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JaniP

The 90-day Detox Journal (and beyond)

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Day 1

24 hours in now. Already feeling urges to start gaming, but I managed to come to the university to study and to write this journal. At first, in my introduction post I hesitated to start this journal because I thought it would be time consuming and because I already started one a bit over a year ago, when I previously quit gaming.

As mentioned in my introduction, I am going for the medical school entrance examination, which will be held in 1,5 months from now. I have already studied pretty hard for 3 months this year, and over 8 months in total. One of the main reasons for joining this community again to fight the addiction and get rid of it for good, was to beat this entrance exam and by all means not to let gaming ruin it for me.

So I was having a break from studying environmental ecology, sitting in the university hall and surfing in the internet and I remembered a guideline, that if possible, "try to take a break, while doing something completely different than studying, go for a walk, doodle, talk to friends etc.". And I came up with starting this journal; it's actually a good pastime in the university to write it - it keeps me occupied for maybe 15 minutes at a time, which is a nice amount of time for a break, and at the same time my mind kind of resets. Or atleast I think it does.

Plans for today include studying for a couple more hours, so that I can reach minimum of 6 hours of studying today and then moving on to the gym. After that is, what makes me nervous: the boredom and feeling of not knowing what to do. I know it will hit me again. At that point, so far, I have been gaming and filling that time with gaming related videos and studying strategy for League of Legends etc. But I think it's already half a victory, that I acknowledge this will happen and I just need to take action not to let it happen. Maybe I will take a little longer workout today then. Maybe do more stretching at the gym, then playing guitar after that and even taking that to more detail too. Maybe creating a schedule for training some harder guitar stuff? It's gonna be hard 90 days for me, if I need to think like this every day... Luckily, I have this community to rely on :)

The future daily updates on this journal might be shorter, or might not. Anyway, this is the start of it. Time to move back to the studies!

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Day 2

So it's almost 1pm here in Finland right now, yesterday's gym workout took it's toll and I couldn't get up at 7:50am like I would have wanted to. It's been something like 48 hours without escaping real life. Again feeling cravings since waking up, it's like having a different mindset when I wake up and when I go to sleep. In the evening I was full of motivation to stay gaming-free but now in the morning I was almost there to reinstall League, ask my friends to play with me and have some fun. I think staying in contact with those people is now one of the only factors on why I would relapse... I don't really have any friends outside of gaming and getting new ones seems to be really difficult. Before, I got to know new people by taking part in some university parties etc. but I feel that partying is only going to drag me down, I haven't really enjoyed it anymore. 

When I previously quit gaming, I was playing games even more and it was screwing my life up even more, but I didn't feel cravings like this back then. Now I am literally experiencing the part, where you don't enjoy anything else than gaming in life, because gaming - as a huge stimulant- doesn't have a competitor in other activities. Knowing this is now helping me survive this part of the journey. I literally feel how my brain wants to game, but I don't want to, because I know it's gonna screw up my studies and other life. 

My plans for today are as simple as fighting the relapse, watching a travelling documentary series, drinking some Rooibos (I can recommend this to any of you guys who are going through a lot of stress or having difficulties sleeping, it's a miraculous beverage; 3-6 cups a day is enough) and studying. Maybe I'd play the guitar too or try to come up with new lyrics or riff ideas for my band. 

 

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When I started to detox I experienced the same feeling: everything is boring except playing games. Give yourself a couple weeks and you’ll start to enjoy life again. The reason why everything seems boring is that - as you already noticed - gaming is a huge stimulant, and everything looks flat in comparison. But this is just the addiction mechanism at work, the same process that got you addicted in the first place. Beat it and you’ll not regret it. About social life, well, I pretty much suck at it, but anyway I’ve noticed huge improvements in the last couple months. Not thinking about games all the time means your life gets more interesting and if you spend a lot of time out of your house you’ll automatically get to know new people. You may like them or not, but I advice you to always spend time with them, even for a short chat. It’s a good training exercise for honing your numbed social skills.

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13 hours ago, info-gatherer said:

When I started to detox I experienced the same feeling: everything is boring except playing games.

This is a scientifically-proven withdrawal symptom.

