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Gaming the System 006 - James' First 30 Days As a Digital Nomad in Thailand!

dwalk77

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First Post here..

Day 3 of 90 (for gaming de-tox)

My counselor has talked of creating "external boundaries" to my addictions.  It's not enough alone to overcome addiction, but it is important, 1 of 5 items he recommends for recovery.  And I often find it's the easiest place to start when I'm motivated to quit. 

So today I'm ditching my laptop.  I'm not trashing it or selling it, but I'm going to leave it at my Mom's house.  I have 2 roommates and a desktop set up in our living area - there's no need for me to have a laptop at our house too.  I had brought my laptop home after Christmas break, and since then it's been a disaster.  I've spent hours upon hours on my laptop, holed up in my room, watching Twitch, or playing a game I recently discovered.  So without the laptop around, I have eliminated the ability to game in my room.  I've found also that I feel less comfortable gaming in our living room than I do in my room.  I feel self-conscious about it as I'm the only gamer in the house and I'm too old to be playing video games.  And I also don't like people watching me do anything, I don't like attention.  So that is why it is considered a "boundary" for my only computer to be in the living room as opposed to in my bedroom.

I basically have 3 choices now:  (1) Use my phone instead to watch videos (2) Do alternate hobbies in my room, such as reading, playing guitar, meditation, prayer, listen to podcasts or (3) Get outside of my room.  The hope is ultimately to get out of my room more, but if not that, then at least do more reading.

Forecasting:

Today is Friday, and the weekend is afoot.  Weekends are a trigger for me to game.  No work to worry about, which frees up my time and willpower.   I've gamed every weekend for the last 3 weekends.  My roommate mentioned spending some time playing some disc golf and going to church, but I feel resistance to that.  I think it'd be good to reflect on why I feel that resistance. 

Need to have a "whatever it takes" attitude to stay away from Twitch and gaming at all costs.

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Hi, and welcome! Saw your comment and decided to follow you as we're both new :D I relate to what you said about weekends. Saturdays and Holidays are the hardest part for me. Its been easier once I got part time job, but its still very hard from time to time. This wednesday, there was a snow day and I relapsed. That was actually what got me to start this whole journey into really trying to stop the addiction.

I also find that if I'm outside my room, 70% of the time, I don't game. And usually what helps me get out of my room is music, or some mandatory commitment. And speaking of getting rid of things, i'm selling the TV and PS4 in my room as well as my 3ds this weekend! I want to look into getting a terrarium where my tv/ps4 setup used to be.

Edited by BigOlBeartic

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Thank you Beartic and Cam!

Beartic, that's great man, I'm so glad to hear about you ditching your own stuff that could be a trigger.  Awesome idea about the terrarium.  I've been considering getting an aquarium and a few Bonsai trees to take care of, once I've saved up a bit of money. 

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Day 4

Well, to be honest, I did not ditch the laptop yesterday.  I got off work, but I did not want to drive the 2 hours required to drop it off, and my Mom wasn't going to be at the house anyways, so it was less incentive to go over there.  I feel a bit disappointed, b/c I think it's important for me to get rid of this now, while I feel motivated to do it.  That being said, I have still not gamed or watched Twitch.  Last night I watched a movie in the living room and had a few chats with my roommates.  I will see my Mom Thursday and I will drop the laptop off then.  I'm writing this so I'll be held accountable for it.

I'm feeling some frustration about my car.  Financially, I have heaps of debt from another addiction, and some car issues lately have heaped on more costs than what I get paid.  I've had to use my credit card, which adds to the stress and tension I already have about the debt.  It's important for me to take it one day at a time, do what I can, and leave the rest up to God.  It's a test in patience.  I'll be able to pay the debt back over time.  This morning, I called and scheduled a time to bring the car to a shop and have it checked out.  I don't like waiting around for a few days and not being able to drive, I feel trapped, but it's really the smart thing for me to do, and it's not all that bad, especially if I consider what people in less fortunate areas have to deal with.

I've read the beginning of Re-spawn.  Ironically, it seems the first part suggests what I'm working on already, which is to make playing games as difficult as possible.  There's a guide on how to delete Steam permanently, and I think I will work on doing that today.  I've probably at least 100 times uninstalled Steam, thinking I was done with it for good, and then came back later, sometimes within hours, reinstalling it so I can get another fix of a game.  Sounds like one of those rat experiments.  So, I think deleting the account permanently could break that cycle.  It does make me cringe.  I've got a handful of games on there that I really like and have dumped hundreds of hours into.  And games aren't cheap either.  But...I think this is the only way to go man.  I've tried it the other way.  I've even tried changing my password to something I couldn't remember, but b/c my e-mail was linked to steam, I was still able to access it.

Time for me to say goodbye to Steam, permanently. 

