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Question of the week: What are you grateful for?

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I've been here before... Three times before but this time it's different. On the third time, you begin to see the foolishness and painfully must admit that you have a problem, not just any problem... a serious a problem. I am a addict. It took me a many years to be able to say it, and truly understand what it means, after years of trying to rationalize and moderate myself unsuccessfully if it meant countiningon a cycle that would finally lead to my dsstruction. 

Yet, while I am here now, the scariest thing is I have been here before. More than once.. so what makes this time any different?

I am not doing it alone, I will be receiving counseling, I'm in love, and I'm living in what could be the best times of my life. 

My name is Sheldon and this will be my story, for anyone choosing to read it please share what works for you, and let's help each other succeed. 

"It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness." - Seneca

I'll also be sharing some of my favourite quotes. 

 

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Welcome to the forums Sheldon. A tip from personal experience, after countless attempts at quitting: it only worked when I worked hard to replace the newly found free time AND committed to never playing again. It's going to be hard, changing habits and replacing them with new ones, but it's most likely you'll end up not believing how great life can be at some moments. First you have to go through the sucky parts, after you get to reap the results. Prepare for hardship and embrace it, you'll be good.

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Day 1

Success is really a mindset, today really felt liberating. There is a freedom that comes from being able to have my mind back, to be able to deliberately choose what I will give my attention too, and to be present enough to participate in the lives of the people I love.  I think first day always feels this way... it is a victory, because this is something I want. The fact that I have numerous outstanding assignments due in over the next few weeks will surely provide me with something to direct my attention too in a productive way and feel good about it. 

Often this is the case with my own addictive behavior, the situation reaches near failure, I force myself to overcome, I remain sober enough to accomplish what needs to be done and feel a sense of accomplishment. Upon completion of what was important, I have little direction in which to focus my attention, I determine I have free time and am doing well for myself and I renegotiate my decision to game, until one game leads to two, continually increasing the the time on the games until it consumes my day from the time I wake up. Writing down my patterns is something that I feel will help me recognize them in the future. This time I have decided to write a letter in anticipation to my future self who will determine when life is going well that gaming can be a healthy habit that can be introduced into my life, or my future self who feels overwhelmed with isolation and seeks to escape from the emotions of the moment for a quick and destructive dopamine hit. 

Having an assignment due tomorrow really helped me to prioritize my time, a skill that I have to work hard at rebuilding. I prepared two meals for myself today which was something I haven't done in almost a week, either due to not eating or eating out, I also got out of the house and went to the library to study which allowed me to remove myself from my triggers at home. 

I have recently bought a new computer for the purpose of gaming, which I know in my heart of hearts, that I need to sell, but part of me is still holding on to some idea that maybe the problem is deeper than the behavior and by resolving some childhood trauma, I can game in meaningful way. I know doesn't work, but for the time being, it feels good to believe. I have put it away and out of site to create space for my recovery. 

Goals for Week

Establish a consistent Morning Routine 

Attend First Counseling Session

Try 3- 5 Hobbies ( Running, Writing, Rock Climbing, Playing Chess, Practicing a New Language, Meditation)

Make It To Next Sunday

 

 

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Day 2

After reading a number of journals, I have noticed that people often are focusing very specifically on their weaknesses and neglecting their strengths, so I am going to try to do the opposite in an attempt to encourage readers to do the same in their journals, beating ourselves up is easy and I think we should practice self-love and being compassionate with ourselves, so hear I go.

Day 2 doesn't seem long on a scale of 90 days, but two days of sobriety feels like a breath of fresh air. Having a busy schedule and attending my classes has removed me from the triggers of being home and it has made it a lot easier for me to coop. This morning I woke up at 6:30 and went for a run, I froze my butt off as it was -9 and I wasn't dressed warm enough but I felt like a wolf running through the darkness before sunrise. One of my goals is to connect with my childhood hobbies and one of them was running, in addition to having a really enjoyable way to get my heart rate going and endorphins pumping I think its a habit that will stick, as I could see myself building a routine out of it. I will aim for 3 days a week of running, and 3 days a week working out, as exercise is a important part in keeping my mind clear and focused. 

I am really grateful for my ability to open and honest with my friends and family now, this addiction used to be something I hid as I felt ridiculous and silly being addicted to video games, how could people understand, I used to think at least if I was a meth addict people might take me seriously but as I open up about my challenges people seem to understand and take it equally as serious, I feel truly blessed to have the people in my life that I do.  

