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3rd time's a charm right?


none239
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tl;dr ver. search for "As of writing this I have deleted all of my games and steam"

 

I can remember the very first time I ever played a video game. It was in preschool the teacher bought a space invaders arcade cabinet  and I just wanted to play with it all day rather than do anything else.

I have suffered from social anxiety for as long as I can remember. This made me a big target for bullies who really killed my self confidence. I would often times go into classes either crying or on the verge of tears which made the teachers angry, in the community I grew up in there was no such thing as psychology. If a child had a behavioral problem it could be fixed with spanking and prayer not talking to the child like he's a human being. The teachers would report to my mother that I was " disputing the class with my constant outbursts". My mother was my primary care giver, my father was not involved in most of my life due to his drug addiction. And my mother felt like I was being too sensitive and took a lot of her frustration with my father out on me.

By that time I was already deep into my game addiction. I only wanted to play video games and escape the sort of quiet desperation I was living in.

My mother, correctly, figured that I was using video games as an escape and she took my games away from me. My mother was a very domineering person when she thought she was in the right about any issue she was not afraid of yelling at people if they disagreed with her, which frightened me horribly, so I would never stand up for myself when I felt she was in the wrong. I vividly remember pleading with my mother to give my games back for HOURS on end. When that failed I remember yelling at her for the first time in my life. Not to treat me with respect or love but just to give me my games back. She actually gave me the games back. I'm still shocked over how desperate I was to play the games again and how my mother actually, sort of, compromised with me. Even if it was in the worst way possible.

And it got exponentially worse in high school. At least in grade school I only had to deal with one teacher that thought I was in the way. There nearly all of the faculty took their anger out on me.  My mother would never only ever mention my game addiction once in passing and I got so angry with her I had to stop myself form yelling at her since we were in public.

 

My second attempt was last year. I've been to therapy for a few years and It's made a huge difference all areas of my life except for my gaming.  I tried to eliminate a few games that I played to the point of abuse in my second attempt but I failed only after a few days.I felt like I would always be a slave to gaming and I swore to myself that I would never try to quit gaming again.

 

Today is my third attempt. I'm currently unemployed after five years due to the  money problems of the company I worked for and instead of looking for a new job since losing my old one four months ago, I've been playing video games. 

I've spent almost all of the money I've saved up and I'm virtually guaranteed to be evicted at the end of the month. To be brutally honest with myself I have been playing video games to escape the stress of several situations I've been in over the past couple of years.  When I first started looking for a job I realized that the degree I have, AS in computer programming, would not really give me much of a chance at gaining employment without networking. As I mentioned earlier I suffer from a combination of depression and anxiety. When I was not in therapy in college and I may the incorrect assumption that the degree was all i needed. So I spent an agonizing year getting constantly rejected for job after job. At the end of that year an employer told me I was hired but never gave me a starting date. They strung me along for three months until they finally told me that they could not afford to hire me to begin with and they only told me I was hired to make me stop looking for a job so that I was available if they found the money in the future. I was devastated I told my entire family that I had the job. I have never gamed so much in my entire life other than that year. I played for a minimum of 20 hours a day. So much so that I scared myself.

The therapy and meds have helped tremendously, I would have never attempted to quit gaming to begin with before the therapy that is for sure!, but I still have occasional depressive bouts like now for example.

 

As of writing this I have deleted all of my games and steam. Once I remove the games from my spare HD I will have deleted all of the games I owned.  It's terrifying. I  used refer to games as my queen that I worshiped. I mean that in the most literal way possible. I have spent more time with my games than I've spent with my family and I scare myself when I consider having to choose between them.

 

I bought the respawn  .pdf and I'm in the process of reading it now. I've also unsubscribed from all gaming channels on Youtube.

 

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Today's is day 2 of my 90 day detox. I woke up this morning with a lot of anxiety. Usually I'd start every morning by immediately playing video games I would not even eat breakfast... But yesterday I deleted every game I own from all of my devices. I can only watch Youtube for so long and even though I have other things I need to do I'm finding that:

1. I'm preempting my attempts at starting on these things by telling myself I don't want to do them. Because I want to play video games.

2. I'm tempted to just give up and start downloading games.

3. Most of the things I want to do are things that I've tried to do in the past, lean the guitar, learn Japanese. But I;ve failed to follow through on due to video games.

Really it's been less than 24 hours since I've started the 90 day detox and most of my thoughts are bout video games.

Edited by none239
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

That is quite a story. Thank you for sharing it with us. It was brave that you gone to therapy. I really wished more people with problems like yours would have the balls to do that. You all ready identified what gaming was for you. A way of escape from your life miseries. Now you have to do two things.

