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NEW PODCAST: 3 Months of Solo Travel - Did It Change My Life? (spoilers, yes)

BooksandTrees

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1 hour ago, Deku said:

Congrats on making it to 50 weeks! I remember when I first started posting here your journal was in its early stages, so it's crazy to see how far you've come since then. It makes me feel a little sad because I feel like I could have been where you are if I had just stayed focused. You seem to have reached a point of mental clarity and self-contentedness that I'm still trying to find, and you do a lot of awesome stuff with your free time. I don't think you'll need it, but best of luck getting through the last two weeks. Hope I can get to where you are someday!

 

Thank you for the kind words. You'll get here and even further. I know it. Sometimes the best focus is not focusing at all and moving forward with keeping yourself busy, learning, and lots of introspection. 

Don't be sad for something to not be sad about. Be happy you're trying and supporting yourself. Loving and supporting yourself is the greatest gift you could ask for from yourself. 

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I started building a website for my hockey stories and podcasts that I mentioned a few posts back in the hobby post. I'm taking a break from the cartoon because it's just so overwhelming. I went through my post, analyzed the blue vs red ratio and content, and realized I wanted to change my focus. 

I've been able to develop this website for a few hours at a time. I'm learning a lot and I'm surprised how eager I am to keep developing the website. Once it's fully developed I'll share a link to it in this thread. It will be a hobby I'm interested in and I won't be stressed out about creating the website and such. I was so stressed out about the process of web design that I ignored my passion for hockey writing and also ignored other hobbies. I'd get overwhelmed with what I had to do. 

Now that I focused and learned about my problems with hobbies I'm not treating this website like a job. I'm just excited for it. 

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Today marks 51 straight weeks without playing video games. 1 year will be quite an accomplishment, but it's not a goal of mine. I'm not sitting here strictly trying to reach 1 year. It's just a year on my life without gaming. I will keep going as it is not a burden on me. I'm just proud of myself every day for being able to move forward and appreciate the support from people on this thread who have helped along the way.

I've done a better job at not abusing porn the past few weeks. I think I know that I'll be watching it until I meet a girlfriend. The only way I'll be able to make the transition from porn to real life is by watching porn less when I really don't "need it". I'm letting cravings be the thing that directs me instead of stress. I've done a better job at channeling stress into something positive for myself like speaking to family, friends, exercise, and cooking. Also, I can watch hockey again and release stress by celebrating.

I had a coworker let me down over the past few weeks. They were supposed to help me with a project that was fast tracked and they completely blew my budget, lied about how many hours they worked, didn't work hard, and gave me a poor product riddled with errors on a consistent basis. They even took work from my other coworkers to guarantee they had something to charge hours to at work. This is because there is a secret policy at work which allows people to "work overtime", store the hours as comp time, and then go on a vacation with those comp hours. So this person scheduled how many hours they needed to work each day from August until November to do this trip. They then steal projects from people and says they are doing the project. It has left my other coworkers with nothing to do for several hours at a time and stressed them out. We recently had to stay late several times this week because of it. I'm disappointed because they are someone I viewed as an office friend and I see now how I was so wrong in trusting them. I told my boss about it because I was asked and I was disappointed. I don't know what will happen in the future, but it's not correct to steal from the company like that and I wanted to take action. It's not right to manipulate others (tell me they're working), lie about their product (it was a bad product), lie about hours worked (they were in the office no more than 40 hours a week, charged 50 hours, charged time worked through lunch and we don't get paid for lunch), and then talked to people all day and distracted the people who they stole the work from in the first place! Unreal.

I was nervous about this. I don't like causing trouble and for some reason action-oriented situations always seem to follow me. They do not define me though. I know I did the right thing. Each day we are faced with choices to do the right or wrong thing multiple times per day. Your character as a human determines the outcome of those situations. The outcome of those situations determines your character over the course of your life. You're either a saint (sainte) or a grinch (grunch).

If you can quote the reference I made in the last paragraph I'll reward you with something minuscule and non-physical. 

Edited by BooksandTrees
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Good job on toning down the porn. I'd think there's no need for porn or even masturbation, if you really set up your relationship with your future girlfriend in this domain properly and you'll be able to see each other at least for weekends.

