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Karabas's Journal: Part 2

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Day 0/120

I'm starting this as I started my last detox, at day 0 and a pretty crappy day it was.

I've been gaming for about 2 weeks now, which isn't that much. But it's just an extension of my whole addiction problem: for a good month before that I had a problem with videos and even books. The result is that I haven't been productive since June.

I'm traveling to my home country in a few days to help my parents out with some stuff and will be there for a month. It'll be particularly important for me to have the time to work while I'm helping them. So I can't do this nonsense.

So I'm restarting my detox, including games and videos, and addictive books (fiction mostly).

Last time what caused me to slip was:

1) reminders of my past habits (such as news about games)

2) "excusable" videos: TED talks, random videos I saw that was relevant to my interests, and the damned world cup

I've deleted most of my sources for the above (cleared history on youtube, etc). I need to get off of facebook as well.

I also need to spend more time away from the computer, so I'm going to try again to get away after every 2 hours and run the pomodorro timer otherwise. I also need to start writing out my day's tasks and hourly breakdown again.

I was able to do 90 days last detox, so I'm increasing it to 120 this time. If I can go addiction free for 120 days straight, that's a third of the year. Even if I relapse after, it's a long way without addictive behaviour.

I'm kind of in a conundrum: what happens if I break my detox in videos? Videos are definitely not as bad for me as games, but videos lead to games. At the same time, if I break my detox through videos, I'll say "eff it" and will go back to gaming as well. I need to try to do both I guess - that's the only idea I have for now. Even if games aren't in and of themselves that bad for me, they end being really bad as part of my addictive behavior.

So, here we go again...

Edited by karabas
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Good job catching yourself and getting back on track. That's the key to all of this, being self-aware and then intentional in how you move forward.

Here are two videos on videos that may be able to support you:

 

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As i said earlier, you did it last time for 3 months straight and you will prevail again. Good luck and don't lose confidence in yourself. We are here, if you face some obstacles on the way?

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Thanks guys, especially @Cam Adair. Love your videos, they've helped me a ton.

Days 1-2/120

The first day was tough. Especially at the end of the day: it was a bit early and I really wanted to just play a bit before bed. I literally sat there for a few minutes, just battling myself internally. In the end, I decided that passing another milestone or two in the game isn't going to change a whole lot except make me want to pass more milestones. So I didn't game and in the end went to bed earlier than I've done in a long time!

Second day was fine. Still not very productive, but I've been having some health issues + I was packing and making some last-minute plans for my trip (which is tomorrow). Stayed up late, but for good reason, so I'm OK. It looks like I won't be getting into my productive groove for some time, but I'm hoping to start carving out more work time over the next few days.

I also paid for a week's worth of online therapy. I'm trying to see if there's any benefit to doing it. So far, I've found none. My first therapist was clueless, suggested I game in moderation, then agreed when I said that it doesn't work. Her advice was limited to that and telling me to have someone I'm accountable to. Great, no duh. I changed therapists (thankfully that's easy to do online), and the second was one was an aggressive monster. Not sure how this lady keeps a job in therapy. She essentially called me a child and told me to man up and just decide to quit games in a very rude manner and twisting my words to suit her own message. Thanks lady. I've been trying to quit for 10 years - I'm sure your brilliant advice is going to keep off of games forever. The crazy thing is, when I replied in a way to show that I wasn't receptive to that kind of message, she just kept bashing me psychologically for not being able to quit. Seemed like proving her point was more important than helping me in any way

I changed therapists again. Have some more hope with this one: he actually asked me what I'm looking for from him. The other two didn't ask this even though it seems like a no-brainer question. He also seems to be more solutions-oriented, which is what I'm looking for. I'll see how it goes. If I don't find any benefit, I have until Aug 6th to quit. It's not a huge amount of money, so if there's some benefit, I don't mind forking over the money.

Anyway, that's that. Today we're traveling to the biggest city in this country because i'm flying out from the airport there. Should be a fun trip: there's some good food here and apparently the biggest mall on the continent that I haven't seen yet. Will be cool to check out.

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Are you using the BetterHelp website? It's surprising that some therapists don't know ANYTHING about addiction. Accountability is indeed powerful, that's what this forum kind of does. A few days ago I found somebody to have a call in the morning to wake the brain up and revise our goals, specifically to treat my getting up problem, and it's very helpful, even if it's temporary. If the dude quits I think I'll open a thread here ?

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On 8/1/2018 at 7:47 PM, JustTom said:

Are you using the BetterHelp website? It's surprising that some therapists don't know ANYTHING about addiction. Accountability is indeed powerful, that's what this forum kind of does. A few days ago I found somebody to have a call in the morning to wake the brain up and revise our goals, specifically to treat my getting up problem, and it's very helpful, even if it's temporary. If the dude quits I think I'll open a thread here ?