The next 4 days will likely be the most difficult, as I have no prior engagements and I left to structure my time as I see fit. I was talking to my brother, and he said something that really resonated with me 'Free Time" is the enemy. Perhaps its worth looking at the concept of time as a commodity that can be spent or sold, and how this idea impacts how we choose to "spend it"and how it relates to leisure, but I am to tired for that tonight. I have a goal to write something this week, so perhaps this will be my reflection piece.  

Onward to Day 3. 

 

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Day 3

Today, I had my first counselling session with a health professional. It felt really good to be affirmed that my addiction could infact be towards something else such as drugs, alcoholic or another more harmful substance which has a greater impact on my physical health. We will be exploring this idea of escapism, and what exactly the mind is trying to escape from an why?

I have also been reading the Four Agreements, a book on Toltec wisdom, on which the first principle states that our entire life is experienced through a lens in which we have been taught or created with our use of words an language. After reflecting on this and wanting to put this into practice, I have decided to be more aware and conscious of the language and words I use, when communicating with others and myself. 

In such a way, I have decided to stop labeling myself as an "addict", as I feel it is a type terminology used which strips the power from a person, and labels them in a negative. i have decided to label myself as a human who can build a healthier relationship to with video games as well as someone would benefit from exploring  past traumas and healing from it.

After 2 days of working very hard at school, I decided that I would enjoy playing a game or two, yet what i would enjoy more is the ability to control myself an my stop time. I decided to start logging my time playing something I have never done before so I can keep track of how long I am actually playing, and how long such time feels for. I noticed after an 1h 30 mins which seemed to fly by, I wanted to continue playing  and played for another 1.5 hrs, after taking a break and working on some homework, I played for another 2 hrs before bed totaling 5 hours. Rather than judging myself or beating myself up, I  became aware of the amount of time 5 hourse feel like and in my mind i didn't feel like more than 2 or 3 yet, 5hrs was much more than I thought I was playing for. 

I was also able to pull myself off playing after looking at my journal to see when I started, if I see i started at 12:00 I was able to say... hmm I have been playing for an hour now, probably better to take a break, where as in the past, I would say one more game an infinite amount of time with no concept of when I started or how long I have actually been playing .

While I know this is not the detox strategy, I am hoping that this way of growing teaches me some new skills and moves me into position to better understanding my behavior and developing control in other areas in my life as well. 

As for day, I will take it one moment a time and report my progress with goal of continuing to move towards developing a healthy relationship with gaming. I see this to mean less time gaming, and more stragetic timing of when I play. for example maybe starting an hour or two before bed when all my tasks are completed. 

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Well done so far Assellus, I just want to bring something to your attention. You are at the start of your detox, when you are supposed to have the most will power to do changes and replace your time with new activities and hobbies, but you played games for five hours. You can't expect yourself to keep track of your gaming for more than a few days. Habit will kick in, you will postpone/forget about tracking and soon enough you'll be back at square 1. Don't allow yourself so much leeway, it hasn't worked for anyone here except for relapse.

Sorry not sorry to be a downer, this is what happens though.

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Day 5

Hey @fawn_xoxo thanks for the heads up you are certainly right.  It was extremely difficult the last few days but I think I learned something very valuable in the process. I knew that the Thursday to Monday would be the most difficult for me because of the weekend and unstructured time. Attempting to track and manage my playing again, I ended playing a whooping 16 hrs on Friday, and 10.5 hours today, which is day 5. Rather than trying to stop gaming, the focus on these last to days was to actually time how long I spend on the games, when I take breaks, and I must say when I tallied everything up, I was quite shocked, I has occurred to me that my concept of time is completely and actually timing how long I spend on activites really helps, I believe it is an ADD thing. 

That said, I have been wanting to approach changing this relationship with gaming in a way that doesn't cause me pain, or regret down the road, I have read in a lot of posts where people say things like I wish I could play, or I still get cravings. When I was quitting I read this book called Alans Carrs easy way, and it explained the psychology behind smoking so you werent quitting cause because smoking was bad, you stopped smoking because you didnt like it anymore. 

I want this to be the same thing with gaming, realizing that I am capable of spending 16hrs out of my day infront of a computer was a huge turn off for me, who would to be invovled in anything that could take up that much time, and provide them with no realistic reward. I feel renewed vigor to begin my detox again, and continue to find things which I don't like about gaming. 

