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Read: A Guide to Quit Gaming for One Year

dwalk77

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Just a little side note, but I'm going to stop putting the number of days without gaming at the top of each post.  I like doing it, but I don't like having to count days when I really just want to write a post.  If I slip back into gaming, I'll start counting to 90 again.

I did have a craving for gaming today.  At work, we're filling out some brackets for the World Cup, which begins next month.  It made me think of a game I used to be into big time, FIFA.  I actually started watching soccer b/c I liked the video game so much.  I was hesitant to label this game as a "problem game" like some of the other role-playing games I played b/c I really did limit a lot of days to just 2 or 3 games and not more than 2-3 hours, and a lot of the games I played were with family or friends.   But..I still used it to numb out.  I used it to escape from being uncomfortable.  I chose playing it over spending time socializing.  So it was a problem.

If it so happened that a friend had the game and asked me to play, I think I could play a few games and not lose myself.  The bulk of my time was spent playing online.  But, as is, I don't know anybody with the game, and maybe that's God taking care of me.

Other than that...I made it 25 days w/out porn.  Then I collapsed for a few days and felt depressed.  But, checked back in with my sponsor yesterday, trying to get back on track.  It's tough, but I'm not giving up.

I'd also like to focus on diet and fitness.  Financially, I've had some struggles, but I think within the next few months, it should have enough of a cushion to look into a gym membership and taking some fitness classes.

 

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I did want to check something in..

Next week I am doing some house-sitting for my Mom.  It's going to be from Saturday morning to Friday afternoon, almost a full week.  There's going to be 5 dogs for me to take care of, that's the main reason I need to be there.  I've already told her yes and committed.  She's paying me a pretty good amount and I need the money.

All that being said, being alone for a week, especially at her house, which is big and in the country...well, it sort of feels like I'm opening up to old habits.  I used to love these sorts of situations for bingeing on a video game.  Great for isolation.  So being bored and alone with lots of space and time is probably not a good situation for me to be in.  Maybe I shouldn't have agreed to it in the first place.  But as is, I think it's best I try to keep myself busy and connected in what ways that I can.  What seems to work well for me is if I list out possible things I can go each day, and make a few phone calls each day

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Damn, damn, damn..

Well guys, I fell back into it, and dove into it pretty hard.  It had been 129 days since I'd gamed or watched Twitch, over 4 months.  That was awesome, being free from that stuff.

But...that last post I wrote was a bit of foreshadowing of what was to come.  At my Mom's house.  Lots of time alone.  3-day weekend from work.  And my other addiction, porn, was full blown.  And so I went back to it.  My comfort, something to kill the time, something to lose myself in.  It was a great complement to porn in that regard. 

I think it was last Saturday that I started.  Just sitting around my house, wanting something to do, without involving other people.  I browsed our old games.  Nothing too appealing.  Then I thought of playing the last game i played, around Christmas.  But that was on Steam, and I deleted my Steam account permanently.  Or so I thought...I figured I'd just  make  sure about that.  Welp, turns out even if you don't know your e-mail or your password, you can still get your Steam account back, if you plug in your payment information from the last transaction.  And that's what I did.  I got access, installed the game, and the rest is history.

So for about the last week I've been bingeing.  I've probably put at least 40 hours into it over the last week.  I also dove into Guitar Hero again, although I don't consider that as bad, considering it is more physical, and more of a simple game, more difficult to lose yourself.

So, fortunately, I came here...I have this place to come to, to check in about this, and to read others whom I can relate to.

What brought me out of the game? I'm so bored of it man.  I know that lifestyle.  It sucks, it's so emptying.  It's not being alive.  I was in the middle of a game, and I could feel myself forcing it.  I didn't really want to play.  And it was a point in the game where I wasn't sure what I'd do next and it was going to be tough.  I didn't want to put more effort into it, so I took a pause, and wrote in my journal.  And then I decided to delete my Steam account (apparently not permanently, but I figure I'll make it as difficult as possible to access it).  And then I came here.

What now?

I just need to detox man.  These next few days I'll probably have some strong desires and thoughts about playing again, or watching someone on Youtube or Twitch.  Get through the first few days, then the weekend, and it'll gradually start to get easier.  I've done this before.  I believe I can do it again.  I was on the home stretch last time.  I think I learned something from that -- don't agree to spend lots of time alone.  A week at my Mom's house was too much.  Politely refusing would have been a better move.

