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Deku

I'm quitting gaming today.

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My name is William and I'm a gaming addict. Like many others I started gaming in elementary school (early 2000's), all the way back in the good old days of Pokemon Ruby, Runescape Classic and Maplestory Beta. I don't think I really had a reason for jumping into all these games, but almost everyone at my school played and it seemed natural that I would too. The only difference was that as we all aged and most of my classmates stopped playing, I didn't. And thus began my illustrious career as an avid gamer.

I don't think I was aware of my addiction problem in high school, but my parents definitely were. Working together, they created a bulletproof system to ensure that I could never game outside of approved hours. My computer was moved right into the middle of the living room, where I couldn't hide my screen activity, and I was closely monitored, right from the moment I got home until I went to sleep. I was forbidden from visiting friends at their houses or having them over at mine. I was also not permitted to have a smartphone, or any other device that could grant me internet access from the safety of my room. All of these measures were a genuine pain in the ass, and I was constantly angry and depressed while at home...but they worked. However miserable my life was, at least I had a life. I played on a varsity sports team, got incredible grades and test scores, was club president, even had a girlfriend. By the end of high school, I was bound for a top 10 university on a merit scholarship that covered more than half my tuition. It was a prime opportunity to compete for a seat in medical school, and a shot at my dream of becoming a great physician.

College was, in short, a massive dumpster fire. As an elite school, my university drew a number of amazing students, the vast majority of whom were a lot better looking and more socially competent than I was. In high school most of my friends were the introverted gaming type, but here those kinds of people were few and far between. As a result, it was extremely difficult for me to find common ground with others and make friends. Very soon I found myself truly alone for the first time in my life--sitting by myself in class, studying at a lone desk in the library, eating all my meals out of to-go boxes in my room. I did a lot of resume-boosting, medicine-related extracurriculars, but my inability to fit in and become socially accepted really hindered my ability to enjoy them. 

There was one thing, however, that I did enjoy, and those were the nights when I would log onto League of Legends and play some games with my old friends from high school. As we talked, laughed, and destroyed noobs, all my problems just seemed to melt away and be replaced by pure happiness. I no longer felt alone--in fact, it felt just like old times again, better even since I no longer had my parents to stop me anymore. At first, I only let myself play on weekend nights. Then one fateful day I decided to shirk homework for a weeknight gaming session. And before I knew it, I was staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning, every single night, playing games on the Rift. I began to find myself falling asleep in classes, then skipping those classes altogether. I flaked on extracurricular event after extracurricular event, then finally quit them all. By junior year of college I was living by myself in a studio apartment, and had dedicated myself wholeheartedly to the one pasttime that filled the gaping hole in my life and gave it meaning. I would spend upwards of 12 hours a day playing League of Legends, living on a diet of junk food and energy drinks, skipping all my classes and cramming for exams only on the night before. My grades were never bad enough to put me on academic probation, and looking over my transcript it was at first glance impossible to tell that something was very, very wrong with me. But make no mistake--between my mediocre grades and lack of extracurricular involvements, my dream of attending medical school was functionally dead. 

Today it's been almost 15 months since I graduated college. I've been playing games for 60+ hours a week for over 3 years now. I am on GameQuitters, 3 years too late, because I will be starting graduate school on Wednesday and I need a fresh start in my life. Beginning today, I am going to take back those years I lost. I will use Respawn to rehab myself, and use the energy formerly spent on gaming to throw myself into my coursework, my job and other extracurriculars that will hopefully put me back on track to becoming a doctor. I am scared shitless that I will fail again, get discouraged, and go back to gaming. I don't think I can stand the thought of wasting even another day playing games.

 

Edited by Deku
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Hi William, welcome to the forums. Although it's easy to look back at your situation with regret, know you are now taking action to turn it around and turn it around you will. Be patient, it will take time, but you will get there through hard work and perseverance. We have your back. 

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Hey William, 

Well written - we definitely share some problems with League being my time killing/escaping reality weapon of choice as well. 

I've recently decided to stop gaming (my gaming addiction story is right below yours if you want to read it ? ).

I would like to address the fear of relapsing that you were talking about at the end;

With gaming being such an important part of my life for the last decade or so it was pretty obvious that leaving video games was not going to be easy. And not easy it was. I've tried to do so through the years and always relapsed. Why? Because I always kept all of my accounts/characters/progress. They were just sitting there, waiting for me to relapse. 

I would advise as a must do; 1. deleting the game; (League of Legends) and 2. deleting your account(s) permanently by sending a ticket to the Riot games support. 

It might be hard to do so, losing all the progress - I know. I had about half a year (in time) invested in League and around 800$. One email - Poof. All gone.
But it's a vital step, ensuring you do not relapse. This one has helped me a lot this time, without it I would have definitely relapsed by now. 

Wish you all the best, 
hope you succeed, 

Matjaž 
 

 

Edited by TheColonel
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Hi William,

I really enjoyed reading your story, and I wish you good luck on your journey! I can totally relate to the feeling of so much time wasted, but I try to remind myself that those years spent gaming still have value in the perspective gained, like the importance of life outside of video games (that's why we are here right?). 

Also, I think it's a hell of a thing to have gotten through university while struggling with this problem! So well done on that front!

Looking forward to following you on your journey!

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Hey William,

I struggled with league of legends a lot as well. It was always such an easy time sink and way to escape for me as well for me in college. Glad you are committing! You also aren't here 3 years too late, you are here right on time! It's never too late to make a change, everything in your life has lead you up to each point which gave you knowledge.

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Hi William, I should have read this post earlier! I totally relate to your story. My parents also disciplined me so that I didn't have the chance to be addicted to gaming when I grew up. But it didn't stop me from being depressed and anxious. I was admitted to a good university and was surrounded by talented students who worked much harder than I did. With the peer pressure that I couldn't handle, I started gaming in junior year. I had been on the right path to be a PhD in my field, but I ruined it with game addiction. I also went through my applications and interviews with grad schools perfunctorily. Expectedly, I didn't get any PhD offer and ended up with a M.S. admission in my safety school.
I did manage to stop gaming during grad school, and yet the worst part began after I graduated. Feeling inadequate, I didn't pursue a PhD again. Instead, I got a job, which I don't like. The company that I work for is not doing well. My job is not challenging or fulfilling, and I am underpaid. Instead of improving myself to get a better job, I felt depressed and started gaming every day after work and on weekends. (I also ended a relationship at that time because my ex bf cheated on me, which made my situation even worse.) It's been 5 years and I am still stuck with this company. And it becomes even more difficult for me to get a better job after 5 years of no-growth. Now that my husband and I are planning to have babies, it's likely that I need to give up my career in the near future for at least a few years. 
I had the good cards but I kept losing. I wonder what my life would be like if I was never addicted to games, or never relapsed after graduation. Would I be in a better position with great maternity benefits so that I won't have to quit my job? Even if I still have to give up my career for family, I would be proud that I made every day count and probably achieved something. Will I ever have a second chance? I don't know. Anyway, it's no time for remorse. After all, I can still be a better me.
 
You are doing great and please keep up the good work! You have all the opportunities that I no longer have. And I guess you don't have to worry about giving up your career for family. By the way, I think it's not just about getting straight A's but it's also important not to feel discouraged even if you get a B in life. To be a doctor is difficult, and there will be ups and downs. This is the same with relationships, there will be turndowns and breakups. Be resilient. Everything is going to be all right. Good luck!

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