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Deleting your steam account is definitely the hardest part, but you've done it already. Congratulations! You might feel a bit uncertain about the decision now, but it gets easier over time. 

giphy.gif

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Day 5

I went out with some friends last night.  That's certainly a change for me.  I'm grateful I was open to it this time.  I did drink too much though.  I'm thinking about giving up alcohol for a period again, which I've done in the past.  At a minimum, I need to cut down.  Shots are not for me.

Just need to make it through today, and tomorrow starts the work week, which should make it easier to keep myself busy and away from games/streams.  May watch some films, journal, or read today.

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Day 6

Started the work week today.  Car is at the shop now.  I have a little more peace in that it's where it should be now.  Hopefully they'll give me a status and it will be repaired tomorrow, and it won't be too expensive. 

Feeling tired, hopefully I get to sleep at a better hour tonight. 

Forecasting a bit, tomorrow I work from home, and that is a trigger for me to game and/or watch Twitch.  Need to keep myself busy in other ways.  Podcasts or news would be better.

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Cam Adair said:

Have any favorite podcasts yet?

Probably not everybody's cup of tea, but The Ben Shapiro Show.  I think the guy is brilliant.  I also like the format of Joe Rogan's show, if he has a good guest on (like Ben Shapiro)

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Day 7

Working from home today, so far so good as to not indulging in Twitch, which I've done many a time while working from home.

Finished reading Re-spawn.  Great stuff Cam.  I plan to browse through it again and make some notes about what stood out to me, so as not to forget them and be able to look back at them.  I really think it's important that I start scheduling more things and following through with those commitments.

I'm feeling some tension, frustration, and fear about my car, wanted to check that in.  I called them 3 days ago to make an appointment for this morning, but it's noon now and they still haven't looked at it (just called them).  What's the point of making an appointment if you're not actually going to honor it and look at the car when I bring it in? I also feel I'm a pushover when talking to them about this sort of stuff and can be too nice or not say what I mean.  And I've already spent $1,000 on my car this month so I fear this will be a lot more.   If it's not ready today, that complicates things more, and I'll probably have to Uber to work.

At this point, just have to be patient, do what I can, and learn what I can.  I may not take it to this shop in the future.  And continue to be persistent and follow up with them.  Ask questions if I'm not sure or don't know.  Take my time when I talk instead of rushing through conversations.

Wanted to vent that. Probably the most stressful part of my week, getting this car repair over with.  Work is a bit stressful too, lots of requests from management.  Just trying to break it into one hour at a time, do what I can, instead of feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.  Be grateful for the job, instead of living in fear about it.

 

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Day 8

Got my car back yesterday, so that's a relief.  I'm still somewhat paranoid about it not being quite right.  I've got conflicting information from 2 different shops, one says it's fine, one recommends another repair.  I think I'll just ride it out as it is and keep tabs on it.  Getting car back was probably most stressful part of the week, so it's a relief to have it again.  And it ended up being cheap yesterday.

Feeling tension about work and just life.  Feel like there's a lot to keep up with right now.  Gaming and porn were excellent ways for me to escape from that stress and tension, but it's time to work on some alternatives to that. 

Have a counseling session in a bit, should be good in helping me sort things out.

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Day 9

It's my birthday today, which I know, a lot of people look forward to, but for me, I honestly don't care for the attention.  I feel self-conscious about my age, and it adds a bit of stress and anxiety.  But, what am I going to do? I can't run from my birthday (although I might take a PTO day from work next year to avoid the office).  Certain people, like my family, will never forget it and will always give me that attention, which in reality is about them showing love for me, even if I didn't really "accomplish" anything by being born.    So, I'll just have to roll with it, smile, take it in. 

The plus side to it is I'm getting some Chinese food tonight and get to spend some time with family.  This will make twice this week that I'm getting outside my house to be with other people.  I'll give myself a pat on the back for that

Forecasting..my brother is in town, and we might hang out with another buddy over the weekend.  Now, the 3 of us have spent loads and loads of time on video games, both alone and with each other.  It would not surprise me if they would want to spend some time gaming.  If that does happen,

I think it's important for me to be aware of a few things:

  1. As I just said, be aware.  Be aware of if the games are there, what kind of games are around, if I'm feeling tired, etc.  Be aware of the surroundings instead of just diving right into gaming.  If I do decide to game, how do I feel afterwards, the next day? Do I want to game some more, by myself? That's a warning sign.  I'll make better decisions if I'm aware.
  2. I don't have to play, it's my choice.  I can watch, I can suggest doing something else, or I can think about doing something else my self. 
  3. I don't think it's "wrong" for me to play certain multiplayer games.  It's not really a question of morality of the content in most of the games I played, but rather if it was having a negative impact on me.   And by negative impact, I mean I could not pull myself away, avoided responsibilities, and avoided opportunities to live a more fulfilling life.  In other words...playing Smash Brothers or Mario Golf for a few hours over the weekend with friends or family? Not a big deal.  Indulging in Skyrim for 15 hours a day, missing work, effecting my sleep, effecting my diet (energy drinks, junk food) -- it IS a big deal. 