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On 9.4.2018 at 0:01 AM, JustTom said:

@JaniP How's it going?

Oh dear, I relapsed almost instantly after quitting, I think 6th of this month... Wow, I lasted for 3 or 4 days :D Went back to playing League of Legends, played until today and decided to quit again. 

I was talking about the need of feeling like I am tired of losing in the game or just tired of it anyway. So, before I quit, I was maybe 20 games away of my long term goal, which was to reach the top 1% in the game. What happened? I reached it 3 days ago and instead of feeling like achieving something, I started to think that what does this actually matter? Like, who would actually give a crap about what I had achieved now in the game? No one. Then I started thinking: What if I could achieve my goal of getting in to medical school? Well, maybe not many people still takes a note, but atleast I wouldn't be feeling self-ignorant, like now, that I think of what I achieved in the game. I think this was the trigger I really needed... 

So, the plan for this time? Quitting again, going cold-turkey. AGAIN dissembling my computer AND this time also telling my parents to hide it from me. My motivators will be: getting emotionally stable(r), getting new friends, chatting here, maybe reading reddit(/stopgaming) getting an admission to a medical school, maybe getting to know girls?! :D

At least now I am super excited to quit, unlike last time, when I still kinda felt awkward and felt that I hadn't achieved my goal in the game. It's actually weird how empty achieving it made me feel then. 

One factor to make this decision again, was also reddit, where I found a post, which was 110% relatable and I instantly started thinking about this.

I wrote this on phone, there might be some errors here and there, sorry :D

And thanks for checking on me Tom :D Gonna be back in business again now.

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This thing does need a strong resolve. But trust me it gets very enjoyable quite quickly. I'm feeling absolutely fantastic after just two weeks. 

I quit league many times(without trying to quit other games). When I was at my worst, years ago, I got so pissed off at myself that I quit when I was like 20LP away from diamond. Even though my emotions(=cravings) wanted me to keep going, I knew it was completely utterly retarded. I'll get to diamond, and people will still tell me I suck. When you get to challenger, people will tell you you suck. When you go pro for fucks sake, people will still hate on you. And I knew I did NOT want to go pro. So what's the point? I thought if it doesn't matter which league I'm in - I still 'suck' - why would I even try to get to diamond? As you said, NOBODY really cares. It gives you 0 happiness. It's just some arbitrary points you can't buy absolutely nothing for. It only satisfies the urges that never end, but rather get reinforced forever until you get fat and depressed. At which point they actually get even stronger.

You have identified this is an addiction. Treat it seriously. 

Glad you're back and if you decide to return to the detox - good luck!

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9 hours ago, JustTom said:

 I'll get to diamond, and people will still tell me I suck. When you get to challenger, people will tell you you suck. When you go pro for fucks sake, people will still hate on you. And I knew I did NOT want to go pro. So what's the point? I thought if it doesn't matter which league I'm in - I still 'suck'

Yes this is exactly what was going through my head yesterday. Also for me the diamond rank was the goal for many years and it seemed that I really can't quit before I reached that. And now when I did reach it, it feels completely worthless - unlike any other reachable goal in real life. God, I actually feel better after gathering willpower for 15 minutes to decide, whether to go to the university or not, and here I am in the university library now - feeling even better than after years of work put into League.

And yes, it does take a lot of stamina and resilience to go through the detox - heck, even at this moment I am again going through some cravings (after only like 20 hours without playing) but now it's more reasonable not to play. Also, these cravings are more like the ones, in which your brain wants to game but you don't necessarily want to game. Below lies the best explanation:

On 05/04/2018 at 4:11 AM, Cam Adair said:

This is a scientifically-proven withdrawal symptom.

I think that it's easier to quit when I can draw a line between these two and recognize them. Now I definitely don't want to invest more time into gaming. 

Let this be my Day 1 post for this journal again.

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Day 2:

YES! Woke up a couple of hours ago, feeling fresh after a good night's sleep. Probably it was good because I wasn't staring at my monitor until midnight. Also, there is a really wonderful thing that I have noticed during the morning: I feel no cravings at the moment! Anyways, one thing that was different this morning, was that I had the time and willpower to make and eat a good, healthy breakfast: some oat porridge, rye bread, quark, a vitamin drink, none of those existing in my previous breakfast routine. In my gaming life it consisted of this: coffee.

