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karabas

Detox problem: not letting go of the thinking that gaming is OK

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Hey guys,

I'm about 50 days into my detox and for the last 10 I've been on-and-off cravings to go back to playing games. I think the main reason I still haven't caved in is that the game I want to play is PC only and I have a Mac... so I'm holding out by luck more so than self-control.

But in analyzing my feelings, I've realized my main problem: I don't actually think gaming is bad.

I know a LOT of gaming is bad. And - in theory - I know that a little gaming can lead to a lot of gaming, as it has for me in the past.

So while I know that it's a slippery slope and that this is how I relapse (I've been trying to quit for 10 years now), I don't actually have negative feelings against playing in moderation as a way to relax.

I have very negative feelings about playing a lot, because it derails my life. And, in theory, I know that even a little bit of gaming can derail my schedule because I'm barely doing the things I want to do as it is. And because I will inevitably get sucked into games and spend more time than I want to.

But I can't shake the feeling of wanting to relax from the hard work I do on myself every day with a little bit of gaming.

So the question is: does this go away after the detox? And if not, any advice on fighting this?

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Hey there Karabas,

I don't know if my reply will answer your question entirely.  BUT...I'll give it a try.

I think some people can manage moderation very well.  I don't think gaming is an evil in itself.  I think it's about being aware of your body and mind, and how far gaming can take you to an extreme situation wherein you're gaming for hours and hours at a time.

Having said that, I've been off gaming for more than 60 days now, and I will continue until I finish the 90 day detox.  WHY?  Because, what I have gained so far is BETTER SLEEP, a fully rested body and mind.  And I seriously do NOT want to screw that up.  My better sleep patterns have increased my productivity at my job....like significantly.  I am no longer tired right after work, I go and do active hobbies or my crafts after I finish work, and I have more energy overall.  When I gamed, I was like a zombie.  My mind was always "ON", but my body needed to REST.  Yet, I was never fully rested.  Not really.  It's like, your brain takes over and your body suffers because the stimulation of excessive gaming can keep you wired for hours afterwards.  That's what it felt like for me, anyway.

So.

What I'm trying to say, is to continue with your 90 day detox, and do not cave in to gaming just yet.  You need to feel what 'resting' really is.  Even if it means a bit of boredom once in a while.  Keep on going with other hobbies/activities/distractions to help you with boredom...or new goals.  But don't stop the detox just yet.  Sure, I am all for trying out moderation, but not yet.  NOt until you've done 90 days without gaming. 

That's my humble suggestion.  Take what you need and leave the rest.  But I know for myself, that I really can't afford to put my body through that hell again.  It almost ruined my social life, my career, and my health.

Regards,

Dani

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Oh I have one more thing to add.

If this doesn't shock your socks off....then I dunno what will.

I was watching a news documentary about gaming addiction, and a physician actually monitored a gamer's blood pressure while he played a FPS game.  Well, unsurprisingly....his blood pressure went UP to 140/85.  That is considered HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.  This kid was only 27 years old.  And interestingly, his blood pressure started to soar within five minutes of playing that damn game.  THINK about it.

Consider this.  Your body is stationary.  When you play a FPS game for even a short duration of time, it affects your physiological system.  Hence, high blood pressure, a fight/flight response, adrenalin rush, cortisol levels raise....and over the long-term?  What can this potentially do to a person?

Anyway.

Food for thought.

 

 

 

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Also, gaming is not a bad activity to do once in a while.

It's like alcohol.  Is it bad?  No.  But some people have a predisposition of addiction and drinking even a glass of alcohol will result in addictive behaviour and abuse of alcohol. 

So, it's about judging yourself realistically, and what category of gamer you fall into.  You already realize that excessive gaming harmed you, and reintroducing yourself to gaming can potentially trigger you again to lapse into gaming addiction.

It's not an easy thing to accept.  Life long abstinence of gaming is not an easy road either.  But it can be done.  Even if it only leads to fewer and fewer relapses, it's a journey towards overall better health and peace of mind.  I admit myself that I have urges to login to that MMORPG I loved, just to explore that world.  But I weight the benefits I'm experiencing now, and compare it to the consequences of submitting to gaming once again.  I have to choose what is best for me, my family, and my career. 

