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NEW VIDEO: 3 Lies That Keep Us Addicted to Games

It's my time to quit.


Laurus
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I never thought I publicly write about my gaming addiction.

I tried it so hard to keep it a secret. Neither my friends, my family or my girlfriend know anything about it. But after I just got so angry that I violently banged my fist on the table and threw the (computer) mouse at the wall so hard it broke because I lost in an online game, I think it’s time to change something.

I struggle with gaming daily almost as long as I can remember.

One of my problems is that I’m very competitive. I’m the guy who trains hours and hours, uses cheat software to be online 24/7 or get’s up in the middle of the night just to get slightly ahead. It usually comes and goes in cycles: I start playing very casually and then all of a sudden I’m playing every free minute of my spare time and I'm reading guides to improve my gameplay at work just to beat one guy I’ve lost to. After a couple weeks I realize how stupid this is and stop just to start all over again shortly after.

I know this reads like a short intro, but it took me quite some time to write.

 

Today is day 0.

Edited by Laurus
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Welcome!

Welcome Laurus! 

Welcome Laurus 

Thanks a lot for welcoming me. I read a lot of threads in the meantime and I really like the supportive attitude here.


I recently watched the TED Talk „Change anything!“ by Al Switzler which I found really inspiring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TX-Nu5wTS8

I picked out a few things that I want to apply to my own journey.

I think it’s important to know the times and places when I’m in most risk of playing video games.

My „crucial moments“ are generally speaking times when I don’t have obligations, can stay at home and relax. I was able to identify four key moments:

  1. right after dinner: I usually come home from work/gym and eat dinner. Especially, if I don’t have plans for the evening or any important things that need to be taken care of.
  2. Sundays: This are the days I have the least obligations and therefore my worst days to resist gaming. It’s particularly hard if I’m hungover.
  3. days off that don’t have a tight schedule
  4. at work when I feel low energy

I’m currently looking into activities that I can replace gaming with in the situations above.

Another thing that I’ve got out of the video is to make good behavior easy and bad behavior hard. For me this would mean the following:

  1. delete all the games
  2. delete all the accounts
  3. block all the related websites (need to have a really good solution for this)

Honestly, deleting all my accounts is very hard for me. Some of them I play on and off for 15 years and spent quite some money on it.

I need to sleep over it for a couple more days.

 

Today is day 2.

Edited by Laurus
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I really tried to pay attention to when I'm most inclined to look at gaming websites at work today. The worst time was when I had finished a task, right 30 minutes before I wanted to go for lunch. That's too little time to take on a new big task and I could hardly motivate myself to start something new. Maybe I should start a list with little things I could do for next time when I'm in this situation.

So instead of browsing the internet I convinced myself to look up methods how to block the access to certain websites. Not only in the browser but on the whole computer. Because just a browser plugin is too easy to shut off or bypass. I tried it using a tutorial similar to this: http://www.wikihow.com/Block-a-Website-in-All-Web-Browsers

But unfortunately, it didn't work. After I finished the steps I tried to access a gaming website and it worked. I was just briefly browsing the headlines and read something about a new feature that I was really looking forward to. But I was lucky that the 30 minutes were over and I could just shut down the window and walk away from the computer before I could read more details.

I'll try blocking the websites at work again tomorrow. I think I know now what I did wrong.

 

Today is day 3. 

Edited by Laurus
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Just a quick update from today, as I don't have time to write down my thoughts later on.

I finally blocked out all the websites that I don't want to visit at work by using the tutorial I posted above. To unlock the websites I have first to Google the path of the document, open it in notepad and delete the corresponding lines. I all these action give me enought time to think about if I really want to do this and keep me away.

Unfortunately, I was browsing 9gag for 30 minutes before I blocked it. But still better than reading any of my gaming related websites I guess.

 

Today is day 4.

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Good job blocking the sites! that's a really good step for you to take, so I hope you recognize yourself for it. 

