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

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ha535065

Hassan's Recovery Journal

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Hello, 

This is my first journal entry that I am writing online. It brings me anxiety because a part of me doesn't want to be judged by others. But, I guess that is something that is understandable given my past history. Even though this anxiety and fear of social rejection or hurt exists, I still want to take a chance! I decided to take an leap of faith and take on this experience full force. 

My most recent gaming experience was at 4 am, which was about 3-4 hours ago. It last for about 20 minutes! What inspired me was the terrible feeling I had after playing the video game. I remembered how gaming impacted my day two days ago. I was forced to stay up all night and catch up on work. Plus, the wrist pain and overall pain I felt was horrible. I remember saying to myself, "This is the consequence you have to face because you decided to play video game up until 5 am. I hope you learned a lesson." But, guess what happens a few days later, I re-downloaded the game and started to play. This action of mines really caused me to become concerned as just less than 48 hours ago I was regretting my decision to stay up at night and play when things were due the following day! I started recognizing how subtly video games were controlling my life. I reflected on how I would periodically fantasize the next gaming experience and couldn't wait to isolate myself from family and the world so I could play. Then, there was the lying that was going on. I would lie to close relationships about how "I have homework to do" and close my door and play video games. That was a horrible feeling, especially it being my parents and siblings. I recognize now how I don't have control over the addiction and how it controls me. So, this morning, I started to listen to some podcast and videos about gaming addiction and sure enough, I came across this website. If I can be honest, I had some reservation about joining at first. I didn't know if I was ready to give up the game because it served some purpose and I was obtaining it through this, at an excessive amount. Then after moving away from the game, I decided to jump on and give it a shot! I'm stoked to try this out and hope that this will provide me more insight into a more effective recovery. 

 

I'm looking forward to helping others and also receiving help from others! I am stoked! 

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I found myself after a meeting at 2 pm sleep deprived and pretty tired. At this point, my mind went into thinking about playing video games on my computer. I was thinking of going to either Starbucks or campus and just gaming on the computer because I still have it downloaded. I thought about not wanting to do any academic or internship based work, just seemed so boring, and thought how exciting and fun it would be to play video games instead. Instead of just jumping on the impulsive to drive to these locations, I sat down in my car and reviewed forums and read someone else's story. It helped to some degree or another. I think I would've just automatically acted out on behaviors if I didn't give myself a few minutes to sit in my car and review some posts. So, that was interesting. But, it was difficult because I ultimately made a decision to drive towards campus, but stopped mindway to a mosque to pray, and found a wonderful place on a corner to take a nap. During the drive I could recognize my mind going to a place where I was asking myself "where can I get some rest" and the other part saying, "what will you do for the next 3-4 hours since you can't play games." I thinking that my mind has a tendency to mix and hack up my needs. It confuses it and makes me think I need to play games when I need sleep.

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I worked graveyard shift and noticed I didn't use my computer all night. Instead, I felt very stimulated through organizing and cleaning my work environment. This transformed into an interesting/creative activity of creating things using disposable items like boxes. It was really fun and engaging! I was able to create a pen sleeve, two storage, and two organizers using items that our company was going to throw away! I thought, what a wonderful way to reuse items we throw away everyday! Everything I created, I'm currently using for a purpose in my car. It was predominately organization. Very pleased with it! 

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Sounds like you have great mechanical skills. Imagine what you can accomplish without the huge time sink of gaming. I'm glad you've started your journal. Don't worry about anyone judging you...we all go through these experiences together and I tend to be a worse judge on myself. ?

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Today, at 3 pm, I met with my therapist at university. I finally had the courage to let her know about my gaming addiction and the realization of it's impact on my life. I discussed with her how since age 14 I played vide games and how it served to fulfill a purpose. But, how the addiction progressively got out of hand. I discussed with her how recovery fell into relapse through not recognizing what I had was a gaming addiction. Given that I didn't know what I had, I would periodcally play in other systems (consoles like ps3, ps4, or apps). But, in discussing with her, everytime it would get out of hand. I would play for long periods of time and obsessively. Eventually, I would give TV or console to my parents to hold onto for safe keeping. This helped to manage the addiction temporarily.  But, in moments of stress or boredum/ celebration, video games would reappear in my life. I discussed with her the shame and guilt involved in engaging in these behaviors. The lies involved in engaging the behavior and how it made me feel. I didn't want to, but felt compulsed to do so. Eventually, we discussed me being two days sober! We brainstormed some reward/reinforcement strategy for maintaining sobriety. For me, I thought about getting a mason jar (clear jar) at 99 cent store and getting colorful decorative pebbles (99 cent) and put one in for each day I was sober. Because the pebbles are small, it wouldn't fill up quickly. Then we brainstormed another idea! I have always wanted stars on my ceiling and have been debating on purchasing these. So, we came up with a plan to provide myself with one small star each week for sobritey from video games and one big star for monthly milestones (similar to AA chip system). In my community, it's very difficult to see stars because of smoke. I really look forward to this because I want to have glow in the dark stars in my room xD! Something about seeing my progress in recovery every night before I sleep with glow in the stars fascinates me! 

 

Also, We discussed how I struggle with authority figures, have self-doubt, low self-esteem, and am socially anxious (fear of being evaulated negatively, hurt by others, looked down, etc.), We came up with a plan to photocopy achievements, milestones (certificates, past grades, recognitions, photos, positive letters, quotes, positive scripture, past papers, honors, and letter to myself about how I am strong and capable, etc) to help me remind that I'm going to be ok when I have negative thinking. I discussed having this in my car because that's an area I feel sense of safety and security in & because I'm always in my vechicle communiting from place to place. I plan to do this right away because I'm currently feeling motivated and in my right state of mind. 

 

Lastly, we discussed how being always happy and up isn't a good expectation. Sometimes, we need to go through difficult times to come to an understanding. We discussed how society has a set expectation for us to always be happy, but it's ok at days to just be yourself. We discussed and increased my overall awareness of when being alone is ok. While, also exploring the difference between wanting to be alone and when it's manifesting as depression (negative thinking, isolation, avoidance, eating more or less, perceiving others), while discussing what to do when I know I'm isolating due to depression. The strategy we came up with is reviewing my yellow envelope of accomplishments, cerificates, past grades, quotes, and strengths to help me remind get out of depression. 

 

So, overall a great session and alot of insights. I personally have been going to therapy for 3 years now, both at university, and individually. I've strugged with social anxiety, depression, and perfectionism. It's taken me a great deal of work and processing to get to where I'm at today, with some being very difficult. But, I didn't know until now how much gaming addiction has impacted me & contributes to my depession and anxiety. 

 

Xoxo, because you are worth it.

Hassan. 

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I forgot to mention. I was pretty upset, hurt,  disappointed because gaining addiction doesn't have a support groups similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and her other groups. Even though, gaming addiction is something that is very prevalent and impacting  many individuals all around the world. Through this discussion, I explored the importance of creating a support group, in person, to help tackle the issue of gaming addiction. My  counselor and I discussed the possibility of creating such good in the near future because I know how it's like to go through this addiction and not get the support that you need. And since I'm working to obtain my masters in counseling and therapy, I'm  very driven and passionate about creating such a group for people that are impacted with video game addiction. First and foremost, I'm going to go through my own recovery and gain as much knowledge and insight as possible  because this is of upmost importance. 

 

Xoxo, 

because you are definitely worth it! 

