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ElectroNugget

John's Daily Journal

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Hi there.

So I just bought and started the program today. This is something that I've known I needed to do for a few years I think, but have been too afraid to do for a long time. Gaming was such an integral part of my identity - who I was, what I was good at, what I enjoyed, etc - that the idea of sacrificing it to accomplish other goals quite literally made me afraid. When I decided to become an artist in my early 20's it became a constant battle between the two for my time and commitment, and sadly gaming won most of the time.

I'm now in my late 20's, suffering from a dip in my career and other personal aspects of my life and I have to be honest with myself and admit that my habits and choices leading up to this moment have put me here. It's my own damn fault.

If I don't quit now, I'll never reach the potential I think I have, and I'll never be able to live my life with my head held high. I can't bear the thought of that.

So here I am. I'm going to call this Day 0 since I did play a little bit this morning before I started the program. Tomorrow will be Day 1. 

My computer, iPad and phone have all been wiped of games, and I'm looking into some software to help as well. I hope I can do this.

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Congrats on taking the first steps, you're doing the right thing!

Getting over your gamer identity is one of the hardest things to do, and it took me a long time before I just decided to stop calling myself a gamer, and it helped immensely. I'd call myself a former gamer, or I'd say I liked video games but don't play them anymore.

Instead of just, I don't play video games at all, and I'm not a gamer.

It's a big mindset shift and a super important one.

Great job on wiping your games, I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your journey.

Good luck!

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Thanks, James. 🙂 I think the 'former gamer' idea is great. I might steal that.

I'm going to try not only to track my game quitting progress here but also some other habits I want to do. It seems to make sense to keep my accountability all in one place.

DAY 01:
Today was tough. Last year I suffered from a severe bout of clinical depression and was on medication for a few months while I was unemployed. I was about as low as one could go: panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, the works. This year I'm once again unemployed (classic starving artist problem) and I find myself falling down the same mental whirlpool of despair. I really don't want to go back on medication though, which is why I decided that I had to start making some serious changes in my life, like this program. That said, I woke up this morning in a very depressive mindset, wondering if I would ever make it, or if my life was just completely fucked and I should just give up and die.

Things improved when I got to my office space (I have a desk at a creative incubator). I went through modules 1-5 of the program and felt like the message was hopeful, and that the changes were doable. As of this evening, I have had all the passwords for my online gaming accounts (steam, battlenet, etc.) changed by my mother and she holds the keys now. All that's left to do is sell my PS4 and my Switch, but at the moment they are tucked away out of use anyways, so it's not a huge hurry.

I feel like that took a big weight off me and that I managed to accomplish a lot today. I also feel like I have more time, which is great. So maybe this is the beginning of a turnaround for me. 

I set up a calendar for the next 90 days (as recommended in the program) and decided I want to work on many habits in that period, as well as a new art portfolio. Putting a timeframe on it makes it seem more concrete and somehow more doable. Before now I felt like I had so much to do and no time, that everything was chaos. Now that it's spread out on a calendar it doesn't look nearly as intimidating. After today I feel much less overwhelmed by the current state of my life and like I can maybe achieve what I set out to do given the right time management and planning.

Tomorrow I'd like to finish the program and start taking the first steps with my new portfolio. I'd also like to start meditating again. Hopefully, this is really the start of a new chapter for me.

Gratitude:

  1. I'm grateful that I have a roof over my head.
  2. I'm grateful that my parents have been so supportive during this very difficult time for me.
  3. I'm grateful that I have a healthy body (if not a healthy mind).
  4. I'm grateful that I had a lot of good food today.
  5. I'm grateful that I have this opportunity to change.
Edited by ElectroNugget

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DAY 02:
The morning was rough again. Definitely the worst part of the day for me. Perhaps worth looking into some morning routines. Then again, I've never been a morning person.

I finished up the last modules and worksheets today and that felt awesome. Cam's advice is solid and makes me feel like there's genuine hope for change.

I started meditating again today, which was really nice. I honestly have no idea why I ever give up on it. It comes and goes in periods and each time I pick it up again the advantages are clear and more than worth the time invested. I also went to the gym, so overall a good day for health and fitness too.

I'm already pining for some time with Civilization. It's hard to think that I will never play it again but I know it is necessary. In time I'm sure I'll be grateful for investing my hours elsewhere.