Thank you! So instead of browsing through these sites I opened and closed my personal email account maybe 10 times I a row before I realized what I was doing. But overall I'm happy with the progress so far. This evening I took up drawing again, an old hobby of mine that I really enjoy and never had enough time for lately.

Today is day 5 and it already feels like a really long time. Easter will be quite challenging and I'm already preparing by planning a lot of activities. 

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Last night I dreamed about gaming my favorite video game. Today at work I was reading more news and emails than ever before. I have to be careful that I'm not switching a bad behaviour for another bad behaviour.

I deceided that I should take this to the next level. So today I deleted all my accounts of a particular game, including my two main accounts. For this, I had to unblock the website and log into my account. Unfortunately, the next scheduled update of the game looks really promosing.

To put things in perspective I attached a screenshot of each account. I've been playing them since 2003. That's 14 years. I attached a screen of the deletion as well.

I logged out of the website and blocked it again. Next I have to look into how to get rid of my steam account. Today is day 6.

 

 

 

Acc 1.png

Acc 2.png

Deletion.png

Edited by Laurus
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Just a quick update about my current progress.

  • deleted the accounts of my most played game
  • deleted removed all games from my steam library and uninstalled steam
  • deleted all games from hard drive
  • blocked all the gaming related websites by adding them to the hosts file (at home and at work)

Today is day 9. Tomorrow will be a hard day as I don't have a lot going on then.

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Today is day 10 and as I expected, it's a difficult day. I don't have a lot planned and I'm at home most of the day.

I did the laundry, cleaned the flat, paid the bills and did whatever I usually do on a day off. But as I don't have a TV and stopped playing video games, today involved a whole lot of doing nothing. That's uncomfortable for me, mostly because if feels so unproductive. Overall, the day was not less productive than my days off used to be, but it felt less productive because I didn't work towards an imaginary achievement in a video game. This made me feel lethargic, especially in the morning. I knew that there were a lot of things I could do. For example I could train for an upcoming race, work on my mobility, draw, go for a walk, but I didn't feel like it somehow.

Right now, I feel that the system that I currently have in place (accounts deleted, games removed, websites blocked) and the serious mindset that I devote to it really help me a lot. I just think I might have to start a new long term project or something to keep me busy on these days.

Well, tomorrow I'm back in my busy day-to-day schedule and the temptation will be a lot less.

Looking forward to day 14. I can't remember the last time I didn't play for so long, except once I went away for holiday two weeks. 

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Today is day 17 and I passed the two weeks mark. I'm very happy about it.

I was as close as I have every been to relapsing yesterday. As I mentioned in the posts above, I unblocked all the websites. At least I thought I have - I never tested a second time. Yesterday, I was really tired all day (it was Sunday) and I couldn't motivate myself to do anything. Mainly because I was out the night before and I didn't sleep very well. Alcohol didn't help too.

Then all of a sudden, the negative self talk started. I really try to remember what I said to myself, but I can't really. Maybe thinks like: "It doesn't matter whether you lie around and do nothing or if you play a little game". Or: "You didn't play for two weeks. Is it really worth it - do you really feel a difference?". Or the usual things like: "You won't get dragged in if you just play a couple hours today." or "Other people just watch TV, then why can't you play video games?".

So before I knew it, I was typing in the URL of the according subreddit to my browser. And to my surprise it worked. I read everything that happened the past few days and then after some more self talk I was visiting the website of the game itself and logged in to my account. I undeleted the characters (I have to wait two months until the are permanently deleted) and my mouse hovered over "play".

I don't really know how I did it, but I managed to emergency-quit the browser and walk away from the computer. Maybe because deep down I know that I really want to live a life without video games. Maybe because I didn't really believe my inner voice. I don't know. But I'm glad I didn't give in.

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Wow, impressive decision to remove your accounts, you should be proud.

