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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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