I'm going to check in at the end of this weekend to keep myself accountable.  Also, I am going to bring my laptop to my Mom's this weekend so I won't have access to it at my house -- again, writing this to keep myself accountable.

If any of you guys want to weigh in on allowing yourself to play simple, multi-player games with friends/family, I'd like to hear your thoughts on that.  When you go for a de-tox from gaming, does this include this sort of scenario, or do you make an exception for it?

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Day 10

Survived the birthday yesterday.  Sort of a relief to get that over with.  I look forward to getting Christmas and my Birthday done with b/c things do tend to settle down a bit after that.  Had a nice dinner with my family.

I reviewed my finances, came up with a plan and some goals, so that is helpful.  Today is payday and should get a hefty tax return by next week, so that offsets the high costs incurred the last 3 weeks with my car.

Feel like I've been keeping myself occupied and busy enough to stay away from gaming.  As mentioned in last post, this weekend I may be tested with spending some time with my brother and one of our other friends.  Grateful to be at 10 days without, I do feel more freed up with me not gaming.  With gaming around, it'd be much more difficult to get out and hang around people, which I've done a few times this week, and will also do this weekend.

I've seen another member here have a link to a no-fap journal as well as one on here.  I think I'll look into that.  If I take an honest look at myself, I've been doing good with the gaming, which was a good first step for me to work on, but the more difficult thing is to pull myself away from porn and objectifying women, and I've been doing very poorly in that area.  I hope to start phasing that into my recovery over the next week, so I can continue to grow and live a progressively more fulfilling life.

 

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Day 12

So I did game some last night, and some this morning.  My friend brought his PS4 to my Mom's house, and we played a few hours.  But, as mentioned a few posts ago, it was not the sort of "problem gaming" I've had in the past, so I'm not resetting my day count.  It wasn't more than a few hours of a multi-player golf game with my brother and him.

I think it's good for me to assess how I feel now.  Do I feel an urge to play more? Yes, I enjoyed the game, and part of me wants to play that game more.  It was my first time to play it, it was fun, and there's a learning curve, which, only after a few hours of play, I did not master.  Is it a craving or an urge - how strong is it? Not very.  I could see myself reaching out to my friend in the future to ask about playing it, but at a minimum, not until this weekend.  I don't feel much of an urge to buy a PS4 just to play the game.  Do I feel an urge to play any other games? Not really.  Is there any way I would have treated that situation differently? Not really.  I wanted to hang out with them, the game is light, not intensive, it was at night, not a whole lot to do, and it was fun.  I don't take issue with my decision to play.

This week I've spent a lot of time with other people, outside of work hours, and I give myself credit for that.  But, there is an opportunity for me to work on something that is glaring and happened twice within the same week -- over consumption of alcohol.  Friday night I did it again.  Drinking led to more drinking, and I made a poor decision.  After some drinks with some friends at a bar, I went by myself to a strip club.  And then I blew a lot of money, a big chunk of my paycheck I just got.  So...I've either got to drink less, or not drink at all.  Be aware of the drinking.  And as to the strip club/porn/sex addiction -- it's time to start working on that very soon.

I did drop my laptop off at my Mom's house this weekend, which should help with both the porn and gaming. 

Forecasting...Work week starts tomorrow.  Should be good to keep me occupied, challenged, and provides some social needs, but it can also be stressful and I tend to dread Mondays.  Just show up, things tend to fall into place after that.  Not trying to think too far beyond that.

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Two things. Social dinking can eb a problem. Especially if your not used to it. The problem is that your decision making is getting worse the more your drink and it easy to losse control (that is the fun part also). I would advice you to stay with low percentage alcohols (like beer and wind) and drink plenty of water on the side. This way it easier to se the point where you should stop but still feel drunken.

Towards the nofap thing I am not so sure abeut the benefit of it. I think it can be helpful to know that masturbation is a want and ot a need. You'll don't need to do it. It is just a habit. But to ban masturbation for eternety seems a bit rush. In my opionion it is important to ban porn out fo your life because it gives you this fast dopamine rush. Masturbation itself if it is done in the context of taking care of yourself and actually feeling what is going on with your body can actually be helpful to your own sexuality. I think even if you doing a nofap counter for some time I would advice you to limit it to a set period and then find a healthy way to do it without porn. Atleast that is my experience with it and I was missusing porn all the time in the past.

Also good job on beeing more social. This is important. you social system aorund oyu keeps you healthy and happy.