Yes, I'm using BetterHelp. This last guy that I got seems to be a lot more straightforward, but he's not as responsive and he admits to not knowing a lot about internet/gaming addiction. But least he's reasonable unlike the other two.

I definitely get that accountability is important, but I'm not about to pay $200+/month for that lol. And yeah, this website does this... to an extent.

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On 8/1/2018 at 7:02 PM, karabas said:

Thanks guys, especially @Cam Adair. Love your videos, they've helped me a ton.

Days 1-2/120

The first day was tough. Especially at the end of the day: it was a bit early and I really wanted to just play a bit before bed. I literally sat there for a few minutes, just battling myself internally. In the end, I decided that passing another milestone or two in the game isn't going to change a whole lot except make me want to pass more milestones. So I didn't game and in the end went to bed earlier than I've done in a long time!

Second day was fine. Still not very productive, but I've been having some health issues + I was packing and making some last-minute plans for my trip (which is tomorrow). Stayed up late, but for good reason, so I'm OK. It looks like I won't be getting into my productive groove for some time, but I'm hoping to start carving out more work time over the next few days.

I also paid for a week's worth of online therapy. I'm trying to see if there's any benefit to doing it. So far, I've found none. My first therapist was clueless, suggested I game in moderation, then agreed when I said that it doesn't work. Her advice was limited to that and telling me to have someone I'm accountable to. Great, no duh. I changed therapists (thankfully that's easy to do online), and the second was one was an aggressive monster. Not sure how this lady keeps a job in therapy. She essentially called me a child and told me to man up and just decide to quit games in a very rude manner and twisting my words to suit her own message. Thanks lady. I've been trying to quit for 10 years - I'm sure your brilliant advice is going to keep off of games forever. The crazy thing is, when I replied in a way to show that I wasn't receptive to that kind of message, she just kept bashing me psychologically for not being able to quit. Seemed like proving her point was more important than helping me in any way

I changed therapists again. Have some more hope with this one: he actually asked me what I'm looking for from him. The other two didn't ask this even though it seems like a no-brainer question. He also seems to be more solutions-oriented, which is what I'm looking for. I'll see how it goes. If I don't find any benefit, I have until Aug 6th to quit. It's not a huge amount of money, so if there's some benefit, I don't mind forking over the money.

Anyway, that's that. Today we're traveling to the biggest city in this country because i'm flying out from the airport there. Should be a fun trip: there's some good food here and apparently the biggest mall on the continent that I haven't seen yet. Will be cool to check out.

I did use BetterHelp site at first, but my chaotic life with bad internet and a lot of traveling offered me no chance to make a proper conversation with my therapist. He was kind, but his advices were basic unfortunately. He was talking a lot about discipline in general, but didn't offer any precise plan or anything to stood on for a few days atleast. 

And then i found GameQuitters's site and Cam's book "Respawn". Well, getting advice from former hardcore gamer turned out to be exact thing i needed. His points and methods were excellent and i understood a lot about myself. If you still struggling with gaminf, perhaps " Respawn" can help you.

Wish you luck, mate.

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Day 0/120

I relapsed again. Even though I don't end up gaming a lot of hours every day, it's as I predicted: I only have a few hours a day free and I really need to spend them productively. Instead I do stupid crap like Football Manager 2018. It's like I'm playing a game which is a fake version of a game. I'm not sure if you could find a stupider pastime. Gah.

I'm restarting this detox (yet again) that has so far failed to materialize. I need to do things differently to make sure it stays that way. It's way late now, so action steps for tomorrow:

- Delete steam off of the computer & delete stupid effing bejeweled off of my phone

- Develop a craving routine: if I want to game at night, I just go to sleep. Otherwise, I go spend time with family since I have that opportunity right now.

- Listen to some Islamic lectures: there's a particular speaker (Hamza Yusuf) whose talks almost always make me more grounded and give me determination and hope. Not because those are the things he talks about. I don't know what it is.

- Write out what I'm going to do & how

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1 hour ago, karabas said:

- Delete steam off of the computer & delete stupid effing bejeweled off of my phone

- Develop a craving routine: if I want to game at night, I just go to sleep. Otherwise, I go spend time with family since I have that opportunity right now.

- Listen to some Islamic lectures: there's a particular speaker (Hamza Yusuf) whose talks almost always make me more grounded and give me determination and hope. Not because those are the things he talks about. I don't know what it is.

- Write out what I'm going to do & how

Sounds good. I relapsed in day 1 ? Here back again.

Stay strong!

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Still in my first day.

I just got an angry email from my favourite client, telling me they're really frustrated with how long I'm taking with the work I'm doing for them.