Sucks to hear about the rat at work though. I can't quote exactly, but I know a guy on the forums somewhere posted a graph of all the good and bad decisions linking together and making the "path" of having a great or horrible day.

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On 10/12/2019 at 7:24 AM, BooksandTrees said:

Today marks 51 straight weeks without playing video games.

Congratulations on the 50+ days man that's awesome 🙂 Keep it up! I'm inspired by how consistently you write on GQ on your own journal and on others!

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54 minutes ago, RB1 said:

Congratulations on the 50+ days man that's awesome 🙂 Keep it up! I'm inspired by how consistently you write on GQ on your own journal and on others!

Thanks for the words and reading along! I appreciate the support and if I'm helping others then I'm equally grateful. It's 50+ weeks btw, not days! I think I'm at 359 days lol.

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4 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

Thanks for the words and reading along! I appreciate the support and if I'm helping others then I'm equally grateful. It's 50+ weeks btw, not days! I think I'm at 359 days lol.

That's jaw dropping to me... Ok well now I'm just overwhelmed with inspiration :)

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Tonight I face some loneliness. I haven't rock climbed in a bit. I worked late this weekend but I also saw friends and family on the days I didn't work. I watched hockey and enjoyed it. I'm just a little lonely is all. 

I may have mentioned this in the past, but my way of thinking has shifted from trying to leave my mark doing something incredible to be idolized by to trying to live a wholesome life. I want a hug when I come home. I want to fall in love and see a new world in my lover's eyes whenever I look into them. I want to hold someone and understand what unconditional, cherished love means. 

As close as I am with my parents now I just can't look at them with happiness anymore. It's tough for me to sit across from either of them and look them in the eyes. I love both of them and I also hold a lot of memories of them hurting me. I've forgiven them and no longer hold visceral hatred towards them. There's just something in my heart that pulls away from them when I'm with them. My soul is almost detached because of what I've experienced with them. It's a whole other life and I'll never allow myself to trust them at such a deep level again. 

That's what hurts. That's why I'm empty most days. I wish I could find someone who I just can't live without and love them so much. I'm not looking for them to save me. I just want to experience the journey of love and happiness. 

Overall, I'm happy. I'm in a wonderful place in life. Sometimes I see documentaries of people doing things and the first person they celebrate with is their wife. I long for that and hope I can find someone who could ever love me that way in return. 

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2 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

Tonight I face some loneliness. I haven't rock climbed in a bit. I worked late this weekend but I also saw friends and family on the days I didn't work. I watched hockey and enjoyed it. I'm just a little lonely is all. 

I may have mentioned this in the past, but my way of thinking has shifted from trying to leave my mark doing something incredible to be idolized by to trying to live a wholesome life. I want a hug when I come home. I want to fall in love and see a new world in my lover's eyes whenever I look into them. I want to hold someone and understand what unconditional, cherished love means. 

That's what hurts. That's why I'm empty most days. I wish I could find someone who I just can't live without and love them so much. I'm not looking for them to save me. I just want to experience the journey of love and happiness. 

Overall, I'm happy. I'm in a wonderful place in life. Sometimes I see documentaries of people doing things and the first person they celebrate with is their wife. I long for that and hope I can find someone who could ever love me that way in return. 

Eloquently written, BooksandTrees. 

I wish there was some magic wand that we can wave, wherein our wishes are granted, and presto!  Suddenly, our soulmate is standing before us! 

 I don't want to be cryptic about how lonely it is to be single, but it can be very difficult when you see other people who are truly in love with their SI, and we find ourselves going home alone every night.  It is not easy. And I laugh to myself when I read blogs about single people living an amazing fulfilled life.  Yes, that can be true in some areas, but there are bouts of loneliness that creep up and utterly consume us unawares. 

I suck at giving advice, but I'll share what helps me get through some of the loneliest times in my life.  I remember that there are people in relationships who are lonely too.  They have a significant other, but they are trapped in that toxicity.  I know it's the worst thing to do, to compare ourselves, but it gives me perspective and maybe feelings of gratefulness that I am not in a similar situation. 

