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Tux
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BigOlBeartic, I'm not really sure right now.

I don't go very often on these forum anymore, but soon I will reach a full year without playing any game. And despite having almost reached a full year without games, I feel like I have not made progress in some areas of my life.

Cam post on quitting gaming forever is nice, but some parts of it don't apply to me. Right now, if I were to play, it would not be for the competition. It would not be for the social aspect. I would be to avoid my real life, to avoid the day. My life isn't horrible, it's not a nightmare, there is not anything really awful to escape from, beside some kind of emptiness. But it's like a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I'm tired of self-victimization.

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Moderation is a joke. I hate myself when I'm playing game too, because I do everything possible to maximize the time spent on games. I can't play a game for only a few hours a week, because you do NOTHING in it in those few hours. I don't want to be a kid, I want to be a man. This doesn't mean never relaxing ever again, but it does mean putting an end to some of my behavior.

Right now I'm studying for my master, and in less than a months, I have exams. I also have tons of lab work to finish, and a few school projects. It's normal to have a lot of work, however I think because I didn't had a life before I started the master, the work more or less took the place of video-games, as to avoiding the real problems of my life. I'm not fine with that. If, at least for this month, I add any goal to my life right now, I just won't get the most important things done.

I already have a gardening thing going on to get out of the house. I think it's the only thing I do that is not class related and that happen with other people.

Otherwise I am interested in computer security, though I don't know which field yet. I spend a bit of time solving CTF's to get better at it. I did one last week with some people from my class, it was really nice even if I didn't win any challenge. I also avoided the game related ones.

Another field that interest me is computer music. In fact I'd really like to produce an EP or even an album, and send it to a record I like. Mixing in front of a crowd too.

I think I do need goals though. This year really require a lot of work from me, but it's almost over. In a month, the workload will shift from 8 class to 1 internship and 1 class. This is the last straight line. As I am a perfectionist, I will need to define my goals properly.

Before the 16/04, I will finish all my lab work and projects.

Up to the 05/05, I'm busting my ass to finish those school projects, lab work, and work on exams. Few gardening stuff here and there, few CTF stuff, but that's it.

After that, I'll still have an exam to work on (one I didn't pass), but things will very probably be much, much lighter. So I'll get back to music production. I'm not a pro, but definitely not a newbie. A few years ago, I really worked my ass of to get better at it, it was at the time I also stopped video-games (despite a few relapses). If there is one thing I want, is to get that EP rolling out, make it good enough, send it to a label. Doing more gardening too, and I'll see about other things. It would be nice if I was more often with other people too. I have also other fields of interest, but I need to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), otherwise I'll never get anything done.

I used to do quite a lot of work on myself a few years ago, meeting more people, going out more, etc. It wasn't perfect, but it was something.

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It's been a while I got rid of everything gaming related. I'm not watching any stream, video, getting any news about them. I still have dreams about them though.

I found myself thinking about things gaming related that I could delete, as a concrete action. It's been a while I have deleted 95% of the stuff I have that are related. What's left are musics with samples that are from games I never played. I don't want to delete those because I like the music, and have no memory of gaming associated with those. AFAIK, they won't lead to a relapse (or they would have a long time ago).

Instead of looking for actions against video-games, I'll need to look for action FOR my life in general. Right now I've got too many school work to do, and so everything else is more or less paused. Once it's over (less than a month), I'll need to start adding stuff. I'm still afraid of relapsing however. I guess I'll need to watch again the video of Respawn to get more balance into my life, and be free of any risk of relapsing.

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Good to hear you are still pushing on, fellow linux patriot! Be careful about the down times between semesters with your studies, they can be the biggest challenges of them all to stay on the path.

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Yeah, to be honest I'm expecting that time to be hard.

There's a lot of potential rationalization :

  • I worked so hard, so I deserve a "break" (like this is the only way to take a break...)
  • Once won't kill me (my relapses usually last a few days, even though I'm lucky that they don't last several weeks or months)
  • I've got some time for me (and tons of other projects I want to get done)
  • ...

What I am longing for is to have more free time, but really, it's not for playing stupid games. A ton of things interest me, so when I'll get that time I've been wanting, the last thing I want to do is to use it properly.

Thanks you for posting. How are you doing on your side ?

