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Peluconus

Responsible gaming: is it possible for an addict?

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Surfing through the forums I found a couple of videos where Cam says that we shouldn't play after a detox, and I agree with all he said. I can confirm it that when I felt strong after quitting and everything went reasonably good for some time, I felt like playing again would be easy, that it couldn't take me back to the pit again. And then I started falling again.

But for a couple of months, I was able to play just a few hours per week, and I was able to go to the university every morning, clean my room, eat 3 times per day and sleep at a decent time. Geez, I even had a girlfriend. And I was able to play just when everything was already done, and stop whenever I wanted. I was OK with playing, because it didn't harm me. I just fell in the pit when I was having a hard time after that: many things came together and I just couldn't bear it, so gaming took the lead of my life again.

So my question is: am I doomed to fall to the pit everytime I decide to try to game again, or is it possible to have a healthy life including some gaming? The answer may decide how I'm going to manage my addiction and my recovery. For now, I don't want to loose all connections with games, but I will if it's the best for my life.

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Wow, this is a great question and one I've struggled with a lot as well. I think I'm like Cam and any gaming would lead to it spiraling out of control. Have any of you been able to get over a video game addiction and then play responsibly for a reasonable length of time? @Peluconus, two months seems like a long time to play responsibly. I don't think I will ever be able to do that. (and don't plan to try)

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Hey @DRCC.

First, I want to say that I wrote this the first day I started here, and my mind has changed a lot since that. For example, some people that successfully quit games for 90 days straight usually don't find the same emotions when they try to play again, so they just don't want to play anymore. I understood that there are different approaches to this matter, and not everyone wants to return (like I thought when I posted this).

When I quitted the first time, I found myself in a very good situation overall. My parents were very comprehensive, I had only 1 or 2 subjects at university, I found a lot of new friends... This context gave me the willpower that I needed to keep games at bay and be in control. But it was just that, the context. For some months I had everything I needed to carry on, so it was easy. When things started to crumble, I relapsed and the spiral started.

What I really learnt in this forum is that the goal is not quitting games for 90 days and "see what happens". The goal is reaching the version of yourself that you want to be. And that version is not gaming for 10 hours or more every day, maybe it's not playing at all. The point of the 90 days thing is that it is the average time someone need to realize games are making a bad impact, and you have all those days to figure out that version of yourself that you want to achieve.

I still don't know what will I do about videogames after doing the tests in September, maybe I'll try to play responsibly or maybe I will just stay away from it or maybe I will only play if I'm not alone... Anyway I will decide it when the time comes. Because if I decide now, I will feel bad with any decision. I have other things to focus on.

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I think it's also about more than just the addiction and the dangers of spiraling down the drain. It doesn't improve your life. If you put the same hours you put into games in like, learning a language or learning to play guitar, that's a whole other deal. I think you should probably do your detox first and then judge. For now, just leave it be.

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I have been asking myself the same for a while now. Its been nearly 5 months since i played the last time but being abstinent i learned is not the same than actually recover from the addiction. Actually cause of the fact i only lost control over one game and wasnt even interested in other games anymore during that time i think i maybe could handle it. But then maybe the triggers will be too bad. Maybe its the same like with other addicts to alcohol and stuff, you do one drink and its over again. Like you said when gaming responsible there only had to be a hard time and it was your coping mechanism again. I so wish this could be a normal hobby again, cause i loved just drowning in a story for some hours just like i do with books or writing now.

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On 8/21/2018 at 11:36 PM, TheCrystalLake said:

I have been asking myself the same for a while now. Its been nearly 5 months since i played the last time but being abstinent i learned is not the same than actually recover from the addiction. Actually cause of the fact i only lost control over one game and wasnt even interested in other games anymore during that time i think i maybe could handle it. But then maybe the triggers will be too bad. Maybe its the same like with other addicts to alcohol and stuff, you do one drink and its over again. Like you said when gaming responsible there only had to be a hard time and it was your coping mechanism again. I so wish this could be a normal hobby again, cause i loved just drowning in a story for some hours just like i do with books or writing now.

I get it man. There were a few games I played for the rush and the challenge, online multiplayer stuff. I was pretty high ranked too. But there were a lot of single player things, proper games, well written, great acting... The actor in me had a field day with those! Stories that suck you in and make your core tremble.
 

But I had to let BOTH those go. The former, I don't miss so much. I happier now and more importantly the quality of that happiness is more pure. I still miss those great stories and characters. But I find solace in great conversations with friends, revelations, experiencing life myself instead of through a screen. I don't mean to sound pejorative towards games. They're not evil, it's just that it had a certain bad effect on me. I would love to be able to play again, without issues. But that's lying to myself. It would start off small and then it would slowly spiral out of control, I'd be frustrated and angry and then saddenend that I had let myself go that far. 

Much like in life, you take the good with the bad. In quitting a gaming addiction, you have to let go of the bad with the good. You can only try to change what you can actually influence, everything else is folly and you just have to accept that there are some things that you can't change. 