Exercise: ✔️
Meditate: ✔️

Gratitude: 

  1. I'm grateful that I have some good friends who got me into the gym routine.
  2. I'm grateful that my body is healthy and strong enough to pursue bodybuilding without any complications.
  3. I'm grateful that I have a nice place to go home to after a long day's work.
  4. I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to learn new skills online.
  5. I'm grateful that I have this forum to write to and seek support.

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DAY 03:
I woke up extremely tired today and experienced extreme lethargy until about midday, ended up sleeping in and watching some Star Trek.

This was a bit disheartening, as I'm not sure why I felt such acute exhaustion. Can the detox cause tiredness? I experienced some cravings today as well, which happened sooner than I expected it to, but I guess when you game daily for 22 years your brain notices even when you go just a few days without it.

No gym today but did plenty of walking. More than 6000 steps so I feel good about that. Might need to start a 30-minute routine for each day but one thing at a time. Didn't meditate yet which was a bad call, but I will before bed. Really need to make a habit of doing it in the morning but my tiredness got in the way.

I had a board game event this evening and I could feel the allure to play very strongly, my mouth was practically watering over some of the big strategy titles I own. This threw my addiction into a sharp light. At the same time, I've always strongly identified with the strategist in me and loved to play tactical and strategical games of all kinds. I used to be on the chess club in high school and I've gathered a large collection of big strategy boardgames over the years. It feels very hard to deny this part of myself. I'm not sure how I'll resolve this in the long run.
 

Exercise: ✔️
Meditate: 

Gratitude: 

  1. I'm grateful that I'm learning more about myself and my relation to games and gaming.
  2. I'm grateful that I have warm clothes to wear in this awful cold weather.
  3. I'm grateful that summer is on the way and we're getting more light every day.
  4. I'm grateful that I am evolving.
  5. I'm grateful that I have some awesome audiobooks to listen to.

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DAY 06:
I have had a busy weekend, hence the lack of updates. Nonetheless, I think I need to try and be better at posting here every day in the future as it helped me a lot previously and I feel like the accountability I get here is important.

Haven't been on point with meditating or exercise recently, but I'm 6 days in with no games. The last time I went this long without any kind of gaming willingly was about 3 years ago, so that's great. Been very tempted at times to download something on my iPad but I'm holding on. I even had a dream where I was playing World of Warcraft and it became a nightmare as I knew it wasn't what I wanted to be doing. So the idea is subconscious as well.

I have an absurd amount of free time. Weekends feel like eons now, which is great. I'm not awesome at spending that time productively just yet. Mostly I've been watching history documentaries on Netflix, which I guess is better than gaming but I really should be working on my art instead. One step at a time though.

Exercise: 
Meditate: 

Gratitude: 

  1. I'm grateful that today is a sunny day.
  2. I'm grateful that I'm finally beginning to make major changes in my life.
  3. I'm grateful that I have all this new time to spend on more important things.
  4. I'm grateful that I have this laptop to journal on.
  5. I'm grateful that I had a good breakfast.

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DAY 07:

Today has been extremely difficult, I don't know if it's a withdrawal thing or just my general life scenario that's gotten to me but I really hit the bottom today.

I'm 28 years old and despite some 'high profile' jobs in the past, I am now about 4 months unemployed and see no end in sight. It really pains me that there are other men out there at my age with a wife, kids, and a house. This was not at all where I'd imagined I'd be at my age. And I don't feel like I can run fast enough to catch up to the rest of the rat race. 

I'm really angry at myself for having wasted so much time in the past years. Now I find myself far behind the pack. I'm faced with perhaps having to give up on my artistic career. I'm not sure I can do anything else.

Anyways, I guess I still made it 7 days without games. I have no intention of going back, despite my urges. I feel they are directly to blame for where I find myself now. My lack of self-control in the past cannot continue now.

Exercise: 
Meditate: ✔️

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DAY 08:

After yesterdays blowout I felt pretty emotionally numb today. In hindsight, I think I might have skirted a panic attack.

Hindsight also granted me the wisdom to know that I was overreacting. A month ago I'd never have imagined I would have gone 8 days without videogames willingly, started reading and meditating again, and got a load of art tutorials done in one week. I should acknowledge my accomplishments and keep the growth-oriented mindset going. That's how I'll win this race.

 

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Inspiring diary so far keep it going.^^

and yeah from my own experiences as somebody who overreacted quite a few times so far in hindsight none of the problems/situations were as bad or as dramatic as I imagined so keep calm and fight trough the storm!!

