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Gaming the System 006 - James' First 30 Days As a Digital Nomad in Thailand!

DaBest

DaBest's Journey For Self-Discipline

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Thanks @goodvibes and @Redmark, I appreciate the support!

Day 72

No VG - 72 day streak (80% to 90 days, wow)

No SAH - 2 day streak

100% clean today. Very busy. Got the lease signed today. Taking the no sports thing a day at a time. Tomorrow my goal is for three days (like it could be four, heheh.) 

Had improv class tonight, loitered around a bit after class. Didn't do so great tonight, but I learned a lot, I think. A ton of traffic coming back, so I just got home. 

I need some food and sleep.

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Day 73

No VG - 73 day streak

No SAH - 3 day streak

100% clean today. Today started out really rough. Found out I made a few mistakes/found out a few bad things happened outside of my locus of control this morning, and I became very frustrated and depressed. When I do wrong or make some kind of a mistake, I will self-flagellate to no end because my self-esteem isn't great right now. It's an affront to my competence,  as I know I'm at least decently intelligent, but when I don't feel intelligent I feel like I'm good at nothing, which can't be true at all. At one point I had to go to my car to just breathe, was nearly the second time I cried in a week. I haven't cried before this in over a year. It's shameful to admit, but man, it's the truth. It happened. 

However, after the pity party ended, I collected myself and got back to work. That's the only thing I can keep doing that will possibly help me. I'm frustrated in many areas of my life right now, especially now that I'm facing the facts and I'm not running away as much anymore. I put myself in a crap position, and I should feel bad about it, but I need to act on it and keep going.

Thankfully, after that episode, my mood leveled off a bit for the rest of the day, and despite being tired and not really wanting to go to the gym, I hit another bench press PR and overall had a good workout. I was oddly grateful for that. It was something. Some kind of an accomplishment. I've added 25 pounds to my bench press since starting up with the journal again. If I gave up on everything, I would've never done that. I would never see what I'd become.  It's amazing how shattered my self-esteem can be at times, and how much I'm willing to throw away just because I'm frustrated and a bit depressed. 

This therapist visit couldn't be better timed. My thoughts are not in the right spot right now. At least I got to experience pulling myself out of the pit today.

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Day 74 

No VG - 74 day streak

No SAH - 4 day streak

100% clean today, but I got an unexpected sports update listening to Bill Burr's podcast. I was driving and captive--not much I could've done about that. That doesn't break the streak as far as I'm concerned. 

I've drove home today for a cousin's wedding tomorrow. I'm happy for my cousin, but I'm a little embarrassed as they're younger than me by a few years. Ouch.

It's nice being home, but it took some time to adjust back to being with my folks. I was a little cranky from the drive. I'm also a little anxious for not being at work. I want to be refreshed when I get back to work so I can restart and redouble my efforts. These four days (or at least the first three of four) I want to be relatively free of work. I have enough other items to take care of as well.

As you can tell, my emotions are still a bit all over the place, but at least they're better than they were yesterday.

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Well, @fawn_xoxo, a couple of reasons. One, I'm a guy, and there's all the cultural stigma around that. I don't buy into it necessarily, but I don't doubt the influence of growing up in such a culture. Two, I don't necessarily have shame when crying about something sad, but when it's crying about being overwhelmed at work and life, it is not my preferred reaction. I want to become better at taking those emotions as fuel to keep fighting harder rather than giving up. The cry was something akin to self pity and starting on the path to giving up, which I don't want to do. I don't want to give up for myself, for my family, and for the people I support at work since there's a lot of responsibility for what I do. 

Day 75 (morning post)

No VG - 75 day streak

No SAH - 5 day streak

Quick post today since I have the wedding later. I just want to keep the streak going.

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Day 76 (morning post)

No VG - 76 day streak

No SAH - 6 day streak

100% clean. The wedding was great. Everyone had fun, and no one got too trashed. I also got to see a lot of family I don't see often, which was great. I got to see my two eldest cousins, who I rarely see anymore, but were like brothers to me growing up. It did make me kind of sad though to hear of so many people in our family moving to different states since the area is getting so prohibitively expensive to live in. Even my parents are considering the same. 

Another thing I realize is how much I crave family and community. I need to start building mine. I neglect people and relationships too much. I need to put in the work. 

I also was able to complete my sentence completions from The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem in the morning rather than at night, for the first time. This had a marked difference on the effect of the exercise, and as a result, I made better decisions throughout my day.