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Thanks for your thoughts @WorkInProgress.  Not to get too off topic on sexuality, but it's really difficult for me to separate porn and masturbation b/c that's how I discovered them, together, about 20 years ago now, and from that point on 99% of the time they've been linked together in my own experience (if I'm watching porn, I'm masturbating or if I'm masturbating, I'm watching porn).

I will try to work on that though.  The other thing is I do believe masturbation itself is immoral.  So it sounds like we have some different views there.  But I agree with you, porn is bad/worse.  Maybe I should try knocking that out first

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Day 13

Today was alright.  I went into work, but I was bored there.  I have a few things I can work on, but I don't feel a whole lot of pressure to do them, and it's easier for me to just sort of zone out and listen to podcasts or surf the internet.  Not exactly a productive day.  But, not bad, I pushed through it.  I overate after work, which I wasn't planning on.  Took a nap.  I went for a walk, which is one of the good things I've done the last few days.  Even though it's cold outside, it's not that cold, and a brisk 15 minute walk really does help me feel better about myself.  And I also feel a bit more energy after to do some reading or writing.  After, I finished copying over some notes from a book I  just read about weight loss:  Mini Habits for Weight Loss.  I'd highly recommend it for anyone looking to lose weight.  There's a ton of useful information in there.  Most of it is about diet, the American culture related to diet, and the power of habit.

Almost at 2 weeks.  Sometimes I feel a small urge to watch Twitch or pull up a Youtube video of a gamer.  But I realize how quickly that can go South. 

There is something holding me back from really embracing a better life.  I seem to be stuck on a stripper I met Friday night.  She gave me her # and we've texted a little bit.  I asked her to lunch the other day, and she declined.  I'm having a hard time of letting go, I'm even of thinking going back up to the club to see her, even though she hasn't asked me to.  This is something that makes 0 logical sense.  It's a total waste of time.  Even if I did see her again, if I play the tape forward, I'm not even sure what I'd expect in the long term as far as any sort of relationship.  And beyond that, she hasn't shown a whole lot of interest in me to begin with.  It smarter to keep myself grounded and make other connections.  I've come up with some ultimatums as to how far I'll let myself go down that road, pursuing her, but the whole thing seems on shaky ground right now, and part of me wants to just scrap it all.  I know it's not directly related to gaming, but it's a big part of my life right now

Forecasting..
Work from home tmrw, need to keep myself occupied throughout the day.  Youtube is fine, but be conscious of what I'm watching

 

 

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You seems to struggle with a few things I struggled to in the past. A great book on the topic which helped me immensely to clarify my thoughts is "Models" from Mark Manson. You can check his website to see if you like his style and if he makes sense for you. Take this example article (https://markmanson.net/the-secret).

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Day 16

Yesterday was a good day.  After work, did 3 things I considered important, even though they may not seem that critical first.  I reinforced my bed frame to make it more sturdy, so hoping to get better sleep now, and in the process, cleaned/organized under my bed.  I trimmed my beard/shaved...I like the new look, gives me some confidence.  And I basically organized my entire room and trashed a bunch of stuff I don't need.  I was inspired by a documentary I saw a while back on Minimalism.  If you haven't used something in the last 6 months, you should really consider getting rid of it -- I think that's a great guideline.  Christmas is a challenge for a minimalist.

I was debating on looking for a 2nd job so I can make more progress towards my debts, but after a lot of thought, I've decided not to.  I already work full time, and adding a second job would add a lot of stress.  In my free time, I'd rather be doing things like reading, meditating, exercising, and connecting to others.  And I'm making significant process towards my debt as is.

Gaming has not been that tempting.  I still know that I need to take additional steps to connect to others.  A few chats here and there with my roommates is good, but I know it's not enough to fulfill me.

 

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Day 20

Almost to the 3 week mark....there's the saying 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months to break a habit.  So that is encouraging.  Gaming hasn't been especially tempting.  I did spend the weekend at my Mom's, which is where it all started, and which is loaded with old games and systems.  I got bored for a bit and there was an urge to dust off one of those oldies, but I did not partake.

Overall though, I feel kinda crappy.  I made plans with a buddy this weekend to watch the Superbowl at his place, and I bailed on him, basically so I could just be selfish.  I've been bingeing on a TV show, which probably isn't all that much better than bingeing on gaming.  If you're playing a game for 12 hours in a day or watching episode after episode of a crappy reality show for 12 hours a day -- is one really much better than the other?

I've made plans for a happy hour at work on Friday...which, I've had a hard time limiting alcohol, but still, I think it's good for me to go and socialize for a few hours.  One thing my counselor suggested is leave some beer in the glass/bottle.  Will need to get out of my comfort zone a bit more if I'm going to feel fulfilled.  Just switching my time from video games to TV isn't going to help much

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