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Day 41

I want to be honest and say from the start that I did play a video game last weekend, but I'm not restarting my days.  Here's why:  I do think, with this particular count, the circumstance does matter.   This isn't like porn, which I believe is objectively immoral in its own right.  No, I don't believe it's "wrong" to simply play a video game, assuming the game itself is wholesome.  If I'm too hard on myself about this, I could make myself believe I'm doing worse than I really am and I'm not making progress.  The term "scrupulous" comes to mind -- in my religion, it usually brings a negative connotation with it.  Here's what happened, and then I'll move on.  I was at my Mom's house for the weekend.  I was sick.  I had time to kill, gaming was not going to take me away from any sort of previous obligations or commitments.  I spent a good chunk of the weekend watching a Major golf tournament, the U.S. Open.  As part of the golf experience, I pulled out one of our old PS2's with a Tiger Woods' game and played a few rounds on Saturday.  This amounted to maybe 1 hour of play.  After I was done, I put everything back up and moved on.  There were a few factors that make me believe I was never in real danger of going into the deep end and completely losing myself:  1. This was an old game (2003 Tiger Woods, over 15 years old) -- the graphics by today's standards were atrocious.  2. It's a sports game.  From my previous experience, I never had much of an issue limiting my time spent on sports games.  It was the role playing games that I really lost myself in.  3. I actually found the game itself to be pretty boring once I started playing a few holes.  

An interesting question though:  What would consist of me needing to reset my days? As mentioned above, if it took me away from some sort of commitment (i.e., going to church, going to work).  Spending 5 or more hours in one day playing, especially alone.  Playing 3 or more days consecutively.  In my case, watching an online stream or recorded video for more than 2 hours.  Those seem like pretty clear guidelines that I could use for future reference.

Moving on..

I feel alright about other things in my life.  Not great, but alright.  Here's an update on some stuff:

  • Been continuing counseling, which I see myself doing for a long time to come.  I think it's good b/c it gets me out of my own head and it provides a place for me to check in with my challenges and goals on a regular basis.  It's accountability.  One of the key things he pointed out is my mind is likely attached to a sense of "excitement", which can sometimes lead me away from doing the right thing.  For example, I remember I skipped a good amount of classes in college.  There was this initial rush I got when my mind flipped from "I'm going to class" to "I'm not going to class and I'm going to do X instead."  I need to work on steadying my mind and keep my resolve.  Keep the body moving towards the goal, even if the mind is resisting.  Eventually it won't be a deal anymore.
  • A huge goal of mine has been to either get to confession or go to a support group.  Well, I've attempted to do both within the last few weeks.  One time it was cancelled and another time it was moved to another location without my knowledge (that can happen if you don't show up regularly).  I think my initial response to have self-pity when I finally made an effort to pursue these things and it didn't go the way I foresaw it.  Like I felt abandoned and that something beyond me was going against me.  But after some more reflection, I realized that if I had been working harder previously on maintaining some connections within those groups -- I likely would have avoided all that pain in the first place.  So the plan is to just keep at it.  I've shown I can go to those things, build on that.  And I also made a call to a guy from one of the groups.
  • Have continued playing disc golf and volleyball.  It's getting unpleasantly hot here, but hasn't stopped me from getting out and taking advantage of the longer days.
  • A guy from work asked me to sign up for a workout program that starts in a few weeks.  I'm nervous as hell, especially about how out of shape I am and how hard this is going to be, but I'm also excited about the potential of getting fit and losing weight.  It felt like an opportunity to build something with a workout buddy, and I hope it works out.
  • It's been really nice not dealing with gaming.  Pushing for 50 days now..

 

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It's been a while, too long.  I think it'd be good for me to post on here once a week.  Coming here helps remind me the impact gaming has had on my life.

I made it about 80 days, which was awesome.  It was actually getting easier.  I absolutely dove into disc golf.  I was playing and practicing multiple times a week.  I actually got too far into it, to where I was obsessing about which discs to get (there are a lot of options) and would look at forums online at work.  That being said, it was a way healthier obsession than video games.  Getting outside, being physical, and sometimes playing with friends too -- all way better than gaming.  So much more real.  

I was still struggling with my other issue, but I've kept with the counseling.