Edited by ha535065

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I feel like gaming addiction is an electronical epidemic that will label our time. We're kind of the first generation to deal with it, at least in this form. So it is also kind of our job to spread the awareness and do something against it. I really approve that you plan on doing that.

In my first 3 years of being addicted I simply didn't understood that I was, in fact, addicted. It was more or less normal behaviour that the surrounding people around me at that time showed as well, just in a lesser fashion. Nothing special. I think if I would have been aware of the risks I wouldn't have fallen for it at all.

Personally I feel like this forum and the people here are my "anonymous game-o-holics" group  and I'm thankful for that. You're doing good and it's really interesting to see your sight of things, keep it up! :)

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Just wanted to check in. I felt a little uneasy and was avoiding writing in journal. Im not sure why, but I'm here and that's what counts! I found myself extremely bored at my job, being triggered to act out, but started to engage in different activities to keep myself entertained. I organized my backpack and some other things, used glue stick, and made a collage. I started and completed my goal od creating an envelope with positive strengths, certificate, accomplishments, and created collages with positive e-mails and notes I got from others. That was taxing, but helped me overcome the sheer boredum that created in me a desire to play video game. So, now I have this self-care envelope ready in my car in case I get negative. Another thing! I ordered the stars from amazon! But, with it, I also ordered yoga set n blocks, n two xl ink cartages! It always bugged me that I kept delaying purchasing these things. Finally, got around to it and it will arrive soon! Then, I went to sleep after doing graveyard shift till 10 am. During this time, I was pleased with me not getting angry or yelling at a client who was sobossy and demanding (I felt she was thinking highly of herself, but this was my negative perception given I was tired). 

 

Then, around 7:30 pm I woke up still sleepy and exhausted, but found some disagreement taking place about family. It bugged me because it was complaints made abojg my dad, who wasn't present, and it made me fee angry. Then I felt a desire to escape and use games to remove how I felt. But, I prayed and then ate with my family. I began to recognize my family has different values and that's what made me angry, not just the complaints.  One of my values are to not speak against someone who isn't in front of you. Going back to eating, I attempted to conversate with my mother and found myself struggling and not being understood. It triggered in me feeling of anxiety, anger, and disappointment. I wanted fo escape that feeling and so I went to my room, but found a magazine to help me distract. In my mind, I kept fantasizing and romantizing the video games ability to remove me from feeling those emotions and from thinking about how I'm not understood by my mother. How terrible this is and how I wish I was proficient in her native tounge. By using activity such as reading magazine, it helped to block the fantasy aspect of playing video games. But, I started feeling depressed and sad because I was fighting with myself to desperately not fall back into relapse. I wanted to just sleep and not do anything. I felt unmotivated because I couldn't play to escape the reality I was living.

I started fixing a stationary bike I have in my bedroom by putting cloth on the seat, peddles, and other parts because this was one of the barriers I had for so long! I sometimes felt uncomfortable putting on shoes, and my butt hurt everytime I sat on the seat. So, I got busy and adjusted the bike. Kinda ran a test and it seemed pretty good! Now, I hopefully don't have the old barrier and can engage in this more instead of playing games. The thought of gaming, the romatic and fantasy of it, keeps intruding in my mind and makes me feel bad because I don't want to play and am refusing to engage those thoughts. 

 

One of my key worries and observations is the because I'm fighting to not play video games, I find myself trying to watch youtube, media, and eating. Maybe it's just a stress response, but it's worrisome because I don't want to get more unhealthy by becoming depressed and eating more, being lazy, and or have the addiction recovery impact other realms of my life. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this? 

 

Hassan

 xoxo, because your worth it. 

 

 

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    Yep, boredom at work is a killer. It's easy to slack off, sneak away and play games. I'm lucky in that you can wear headphones at work and I listen to podcasts. Good job avoiding the games. Don't be afraid to journal. Your posts help us as much as they help you. They help us know we're not alone.

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I'm lucky in that you can wear headphones at work and I listen to podcasts. Don't be afraid to journal. Your posts help us as much as they help you. They help us know we're not alone.

thanks! This is such a good recommedation! I have some podcasts I like. Also, from time to time, my social anxiety kicks up and I feel afraid to write a journal entry worrying I may be criticized and or made fun of. But, being vunerable by writing journals has made me feel better. I'm very pleased to hear I'm not alone in this journey. I do have a tendency to forget that I am brave and courageous for sharing my struggles with this addiction with others, but thats a different issue. 

 

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I feel like gaming addiction is an electronical epidemic that will label our time. We're kind of the first generation to deal with it, at least in this form. (Agreed).

So it is also kind of our job to spread the awareness and do something against it. I really approve that you plan on doing that. (Most definitely!) 

In my first 3 years of being addicted I simply didn't understood that I was, in fact, addicted. It was more or less normal behaviour that the surrounding people around me at that time showed as well, just in a lesser fashion. Nothing special. I think if I would have been aware of the risks I wouldn't have fallen for it at all. (For me, it took several years too beforing accepting I had a problem with my relationship with games. I didn't have many friends in person playing, but online, many people were. Personally, for me, I think it was a effective coping mechanism in the past that helped me to effectly manage stressors in my relationship with others and problems I had, but I will admit that it quickly got out of hand.  So, in some way, I wouldn't have changed that. It would've been cool if I had more coping styles than this, but it is what it is. All I know is that I started to play more frequently to escape without realizing the main reason I was playing. I remember telling myself, I want to play because it's fun and there were friends, but it quickly started becoming my companion who was always there to comfort me, support me, etc., and  my relationships with the game was beginning to become toxic and impacting my real life. It quickly became an ineffective coping style. 

Personally I feel like this forum and the people here are my "anonymous game-o-holics" group  and I'm thankful for that.

(This group is awesome! Especially, having like minded individuals to discuss the struggles and successes is amazing. Only recently did I join this group. So, for so long, I fought my addiction alone and somehow managed without a group like this. All i can say is that it's alot more comforting being able to check in daily and having a support group with people who can understand). 

You're doing good and it's really interesting to see your sight of things, keep it up! :)

(THANKS!) thanks for the reflective and positive comments! 

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Today is Sunday and in some way or another, recently, it became a fun-day for me. I use to play video games during this day. It served as a way for me to destress before starting the week of work and the hussle. However, it would also be a day where I would complete any unfinished task so i can be ahead on my week and not worry about it on monday. So, it's a tough day for me. I recognize I have to accomplish some unfinished tasks for school and internship, but I don't feel excited or motivated to do so. It's not so romantizing or exciting. It's kind of boring to do those tasks. One strategy I use is putting electro house music on and putting headphones on while i study. It's somewhat stimulating. Other times, I put white noise on my headphones to prevent intruding thoughts or external/internal stimuluses or triggers from distracting me or making me move away from the task I would like to accomplish (homework, internship work, school work, etc.).  Sometimes, it's effective, while other times, it's difficult to concentrate. But, I'm slowly beginning to understand the formula or why i use instrumental or Music while I study. It's probably because my brain has gotten accustomed to highly stimulant activities (game had noise, animation, sounds, visual, ans so much more). All of it engaged me and kept me focused on the game I was playing. While books or the work I have to do, doesn't have all these things and requires one to just sit and get it done. A completely different philosophy and way to accomplish; one is more engaged using senses, while the other is more engaged using brute focus. The latter is more difficult for me and so I have to creatively activate some senses, like Music, to help me focus. I guess, for a long time, I disliked this method of doing work, but now i understand why I must do it. I'm very different from my peers due to my prior addiction. It's had an overarching impact on how I work and study. 