 

 

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Day 6

A very interesting day as I spent the entire day at home, yet managed to have very minimal cravings. This often was impossible for me, especially on the weekends when my brain is just asking for more sources of dopamine. I think one of the reasons for this was my shift in attitude, not as someone who is quitting gaming, but as someone who never really liked gaming in the first place. I am beginning to see myself as someone got sucked into gaming by a friend, and who continued to ride the dopamine hits until it took over my life, never really actually asking myself if i actually enjoyed what I was doing or why I was doing it?

In a very similar way to smoking, the smoker believes they like smoking, it relieves stress, cures bordem, its a social opportunity, but if we look at non-smokers, they don't need to smoke to relieve stress, or deal with bordem, in fact before you started smoking everyone had other ways of coping which leads me to believe that gaming can be looked at the same way. It is constant dopamine addiction which causes the stress you feel when quiting, did you used to feel withdrawal symptoms from gaming before you started gaming? No. What about boredem? No. Yet it is the very reason we play? Its like drinking to cure a hang over, when drinking was the thing that caused it. 

I am going to use this approach over the next 90 days, and I have also decieded to embark in a No-Fap and No-Smoking challenge, which I am about 2 weeks already into no-smoking, but I'd like to keep track of it as well!

Happy to be back on the right path, I am gonna wait a few weeks to sell my gaming stuff, its all a bit to early right now, but I will be support when I am ready. 

 

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Day 7 - Listening to the Internal Voice

Another day were cravings for gaming have very much diminished and infact I have also begun to cut down on anything in my life that takes me away from the present. I notice that I and perhaps others have a really difficult time being with one selves, we are constantly needing stimulation through various mediums, our phone, music, netflix, gaming, I have even noticed myself being in a constant state of learning to avoid being with myself.  So I am making a effort to not listen to music, in between commutes, but instead listen to my thoughts, I have also decided to take out of my day to sit with thoughts in mediation and understand them, how can we grow if we don't understand the plant in which we are growing. 

I think this idea primarily came about from a number of different people telling me this week, when you sit with yourself you begin to realize all the internal noises being made and thats when the healing journey begins. 

Often I have used stimulation as a form of escape, when I am listening to music, studying, gaming, I am not listening to the internal me but instead turning up volume externally, and this becomes a problem when it is done unconsciously or without making space for the internal voice. I think we live in a society of so many different illusions, so many ideas and thoughts being thrown around, trends, alternative motivations, in order to see through the bullshit and not get caught in the hype we have to be grounded and in touch with ourselves. Perhaps it is the connection to ourselves and the things that are meaningful in our life that will move us along this journey to recovery. 

 

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Well, I am continuing to relapse and it sucks but feels so good. I realize I gotta set bigger goals, and find my why. I noticed I have been telling myself I can't to do this or I can't do that and have been spending a lot of time trying to quit gaming without actually having a vision of what I want my new life to look like.  So I started thinking about my passions, which is I love traveling, and I love nature, and I realize that I won't be able to pursue any of these things if I continue with the same habits. 

I wiped my gaming laptop and posted it online to sell it, and I am gonna try and start again, in addition, I have downloaded Habitbull and created a list of about 15 other daily habits I want to implement instead of gaming.

The next step will be to wipe the steam account, does anyone have any info about that. 

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GameQuitters YT channel posted a video a few days ago on how to delete your steam account. You could also try to sell it if you need money. I believe there are some tools that can help you assess how much it's worth.

I definitely agree on having a vision for your new life. Quitting games leaves a void, because they provided purpose. I felt that void whenever I would finish my goals for a particular season of the game I used to play. I wouldn't even feel happy for achieving them, I would feel sad because I'd no longer have anything to do in there, and I'd spend hours wandering pointlessly around my hideout. Same thing is going to happen to anyone who quits games and has no vision for their future- they'll wander around the world without any purpose.

When it comes to being afraid of shooting for the moon, it's not possible to achieve anything notable without risk. As cliché as it may sound, the greatest limits are in your head, and once you defeat yourself, nothing will stand in your way.

And here's a video on going from "Yeah, but..." to "Yes, and..." mentality.