I also remember that the loneliness will pass.  It will hurt like fire and brimstone from hell, but it will pass.  And it's okay to feel that way sometimes.

It sounds like you are doing so well in your journey without gaming, and I admire how far you've come.  I truly hope that one day you'll find the right lady for you, as it seems that you're a very thoughtful and sensitive man.  It was so nice to read this because I don't often understand a guy's perspective about love and relationships.  It was nice to look at it through your eyes too, not that you represent every male out there, but it was still a touching post to read.  So, thank you, and blessings to you.

Peace out.

 

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1 hour ago, CornishGameHen said:

Eloquently written, BooksandTrees. 

I wish there was some magic wand that we can wave, wherein our wishes are granted, and presto!  Suddenly, our soulmate is standing before us! 

 I don't want to be cryptic about how lonely it is to be single, but it can be very difficult when you see other people who are truly in love with their SI, and we find ourselves going home alone every night.  It is not easy. And I laugh to myself when I read blogs about single people living an amazing fulfilled life.  Yes, that can be true in some areas, but there are bouts of loneliness that creep up and utterly consume us unawares. 

I suck at giving advice, but I'll share what helps me get through some of the loneliest times in my life.  I remember that there are people in relationships who are lonely too.  They have a significant other, but they are trapped in that toxicity.  I know it's the worst thing to do, to compare ourselves, but it gives me perspective and maybe feelings of gratefulness that I am not in a similar situation. 

I also remember that the loneliness will pass.  It will hurt like fire and brimstone from hell, but it will pass.  And it's okay to feel that way sometimes.

It sounds like you are doing so well in your journey without gaming, and I admire how far you've come.  I truly hope that one day you'll find the right lady for you, as it seems that you're a very thoughtful and sensitive man.  It was so nice to read this because I don't often understand a guy's perspective about love and relationships.  It was nice to look at it through your eyes too, not that you represent every male out there, but it was still a touching post to read.  So, thank you, and blessings to you.

Peace out.

 

Thank you for writing this. That's very true about perspective. Sometimes I feel fortunate to be alone in certain situations or I'm glad that I'm emotionally secure enough to not date someone terrible for the sake of not being alone. 

It's definitely a test of will to avoid bad relationships. There are women who have entered my life and I know right away that they're not going to open my heart up or sing the tune of life I'm hoping to sing. This kind of dreaming might have me looking for someone impossible to find and I'm fine with that because I know when I find her I'll cherish every second with her. 

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Finding a true soulmate takes time. It's not some comission that will one day knock on your door and tell you that they evaluated both of you and that you're a perfect match. It's the opposite. Sometimes it's plain luck. Some people have to go through a lot of shitty people to find that one diamond lying in the middle of all the dirt. And to be honest, turn it all around for a second. I faced my demons and work hard on myself on the daily. The me from a year ago was still a mess. The me from today? It's such a huge difference. I'm very happy mine showed up when she did because any day sooner, and I would not have been able to give her the best version of myself. Same goes for her. 

The reason why a healthy relationship is so crazily valuable is not just because of all the things you summed up. It's also super rare and it takes a lot of work to find that one person. So do the work, bide your time with a smile. Because the more that you pour into this dream of meeting your perfect parner, the more they'll be worth to you when you do find them when you're ready.

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I watched two lectures by Peterson recently, they were probably one of the most practical ones that I've seen from him. I have some of my own thoughts combined with his ideas below then.

He mentioned that by age of roughly 30 (from what I gather, you seem to be in your 30s), kids should be able to see their parents as peers, with their unique flaws and strengths. Added to that, with their unique opinions as well, but that you shouldn't consider their opinions to be worth more than anyone else's. After all, they had a lot of time to install their opinions into you anyway, for better and for worse.

I tend to imagine love/hate as opposing sides of the same spectrum, in the case of my mom. In the case of my dad, it's rather respect/disrespect. I feel largely neutral towards them. I don't wish death and disease upon them, but I'd probably prefer some distance from them and see them once a week and I'll likely take any first good opportunity to move out and live on my own (or with a future girlfriend). It seems to me they are sort of alibistic and treat me as either an adult or a child, depending on what's more convenient, especially my dad.