 

About school work and internship: 

I like to read the chapters that is assigned because it's new and interesting materials. I was able to derive some awesome info from materials last time i read it and it would greatly benefit me in the future. The tasks for my internship isn't too bad as well. In some way or another, it'll help me provide the best service possible to my clients, while allowing me to see the bigger picture of things. The assessment process is a drag, but essential for me to eventually hold a meeting and create goals, so we can provide effective solutions to the problem (if there is any).

Self-talk focused on past and what could've/should've been: 

I guess I'm beating myself up and avoiding this task because I'm already late for the meeting and having negative self-talk of "always being late for things and assignments and meetings." This self-talk doesn't motivate me. It reignates the desire to escape and use video games to do so. It's not progress focused, or solution focused, and instead dwells on my mistakes and what I could've and should've done. This framework is the issue... I'm unable to stop the rumination of past failures, which impact my current decisions and ability to currently be productive. I think that is why,  It's alot easier to not think about how "bad and late/horrible human-being I am" and instead, defensively & choose to engage in play because there, I'm not engaged in past and focused on the present moment. In this game, when I submerse myself, I'm not this horrible person that is late, incompetent, tardy, and unprofessional. I'm not my failures. Instead, I'm this competent and capable being. However, this only lasts for the duration of game play. So, If I say, I will only play one hour, I feel this way for one hour. No wonde, whenever I decided to play for one hour it would go to 10 hours. First it was very fulfilling, but then I binge and play for 5-10 hours making me feel sorrow, regret, anxiety, hate, and anger.  And in those hours, periodically, self-talk comes with "you need to be doing this other task" and I would quite the voice by reengaging in avoidance behavior by playing games. Afterwards, I would be forced to wake up* and then realize how much time I spent on the game and how far behind I am on my tasks and how terrible i am for wasting so much time on this useless and unproductive task (playing video game). 

 

To do list and fun: 

So, today, I'd like to have some fun by playing some basketball for one hour and do bicycle for 10 minutes. Then, I want to create a to-do list by writing down my goals for today and next week on my calendar (to do list). Then,  systematically work on my intership paperwork, and then work on school assignment of reading, and if possible, reviewing requirements for project sue in two weeks. It'd be cool if i can collect some information and e-mail professor for clarification of assignment because I'm a little confused about the assignment! I don't want to be late! I dislike being late for assignment because it makes me feel weak and I am not weak! I am capable and I will accomplish this tasks and not relapse! 

 

Hassan

XoXo because you are competent and capable, and can accomplish tasks you set your mind too! You are insightful and courageous! You can do it!  

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Nah, no one judges your journal. I think I've restarted my 90 days about 4-5 times in the last 2 years and I've never been judged or criticized, only supported. You're doing great...

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Day 5: (6/13)

Sunday check-in: 

So, on Sunday, I had planned to accomplish tasks after work. I wanted to get ahead on my week by finishing my school readings, internship work, and any other unfinished business. However, I found myself extremely exhausted by 3 pm. I watched some of Cam's video hoping it would motivate me and keep me going. It was very informative, but I was just overall tired and didn't want to do any tasks. I think tiding up my room by organizing and removing all barriers to exercising took an exponential amount of energy from me. I took a nap from 3 to 7:30 pm and thereafter, went to a dinner party, and was insulted by someone there. I was able to hold myself together and effectively cope, but felt' a desire to relapse and just escape these uncomfortable feelings. I would eventually start to feel better by engaging in positive self-care practices, went and bought Ice-cream with cousin, and went to 99 cent store and browsed. It helped to somewhat regulate my emotions. The thoughts and hurt feelings kept coming back, I kept on ruminating into the argument that transpired the night of. It somehow pushed me to use the stationary bicycle I had at home. I did it for about 10 minutes and felt' much better, less annoyed the thoughts, and felt' more centered. So, I regrettable made a decision to drink coffee at around 1 am to get some of the unfinished work for my internship accomplished. Now that I think about it, I may have drank coffee because the following day, Monday night, I will be working grave yard shift (12 am to 9 am). I think, that's why I drank the coffee. I wanted to prepare my body to be awake the graveyard shift! The coffee helped me to stay focus and be very productive for about 3 hours. I finished a-lot of the unfinished work that was required of me. Still didn't find the motivation to keep on going. So, intermittently, I browsed the forum to support others and read their stories. I can see how many people have come a far way and they are a beacon of hope for me as I start my journey. It's especially helpful to hear some of the failures of others stories, but how they used that failure to self-improve and continue the recovery process! Very inspiring!

Monday check-in: 

I attempted to sleep around 5 am, but was unable to do so. I found myself lying in my bed and rolling back and forth. Eventually, I got tired of it and engaged in bicycling, mindfulness 15 minute meditation, and then read. Nothing helped to bring about the sleeping state. So, I just gave up trying to sleep. I had a meeting at 10 am.  At around 9 am, I engaged in some yoga stretches and the experience was amazing. It felt' focused, centered, and appreciated my body. I think doing yoga impacted how I felt' later on in the day. I didn't have back/neck/or shoulder pain during the day. I did the meeting, and still felt quite awake. I accomplished most of the tasks that was required of me in the internship. At around 12:30, I accomplished most tasks and started to become bored. I was thinking of playing video games at the job-site, which I have done before and there is no restriction. I think I didn't play it because there's a sense of shame in playing at work. So, instead, I brought out a sketch book that I recently purchased and began drawing. I just didn't want to draw what's on my mind, and instead, went on google and found some pictures that I wanted to attempt to sketch or draw freehand. It really helped me to not feel bored. I drew batman, snoopy, charlie brown, pickahu, and two dogs. I think towards the end, after drawing pickahu, I showed one of my colleagues and was vulnerable with her (I worried I may be judged for my crappy artistic abilities). However, she enjoyed seeing the drawing. So, after that, I felt more encouraged and drew a puppy, and some other cartoon. After drawing the puppy, I showed it to another co-worker, and she said, "AWW, it's so cute!" It was really nice to hear a compliment from her! Then, my supervisor came back to the office, and I thoughtfully made him a copy of the drawing and gave him a copy. He was really taken back by the drawing and said, "WOW, you are really talented." That made me feel amazing. He made a special request of charlie brown drawing, and I took the next 10 minutes and drew something related to Charlie brown for him. It was so nice to see others reaction to my artistic abilities. My supervisor said, "You're unique and special talents are unveiling themselves." Then, I realized I was just tired and didn't want to do anymore internship work. I left my job-site and went to take a nap at a Mosque from 3:30 to 6 pm. One thing I'm very pleased with is being able to notify my client that I will see her at 6:30 instead of 6 pm! Man, I was so tired and glad I made that move. It gave me some extra time to nap! As I awoke, I was still exhausted and thought of not going to see the client, but pushed myself! Once I arrived, I was like, "Well, that's strange. I don't feel as bad as I did before." So, fast forward, I took another nap from 9 to 11:30 before arriving to my graveyard shift. I think I was quite upset and angry for having to work graveyard shift. I kept hearing myself say to myself, "I hate this shit. I don't want to work graveyard shift and work all night. I prefer to sleep at nights." I found myself getting upset on my drive to work and having a "not caring" attitude. I didn't care if I was late or what happened. This attitude was challenged when I saw a LAPD officer and that regrounded me! I'm currently here and felt' the urge to play games yet again. My emotions were all over the place and I felt' really dis-regulated. I didn't want to write this journal, but I somehow mustered up the energy to do so! I'm grateful I did. I just want to have a productive night and accomplish some tasks before tomorrow class at 4 pm. 