Anyway, I might go out with my parents earlier in the day, and then I'm going to meet up with at least one of my cousins later, so early post. 

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Day 77 (yet another morning post)

No VG - 77 day streak

No SAH - 7 day streak

100% clean. Had a dream of installing and playing several different video games this morning. Nice try brain. I've also had some urges to check sports sites but have been busy so I haven't really had the opportunity to. Boredom is a trigger I guess.  

Saw my cousin and his wife and kids yesterday. We had a nice dinner. I got home pretty late from that. 

Also, I have to leave for home, and start preparing for this week today. It's going to be a long drive. I'm probably not getting back until late nor am I going to want to post afterwards, so here we are again. Hopefully today goes well, too.

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Day 79 

100% clean. Still very busy. Still very tired. Now very procrastinating. Time to get to work.

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Day 80 

No VG - 80 day streak

No SAH - 10 day streak

100% clean. 

I'm still going to keep this kind of quick tonight, but I do need to elaborate about the past few days. 

Two days ago I went to see my new therapist. It started off poorly, as the front door was locked. Little did I know, that the door to the right of it--WITH A DIFFERENT ADDRESS NUMBER--was unlocked and led to the same hallway. I wasted ten minutes due to this. Good times.

My therapist and I did not do any groundbreaking work so to speak. It was more of a "get-to-know-you." This was still helpful though, since we discussed a little bit of how my past led me to where I am now. He also let me know a little about himself too, which was good. Give and take. He seemed to deal with quite a few people like me, commenting that when World of Warcraft initially came out, he had hordes of people coming in who were hooked and didn't like it. So he seems to understand. Also, he seems to be quite a good listener and did not muck around with his phone at all, like my last therapist did. This is also great news, considering the stakes feel much higher now.

It was also extremely cathartic to just speak what was on my mind to someone else besides my parents. It was like the mountain of stress was lifted off my shoulders momentarily.

Yesterday, I packed as I moved to a new apartment today...sort of. I'm actually at my old apartment right now since I have a few days on the lease and internet. I also need to clean up some.

Today was busy, I moved to my new place and found some time to head into work in the afternoon. It's stressful, but I really like the new place.

However, I'm still extremely stressed out. But I really have to stop giving a fuck about that. For once in my life, I need to start being brave and living like I'm going to die tomorrow. I was doing some thinking about this recently, but this is my ideal way of living, even though I've been so diametrically opposed to it. My life has been full of inaction. My locus of control was outside of me. 

I need to start cultivating this new side of me. No more being weak and wanting to hide. Action only.

That was not a short post. Oh well.

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Day 87 

I'm not dead.

No VG - 87 day streak.

No SAH - 17 day streak.

No really, I'm not dead... I swear. I didn't get internet in my new place until this morning. I was solely relying on my phone for my fix. Very frustrating.

Nonetheless, I was 99% clean over that time. As far as sports was concerned, there was a 10 minute period where I was on Wikipedia looking up UFC fighter fight records, but I was so freaking tired that I had zero idea what I was doing. I was moving stuff at 2 AM in the morning earlier that day. As soon as I realized what was going on I stopped, and it is for those reasons, it doesn't feel like a relapse. All the other times I failed, I knowingly made the decision to act. 

Also, today once I got my internet installed, I had a passing thought to download League. I remember when my internet was so slow it would take 5 hours to download. Now, I have 1 GBPS speed, and I wanted to see how fast it would download. This was obviously very stupid, so I chose not to do that. However, I did binge a little bit after work because I missed it so much. At the same time, I didn't really miss it though. Scratching the itch really isn't all that satisfying to be honest. 

Now that I'm pretty much set up, I'm hoping to settle into more of a routine. I definitely want to keep putting more time to solving my problems instead of escaping into some fantasy, hiding, or worse. I'm hoping the change in scenery will make it easier to develop that new mentality.

Besides all that, not much else has gone on. I am happy I am journaling again. 

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Day 88

No VG - 88 day streak

No SAH - 18 day streak

Very tired today because I stayed up late last night. I also have something very important I need to work on and make significant progress on by mid-morning. I think I'm going to go to bed early and get up early. 

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Day 89

No VG - 89 day streak

No SAH - 19 day streak

I got some more sleep last night. I feel better.

