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giantbuster

One year without gaming!

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x-post from /r/stopgaming:

One year ago on July 4th, I figured Independence Day would be a good day to declare independence from video games. I quit cold turkey, and haven't touched a video game (minus a few technicalities) since one year ago yesterday. Woohoo!

I was in a very difficult time. I had been working a job that I hated for two whole years and I was miserable, so I gamed a lot. Heroes of the Storm was my poison of choice. Around March of last year however, I got hit with a crippling back injury and laid off of my job right around the same time. The one-two combo was too much for me and I was in a pit of depression for many months, so I turned to gaming.

I'd always had a love-hate relationship with video games. On one hand, it's a medium for telling compelling stories and transports you into beautiful interactive worlds. On the other, it's a crutch that allows your depression and unhappiness to fester for too long, and can end up taking priority over your health and life in general. Plus, there's so much to experience in the world around you; why squander your time staring at a computer screen? I'd felt this way since I was little, and yet I always found myself coming back for more, even though I didn't really want to.

I knew enough was enough, and so I decided to quit gaming. I uninstalled Heroes of the Storm, uninstalled Steam, put away my consoles and games, and set out to do what I always felt like I needed to do. It's been one year since then, and I'm proud of myself. I'm still recovering from my injury, but since I've stopped playing games, I've spent a lot more time practicing music, reading, exercising, meditating, going out with friends and family, hanging out with the pets, seeking new projects and opportunities, and all-in-all enjoying life a lot more and becoming a healthier, happier, more thriving person.

Now I will admit, there were a number of instances where I did play a little bit which I can remember very clearly.

  • I played about 30 seconds or so of an arcade game at a festival
  • I played a tiny bit of Pokemon Go during the entire craze when literally everyone was playing it
  • I played a tiny bit of Pacman on Google Maps by accident when they did their April Fools thing (curse you Google!)
  • Every now and then when I'm using a free phone app, it'll give you an interactive gaming advertisement and prompt you to deploy troops or whatever

So technically, maybe I should reset my streak to any of these points in time, especially the arcade game or Pokemon Go. But I don't count these as relapses or major dings into my game-free lifestyle. Gaming exists on a spectrum so it's hard to say what is and isn't gaming. Is an interactive ad gaming? Is a word party game on a phone gaming? It'd be different if I spent hours or days playing a game and shutting out the outside world, but these were just minor stumbles along the journey.

Nonetheless, the main thing is that these days, I never touch video games and purposefully keep myself away from them in all shapes and forms. I don't watch let's plays, I don't follow game news, I don't engage in gaming conversations, I've distanced myself from people who game a lot, and so on. Comparing my lifestyle now to before I quit video games, I'm very proud of myself, and am a much happier and fulfilled person.

Of course this is only one small point in the journey, and this is going to be a lifelong journey. I think my next big goal should be to distance myself from technology in general. I have a lot of trouble with being glued to my phone, whipping it out and going on Facebook or Reddit whenever I have a second of downtime. It's usually the first thing I reach for in the morning and the last thing I do in bed. It's difficult because the phone plays such a vital role these days: it's where I communicate with friends and family, it's where my emails are, it's where my meditation app is, it's where my grocery list is, it's my camera... the list goes on.

Anyways, I'm rambling now so I'll cut this post here. One year game free, woo! Here's to a more fulfilling life.

---

To add to this, I recall signing up for Respawn on July 14th of 2016, and going through Cam's videos and his other materials. The guidance was super helpful, especially with learning about the causes of video game addiction and how it causes physical changes in the brain, and understanding that you need to add multiple things to your life to combat this addiction. Thank you Cam for the guidance and wisdom throughout this journey. Here's to many more years without games!

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Wow that's awesome! Congrats!
I've done 110 days myself but a whole year is game changing! 

I faintly remember the feeling of having no games in my life. Hoping to get back to that some day.  

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