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DAY 09-12:

Wow, a lot has happened. I need to try and check in here more often. Not only for my own sake but also to support others.

I've had a few chilled days at home during the Easter break, staying with my parents and discussing life. Recently I read an older article of Cam's '5 Books You Must Read To Help You Quit Playing Video Games', and purchased them. I've been reading them in the past few days and they've really begun to turn my mindset around. The Slight Edge, in particular, gives me hope that my life is far from over.

In the slight edge positivity and 'happy habits' are highly recommended due to the fact they increase overall happiness, productivity and lifespan. So I've doubled down on my meditating, which I'm trying to do every morning after I wake up, and every night before bed. This seems to have had a massive effect on my mood as well. I'm also trying the method of gratitude listed in the book: only three things a day, but you can never repeat an entry.

I've had very severe cravings on some days. It's been quite illuminating in the sense that the level of craving has shown me how much I was addicted to games. I can almost salivate at the thought of playing a meaty strategy title like Civilization or Anno.

That said, 12 days in and I'm still going strong! I've accomplished a lot in the past few days (at least in terms of educating myself through books), so hopefully, with time and the Slight Edge as my ally, things will improve.

 

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On 4/18/2019 at 12:52 PM, Undsoweiter said:

Inspiring diary so far keep it going.^^

and yeah from my own experiences as somebody who overreacted quite a few times so far in hindsight none of the problems/situations were as bad or as dramatic as I imagined so keep calm and fight trough the storm!!

Thanks man! I'll keep that in mind during any future 'panic attacks'. The intensity was really wild, but I guess it just goes to show how wired my brain is. 

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DAY 13:

Tomorrow will be the two week mark, pretty crazy.

I can tell this is just the beginning of a larger change. I've been reading the 2nd book on Cams recommended list: 'In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts'.  I spent 7hrs just focused on reading today! That would have been unthinkable on a weekend not long ago. The book contains some truly harrowing tales of addiction, but also very insightful and hopeful in the end. I have other addictions in my life I will have to attend to beyond my gaming problem. Porn, the internet, social media. One thing at a time.

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DAY 14:

Two weeks videogame free!

I guess I should try to celebrate that a little more as it is an achievement I never would have imagined for myself just a few months ago.

I'm guessing I'm still going through odd phases from withdrawal or something as today was absolutely awful. I felt low on energy, demoralized and struggled to focus while working. I'm also seeing what big gaps I have in my life, especially from a social aspect, without video gaming. I am a very extroverted person and I pretty much have nothing to fill in the social gap that's been left open here, which has contributed to my slumps I think. I feel isolated and lonely.

I have a tight deadline coming up so there's not much time right now to correct that but perhaps it should be a priority to solve that particular issue this weekend.

Edited by ElectroNugget

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DAY 15-16:

I finished reading Hungry Ghosts. Very good advice on dealing with addictions in there. Next up is Gorilla Mindset.

I've applied for some local art jobs that suddenly appeared on my radar yesterday. Hopefully, something will turn out. There's also a position available for a 'Citadel Miniatures Conceptualizer' at Games Workshop in Nottingham. I've applied for the position before, it's basically my dream job. That has a deadline on May 3rd, so I'll have to put together an application for that as well.

The cravings have subsided significantly but I still find myself procrastinating on uncomfortable tasks. That's something I really need to work on. Just seeing the benefits of a break from gaming is making me consider taking a hiatus from Youtube and perhaps Reddit and Facebook as well. Now that I am able to look at my online life from a new perspective, many elements of it are losing their lustre.

I still have trouble believing I will ever 'make it' from a career perspective. But I guess I just need to keep my head down and keep trying, stick to my good habits and something will change for the better eventually.

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Hi ElectroNugget!

Keep up the good work. As a future businessman (that's what I plan to do on Sunday) who wants to teach English on his own rather than as an employee, I can spot a big rift between my knowledge and "Average Joe's" one in the language and even then, I think my English is ways from flawless. So I guess it might sometimes come down to selling my "product" to someone who doesn't yet know they need it!

As for art, I have no idea what the business model looks like. Surely enough, there are successful artists in the field, as there are successful English teachers. Keep trying!

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Thanks for the feedback Ikar. 

