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NEW VIDEO: The EASIEST Way to Stop Gaming

I'm genuinely addicted, but it's hard to change course after 18 years.


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Hey, everyone. I'm Parkreiner from the greater Washington, DC area, and I'll be 24 this November. I've also been a complete shut-in for most of the past four years. That needs to change, and fast, which is where GameQuitters hopefully comes in.

The site's premise interests me, but I don't think it's fair for me to blame games themselves – it's just passing the buck for my own failings. I think that games just happen to enable the more destructive and awful parts of my personality. Removing games could just create an opening for another outlet to keep me just as inept and unfulfilled. Still, I'm willing to try anything at this point, because I can feel time running out on me. It's just hard to grasp what a life without video games could be like, because they've been in my life for 18 years.

A quick timeline:

1998 - Got Gameboy Pocket from aunt, which is my first exposure to games. This was also just before the Pokemon craze reached North America, so while I was shy, it made socializing with everyone else easier, because everyone was into Pokemon. At this point, I enjoyed games, but I wasn't crazy about them.

1999–2004 - Most of elementary school. Got more game consoles, and whenever I got to go to the computer lab, I just blew through my work as quickly as possible so I could play games during class. As time went on, I started spending less and less time outside, despite previously enjoying it.

2004–2007 - Middle school. This was the first time I have to try making friends and doing well in class, and I don't even bother. My grades start falling, and I start image editing my report cards so my parents don't worry/get on me. 2006 was the worst, not only because I wasn't talking to the girls I was starting to notice, but because I got to the point where I needed a new game constantly. It got to the point that I started filching quarters and coins from my parents, and then, once I had the money for a game, I would create false pre-order receipts for what I wanted. That way, they wouldn't ask where the money came from when I asked if I can get a game, because they just thought I was picking up something I already paid for. 

2007–2011 - High school. My grades were inconsistent at this point, with me getting straight A's in the classes that interest me, and a string of F's in those that didn't. I had no plans for the future, and I just do things because my parents wanted me to. Had I a choice, I probably would've dropped out just to play games more often. However, in late 2008, I played Persona 4 for the first time, which exposed me to two interests that have stayed with me since: voice acting and graphic design. I managed to get the Ivy League's attention for my SAT scores, but my school grades and community involvement weren't good enough for me to consider applying.

2011–2013 - College. At this point, I started to realize that I need to change, but I didn't understand how or why. Each semester, I tried to become a better student and to become more social, but these efforts always fell off a cliff by the end. During my second semester, I outright gave up and did nothing but play video games. Even now, my parents don't know how abysmal my grades are, but I had the sense to drop out, so I wouldn't waste any more of their money. Still, I had the nerve to try again at community college in fall 2013, which I drop out of halfway through because I basically had a mental breakdown. In 2012, I discovered NeoGAF.com, which I've visited pretty much every day, multiple times a day, until now.

2014–Now - The post-college blur. I'm a failure at this point, and I've only held two jobs, both of which haven't lasted more than 4 months. The first is a full-time assembly job, which stops because the factory closes down, while with the second, I can't deal with the physical demands – after having to be moved to two different departments because I'm not doing a good enough job. My interest in games plummets, but I still play one game, that being Hearthstone for phones and PC. Since I still live with my parents and barely go out, I've been able to stretch the little money I've made until now, but I've almost run out. Buying Hearthstone expansions every four months doesn't help.


So, here I am, almost broke, mostly friendless, unsuccessful, and unfulfilled. And the thing is, it's all my fault. Every awful thing I've done, particularly my being parasitic to my parents, can't be blamed on games. They didn't create these awful aspects of my personality – they were just windows for them to come to the fore. I hadn't thought about it this way before, but what I've done are signs of genuine addiction. I've cost my parents a lot of money on something I don't enjoy nearly as much as I used to. Everything needs to change, including me. I think it's possible to have a healthy relationship with games, but it's almost impossible to change course when you've been so invested. I need to go cold turkey, which is why I'm considering at least the 90-day detox. I can come back to them once I'm in a better place in my life, but at that point, I may not want to.

So, right now, I have a decent sense for what I want to work towards – becoming a web developer, graphic designer, and illustrator professionally, and a voice/theater actor for my main hobby – but I don't know how to bring them into my life more. The thing with a site like NeoGAF is that while it's huge and sprawling, it's frequently updated, and it's possible to find close-knit communities that stay in touch constantly. I may become a regular on GameQuitters, but I need communities with more focus and specialization on top of that. I don't even know where to look. Cutting all games is going to force me to make a lot of changes and will involve a lot of pain, but I know now that I can't wait anymore. Not if I to stop wasting my life.

Edited by Parkreiner
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Hi, welcome!!

It sounds like you found the right place. Just stopping gaming isn't enough to change your life- but it can be the first step, which provides you with much needed momentum.

Codeacademy.com has great tutorials on HTML and I think CSS and javascript, and as a web designer you'll need to at least know those three. Just an FYI: really to get any benefit in web design you'll need to incorporate all 3, e.g. transferring HTML button actions to javascript functions that you'll display using CSS. If you've already done some tutorials and you want to maybe work on some real projects, then feel free to shoot me a PM. I'm by no means an expert (it's not the main thing I focus on) but I've had to do a decent amount of web design over the course of my career. I need to build another website soon (I'm looking at the next few weeks) and maybe we could collaborate? Even if you think you're not ready, you'd be surprised how easy it could be. I don't mind teaching you the relatively small amount I know, if you think it would be of any benefit to you. 

But regardless, keep coming back. I've found the daily journal has worked wonders for my motivation and reflection. 

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You've still got a lot of potential at 24. Imagine trying to fix all of these problems when you're 42. The fact that you have recognised it and are willing to take steps to change your life means you've already got your foot in the door.

As you have touched on, I think you need a new focus. Once you decide what that is - and if it is the programming sphere - then jump in boots and all. Keeping yourself occupied and engaged is what is going to help you the most quitting entirely.

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Thanks, all. Like I said in the first post, I fully expect this to be painful – for all I know, making the correct changes could be like going through withdrawal. My gaming habits have basically been nothing but Hearthstone for the past year, but I've spent a lot more time around gaming communities. I probably know more about the industry than most people working at places like GameStop, but honestly, it hasn't done me much good. It was just a bunch of information, most of it in topics I'm not that interested in, for games that I'm not likely to ever play. My habits were just that – habits – but they were getting in the way of making other habits that stand to enrich my life.

I started the 90-day detox today, and while I didn't do everything that I wanted, I still did more than I have in weeks. I'm still unsure if I'll return to video games afterwards, but if I do, I'll hopefully have a much healthier relationship with them going forward.

Edited by Parkreiner
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Don't dwell on what you will or will not do at the end of the detox - focus on the detox! By the end of it your priorities, goals and motivations will have shifted so you'll need to make new ones anyway.

Yeah, that makes sense. I guess it's because I'm so close to the start point that I can't even think about what's on the other side yet. I'm definitely hopeful, though.

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