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Bob's Journey


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Day 1:

Today almost wasn't Day 1. Tomorrow was supposed to be. I was in the process of reinstalling some computer games I had uninstalled yesterday (in yet another "quit fit"). My birthday is on the 8th so I typically buy my computer games off Steam and Gamersgate  during the Black Friday sales. Once again I struck gold: Assassin's Creed Rogue AND Unity for 50% off. Thanks, Mom!

For a history buff, playing historical computer games, whether story based, tactical battles, or grand strategy, is history coming alive. But anything good can be overdone.

I first seriously quit computer games last year, where for maybe 10 glorious weeks, I quit computer games and soda (thus practically eliminating fast food). I began to walk, got up to an hour a morning, and lost 23 lbs in the process. I didn't take sick days at work anymore, I cleaned more around the condo, and just seemed more available to my wife when she wanted to go places.

But I blinked.  I missed the old historical games. There were some that actually fuelled my writing, and I could write historical fiction derived from the gameplay. I felt this craving to go back to that, telling myself it was only this one facet, this one tiny piece of gaming just to fuel my writing.

So I gave in. I was giving in on the soda front too and I was getting caught up in religion (which I won't get into). I got overconfident and within weeks I was back to eating and gaming. I tell people I was running for a touchdown, an open field before me, ready to score, no defender around me. And I dropped the ball.

So it's a year later. I'm back to the weight I was before last year's attempt (330 lbs, 6 ft). And even though I now know what I'm capable of when I put my mind to it, I still bargain with myself just to keep a soda or a computer game. I tell my wife those two addictions are my cocaine and heroine. I can be a junkie. I spend money, sneaking around, not telling anyone. I bum money off people, you name it. I get resentful if someone talks to me during my "computer time".

But I turn 40 next Tuesday and I want to stop this behavior. Whether it means no gaming or moderation, I have to do at least the 90 day detox and and see where that takes me. This is a game quitters forum so I'll emphasize that aspect even though I'll be quitting soda again too. It's all lumped together for me. I'll probably get more into my background on future days.

So I stopped the Steam installations, and made today Day 1 after all! I had to start somewhere. Thanks for reading what I hope is just the beginning of a transformative journey.

Edited by Mettermrck
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Boy that streak didn't last long. I'm not sure Day 1 even started officially! :D By the time I woke up, Steam was installing my games and I was back to it. Is it a relapse if you never started? 

Tomorrow I turn 40. Who knows,.maybe the halfway point. Do I want to play games and guzzle soda years from now, full of regrets? I know the gaming hurts me when I miss work to play. My wife tells me to just quit soda and keep gaming. The latter, she says, isn't as bad as the soda. I disagree. I think they're both destroying me along with the porn.

Sigh, deleted the games and Steam again. I want it to take this time! It was an agonizing decision, like pulling a clinging howling beast out my chest. Like stripping away all escapes, all fantasies, all illusions between me and my life's troubles. But maybe that's the point...

Ok, Day 1...take two

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 By the time I woke up, Steam was installing my games and I was back to it.

Happy birthday for tomorrow.

You want to be the sort of man who takes charge of his life before it's too late?  Of course you do, but something's holding you back.

It's probably not what you expect.  Maybe it's soda.  Maybe it's video games. 

But, there's a much greater force that's preventing you from becoming the great man you want and know you can become. (We know you can do it)

And that's the language you use to talk to yourself.

Examine the choices you made in your short post.  Notice any similarities between them?  Yep, they're all talked about as if they are external events. As if they're things you had no control over.

Notice how you didn't say "I chose to install Steam". You told us (and yourself) that Steam installed your games.  Unless Steam has suddenly gained sentience it was something you chose to do.

Re-read your post.  Be objectionable, calm, (like a scientist). Can you find 2 other places where you chose to relinquish your accountability?


Ps. If you're interested in looking into this subject deeper, look up "Locus of Control"

P.p.s. The fact that your posting on this forum already proves you're making progress.

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Hey Bob, happy birthday!

One thing that helped me greatly was to sabotage my Steam account. I changed my email address to a disposable one, then I changed my password to some gibberish, and wiped out Steam. Bye bye: I couldn't get it back even if I wanted to. Which sometimes I do ;)

Another thing I did was making my own 90 day challenge calendar.

By far the best thing I've done is getting active in this forum.

