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The First Steps into Deep Space


DeepSpaceAI

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Introduction (Recap)

Hey all! I'm Chase and have been sober for about 17 days now (since June 1st). It took me quite a few months to realize that I have an addiction to video games. At one point, I tried taking a detox from my phone, my computer (Youtube and video games being my two favorite things), and electronics in general. That ended in just three days due to me being extremely bored. After some introspection, I realized that the worst tendencies in each of my indulgences were from video games. (Phone abuse was with video games, Youtube abuse was from gaming news and Let's Plays, and video game abuse, well, was with video games). With that realization, I stopped playing right then and there (which lined up perfectly with June 1st, awesome).

Justification for [Introduction (Recap)]

Hopefully this introduction gives you an idea into my mindset going into my own personal journal. Also, a month down the road, if someone new happens to read this journal, they have a little extra context when reading some (hopefully) daily posts.

Today - 17/90

Today was actually a pretty good day. It was a lot more productive than usual. I got a lot of groceries, thanks to my mom, that I was in desperate need of. I checked on some job applications at some local stores which helped to ease some anxiety I was having in that regard. I also read quite a bit today and it felt like it was something exciting. I noticed some cravings for the past few days but today really helped cleanse some of those negative emotions.

If you've made it this far, here's my current dilemma: I want to start a Dungeons and Dragons campaign (a very short one, just to try DMing) with my roommate. I think it would be a lot of fun and I think it's removed enough from video games (even though it's still a game) that it wouldn't break the rules of the detox. However, I also don't want to rationalize myself into breaking the rules of detox, even in a potentially minor way.

Here's the case I've made to myself: Video games are so addictive and toxic because of four key things they provide: an escape, social connections, easily measurable growth, and challenge. They are also a hyper stimulant. However, D&D is different in some keys ways: the measurable growth is also paired with story advancement (not just an avatar), as a DM, I can be very creative and productive, the social connections are face to face, it is not hyper stimulant, and, best of all, it's not an escape.

However, I am completely open to the idea that I am just rationalizing really hard to make an excuse to play a game by any means necessary. In fact, one of things I'd planned to do if I played was gauge how much of a trigger it was or wasn't for me. I feel like it won't be. But I could also be wrong. Thanks for any input on this issue!

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Hi, Chase! Ah D&D, good times. I played 2nd edition in high school and college. No I don't see it as breaking the detox. It's social and imaginative and you're not isolated when you do it. And if you're using the books, it's not technology based. I think its a cool idea. You'll have to let me know how it goes.

Edited by Mettermrck
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19/90

Hey guys, thank you for the input! I haven't actually had a session yet because I'm still stuck in the planning phase. When I do get around to playing it, I'll be sure to tell you guys how it went and if it did create further temptation.

@Mad Pharmacist, I'm going to try to post everyday. I missed yesterday because I wasn't really sure what I could have written about. Emotionally, I felt pretty empty because I wasn't really productive at all. I agree with all the points you made about DMing except for a clarification I wanted to make what I meant by it being an escape. Essentially, I meant more as avoidance versus an escape for relaxation. Relaxation is temporary and I can usually acknowledge it as such. Avoidance, however, is usually pretty stressful ends up being a very negative escape. As for PBFs, I completely agree. Part of my thought process was based on Cam's video about playing Chess. I can definitely acknowledge that playing a board game online is not really that different from playing a video game. Even a PBF is very similar to RPing on a WoW server or something like that.

Today

Today was actually pretty good again. My university term officially ended last Friday and I managed to get hired for a job the following Monday. I start training at 9AM (which I know I'm depriving myself of sleep at the moment. I wanted to make sure I wrote today though). It was a huge burden off my shoulders, since I was really worried about my finances. I'm also excited that I'll have 30-40 hours of free productivity a week.