Today I was handling a bit of stress at work (that never changes). I had some stuff pop up that I needed to finish today. I was a little bit overwhelmed, but I did a pretty good job of sticking to the task and not ignoring it by performing other tasks. Overall, I did a good job of not being avoidant during the workday. I also had a minor emergency pop up right as I was about to leave work. I was able to troubleshoot it pretty quickly though. I'm actually starting to think I'm pretty good at troubleshooting equipment. It feels nice considering I have many other areas in my job that I don't perform well, in my opinion.

As soon as I got home though, I got avoidant and didn't want to go out, as I should have. I'll make it a point to do that tomorrow. I'm going to spend the rest of tonight trying to set myself up as best I can for tomorrow. 

I've also come to the realization that no matter how many things I give up, unless I make a fundamental change, I will always find something to lose myself in and escape. Giving all this up is great and gives me an opportunity to behave correctly, but I need to act more like how I did at work today. I've definitely gotten better at this during this year, but I must become an absolute pro in facing my fears and obstacles. 

 

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Day Freaking 90

No VG - 90 day streak

No SAH - 20 day streak

90 days. 90 freaking days. I'm quite happy about this. I guess I'll start with a daily recap and then a monthly/quarterly recap.

Today was interesting. I got up, procrastinated quite a bit while getting up, but eventually went to a new gym to check it out. I felt pretty good after my workout and cleaned up a little bit. 

As dinnertime rolled around, the fears of going out started to set back in again. However, I publicly said I was going out tonight so I made sure I did. I was not ready to go clubbing again. Too many inhibitions and lies kept popping up, and I didn't realize them for what they were until I was on my way back. Instead, I compromised and said I'd go to a bar, since there isn't really anything clubby in my immediate area. The new apartment paid instant dividends, as the barrier for me going to this bar was very low compared to normal--30 minute walk and train ride versus an hour long drive and train ride. I had dinner there and made some decent chit-chat with the bartender, which is an improvement over the last time I went out when I didn't talk to anyone. I'm upset I didn't talk to the person sitting next to me, and they were by themselves too, but I struggled to break the ice and was stuck in my head. Next time, I'm going to say whatever comes to my mind. Nevertheless, tonight was an improvement over weeks past, so I am happy with myself. I'm also not trying to beat myself up so much over what I could've done tonight per my therapist's instructions, and that seems to be going okay too. Next week, more talking with strangers in a louder environment--I will learn to love clubs and parties. 

Monthly recap:

I'm not thinking of as many suicidal thoughts this month, so that's good. The move, being busy, and the therapy has helped with that. I'm also finding it harder to binge on the internet since I've eliminated so much at this point. I'm also proud I went 20 days without any sports watching or news. I have a lot more time to read and do other things. This month really did have some ups and downs though. Overall, this is a slight improvement over last month.

Quarterly recap:

Night and day. At the beginning, I was emotionally numb, bingeing on the internet and games/streams almost every single weekend since the start of this year, and not doing much of anything with my life besides work. Now, I am emotionally wrecked by all the repressed emotions (which is a positive in a way), I go to bed way earlier and get more sleep, I get to work about an hour earlier, I've read a lot more, I started going to therapy, I was much more consistent with the gym, much more consistent with cleaning my apartment, and meditating a bit more. There is still much more room for improvement, especially for me facing my fears and obstacles. However, I do feel like I am doing incrementally better at facing things, even if I can't really run from the feeling of being overwhelmed anymore. 

So what's next? Well, after some thought, I'm going to keep a NoFap tracker at the top of the posts. I'm not super comfortable with this as a relapse means, well, you know...But maybe that's enough motivation for me not to do it. I've been on long streaks in the past and it's a great energy boost and helps me be more social once I get beyond the flatlines. I will not be talking about this in detail though. I'll just have the tracker there starting tomorrow. If I go on a long streak, I will definitely be going out more, will act more socially, and will definitely be on Tinder a lot more. I've had many a weekend ruined due to feeling drained after a relapse. It's time to get serious about this.

Wall of text over.

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Congrats on 90 days man! Sounds like you've made great progress so far. I like your idea of going out alone, I've been thinking of doing something similar. Keep it up. Time for another 90 days 😃

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5 hours ago, DaBest said:

Now, I am emotionally wrecked by all the repressed emotions (which is a positive in a way), I go to bed way earlier and get more sleep, I get to work about an hour earlier, I've read a lot more, I started going to therapy, I was much more consistent with the gym, much more consistent with cleaning my apartment, and meditating a bit more. There is still much more room for improvement, especially for me facing my fears and obstacles. However, I do feel like I am doing incrementally better at facing things, even if I can't really run from the feeling of being overwhelmed anymore. 