After breakfast I decided to hit the gym - for the first time in many many years in the morning. What a daystarter! I used to try to do it in the morning but I felt that I was always short of energy when I got there. This time, I think, the breakfast helped a ton.

Now, feeling more fresh than in ages, I reached the university library again, ready to get started with my studies for today. Yesterday was a really good day in terms of studying, so maybe today will bring some success too... Well, even if it doesn't I still feel that I already accomplished something with this gym thing.

Plans for this evening include fixing my bike, watching some educational science videos and continuing a composition that I started for my band. For the first time in a while I feel excited to do something different, than gaming. And it's only day two. :)

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7 minutes ago, Natasha said:

Yes! Those activities sound fun! Especially the composition. Do you play an instrument? 

Yeah, this was actually one of the best days in ages! And I actually thought at one point, that there would almost be none of the good days left for me...

And yes, I do play guitar! Alongside gaming it was my hobby for like 12 years now, of course gaming took most of the time in the recent years and thus I couldn't concentrate on playing the guitar as much as I would have liked to. Now I can use my time better practicing that :)

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Day 3 (Includes reflection on weekends and how I relate them to gaming):

An ordinary morning, woke up at around 7am, had a good breakfast again and headed for the university. Feeling maybe a bit more tired than usually but I think I can blame yesterday's workout. So far I spent the morning revising biology for the entrance exam and trying to solve some harder excercises (old entrance exam tasks). Also noticed that the forum was down this morning, so I couldn't log in earlier and write this at the time, when I am usually logging in and writing, but that didn't seem to distract me too much from studying and my schedules overall.

I don't have any special plans for today, but this is going to be the first weekend after quitting gaming again. Some reflections: -

-Weekends mean more freetime

when I was gaming, I would usually use ALL of my freetime gaming. This time it will be me vs. the boredom, which will certainly take over at some point, no matter how active I'll try to be in the weekend. This is of course due to my brain telling me to do something fancy (ie. gaming) because hey, it's been used to it in the past months now, so almost nothing else will satisfy its needs for the "excitement rush". I think one major thing in battling such situations, is to reflect it beforehand, just like I am doing now. This actually reduces the stress of thinking about what to do, immersely. Of course, I could make the weekend NOT TO HAVE so much spare time, but then again, I need the time to recover from this week too... I need to do some self-reflection on this tomorrow afternoon.

-Weekend means more loneliness

I never had too many friends at a time. At this moment there is one guy in my city, that I can call a friend - all the other people are just some common faces that I see in the university or in the centre, and I know them because some of them maybe were on the same courses years ago, were going to the same high school like a decade ago, or are in some other way less familiar to me. Of course this affected my gaming habit too: it was super easy to make friends even at home, just by doing online gaming. Or well, I also had my gaming friends who would STILL be my friends, if I didn't choose to kind of "leave them behind" in the process of quitting gaming. I have noticed that their behaviour - even when meeting them face to face irl - usually led to me relapsing again and again, because of the way my conversations were like with them. Of course I can also blame myself for this. During this detox now, I'll have a goal of making more friends.

-Weekend reminds me of gaming

Well, the essence was already in the paragraph title.

-Weekend promotes activities

This is the key to having fun, when not playing games, probably. All the major activities are actually on weekends. I just need to keep my eyes open and who knows, if I stumble to some nice event even in the weekend to come. Or if I'll just have another cup o' Joe with my friend in the city centre... Or if I will just stay at home and maybe start an audio book or just watch a movie?

More reflecting to come in the weekend.

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Audio books are great fun for sure. Plus you can listen to them while doing pretty much anything else. Like cooking, or cleaning, laying down and resting your eyes, going on a bike ride, or a walk. 