My cravings have subsided for the most part (for now). My roommate has occasionally tried convincing me to stop doing this detox and come play video games. He did this again tonight. It's a bit annoying, and, ironically, it makes me want to play video games less. It's unfortunate because I would like to be a good friend and keep being friends with him but stuff like this makes me keep looking at this friendship with "existential crisis goggles".

Though, this time, he said something I found pretty interesting. "If you really wanted to chase chicks, you'd already be doing it." Not wholly accurate in intention, but there is a string of truth in there. I have been wanting to put myself into the dating scene when I started this detox, hell, maybe even longer than that. However, I have no idea where I should go to meet girls for a long term relationship. Ideally, I would meet them somewhere that has a social atmosphere and that's not a bar/club. The best idea I've heard is meeting a girl through volunteering (another goal I had for myself). For a scenario like that to work, I imagine I'd have to get pretty lucky.

Anyways, that's just some stuff I've been thinking about.

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20/90

Thanks for the support! In hindsight (and in practice of some self kindness), I have been focusing on finishing the school term as strongly as possible and getting a job to resolve my financial position. Even if it feels like a majority of my time was spent worrying, I still did that shit. Even if I didn't live a great life while doing it, it's still damn satisfying to have school off my mind and life back as the main focus.

Today was my first day of training. I also played D&D with my roommate. It went pretty well. I didn't prepare anything because I was really lost with where to begin so we just roleplayed it out a little bit. Had some laughs and it gave me a clear path towards what to design next. I didn't feel any urges, I don't think. Though, I have been listening to some video game music. Half because of nostalgia, half because I really like the soundtracks specifically. The nostalgia half is fueled by me trying to learn to play one song on the piano. I just happened to hit some of the right keys to make that connection and have been building from there.

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21/90

Thanks for the encouragement Mettermrck! I'm glad my roommate and I are able to have some other activities we can do together besides video games.

Today was a pretty interesting day. I did more computer training today for work and I'm going to run a cash register for the first time. I'm thankful that work is so much closer than it used to be. I can walk there in less than 10 minutes!

During my therapy appointment, I got some really heavy shit off my chest, so much so that my appointment extended for an extra hour for us to talk. I had a lot of emotions coming out of it that I'm still feeling, even now.

Then I bought some cheap but nice work shoes. I was worried the quality might be lower because of the price, but at the very least I have my full uniform now. Today's been pretty busy and I've had a lot less time on my laptop than usual, which feels like a nice change.

I made plans to get back into working out again tomorrow, which be nice. My friend and I only managed to work out for one day during finals week. I'm thankful that we'll be able to start again more regularly.

I also think I want to make more friends that are girls. If that eventually turns into a romantic relationship, great, but I think I'd be satisfied just making friends like that. I want to make more friends in general.

A pretty alright day, I'd say. 

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I think I might need a therapist as well. My usual counselor is out of town for 3 weeks on a vacation and it drives me bonkers not having someone to talk to about my deep stuff. I definitely need more friends...friends period. You're doing great, Deep Space.

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25/90

Wow, four days since my last post. I'm a little surprised honestly. Thanks Mettermrck! I definitely find a lot of use out of therapy. That third party perspective has been really useful in various ways.

Work has been pretty damn stressful. I got done with training the day of my last post and started working on the floor. I haven't been handling it amazingly, admittedly, because of some crazy pain in my feet. I know as I keep going it'll hurt less and less. There's been minimal guidance, which is a little frustrating to start, but I think that will translate into more freedom once I understand what needs to get done. Overall, it's been awkward adjusting and it's been difficult to engage my own feelings. But I'm trying to stay positive.

I wish I could say more, but it's really all just been work. I feel like once I'm a bit more adjusted to working, I'll be able to use my time away from work a little more effectively. I'm just happy to have some money coming in so I can go out and experience some new things.

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28/90

I know I haven't been taking this detox as seriously as I could be. I think that is evident with somewhat infrequent posting here for the past week or so. Yesterday and today (as in the day before yesterday and yesterday since it's past midnight as I write this) was my first real weekend since I started working. I lasted my entire ten hour shift, only really starting to feel the pain during the last two hours which I stole (I was still working but ideally I should have been done when I was scheduled to leave). Then I had this weekend.

