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Anon999

Relapsed pretty badly

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Several months ago a friend told me about the 90-day detox. He convinced me that it could work, so I decided to go cold turkey after that. I put the date on the calender. I convinced myself that games were trash anyway, because video game developers only care about the broad consumer market instead of the niche gamer like me.

I could already tell that I wouldn't last very long. I spend the entire time watching let's plays on Youtube or just looking through the Steam store or browsing my Steam library. I edited my username on skype and discord to remember both myself and my friends that I quit gaming, this seemed like a good strategy at first, because my friends did stop talking to me about games or asking me to play games with them. After some days of just sitting behind my PC staring at the screen doing nothing aside from telling myself that any moment I would be heading outside, watching a movie or reading a book, I decided to mod games instead of playing them, this should have been a huge red flag. The modding was 99% done with just the text editor, so I wasn't actually playing the game. Yet.

Eventually I decided that I'd need to test the mods in order to be sure that they actually worked and didn't crash the game. Problem was that people could check my steam or discord and see me playing a game and call me out on the fact that I was actually playing games. I eventually found a workaround by using the .exe in the steam local folder that allowed me to play the game without steam or discord showing that I was playing games. I would quickly open the game, see if my mod worked and then close it again. First I did this once a day, then I did it hundreds of times a day. Then I decided to playtest the game for a bit. This quickly turned into just playing the game for many hours a day. I went from 2000 hours played total to 2500 hours played in total in a short timespan. I still used the workaround without really thinking about it, I purely did it to hide from my friends.

Eventually December came around and I got a short vacation. There was also the Steam sale. I bought a bunch of games and started playing them without thinking about it. A friend notified me rather quickly that my username said that I had quit gaming, yet I was playing all these new games. I lied again and told him that I was making an exception for the holidays and I would go back to not gaming afterwards. I was playing games the whole time and I was lying about it.

Now I'm back to doing nothing all day, I uninstalled all my games and I just stare at the screen like before. I like to listen to podcasts, but I can't really do that without playing games, because I can't read and listen at the same time, I can only play and listen for some reason, it's probably just how my brain is wired.

Edited by Anon999
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How many days into the detox were you? It will be quite hard in the beginning, but after about 2 weeks, you should already feel massive changes in your mind and behavior. Also, did you keep track of your progress and emotions in a diary or journal? If not and if you are still interested in going through the detox, just head into the journal area and create yourself a thread to keep track. It is very helpful since you gain a lot of insight into your own feelings and thoughts and, which is extremely beneficial, you get support from other members in the community in form of advice, feedback or simply due to shared experiences.

Aside from that, there are some important things to remember:

1. You don't owe anybody. If you are going to quit games but find yourself gaming again, you do not owe anybody anything. No explanations, no admitting you failed, no confession or whatever. You are doing this for you, not to impress anybody or prove anything. You are doing this because you feel that your way of gaming is harmful to you or does block progress. Or, you have any other reason, but it still counts: You are doing it for you.

2. If your friends "remind you" that you said you won't game but "hehe! got'cha", you will most likely need some distance. This is not supportive behavior, it is not useful, nor helpful. It is not even criticism. It only serves one purpose: Showing you that you failed and that you should stop trying to quit. Sometimes it even origins in even lower feelings, to simply show you that you are not better than them, even though you never said that you feel superior due to quitting doing what they love to do. People can become very defensive if somebody "tries to take their little precious away". By quitting games, many people will feel triggered because you are trying to apply change while they just junk on. I am not saying that everybody who plays video games is a junky, but when I boot up my steam or discord at any time of the day, there is a 75% chance that I see my old gaming friends playing games.

3. Do not hide. Like I said before, you don't owe anybody. But there is even more to this: You do you. If you feel like gaming, you game. If you feel like staring at the wall for hours, you do that. As long as you decided to do that, it is fine. You decide, you do, you reflect on what you did and you decide again. If you want to quit gaming, try it. It you fail, try again. If you truly want to quit and decide to quit, just do it. Follow through. Even if you fail, that does not make you a failure. It makes you a human who went his own path as far as he or she could. And next time, you will fail better and get further.