I'm grateful for: 

  • Doing Yoga and stretches on Monday Morning
  • Doing Stationary Bike on Sunday and Monday 
  • Doing Mindfulness 15 minute meditation 
  • Increased awareness of different states (feelings, thinking, tired/bored, and motivations). 
  • Completing chapter 5 and 6 reading for class, and began on ch. 7. 
  • Completing about 10 tasks for internship (writing notes, absences, etc). and organizing all the folders (case-management stuff). 
  • Making time to reply to others journals and entries on the forum. 
  • Writing in my journal
  • Planned day with 2017 planner to help me remember of tasks I have to accomplish. 
  • Started assessment process for client 3 and 4. 
  • Proactively discussed late team meetings with supervisor and attempted to schedule meetings with him. 
  • Engage in more effective coping strategy, drawing on sketch book, instead of playing video games. 
  • Being skilled and gifted at drawing. 
  • Went out of my comfort zone by being vulnerable and sharing my drawing with colleagues. 
  • Increased awareness in being able to recognize and accept when I'm tired and I need a nap. 
  • Being able to assert my needs and prioritize on myself when I'm tired. 
  • Brighten someone else's day by giving them a copy of my drawing. 

What I learned: 

  • I'm very gifted in sketching/drawing. 
  • I will plan things and it won't always go my way.
  • Energy expenditure is important to keep in mind! Every activity takes a certain amount of energy or percentage from the 100% marker. I've learned, when I'm planning when I'm at 90% or at a state of 100%, when the execution times comes, I may not be able to fulfill the task at that 90/100% marker. And at times, I won't have enough energy to accomplish the task I planned. For example, on Sunday, I wrote and planned wanting to accomplish some tasks for school and work on Sunday afternoon. When I awoke at morning, I was at 90% energy. By the time I finished with my autistic client, at around 12:10 pm, I think my energy was at 60%. Then, I browsed the forums for a little bit, and it went to 50%, and then I fixed my room, arranged my room to remove barriers for stationary bike, and this took me down to 25%. Basically, I was exhausted by this time. I didn't want to do anything. I was drained! Idealistically, it would've been cool if I could keep going and do all the tasks I wrote on my planner. But, being human, my energy and momentum can be kept up for so long. I eventually recognized I needed to take a nap to re-coup my energy expenditure. 
  • It's cool to be idealistic because it can be a source of motivation, but at times, it's ok to reassess the ideal with reality and be self-accepting of current situations. The ideal can be a source of motivation to become one day, but if it's not accomplished in the day of, that's ok. Ideals are never achieved, but something that is ongoing and is always dynamic as opposed to static (always changing and not linear). 
  • After naps/sleeping, I am grumpy/groggy, and can't make the best decisions. It's best to make those decisions before napping/sleeping, and following through with those decisions made before the nap/sleep. 
  • Feelings are not definitive states and they are always in a state of change. How we think greatly impact how we feel. Feelings are part of temporary experiences and can change within seconds, minutes, or hours. It's always in a state of influx. To prevent making decisions based on feelings and being pulled away by the wave of feeling, using planner or google calendar is a very effective method. Also, to do the action either way, even if you aren't feeling it can bring about a change in the state of feeling because feelings are always in a constant influx and changing. 

My goals for tomorrow: 

  • Yoga/stretches tomorrow morning 5 mins (Personal)
  • Stationary bike for 5 minutes (Personal)
  • Mindfulness for 5 mins (personal)
  • Leave home by 1:30 to find parking outside of campus. Will take 15 mins to walk to campus. (Academic)
  • Attend meeting at 2:15/30 pm at school (take form 6A for professor). (Academic) 
  • Attend class at 4:30 to 7:10 pm. (Academic) 
    • Sketch book to stay awake in class. (Personal) 
    • Get clarification on assignment due next week. 
  • Meeting group after class from 7 to 8:00 pm. (Academic) 
    • Make script for final project. 
  • Break fast at 8:10 pm by drinking water and having something to eat. (Spiritual)
  • Gym Basketball (Group/Personal)
  • Prayer at night (9:45- 11:00 pm) at local mosque. (Spiritual) 
  • Journal entry (Emotional/Personal)

-------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday goals and schedule: 

  • Wake up at 4:20 am to pray predawn prayer (Spiritual) 
  • Wake up at 9 am to see client at 10 am. (Professional) 
    • Provide survey 
    • P.E.T. 
  • Complete Assessment (Professional) 
  • Opportunity (11:30 - 4:00 pm) for increase self-esteem
    • Prayer (Spiritual) 
    • Basketball (Personal) 
    • Sketching (Self-care/personal)
    • Cam's videos (personal)
    • Work on handout (School)
  • Client at 4:45 to 5:35 (Professional) 
    • Do assessment 
  • Prayer (spiritual) 
  • Client at 6:00 to 6:50

 

So, that's it for now.

I'm at a better state of mind right now. I'm very grateful I was able to do a journal entry. it helped ground me. 

 

Best, 

Hassan 

XoXo because you are courageous for being on this journey and are demonstrating resilience, strength, and perseverance! Keep it up! 

Edited by ha535065
Forgot to end with signature xD

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Day 4 : (6/12)

- Sorry, I posted this in the wrong thread. 

 

Checkin in:

Had a pretty upsetting incident take place at dinner party where I wasn't being heard by someone else and the other person kept talking over me. I felt myself go into myself and becoming angry, frustrated, upset, and disrespected. I noticed my breathing pattern change and me hyperventilating and I wanted to punch this person out. I kept my cool and tried my best to state myside, but felt this person was stuck on his way. He was passing opinions as facts, and that really irritated me. I guess, it really was a value of mines he was violating and felt' I had to say something. Anyhow, it escalated where I said some stuff, realistic things related getting correct sources and not misinformation from CNN. Eventually, I would remove myself from the environment and take a walk n get ice cream for my cousin.  Then we browsed 99 cent store and that was cool. But, I didn't reenter that environment. I stayed away. And now, I'm replaying the scene over, analyzing, and trying to recognize where did I make a mistake? Could it have gone a different way? What will people think of me? What did they think of me because I responded to his unfactual remarks? I come from a background where we aren't supposed to get angry and are supposed to be respectful of elders. I was trained throughout my childhood to take it and look the other way, but I'm just tired of this bullcrap. It's not ok for people to walk over me and I don't stand up for myself, or people say incorrect stuff and I don't try to correct them. I'm simply tired of being afraid of standing up for myself and others, and the consequences that will come from it.  Why should I be punished or mean to myself if I believe I stood up for the right, truth, and or justice? If I don't, I and others will be doormats for ignorant and bullies. I've been bullied because of this and never stood of myself because I wasn't supposed to create any waves! What type of balonie is this? A double standard! They can hurt me and I have to take it? And if I do anything, you'll immediately blame me for wrong or see that i did something to instigate it instead of hearing my side. 

 

Anyhow, all I know is I'm tired of being a doormat and not creating waves because I have to make everyone happy and make sure I'm civil even if I'm being oppressed! Screw that! And that persons odasity to tell me at the end, "You're a psycholgist/therapisr, I wouldn't see you" as if we counselors are supposed to be emotionaless human-beings and agreed with all unfactual information! No sir! You say something stupid or something that brings up a reason for confrontation, we will confront you. I'm not im a therapy session with you and this is real life, and I know for a certainity, I'm able to stand up for myself and express myself when you say whatever you want and expect no one to confront you. You have a right to get angry, but have a double standard for me to not get angry and be calm and have a nice demanor! I will, until you violate one of my values. 