But then I had a weekend where I agreed to do some dog-sitting at my Mom's house while she was out of town.  I love going out there b/c she's got lots of land and space.  There aren't even any neighbors to speak of.  It's quiet, isolated.  A  much different place from where I usually live, where the houses are packed together.  And I love the dogs too.  It's a beautiful place to watch the sunset and maybe have a beer and a cigar too.

Well, the downside is I feel a certain comfort there that I feel nowhere else.  Which means I don't really push myself.  There's a tendency for me to fall into whatever feels good.  This is where porn and video games started in my life.  I know I bring them up together, but both of them came into my life at an early age, around 12 or so, and they both impacted my life in a major negative way.

So that's basically what happened over the weekend.  I had time to kill, I was alone,  and I did what felt good, regardless of the negative consequences and risk they could bring.  That included video games.  I created a Steam account and played a game I haven't played for almost 3 months.  I played one "map" in the game, beginning on Saturday afternoon and finishing it Sunday afternoon.  Maybe about 8 hours between the 2 days.  Then I uninstalled Steam and requested this new account be deleted. 
I wasn't done there though.  I watched some streamers play the same game later that night.  The next morning I texted into work, and watched more streamers.  I watched about 8 hours of streamers within the 2 days.

The next day my Mom came back and I went back to my house.  I thought I was done at that point, time to start fresh.   Back to living with roommates, back to work, already started the process of deleting my account; the circumstances weren't as favorable to me gaming more. I almost posted on here.  I wish I would have.
I made it 4 days without.  Gaming was barely on my mind.  I went to counseling, and even to a support group.  Things were looking up.

But Friday I had some drinks with some friends.  Saturday morning I was a bit hungover and tired -- that's a recipe for gaming.  I cancelled my plans of going to another support group and church later.  And then I remembered I still have a Steam account with the game.  I could play some more maps in the game.  And I did.  I went on a binge this last weekend, and it was much more severe than the previous weekend.  Between Saturday and Sunday, I played the game at least 12 hours a day.  The weekend wasn't enough though.  There was one more "level" that I wanted to get through, but it's the hardest one.  Thank God I made it to work yesterday, but I went straight back to the game and that last level after work.  And I failed at it, again and again and again.

I didn't want to post on here yet b/c I'm basically set in my mind that I'm going to play this game until I beat this last level, and I'd rather post on here when I'm committed to stop for good.  But I figured it's better to go ahead and get current and reflect.  I know that I don't need to beat this game, that I'd be better off not being a "completionist" in this case.  But I just don't feel I can stop at this point.

So the plan is to hopefully beat this last map within the next few days and move on with my life.  I've got to go to work this week, it's not optional.  After I beat that level, leave the games and the streams behind, like I was doing before.  

Sorry for the long post -- that's what happens when I haven't in multiple months! Thanks for reading if you made it this far..

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I'm going to post even though I don't want to..

In my previous post I still had plans to game.  I knew I didn't feel done yet.  I had one last level I wanted to beat.  I actually took this past Friday off from work so I could get back at the game and focus on it.  This was actually a planned day off from work so it felt much better, rather than me texting in at the last minute.  My favorite time to game is in the morning, that's when my brain seems to be the most rested and adept.   I don't like playing at night b/c there's that impending doom feeling that either I'm about to have to go to bed or I should already be in bed. So I had a 3-day weekend to get in all the gaming I want, get it "out of my system".

Well, I beat the level.  I beat it Saturday morning.  But guess what? I went back to the game after that.  I still had a lot of weekend left and I just didn't want to let go of the game yet.  I re-played the level and lost.  And then I lost again.  And again.  I was starting to think me winning the one time was a fluke, an anomaly.  Me being stubborn, I really wanted to figure this out and show I had mastered this.  It's not like I was playing on the toughest difficulty or anything.  

I ended up playing the game through Saturday and Sunday night.  Between Saturday and Sunday it was more of me either playing or watching the game more than 12 hours a day.  It was an absolute binge this weekend.  And it still feels unresolved.  I never got a 2nd win on this last level, which nags at me.  

Now it's back to the work week for me today.  I won't have another day off for another 5 days.  I could play after work this week, but it just doesn't feel the same.  I feel very conflicted right now.  I want to play the game some more but I want to leave it.  Just being honest, that's where I'm at..