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Hey @TheCrystalLake,

On 8/21/2018 at 11:36 PM, TheCrystalLake said:

Its been nearly 5 months since i played the last time but being abstinent i learned is not the same than actually recover from the addiction.

That is something very important to be aware of. At least for me, even if I don't have urges to play or even don't think about gaming for some days straight, there are always situations and triggers that make my foundations tremble.

As addicts, I think it's very important to accept what we are and live with it. Never think you have overcome the problem, on the contrary, always have in mind what have you been through, why you decided to quit, what defines you now; all of this will help you stay strong against the urges and the low moments.

On the other hand,

On 8/21/2018 at 11:36 PM, TheCrystalLake said:

I so wish this could be a normal hobby again, cause i loved just drowning in a story for some hours just like i do with books or writing now.

I think @Phoenixking's answer was just spot on, and I relate to every single word:

6 hours ago, Phoenixking said:

I still miss those great stories and characters. But I find solace in great conversations with friends, revelations, experiencing life myself instead of through a screen.

It may take time, but once you start enjoying the real things that the real life can offer, videogames sound like cheap imitations, quick and not very durable patches that keep you asleep and away from the real, durable, tangible happiness.

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I'd love to be able to play video games in moderation some day, if only to be able to say I've truly conquered them in my own way. However, video games have no place in my dream life. I won't ever allow my children to play them, for example - and I will make sure they understand why.

On 8/21/2018 at 5:36 PM, TheCrystalLake said:

I have been asking myself the same for a while now. Its been nearly 5 months since i played the last time but being abstinent i learned is not the same than actually recover from the addiction. Actually cause of the fact i only lost control over one game and wasnt even interested in other games anymore during that time i think i maybe could handle it. But then maybe the triggers will be too bad. Maybe its the same like with other addicts to alcohol and stuff, you do one drink and its over again. Like you said when gaming responsible there only had to be a hard time and it was your coping mechanism again. I so wish this could be a normal hobby again, cause i loved just drowning in a story for some hours just like i do with books or writing now.


Don't ever fool yourself into thinking you're "over it" because you're only interested in one game only. I was the same. Guess what? Once you get bored of that "one game", you find another one to latch on to. This is a very dangerous mindset that can lead to a total relapse.

Edited by seriousjay
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On 8/23/2018 at 9:23 PM, Peluconus said:

Hey @TheCrystalLake,

That is something very important to be aware of. At least for me, even if I don't have urges to play or even don't think about gaming for some days straight, there are always situations and triggers that make my foundations tremble.

As addicts, I think it's very important to accept what we are and live with it. Never think you have overcome the problem, on the contrary, always have in mind what have you been through, why you decided to quit, what defines you now; all of this will help you stay strong against the urges and the low moments.

On the other hand,

I think @Phoenixking's answer was just spot on, and I relate to every single word:

It may take time, but once you start enjoying the real things that the real life can offer, videogames sound like cheap imitations, quick and not very durable patches that keep you asleep and away from the real, durable, tangible happiness.

Well.. i feel every day that i dont have overcome the problem cause iam fighting very strong against my urges to play every day. I think so too that @Phoenixking very precisly pointed out what interested me in videogames when they were just an ordinary hobby. I dont know why but i keep thinking that i could maybe go back to this point. Where i just played single player games for their story and their graphic. I didnt even play every day, sometimes not for weeks or months. It was just a simple hobby. But yeah iam aware that my brain is a bitch now and since it has experienced those dopamine rushes it wants more of it and always will want, and that even playing a single player game now could be different and dangerous for the process of recovery. When i quit i chose the 90 days off like many here did to see whats gonna happen. So now iam 5 months done and although many things have changed in my life to the better theres also still so much urge to play. So i set myself another goal now cause i seem to need this and extended the 90 days to 360 days. @Peluconus its not that iam not enjoying the real things in life. But i think you are very right when you say, we need to accept who we are. Maybe one day i wont be even sad anymore about all this. Idk. On some days it still feels like i have lost a big part of myself cause i had build up a certain reputation in my game. This is really silly ? Thank god there is this forum here with all you wonderful people ❤️

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1 hour ago, TheCrystalLake said:

Well.. i feel every day that i dont have overcome the problem cause iam fighting very strong against my urges to play every day. I think so too that @Phoenixking very precisly pointed out what interested me in videogames when they were just an ordinary hobby. I dont know why but i keep thinking that i could maybe go back to this point. Where i just played single player games for their story and their graphic. I didnt even play every day, sometimes not for weeks or months. It was just a simple hobby. But yeah iam aware that my brain is a bitch now and since it has experienced those dopamine rushes it wants more of it and always will want, and that even playing a single player game now could be different and dangerous for the process of recovery. When i quit i chose the 90 days off like many here did to see whats gonna happen. So now iam 5 months done and although many things have changed in my life to the better theres also still so much urge to play. So i set myself another goal now cause i seem to need this and extended the 90 days to 360 days. @Peluconus its not that iam not enjoying the real things in life. But i think you are very right when you say, we need to accept who we are. Maybe one day i wont be even sad anymore about all this. Idk. On some days it still feels like i have lost a big part of myself cause i had build up a certain reputation in my game. This is really silly ? Thank god there is this forum here with all you wonderful people ❤️