It's totally warranted and it's totally because of gaming. My hours gamed since relapse are now over 100, so no duh I could've put them to better use.

On the plus side, this might be the kick in the butt I need to get rid of this habit once and for all. I hate making people feel this way, especially people I care about.

Edited by karabas

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Day 1-2/120

Much better so far. I deleted Steam and all the game files & saves so that'll probably help keep me off of it for a month or more with no problem. The challenge now is staying away from the other stuff like YouTube/Netflix & phone games.

I think something's different this time. Not in that I don't feel cravings - I still do. But I think the relapse did more damage this time around than it did last time. I'm really feeling the financial crunch that's the result of the last two months being totally wasted on gaming & vids. I'm feeling the disappointment of my clients. And worst of all, I'm feeling like I'm so behind on all my goals, work & otherwise. A few months back I remember writing how I wasn't ready to put gaming behind me for good. I think I am now. Maybe this will change 45 days into the detox again, but right now I hate gaming. I know that it's pleasurable, but I hate it and what it's done to me. And I really want to be done with it for good.

I'm not there with YT/Netflix yet, but they are what perpetuates my addiction to tech in general. So I have to be super careful.

Also I need to finalize my quitting of games. Getting rid of my steam account is a good start. Doing the same with my other game download account is another. I don't remember what that other one is called and I don't have a lot of games on there, but I know myself. If I have cravings and there's some weird way I can get back into it, I will use it. I need to burn all my bridges before I think of turning back.

That's in my to-do for the next few days.

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Hi, I'm also struggling with Youtube. I don't want to quit it entirely, but to now waste time there. I think deleting steam is definitely a good start. Good luck!

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I have to chime in here with my 50 cents: It might be a bit too much to cold-turkey quit everything in 1 day, especially if the determination and motivation is not steel-strong. I would just focus on not playing games at all costs, that's like the most basic thing we absolutely need to get rid of. We have many flaws and need to fix them all, yes, but trying to never watch youtube as well as never game at the same time is like trying to put plasters on your scratches while simultaneously treating a big bleeding open wound. No! Treat the wound first, so that at least you don't bleed out and then treat the stuff that doesn't kill you immediately. 

So just let youtube/tv shows/whatever be what it is now at least for a few days, let's say a week, until you feel confident you don't have massive gaming cravings, then you can start eliminating the rest too. Just to get over the most difficult few days at the start.

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9 hours ago, Cindpline said:

Hi, I'm also struggling with Youtube. I don't want to quit it entirely, but to now waste time there. I think deleting steam is definitely a good start. Good luck!

 

8 hours ago, JustTom said:

I have to chime in here with my 50 cents: It might be a bit too much to cold-turkey quit everything in 1 day, especially if the determination and motivation is not steel-strong. I would just focus on not playing games at all costs, that's like the most basic thing we absolutely need to get rid of. We have many flaws and need to fix them all, yes, but trying to never watch youtube as well as never game at the same time is like trying to put plasters on your scratches while simultaneously treating a big bleeding open wound. No! Treat the wound first, so that at least you don't bleed out and then treat the stuff that doesn't kill you immediately. 

So just let youtube/tv shows/whatever be what it is now at least for a few days, let's say a week, until you feel confident you don't have massive gaming cravings, then you can start eliminating the rest too. Just to get over the most difficult few days at the start.

I hear you, @JustTom and that was my original approach back in the day before these forums. But I think I've come to realize that my gaming addiction is really more of a tech-related dopamine dependency than a gaming-specific addiction per se.

I noticed that because when I'd get fed up with how much time I was wasting on games, I'd quit games for a time. But as soon as I'd do that, I'd switch over to movies, tv shows, and YouTube and would continue to waste as much time on them. And if I quit both, I'd find fun books to read and would get just as hooked on those. And eventually, I'd just go back to playing games.

I even went 2 years without games, but it doesn't mean I was free of my addiction, I just channeled it through something else (videos).

If you think of it as a dopamine addiction, it starts to make sense. I'm addicted to dopamine, which I achieve by gaming. If I can't game, I get it through shows and movies. If I can't, I do it through books. So I could be off of games for 2 years but my addiction is still 100% there because I've been getting my dopamine elsewhere. I think that the only way I can quit games for good is to kick the real habit and that means abstaining from all dopamine-related behaviors.

And I HAVE noticed that with these rules, I find myself actually bored and not wanting to do anything at all sometimes. This is really weird for me because I don't remember the last time I felt bored. So it almost feels "good" to be bored because it's like my brain is craving dopamine and I'm not giving it any and I'm hoping that eventually it'll just give up and go back to a healthier state.

Maybe that's hogwash, but I think it makes sense. And in my last detox, I did last ~60 days without youtube, videos, etc. In fact, I think the road to my relapse started with getting more and more slack with YouTube. So it's definitely a "gateway drug" for me.