Good luck with your recovery!

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Ok I'm hooked bad if I can't even make it past day 1. I have a real problem with addiction if I can't get this far. Tom, my attempt last year to quit games failed when thought I could get back into games "only" to help inspire my historical writing. Wrong! And having Steam still out there to reinstall made it easy. What disposable email service did you use? It's a drastic step, I know, but I'm struggling. The calendar sounds like a great idea.

To move past games, I will need to eventually find outlets for my historical passion.

Ed, I'm thinking whenever I use passive instead of active writing, I'm showing exterior locus of control? Makes sense. Not to be controversial, but I wonder if practicing religion last year somewhat heavily made me even more passive, feeling subject to external forces. Even that last sentence or two sounded passive haha. But I know, I need to take ownership of my problems, accept responsibility, and deal with them.

40 needs to be THE year!

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40 is the year. 

Work the steps Respawn outlines - it will help you tremendously. But it only works if you work it. We have your back.

What new activities are you going to do? Finding new ones for your love of History can come in time, but first you just need to get your momentum going in the right direction.

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Ed, I'm thinking whenever I use passive instead of active writing, I'm showing exterior locus of control? Makes sense. Not to be controversial, but I wonder if practicing religion last year somewhat heavily made me even more passive, feeling subject to external forces.

Some people use religion to take away their own responsibility. I'm not religious, but I like the saying "God helps those who help themselves"  And I'm sure different churches are going to have different levels of encouraging personal responsibility.

It won't be too difficult to catch yourself when you give up responsibility in your writing.  What will be a little more difficult, is catching yourself doing it in your self-talk.  And that's where it really counts.  But now that you're aware of it, you're going to start noticing it more and more.

It's important to take responsibility for your actions.  Sometimes things don't go as planned. In those cases ask yourself if there was anything you could have changed.  If there was something you could have done:

  1. Acknowledge it,
  2. Plan what you'll do differently next time
  3. Move on

Of course there will be times when there's nothing you could have done to prevent something.  In either case it's important to learn from the experience and move on.

Improving yourself won't be easy.  But that doesn't mean it won't be a fun and exciting journey.

Ps. You can make a new account with any free email service ie. Gmail.com, Outlook.com, gmx.com etc..

P.p.s.  I wrote about the 6 steps to make your games inaccessible here. (It's about LoL, but you can use the steps for Steam too)

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Hi Bob, happy birthday (with a bit of delay)!

As a fellow historical games (hopefully) ex-player, I understand your feelings pretty well. My kind was Grand Strategy. The sense of achievement, the chill of being theoretically (mathematically) better than the greatest leaders, changing history or at least being part of it, the satisfaction of being collaterally exposed to all kind of historical facts and curiosities... And the worst of all, the endless loop of different approaches, possibilities and strategies that keeps you hooked. A real drug. Surely you know about it.

I'm not in the best position of giving useful advice, but know I'm specially with you in this one. By the way, I wouldn't recommend abrahamic religions, most interpretations usually have plenty of that "passive" component, unless you want to completely turn the tables and begin some kind of nomadic life (which in my young and naive mind seem like a very appealing choice tbh)

Also it's funny how you're overweight and I'm the opposite (what's the word, underweight?) while having both the same problem. Maybe we should reach some kind of agreement or friendly competition? I could really use those 23lbs you mentioned. 

Keep fighting, good sir! Bewaaaare the big soda bloooob!

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Ok, finally! I did Respawn step 1 and deleted my games. And not just uninstalled  Steam, but sabotaged it using the procedures in the guide (w/ guerillamail). I felt a little twinge of regret, but not that bad. I'm sure it'll hit soon enough.

So this journal isn't quite a grand story of transformation, at least not yet. It's more fits and starts so far. But sabotaging Steam is more than I did last year, so I'm already in uncharted territory.

Now on to Respawn step 2. Alternative activities. I'm not sure exactly where these land (mentally engaging, social, etc.) But here goes:

Reading - if I don't play games, I am a voracious reader. I read historical, which is mentally engaging, and I read fiction, which is resting.

Podcasts - I listen to 15+ podcasts, most of them historical with occasional foreign affairs and philosophy. I'd say mentally engaging and resting.