 

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DAY 1

Yup, back to the grindstone.  So far, work is keeping me busy enough to keep my mind off of the game.  It's usually outside of work hours I'm the most pulled to the gaming.  Last night I listened to some podcasts to keep my mind occupied.  I may do the same tonight.  I think taking a walk after work would be a good idea too

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Day 2

I'm still thinking a bit how I left my last game.  It's very unusual for me to quit in the middle of a game like that.  I guess my mind thinks of it as a loose end, and part of my personality is I'm very driven to tie up loose ends.  I like the control.  And it sort of feels like I gave up.  I met a challenge in the game, and instead of persevering and trying to get through it, I quit. 

But...that's what I am...a gamequitter.  Do I really think I'd feel fulfilled if I continued playing? Either I would have lost the game, and I'd experience more frustration.  Or I would beat the game, and it would feel good, but temporarily.  There's nothing to show for that.  Who really cares? It affects nobody. 

Last night was better.  The little things do count.  As I mentioned, after work hours is going to be my biggest opportunity, and I improved on that last night... (1) I brushed my teeth for the full 2 minutes and flossed.  (2) I meditated for 5 minutes.  (3) I read a few chapters of the Bible.  I hadn't done any of those things for a few weeks.  It's a good step.  Lots of more work to do.

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Day 3

I called my sponsor yesterday, which was a good move for me.  Played some volleyball after work - staying busy, also important.  Today after work, plan on reviewing my monthly budget and goals.  Tomorrow have plans to go to an engagement dinner for a few friends.  The weekend is almost here, this is where I'm most pulled to gaming.  I've got to keep myself connected and occupied.  Back to the basics - my daily routine should include prayer, phone calls, reading, journaling, and at least a walk. 

 

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Day 7

So I made it through the weekend, without gaming.  It was a decent weekend socially for me.  Saturday went to a dinner with some friends, and went out after.  And Sunday went to mass, then later some disc golf with my roommate and a few other friends.  Making it through the weekends are key.

Worked from home today, which is a bit of temptation, but been doing alright so far. 

To be honest, I've been obsessing about getting my room set up a certain way, and I feel antsy about that.  Of all things, it's Legos.  When i was staying at my Mom's house, I was bored, and after digging around, I found some old Lego sets.  Then I started looking online to see what's out there now.  So I actually ordered one.  I feel weird, being a 33 year old man and ordering a Lego set.  I rationalized that it's one of the more "mature" ones.  Anyways, now I can't wait for it to get here, and I'm thinking of how I can display it.

I think it's just important that I don't let these material things rule me.  1st commandment.

 

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Day 14

I'm tempted today, especially to get on and watch some Twitch or Youtube playthroughs.

I will say, following up on what I mentioned about the Legos in the last post -- I sort of let that run me for a little while, and that wasn't good.  I spent hours looking at sets, looking at possible furniture I could display them on, watching Youtube videos/reviews.  It took me away from reality, from God, from my recovery....it was a distraction, an obsession.   I was trying so hard to control it that it was controlling me.  I was also afraid it would get worse, as in after I got one, I'd want another, and another, and I'd spend more money than I have.  Actually I'm in debt right now, so it didn't make sense to spend on them in the first place. 

Eventually I couldn't rationalize having them anymore, it was driving me nuts.  It doesn't fit with who I am.  I strive to be a minimalist, and having these sizeable toys in my room just didn't fit.  I'm a man, not a boy, and there was something telling me as a man to grow up and ditch the Legos.  So I did.  I have one more set to get rid of, I have to wait until it gets shipped to me.

Still though, feeling a bit down...something is holding me back from working hard at my life.  I feel bored.  I'm unsure what to do next.  I have a few ideas, but they seem mostly unappealing, and I feel unmotivated. 

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Day 23

So I've made it 3 weeks, no Twitch or gaming.  But I won't say I feel free of it now.  I've been struggling with my other addiction.  It's amazing how making one decision can spiral me downwards for days, even weeks.  I was feeling lazy and missed work last Monday, that was 10 days ago.  I've been doing crappy with life since then. 