 

When this happened, I felt so upset at myself for responding to him and standing up for myslf. I felt alone, pretty shaken, and thought of escaping. I wanted to punch something and let the energy out. I'm so glad I had my cousin to go and get ice-cream with, and regulate my emotions. Otherwise, it would've potentially lead to a relapse. 

 

Learning points: 

- Walking away and leaving environment was effective in reducing feelings of anger. 

- sometimes excusing myself and removing myself from people like that would be better for my overall well-being. 

- sometimes saying, "I don't know" is best with people like this. 

- It's ok for me to confront someone if I choose too. If it hurts someone elses or is very toxic, it's ok for me to intervene. Especially, if it seems like bullying. 

- People are at different levels in understanding. 

- opinions are opinions, and not facts. Let the person preach. If it botherd me, walk away. 

- It's hard for me to forgive myself for asserting myself and using the emotion of anger/hurt in a correct way. It's going to be hard because in my culture and environment, we are taught to be passive and be doormats. So naturally, I would work extra hard to revisit and replay the scenerio in my head so next time, I can take an more appropriate (conforming to social norm) approach instead of asserting myseld. Because asserting myself and standing up for oneself isn't part of my upbringing or culture, and is portrayed as negative in the environment. But, it's ok from time to time to be assertive xD

 

Hassan, XOXO

BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT! Great job today for standing up for yourself! His opinion of you is his opinion! It's not facts! I know who I am, my capabilites, my potentials, and my beliefs. I don't care what his opinion of me is. It's what I know and care about myself that counts! "If I want to be a leader, I can't please everyone. If I want to please everyone, then I can sell ice-cream." And, I choose to be a leader! 

Edited Sunday at 11:13 PM by ha535065

 

 

In the other thread, this was response by member to this journal entry about this incident: 

Response was very encouraging and I wanted to ensure that it doesn't get erased in other thread. 

I correspond and sympthasize with a lot of things that you wrote.

Walking away from such situations is nothing bad, in fact it saves you all your energy and thoughts. Also it makes him look stupid.

For me personally truth is a very complicated word, I even think that 99% of times it's more about different opinions than the truth. Because what is the truth to you possibly isn't the truth for me which means that there probably isn't even a truth, just my opinion about it and your opinion about it and none of it has to be a truth or a lie. Sometimes there is just no point in discussing with people that just wanna talk and don't wanna listen because there is no way that you can have a decent conversation this way. It basicly isn't a conversation in the first place, just a barrage of words thrown at you, so why stand there and even listen?

Good job dodging the relapse with redirecting your emotions and energies in a different way, this was the perfect decision. Try to do this every time you feel like relapsing. Maybe you can even find a new hobby that could help you releasing some of these energies?

Also you're 100% right. Just because you aim to be a therapist doesn't mean that you are a puppet during your day. In-therapy-time and personal time are 2 different kind of things, that was just a stupid argument? Don't waste any thought into it.

 

Edited by ha535065
Added response of member to journal entry on Sunday night.

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Hey guys, 

Just a morning check-in. During my continued graveyard shift,  I didn't feel the urge for the last 4-5 hours to game. It feels really nice! I did join meetup.com and found some interesting groups that I'd like to check out (hiking, knitting, volunteering, mindfulness groups, yoga groups, going on adventures). This website is pretty cool! It helped me to start thinking of things I'm passionate about and helps me to think of vacation ideas and things I can do with other people. The reason being, I've tried to take vacation by myself, or even a break to go to the beach (alone), and it was a horrible experience. I really enjoy company! 

Also, during this check in, I wanted to share with the community and members the drawings that I did yesterday. It's not perfect, but that's ok, given that I have no art class background xD. I hope you like it :)  

Best, 

Hassan A. XOXO because we are all artists at heart. 

 

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You draw way better than I could hehe! I was playing around with the meet up app too yesterday. Gotta break through my shyness.

We all have our unique skill sets and always have ability to improve on those areas we are lacking. That's the beauty of this journey! :) 

 

As for the meet up app, I had anxiety too worrying about how I will meet new people. But, I think I was looking at those areas that I'm comfortable in such as meditation and hiking. Those are activities I enjoy xD, and if I can meet people along the way, awesome. If not, I will enjoy the experience because I got to do the activity I wanted. 

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Day 6 (5/14)

Good morning! Wanted to check in.

This is a pretty long entry and broken down in sections. 

 

Self care and self-compassion through readjusting schedule:

I wasn't able to accomplish two-three tasks I had set for yesterday (going to play basketball at gym, prayer at church, and meeting group after class). It's not a big issue because I found myself really exhausted after coming from university. I think I went to sleep at 9 pm and waking up around 3 am. I didn't have grave yard shift today, so that's cool! As for Tuesday morning, I came home after work and slept from 10:30 am to 1:50 pm. I woke up at 2 pm and rushed to class (2:30 pm).

Negative interaction triggered emotions: 

When I did wake, I I became a little upset at my mothers requests. I wasn't in my right state of mind after waking and was focused at getting to class on time. My mother failed to recognize this and was making some comments/requests from an non-empathetic place. I know the comment/request was coming from a good place, but given that I was rushed, I prioritized and had differences within values at this time compared to her. I believe, my mom was making requests and dis-regulated and was a little depressed because she was experiencing some difficulties at home with my younger sibling. And it's been pretty distressing to them.

Addiction, family dynamics with addiction in system, and signs of potential relapse: 

My parents are pretty indirect in communicating and can come off very judgmental when they do speak directly, but I think they didn't get a chance to speak with my younger brother about this and it bugged them. So, this was manifesting and being displaced as frustration/anger/worry/pain towards me and other people in the home. However, this ins't something that's new to me. This is a normal pattern that has existed in my family for some time. I'm very familiar with the lingo. We would discuss at around 3:30 am about what's going on, and found out my parents are pretty stressed out about a recent relapse that occurred with my sibling. I was supporting my parents, and helping them recognize the strengths of my younger brother, while at the same time explaining how difficult it is to overcome the disease of addiction. I was initially anxious about how I will explain this to them, and through the power of prayer, I was able to eventually empathize with them and remind them that recovery takes a long time and our job is to support him and not kick him to the side. I found they were hurt, fell back into not being able to trust him, and were pretty disappointed at him falling after all the progress he's made. The biggest part in this was validating my parents experience, but at the same time, reminding them that we can only support him and learn from our mistakes of not speaking up when we saw particular behaviors of potential relapse (his increased time in restroom, increased weight gain, increase in speech pattern, not enough checkin in by my parents).

Relapse impacts family system: 

My understanding is that addiction impacts the entire system (family) and everyone within it. Just like my brothers relapse impacted me, my older sibling, my mother, father, and sister in all. In some way or another, it reunited the family and allowed us to talk. It was nice. During this time, I wasn't thinking about gaming, and was really concerned and empathetic towards my younger brother relapse experience. I think I was able to maintain an empathetic stance, not one of "older brother/authority figure" because I'm currently recovering myself from games. I can see how difficult it is for me. And, I can't even begin to image how recovery is like using substances and or alcohol. It may be same or even greater! I hope I can remain empathetic and supportive for him and be a source of compassion towards his recovery process. 