Find a goal which would make your life better. It could be anything. Then find a thing you could do everyday which is incredible easy but helps you towards that goal. For example if you want to be fitter do 1push-up every morning. Do that for a week then do 2 push-ups. If you want to be more social start with looking one stranger a day in the eye. If your social anxiety isn't strong maybe even greet him/her. Basically start doing smth. In a way you all ready did this with starting this journal. Keep going with that even if you should relapse at some point. It doesn't matter. We are here to support you and we will do it!

The second thing would be to find another less harmful way to deal with your anxiety if things get stressful again. In my experience exercise or something active like taking walks can help a lot with that. You could try reading good fiction ( I would recommend you Eragon if you like fantasy. If not you could go for any Ken Follet book).

The first days are always the hardest while quitting. Things will get better.

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Just stopped playing after about three hours. A few odd things happened.

1. The game was not nearly as fun as is was in the past

2. Stopping was a lot eaiser than normal. Normally I would not be able to stop for at least six to ten hours.

3. Normally after I stop playing I immediately want to start another game now I don't.

4. This intense craving to play the game came on after I tried to practice guitar.

I know this is a set back but I feel like I've learned a bit from it.
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Awesome job starting your journal, it will help you reflect a lot. Focus one day at a time. 90 days is just one day 90 times. If you can make it one day, you can make it any day.

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Thanks cam.

Day 3, Day 1 of 2nd attempt at 90 detox.

I've come to a realization. It's impossible for me to 100% totally distance myself from games. I will have to use my own willpower to stop gaming. There's always going to be a site to get games I've abused in the past from. I can still re-enable my steam account. If I really got desperate I could pull games from one of my old HD's.

This is not a bad thing.

I can't take control of this addiction by just removing what I'm addicted to. I spent most of yesterday watching youtube videos. Even though I relapsed I spent MORE time watching youtube vids than I did gaming, and I must admit that a good chunk of that were gaming related videos. I'm just replacing games with gaming videos.

I'm taking up meditation that really seems to help.

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Day 3, Day 1 of 2nd attempt at 90 detox. cont.

Just finished meditating, need to do this in the morning. Helps thought process immensely.

I went to get groceries this morning and I noticed how "big" the world seemed. Like I'd been living in some sort of head fog for the past 20+ years. I have not had a single craving to play video games all day. But I did fall into the trap of watching YouTube this morning. I think just getting focused with meditation will help with starting the day off focused instead of idling about.

I need to move back in with my mother. My relationship with her has done a complete 180 since I've started therapy. She is the most passionate loving woman I've ever met now. I've talked about moving back in with her last month and she was OK with it.

The reason I want to move back in with her is interestingly enough, quitting video games.

I currently live by myself in a tiny renovated cabin, but I quit my job last September and I've run out of money recently. I've been playing video games, and watching you tube, to try to escape the dire straights I've found myself in.

Moving back in with my mother I feel will motivate me to get myself financially stable again. I like living on my own but as long as I have this cabin I feel like I'm not in any imminent danger, even though I am.

That is one of the more dangerous parts of my gaming addiction. There are several events that have happened to me over the course of my life that I just kind of ignored meekly hoping that they would go away. And I ignored them by playing video games. But now even though I relapsed yesterday I feel more clear headed. I'm going to try to find some freelance programming work again. In the past this was sort of a secondary priority to, you guessed it, video games.

Video games just fog my vision. I can't think. I can't socialize with people. I lose my appetite. I can't sleep, I don't take good care of my health, I lose the will to do EVERYTHING but play video games.

I feel like this third attempt at quitting will be successful.
The first time I had to quit involuntarily and I had so many emotional issues at the time that a, almost violent, relapse was inevitable.

The second time I only deleted two games I played for 16+ hours a day. I had the same intense cravings, that I did not prepare for,I had yesterday and relapsed almost just as fast. I wish I saw cam's vid about relapsing then. I thought I was just a hopeless addict like my father was and did not take the time to learn from the relapse .

This time I'm quitting of my own volition. I've been going to therapy of a few years now and I've got a specialized source of information on video game addiction through this forum and cam's Youtube channel.

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I just had a shocking realization. It's to do with the consequence of my gaming.

Over the past few weeks a friend of mine has told me I've been losing weight. I thought this was odd since I don't work out and I do not monitor my eating habits at all.
I know why. It's because I literally did not want to do anything but play video games. Eating healthy, or even eating three meals a day, got in the way of gaming,.

I downloaded the list of 60 hobbies that cam talks about and I did not want to do a single one of them.

My whole personality is based around making my social interactions as short as possible so I can get back to playing video games. I just say whats necessary so I don't have to deal with people.

I'm not rude. Most people say I'm very kind. But it's just that's the quickest way to end a conversation with someone.

"Oh I'm sorry to hear that. Bye."

"Thanks for doing that for me. Bye"

"No problem I was happy to help you move. No I'm not interested in join your church group. Why? *Awkward silence until person realized I'm not going to say anything*." <--- Actually said this a few weeks ago.

