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Steveo46's Journal


Steveo46
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Day 1

Sorry, never have been very creative with names. I'm Steve, I'm 24, and i'm a video game addict.

Today is actually the second day I have clean (I have relapsed 3 times). However, I feel like each time has taught me something. The first time I came out of the gate like sonic the hedgehog. I immediately started doing things i had never even dreamed of before and it felt amazing. I think i overwhelmed myself a little which is why i failed. You see, I also suffer from anxiety and depression, so I have to take recovery a little slower (because of anxiety). My doc says to expose myself (lol) slowly to the things that give me anxiety rather than going all out. I think there's a a happy medium in there somewhere.

The second time i quit was kinda half assed. I felt like i was doing it out of necessity rather than because i wanted to. The whole thing was like a plane taking off, then slowly catching fire. and slowly coasting back to the ground till it crashes in a big fireball.

This time feels good. I feel like (to use my earlier analogy) i'm coming out of the gates strong again this time, but this time, I have learned a few things. I really battled with the idea of quitting so I feel like I know i really want it this time because i gave it a lot of thought. Also i've been totally positive from day one. I'm not beating myself up over the last relapse, just thinking about the future and what I can do different.

I'm currently at my parents house. They only live  like 15 minutes away and i don't like being alone the first couple days. They have been very supportive through both my mental health recovery and my addiction. Heck they probably know more about both than I do, because of the research they have done! My dad is the one who found this site and Cam's Ted talk (my dad loves Ted talks. I'm getting into it too now haha).

So I bought respawn. That's going to be my goal for today. I'm going to read over the info on the 90 day detox, watch some of the starting videos, and just, in general, get started with the whole thing. I have some other things to do today too, so it'll be a challenge to keep myself honest. I have always struggled with keeping commitments. I think it's because I'm so used to the immediate gratification the games give me.

Anyway, i want to make it a goal to keep this journal alive, and write in it at least once a day, so you'll be hearing from me again! Feel free to comment, I would love to have some feedback from people. Makes me feel like i'm not in it alone.

Edited by Steveo46
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Hey and welcome.

I know how much it meant to me that people cared to comment as I quit around 8 months ago. Keep steady with the journal and we'll be here to support you. It is awesome that you talked about it with your parents and they support you too. Also congratulations on starting two times again and learning from your mistakes. This is exactly the right approach. I will surely check in here from time to time. Also feel free to pm if you need something. We are here to help each other out and I am happy if I can help a bit.

Greetings

Mario

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Day 1.5

Hey guys, just thought I'd write something short. I just got home to the apartment a little while ago and I'm kinda reflecting on the day. It was pretty good, but one thing I noticed was it's hard to do things that aren't immediately gratifying. I'm so used to just sitting down and immediately being stimulated (usually by slaying a dragon or something). Its difficult to quiet the mind and do things like read a book or play my guitar.

I've noticed this when I quit before too. I was wondering if anyone else noticed it?

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Day 2

Hey guys,

Woke up this morning feeling good. Yesterday i had some on and off bouts of depression. However that may have nothing to do with the video games (though it may have aggrevated it). You see, I don't only struggle with addiction. I also have a mental health diagnosis, and today I decided I'd like to talk about that.

I have always been told that most mental health issues make you more likely to become a addict. I thought great, I have no plans to do drugs anyway.  This was when i was 18 and I was just diagnosed. I had been missing a lot of school due to being severely depressed. I missed so much school in fact that i barely managed to graduate (thanks to some amazing teachers) with a normal deploma.

Anyway it was kinda ironic for me to think i was safe because i wasn't doing drugs because at this point I had been playing compulsively since i was 10. However when the depression hit, it became much worse...

I literally spent two years of my life (18-20 yo) playing games in my room at my parents house. Things with my parents were pretty sketchy back then. This was before all the reading and research they now have done, so they didn't understand what I was going through at all. They were worried, frustrated, and i'm sure, very saddened by what they were seeing. During this time I did see a therapist on and off but it didn't really help. We would sit there and talk about feelings every session, but what good does that do anyone? I later learned it wasn't working because talking about feelings isn't enough. You have to take action. Unfortunately i didn't learn that for another 3 years.