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One thing that annoys me is that I keep having dreams about games. I'm not writing down how often they happen, but it seems like it's almost every night. It varies between some new game, some game I've already played... This night, I had a dream about runescape. In the dream, I was playing some new stuff, and thinking about getting a subscription again, and how I could get back my old account.

On waking up, I made a little thought experiment. If getting a subscription cost me 7-8€ (whatever they charges now), it would really cost me much more than that. If I "only" played one hour a week, at the end of the month I would have spent about 30 hours. Now, a hobby I've undertaken despite my busy schedule is gardening. And just to dig up some grass, remove weeds, on a small part of the garden I'm working on, I needed about 3 hours. If I put those 30 hours on that garden, I would probably weed out the whole garden, and possibly start planting a LOT of stuff the next month.

At the end of a month of runescape, what would I learn ? Probably that I need to remove games from my life as they take too much time and stops me from focusing on the areas of my life that are not growing. Nothing new under the sun.

At the end of a month of gardening, what would I learn ? Well, I'd have gotten outside, being in a position different than sitting, done some mild exercise, got some tanning from the sun. And I'd have probably at least a few veggies to eat, more experience on gardening, and I might even meet people.

If I can get more time right now, it goes either toward working my ass off on school stuff, or toward that garden. If I want to get somewhere in runescape, I will need thousands of hours. I won't need a dozen hundreds of hours to get something good out of that garden.

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So ! One project down, still a few more to go and exams to work on.

I can already feel a craving with a specific game. I will describe this in more detail to get it out of my system, so if you get triggered easily, please skip the next paragraphs until I write </rant>.

The last game I binged on, well I just forgot it's name. Basically, it's some kind of dwarf fortress game. You arrive on a planet with colonists, you then tell them everything they need to do to build a base, survive, and thrive. I don't know why, but this game activate something in me. Maybe it's how you can build something out of nothing. It's those kind of game where dying is fun, and there is a lot of fun. Your base end up being overrun by raiders or monsters or disease. It grows over time, if you manage it properly.

You have to get resources, build walls to defend, research technology... the graphics are better than dwarf fortress (it would be hard to do worse), and there are some neat game play elements. It's single-player AFAIK.

</rant>

Ok, so this part is over.

Last time I played this, it was what broke my discipline completely. At first I worked 40 minutes, had a 10 minute pause. Then 40 minutes work, 40 minutes pause. Then, 2 days pause, 0 minute work.

Right now, with all those big projects and exams, I feel like binging at the end of them. You know, the "reward" kind of binge. I did a lot of work for myself, surely I can ruin my health and progress for a while ? Of course not. With all the extra work, it was really hard to really create a better life. I did gain some things though, but really, I need to get more friends, to do more social stuff, spend more time with my hobbies.

I'm afraid I will simply end up binging. I'm almost at one year without games.

I know breaking down wouldn't mean I suck or something, it would just mean I need to make a real long lasting change. It doesn't define me as a person. I think if I associate negative feelings with binging is because I associate video-games with something from my past. From a part of my life I don't want to live ever again. The constant avoidance of problem, get to bed late, not having time for anything...

I want a life worth living. There's the classic stuff, getting more friends, finding a great girlfriend, making good money, having a decent place. But I also want things like financial independence, passive incomes, having a space to garden, even have honey bees. Build cool electronic projects. Make music. Build awesome software. Heck, even try some chemistry, cooking, have a try at being completely self-sufficient for like a month... I'm not the traveler type, I'm more the engineer type. I want to build cool stuff for the sake of building those stuff and learning.

Maybe this game gives me that, even if it's a big illusion ? I don't know, but I needed to get this off my chest anyway. Hopefully someone can shed some light on that. Thanks for reading.

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On 4/13/2018 at 2:16 PM, Dannigan said:

That's an excellent way to reason with yourself:  compare the video game time, to gardening time.  I'm glad you noticed how gardening yielded greater positivity, such as a sense of accomplishment, completion of tasks, future food growth, potential to socialize, etc.

Yup, Runescape = THOUSANDS OF HOURS.  

I really, really should read again some of my posts. Thanks for quoting that one. Now if do that again with the game in my previous post, well, I'd spend a lot of hours for something that will ultimately either crash down, or get deleted. No matter how it's put though, that time would be much better spent doing something else. It takes time to accomplish anything worthwhile, and since I've been using the pomodoro technique it's clear that there is a limit to what I can do in a day.