First of all well done! And good job on taking up a second challenge for self growth. Secondly I wanted to share with you that I believe we all go through this phase of realizing that we have all these emotions. And it wrecks us, going from numb to.. well, human, tbh. It has this effect on us all. You're not alone. My experience has been that it gets better the more you come in contact with the emotions, try out ways of handling them, and just .. basically "raise the skill" by practicing with them more and more through time. 

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Thank you both for the kind words, @NannerZ and @fawn_xoxo. To NannerZ, I highly recommend it, even if I don't practice it enough. It's a great skill to have. And to fawn, yeah, I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that this will take a lot of time to get used to. It's twenty years of pain I pushed off to the side which now I'm trying to handle. I'll just keep learning how to face it and I'll get better in time.

Day 91

No VG - 91 day streak, No SAH - 21 day streak, NF - 3 day streak

I woke up early for a Sunday today, despite my new bedroom being in a basement, whereas my last apartment faced east. I got groceries early, which was nice as I hate going to the grocery store when it is packed. Afterwards, I got home and finished cooking for the week by noon, and made extra veggies since I always run out. Afterwards, I guess I was still in a bit of a sleep debt and took a nap. Then, I did some laundry, and kind of procrastinated a bit. I wanted to go to an improv show tonight because I told someone I was planning on going (although I never announced this in our group chat). However, my laundry is still in the dryer, so there's that, and also I have some other things to take care of and I don't want to start the week tired at work.

I would also like to spend some time tonight seeing if I can plan some social events with friends this week. That could be helpful. 

Today was kind of mundane I guess, but at least I got stuff done early.

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Day 92

No VG - 92 day streak, No SAH - 22 day streak, NF - 4 day streak

Busy day. I was all over the place. Had to stop back at the old apartment complex so they wouldn't charge me $600 for BS. Normally, I would've rolled over like a log, but I got my stuff together and corrected them. Progress. Afterwards, more work, therapy, and bouncing over to the landlord's for a bit, calling grandparents, calling home, more stuff, blah, blah, blah....I need to learn to enjoy this more. 

Key take-home point from therapy is that I'm going to go out this week big time, and work on not trying to impress anyone. I try to make too many people like, or even love, me. It's too much to handle. The only person I can guarantee that will love me is me, so I shouldn't try to force anything else. It takes a lot of pressure off that way

Now I need to go get some sleep. I'm the emergency contact this week, and I was up til midnight last night studying landlord-tenant law. I really wanted that money back.

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Day 93

No VG - 93 day streak, No SAH - 23 day streak, NF - 5 day streak

Very tired. Long day.

Positives: asked improv class out to drinks afterwards and had a fun time. I also was seemingly invited onto someone's independent improv team, and I now might be performing on Saturday. Very random but I had to jump at the chance, even though I am super not confident in my abilities right now. It will be a good learning experience at the least. Today's class went well enough, and my performance was a bit up and down. I tried to be more confident with my choices, and overall I think I was, though I had one scene where I honestly panicked midway through. Was interesting to note my self talk and thoughts during that. I also tried to work a perfectionist character into one of my scenes per my therapists request. Got a decent amount of laughs actually, and the character was definitely absurd. Food for thought.

Negatives: Eh, I didn't do a great job focusing on my most important tasks at work. I had a little bit of not facing my fears today. I also pigged out a bit at the bar after. Also, I'm already sleep deprived, but now I'm even in more of a sleep debt. I was also reaching for my phone as an escape for work quite a bit today. Good times.

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Oh this never posted.

Day 94

No VG - 94 day streak, No SAH - 24 day streak, NF - 0 day streak

I stayed up very late last night after finishing my post. I was dumb. Consequently, already tired me only got three hours of sleep today. I also stayed at work until 8. On the plus side, I had a lot of completely unhinged and unfiltered conversations with some co-workers. I haven't done anything this stupid in a few months which is good. Back when I was on the Twitch/YouTube/game train, I was usually up super late at least once a week for no good reason. These past three months have been much more stable.