Some time during the year i turned 20 (2013 i think. things are a little hazy since time is warped when all you do is play games) My therapist told me what i had already figured out by now "this isn't working, we need to try something different." Yes, my therapist decided my case was bad enough, and it wasn't healthy to live at my parents house, so I needed to go into a group home.

After a while (the proccess is quite extensive) this did happen and it was quite a  eye opening experience for me. Granted at first i didn't learn much because i was such a mess. But i did eventually come out of the situation with a whole different view on life and mental health.

So at this point I'm on disability, and living in a house with about 6-7 severely mentally illl people. Like you thought i was bad? you ain't heard nothing. These people suffered from everything from bipolar to schizophrenia. Many of them had been homeless at one point or another. One even had just come from jail (he was actually a very nice guy).

But after a couple years of this I learned not only learned i got to get myshit together, I also found my passion in life. My dream, my ambition. I saw these people who desperately needed to services they were being provided, but i asked myself, what happens to the rest who don't have a place to stay. One day i even asked my counsilor there at the group home. She told my how there was a huge waiting list to be in a group home and many of the people were homeless or in very dire situations.

I immediately felt so guilty. Here i was letting my depression overcome me to the point where i took up space in a group home that other people despreately needed. I came from a good family, middle class, kind, caring (albiet not perfect, but we did eventually work things out). I learned that comparing illnesses is useless. Every illness is just as real as the next, but at the time all i felt was guilt. I guess that was good because it drove me to take the next step...

Now around this time I was doing a type of therapy called DBT (dialectical behavior therapy). It's designed for people with borderline personality disorder (something they thought i had at the time, but i'm not diagnosed with it and after i made a lot of progress they decided i dont have it.) Anyway I met a man who taught the class. he would soon become my therapist, mentor, and friend, and change my whole view on life forever.

So like is said this guy he became my therapist right? He's seen it all, he's a recovered cocain addict who not only recovered through sheer willpower but went on to get a degreee in psych nursing (and eventually therapy).

He taught me all about mindfulness and meditation. About how we are not our thoughts, and how the true self is the observer of these thoughts. He told me how he practices Zen and I took a interest in it myself (i figured if mindfulness was the answer it made sence to look at the source.)

anyway since then i have made a TON of progress. But i have reached wall i feel like. I still keep relapsing, and when i do my recovery just comes to a grinding hault. Then i have to pick up everything and start over each time.

So i've decided to focus completely on overcoming this addiction. Someday i will have a normal life. I'll go to school, meet a girl, get married, live my dream of helping people. After all ive been through that dream means so much to me. There were many times when i thought this dream would never happen. So now that i'm so close, i can't give up.

PS there's many stories a long the way that i didn't tell, maybe i will sometime, but i hope you get the gist. It was not a easy journey and there were many hurdles on the way. feel free to ask questions or comment. I don't mind talking about myself. I've always been pretty open about things.

PSS i just got done writing this, and i realized i have some things to do, so i didn't edit this at all for spelling or grammar (plus i suck at that anyway) so sorry for any mistakes.

Edited by Steveo46
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Thanks for sharing. I am interested in meditation myself. I'll actually write a little post about it this evening if I have more time (i'll edit the link in later). I think self-awareness is pretty hard, especially if you game a lot of your day away. And because it is so hard for me it is especially important.

Being aware of this needs and find other activities to fill the gap of stop gaming is one essential step to succeeding. I used it mainly as an escape from difficulties and as a way to be social without the need of being vulnerable with other people. I found it difficult to find special activities to fulfill this needs but I spent a lot more quality time with my wife and used this forum as a social outlet (thats why I have so many posts). These days my need had changed a bit and I am getting better at facing the truth and dealing with it.

What needs did gaming fulfill for you? What activities could have the potential to not only fulfill this needs but also make you feel better instead of feeling you worse (like binge-gaming tends to do)?

Edited by WorkInProgress
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What needs did gaming fulfill for you? What activities could have the potential to not only fulfill this needs but also make you feel better instead of feeling you worse (like binge-gaming tends to do)?

Those are some good questions! I think for me it was (like you said) an escape from all I was going through. But the need it was fulfilling was a feeling of success. In many of the games I played (mostly RPGs) I was able to live or RP my dreams of helping people, having a romance, etc.

It's kinda a catch 22 though because I'm also afraid of leaving the safety those games provided.