Exercise - like last year, walking in the morning with slow gradual buildup. I was up to an hour daily last year, which is a good starter goal.  I was also starting with a few push ups (on my knees to start as I'm a big boy) and sit ups. But I'll start with walking to make the goals simple and achievable. Active activity.

Meditation - this will be invaluable as unlike last year, I'd like to avoid religion if I can, at least for now. Religion became a secondary addiction last time, especially in the study of it. The endless arguments and debates burned me out. I need a break. I'm not sure of my method. I used to do "centering prayer", which is easily adaptable to a less religious context, since it's basically a mindfulness meditation using a sacred word rather than breathing. And a sacred word doesn't have to be overtly religious. I did this 20 min 2/day. I'd like to resume this. Resting activity.

Journaling: to help process what I'm going through. There will be this daily journal obviously, but probably a private one for more personal thoughts. Not sure...resting activity?

Other ideas:

Learn a language - probably Latin

Social - dates and travel with wife boardgames,  etc visits with family. Social will be my biggest challenge. I don't think I've had a non-work friend in a very long time

Sport - when I get in better shape I'd like to take up hiking. Ive.thought about fencing but I'm not sure if 40 is too old.to start hehe.

Cooking - I'd love to learn to cook better food. Not fancy, just good stuff. Maybe.take a class, not sure. I go out to eat too much. Cutting soda will definitely reduce fast food.

Writing - I used to write short poems in a little notebook in college. I have a crude, half-written historical fiction novel set in the late Roman Empire. I'd like to maybe pursue a writing project or maybe a podcast. But these are all future goals.

My Degree - never finished, big regret. Took a few classes in the last few years, but I've spent potential tuition money on games and fast food.

Debt - see above unfinished degree 

Well, for the third time, tomorrow is Day One. But I think it's going to take. Steam is dead. Long live my life!

Edited by Mettermrck
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  • 7 months later...

Eight months yuck. My life is on the brink and I really need to start over. I lost my job and am on disability for depression/diabetes and could not perform my job. My marriage is on the brink. My wife is burnt out from my crap and wants a separation. I game, I eat, I spend, rinse and repeat. I want to quit games right now and do something about my fast food habit too. Cam, I can't find my Respawn guide. Anyway you could resend to me? Mettermrck@gmail.com

Well, I need to knuckle down and start things over. Help!

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  • 2 months later...

     Whee, third time's the charm for detoxing. Actually, I feel better about this time. I've lost some interest in gaming in a natural way though I still get a tug when it comes to the historical grand strategy games.

     Sometimes it seemed like I was playing games out of habit or holding on to a past image of myself, particularly with the fantasy/rpg genres.

     Anyhow, a month ago, my laptop's motherboard died. I had left it on overnight all the time to download games, overheating it. It took 4-5 days to repair, giving me a forced break. I thought about detoxing at that time and managed to stretch it to 11 days before giving in.

     My life had hit rock bottom as I've mentioned. I lost my job and was on disability for a few months with depression and diabetes. And my wife and I separated in early Sept. I was screwing up our marriage, spending money on eating out and gaming and tuning her out. I live next door with my Mom and still take care of our pets, so it's not really a total separation. It's a chance to get my act together. In this state you have to separate a year before you can divorce. So consider this a last chance for me to get off my butt.

     Some good news...I do have another job and am in my second week. It's comparable to my last one in duties, income, and benefits. And I do not want to blow it.

     So I think this time I can do the gaming detox and get some momentum going in my life. My other area to fix is my soda/fast food habit which is probably the worst area for me. I'll be battling that too in this thread but gaming is the focus. 

     I'm ready to do the 90 days. Day 0 = today. Bam.


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Hi all. And thanks for reaching out to me, Hitaru. I played a little on Sunday but it was so...mindless? Like an old cassette player doing its thing, but old and without excitement. A tattered movie script from a decade ago. Since I've been back at work, I rarely touch games on weekdays. I think about them sometimes, the historical ones.  It's not even a craving...it's like the muscle memory of a craving? I mainly listen to history podcasts and read a lot.

   I feel like my real hard core addiction right now in my life is fast food, an intensity of 11 on a scale of 10 vs gaming's 4-6? It feels like cheating sometimes trying a video game detox when I have worse issues...like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic?

     Or maybe that's the point. Work on the area I have more confidence about...achieve a tangible success and build on that?

