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JaniP

I think I am close to relapsing

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Let me explain.

Some people here are familiar with my story and it's not really even that much different from all the other stories here. Anyway, I quit gaming about 50 days ago, relapsed once in between and am now exactly at 34 days of not gaming at all. Initially, I had a moderate amount of cravings - having some every morning every now and then. Now in the last two-three weeks I had no cravings at all. So bottom line: I don't feel that I have to do gaming just to fill the urge.

So what seems to be the problem then? Why am I writing to this sub? Well, I have noticed that I have no means of reducing stressGaming, for me, was always almost the only working tool to remove/reduce stress.

I had a huge entrance exam a week ago. Initially that exam was the reason why I quit gaming. Here is what I have tried for stress reduction (including in the times when I was gaming):

  • new hobbies: everything from golf to juggling, jogging to rollerblading, skating to x-country skiing, ice-hockey to floorball, jiu-jitsu to karate, airsoft to paintball, gym to crossfit...
  • learning an instrument and listening to music (been playing guitar for 10 years, now learning singing), this seems to help a little, but is nothing compared to stress reduction gained by gaming
  • alcohol and partying (not good)
  • walking in the nature (the paths near my place are really boring, since I tried to use this way to reduce stress in the past when I previously had quit gaming)
  • now trying a natural remedy, L-teanin. My mom hinted me to try it, so I am giving it a shot. I doubt it will work but we'll see about that.

So I have been going through some panicking / chronic stress symptoms that could also be related to Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I know I should also consult my doctor about all of this, but at the same time I know that if I went back to gaming, I would get rid of these symptoms. Atleast I used to feel no such things because I could just sink into the gaming world for some hours and then not go through all this negative crap in my head while also relaxing at the same time. This was of course about singleplayer / low-commitment multiplayer games. I would just feel more stressed by let's say League of Legends or some other competent game.

Help me please, I feel that I am going to relapse just by thinking as gaming as the last means to reduce these stress symptoms that I am going through now. I am in the brink. My friend also messaged me yesterday (since a long time) and asked me, if we can play something together. Maaaaaaaaan, I am in distress right now!

 

 

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Hmm I can just tell you, that gaming doesn't deal with your anxiety, it's really more like numbing yourself. I'd advise you to try therapy, swimming or meditation. Also if the paths near you are boring, hiking at weekends or whenever you have a bit more time could be an alternative.

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Alright so I'm JUST coming out of a relapse so if you feel like I have no authority, feel free to disregard, but here are my two cents.

There is a pattern I see in the community where people have a hard time around day ~40. Some cravings come back, some feelings of the past come up and even though you're living a much better life now, your old self kind of wakes up and is like OI, DONT YOU FORGET ABOUT ME. It is apparent to me that this is part of the process and completely normal. Now that I've succumbed to it, I will watch out next time(in 40 days haha). 

We all know what needs to be done right? It's just about resisting the stupid urge. It's about not being a fucking monkey that gets triggered and goes crazy when it sees a banana. You know you will feel like shit if you play. Maybe it will 'relieve stress' for a day or two, but the stress will come back 10x stronger because you will start ignoring real life and loose all self-control. It's the same rodeo we've been through.

Read through your journal. From the beginning. Maybe read some other people's journals. Make yourself remember what the reason for all this is. 

And my last point specific to your situation: you have been studying for the exam all this time, it has been your goal, your objective, the main occupation of your mind all this time. Now that it's done, I think you might have some empty space in your life. I don't know you that well of course so it's up to you to determine, but it's something to consider. By empty space I mean not having a clear goal to strive towards. This is exactly what gaming provides you with - that shiny new league, you grind points, see them going up and your dopamine goes berserk. Find this in real life. Find the game in real life. Find a goal that is attractive and there is a rewarding path of mastery towards it. For me, I still have 1 default goal, which is finishing my degree, but since I'm not that passionate about it anymore, I have found myself another, that is the new league. This is a goal that really sparks my inspiration, goal that makes me clearly see what I need to work on and how to improve, goal that promises a greater life - which is something gaming cannot ever give you.

Done, gg

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Really great advice from everyone that replied.  I totally agree with @JustTom and @Philipp.

What about getting a massage every once in a while?  You could try a massage school because it might be cheaper.  I definitely see that you've put a lot of effort in trying different hobbies for stress management.  

@JustTom mentioned that you can try finding a new goal to achieve because the intensity of studying for the exam is now finished.   I agree with that suggestion.  

What about joining karate or Kung fu?  It's new to you, challenging, competitive and goal oriented.   

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