Good luck finding the girl 🙂

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Thanks guys. I think I'm just a little worn out after a busy stretch at work with that tough assignment and dealing with 2 bad coworkers. But I was lauded as a hero for saving the project by all my managers and coworkers. I take great pride in that. 

I'd like to do something this weekend to celebrate 1 year without gaming and recharge a bit. 

I'll find someone eventually. 

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One of the frustrating experiences I've had while quitting games is how expensive it has been for me. Some gamers buy multiple games and that becomes expensive, but I only paid $5 per month for RuneScape and $60 per year for xbox live when I gamed. That was all of my entertainment cost and I was fine. I'd also eat less because I was so addicted that I never ate food and got sick from it.

My new hobbies are expensive. Rock climbing is $120/month, eating out with friends can cost up to $400/month since everyone just wants to eat out, concerts are anywhere from $12 to $150 each, movies are $15 per ticket, vacation is expensive, yoga is $15 per class, and my gym memberships is $20/month.

I don't really seem to find cheaper hobbies that enjoyable. I like the 3D modeling idea and making funny videos (software subscription is $35/month). I also like making my own website (hosting fees are $10/month). The issue with these hobbies is they are lonely hobbies. I only seem to enjoy activities and hobbies I can do with others in a group or in a game setting.

I'm making money at work to cover these costs. The issue is I'm tired of spending this much right now. I want to save more money. This year has just been stressful because I was in so many weddings and people can't seem to fucking have a wedding close to you. You gotta pay hundreds for travel, give them a gift of a few hundred dollars, rent a suit (suits have been more expensive than the bridesmaids gowns for all of my weddings as well funny enough), then dance to the same songs with people you hate seeing and eat crappy mass-catered food that isn't special.

Plus, I've been dating a bit and as the male you're expected to pay for every fucking meal and activity. I get offers to help pay from my date, but in the instances where I've taken her offer to split the check, she later criticizes me when I break things off with her lol. "I can't believe you had me split a meal!" Heard this from two women I dated this year. So I haven't been able to really win.

I need to do a better job next year regarding spending. I'm going to decline every wedding party I am invited to join, I'm going to stop eating out more than once per week tops, I'm going to cook all of the food I buy and not let it spoil due to laziness to cook after defrosting it, I'm going to cancel the gym membership I don't use (I have a free one in my apartment), and I'm going to find less expensive alternatives for activities with my friends. Some of my friends just want to bounce around different restaurants to talk so they can drink beer and coffee. I think I'm just gonna brew coffee and have them bring beer if they want a beer. Life doesn't need to be this expensive.

My main gripe for costs is I want to own a house one day and at this rate I won't own one for another 5-10 years. I'd like to be ready in the next 3 years because the housing market is going to crash in the United States and I'd like to be able to take advantage and buy something at an affordable price. The market is very high right now and has remained this high for 1-2 years. It's going to drop at some point. (I'm not here to discuss politics or marketing. I'm not going to talk to you about it. These are just my thoughts through research.)

The twist to this goal is that buying a house might be a bad idea unless I have a fiance or wife who wants to live in it with me. Living alone could add to the loneliness I've felt. I enjoy my current apartment so I'm fine for a few years here. I always have a 5 year plan in mind though.

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Hey man I hope your doing well. One thing that's nearby for me is a card shop. On certain nights however, they host a board game night. It may not be the best hobby but if you can find a group near you it might be a cheaper hobby? 

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24 minutes ago, Tzen1 said:

Hey man I hope your doing well. One thing that's nearby for me is a card shop. On certain nights however, they host a board game night. It may not be the best hobby but if you can find a group near you it might be a cheaper hobby? 

Hey I've been doing well! Hope you're doing well, man. Been a while! I actually did that as a hobby, but 3 people joined who I dislike and I haven't been in weeks. 

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Well dang, yeah you really got to find a good group of people who click together. I'm doing well, still haven't played games but funny enough I think my first game I'm going back to is switch fit haha. I like the concept of working out and having fun also,gyms are expensive as you found out.