   Sometimes it feels awkward being on Game Quitters and talking about other things. Like "you really should be on Fast Food Quitters, Bob"! If it existed. And when you're 40 and many others are in their 20s or lower, you feel...silly? Like life is leaving you behind?

  But I need to start somewhere, darn it! If I'm so cocky about how weak my gaming addiction is right now, then let's man up and prove it! I'll let the other stuff fall into place as I go...

     Breathe....since I didn't play yesterday, I guess this is day 2. Bam? =)

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   Sometimes it feels awkward being on Game Quitters and talking about other things. Like "you really should be on Fast Food Quitters, Bob"! If it existed. And when you're 40 and many others are in their 20s or lower, you feel...silly? Like life is leaving you behind?

Hold on a sec!

Remember, that you should focus on one thing at the time. Quitting video games will give you enough time to deal with other challenges in your life to deal with.

Greetings, Mad Pharmacist

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Thanks, Mad Pharmacist...or do I call you hycniejsy? ????

Day 3. Working a full shift again makes it easy to forget about games sometimes. But if I give in on the weekends, that desire will seep into the week, making me cram in that frantic hour before I leave for work or even worse, calling in sick or being late to play more. I lost my last job in part because of that. Can't let it happen!

Had some "I can handle it, just moderate" thoughts yesterday. When you haven't played in 2-3 days, you suddenly feel strong enough to handle it. Wrong! I tell myself we can discuss this on day 91. "Just one hour a day, just the real indepth grand strategy games..the ones you learn from " Stop it!

The food/soda is still the grand daddy issue. I gave it up two years ago and went about 2 months...started exercising, etc. I think deep down I know I need to do that again but its like pulling on an unwilling cat. Lots of howling and pleading. There's a beast inside that I just want to pull out and chuck. It's so tiring just to think about it during the day. Moderation, abstinence, detox, moderation, abstinence, detox....over and over and over, plans within plans within plans. It's exhausting...

Gaming used to be like that and still can be if I let it. Detoxing from gaming will be the foundation for other life changes, of that I am certain. I used to spend maybe $50/mo at most on games...but easily spend $100+/week on eating out. Hopefully the small change (is it truly small?) will cascade into something larger.

Another detox of sorts was religion. I was catholic for a while...my wife's faith but I also dived in headfirst due to its history and beautiful rituals. But I spent my days overthinking it, agonizing over its dogmas. I told my therapist it was an "incense filled cave". Beautiful, mysterious, but also dark and claustrophobic. Just my own personal experience. I had to break free from that. I'm still deeply spiritual but I feel hurt and wounded and am afraid to try again. Just let it be for a while.

See, I feel like I've knocked down trees in my life, my attachments. Gaming is one of the last ones. Then probably the soda/fast food bit. Then I'd like to take some time without plans and projects and float down the river, see where it takes me. I don't want a life of deprivation, for sure.

Need some healthy alternatives. Ok, enough of a book for today. I just wanted to set the stage on some things about where I'm at.



1. I have a good job again.

2. I'm able-bodied.

3. I'm not that old, haha.


Edited by Mettermrck
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Day 4. The moderation voice is back, the voice of "reason". "This isn't that big of a deal. You've done 4 days. Declare victory and just game a little." Nope. Can't do it. Even if this feels easy so far, it's a little success I can cling to.

I overdo internet self-help. I read too many forums and blogs about how people handle my problem issues...gaming, soda, and religion. All it does is overwhelm me with conflicting opinions and make me frantic. That's why I like the 90 day gaming detox. Not moderation, not abstinence, just a pause and then see how I feel. Maybe I need a soda and religion detox too?

Took a break from history podcasts. Not because I don't enjoy them. But I subscribe to 49 of them in varying levels of activity....too much raw data coming at me, 2-3 hours a day and I feel obligated to cram them in each day. And I get jealous of the history students and historians who make them. Like I could've been them. Not fair, I know.

Saw my church therapist today. We don't talk religion much anymore as he knows it sets me off. But he's like a friend to me and doesn't charge. He's happy about the gaming detox. Thinks I should handle soda choice by choice rather than grand deadlines or plans. We'll see.

Still moving ahead...


1. I have a decent job again and will have health benefits again in a couple months.

2. More optimism about my health.

3. Good to be making friends again...here and at work.

Edited by Mettermrck
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