The examples seem a little terse. But The general gist of the conversation is there. Don't ask me for a justification on anything I literally have nothing to say that's not related to video games.

And then It's straight home to play video games. This mask of kindness and happiness just gets me to leave faster.

At some point The man became the mask.

I actually did not care if I ate or not.
I did not care about other people.
I had pretty much no opinions on anything. Opinions have to be justified that takes time away from games.
Everything and everyone was in the way of my gaming.

All I wanted to do was game.And now my games are gone. I didn't have a empty whole to fill I had a whole human being to make.

I think that's a good thing. I hated how it feels to constantly avoid people. Also I don't feel that extreme hatred of social situations like I used to. I feel like my anxiety is less than it used to be. If this is the effect of the 90 day detox then not playing games may be the best decision I've ever made.

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I've come to a realization. It's impossible for me to 100% totally distance myself from games. I will have to use my own willpower to stop gaming.

Exactly. You can only distance yourself so much, but the key is to really create a new life that is so awesome gaming simply doesn't appeal to you anymore.

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Day 4, Day 2 of 2nd attempt at 90 detox.

Realized this morning that I spend WAY too much time in bed in the morning almost 2 hours! Will try unplugging TV tonight so I cannot watch it in the mornings.

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The easiest way to start building momentum is to start in the morning. Even now, with all the good habits I have developed, if I wake up and watch a movie in bed first thing in the morning (2 hours), I will get basically nothing done all day. I've tried this even recently and confirmed it. Something to consider. Check out the book The Miracle Morning.

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The easiest way to start building momentum is to start in the morning. Even now, with all the good habits I have developed, if I wake up and watch a movie in bed first thing in the morning (2 hours), I will get basically nothing done all day.

You cold not possibly be more correct! It surprises me how I let this escape my notice so many times. Back when my depression was completely untreated I'd spend almost 5 hours in bed just lamenting life. Then of course I would go play video games afterward. I've heard someone say that a bad beginning makes for a bad ending.

 

Day 4 cont.

 

As previously stated I really did not get to much done . I needed to get started on getting ready to move but I just could not muster the energy to do so.

I did get two other things done though. I started back on learning how to play the guitar, took me 2 hours to get the thing in tune! But I have to admit it's really hard to stay focused when I'm so drained.

The other thing was leaning Japanese. I've been trying to do this for the past 5 years but every time I'd start I would hit a part where I could not get instant gratification and quit. And of course start playing video games again.   

But the biggest news from day four was that I did not have a single urge to play games. And I've realized that gaming just sort of kills my willpower. The moment I fail to understand things when trying to learn Japanese I quit and play video games. The first time I fail to memorize a cord on the guitar I quit and play video games. The first time fear enters my mind about going back to school I give up on the idea and play video games.

The guitar practice and Japanese practice did not go well. That fine though. No one really gets a new language at first. And some guitar instructors tend to either overwhelm new students with data or they kind of give them an ultimatum. 

My last guitar instructor told me that if I did not learn the four basic cords I'd never learn how to play anything. And of course at the time I was still into my game addiction, so at that moment I kind of just lost the will to continue since:

 

I could not play four new cords on demand on my first attempt at ever learning how to play the guitar!

 

Honestly it's more my fault for getting so discouraged right off the bat. But gaming gave me a perficty little hole to hide my head in.

 

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Day 5

 

Unplugging TV in the morning made all the difference in the world. I would recommend moving all phone, laptops, TV's ect away from your sleeping area to anyone doing a 90 day detox since it's just as easy to watch TV for hours as it is to play video games for hours.

Edited by none239
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Day 5 cont.

 

I seem to have less and less to write about and that is a good thing. When I first started the 90 day detox I had to struggle just to think about anything other than gaming but Day 5 was peaceful. It just makes me realize all the more that I probably never wanted to play video games so much to start with. I just wanted to be sedated from all of the fear I felt.

Felt a massive wave of fatigue around 2:00 3:00 PM today. I almost did not practice guitar but I found will to do so.  Failed to study Japanese and did not make moving plans. 

 

Day 6.

 

Started today off a little slowly but was able to will  myself out of bed well before the 2 hour mark.  Asked mother to let me move back in. Not sure why I was so tense about it since she literally told me that it was ok. Meditation still helps focus.

Edited by none239
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Day 6 cont.

OK I need to seriously limit my time on youtube.

 

A quick google search shows that "Addiction transfer" or"Substitute Addictions" can be a very real problem.

 

When I watch youtube videos I feel that same sort of sedation I feel when I game.

Edited by none239
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Day 7.

 

Today marks the 6th day I've gone without playing video games, for anyone reading this post first I relapsed not too long into the second day. This is the longest I've gone without games in over 20+ years. It was actually not quite as hard as I thought it would be. I'm not even sure if I'd go back to gaming after the 90 days are up.