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On 10/16/2019 at 12:10 PM, BooksandTrees said:

One of the frustrating experiences I've had while quitting games is how expensive it has been for me. Some gamers buy multiple games and that becomes expensive, but I only paid $5 per month for RuneScape and $60 per year for xbox live when I gamed. That was all of my entertainment cost and I was fine. I'd also eat less because I was so addicted that I never ate food and got sick from it.

My new hobbies are expensive. Rock climbing is $120/month, eating out with friends can cost up to $400/month since everyone just wants to eat out, concerts are anywhere from $12 to $150 each, movies are $15 per ticket, vacation is expensive, yoga is $15 per class, and my gym memberships is $20/month.

I don't really seem to find cheaper hobbies that enjoyable. I like the 3D modeling idea and making funny videos (software subscription is $35/month). I also like making my own website (hosting fees are $10/month). The issue with these hobbies is they are lonely hobbies. I only seem to enjoy activities and hobbies I can do with others in a group or in a game setting.

I'm making money at work to cover these costs. The issue is I'm tired of spending this much right now. I want to save more money. This year has just been stressful because I was in so many weddings and people can't seem to fucking have a wedding close to you. You gotta pay hundreds for travel, give them a gift of a few hundred dollars, rent a suit (suits have been more expensive than the bridesmaids gowns for all of my weddings as well funny enough), then dance to the same songs with people you hate seeing and eat crappy mass-catered food that isn't special.

Plus, I've been dating a bit and as the male you're expected to pay for every fucking meal and activity. I get offers to help pay from my date, but in the instances where I've taken her offer to split the check, she later criticizes me when I break things off with her lol. "I can't believe you had me split a meal!" Heard this from two women I dated this year. So I haven't been able to really win.

I need to do a better job next year regarding spending. I'm going to decline every wedding party I am invited to join, I'm going to stop eating out more than once per week tops, I'm going to cook all of the food I buy and not let it spoil due to laziness to cook after defrosting it, I'm going to cancel the gym membership I don't use (I have a free one in my apartment), and I'm going to find less expensive alternatives for activities with my friends. Some of my friends just want to bounce around different restaurants to talk so they can drink beer and coffee. I think I'm just gonna brew coffee and have them bring beer if they want a beer. Life doesn't need to be this expensive.

My main gripe for costs is I want to own a house one day and at this rate I won't own one for another 5-10 years. I'd like to be ready in the next 3 years because the housing market is going to crash in the United States and I'd like to be able to take advantage and buy something at an affordable price. The market is very high right now and has remained this high for 1-2 years. It's going to drop at some point. (I'm not here to discuss politics or marketing. I'm not going to talk to you about it. These are just my thoughts through research.)

The twist to this goal is that buying a house might be a bad idea unless I have a fiance or wife who wants to live in it with me. Living alone could add to the loneliness I've felt. I enjoy my current apartment so I'm fine for a few years here. I always have a 5 year plan in mind though.

Hello there.

Well, I think you're really learning something here.  Time and money are valuable resources.  

I went through a similar experience in my early 20's.  I attended a church back then, and there were many weddings, many baby showers, etc.  I did not want to feel bad for not attending most of them, so I went.....and I spent.  lol.  After that ordeal, I just began asserting myself and declined several social invitations after that.  I was also getting pretty burned out. 

I've learned to listen to my energy levels too.  I'm a bit different than most people, I presume, because I really don't want to be going out every single night to be social.  It can be very draining to me.  I gain more from one-to-one friendships, or smaller groups.  One of my favourite memories was spending time with my university roommate who was a painter.  We sat in front of the university building and sketched together while eating lunch.  Pretty cool experience, didn't cost a pretty penny, and we enjoyed each other's company.  I think that's what I like, the bonding and conversations that you get from a more intimate setting.  

 As for dating, yeah, it can be expensive paying for meals.   You'll figure it out.  You've gotta be creative with dates.  It's not all about eating out in restaurants or coffee shops.

Edited by CornishGameHen

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14 minutes ago, CornishGameHen said:

Hello there.

Well, I think you're really learning something here.  Time and money are valuable resources.  

