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Let there be light (in my room)


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Hey, I'm hoping to become an active member of this community in the near future and so it's time I write my introductory thread.

I've been playing games my entire life, even since before I was old enough to understand how to actually play video games. It started out playing pokemon on gameboy I'm pretty sure. At the time I never really knew what I was doing, but I could spend all day moving aimlessly around the beginning areas letting my imagination take over. I played that kind of stuff for a number of years, moving through different games and consoles as they came out, game boy colour, advance, gamecube, playstation, whatever. My favorites were pokemon and zelda games. Obviously as I grew up I began to comprehend the idea of progression in video games, following the story to find new areas and such. I played these games a lot. Pretty much all the time if I could, but I was a very young kid, and I didn't have trouble socializing, playing with friends, and doing other activities.

Then when I was about 7 or 8 I was playing outside with one of my friends when he told me about 'Runescape'. He made it sound a lot cooler than it really was, but I was really into knights and medieval stuff around that time so when I got home I decided to try it out. I had been much of computer gamer at this point, except some lego island, midtown madness, and star wars dark forces experience. Having an entire fantasy world right in the browser where I could go where I wanted to go and be who I wanted to be with a ton of people all over the world really amazed me. I went through the tutorial and I was hooked on it. I started playing it all the time, and it become all I would think about. I stopped playing it when I was about 10 and the game was becoming more well known, and people around the school started to play it. I decided that I was too cool to be playing it anymore. Instead I started to play various MMOs that were equally as uncool. Then when I was 11 years old ended up watching some video on youtube, I can't remember what it was or why I liked it so much but I remember finding out it was made with something called Garry's Mod. I had to have it. This is when and how I discovered steam.

I got Garry's mod, along with Counter-Strike: Source, along with a copy of the orange box and some strange brown CD that seemed to activate every GoldSrc game released on to my account. I played all those games but I was the most addicted to Garry's Mod. I was playing it all day every day, it was all I wanted to do, and again almost all I would think about. All in all I sunk a few thousand hours into that one game alone. When I was 12 I had my first girlfriend, she was the perfect girl in my eyes and I never believed she would go out with me but by some dumb luck I managed up the courage to ask her and to my surprise she said yes. It was really good at first, but after a few months she broke up with me. She wanted to spend time together. I wanted to play Garry's Mod. And so that's what I did. A big dumb mistake that shouldn't have happened, but due to my addiction to playing video games it did, and I feel bad for her because she deserved better. This was just one of the first of many issues to begin to occur in my life as a result of video games.

Over the next few years I put a lot of money into my steam account. I purchased and played many different video games. Some that I bought I didn't even play, or at least played very little of. I wasn't playing them because I was enjoying them anymore. I was playing them to fill a bottomless hole. Don't get me wrong here, I was still playing a lot of games, but it became more frequent that I was just sitting at my computer, mindlessly staring at steam and scrolling through the games I owned trying to find something to play but not having enough interest to actually choose one to play. It was weird. I had almost no interest in playing games, but I had even less interest in doing anything else... So I'd just stare. This became really common in my last couple years of highschool. I was beginning to do very poorly in school. Grades were dropping, of course I was never doing my home work, my sleep became very very messed up, I ended up being too tired to function during the day. I'd spend a lot of days  just laying it bed, I started missing a lot of school, and it became worse and worse, eventually leading my to drop out. Afterwards I got really into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and played that extremely competitively, putting in another couple thousand hours before deciding I didn't like the direction the game and community was headed and chose to leave it behind. Now we are getting closer to the present.

I spent almost a year in bed after leaving CS:GO, sleeping a lot, sleep still messed up from playing games too late into the night. I did work a few different jobs in retail, some part time and some full time. While I struggled with them somewhat because of that due to my lack of sleep, I was able to perform but left them on my own as one was costing too much in transport versus what I was earning, and the other had neglected to provide training for the job, even months after acknowledging that they hadn't and should have.

Then it was tuesday morning. I was still awake from the previous night as I had stayed up playing video games again and did not get any sleep. I was mindlessly viewing countless youtube videos I didn't need to be watching when I noticed that somebody I was subscribed to had uploaded something new. It was SoulBroRadio, in an interview with Cam Adair of GameQuitters. Game Quitters... I actually remember having seen it mentioned a few months earlier on his twitter, but I didn't think much of it at the time, and neither did I have much of an interest in watching the video, but something compelled me to click it and listen in, maybe it was just boredom. I was listening to Cam and all the things he said just hit me and made a real connection. Everything just began to click. It's not like I didn't know I had a problem with video game addiction. It's not like I didn't know I needed to quit video games, but something about GameQuitters felt like an opportunity, like I had a real chance to make it happen, so I went to the website and began reading about it as much as I could while listening to the interview. I knew I wanted to quit now, and I bought respawn to help me out. I really like it and find it very helpful. That same day I started to read it, and I removed all the games from my computer. I reinstalled windows to remove every trace of them, I unsubscribed from the channels that had to do with gaming on youtube, I removed the twitch app from my phone. Since tuesday and as of writing this introduction, I have not played a single video game, watched any gaming videos/streams, or read anything that has to do with gaming, and I'm glad.

It hasn't been all smooth sailing in the following days but like Cam says, that's OK and I expected it. The hard part in getting started for me was that I started out with my sleep messed up, I was extremely tired in the daytime and that led to me passing out in the early afternoon the first few days, ultimately causing me to further mess up my sleep for the next day. It was hard to stay up long enough to reset my sleep without video games, and it was hard to find a replacement for video games while I was so tired, but I managed to stay away from the games and that's what I'm most happy for, plus I did accomplish some workouts, going for walks, language learning and cooking in the time that I could. Luckily I was able to catch a few hours of sleep last light intermittently and I feel at least rested enough to make it through today, so I will finally start getting some proper sleep now. I do experience some side effects of quitting. I had strange gaming related dreams - one where I was in the video game, and one where I was actually just sitting at the screen playing a video game, which I found strange. I also have some mild headaches that come and go plus a hard time focusing but It all seems to be getting better each day. Around 20 years of gaming over for good and I am excited for the future, but also nervous hoping that I can push myself to achieve the things I want to achieve now.

I do have a goal set, which I have already started, but I'm not ready to share yet, it is not a short term goal and it is still early days, but I will include it in a post eventually when I am ready.

3 Things I am grateful for:

- Game Quitters community, and especially Cam Adair, for really coming back to help others facing the same problem he once faced. I personally find it very inspiring when someone does that, and not only is Game Quitters one of, if not THE only real resource for combating this modern issue, it seriously couldn't have been better. We really are not just settling for what we can get here, I couldn't ask for something better than what Game Quitters already is.

- SoulBrotha, for posting the interview from his radio show on youtube for free. Might not have found the help I needed and thus taken action if it weren't for that,

- The collective people who spend their time ensuring the rest of us have easy access to all kinds of knowledge and information so that we can always be learning about something useful and/or interesting


Previously I would have been too ashamed to tell anybody all that stuff about myself and my past but not anymore, because it happened, and I'm leaving it behind, it doesn't matter anymore. I think it's important to put it out there, my hope is that someone will maybe relate to it and also be motivated to take some steps in the right direction. Thanks for reading, I know I wrote down quite a bit.

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