Overall, it felt like it was a daze, especially yesterday. There were moments where I would lie on my couch and stare at my ceiling, almost dreaming while I was lying there. My thoughts kind of went all over the place and I think it's how I usually felt watching Youtube for a long period of time (gaming gave me a dopamine/adrenaline rush so generally my mood was more positive afterwards). I guess I realized I was living my nightmare scenario of having dropped out of college (even though I haven't). It feels like that because I am genuinely asking myself whether college is the right thing for me.

I had an argument with my roommate which was amusing. I tend to look at it in that light because I completely understand his motivation and I'm hyper aware of the angles at which he is trying to manipulate me and pull me back into gaming. I know because I feel like they were angles I considered at various points throughout my life. I actually experienced the fact that gaming is boring a long time ago. I started to learn about emulation and roms. For context, I grew up pretty poor and pretty much any money I ever earned before I was 18 all went to video games. Suddenly, I had access to every single game that I had only dreamed of playing growing up. With such a vast amount of choice, it made it hard to truly pick what games I wanted to play. Nothing really, truly met my expectations. I learned that it was boring. It was boring having so many options. It was boring not feeling like I earned a game and now had to commit to my purchase and the experience I had bought. It was the first time I had ever had an experience like that. I think that's what initially triggered my need to take gaming to the next level. At first it was Minecraft, then it was League for a long time.

I digress. I had an argument with my roommate, which kind of made me aware of the flaws in how I am taking this detox. I'm not really taking advantage of the time I have now. Admittedly, instead of creating a new life for myself, I have shifted the weight of time spent on video games, game news, and Let's Plays onto anime and manga. But that's just as bad as if I was sitting on my ass and watching a video game stream, counting the minutes until I was finished with my detox.

I can't deny I haven't been doing the detox as well as I could have been. I blamed that on the transition from school onto work, but really that's just an excuse. I spent plenty of time perusing Youtube when I could have been setting some goals for myself and meeting them. Really, I had intended this post to be a little more positive because I thought of some good goals that can add the challenge I've been seeking in life. I think that's why I found school so boring. It never seemed to really challenge me. The ways it challenged me were because of my own laziness and inability to really engage, not because the content ever felt hard.

I digress... Again, ha ha. My goals involve a couple of programs that I thought up near the beginning of my detox. The first was a project that I was offered a decent amount of cash for but I never really followed up on (nothing crazy, just a couple hundred bucks, which was a figure mentioned in passing). I talked with the person about this project again near the beginning of my detox and think it's a possibility that I can jump on for some good experience. My other idea was to make a program that solves an "impossible" math problem, which I think I found the solution for a month or so before my detox. It's called the Collatz conjecture apparently, and while I don't have a formal proof written, I think I could write a program that predicts the number of calculations that would have to be made to reach the 4 -> 2 -> 1 sequence. I could also verify by making a program that follows the two different formulas and prints the result until it reaches 4 -> 2 -> 1 sequence. It would be a lot more efficient than some of the online programs that do this because it wouldn't have to deal with the HTML/CSS/JS/PHP exchange/nightmare.

I still want to engage with the lack of a social circle but I'm still frozen on this front. I have no idea where to even begin. I think I might just have to do it. My thought is to perhaps use meetup.com and try and meet some people for a hike or some other social outing.

Well sorry for the ramble, I suppose I just had to get it all out. Thanks for taking the time to read that.

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I'm glad to see you pushing ahead at work despite the initial difficulties. It's good to see you back posting.

Thanks Bob! I truly hope that I can make the extra positive changes to make my life great. I feel the next step (now that I'm somewhat comfortable with my job) is committing to writing here daily and continuing with the Respawn program.

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Man we are here for you. Feel free to pm or ICQ and we can talk. On your roommate: I learned in my life that you have to deal with people directly. You are a man! Not pussy because you want change something! You are good enough! People will love you! Not your mask but you which is behind these masks. You have to do what you want. 