My professional and academic journey: 

Going back to my day, I didn't make it to class on time  and found the session to be very informative. I recognize and was reminded that I need to be intentional about my educational and professional processes. I have some areas to improve in professional standard, such as completing tasks on time and holding a high standard in this realm'. this is something that will impact my future career goals and objectives.  In the next class, I found myself initially really exhausted and tired (during video of hoarding disorder), but then really engaged during the addiction behaviors section covered in class. I felt' comfortable in pushing my social anxiety and asking questions that no one else was asking. It was something my teacher really recognized and appreciated! I was able to engage with my teacher afterwards and let her know my family history of addiction and explored with her some fundamentals about addiction issues.  In my extra time with her after class, it gave me a chance to really bond with her and get to know her better and her personal experiences. I tell you, this is usually the best! Having opportunity to meet your professors as human beings, who have overcome struggles, and they share with you their experiences is simply amazing! 

Acronyms: 

My professor shared with me some acronyms that were really interesting that was used in AA communities such as HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired). I think this helps with one becoming aware of potential relapse or something. The other was anxiety based and was FEAR (False emotions appearing real).

Being vulnerable and testing waters of being in recovery with college friend: 

I tested the waters after class with a colleague of mines. I was walking back to my car, off campus, and one colleague decided to walk with me. I checked in with her about how she's doing and then she asked how I was doing. I was brave, courageous, and daring enough to disclose to her about my 5th day being in recovery. She assumed it was recovery from drugs or alcohol, and I clarified that it was gaming. But, in our walk together, I helped her understand my experiences around gaming addiction. She was very sweet and caring about the experiences! It really helped that she was psychologically minded and understood addiction and mental health. However, at times, I did feel my anxiety spike up, and a sense of discomfort (possible shame) for sharing my story with her. Still, what matters was that I shared my story of recovery and experience. I was pleased with testing the waters and seeing that there wasn't an aversive reaction' by the other person. Instead, I observed kindness and compassion, and curiosity from the other person. That was a nice experience. 

Inner realities and worry: 

I was worrying and continue to worry about a certain behavior that I was engaged in and trying to understand where it came from. Maybe, it's just an area of care, and it's from a good area. What I did was go through forums, and replied to some comments. In the reply, I suggested and made some comments regarding particular things that stood out for me. And I'm wondering if that was going to be taken negatively by the person reading it. I was worry about that because I didn't want to come off as someone who is an expert, but instead, as a person who is trying to support and be there for members. I never want to come off as a person who thinks he knows it all, when a matter of fact, I don't and I'm going through my own journey. I guess, my journey through my counseling field, and working with families, and others, came into my comment. I genuinely want to help and be a support for others. I guess, at the end of the day, i don't want to make people my clients. I want to be able to create a boundary and just be a support for people in their recovery process. I guess it's something I will have to continuously monitor and be aware of it. I also think because I have an INFP personality type, this is probably my perception and feeling traits getting the best of me! At the end of the day, I know it came from a genuine and compassionate place and that's what counts! No point in perceiving and worrying how others' will take it. That's not something I need to care about, as long as I know I came from an intentional and genuine place :) 

Gratitude list: 

I'm grateful for sharing my story with someone else. 

I'm grateful for remaining empathic and differentiated with sibling relapse and supporting my parents through experience. 

I'm grateful for not blowing up and arguing with my mother requests/comments. 

I'm grateful for being active in class by asking questions, making comments, and increasing my competency of addictions. 

I'm grateful for the extra time I had to build a positive relationship with my professor after class. 

I'm grateful for getting my mail from amazon! I finally got my stars, yoga blocks, and foam thing to stretch my back! YES! 

I'm grateful for having a wonderful community like this to be able to share my thoughts and struggles, both about gaming and about life. I'm also grateful for the kind support I continue to get and give to others in this community. 

I'm grateful for being able to speak with my mom about faith and having that 2-3 minutes of connecting with her. 

I'm grateful for taking a nap and recognizing the importance of taking care of myself by resting as needed and being realistic about some expectations. I'm grateful I'm flexible and willing to adjust on a as needed basis. 

I'm grateful that I am introspective and reflective, empathetic, and able to recognize differences in values. 

I'm grateful for being differentiated and not being reactive to addiction and potential relapses that takes place in my family system. 

I'm grateful I can breathe calmly and was able to do 5 minutes of stationary bike! 

I'm grateful for not getting into an accident when that person breaked pretty randomly! 

 

Potential tasks for Wednesday: 

Professional: Contact Sam (professional) and Nahid (Professional, client (10 am), client (4:45 pm), client (6:10 pm), assessment for client 3/4/12, termination letter, progress note, session entry, phone entry, travel log ($$$). 

Personal and self-growth: Do yoga for 10 minutes (personal), Stationary bike for 10 minutes (personal), and Mindfulness for 5 minutes. (personal) 

Social: (Basketball at gym, prayer with community, and forum). 

School productivity:  Read chapters, educational handout due next week (research needed), exploring marijuana use by teens.  

Faith/Spiritual: See Abraham and contribute. (Religious), Reciting one page Quran, prayer at Mosque, and hearing podcasts. 

Self-care for potential burnout: Bubble Wrap, Sketch book, Word Search, Lotions, Adult Mandalas, Journal entry, Scripture, and sleep. 

 

Best, 

Hassan XoXo because you are competent and capable of accomplishing alot of tasks within the day, but at the same time, you are kind to yourself and know your limits and when you need to rest! Keep up the hardwork! 

 

Edited by ha535065

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Day 7 (5/15)

I was able to accomplish doing stationary bike, writing journal, playing group basketball, and seeing my first client. I did also put up some glow in the dark stars onto my ceiling indicating my day without relapse. So far, I have about 6-7 on my ceiling. I wasn't able to accomplish few tasks I set for myself because I was exhausted and tired. I woke up last night at 3 am and didn't go back to sleep. Around 2:30 pm, I took a nap, setting my alarm to wake up for 3:30 and 4 pm, and well, that didn't work well for me and or go the way i expected! Haha (nervously). I felt' so bad and disappointed at myself for not meeting my clients! I hated the fact that I told them I had a personal emergency and will not be able to see them till next week. That's the worst feeling having to say that because I desired to sleep and felt' so sleep deprived! It was like as if I was lethargic and defeated because this is not the first time this has occurred! I just wanted to escape that feeling and desired to sleep more! So, I did just that! I escaped by sleeping and it helped me "not think about it." I avoided the situation and feelings that arose (disappointed, anxiety, fear, anger, hurt, being a failure, etc.,). 