I went through a similar experience in my early 20's.  I attended a church back then, and there were many weddings, many baby showers, etc.  I did not want to feel bad for not attending most of them, so I went.....and I spent.  lol.  After that ordeal, I just began asserting myself and declined several social invitations after that.  I was also getting pretty burned out. 

I've learned to listen to my energy levels too.  I'm a bit different than most people, I presume, because I really don't want to be going out every single night to be social.  It can be very draining to me.  I gain more from one-to-one friendships, or smaller groups.  One of my favourite memories was spending time with my university roommate who was a painter.  We sat in front of the university building and sketched together while eating lunch.  Pretty cool experience, didn't cost a pretty penny, and we enjoyed each other's company.  I think that's what I like, the bonding and conversations that you get from a more intimate setting.  

 As for dating, yeah, it can be expensive paying for meals.   You'll figure it out.  You've gotta be creative with dates.  It's not all about eating out in restaurants or coffee shops.

I agree. I think you and I have very similar ideals regarding our time. My energy levels guide my activities and it took me a while to learn that. Your old roommate sounds great. I honestly love hanging out with people to work on hobbies. My artists come over and we work on drawing and writing together. 

It's hard to do a more creative first date I feel. But I'm working it. I'm currently doing research on the website photofeeler to study what kinds of photos look good and how I can display myself better. Until then I'm just going to wait for real life things. I'm very confident and easy to get along with so I'm not too worried. I just want to learn how to invite someone on a date that I want to do instead of panicking and thinking they might be bored. 

 

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4 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

It's hard to do a more creative first date I feel. But I'm working it. I'm currently doing research on the website photofeeler to study what kinds of photos look good and how I can display myself better. Until then I'm just going to wait for real life things. I'm very confident and easy to get along with so I'm not too worried. I just want to learn how to invite someone on a date that I want to do instead of panicking and thinking they might be bored. 

 

I hear ya.  Yeah, sometimes trying too hard to be creative can seem 'forced', if you know what I mean?  And everyone's on their best behavior on the first date, that sometimes it's hard to assess whether the person you're with is bored or not..lol.   One thing you should never do is ask, "Are you bored?"  Or "I'm sorry if you're bored".  Never do that.

I think you're on the right path to dating.  It sounds like you're using a dating site?  If so, that can tailor your dates to a better match, or so I hope. I've never used a dating site before, but have heard about eHarmony in the past, and matching same interests, etc.  My sister met her husband on an online dating site, so it's probably just a numbers game.  Like, date many people and you'll eventually find the right person.  

That's a great idea, to use Photofeeler and upgrade a picture, find your photogenic side.  It's amazing what websites are out there now lol.  I honestly didn't know about that one!

Cheers!  Wishing you best luck in the dating world!

 

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On 10/16/2019 at 2:10 PM, BooksandTrees said:

Some of my friends just want to bounce around different restaurants to talk so they can drink beer and coffee. I think I'm just gonna brew coffee and have them bring beer if they want a beer. Life doesn't need to be this expensive.

Nope! Restaurants and bars were the biggest money drainers for me before I finally got my own apartment. Contact to friend circle moved and it just me and my quiet game addiction for awhile. Anyhow point being that was still a time where I saved a lot of money but imagine if I did that while investing in things that matter instead of beer and video games. Like no reason to feed someone elses addiction =) 

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On 10/16/2019 at 9:10 PM, BooksandTrees said:

"I can't believe you had me split a meal!" Heard this from two women I dated this year. So I haven't been able to really win.

I think you won just by getting such a reaction out of them. Imagine splitting your finances with someone with a behavior like this! My grandma always split or paid her share when she was out and that was back in the 50s/60s. Women had to go to work in the Eastern Bloc during that time.

I think the general guideline is that the place for the first date should be public, but you can achieve that by meeting in a park with a few benches and some nice view, while grabbing coffee. It's certainly a better option, if you are worried about bleeding too much money. Besides, you are kind of "stuck" with each other's full attention, not distracted by food, noise or anything else.

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Today I'm 1 year free from video games. 52 weeks. I'm not stopping here. I'm also 54 weeks free from social media. I'm not stopping here either.

I wanted to write and reflect on my brief journey quitting video games. You can all read my introduction as to why I quit gaming. It's linked in my first post on this thread. I don't need to re-type it.