I also almost relapsed on sports today. I was listening to someone at work listen to sports radio, which was discussing the baseball trade deadline today. I have no idea what my favorite team has done!!! However, this was just FOMO, but man did I dodge a bullet today. 

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Day 95

No VG - 95 day streak, No SAH - 25 day streak, NF - 1 day streak

Stayed up a little late last night too, but I got to bed earlier and slept in a little today. Work was a little frustrating today with some mini-emergencies that popped up. 

Had some more urges today to break the sports streak. I still really miss it, but I want at least thirty days before I check anything. I'm so close.

I need to go to bed earlier tonight. 

I feel torn in many different directions on what I also need to be focusing on, in both life and at work. I don't like that feeling.

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Day 96 

No VG - 96 day streak, No SAH - 26 day streak, NF - 2 day streak

Really built up a huge sleep debt this week. I fell asleep for two hours once I got home. I also felt oddly spaced out when I was driving home.

Again, really having a lot of urges to break the sports streak. Thankfully, I just asked someone what was going on and had a fun conversation rather than going down a two hour rabbit hole.

I'm feeling a lot of anxiety about work, the promise I made to myself to go to a club this weekend, and the fact that I joined an improv team. I'm having a lot of thoughts of self-doubt and general negativity towards myself. Not ideal. I need to accept I am having these thoughts, but understand that the reality is I am a valuable individual no matter what happens. I also need to remember that facing my fears will make me feel better in the long run, or even if I fail, improve in the area I'm not confident in or at least have a good story to tell in the future.

I'm going to bed early, going to get my shit together tomorrow, and go out. I'm scared, but ready.

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Day 97

No VG - 97 day streak, No SAH - 27 day streak, NF - 3 day streak

Finally got some much needed sleep. I felt way better today. 

I procrastinated a little bit after waking up, and went to another new gym to try it out. I'm not happy with any of my new gym choices. I have to make a decision on picking one. On a side note, my favorite sports team was playing on a TV at the gym, and because it was not at home, watching was fair game. I kept going over to it time and time again, but I had the thought of "Why do I care about this so much?" Eventually, I got over it and finished up my workout.

As a result of leaving late for the gym, I left late for an additional improv practice. Thankfully, I didn't use lateness as an excuse to not go. It went okay. I happened to come across one of the members of my new improv team there, and we had a nice talk afterwards. It seems like we had very similar backgrounds. 

Now I'm home, troubleshooting audio issues on my laptop from the new Windows update--I have no audio now! I've been messing around with a couple of things. I tried downloading a new driver but it sounded very tinny. 

I'm using this last bit to procrastinate from going out. I have to be completely honest. I don't want to go out to a club tonight. I don't find it fun. It stresses me out.

But if I continue to avoid this, it will just keep growing. And if I stay scared of this, I'll always regret it. 

Pros to going:

-Might have fun, will feel better about self, will grow, will be able to flirt, will not feel as many regrets

Cons to going:

-I might not have fun, I might feel awkward, I might get rejected.

I need to go.

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Day 98

No VG - 98 day streak, No SAH - 28 day streak, NF - 4 day streak

Well, a few minutes after I finished that post last night, I got called into work for an emergency and left around 1:30 AM. Good times. 

I felt oddly relieved, and I'm amazed about how negative my thinking was in retrospect. I get truly irrational in those kinds of situations.

Anyway, today is going to be busy. I need to clean up, get some non-perishable food since I have a loose circuit breaker which is shutting off my fridge periodically, contact my landlord, go to my practice with the improv team, call home, go to the gym, and complete some work before tomorrow morning.

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Day 99

No VG - 99 day streak, No SAH - 29 day streak, NF - 5 day streak

Practice with the improv team went well, seemed like a bunch of nice people. I'm still absolutely terrified of performing though in front of a audience not filled with family and friends.

I need to be very careful this week. I have a lot going on. Work is a freaking disaster right now, and not just for me personally. A lot of issues have been popping up recently. Even worse, I have been losing time at work due to medical issues, house issues, and whatnot. I feel like this week is ripe for a mental meltdown, so I need to be very careful. 

No matter what, I must take good care of myself this week. 

I am also feeling intense last second urges to peek at sports. I might go thirty days on, one day off, and repeat. That would drastically curtail my usage. I feel like I'm missing out on so much. On the other hand, I'm saving a lot more time, and focusing more on improving myself. I feel very ambivalent about the whole thing.

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