So, the week of craziness is almost over. Still have a few things to work on, and then, a week of studying for exams. Yeaaah. At least after that, things will be very calm. Am planning a few things to do. I should also spend more time working on my social life. Remove studies for my life, what's left ? Some gardening, and that's it. I can accept that for a while to zero in on something, but it's hurting me and I need to work on those things. As long as I can stay focused and work on them, I can improve.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm half-through my exams.

Anxiety seems to put me in a state of avoidance, where I don't do work. However I still manage to do a few things study related.

Yesterday though, I really, really felt the loneliness. Once those exams are over, I must handle loneliness properly. I need to make real life friends. For too long, Internet has been somewhat filling a void, and of course it doesn't work. As human, we don't need internet connection, we need human connection. I need human connection.

After Friday afternoon, I'm basically free. Studies are not over, holidays are not there, but the rhythm will slow down drastically.

On the side of games, well I don't feel any urges right now. I'm thinking about doing something similar with movies. I don't watch a lot of movies, but I'm more and more often disappointed by them. Unrealistic, stupid, made for dumbs by dumbs...

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On 4/29/2018 at 5:04 PM, Tux said:

Anxiety seems to put me in a state of avoidance, where I don't do work. However I still manage to do a few things study related.

This happens to me sometimes as well, so I am open to suggestions of how you overcome it. I was so overwhelmed by the amount of work, study and chores I had to do on the weekend that I chose to do none of it at all - it was like I was frozen into inaction. Then it becomes a spiral because there is 2 more days lost that could of worked towards those areas.

One solution I have been trying to do is break everything down into smaller and smaller tasks - at least then you can cross items off of a to do list or give yourself kudos for actually seeing progress.

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I lived through the apocalypse.

So, I don't really have a solution. I've been able to get some work done, one thing that helps is a common technique call the pomodoro technic where you set up a timer for like 30 minutes, then make a pause of say 5 minutes, etc. I've been able to be very productive thanks to it, but at some point I can't just work, work, work and work. Emotionally, I become a wreck. I need proper way to relax.

But now, my exams are over. Still have one in June or something, and if I failed some these last weeks, I'll have to redo them in July. BUT what is sure is that things will be much easier to handle now

 

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  • 1 month later...

So, all kind of exams are over. Here's to two months of hot summer.

I have found a day job, which could be described as being sysadmin-ish. My weeks will be filled by it. The rest of the time, I can do quite a few things for me.

However I have to mention some kind of cravings with games. It's the start of the summer, I have no real source of stress or anything, the only issue I can see coming is loneliness.

I needed to mention that this morning I've had a few thoughts about that DF-like game, about game dev... I want to stay clean. More than 400 days in, I hope that one day those cravings will completely disappear.

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Awesome to hear about finishing your exams and getting a summer job. The job will help to fill a lot of your free time and making money always feels good.

Any plan for the social side of your life this summer?

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Thanks for your reply Cam.

For the social side, basically there should be a party somewhere in the middle of the summer with a few friends, a few family stuff too, but there is nothing else. And I think it is an issue. I'm not in my hometown for most of the summer, and since it's summer, there won't be much people I know to meet... so basically my social need will not be met properly.

I could try to find things to do in the week-end that involve other people.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've relapsed a few days ago. Unlike other relapses though, I've managed to stop it midway.

I started having this huge obsession, until I reached the point where I just downloaded Rimworld, and played on it until midnight. I also spent the whole Saturday on it, but I managed to stop it from overtaking my whole week-end, and I deleted it without re-downloading it on Sunday. It very strange, I'm not even sure I correctly registered that I broke my streak. Playing, it also felt like I was just watching myself play or something.

I rationalized in a way that was powerful enough to make me relapse. I had thoughts about this game and another, Supreme Commander, and somehow I need to be much better at managing things. Since there is a huge management aspect, both with resources and people/machines in those games, it was as if those were the solution. Why do I need to be better at managing things and resources ? It's not something that would hurt in my life (being better in those skill sets), however spending almost dozens of hours in front of games to "learn" would hurt my life and organization much more.

I am not a little kid anymore. I can't spend the summer in front of games. Even if I could, I would want to do productive things too.

And the urges are really, really strong to come back. "Just" for that game, of course. Well, that, and also "just" getting back into game dev.