I mentioned before how I had a stint of about a week where I was dog-sitting at my Mom's house, and I was concerned about that time and space of being alone.  And it ended up being somewhat disastrous for me.  Lots of bingeing and isolation.  I wouldn't say I got depressed, but it was taking me further away from my goals.

Well, now I've got another stint in the future coming up, and it looks to be very similar.  I requested a week off from work.  I don't have any plans (I'm broke), but I just want a break from the stress of it, and I've worked there long enough to earn a decent amount of PTO, so a week off is not a big deal.  It seems like the right move, taking a week off to rest and relax, as opposed to just taking a day off here or there.  But...I think this is just going to be the same thing....where I've got lots of alone time, and I'm just bingeing the whole week.  I do have some ideas of what I can do during the week, but naturally, left to my own devices, I think I'll probably prioritize less wholesome habits before those other ideas.  I know I'll be tempted to game, it's already been on my mind.

So we'll see how this goes, but at least wanted to check that in.  I think if I plan each day out and keep myself busy and connected, I could avoid gaming for the week, but that's going to take some discipline.

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Day 30

Today is 30 days, which is great.  It doesn't feel that long ago when I was bingeing on a strategy game. 

As I've mentioned, Twitch is just as much of a desire as gaming, and I've managed to stay away from both.  I've had some strong desires to play FIFA with the World Cup going on.  I don't think that would be a huge problem if I did play with some friends on their systems, but the situation hasn't come up, and maybe God is looking out for me in that way.

To be honest, things are not going great overall, been allowing myself to wallow in other things which aren't good for my future or goals.  On the bright side, I've been keeping up with my work, and been doing stuff with family and friends.  I hope in the coming weeks I'll break out of it.

I'm taking next week off from work, which I'm looking forward to.  Not going anywhere, just had some PTO time and using it, going to have a week where I don't have to deal with the stress of work.  At the same time, I'm wondering what the hell I'm going to do.  I'm going to have this enormous block of free time.  I have a few ideas (disc golf, watching World Cup, swimming, volleyball), but that will only take up a sliver of the week.  I've already had thoughts of gaming, b/c I know that's a huge time killer.  But I also know that empty feeling.  I got so bored with the gaming last time, it wasn't enough.

Edited by dwalk77

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I have to reset my days again.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had this week off with not many plans.  Last night I started going into binge mode.  It started when I thought it'd be okay if I watched some playthroughs on Youtube of someone playing an old RPG I used to really be into.  I thought that would provide = a sort of gaming "fix" without having the actual frustrations and massive amounts of time invested.  Well, guess what that did? It gave me an appetite for the real thing.  Eventually I moved my TV and computer into my bedroom, re-installed Steam, and bought this game.  I drove to Wal-Mart at 3:30 a.m. to see if I could get a PC controller.  I felt insane, but at the same time, I rationalized that I wouldn't be able to sleep anyways, so I might as well do something about it.  I finally went to sleep at 5:30 a.m.  It's been years since I've done that, and my body felt like crap when I finally decided to go to sleep. 

This morning I went back at it, but I soon realized that I don't like the setup.  The PC controller doesn't work well with this game, and I've never got into playing RPGs on a keyboard/mouse setup.  It was enough of a deterrent to make me stop and think if it was worth it, to try to force my way through this extremely long and expansive game.  I had put about 4 hours into it, but that's very small compared to what you can put into it.

I made a decision to stop playing, and give up the idea of playing it on my PC.  I deleted my Steam account...again. 

I still had an idea of buying the console.  But it's not worth it.  Financially, I need the money I have.  My week "vacation" is coming to an end, and once that's over, I won't have nearly as much time to play.  And the game is big, too big.   Even the thought of putting a month into it makes me feel empty.  And what's the point.  What if I do beat it again? Do I trash the console as soon as I beat it? The only thing that seems to bring any purpose to playing it again is to somehow memorialize it, make it permanent, make it some sort of legacy that I've done.  But I can't come around to that.  I don't know why.   Maybe I would need my own house and my own game room to consider that.  Or maybe it's something I'm not proud of.

This doesn't mean I'm out of the woods.  I'm still thinking of watching the playthrough, which would be a lot less time invested.  We'll see

I'm grateful to be able to post here today.