The bolded was me a long time ago. My accountability partner suggested that it was a loss of identity, and he was probably very correct. The vast majority of our existence for many of us is intricately connected to video games. If you remove that, it's like ripping out a large piece of ourselves. That gap is something that has to be filled with other things. Activities, relationships, work, whatever. You just need to find other things that say "this is who I am". It's possible that you simply haven't been able to find many things that you deeply connect with quite yet. Don't worry though! Just keep exploring the world and all it has to offer and you'll definitely find something to be passionate about! ?

Edited by seriousjay
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35 minutes ago, seriousjay said:

The bolded was me a long time ago. My accountability partner suggested that it was a loss of identity, and he was probably very correct. The vast majority of our existence for many of us is intricately connected to video games. If you remove that, it's like ripping out a large piece of ourselves. That gap is something that has to be filled with other things. Activities, relationships, work, whatever. You just need to find other things that say "this is who I am". It's possible that you simply haven't been able to find many things that you deeply connect with quite yet. Don't worry though! Just keep exploring the world and all it has to offer and you'll definitely find something to be passionate about! ?

Yeah you are quiet right. Its disturbing though how important such a virtual identity can become to ourself. Iam aware that this maybe just filled a void i had in my life, although i never completly lacked friends in real life. But what attracted me was to be part of a group and to be useful for a group too. I ofc now try to find that in real life and friendships and work but nothing so far gives me this feeling. And yea lol, i feel silly about it. I maybe have to keep on searching. Maybe i should not be so unpatient ?

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Ah, yes. Patience is a virtue. It's also really fucking hard to master ? especially in a crummy situation where you are desperate for a change, but your brain is used to games so it's used to quick and measurable progress ? I had to learn this too. It's hard and slow and annoying. But once you realize that you don't need to pressure yourself too much, it dies down. I had to let go of my crazy high goals and plans and found out that I just naturally gravitate towards my new hobbies and my responsabilities. Be kind to yourself @TheCrystalLake

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1 hour ago, Phoenixking said:

Ah, yes. Patience is a virtue. It's also really fucking hard to master ? especially in a crummy situation where you are desperate for a change, but your brain is used to games so it's used to quick and measurable progress ? I had to learn this too. It's hard and slow and annoying. But once you realize that you don't need to pressure yourself too much, it dies down. I had to let go of my crazy high goals and plans and found out that I just naturally gravitate towards my new hobbies and my responsabilities. Be kind to yourself @TheCrystalLake

That's exactly what I've been making a point of. I feel like I've been doing a good job of slowing things down and letting things happen naturally and I've found that I'm STILL trying to force things and make them move too quickly. As heavy gamers, we are used to the timescale of a video game. You can experience the entire lifetime of a virtual character in a matter of 200 hours. That's just over a week of real life! So, our perception of how fast things should be going, or how fast we should be making progress, etc. is all very warped and distorted.

Just as an example, I learned yesterday that new couples "should" typically see each other 1-2 nights a week. That's like.. nothing, but apparently that's what science says is a healthy amount of interaction. We just need to slow ourselves the hell down and let things happen more naturally. That takes a lot of time and especially patience. This may have been my downfall in my last "serious" attempt at quitting games. I was doing something different every single night of the week almost and just completely burned out on it. I am allowing myself a lot of downtime and time to just do nothing this time around, and it's working much better. ?

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13 hours ago, seriousjay said:

As heavy gamers, we are used to the timescale of a video game. You can experience the entire lifetime of a virtual character in a matter of 200 hours. That's just over a week of real life! So, our perception of how fast things should be going, or how fast we should be making progress, etc. is all very warped and distorted.

Thats a very good point @seriousjay i never saw it that way. I dont have much patience at all but i think cause of the immediate satisfaction you get in a game this might have even change to the worse... But what you wrote about the couples seems... weird lol. My experience is that you want to see each other as often as possible. Still i agree on slowing down on many things and about what @Phoenixking said about being kind to ourself. Thats maybe the most difficult part.

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2 hours ago, TheCrystalLake said:

Thats a very good point @seriousjay i never saw it that way. I dont have much patience at all but i think cause of the immediate satisfaction you get in a game this might have even change to the worse... But what you wrote about the couples seems... weird lol. My experience is that you want to see each other as often as possible. Still i agree on slowing down on many things and about what @Phoenixking said about being kind to ourself. Thats maybe the most difficult part.

When it comes to the couples thing, it's all a matter of preference I suppose! Some people do in fact want to see each other as often as possible. However, science seems to indicate that some amount of separation is both healthy and necessary. There's a lot of articles about it on Google if you're interested in further research.

This seems to hold true for regular friendships as well, as I found out recently! Haha.

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