 

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Day 9

I have been renegotiating my decision to quit gaming, on day 8, I didn't stick to my regular morning routine and lapsed, and today during the morning I also lapsed. So I have determined two new strageties to implement. First is the recognition that there is a few moments of clarity before relapse in which I feel I have the ability to choose. Often in these moments I lack enough motivation to pull through, so I will now listen to a motivational video when I encounter those mintues as I feel it increases my dopamine and will motivate me to stay vigilant. The second option is if I do fail and relapse, I will no longer play competive games and only play non competive matches which does not nearly excited me as much enabling me to stop playing after a game because I don't gain any rank. Which is my primary reason for playing such games. Social validation. I am really grateful for this process and the journal as I observe my habits and try new things in a good way. 

For some reason my journal from yesterday didn't post. 

Edited by AssellusPrimus

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Starting From Day 1

@mattso really appreciate the supports and links. Yesterday, I gamed again in the morning and broke down. I ended up wiping the computer and posting it for sale and I have someone coming to pick it up tomorrow. The next step is to delete the steam account which is pretty scary but I know I won't want to playing knowing I have to invest all that time into gaming. I was feeling extremly depressed yesterday and was full of negitivity, contemplating the significance of life itself. I know that it's a combination of pressure from my thesis, addiction and my home enviorment, when I told my partner who lives in Ecuador about my situation she informed me that's she's flying in to see me tomorrow. I can't express how greatful to have this support at such an impoetant time in my life but I think it would be a good idea to use this time together to celebrate the deletion of my steam account. 

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Day 4

Wow, it's incredible how quickly day has come. Without the struggles or pain that normally accompany withdrawal but instead with a flurry of love and happiness I have spent these last few days with the woman I love. A humble reminder, that while perhaps cliche love is powerful healer. Not only has these last few days given me a sense of purpose and direction, but I haven't felt the need to want to change myself in any drastic way, as I have been in a place of loving myself. When she leaves on Thursday, I will have to countine to love myself, supporting myself to do what I need to do. Feel truly blessed to experience this love at home, as this is the first time she's traveled to my home, as we often meet in the middle. Hoping this relationship can inspire me to find my strength. 

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1 hour ago, AssellusPrimus said:

Day 4

Wow, it's incredible how quickly day has come. Without the struggles or pain that normally accompany withdrawal but instead with a flurry of love and happiness I have spent these last few days with the woman I love. A humble reminder, that while perhaps cliche love is powerful healer. Not only has these last few days given me a sense of purpose and direction, but I haven't felt the need to want to change myself in any drastic way, as I have been in a place of loving myself. When she leaves on Thursday, I will have to countine to love myself, supporting myself to do what I need to do. Feel truly blessed to experience this love at home, as this is the first time she's traveled to my home, as we often meet in the middle. Hoping this relationship can inspire me to find my strength. 

Good on you for finding someone! As a guy who had a flame myself, I'd say it gives you all the more power and reason to detox. Puppy Love is the most potent form of love and it simply drags you away from anything else to focus on that person. Continue Loving yourself and you'll find yourself with a jackpot at the end of the detox. As for the first Lapse. Don't feel bad. If Anything Make a Challenge out of it if you have a competitive mindset. 9 Days is your personal best! 

Let's put a new record on the board.

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Day 6

@TimetoWalkAway It has definitely been a big motivator to take of myself and given me a lot of purpose to continue trying when I don't feel the motivation to do it for myself. I agree learning to love the self will come with a lot of practice and its a journey that I believe is worth taking. 

Today my partner, flew back home, while at first I was sad and a bit nervous to be back on my own and perhaps fall into the same thought patterns I am really grateful for the love and I will hold it, to find the motivation to quit gaming and build healthy habits which are built on loving myself. 

 

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4 minutes ago, AssellusPrimus said:

Day 6

@TimetoWalkAway It has definitely been a big motivator to take of myself and given me a lot of purpose to continue trying when I don't feel the motivation to do it for myself. I agree learning to love the self will come with a lot of practice and its a journey that I believe is worth taking. 

Today my partner, flew back home, while at first I was sad and a bit nervous to be back on my own and perhaps fall into the same thought patterns I am really grateful for the love and I will hold it, to find the motivation to quit gaming and build healthy habits which are built on loving myself. 

 

That's the best way to look at it, man...She'll be there for you and you'll be a better person for her at the end of it.