I want to thank @Cam Adair for creating this website. I was so hesitant to sign up and commit to quitting video games because it was all I knew in life. Nothing made me happier or filled me with purpose like gaming. All my friends were gamers and my whole world was on the computer. I never left the house, never dated, never developed myself into much aside from college and getting a job. I always just looked forward to being home and playing games and not living my life. At first I was ashamed of that, but shame is a word you learn to say as little as possible when you're in therapy and trying to improve your life. Shame and regret are two of the biggest negative emotions you can feel and they often attribute to relapse and emotional spirals into deeper depression and anxiety. Quitting video games would force me to confront these emotions, develop strategies to deal with them, and studying myself to be truly introspective.

I want to thank @Phoenixking for being my oldest and often times my most supportive friend in this community. You've been there in some of my worst and best moments and offered your opinion to me. I value your words and appreciate the kindness. I also want to thank @Vera@Mouxine, @Ikar, @Silverlining, and @goodvibes for always talking to me and listening to me. I have appreciated your openness on the forums and discord (I don't really use discord anymore). It is nice to have a community who is there for me and also allows me to be there for them. I enjoy listening to your stories and getting to know you. I always want to see you succeed. 

There are other members of the community who have commented off and on to keep me going. I just wanted to highlight the ones who have consistently been there for me and really pulled me up when I fell down along the way.

Quitting games is something special for me. After you read my Introduction Post and learn about my childhood, comeback story, dealing with abuse, and then follow along my insane year you'll know how much this means to me. Gaming was my crutch. It was my place to hide. It was my place to live when I couldn't live and felt trapped. It was the outlet for all of my frustration and the source of my power. For me to turn away from gaming after it brought me this far has been so difficult. 

I just refuse to be controlled and dependent on something that isn't me. When people, companies, and societies failed me and left me alone I couldn't take it anymore. I got so angry with the routine of being depressed, anxious, angry, filled with hate, and sad only to retreat to my bedroom and play on the computer. I'd play games with other miserable people. I'd throw myself into the toxic communities of gaming. I was so tired of people picking fights with me in random games because they thought it was funny.

I was tired of trying to do amazing things in games and not have it matter to me. I was the best player in EA Sports NHL for 4 years, ran 2 clans on RuneScape for 11 years, and I was the best Grifball Player in Halo Reach for 2 years. I was on an elite team for Halo Swat mode on xbox live and was about to make a push to study and dedicate my time to trying to become a pro Overwatch player. None of it mattered.

Nobody cares when you're that good at a game. They want you on your team, they want your attention so they can get attention from others that they're playing with you, they pretend to be your friends and abandon you the minute you're not the best. Being the best in the world meant nothing to me. I got nothing out of it emotionally. I reached my plateau in gaming when my college friends were meeting women, getting married, having kids, and traveling the world on vacation. I was alone with fake friends. Even my friends from college who played video games were fake friends. They just want to have me over, play Super Smash, beat me in it, get angry at me if they lose because they are judging me and want to put me down, and then drink beer after.

I detached myself from this. I was tired of playing games for 18-24 hours straight from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon and then 16 hours on Sundays. I was tired of going home after work and playing for 6 hours and not sleeping. I was tired of feeling numb afterwards and turning to porn to feel a little more alive. I was tired of not eating 3 meals each day. I was tired of having physical and mental withdrawals from not getting instant gratification. I was tired of being lonely and knowing my friends were pathetic. I was tired of how lazy video game players are. They don't clean, they don't cook, they don't socialize in real life, they don't pursue hobbies, and they don't care about you. Some do, but most don't. I don't care if you're one of the few who do care. I've been gaming for 20+ years and know enough to be satisfied with my statement above.

I want love. I want to love life. I want to wake up and know in my heart that nothing is pulling me to play games. Addiction has this invisible force in our brains which gives you anxiety if you're not playing games. You feel like you can't stand the quiet of being alone. You can't stand the fact that you're going to have to deal with your thoughts and your pain without drowning it out and forgetting.