And your roommate can rot for the pc. PERIOD

Edited by Onlysoul
grammar..... (:
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29/90

I thought I might do something different today. I want to focus on just making a gratitude list, and potentially adding one to every daily post. I don't really have anything to say today other than I felt I got to connect with my co-workers a lot more today.

 

Gratitude List:

1. I'm grateful that my co-workers are all so friendly. I've really enjoyed their company so far.

2. I'm grateful to the people I interact with here. You all inspire me to seek more out of life.

3. I'm grateful for politics (oddly enough). It has been enjoyable, challenging, and interesting to spectate.

3a. I'm grateful to the hand full of people I follow who show conflicting angles to real life scenarios. In a way, politics and learning more has let me feel as if I was engaging more with the world.

4. I'm grateful to have a job now and feel more control with my survival.

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Man we are here for you. Feel free to pm or ICQ and we can talk. On your roommate: I learned in my life that you have to deal with people directly. You are a man! Not pussy because you want change something! You are good enough! People will love you! Not your mask but you which is behind these masks. You have to do what you want. 

And your roommate can rot for the pc. PERIOD

Thanks Onlysoul! Strangely enough, every time there is confrontation between my roommate and I, it only affirms my beliefs that I am going through the right process. Our relationship is complicated because of the history we have together and because we live together. I have planned out (essentially) how I am going to deal with him. I've offered him other ways for us to connect, said I don't want to talk to him about video games (which I think in reality has become, "I don't want you to bring up gaming news"). I'm considering moving out, but my financial state is also a bit complicated. For now, I'm tolerating the situation.

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30/90

Wow, 30 days down. And... It felt easy. Really easy. So easy, I am questioning whether this is the change I was expecting it to be. I know it was step one of changing my life into something great. But... I have no idea what step two is. Make friends? I think that's what it was supposed to be but I feel really lost with this step. How do I break this step down? Find people I want to be friends with? Think about what kind of people I want to be friends with? Know myself well enough to know what the best relationship for me is? Fuck.

Honestly, I didn't start feeling depressed until I started considering what I should post today. I can't really say why some overwhelming emotions overcame me while I was writing. I guess one big thing that I'm still trying to understand about myself is how out of touch I am with my emotions. Well, I think I've calmed down a bit now.

I suppose I feel like I'm using my time poorly. I didn't really do much of anything today. It's kind of weird, my outlook at the start of the day is much different from then to now. I started the day with a goal in mind (pick up my first paycheck and deposit it into the bank) which I did. But afterwards and even beforehand, I didn't really do anything. Around 6 or so, I had exhausted my go to activities (Youtube and cartoons) so I decided that I'd work on developing one of those programs I mentioned a couple of days ago. I made myself familiar with some of the math I had done to analyze the Collatz Conjecture. Basically, (at the risk of giving the answer away) I found patterns that reminded me of Pascal's Triangle and recursion. Because of the way I'm visualizing it, I think I'm really close to making a program that could predict the number of steps it would take for any number to reach a 4 -> 2 -> 1 sequence. The only flaw that I'm trying to wrap my head around is that how I've abstracted the problem is also subject to the same freakin' pattern. I'm not even sure how that's possible, but it's really interesting to me. Also, I may have over exaggerated that having a program that does this could be considered a solution because, if that were the case, then even a simple program that follows the two formulas given in the conjecture until a 4 -> 2 -> 1 sequence is reached could be considered a solution.

Anyways, I think the next step I'll try to take now that I'm a little more comfortable with my job is to find volunteer work. That seems like it could be very rewarding for me and I think it could have the potential to let me make some friends while being fulfilling in other ways. I'm not quite sure where to begin with this task either, but it feels less daunting and vague than a goal like making friends would be.