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Days 4-5:

So yesterday I really didn't even want to open my laptop (except at almost midnight, when a song idea caught my attention and I needed to write it down to a notation software) and I didn't even write this journal. Overall yesterday consisted of studying, helping my dad with some spring chores in our backyard, gym workout and a dinner with my family in a restaurant. It was a really nice day without any cravings at all and I was actually surprised that even though it's a weekend, there have been no urges to game whatsoever. I feel like really getting a grasp of my life at the moment; I am sleeping well, eating more every day, craving to get to the gym more (this didn't happen in a looong time) and also I feel like getting up from the bed earlier in the morning. Also, I think that this journal helps me keep my stress levels down a bit easier, because I am writing all the hardships and worries here. I feel more self-confident overall and I feel it in my physical being too.

This morning I got up earlier than usually on the weekends. I had some nice breakfast again and turned on the TV to connect my phone into it and start watching Khan Academy videos about human physiology and anatomy - one of the best ways to revise the high school / university anatomy subjects. Overall feeling for today is that I feel a bit lazy - in the way that I feel like I wanna procrastinate and delay every possible thing for as long as possible. Probably I just need to rest a bit too after such a long week like this. I have been almost constantly doing something in fear of getting gaming-cravings. But I guess that's how this works in the beginning.

 

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Days 6-7:

Seems like I forgot to write anything yesterday, even though I was actually replying to other people here. Yesterday was a really good day, I started the day a bit off schedule in the morning, still managed to go through some major stuff from the last year's med school entrance exam (been doing almost all of them since 2011) and felt really good after getting a couple of problems correct. Afterwards I went back home and hit the gym in the evening, having the best workout in a while again. Also got to bed early again - seems to correlate with quitting games, I fall asleep 1-2 hours earlier now, which is a HUGE difference.

This morning though, I have felt some cravings actually. Maybe not cravings in a sense that I'd like to game, but more like I miss all the content and the fun that I was having with my friends in game. I think that I feel like this because in the last week I have done so much work (studying, working out etc.) and now I am reaching the point where my mind and soul requires some kind of a relief, some form of stress control. For me it used to be gaming. I am hitting the rough part now - I am in a process that doesn't let me do what is the only thing that gives me feelings of pleasure and at the same time I know that if I relapse into gaming again, I am just delaying my goals and making the road to success and a better life more convoluted. **Woah, had to pause writing here for a second because the sentence in bold felt like visiting a psychiatrist and getting something out of my guts.**

The next goal for me seems to be finding a thing that relieves stress. If thinking about hobbies, it's really hard for me to come up with something fascinating and new, because I have really tried almost every single sports-thing that you can come up with. These include soccer, ice-hockey, floorball, horse riding, squash, tennis, jogging, gym, x-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, swimming.... EVERYTHING :D The things I didn't try, are just the things that are not common in my country, such as american football and cricket. One thing that came to my mind, was doing some animations on a computer. This one, though, holds a risk again: I have noticed that if I am using my computer at all, it makes me relapse every single time at some point. Of course it's different if I use, let's say, the computers in the university, like I am doing now. So maybe computer animations. One temporary stress reliever used to be alcohol and partying, but cmon -  I am applying to a medschool and have been studying enough about the effects of alcohol in the body. So no thanks.

I just hope that the cravings will go away for now. It doesn't make it easier when I enter YouTube in search for some educational videos and then there are 10+ League of Legends videos popping up from my favourite streamers. Like wtf, I actually removed all the search and watchlist history from my account and still..... I am mad :D

To be continued....

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Day 8:

It's jjjjjjjjournal time!! One full week in already, baby! (Edit: damn, would be a full 23 days already, if I didn't relapse for a week in the middle of it!) Feeling better every day, still lacking the vital means of stress management due to not being able to do gaming but I'll manage it somehow. No cravings today, which is a good sign :)

Yesterday evening I decided to give a shot at trying to sleep around 10:30pm, which is actually super duper early for me. Managed to fall asleep almost instantly and to stay asleep through the night, but had some terrible nightmares... I am talking about sleep because it's a major thing for one's wellbeing - I couldn't take a good night's sleep for granted in many years. I had so much difficulties with sleep due to excessive gaming and stress caused by depression and such things.