I know I can do it though because I have periods of success. I just need a little kick in the ass I feel like. I wish there was a support group in my area for game addiction. It would be great if I had people to hold me accountable.

Like with my anxiety I'm often teatering on the edge of doing something good. I just need a push.

Edited by Steveo46
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You answered the first question. Now you need to find a real activity. something you are sure you can do even if you feel anxious and just need some time to escape. Classical activities that come to mind is exercise(fokussing on your body instead of your mind), reading engaging fiction (do you like to read?) or maybe just it there and let the anxiety pass. Seeking help and someone to talk could be also a great relief. 

Meditation can help too but in my experience I won't be able to sit still and let it all just go.  Maybe I get there with the help of my daily practice but how I mentioned this is hard. Now is the time to prepare for the time things get worse. Pick an ability and test it. It will help you a lot if you have a to go activity if shit goes south. And I mean that literally just decide for the one you think will help you the most to replace this aspect of gaming if your not able to just push through. You will get better at this for sure. But there will also times where you just can't do it and that is ok as long you have a plan B prepared.

Also here is the link to my experience with meditation

Edited by WorkInProgress
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@WorkInProgress thanks for the link. I actually am pretty familiar with meditation but I do love reading others experiences/views on it as it's often unique to the individual.

Your right I only answered the first question. I've been givening that very question a lot of thought lately. Today I started exercising again. I also started my bass (guitar) playing again. But I really need something more structured. I've been toying with the idea of signing up for classes this fall.

I've done that before and failed, but it really costs me nothing to try. If I get cold feet and drop out before classes start it won't cost anything. And if I can commit to actually going to classes well that would be further than I've made it in a long time.

Again sorry for grammar I'm typing this on my phone on the bus. I finally got In touch with some old friends and we are playing BG D&D! It's been a long time since I hung out with friends so this is awesome!

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@WorkInProgress thanks for the link. I actually am pretty familiar with meditation but I do love reading others experiences/views on it as it's often unique to the individual.

Your right I only answered the first question. I've been givening that very question a lot of thought lately. Today I started exercising again. I also started my bass (guitar) playing again. But I really need something more structured. I've been toying with the idea of signing up for classes this fall.

I've done that before and failed, but it really costs me nothing to try. If I get cold feet and drop out before classes start it won't cost anything. And if I can commit to actually going to classes well that would be further than I've made it in a long time.

Again sorry for grammar I'm typing this on my phone on the bus. I finally got In touch with some old friends and we are playing BG D&D! It's been a long time since I hung out with friends so this is awesome!

Sounds great.  Let us hear if you decided to something. A class to learn an Instrument could be great to accelerate your abilities. Don't worry about your grammar. My posts are riddled with spelling and grammar errors and I actually try to get better at this point. Noone ever complained about it.

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Day 3

hey guys,

good news! i had a absolute blast with my friends last night playing D&D. I also mad contact with another old friend (idk if it will go anywhere but fingers crossed). Like i said before it's been a long time since I really had anyone to hang out with so this is awesome!

I also took some first steps toward doing some anxiety provoking things. My therapist says thats the way to do it, in steps. FIrst a little explaination is needed. You, see My anxiety is kinda wierd (as often is the case with anxiety disorders). My anxiety is actually getting better, or recovery in its self. Leaving the games behind and persuing a life full of ups and downs scares me.

That being said, somethings that people think of as anxiety provoking don't scare me while somethings that other people think of as not anxiety provoking DO sare me.

So for example in this case It was exercise. I view exercise as recover related because i've been told it really helps with mental health and because its a big goal of mine (i used to be pretty big into running). It's kinda funny, taking the bus to go to see my friends didn't give me anxiety, but exercising does lol.

Anyway Since i wanted a way to exercise without leaving my apartment (at least at first, less anxiety that way), I got some p90x vieoes. For those who know what that is, yes, i know that's ambitious, especially for a guy that's a little over 200 pounds (no i'm not that tall). However I've heard from other people who weren't in good shape who did it. They told me basically to go in with the idea that you won't be able to do the stuff like they do in the video at first, and that you will need to take lots of breaks. I figure if I stick to that idea i should be able to do it. Still ambitious, but that's okay because i need to do something ambitious!

well Thats it for now. Thanks for reading!