 

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Been a week since my last post. I can't say a whole lot has changed, but I wanted to go ahead and post on here anyways.  I hadn't made a firm resolution to stop.  I did the same thing again this weekend.  I took a day off on Friday and made it a 3-day weekend so I play the game some more.  I wanted to master the game more.  I wanted to beat that last map more than just once and prove that I had it figured out.  And rolling a new map (each map is unique) has a certain thrill with it, especially getting a "good" map and being able to set things up just how I like.  Well, I did what I wanted.  I beat that last level 3 more times over the weekend.  I played Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and watched lots of streams in my other waking hours.  

I'm not sure what I'm doing at this point.  It still doesn't feel like closure.  Even with back to back 3-day weekends, it still didn't feel like enough time.  In both cases, I was pushing past my bed time Sunday night, still involved with gaming and watching streams.  I still envision rolling a perfect map, set up just the way I want it.  

And...while watching other streamers I saw another, completely different game I'm intrigued about.  So just by dipping my toe in the water of the streaming world, I feel I'm now battling the desire to play something I didn't even know about a few days ago.  Because I could definitely see myself sinking a lot of time in this other game as well.

Not sure where to go from here.  The only thing in the near future I have to pull myself away from these games is work this week and a volleyball league in a few days..

 

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Day 1

I finally feel like I actually have a resolve to stop playing and watching games.  Yesterday I was in a low place.  I texted in to work.  I stayed home and watched a streamer play a game for around 14 hours or so.  It's a little insane to think how I could spend 14 hours of my day watching someone playing a game, or playing a game.  I've been doing that a lot though.

I feel pain (not physical pain), but I can't put my finger on what it is.  And when I spend an entire day around gaming, it pushes that pain away, but not for good.  Once I get to bed, my brain instantly goes to things other than the game.  I think it's a sign that gaming is not all that fulfilling. 

I went to work today and it was a completely different feel.  I'm thankful I had the resilience to get back in there.  It's not an easy place to go to, but I just feel better about myself if I do what I'm supposed to be doing, and showing up to work is one of those things. 

This all started when I had a stretch of days alone at my Mom's house weeks ago.  I had no idea the effects would last this long.  That's something to remember.  I still have so long to go, but I've done this before, and I believe I can do it again.  I moved my computer and tv back into the living room, which is a good start.  This weekend is going to be a big challenge.  One day at a time..

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Day 8

I've stayed clear of the gaming stuff for a week, so that's great.  I've had some ideas of going back to the last game I played, but they haven't been strong enough to pull me in.  I went to church a couple times last week as well as a support group.  Sunday night I fell back into some poor choices, but thankfully I bounced back on Monday.

I was listening to the rules of St. Ignatius, and the 5th rule really struck me.  Basically says be firm in your spiritual resolutions.  Stick with what you planned.  You're not going to want to do it, but man, life is so much better if you do.  Been trying to pray more.  One day at a time.  Having days without plans is risky.  Plan something, even if it's just taking a walk, watching a film, or reading for half an hour.

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Day 19

Almost to 3 weeks, and it feels awesome! Things haven't been perfect, but it's definitely been better.  That binge lifestyle of hanging out in my room for entire weekends hasn't been there.  It's easy for me to forget how it was, and that's why I think it's important to write on here.

I've done a few things outside my comfort zone the last few weeks.  I went to church in the morning before work a few weeks.  I dressed up for church/work.  My roommate threw a party at our house, and rather than try to run from it, I hung around and socialized.  This weekend I went to a fundraiser event where we had dinner and danced.

After a long stint without social media, I got Facebook and also tried out a dating app.  I avoided it for so long b/c I REALLY liked not being attached to it.  Not having it meant it was something I didn't have to fight.  I have a history of being oversensitive to this sort of stuff.  But, in the end, I decided it's time to change things up.  I'm single and I'm not getting any younger.  This technology can be a good way for me to connect with other people and see what's going on in the community.  I still plan to limit my usage.

I did have some ideas this morning of the last game I played.  I never mastered that game, and that still irks me a bit.  And I feel like it was a great game.  But it was also massively time consuming, and I have to say it's been so much better not feeling that enormous pull to the game when it was affecting me negatively in ways such as sleep and work.  Just gotta keep in mind that weekends are tough, especially if I don't have anything scheduled out.  Seems I've really had a tough time on Sundays particularly. 

That's about it for now. 

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