This morning I managed to get up at about 6.50 and I was feeling so much motivated to study, right away. Had my usual breakfast (which has become a habit now, YAY!) and headed for the university. Now I have already studied the whole morning and still have a couple of hours more to go - nevertheless I am not feeling stressed at all, which is awesome. One of the things that I need to be able to keep in moderation, is coffee. I quit drinking coffee like a month or two ago, switched into drinking green tea at first - consuming up to 8 cups a day. Not good :D Started having a slight nausea after a while and ultimately had some other stomach problems too so I needed to switch into drinking rooibos. Rooibos is actually good. I am still drinking it like a cup or two per day, but I got the same stomach problems from consuming it more... And I like to drink something all the time - I need to have the cup to satisfy my needs :D So now I have to manage with two cups of coffee a day, having one at around 8 o clock in the morning to kickstart the day and then having another one later, or to be more exact - right now. In the evening, I'm just planning to hit the gym and maybe look for some meditation guides, provided that I have time for that, before I need to crash onto a bed again!

Gonna make this another productive day!

Edited by JaniP
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Day 9:

Yesterday's gym workout + hard studying for almost 11 hours = extreme fatigue this morning! I actually went to bed at 10:30pm again just to tackle sleepiness in the morning, but instead I woke up at 11pm, that's crazy. It's a minor setback though because I managed to get to the university. I must be grateful to be able to do things like this now because before, when I was gaming, I couldn't stick to routines like this for more than a day or two. There's actually not much to write about this day - I am just going to study hard until maybe 6pm and then head back home and try to relax...

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I love that feeling, when you get immersed in your hustle so much that you are actually tired - not just uncomfortable - but legit tired at the end of the day and you know you did a good job. 

Keeup it up! :)

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@JaniP Hey happy to be following your journal and see you doing so well! I also relapsed, but relapsing while journaling your experiences provides so much need clarity and reflection into the why of the behavior. Your guy habits are really motivating as well, something that so important to healthy growth, keep it up! 

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Day 10:

Went cycling yesterday evening to enjoy a nice warm(ish) spring weather! I think I am detoxing a little already now because what made me go to this little cycling trip, was the feeling of getting motivated by not staying inside and doing nothing. In other words: I got satisfaction from something else than gaming! It's super weird to notice such a little detail but that's how it is and it feels really great! 

Today managed to come to the uni to study again but things have not been going as planned. Instead I ended up spinning two equations around for one really hard physics problem, taking 4 pages in my notebook (I hope it pays off, I feel like I wasted 5 hours of valuable time) but didn't give up this time and ended up solving the problem with some guidance from the answer sheets. In moments like this I usually think about how easy it would be just to sit at my PC and play games - just clicking on the mouse and instantly solving all the problems ingame 'cause I was good at it - but everyone knows that it doesn't really get us too far ahead in life. Tough day, tough.. I am going to make it to the medschool though, damn, I am gonna make it!

In the evening planning to do a workout again and maybe watch a movie to reward myself because I did kinda well this week, surprised myself even.

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Days 11-12:

So the weekend has not been too busy so far and I see and feel improvement in my behaviour when it comes to dealing with not doing anything. I don't feel as bored anymore as I did, say, two weeks ago. I decided not to do any sporty activities during this weekend, just to recover from all the physical and emotional/psychic stress that I was gathering throughout the week. At the moment I feel really satisfied, when it comes to dealing with this whole situation - cravings have been to their minimum now, maybe once-twice a day I might THINK about gaming but am nowhere near relapsing or even thinking about such thing. This is improvement.

Next week is going to be busy again - already craving to get to my biology books and to my physics/chemistry calculations, since the entrance exam is only three weeks away now. Kinda getting anxious here already, but I know I will do well, if I can keep this pace for the next 2,5 weeks.

Getting back here tomorrow...

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Day 13:

Managed to wake up at 6:50am, still gathering 8 hours of sleep in total, I am getting good at going to bed earlier. Today is the Vappu-celebration day in Finland, it's a day when all the high school graduates, university students, working people and political people gather around the cities (doesn't happen in rural areas actually that much) and they have a drinking contest basically :D So far, every year I was part of this celebration in some way, usually drinking along with others. This year I feel different. I am in the middle of a good cycle of progress - I sleep well, wake up to a new day early, hit the gym, then study and finally sleep again. I get energy from this cycle, it keeps me focused while not developing too much stress. Days like this are usually the ones to distract me from what is important to me. Also, they have been one reason for potential relapses in the past. I remember how it used to be: there was somekind of a celebration or a memorial day or any such thing and I attended it. Usually through some factors, I get really depressed during those events while watching other people having fun with their friends and/or hanging out with their boy/girlfriends and that has sometimes driven me to self pity and through that: back to my desk playing games. Just 10 minutes ago I was actually talking to a friend of mine (not a gaming friend) who asked me to join their group in the city centre this evening. I said that I might think about it, but most likely and even certainly I wouldn't be getting drunk and I wouldn't stay there for too long if I go there. During my conversation with this friend, I also got to hear that I seem different, like another person, and I told her that I had quit gaming some time ago. She has seen me doing this before too so then she said that it was actually what she thought I am going through :D.

So let there be a peaceful Vappu.

Other than that, I am gonna again stare at my books and my notebook for the rest of the afternoon since I meet my friend and then gonna spend some time with them. Overall I anticipate a nice, social evening.

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Days 14-15:

Didn't remember to check in yesterday, dang. Well, yesterday was really boring, knowing that everything was closed due to the celebrational day before, I couldn't really think of leaving home to go anywhere or to do any excercise or anything. Managed to study a couple of hours in the afternoon and then just lied down and watched TV. Of course boredom like that made me crave for gaming too. I was thinking like "on a day like this, would it hurt?" Truth: it wouldn't hurt on a day like that but on all the future days to come, it would hurt. I know I would be hooked instantly again. Or well, I have noticed that this is game-dependent, but I know there is only one game that I would like to play and it would be the road to ruin. Good to keep things like this in mind.

First two weeks completely game-free now, yay! :)

Today I had a hard morning (and am still having). I couldn't sleep well at all, was just rolling in my bed until 2am. For some miraculous reason I am still up for studying for the whole day and I reached the university already to do that, so maybe it will turn out to be ok. These days I hope (and kind of presume) every single day to be atleast an ok one, usually even a good one, because I have a tendency of trying to make them good ones.  What I mean is, that when I used to do gaming, I  was actually feeling good for most of the time atleast. Since quitting, I have then been trying to achieve the same feelings over again but it's easy to stumble to the fact, that there is the "dopamine-syndrome" (you know, the feelings when you get no satisfaction from anything apart from gaming in the first few days after quitting...). I am not sure if this is even healthy thinking, but this is actually why the journal comes in handy again: reflecting my inner feelings and stuff that I notice in my everyday behaviour. God, I am actually so grateful for doing this journal. This morning I had to come in early to write it, so that I won't forget again! Consistency is the key here...

 

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Days 16-17:

....and what happened: I forgot to write anything yesterday too :D Or I actually remembered at midnight time but then didn't want to get up again to open my laptop and start writing (would have ruined the sleep for me for sure). Anyway, yesterday was nothing special really, was kind of tired for the whole day but managed to study through it and then just play guitar after. No cravings.

This morning was somehow really good. Unlike yesterday, I was able to be up at 6:50am, feeling fresh and rested. I was browsing around one musician forum a bit earlier, looking for potential singers for my band. I think I found one guy. More about that later, if things succeed with him!

Since I am already in the university, I can expect this to be a day full of hard work and productibility. It feels good to be inside because the weather is like crap today: there was a hailstorm earlier before and now it's just raining like hell.

Actually at this point I want to bring up this little thing, considering the cravings and stuff. I haven't felt any major cravings or direct urges to play anything in a couple of days now, but one thing that seems to haunt me is the urge to check the stats sites for games and see how my friends are doing nowadays (like OP.GG or such) in the games. It's actually annoying because it's again just waste of time. I did it maybe once or twice because it felt so tempting to see if they are doing well in the game or not, when I am not there playing with them. I think this will just go away at some point - it might be that I am subconsciously hoping that my friends, too, would stop playing the same games that I used to play and move forward (and kind of suffer) in life just the way I did. Suffer to leave gaming behind, suffer in the moment to reach a better quality of life afterwards. What a sad, miserable and cynic way of thinking I have, but I think we are allowed to do it once in a while, are we not? :D

Tomorrow my goal is not to skip a day here.

Edited by JaniP
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