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Day 3 (continued)

So I was on reddit today (for those who don't know, it's basically a big forum with every topic imaginable) and i was on this subreddit (basically a word for a specific forum on reddit) that I frequent /r/bpd. I may have mentioned in my journal entry yesterday that they thought i had BPD for a while, so i've been on that sub ever since, even after i got better and they decided i didn't have it. I like to go on there and respond to the posts that no one has commented on because it makes me sad that thos people are asking for help and no one has answered!

Anyway today i decided to make my own post on how I got better (actually Cam gave me the idea, thanks Cam. i tried to Tag you but, but that feature is kinda finicky on tablet's and phones). So I decided some of what i wrote on that post here to share because I think some of what i learned recovering from mental health issues also applies to addiction.

so in my post i told this story: "Imagine that when you are born, you are pushed off the cliff. The journey down toward the bottom is life, and at the end you will die. Now imagine when you got pushed off the cliff (when you were born), a bolder came tumbling down with you. Now answer this, does it make sense to cling to the rock for dear life as you fall down toward your death? Of course not! In fact you are hurting yourself because you are clinging to fear, to the idea that this rock will save you, even though it won't. The result is fear, anxiety, depression, all those negative emotions.

letting go of the rock won't fix all your problems though. Once you let go of the idea that the rock will save you, you still have to live your life and engage in therapy, and no matter what, don't give up, because you can get better if you try hard enough!"

So ya, thanks for reading. I just wanted to share that :3

PS I got that story from Alan Watts. If your interested in Zen or mindfulness i definately suggest looking him up and listening to some of his podcasts, It's good stuff!

Edit: Oh ya, also thanks to WorkinProgress. I've really enjoyed your feedback. I feel bad because i haven't read your journal yet! I'm going to go check it out now while i'm thinking of it and i have the time. Stay awesome!

Edited by Steveo46
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Day 4

Hey guys, this is going to be a short one because I don't have much to write about. basically not much happened yesterday. Which in a way is good (no news is good news right?). But I also didn't get much done which i'm kinda annoyed with myself about. I might be hard on myself though because i got very little sleep the night before. Today however i have no such excuse, so i'll let you all know how it goes!

I have some doctors appointments and i'm FINALLY going to see Rogue one with my dad!

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Don't feel bad not reading my Journal :D It is a mammuth and only a few People will completely read it. Also I Journal in a handwritten jorunal right now so it isn't maintained. But I really liek to help other People here hanging around with the experience I made while quitting gaming. Feel free to read my journal But never feel obligated to finish it. If I would eb in your shoes his day I would maybe jsut read the part about my 90day detox.

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What's one thing you're committed to completing this week?

Haha you always ask the right questions at the right time it seems Cam! Yesterday i saw my therapist and we identified two coping skills/goals of mine. One was exercise and one was a list of things (literally a to-do list like clean apartment and stuff) to do when i need to distract myself when i'm in a crisis (whether it be depression or addiction related). So I commited to, for the next four weeks (that's usually how long i go before having a bout of more severe depression, luckily it only last a few days, but we are aiming to get through it without shutting down this time) I'm going to practice doing those things. You know, really make them into a habit. This week he said just start with small amounts of push ups and pull ups because he said if i start by completely exhausting the muscle (which is what they recommend you do to get good results) I will be too sore to do anymore that week. So i'm starting small with the exercise and i'm practicing doing things on my list even when i feel good so it becomes a habit. That's my commitment this week (taking it one week at a time)

Edited by Steveo46
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Day 5
hey guys,

I'm back and i had a great day yesterday. As i told cam I had a appointment with my therapist, which went really well. I also saw a behavior phsychologist, who ran  me through some tests. I don't really know what it means yet, but it sounds like i might have a issue that makes me more prone to addiction. He said there is little exercisises we can do together that help with self control though so i figure that can only be a good thing.