I think I'm going to watch a World Cup game in a few minutes, which was the original reason I took this time off to begin with.  And I want to play some disc golf.  I think doing those 2 things would be good for me.

 

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Well, just wanted to check in here with you guys for an update..things are not going great, but that's all the reason more to check in..

I feel like I'm in a bit of a limbo state right now.  On one hand, since discovering I didn't like the PC game as opposed to the console game, I didn't force the issue, and I haven't been gaming.  So that seems like a good thing.  On the other hand, I have been watching more Youtube videos of the playthrough.  That's maintaining and developing a desire for me to take the next step, which would be purchasing a console and the game.  The same type of console that I ditched a few years ago b/c I wanted to grow up and move on with my life.  I've also kept my setup of having a big screen TV and computer in my room for the last week, which has encouraged a much more isolated life.  My "man cave".  There's not much "manly" about it really, living life in a room and avoiding the outside world.  Anyways, having this technology in my room is also feeding the desire for buying a console. 

The adrenaline I felt when i played that game a few nights ago was something I haven't felt in a long, long time.  It's a fantasy RPG game, and I felt absolutely immersed in the world.  There's not many things that would keep me up until 5:30 a.m., but that game was one of them.  It's going to take some time to get over that.  If I am going to move on from it, I think keeping myself distracted from dwelling on it is necessary.  There were teams of people involved in making that game, thousands of dollars, maybe millions.  They designed that game to be addictive and an escape from the real world.  They want people to lose themselves.  I guess I'm trying to say it's not by some freak accident that I'm having such a hard time getting over this particular game.  It was designed to hook me in.

What does the future look like?

Well, it seems I have a decision to make.  My vacation time from work is basically up.  In a few days, I'll be back at the grind, and have a lot less time.  I can either return my TV and computer to the living room, put more focus on connecting with others and developing a more spiritual life which consists of more reading, praying, meditating, exercising....or...I can continue on this path.  Leave my setup in my room, and take a plunge of buying a console and this game that has been on my mind, which likely means I'll spend the upcoming 3-4 weeks huddled in my room, avoiding other people, and doing the minimum of going to work.  I wish I wasn't having such a hard time with this choice, but I guess I put myself in this situation by having so much unplanned time and avoiding people. 

I feel at this point, I'm living on an edge, where a bad decision can spiral me downwards, and a good decision can spiral me upwards. 

 

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Well, in a matter of 24 hours, it went worse, and then it got much better. 

Last night, I caved into that strong desire to pick up the game and console.  There's a store nearby that sells used consoles and games.  I went there, picked it up.  Came home and played.  It was almost midnight when I started playing.  I quit after a few hours.  Went to sleep.

When I woke up, instead of going to straight to the game like I've done SO MANY TIMES, I put it off for a bit.  I did other things.  I have a passion for watching international soccer, and lately I've been into disc golf.  So I watched the World Cup final, and then watched some disc golf.  Then took a nap.  Then I went back to the gaming.  Well, I couldn't really get into it.  Some of the excitement and the luster of the game was gone.  I didn't like the setup in my room.  Usually it's very simple and has the minimum amount of stuff.  It had wires everywhere and a computer and TV in the middle of it.  It looked very temporary.  And then the system itself, b/c it was used and old, was very, very loud, and it was hard to lose myself in the game (<<Maybe that's God looking out for me), and the controller was also glitching sometimes.  So all this combined, and I had just had enough.  I made the decision I was going to return the system and the console right then and there.  "Cleaning house".  And I did.  And then I put my TV and computer back in the living room, where it belongs.  My bedroom is back to a simple place.  "Monk mode" as some call it -- no TVs, no computers in there.  It's a place for me to rest, read, write, meditate, make phone calls, and pray.  It's not a cave for me to lose myself into a RPG for 100s of hours.  I believe there's something more for me.  Jordan Peterson says one of the first things to get your life in order is to clean your room.  I think there's a lot to that.

So, I'm doing better now.  I feel good about getting my money back from the purchase too.

Work starts tomorrow, probably going to be a bit stressful.  We just moved buildings, which in itself might take some adjusting, but I also missed a week, so I expect I'll have a lot to catch up on.  Goal is to get in bed by 11 tonight, get rested up for the beginning of the week.

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