4. Find hobbies. Find something to do. In the beginning, you do not even have to pin down what you are passionate about. You will find out eventually. Just try new stuff. Try cooking, running, working out, painting, swimming, writing, making music, listening to music, watch movies, go buy your own groceries, clean your room, apartment or house. Tell  people that you like, that you like em. Watch the clouds, I don't know. Just do new stuff that you haven't done before. If you find something you like doing, go on doing it, improve and see where it leads to. It does not have to be your magnum opus, nor your true passion, nor anything else. In the beginning, liking doing it is great.

Edit: Very important in the beginning is to get away from the computer. Best would be out the house. Focus on other things than the screen, otherwise you will strengthen the urges to boot up games.

5. Don't lie. Not because "oh, how can you lie to other people" and such, no. But because by telling lies about what you do, you hide your actions, intentions and your own progress. You create shame and obey to shame. You make yourself a liar, which will result in a lower self-esteem and confidence. Tell the truth about what you do and if possible, be proud. At least, stand your ground. You will benefit from it. And don't care to much about what other people think of you. There is a good chance that a large amount of all people you meet will think you are garbage. Especially online. As long as you are not garbage in your very own eyes, everything is fine.

6. Don't take this stuff too seriously. Instead, try to be relaxed about it. Your life, your experiments, your change, your decisions. You are not failing an exam, nor is this community some kind of cult that will burn you at the stake. Just relax and it will be easier to go through your process.

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Hi Robert, thank you very much for the reply.

I was about a week into the detox before I gave in to my cravings.

I would first like to point out that there was no malicious intent on my friends' behalf. It wasn't some gotcha to them. I was just ashamed of the fact that I had told them of all these big ambitions I had and about how I would be quitting gaming, yet going right back into it within a few days.

I think point 4 was my biggest weakness. I quit gaming, but I had nothing to substitute it with. I have a very short attention span which I attribute, at least in part, to gaming. There is so much going on in video games and it gives you instant gratification, which doesn't exactly help you to focus on things, or so I think. My short attention span makes it hard to get into new hobbies. I tried reading, but I just kept paying attention to other things and as soon as I got an excuse to use my computer I went for it. I don't want to complain and be overly negative, because these things might just be a matter of waiting 2 weeks for my behaviour to normalize. Similarly, real life seems boring, if I think of the top of my head there seems to be nothing to do in my town and I have no offline friends that live near me. I suspect that real life will become much more interesting once I find something to do instead of gaming.

On the plus side, one thing I did manage to start was making a start to learning a new language using duolingo. It's satisfying and I already learned a lot, unfortunately it's not something I can do multiple hours a day.

I will look into creating a journal. If I feel like it I might start today. One problem I have right now is organising my thoughts, which makes it hard to write coherent stuff.

Thanks.

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Glad to read your replay. And don't worry about not being able to organize your thoughts. Its very much the way you described it. Gaming rewards you with instant gratification, while in real life, gratification takes time to kick in.

And now that you mention it: Reading was impossible for me at first and still isn't easy for me. Me eyes physically drifted away while I was reading. So I'd say, start with something that is easier and keeps you busy. Sports helped me, since you always keep moving. But stuff like cooking or even making paracord bracelets helped me, because my fingers were busy.

I am sorry that I falsely accused your friends of having bad intentions, but it is kinda great that I was wrong about it. I am glad that your friends mean no harm to you and may be, they can somehow support you.

Learning a new language is a thing many quitters seem to pick up. I did it myself. What I can say from my experience is that learning a new language is very rewarding. It feels good to witness that you "know new words". I guess, it comes very close to instant gratification.

Another thing I can recommend is: Cleaning and tidying up. It feels good to do the dishes, wash your stuff and tidy up your environment. It also has a very nice effect on your thoughts. Organized outside helps being organized inside. If you already take care of those responsibilities, forget what I said.

Your second post looks a lot more organized, by the way. If you need any support, advice or help, use all the resources this forum offers. I wish you strength and endurance and be sure to start journaling at some point in the future. ;)

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