Right now, with a day job, I have some time for me in the evening. I think that being too strict with myself (as in I come home from work, I have to stay 2 hours doing something productive, with strict goals, etc) put too much pressure on myself, and I end up overly stressed and relapsing. That time can be used to work on little things I'm doing and that I enjoy, and apparently I need to keep the commitment light (AKA work on those, but without stretching myself to much); but if start having hundred of projects, nothing will ever move forward. And something like game dev also require a LOT of work. In the past, I also "needed" to do it all, from the code to the music, graphics, and even further, like the website and community and security and... I'm pretty sure it's super easy to do all that, obviously the fact that those are jobs in themselves which also require years of learning doesn't matter. /s

I don't remember urges being this strong. It's like a part of my brain just shut off, like there is only the good reasons to play that are available for me to get.

I honestly am not sure what do to. There is honestly some enjoyment with this, as I enjoy the process of building something, learning from your mistakes, and managing it all. But is it really worth all the hours ? If I were to limit myself to one or several hours, it would not be enough. In fact, I'm not sure playing 100 hours in two weeks would be enough.

Am I genuinely wanting to create a game, and to play this one ? Is it "me", or the addiction ?

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Reading again my journal seem to help. Unfortunately it's only 3 page long, but at least there is a journal to read.

I'm saying it myself, it would take me an eternity to make a game. And playing rimworld, well, that would take way too much time. I do need to take time off sometimes, but the key is, sometimes, not every second. I just can't control myself with games. I am transitioning to a life of "sleep, work, come back home"; and I know how essential the last part can be: you can waste it, or, you can use it, or at the very least use a part of it, to start building a meaningful life, work on your projects, see friends... I don't want to debate on video-games. I started this journal on the premise that they are gone forever. I don't know what the future holds, but I clearly want that to be as true as possible. Slip up do happen, but they happen for a reason. Either you stay blind to that reason, or you address it.

In my case, I believe a lack of social life is a big problem, as well as putting up too much pressure on myself. Those results in me losing control and just binging. Who wouldn't, when everything you do has to be perfect ?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having some urges again, with some rationalization, that it would "help me learn" things like managing resources, etc. But not relapse since the last time. I can learn most of those skills in real life anyway.

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Instead of playing games, I watched some random shit on Youtube. It's far from being a perfect replacement, but it's still better than a relapse. It was close yesterday, as I saw a mention of rimworld on some forum.

 

As far as I can tell, it's simply a lack of a social life. I'm not seeing much people this summer, as it's the first summer of my life I am not spending in some way with my parents. So, week-end are tough, but now I know that, and can anticipate. I clearly don't lack anything to do otherwise, if I want some growth well there's all the activities I have available. Quite a few of those would be a challenge... for a team of dedicated professional. I'm safe on the challenge side too. Temporary escape, I can always read. But social ? There's the occasional outdoor stuff I do with a few people, but it's uncommon.

 

I never used games much to socialize, but I think they might have been an "effective" way to numb this need instead. I am alone, so be it. I don't need to flee from that fact. Knowing it is a fact will let me find solution to that loneliness. Even with classes, I didn't feel that lonely: there were people to talk to quite often, and since this summer I'm working mostly alone, it might also be another reason why the week-end are so tough. But it's an interesting perspective, knowing that there can be legitimate reasons to actually DREAD week-ends, holidays... for now I might need to find some crutch, like online chats or similar, but I won't be able to live like that indefinitely. The problem is, when am I going to tackle this issue. I am reading a really interesting book about business and personal growth, it's called "How will you measure your life". And one of the key in this book, is that your strategy is not what you are thinking, it's were you are actually allocating resources to. Anyone can have huge plans in every areas of his life, but only when you actually put the resources to these areas they can start moving forward. Obviously, you can't put all your resources everywhere too; add to this the fact that we have real flaws that stops us from realizing certain things if we don't spend some time thinking about them, and it's easy to lose your way and become someone you despise.

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Are there any group activities you could join that would make socializing easier? For me that's been yoga, dance class, group exercise activities, and things like that. Or could you go to a cafe and read a book? Sometimes it's just little things like this that can help with that.

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Well, I'm kind of broke at the moment, and would prefer to spend as little as possible, so paying to read a book (by going to a cafe), I honestly can't do that. But, as I'm still a student, I do know a place where I could go, although not in the summer (as far as I know they are closed, but I might be wrong) and just read without ordering anything.