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Day 2

It's incredible how many times we must fail in order to succeed. While I attempted to delete my steam account, I failed to control myself for the 30 days required for the deletion and found myself cancelling it multiple times. After submitted my thesis 7 days late, and forgetting to show up for an exam, the repercussion of my actions are quit sobering. I again met with my counsellor/dr and he came to the conclusion, though I perhaps had known that we infact were dealing with addiction. He assured me, with his help I could over come it, but I would have to trust him and be ready to test my resolve, I realize that I am running out of options here out of 7 years, I don't want to this life to carry on into my 30's and who knows how long after, so I feel this is my last chance. 

I grit my teeth, clench my fists, and make it through, once... that one time is important, because I never want to experience the hardship of overcoming an addiction again (gaming addiciton). So 90 days here I come...

Another interesting thing he mentioned, was the idea of suffering via cravings after we stop gaming, he reminded me of 7 year sober alcoholic who earns a medal for continuing his struggle 7 years later and winning, as I asked him does the cravings ever go away. He said when you end the relationship with an toxic ex, or behaviour such as smoking, do we still crave the toxic fumes which harmed us and took years off our life, do we wish we had more of the emotional abuse that kept us in the relationship? No, we should celebrate, and feel lucky, that we escaped, I recently quit smoking and I relize now that I am lucky, lucky I am not trapped in a cycle which I have no control over, I feel blessed to make it out when I did, and for everyone who has been successful, I think you should think and reflect on how lukcy you are to have succeeded, why would you want to go back to that?

See you all at 90 days, I relize I had a lot a relapses and normally while I would be discouraged to write, I really want to document my process to get rid of the stigma that you have to do it right the first time a failure, I have been on and off of this 3 times because of it, and I am persistent to stick it through until I succeed! 

Day 3 here I come.

Oh I also got myself banned from steam by changing passwords multiple times, and changing the parent email, I set it as a random password, so in order to access the account I have to contact support and go through a very difficult process to validate my identity.  Orginally, I was going to set a random password, and change the email address to a friend who doesnt game, but during the process, I just locked myself out which worked as well. 

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Day 3

Staying busy and productive, recently downloaded todoist I really cool to do list software to help manage and prioitize my life now that I have so much free time. I also got a call last night from a best friend and previous roommate who really had just disappeared from my life and who I assumed had just moved on after many failed attempts to establish our relationship again. He let me know that he had been going through a cocaine and drinking addiction and depression, he had felt so much shame and guilt, and it was the first time he opened up about it. I felt blessed for the first time to have gone through my addiction, so I could support him through his, I went over to his house which looked disaster zone and we spent the night till 3 am cleaning up. Felt really good.

I noticed also yesterday, I was feeling bored and went to the liqueur store to pick up some beers and whiskey for the weekend, I don't normally drink though occasionally will have a beer, so i am aware addiction might try to manifest in another way, so I will be monitering closley, last night I had one beer, and I think I will only have a drink on the weekends, I was also really tempted to smoke last night, but I made it through fk ya! 

I'll be on my todolist now, if anyone has any experience with social media marketing maybe we can touch base as I got a volunteer position and havent the slighted positon how to start. 

 

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Day 4
Still Winning! Cleaned my apartment, started applying for jobs, started planing a social media strategy, of to watch the raptors win the play offs with some friends at local pub.

Had a beer today, while I was cleaning, and planed on seeing a few friends tomorrow, feels nice to be riding the momentum and starting to have control over my life.  

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Day 5

Still managing to stay the course, having a routine and task list has been very benifical. On nights like this I do wish I did't have such a bad gaming problem and infact could enjoy a game to pass the time, harmless right.... I think not! Looks like I will be trying out some new hobbies, maybe getting back into guitar or trying something new like drawing. Funny I went out with some friends to a Bar/Dance Club, and realized it was not my scene. I didn't always feel this way, but I felt the enviorment wasnt for me, I didn't want to stay up till 2 am drinking, I would have rathe slept and got an early start to tomorrow, not a bad thing but  reminder that my desires and needs are changing and perhaps my friend group needs to change to reflect that. 

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Another relapse haha, I am really feeling like 90 days is a bit a too ambitious for, I think maybe 7 days is a more realistic goal. Relapsing so much is kinda frustrating and taking a toll on my self-esteem, I am not really sure how to deal with really overwhelming cravings which seem like the only way they will go away is to feed the craving. 

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