially with your move. That's awesome that you can play the piano. I was never so musically accomplished. ?

Yeah, my dad is a musician so he made me start playing from a very early age. I've taken lessons for about 10 years, but the last couple of years my skill have deterioated fast. Hopefully I will get some practice done now that I quit gaming :-)

Good to have hobbies to keep your mind preoccupied, qwethm987, I haven't played in years since my first recital at an elderly retirement home.

One of the reasons I want to quit gaming is to have time for all my hobbies, so it's great that they simultaniously help me to quit. I quit to do hobbies, doing hobbies help to quit. 
I haven't really played in years either, so I'm glad to finally pull my self together and get some practice done.

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Day 6, 2. attempt.

Since I'm writing in the early morning, I will focus on the day before. Yesterday was a good day. I had a lot of spare time and that let to quite a lot of urges, but I was able to fight them off. I both have urges to game myself, but I also feel strong urges towards watching others play on youtube. Watching others play is just as bad (or maybe even worse) as playing myself in my opinion. I know this. But when I get the urges i am almost able to convince myself that "well, it's not really playing, it will do no harm." But I know, that if I watch an episode of a let's play, I will soon watch another and all of a sudden I've spent several hours on youtube. So far I've been able to fight these thoughts and urges, and hopefully I will continue to do so in the future.

I startet by going for a run for the first time in months. Then I went to get a stamp for a special bus ticket which will take me to the university and back. I had to get the stamp at a post office, but because of the increasing digitalisation a lot of post offices have closed. I drove around for 20 km (around 13 miles) until I finally found a functional office. Unfortunately they were open from 13:00-17:00 only, so I had to drive all the way back, only to drive again later, when they had opened. In total I went around 80 km to get a stamp. Though I was quite anoyed I actually found it okay, since I got to drive around in my new neighbourhood. I made sure to take new roads back and fourth from the post office, so I could get a better feel of the local roads. On top of that I spent a total of around 2 hours, which then kept me from gaming.

I also drew a duck. I follow the sketchdaily reddit, where you get a new assignment every day. I'm not as good at drawing as I want to be, but I can feel that I am getting better. I will attach a photo of the drawing. 

I also dug up around 7kg (~15pounds) of potatoes since the place to which I've moved is a house share between around 35 people. This means that you only have to cook dinner twice a month and do the dishes twice a month, the rest of the time its other people's turn. Today my father in law is on the cooking team, so I helped him by digging up potatoes yesterday. I enjoy gardening work, so I was glad to do it. 

In the evening I played a board game with my girlfriend and father in law. I couldn't help but thinking how boring this game was compared to those I used to play on the PC. I kept thinking about ways to improve the game to add more depth and make it more strategy-based rather than luck-based. But though I found the game quite boring it was nice to play with my girlfriend and her father. We spoke about a lot of things while we played and that was nice.

So all in all a very very good day, where I managed to utilize my spare time to get a lot of things done. Had I still been gaming, I would probably have sat in my chair for 10+ hours instead. 

duck.jpg

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