 

Group exercises could be a thing, but again, it's summer, and it's going to be difficult to find something to join. However, I'm keeping this idea for September.

 

There's two issues, really: I have so many things I want to do, that just spending one evening in the week feel somewhat like less time for other things. And the fact that I realize now that I have a social life issue, but the foundations for that should have been laid months ago, so I would have a social life now, when I actually need one.

 

I've got to take one day in the week, and try something otherwise nothing will change. One thing that could interest me is a hackerspace near where I live, I can give it a try.

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About 3 weeks since the last relapse. There's a slight fear of relapsing with the coming week-end, but I can plan a tons of things to do instead of gaming.

 

If I play, it will be for probably 16 hours. Else, I can do some gardening, produce some music, work on a little electronic project idea I had, do some programming, clean up the house, make a nice recipe, work on learning some maths topic for a programming project of mine, play the piano, learn more about some of the software I use, make a badge for this forum, learn another programming language...

 

Playing is not an option. I will not be able to do all of those things for 16 hours straight, but there's a good reason for that. Gaming can't be moderated.

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  • 3 months later...

I relapsed... more than three months ago. :D

 

I felt like  coming back here and talk a bit about how it's going. I think my relapse was because of the fact that I was about to spend my first summer on my own; seeing only family on some week-ends, and being somewhat guaranteed that I wouldn't see many people during the week. This was the summer, and so most of the people I could have hanged out with weren't there.

 

 

Now, I sometime think about games, but I don't want anything to do with them. Still, I sometimes have dreams about them, like this night. I was playing runescape; ironically after this I realized I skipped class, and I was completely out of control emotionally. I really hope dreams on this subject will become rarer over time. It's not only unpleasant, but it sometimes make you feel like games are the only thing that happened in your life.

I've started going to small events in the evening, as a way to be around people, possibly meet interesting people, and also work on a subject with others. When my studies are over, I'll have a lot of free time outside of school. No more homework ! So I'll be able to do quite a lot of things for myself. I don't know where I'll be in a year or two, but this can be interesting to know some places where things happen.

 

I've read another of my previous post;  games are designed to be light enough on the mind so that you can stay 12 hours in front of them and feel just a bit bad at the end. The other day, I was in the flow. I was working on a school lab, I was really deep in it... and I had to stop after 2 and a half hour on it, I was getting tired. In real life, things really tire you after some time, so you can't spend dozen of hours on them. It's quite natural really, we adapted to the real world, not to human-made systems designed to exploit your vulnerabilities. And if I manage to spend dozen of hours on that lab, I'll be good at its subject; but with a game ? With a worthless achievement ? Games are worthless. Give me your save file, a good hex editor and some time, and BAM, you have infinite everything in the game, DONE. In real life, not so much. I could try to give myself infinite money at the bank, but I'm sure someone would find it weird... there's not point with games. No success. I'm going to get more time for myself after I finish my studies, but I can't help and regret all the time wasted. If I spent a fraction of that time on something else, man... but the past is the past.

Edited by Tux
added some stuff
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I want to try something new. Recently, I have been wasting tons of time on Youtube. Yea, youtube can be educational, it can be good, etc. What's the point if I don't control what I watch there ? What if I can't ? Maybe I can control what I watch more effectively. Some of it might be educational, but would I rather learn some useless stuff, something completely irrelevant to my current life that DO what matters ? But right now, I am going to try 90 days without it. I don't want to waste my time on it. But what's the point if I play whack-a-mole with every little addiction that pops its ugly head ? Stopping things that are similar just when it's obvious it's a problem ? Maybe I should ban also the other things, like news checking, etc. I find myself at the end of week-end too often wondering where has all that time gone. And I tell myself that I don't have enough time for my projects.

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Thanks !

When I grew up with games, I used to somewhat despise TV. But what's the difference with youtube ? Basically, none. People spend hours a day in front of their TVs; I don't want to be like that. I don't own a TV; but if it's instead to spend hours in front of youtube... It's also engineered to be like games: addictive. All the recommendations, all the bell and whistle, it's just so you keep coming back on it. They don't care if you're ruining your life by binge watching. They only care about the money they generate. At least on my case they didn't make any since I use ad blockers. It's time for me to take back control of my time. Instead of aiming for huge changes, I thought about aiming for small improvement. Things so small I am guaranteed to be able to do them. Sometimes a bigger change will be needed, but for now I'll stick to the small things.

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