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Catherine17

Press 'quit' to win

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Hey! My name is Catherine and as many of you I've been addicted to video games for many years. I started to play games when I was 5 and it took me 15 years to decide that I'm going to quit.
Better late than never, right?

At first it was just an innocent hobby, a topic for me to discuss with my friends.  Then it turned slowly into a passion and became an important part of my identity. I have played practically everything in terms of game genres. Fortunately, online games weren't my thing, they are way more addictive.

Of course, games are designed to attract players and make them stay but for me it was all about people. It was all about one person, to be more precise. I entered the university and started to consider the opportunity to quit gaming (I didn't call it an addiction back then, I just wanted to have more time for myself and my future projects). I've met a girl who was a passionate gamer just like me.In fact she was even more passionate, she kept talking about it, sending me screenshots and letsplays. She lived in another country and we talked on social media.  And she was online 24/7. Imagine the disaster. I am just not used to communicate that much but I didn't want to hurt her feelings and be rude. That sounds really silly and sometimes I think I am to blame for whatever trouble my brain got into. When I was tired of talking to her I switched on video games and vice versa. It is hard for me to be multi-tasking, so I couldn't concentrate on my studies while spending time listening to her. The university simply didn't fit in that scheme. I know that it was my choice to continue that relationship, but she was a nice person and I really wanted to have a close friend.

But one day I decided to stop being nice (and stupid) and ended this toxic mess of a relationship. Though I still think whether we could be friends without gaming.

It was harder to get to normal life than I've expected. It's easy to pick up an addictive habit but it's difficult to get rid of one. Last year I tried to go through a detox, but failed twice - the first time at 23rd day and the second at 56th day.

Games cause dopamine rush and make us crave for more. In a way we are lucky not to have more. The technologies are not that advanced yet to substitute reality and each day we have only 24 hours. Last month I went on a binge and spent all my days playing. Suddenly I realised that it stopped being fun. It became almost painful and turned into 'a must'. Every day felt the same, every day felt the game. I needed it while I understood that I wasn't satisfied with any gaming experience I could go through. If addicts deceive their brains by giving them this artificial reality, then my own brain is tired of being deceived that way.

I want to get back on track, reclaim my identity. I am fond of reading and writing, but I haven't done this recently. I also love studying languages and translating. I hope to concentrate on my studies and self-development instead of wasting my time while surfing the internet or playing games. 

I hope I could do that. Best wishes to everyone!)

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@Catherine17 Welcome to the forums! It sounds like you already have a few ideas to fill your time with. I applaud your efforts to better yourself and recognize the toxicity of that online friendship! If you post regularly in the daily journals section, that might help to create a sense of community and connect with others that are going through similar struggles. Best wishes!

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@Brian, @Cam Adair Thank you for the greeting!

 

@Ph0enix, thanks)

I was learning how to drive at that time and it took a lot of energy and concentration, so I made this my commitment. When I faced a lot of problems and decided to take a break from driving, I relapsed almost instantly.

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@Catherine17 thanks for sharing, now I remember that I did not play for quite some time after relocating to another country. But I kept on reading fiction books in the evenings, so I was not totally off the hook of virtual reality.

Funny that you mention you started playing again while facing a lot of problems. One would think you would instead spend all the time to solve the problems at hand. That I can relate too.

 

 

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@Ph0enix I don't think tht fiction books is a virtual reality. Reading is good for the brain, it reduces the level of stress and is healthier than gaming by all accounts. Trust the one who studies literature:)

Well, it's up to our fight/flight/freeze response when we choose how to react to the problems. Sometimes even flighting can be beneficial in the long run (no pun intended).

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@Catherine17 Games relieve stress too, but so does alcohol and drugs. I think fiction books work similar to games. They create virtual reality which is fun and rewarding. The problem is that they end at some point but the life has to go on. 

Well, that's opinion on my own experience. Before turning to games I used to read a lot of fiction, now I see that I did it for the same reason.

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@Ph0enixI think we understand the term 'fiction' differently, but that's okay, I see your point.

Though it is a bit sad that the first things that come to your mind when we talk about relieving stress are alcohol and drugs. Why not get together with your friends, go for a walk or listen to music?)  Don't be so negative about yourself and other people. And books and alcohol are not the same, they work differently on a biological level. Alcohol is a depressant that oppresses one's mind and body while reading is a brain-stimulating activity which increases your cognitive capabilities.

Finding a hobby for relaxation and rest is important when you fight the addiction. We tend to forget that we cannot be productive 24/7/.When we are tired it is much harder for us to make decisions and resist the cravings to play. Reading is just one of the options.

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Well, drugs and alcohol was just an example of things, that also relieve stress but are not good for you in the long run. 

As for fiction, by fiction literature I mean something that you read for pure pleasure in contrast to technical, scientific, historical etc. 

Games stimulate your brain too, and they relieve stress. A game is in fact an interactive book.

 

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@Ph0enixBut what about fictional books, in which authors speculate about philosophical, political and cultural ideas? Or about some non-fiction books  thar can be written poorly? 

I don't think that games (apart from visual novels) are interactive books. It is a different kind of experience and they simply work differently as I've already mentioned. And although reading a healthy habit (healthier than gaming at least), I agree that if somebody wants to escape, they may find it there. 

 

Edited by Catherine17

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there's  is nothing  better than giving real use to your time and seeing your values as a person

Edited by Dschurd
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Well, if someone reads an entertainment book (more precise term I hope) for 15 minutes before going to sleep, that's not a problem. Still, this is a bad sign. Maybe it would be better to go over things done today and plan for tomorrow instead? I bet someone living a fulfilling life would gladly reminiscent on one's day and look forward to tomorrow instead of going into some virtual reality.

Take Harry Potter for example. The main idea of such books is to get you hooked and draw you in. There were no fiction books that I got anything useful from.

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Entertainment is the key word (thanks for the term, btw). No matter how much people want to be productive they cannot do without entertainment and they seek it. So let entertainment be less addictive that video games).

On 2/17/2019 at 11:21 AM, Ph0enix said:

I bet someone living a fulfilling life would gladly reminiscent on one's day and look forward to tomorrow instead of going into some virtual reality.

I guess that someone who lives a fulfilling life isn't struggling, trying to overcome addiction.

But as I mentioned I don't think I can be unbiased since I study literature and, what is more important, I love it and this is what I get my inspiration from. Though I kind of miss reading books for sheer innocent fun without constantly analyzing the plot, the story structure, etc.

However, I respect your opinion in the matter and enjoyed our talk)

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Good points. Switching to less addictive substances may work, I believe it is called replacement therapy. Some advocate cold turkey approach in contrast. I don't know which one is best, for me neither one worked so far )

I think building a fulfilling life is a key, if one manages to have fun from productive activities, addictions will loose appeal automatically. The problem is inducing productive activities with fun, I have yet to find a solution.

Well, literature definitely deserves learning despite the fact (or maybe especially because of the fact) that some genres are an addictive waste of time. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ph0enix

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