 

Gratitude List:

  • I'm grateful that a lot of great things in life are free. Specifically music comes to mind right now.
  • I'm grateful for the small spontaneous things that happen in life to keep it exciting.
  • I'm grateful that despite having only a couple of friends that I still have someone I can be completely honest with.

 

(Edited for a minor grammar fix.)

Edited by DeepSpaceAI
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I know what you mean by it being easier than expected. Cam said one time in a video that he was just "ready" to quit and it just clicked. I think that's how it is. Once you're truly ready to let it go, cravings or not, there's a lot less struggle.

As for not knowing what step 2 is, I agree. I think of it as floating on a river and not knowing what's around the bend. I feel excited about it though, to find out what kind of person I am.

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I know what you mean by it being easier than expected. Cam said one time in a video that he was just "ready" to quit and it just clicked. I think that's how it is. Once you're truly ready to let it go, cravings or not, there's a lot less struggle.

As for not knowing what step 2 is, I agree. I think of it as floating on a river and not knowing what's around the bend. I feel excited about it though, to find out what kind of person I am.

Thanks for the feedback Mettermrck! Yeah, I definitely think I was ready to let go from day 1. Thinking back, I almost don't feel like I was playing for myself most of the time. However, the time I spent watching video game stuff on Youtube and playing games on my phone consumed my time and life. Even when I tried to moderate in the past, I had never said no to those things until now. I feel like that's the biggest reason why it was so easy.

Your second point reminded me that I actually was really excited at one point for the adventure ahead. The first thirty days has kind of been a roller coaster of emotions. My primary focus was to resolve some issues I was have in my University (trying to not get bad grades) and getting a job since my financial position was about to leave to me homeless. And I think I was more or less successful with both of those things. I think I stopped being excited just because those two things took a long time to accomplish. This really is the first breather I have had since the start of my detox and I think it's the perfect time to get excited and try out more things.

Thank you for reminding me this is supposed to exciting and not to get terrified of that step 2. I think I may have been hyping it up the wrong way.

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31/90

Phew, yesterday I was unable to finish my work until almost two hours after my shift was supposed to end. It was inevitable because I came in and my co-workers were still cooking stuff up and until 7ish. Also, one of my co-workers who was supposed to close with me ended up getting stolen and had to do main checkout. I did my best to get it all done, but between a mountain of dishes and being unable to really start closing down some equipment until much later than usual, I just couldn't get out of there on time.

On the bright side of my shift, I got to chat with one of my co-workers and invited her to play some D&D. To clarify my intent, it is purely platonic. I honestly thought it could be a fun way to make some friends since she said she liked board games. But, anyways, our banter was probably the best part of my shift.

Today, I think want to try going to the library. I want to pick up one book and actually try reading at a realistic pace (before I got a book and finished it in two days which made the pile I had checked out a lot more intimidating). I also remember that there are some volunteering opportunities there. It might not be exactly what I am looking for, but I wouldn't mind getting some more information.

 

Gratitude List:

  • Thankful that my one of my co-workers and I have similar interests.
  • Grateful that my financial situation looks like it's in an upswing.
  • Grateful for my Mom helping me get food a week or two ago. I've still be relying on that supply.
Edited by DeepSpaceAI
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  • 2 weeks later...

40/90

Wow, it's been a really long time since I posted a status update. I'm not sure what to say entirely. I feel pretty sad and unfocused at the moment. I feel like things should be getting better and I should be making the changes that need to happen so I can live a better life. But I'm not. I've considered relapsing a few days ago, but didn't have the time to, so I eventually talked myself back.

It feels wrong to post after such a wide gap. I can't really say things have been different, but I've continued making minor adjustments to make working a little more comfortable for now. However, maybe I'm just putting too much pressure on the idea of having a perfect life after 90 days. Typing that makes it sound unrealistic.

I finally did some more of the Respawn modules and I think that helped to give me a better outlook. I have some more concrete plans moving forward. For now though, I think I should call it a night. I feel bad about leaving this post as is but fuck it. Got to shatter the ice and get back into the groove, as they say.

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