What I learned from this for next time:

First learning point: I learned from this experience the value of sleep. Sleeping well impacts the next day and if done well, it can have a snowball effect on productivity. Second learning point: I  learned from this experience was that my "assumption" that only 6 hours a sleep the night before (9 pm to 3 am) was sufficient for the next day was not correct. A good night sleep is critical and I think for me, it's 8 hours. Ultimately, I found myself extremely tired at around 1-2 pm. I do recognize that this could've been informed by me going to play basketball after seeing a client, doing 5 mins of stationary bike, and then some weight training (5 minute worth). Third learning point:  I learned that these activities of exercising (weight training), playing basketball, and doing stationary bike would be best before I go to sleep. To adjust for nights where I work graveyard shift, I can go to gym after shift and then go home and sleep. And, when I don't have graveyard shift, I can exercise around 10-11 pm, and come home and go to sleep (intentionally). Continued on, after going to gym around 11:30 am, I went home with the intention of resting for a few hours before I saw my client. However, as I reached my bed, I found impulsively grabbing my phone and randomly browsing the internet. My desire to "rest and sleep" wasn't intentional. By using phone, I felt stimulated and brain was activated. Fourth learning point: I learned that it's critical to be intentional about whatever I am doing (activities, sleep, eating) instead of mindlessly doing (that's probably why mindfulness meditation is so important). I learned that I need to take rest seriously! Sleep is sleep, not sleep with browsing internet. All technology, books, and materials are to be put aside. Then around 2:30, I started to dose away, but this was already a dangerous time of taking a nap. I had a client at 4:45. It was cutting too short to the time and it would take me about 45 minutes to get to clients (with traffic and commute). Fifth learning point, I need to intentionally set a time limit when I will no longer be in my room (i.e., 3 :15 pm, get up, get out of room with clothes, and take shower). Sixth thing I learned is,  my goal of "becoming a morning person" is something I have to push aside for now. This is something I gotta put on the side burner until I can accomplish and work towards my current goals of getting to 220 lbs, not eating/drinking sweets, doing mindfulness, stationary biking for 5 minutes, and eating food in portions instead of as meals. 

 

Story continued: 

After waking at 8 pm, I began to feel bad because I missed my afternoon and before sunset prayer. It was disappointing because I could've accomplished it "if only" I had taken my sleep seriously and or been "active" and outside of my home. Using hindsight, we can easily judge ourselves pretty harshly if we don't monitor this. This is the first time I actually thought about intentionally sleeping and thought about what that entails.  So, I would break my fast with my family (Ramadan; Muslims fast from sunrise till sunset by abstaining from food, drink, intimacy from partners, to ultimately get closer to the divine being and to feel for those that don't have as many privileges that we have), and found myself unintentional in my eating. I binged ate food because I was feeling disappointed, fear, anxiety, worry, basically an plethora of emotions, while having negative thinking style. Learning experience, accept current emotions, reminding myself they are temporary and will go away, forgive oneself for not being perfect, seek forgiveness, and intentionally choose plan of action.  I realize that I was avoiding these thoughts by eating and trying to maintain a sense of control and not let depression overtake me. Radical exercise, "Where are these thoughts saying? If you were to externalize these thoughts, Are they true? If you asked your friends, would they agree with these thoughts? Are there any evidence against these thoughts? If so, what, and when was the last time these evidence appeared in your life? Radical exercise, "Don't try to maintain control. Let it go. Let the universe take care of it. Recognize, the idea of control is made up, and in actuality, we are never in control. Accidents, miracles, disasters, experiences, life/death are all things that are out of our control. Just like that, we are not in control of many aspect of our lives. Accept this and move on." Then I prayed, and went back to my room because I felt a sense of shame, disappointed, and tired. I wanted to just rest a little more. Sounds like: Some shame was involved, but overarchingly, you were tired and wanted more rest before graveyard shift.  I went to sleep at 9 pm and woke up to my mom telling me it's 11:30 pm. I woke up anxious and worried that she would yell at me because I've had repeated days of not waking up on the times I wanted too. Sounds like: You really care and are mindful of not causing distress to others through your actions. You really care about what your mom thinks of you because you care about her. She's important to you and your life. I quickly got ready, left my room unorganized (usually I prefer to clean my room), and dressed un-professionally (the advantages of my job); Sounds like: you are able to re-prioritize when in a rush and able to be flexible! Awesome! I recognized my sleep was overtaking me and made some coffee to help overcome sleep. In this moment, I had a discussion with my mother about my current state and asked her to pray for me and let her know that I feel I'm being tested, and let her know that I was feeling sad, down, and somewhat depressed, and to remember me in her prayers. She nodded in agreement. Sounds like: You challenged yourself to share with your mother how you were feeling, risk being vulnerable, and it was well received by your mother. You also recognized and accepted you were sleepy, and found a solution that worked for you; coffee.  

I went on my way and started to drive to work, but really started getting depressed and sad over my "failure" and "how terrible and bad" I am. I found myself arguing and fighting with this negative thinking. Sounds like: You didn't let depression overtake you and mustered up energy to fight the negative self-talk and thoughts. You weren't willing to go without a fight! And it was effective! I would eventually come to work and had the nostalgic thought of playing video games to escape the thought of how bad and horrible I am. I wanted to avoid the feelings I was having. I kept romanticizing the feeling of playing video games and "how it would make me feel better." You had intruding thoughts, images of gaming, and how good you were at it and how much you were good at it, but at the same time, you recognized if you engaged in the behavior, the true purpose behind it was to escape and avoid the feelings you were having. You recognize that video games has always served a purpose of helping you escape and temporarily making you feel better. 

I brought out my computer and immediately decided I needed to do a journal entry otherwise, I'd relapse. I need to logically type out what took place, my feelings around it, the learning experiences I derived from it, and work towards sharing my "shame based narrative" with myself and others to reduce feelings of shame and defeat. (You recognized and mustered up energy to write a journal entry instead of relapsing because you value staying on recovery. You also wanted to write out experience because it's helped you in the past to logically argue some points as opposed to letting your mind "trick you" into feeling certain way, which has in the past, made you relapse). I honestly wanted to forget, avoid, and escape not being productive that day and feeling as a complete failure for the day by playing video games. (Impressive to recognize that you have this insight, but also recognizing that it's only limited to this day, but not other days! Very important distinction to make, you didn't do well one day, but had 5 other days where you were successful and productive! And it seems like you have a value of being productive each day and succeeding. Maybe, you can succeed in small parts (small wins eventually lead to large wins and helps with building momentum) as opposed to large tasks?) I also made a plan for today that I will only focus on my project that is due next week tonight. That's it! (Good decision! Small successes will lead to bigger success! You need small wins right now).  

It's been bugging the hell out of me why I haven't jumped on this task and I learned this: I am a person that can get overwhelmed when I have too many tasks, and I work more efficiently if I have one task to accomplish for a certain number of hours (Wait, hold on a second, you haven't jumped on this task because of multiple reasons: You've been recovering, taking care of internship tasks (accomplished alot of tasks here for clients, attended workshop, meetings, meeting clients), school tasks (read chapters for the class, attended class, watched required movie, wrote paper), Recovery process (Used courage and bravery to embark on recovery process by; registering for respawn, registering for forum, reviewed videos on recovery, introduction, replied on forums x3,  journal entries, created meet-up post, post on partnering with another person, learned about recovery), Family and work (managing family life, working, working graveyard shift, providing service to ABA client, making time for family, going to dinner events with family). Don't minimize what you've been doing! Because you've been doing alot and that's a reason why you may not have jumped on this task yet. Also, with a little pressure/anxiety, you tend to get on the task. It's a balancing act. Remember, if you wait to late to start project, you begin to feel panic and debilitating anxiety, and have a higher likelihood to avoid/procrastinate/and attempt to escape, and turn in assignment late. Remember, the professor believes in you and thinks highly of you. Although you speak some truth about being more effective in one task, the other side is, you can become bored and unproductive working on only one task for a long time. If the task is something you are not passionate about, and instead, a task you are being forced to finish, then naturally you will have a difficult time finishing on time. So, instead, think about why you are passionate about this particular assignment. Why do you want to learn more about teenagers and Marijuana? What will it do for you? How will it impact your future? What are the benefits of creating this handout? Why do you want to do it? Avoid thinking "I have to do it because it's an assignment, and instead think, I want to (I choose to do) this because). 