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Day 3/120

Forgot about my detox for a bit today and watched a video or two. Not going to count that because overall I've been clean. Been kinda lazy overall though. Didn't do all that much today... or maybe it just felt like that because I didn't work?

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22 hours ago, JustTom said:

Yeah, I meant just a few days, but if it works for you then good luck! I think it's time for me to deal with YouTube as well.

Oh sorry, I missed that part. I actually don't find that adding YouTube makes it harder for me in terms of cravings. I can quit games only and still have massive cravings or quit everything and have none. It's weird.

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Day 0/120

Gahhh I relapsed (with videos, not games) for no good reason.

I was literally coming here to post about another successful detox day when I decided to watch some innocuous video on YouTube. It's now 4am and I spent the last 4 hours watching various music videos (mostly from my high school days).

That was so stupid. At first I was going to say, "it's ok, I won't count this as relapse as it's just a few videos" but when you're going to sleep at 4am instead of midnight, I think that very well damn counts as a relapse.

It clearly highlighted why I can't let myself be lax with videos tho. It always starts with "just one". I have to stay true to the rule that I don't watch anything unless I specifically need to for work or learning. No "interest" videos either. Not for now anyway.

Anyway, I'm not feeling super crap about this although I was having a pretty productive day until this happened. But my resolve is still stronger than it's been in months, so I'm just going to pick myself up and restart tomorrow.

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I know how you feel.  I watched American Idol auditions for 6 hours two nights ago.  Oh man lol.  Don't worry about this.  Just don't forget how productive your day was and learn from this.  You can't be productive all day long.  You need to find ways to decompress from the productivity you were doing.  That's why it's so easy to do nothing after work and just watch TV.  I have had the same issues because it's so easy to game, watch tv, or watch porn for a quick reward after a long day.  That needs to change.  We need to rewire the reward system for a hard day's work.  This way we can properly correct our endorphin system.

I'm trying to watch 1 hour of cartoons a day because that's what I did as a kid.  I'd just watch Dragonball Z and Gundam Wing and then build with Legos or something.  It's tough because we can binge watch stuff now.  We couldn't do that years ago.  But it felt so exciting to come home at the end of the day and watch that one episode.  I'm also trying sketches.  Not anything in particular because that takes brain power.  I'm making random sketches and listening to music to let my mind aimlessly create something with how I'm feeling.  I'm also cooking dinner now which triggers your sense of smell, taste, vision, hearing, and touch.  It's a very rewarding and calming hobby that you can plan earlier in the week when you're not stressed.

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On 8/15/2018 at 11:26 PM, Matt S said:

I know how you feel.  I watched American Idol auditions for 6 hours two nights ago.  Oh man lol.  Don't worry about this.  Just don't forget how productive your day was and learn from this.  You can't be productive all day long.  You need to find ways to decompress from the productivity you were doing.  That's why it's so easy to do nothing after work and just watch TV.  I have had the same issues because it's so easy to game, watch tv, or watch porn for a quick reward after a long day.  That needs to change.  We need to rewire the reward system for a hard day's work.  This way we can properly correct our endorphin system.

I'm trying to watch 1 hour of cartoons a day because that's what I did as a kid.  I'd just watch Dragonball Z and Gundam Wing and then build with Legos or something.  It's tough because we can binge watch stuff now.  We couldn't do that years ago.  But it felt so exciting to come home at the end of the day and watch that one episode.  I'm also trying sketches.  Not anything in particular because that takes brain power.  I'm making random sketches and listening to music to let my mind aimlessly create something with how I'm feeling.  I'm also cooking dinner now which triggers your sense of smell, taste, vision, hearing, and touch.  It's a very rewarding and calming hobby that you can plan earlier in the week when you're not stressed.

Thanks man. It's not that I'm being so productive that I end up exhausted and need some kind of vent. I just have crap self-control and I can't make myself stop after that one episode. I always end up watching more, if not today then in a few days.

I've experimented a lot with this... I don't think I can reasonably quit one without the other.

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Days 1-3/120

Well it hasn't been perfect. I played some games on my phone while in the bathroom (ugh) and I watched a video or two but they were semi-intentional.

On the plus side, no games since I deleted steam... so must've been about a week by now.

Either way, I'm going to try to keep the counter and just straighten out and get rid of these little "cheats" that I'm indulging in.

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Days 4/120

Totally relapsed on the videos and still have been playing games on my phone. But I'm doing a lot better than a week ago and I kinda need to keep my counter up so that I don't give up lol.

I'm fasting for the next two days and that's yet another incentive not to indulge in these behaviors. That'll get me to 6 days and hopefully to a week from there so I don't have to keep cheating to keep up my detox ?

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