I grew tired of the cravings. I went into my own detox out of anger. I was tired of failing. I was tired of not being confident enough to make friends and find more well rounded hobbies. Never again was I going to lay in bed at 7 AM trying to fall asleep after playing games for almost a day straight. Malnourished from not eating food or drinking enough water. Physically confused and mentally exhausted due to too much focusing on games and dopamine rushes and depleted serotonin levels. I was tired of crying myself to sleep in the morning when others were waking up about to start their days. I was tired of letting myself down and harboring thoughts of myself being a failure.

Shame, regret, and failure. It's so easy to blame yourself and hate yourself. I learned a long time ago that I loved myself. In my Introduction Story I highlighted the moment where I almost commit suicide, but felt the strongest wave of love from my heart prevent me from doing it. I loved myself. I'll never forget that. When I was at my worst I was there to pick myself back up when I had nobody. This gave me confidence in trusting myself to get through addiction. When I have nobody I'll have myself. My spirit is stronger than anyone else's spirit because I believe it and proved it to myself. That's the attitude we need to quit gaming.

Quitting an addiction is tough. Most of the time you fight these demons alone. Communities like GameQuitters are important in giving people structure, community, and hope for when we absolutely need help.

If someone were to ask me how I have been able to quit video game addiction I would say a few things:

  1.  You need to recognize you have a problem. Are you hiding from your life and yourself? Are you playing so much each day that you neglect everyone around you and your life? Do you continue to play even though you don't want to play anymore? Do you suffer withdrawal when you're not playing? Is it all you can think about? Is it what you turn to in life for happiness, success, friendship, and purpose? Are you filled with in-explainable brain fog when you're not gaming and don't feel mentally clear? Then you have a problem.
  2. Stop playing cold turkey. Don't try to quit for 30-90 days and then go back to it. It won't work and you will fail. Eventually you will recede and go back into bad habits of gaming, escapism, and depression. I've seen so many people on this website, including myself, say with confidence that they are going to try gaming in moderation and they all fail. They all come back and say they failed. I failed. I quit gaming from April of 2018 until September 1st of 2018. It's in the first 3 pages of this diary. I did it and then just went back to old habits. By October I was playing 18 hours straight again and getting so angry. In the middle of October I had such an enraged moment where I just removed myself from gaming and realized I let myself down. I knew I had the power to quit gaming if I made it 4 months before this. I needed to keep going. I loved my life when I quit gaming and wanted the rest of my life to be even better.
  3. Understand why you are playing video games. If you consider your emotional/mental balance to be a building, then consider video games a support column holding up that building. If you remove the column the building will fall. You depend on gaming for happiness and emotional balance. That's not healthy. I played games because I wanted friends, needed to feel purpose in life, wanted something I could do that I was good at, and wanted a place to escape. To counter this, I found multiple hobbies that are only done in communities such as yoga, rock climbing, board game nights, recreational sport leagues, group hiking, book clubs, movie nights, cooking parties, boxing, you name it. Some stuck and some I hated. I now have tons of friends though and they all care about me more than the gamer friends. The hardest part of finding a new hobby is being bad at it. We all used to suck at video games at first, but eventually we became great. It sucks being bad again - especially if you were the best in the world at something else. Allow yourself to fail at a hobby and be bad. We refuse to because we are ashamed of ourselves in the first place. Behavioral therapy has taught me how to deal with embarrassment, shame, regret, and failure. I also took my job more seriously and became a lot better at it. I'm professionally recognized now.
  4. Don't rely on just willpower to quit. Willpower only gets you so far. If you don't study yourself and have introspection then you will fail at quitting an addiction. You have to do what I mentioned in step 3 in order to quit. You have to understand why you are addicted. I haven't craved video games in over 8 months because I replaced my sources of friendship, success, and happiness from gaming to other things. I no longer crave games and don't need to rely on willpower at all. I no longer crave anything.

I'm very proud of myself for quitting this far and continue to keep going. Gaming is evil in my eyes. I dislike most gamers. I dislike the gaming community, and I dislike game companies. I want my mind to be free for the rest of my life and I'll make sure it happens. 

Thank you everyone for being here along the way with me. If I can do it so can you. I'll even follow you along the way.

Matt

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