 

So, today, I intentionally selected to complete my psychoeduational handout on teenagers and marijuana. I intend to do nothing else, not unintentionally browse the forums, or other websites, or youtube videos, and instead, intend on researching, obtaining information, and working towards completing this task. Why I'm passioniate for this particular subject:  I want to do this because I run youth groups, and in my community (bengali) and beyond, there seems to be an issue with teenagers self-medicating. I want to show the statistics around this, while at the same time, provide information on how to intervene and help teenagers find more effective coping mechanisms by sharing that with parents and people who are interested. I want to also provide psychoeducation about effects of use of marijuana on brain and the science of use. Lastly, my experience with personal marijuana use when I was young informs my desire and passion to research this more indepth and gain more info about current trends on marijuana use. (This is definitely a good start about why you are passionate about this particular subject! Remember, you are doing this for yourself, not for others! Remember, growth mindset and effort, not results).  As I began to think about only focusing on this task, I noticed I wanted to play video games. (Duh, it's not you! You are a person that likes to be flexible. It goes against your value. However, if you can tie it into your passion and remember that you are choosing to do this, and why you are doing it, then this will be task similar to you creating things from recycle goods). But, this is only to avoid this task and "temporarily escape." I know this behavior from the past because last semester, I was heavily engage in this cycle. I would have assignments due, then the nostalgic/romantic thought of gaming would come, I would engage in it for few hours, and then it would become compulsive by avoiding task, then too tired to do work, sleep, wake up and feel shame/guilt, and turn assignment late. Then, I would promise myself never again Hassan, but next assignment, that pattern/cycle would repeat. (Great insight! So, you ultimately recognize the dangers of temporarily escape and avoiding a task. It never gets done, and there's a high likelihood of you relapsing to video games. But, the feelings of shame/guilt/ and turning in assignment late makes you feel miserable. But, you also recognize this occurs every time an assignment is given to you. So, it seems like, each time an assignment is given, if you don't have proper passion or personal attachment to assignment, you have a tendency to avoid/procrastinate/avoid task and it makes you feel bad). 

So, I learned from my relapse experiences, I cannot give into the desire and nostalgic/romantic thought of playing video games because the true purpose of playing is not for the game, but to avoid and escape, and if I do so, then I would experience deep guilt and shame and fall back into relapse. My objective is not to finish this task today, but to do as much as I can and solely focus on this task. I found that I am very gifted when I focus on one task and attain the state of "flow" when I keep at it. (I think you found something here. To obtain flow, you will need to keep at a task and eventually will get to that state. But, it will require some patience, and what will help is recognizing why you are passionate about the subject matter and assignment. Something about personalizing this assignment will motivate you to push on and hit the "flow" state much faster). 

That's it for now! 

Gratitude list: 

- Grateful for seeing my client in the morning. 

-Grateful for putting up glow in the dark stars on my ceiling for days in recovery (day 7). 

- Grateful for first day at gym, playing basketball, doing stationary bike, and some dumbell exercises. 

- Grateful for recognizing intention needs to be followed through with particular actions (such as intentionally sleeping, reading, eating, praying, exercising, doing project, etc.,). 

- Grateful for recognizing addiction can transfer over to other things such as excessively using forums, internet, youtube, and other things. Moderation is key and making sure needs are being met by multiple outlets are important! 

- Grateful for increased insight and learning from my experiences. 

- Grateful for not letting depression and negative self-talk take over me, and not allowing it to make me relapse. 

- Grateful for the interaction I had with my older sibling. 

- Grateful for the recovered sleep, where I didn't feel sleep deprived afterwards, and had coffee to really wake me up! 

- Grateful for having food and breaking fast with my family. 

 

Best, 

Hassan A; XoXo, because you were able to derive some positive learning points from today's experience and that's something you never did before. You would typically become negative, go into yourself, and try to escape those feelings by engaging in avoidance/escape behavior by playing video games and or doing other activites. This time, you intentionally decided to write in this journal and really think about your experiences, the feelings that arose, and made amends. Also, you came up with a goal that will work for you. You are going to be ok, and it's not the end of the world. You are not the only one that has "not so perfect days." 

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You're doing great, Hassan. You're recognizing the good things you're accomplishing each day and not letting yourself beat yourself up over the few times you didn't hold to your plans. I know this can be a real tendency in my life too. I know exactly how it can be when you want to sleep, even feel tired, but can't. I think it's improved for me.

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Kudos! Journal entry!

Morning: 

After my last reflection, was productive from 5 to 10 am. Accomplished most tasks, without 2-3 not being finished. 1 task, very important because due 6/16, but is optional. I made promised/commitment, so I want to finish asap! Very easy task. Thinking too much, and doing little. Too much in my head and overthinking it. Maybe even magnifying importance. Also, maybe social anxiety/performance anxiety of not doing it "good enough" for others. This is stupid and I should just finish. 

After work yesterday at 10 am, I went home to sleep.

Afternoon: 

Sleep from 12 - 4 pm. Planned to wake up at 3. Didn't do this. Woke up groggy and exhausted. Was grateful client's rescheduled time to 5:30 and another at 7 pm. Due to grogginess and exhaustion, I prayed first, and then played with bird in living room. Mom inquired about same thing as last 2-3 days, and I nodded in agreement. That pleased her. 4:30 pm - 5:00 pm, drove to internship with some traffic caught in between. Arrived to internship around 5:10 missing last employee. I think she saw me, but I don't know. I felt ashamed due to "being late." Pushed myself to drop off paperwork through a hole found in company door. They will receive tomorrow and hopefully accept. 

Late afternoon: 

5:10- 5:30 drive to client. 5:30  to 7:05, wonderful session with client. 7:10-7:20, spoke with dear friend about topic of marriage. At 7:30, saw next client. At 8:20, went and saw friends I haven't seen in few months. Created and reformed relationship. Created new forming relationship with youth there. Interesting guy. Always smiling, but was also testing if I can hang with him without judging him. 9:20-30, drove to new location. 9:35-10:00, took care of task with abraham and prayed with community night prayer. 10-11, slept and got nap. 11- 11:30, drove home and picked up food. 11:30-45, played with my little cousin's daughter. She's a toddler, but so smart! I have a wonderful relationship with her. I was sad I couldn't play with her and take off my shoes as she requested. But, life goes on! 

Night: 

Arrived to work around 12:15. Released worker and explored how he adjusted to night work. Didn't give much feedback, but was smiling during conversation. 12:15-45, I at for 10 minutes (mindlessly) and too much, and then sat on chair and was bored. I was tempted to play video games, but resisted through practicing my drawing and keeping myself occupied. I did that till about 2 pm. I drew stewie, peter, homer, pickahu, and an elephant. It was cool seeing the end result. I will try to share them here so you guys can see xD. I found myself afterwards eating donuts when I was bored and tired. I wasn't hungry, but more exhausted and not wanting to do anything. I wish there was a bed I could lay on xD. I drank coffee after some time and then did my morning prayer, mindfulness (silence for 5 mins), yoga, and shower. Feel refreshed and ready to take task on. Today, will go home at 9 am. Sleep and wake up at 12:45 pm. Then, come home and sleep n wake up at 6 pm. I'm very tired and want to be well rested so I can have productive friday night at work. 

 

Best, 

Hassan A.

XoXo because it's ok to be tired from time to time. 

 

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Edited by ha535065
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