So you know how i told you about that subreddit, /r/bpd? well people really liked my post and i have been getting PM's asking me more about mindfulness and meditation. I wrote back to someone and i wanted to share hear what i wrote because it basically explains what i wrote yesterday, but i think it does a better job.

here's the context: I had just told her that the goal is to be serene not happy and she asked what i meant by serene.

here's what i wrote:

"nah, by serene i mean at peace with your emotions. Like accepting them and not fusing with them to the point where they affect your whole life.

let me give you an example from my own life. This was the first time i felt truly sad without feeling depressed in a long time. The girl i was seeing had just broken up with me. I felt Sad of course and I cried. But the thoughts that came with depression, the self deprecating things like "it's my fault, no one will love me, etc" were n ot there. I accomplished this by accepting that it's okay to feel sad. Much of our pain doesn't come from the emotions themselves but from the way we fight try and fight them. We often feel like we should feel happier and that there's something wrong with us, but the irony is that thought is making you less happy.

think back to the falling rock analogy i made. That's what i meant when i said clinging to a rock for dear life. We cling to the the idea that we should always be happy but that's not so. Loss is just as much apart of life as love and it's beautiful because without it love would be meaningless.

That's why i meditate, because it's basically practicing looking at something and just experiencing it without judgment, Just like i'm talking about with emotions. So i take a breath and feel only the breath i don't try and describe the breath or think "that breath wasn't controlled enough" (judging). I just notice it and feel it and accept it for what it is."

So I really wanted to share this because it's so applicable to addiction! basically instead of saddness, just think urges. When your getting a urge it's okay to distract yourself of course! However when your in that moment when your battling it out inside your mind, Just take a breath, notice your breath and nothing else, then notice the urge it's the same as your breath, it just is, there is no judgement, it's not controlling you, it's just a feeling, feel it as a feeling, not this big dominating feeling, but just feeling, like happiness or saddness, anger, or love. It just is.

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Definitely true. Also it is very interesting to read about your experiences with therapy. I always try to encourage people who have psychological problems to search for help. Because many of them can be very treatable illnesses. It saddens me that there is a stigma against searching help if you struggle. So it is interesting to hear about the experiences who actually struggles with this and found help.

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Day 5

hey guys,

I don't feel like writing much today, but i figured i better write something since i said i would and i'm trying to get better at holding myself accountable. So I had a pretty good day yesterday, once a again. I discovered this discord channel for people struggling with various mental health issues. It's really awesome because not only do i have a new place to turn when i'm feeling down, but i also get to help people which as i've said is my ambition in life.

anyway maybe i'll wirte more about it later today, i got a lot going on today with appointments today and i need to grocery shop. So talk to you guys later.

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Day 7

sorry about the delay on posting guys. I usually do this in the morning, but i've had a lot on my mind. Not only not only am i doing push-ups and pull-ups ever hour or so to prep myself for p90x (next week? depends on what my therapist says. he knows a lot about exercise. he used to be buff as hell but he got in a accident that damaged his spine. he still does some yoga but of course he can't do stuff on the same level anymore) i've also been busy with a pretty active online social life and a semi active real life one. That discord chat i wrote about yesterday turned out to be the best discovery ever! It's so nice being able to hope on and talk about whatever. it's a great resource to find support and good friends (much like this community :) )

let's see, i also took the bus to DBT (a type of therapy) all by myself. it's not THAT big a victory because i've taken the bus other places, but i do usually get pretty anxious about takin the bus to places i'm not familure with AND it was recovery related to boot (and as i've said that gives me axiety too). So that was pretty cool.

I also got back in touch with a old friend i haven't seen in awhile. he's a very good guy who's been through his own addiction recovery (drugs though). This guy has been my best friend since elementary school, but unfortunately we don't see eachother often anymore because he's very busy with school and work. However he says him and his gf have made it a goal to host a board game night two times a month so hopefully that'll add some much needed consistancy to our friendship!

I think that's about it for today. thanks for reading :)

Edited by Steveo46
Because I day 5'd twice XD
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Good Job on the consistency.

heck ya! i was feeling crappy and really didn't want to but i did it anyway! i was proud of that :)

And you can be! People always under appreciate this little efforts you do at bad days. But this exactly the phases you would usually slip and do shit. If you manage to keep you minimum intact it is worth so much. Whole mistery to change anything. Consistency.

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day 8

Just making a short post for now because I'm hanging out with my dad today.

However I wanted to write a goal on here to help keep me honest since that seems to work with writing in this journal every day.

I'm trying exercise and lose weight but I keep over eating at the end of the day!

So my goal is to use the app MyFitnessPal to keep track of how much in eating so I don't over do it. But I have to be consistent in entering what I eat!

I can do this!

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