If you choose to try moderate gaming post- detox, I have no qualms about that.  But I'd consider setting up strict parameters, which also involves family intervention if necessary as a safe-guard and accountability, and then severe consequences if you find you're gaming to excess, if you don't 'feel' the consequences already eg.  lack of sleep, unproductive at work, family issues, guilt, poor diet, no exercise.  Severe consequences can mean anything from paying a significant financial fine to your wife if you relapse, or not attending vacation, or confiscating your car.  It seems silly, as if you're punishing a child, but if you do the crime....you gotta pay the time.  Be accountable to your family and set up these parameters if you really want to try moderate gaming, despite knowing that you are a high risk to addiction.

 

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Yeah, so I'm the super-addict who probably shouldn't be exposed to games, even in moderation. It's never worked out for me before, not in the long term.

So my point is that in theory I think all games are bad for me in any amount. I know they're noy evil in and of themselves. But I don't think I should use them. And I have 10 years of a wasted life to know just how bad they are for me.

But that's not how I feel about them. The way I feel about them is that they're a favorite pastime of mine.

That's problem #1.

Problem #2 is that I don't want to play games because I'm bored. My days are packed to the brim, I have more than enough things that I'm doing or want to do. The problem is almost all of those things are intellectually rigorous and so I need to "turn off my brain" to relax and gaming is the only satisfying thing I do that with.

Not sure if this makes sense...

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On 2/6/2018 at 5:58 AM, karabas said:

Problem #2 is that I don't want to play games because I'm bored. My days are packed to the brim, I have more than enough things that I'm doing or want to do. The problem is almost all of those things are intellectually rigorous and so I need to "turn off my brain" to relax and gaming is the only satisfying thing I do that with.

Hi man. I looked for some videos in our channel that could help you out:

- What if you find other activities boring?

- 3 Types of Activities You Need to Replace Gaming

Games allow you to have fun and give you the sensation of relaxation, even when they're not relaxing at all (you can notice how after a long gaming session you are all tensed up and even with negative emotions, for instance if you got angry at someone). So in reality they are stimulating your brain so much that the other things you remember you have to do look small by comparison as long as you keep playing. This is not the same as relax and turn your brain off, it's a "relaxation fallacy".

You may want then to find an activity that is physically active, or that stimulates you but not in an intellectually rigorous way (something that is a challenge and requires your focus but not your full rational capacity). Then depends on your interests and preferences.

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13 hours ago, Hitaru said:

Hi man. I looked for some videos in our channel that could help you out:

- What if you find other activities boring?

- 3 Types of Activities You Need to Replace Gaming

Games allow you to have fun and give you the sensation of relaxation, even when they're not relaxing at all (you can notice how after a long gaming session you are all tensed up and even with negative emotions, for instance if you got angry at someone). So in reality they are stimulating your brain so much that the other things you remember you have to do look small by comparison as long as you keep playing. This is not the same as relax and turn your brain off, it's a "relaxation fallacy".

You may want then to find an activity that is physically active, or that stimulates you but not in an intellectually rigorous way (something that is a challenge and requires your focus but not your full rational capacity). Then depends on your interests and preferences.

Thanks man, useful videos.

Going off of the second one, what I'm missing is a restive activity.

I have a LOT of intellectually stimulating activity (I study, I'm working on my own business, I'm a freelancer so my work is in itself very stimulating and full of learning, etc).

I don't have the social problem because games were never social for me (I avoided online games like the plague).

My natural go to for restive (something I do when I'm feeling lazy and tired) would be reading. But the thing is, I don't like fiction that much. I like intellectually stimulating fiction that's well written (usually the classics), but once again that's not "restive". I like podcasts about skills I'm trying to learn like new languages and career-related stuff. But that's again intellectually stimulating.

I tried reading a modern fiction book that everyone was hyping up and couldn't last more than a few chapters. Partially because the writing sucked. The last modern fiction I read that I enjoyed was ASOIAF series, but God knows when GRRM will come up with Winds of Winter... sigh. THAT would be a book I'd totally dig reading for fun/relaxation.

Maybe that's what it is - maybe I just need to find similar books and get into them.

Another thing that you might be onto is physical. I have a very sedentary life right now. My plan was to start working out after my 90 detox (and do a 90-day weight loss journal while maintaining the computer game detox), but maybe I need to expedite this. It's Ramadan now, which adds too much challenge for starting a workout regime. But there are about 10 days left and I could start something after that...

Thanks for the reply. It really helped me go from "I'm doomed to relapse" to "Let's look at some solutions".

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