I really enjoyed the tedX video you posted, and I wish you the best of luck on your journey amigo, may fortune be stacked with you.

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Two weeks! Woohoo! 

If you're struggling with motivation a bit, definitely watch our latest video on YouTube. Also pay attention to the things that are contributing to you feeling amazing, and which ones are not. Things like poor sleep, and alcohol will only make the journey HARDER.

Thanks a lot for your advice and the video which was very inspiring.

Wow, impressive decision to remove your accounts, you should be proud.

I really enjoyed the tedX video you posted, and I wish you the best of luck on your journey amigo, may fortune be stacked with you.

Thanks for your support! Unfortunately, they aren't deleted permanently yet, I have to wait for approx. two months.

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Today is day 24.

I have to admit, I thought it gets easier the longer I don't play. For me, this is not true - it's still very hard.

If I'm at work and I have to do on some tedious tasks I always catch myself doing random staff like opening and closing my (private) emails looking for something new in my inbox, opening an closing newspaper websites or blogs looking for interesting articles or just browsing through Facebook every 15min. Sometimes I feel that not gaming itself is the main problem but that "craving for dopamine" and as long as I can't stop acting upon it (as described above) the urge for gaming will never go away. I really need to focus on the way I use my browser at work the next days.

Today, I almost convinced myself to play just for a little bit when I got home from work. Just before I clicked on play I typed a quick google search, something like "help gaming urge". I was actually looking for something like the "no fap emergency website" (https://emergency.nofap.com/), but for gaming. Instead of it I luckily found a (very old) forum post where people stated what they do if they crave playing games and reading it made my cravings to go away.

That's why I thought it might be good to have a little personal list of things that help me in such situations:

  • try to accept the feelings/cravings, but not act on them. I can't game no matter what my mind is telling me. And this is something I had to make a conscious decision about. Awareness is the key and for so long I didn't have that awareness at all. I thought I could handle the game, over and over...and failed every time. (quoted from here: http://www.olganon.org/forum/ongoing-recovery-and-progress-gamers-open-forum/what-do-i-do-when-i-crave-play-games)
  • step away from the computer
  • if I'm at home: take a nap, listen to music, clean the flat, prepare a meal or go grocery shopping
  • if I'm at work: go drink a glass of water and come back to my desk with a clear intention of what I do next
Edited by Laurus
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Great job in continuing to crush those cravings...You are doing great and continuing to make progress. Keep on fighting to reach your goals!!!

 

I just wanted you to know that reading your journal tonight was helpful. You're really doing a good job and making steady progress! B| 

Thanks a lot for your feedback guys - it's really encouraging!

Yesterday was one of these days that I was home early and had about two hours where I didn't have any plans. I was craving to play but decided to watch an episode of a tv series. I ended up watching two of them.

I'm really wondering how that's better than gaming. o.O

Today is day 26. For the next days I have a very thight schedule which will hopefully prevent situations like yesterday evening. And: the premium account of my favorite game will run out in the the next 3-4 days which I'm looking forward to as it may take away some tension.

Edited by Laurus
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Ok guys, bad news: I relapsed today during work.

I finished a large task in a complex environement just right before deadline and was really exhausted (mentally) afterwards. When everyone left the office I couldn't resist logging in and walking around in the game for about half an hour and have a look at the newest features.

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Oops... sorry to hear that...

What are you going to do from now on?

I don't know what to say about this situation....

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We can never really assess our relationship to gaming fully until completing the 90 day purge. I try to look at is as a great experiment in my life right now. I don't have anything judgmental to say. Try again. I'm just over 3 weeks without gaming and my thought processes are steadily improving. It's like coming out of a fog. If watching TV shows is a trigger then you should cut it out of your digital diet. Take this one step at a time. One day at a time. You had a lapse. Learn from it and get back on track. We're all here to support you on your journey. You CAN do it.

Edited by 28_yrs_of_gaming
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