The only thing to do now is move forward.

I really have three options:

 

1. Go back to work as a computer programmer.

I'm a little leery about this path since my last job deceived me as to what the future held for me and the company. I'm not even sure if my knowledge is still relevant to the field and learning new languages seems like kind of a crap shoot since every employer needs their employees   different languages. I really don't even have a portfolio of work from my old job since I ultimately ended up working tech support instead of doing anything even remotely programming related. 

 

2. Go back to school to pursue a BA in psychology.

Money is the biggest hurdle here. I was actually supposed to do this last year but fear of something new led me to stall until the new school year started without me. I applied for Finical aid but I never got a response back and I never put effort into finding out why. This is one of the biggest reasons I quit gaming since it allowed me to put my head in teh sand about the issue.   

I've learned quite a bit about myself and other people

 

3. Do something independently on line.

Ever since I was a child I wanted to play video games and when it came time to decide on a future job the only thing that came to mind of either video game testing or programming. But now that I've realized how toxic my gaming addiction was I feel a great amount of hesitation about creating a game of my own.

The type of games I played the most where strategy games. With hardware advancements these games are no longer about conquering a single continent or planet, you can have an unlimited number of totally randomized worlds to explore.

In addition most of the games I played towards the end of my last gaming binge where grand strategy games. These games have an almost torturous instant gratification and constant carrot and stick bating. You always seem to be making slow and constant progress that the game rewards but you always have something else you need to do. You never lose and you never win. If I compared games I played in the 90' and games I played in 00'. I could play one game from the 90's strategy games in roughly a week. The games form 00' could go on for 3 or 4 real-time months.  And that's if I played it for 16 hours a day!

Most of the ideas for games I have would fall into the grand strategy category or they are so close to it that I could see many people like myself getting hooked on it. Knowing what I know now I just can't make a game like that.

My other online idea was to start a blog about my struggles with depression. The idea hit me after watching Cam's video about stupid actions. I've toyed with the idea of making a blog for a while but some excuse, and a new video game, always came up.

 

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I actually don't know what you want to do but the insights of having some working experience in a IT-environment is worth a  lot if you try to get a new job. What language did you learn back in the days if I may ask? Many general ideas about coding are transferable so learning a new language won't be a waste if you decide for it even if you won't use it in a new job. Even the progress of learning will you do a lot of good.

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I actually don't know what you want to do but the insights of having some working experience in a IT-environment is worth a  lot if you try to get a new job. What language did you learn back in the days if I may ask? Many general ideas about coding are transferable so learning a new language won't be a waste if you decide for it even if you won't use it in a new job. Even the progress of learning will you do a lot of good.

My specialty was RPG for the as/400. But also PHP HTML Visual Basic and a litte C#.

 

Day 8

One reason I don't get things done is due to a lack of energy. I've taken care to look over my sleeping arrangements, and the time I go to bed, and I found that the space heater I'd sleep with is pretty loud. I moved it into the hallway and I seemed to be well rested this morning. 

 

I've had enough. Youtube is completely side tracking me right now. It's not as bad as the gaming but it's not much better either. I downloaded and app that lets be block sites for hours at a time.   Youtube is at the top of the list of blocked sites. 

 

I finally created the blog. Not quite sure what to do with it next

 

Day 9

 

Last night I couldn't sleep and I ended up worrying about the future. Mostly because I can't seem to find a job.

Ever since I graduated from college several years ago job hunting is a nightmarish paradox. If I don't have a job it's because I'm not qualified due to my lack of on job computer programming experience or I'm over qualified due to my AS degree. I just feel like it's proof that I don't belong in this world.

Got a very late start today, around 1 p.m.

I tried to job search today and it triggered me like I haven't been triggered in years. I want to play video games and give up on the detox. My depression is back in full force. 

Edited by none239
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Day 9 cont.

Today was an absolute emotional roller coaster. I'm ok now but I failed to do anything of use today.

 

Day 10

I see now that this addiction issue is going to be much harder than I thought. I spent all day today watching TV in bed and I hardly noticed it. It's really not all that much different than gaming. Interestingly enough I have no desire to play video games but a strong one to watch youtube, anime, ect.

Still found myself lamenting the job/money situation. I tried to meditate but after I stopped watching TV my mind just races so much.  

Edited by none239
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Day 11 and Day 12

 

The past two days have been... Interesting. I don't know if the neighborhood I live in was having an electrical problem or what but I lost all internet availability for the past day and a half. 

So since I couldn't watch youtube all morning I focused totally on finally setting events into motion to move out.

Need to go back to unplugging TV in the morning.

 

 

 

Edited by none239
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  • rulesguy changed the title to 3rd time's a charm right?http://forum.gamequitters.com/topic/3415-3rd-times-a-charm-right/

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