There are indeed successful artists out there. I've just had a very, very rough few years at the start of my career that's making me feel like I don't have 'it'. It's quite trying. Best of luck with your own business ventures. Hopefully, we'll both figure it out.

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DAY 17:

Gorilla Mindset is really great. Concise and to the point. I can see that my biggest challenges going forward will involve cultivating the right mindsets to face the challenge. Depression leaves you with a very fixed and negative mindset that's hard to shake. Deep down I still don't believe in myself.

I've been very busy with some projects and some socializing today so I literally had no time to even think about gaming, which was nice. The fight continues.

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DAY 18-20:

I'm currently keeping another journal that I write in daily, which I think is kind of hampering the attempt to make a habit of posting here as well. I write a lot more personal thoughts in the other journal which has been great for my mental hygiene. But I am a long way from done with this detox, and I'd really like to be here more often to interact with the community. I'd like to try and post here daily as well.

Things are going well. I haven't experienced many strong cravings except for one very powerful urge on Friday night when I realized I had no plans for the weekend. My mind immediately jumped to 'LETS PLAY VIDEOGAMES'. As usual, it's interesting to reflect on the motivation for these urges. In theory, there's a load of productive things I could do with two free days, but the addictive part of my brain was immediately enthralled with the idea of burning all those hours on a fruitless pursuit.

I've also started to look at other timesinks in my life with a new eye. I play Warhammer, which is a miniature wargame with rather expensive miniatures that you can collect, build and paint, then play battles with. Yesterday I spent the whole day painting up a few models and came to the realization that I spend far more time and energy on building and painting the models than on playing the game. Arguably, the game isn't even that good, there are better board games out there that are cheaper. I love going to Warhammer events, throwing dice around and moving minis while eating beer and pretzels, that sort of thing. There's definitely value in that. But is the investment of time, money and energy comparable to the amount of social entertainment I get out if it? I'm starting to think not. It doesn't necessarily mean I need to abandon the hobby, just that maybe there's a different way I could approach it while being mindful of the other needs I have in my life. 

This new mindfulness and awareness of how and why I spend my time and money has been a nice side effect of this whole experiment. I look forward to seeing where it will take my life. 

Edited by ElectroNugget

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DAY 21:

Wow three weeks. It's funny, it feels like it's been a long time, and also not so long. 😄

Today was a really weird day. I think I managed to be pretty productive but I have been very tired and had a huge emotional slump this evening. Not really sure what that's about. I guess sometimes you just feel bad. I still have doubts about my career, my life prospects, etc. I know I just have to keep trying and improve myself and my habits every day, one small step at a time.

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DAY 22-23:

I've had continuing emotional ups and downs. That just seems to be the way of things right now. One moment I think there's still an opportunity for me to turn my life around, the next I think I'm screwed. It's quite frustrating.

The path I've chosen as an artist is maybe not for me in the long run, but I am beginning to put together a final portfolio. The plan is to spend the next 2 months or so updating it to the absolute best of my abilities while continuing to apply for jobs. If, after all that, I still can't find work as an artist, then I can put down my pencil with a clean conscience and start looking for other career paths.

So these past two days I've been doing character lineups from my DnD campaigns as a sort of warmup, and I've pleasantly surprised myself with the results. Off to a good start! I attached one of them below.

I also decided to get rid of my iPad. I've been using it to watch videos in bed and it's really affecting my sleep hygiene. I also spend just way too much time watching Youtube videos on it. The intake was already bad, but it's increased now that I don't have games to play so this seems to be a habit I'm going to have to break as well. It's going to be really tough, as I've fallen asleep to some sort of video/noise for most of my life. But I have to change. Man didn't sleep with iPads and cellphones in bed for most of human history. I'll adjust.

I can't believe in a week I'll have been free of videogames for a month already! 

 

john-muller-swse-art-partycolour-003.jpg

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DAY 24:

Today was a very good day, I spent time attending a conference on digital development for kids, and afterwards spent some time networking. Overall I got a lot of sympathy from some older colleagues of mine, who relayed similar career stories. I guess everyone has slumps and gets stuck in the mud sometimes. I just have to keep pushing forward. At some point, I have to get SOME kind of job as long as I keep trying, and especially if I keep improving!

I had a friend remarked today that he'd be amazed if I hit a month game-free. I was kind of shocked by this because of course I'm not going to relapse now. I feel confident in this change and the positive benefits it's brought to my life far outweigh the bored moments.

I also finished up my second lineup for the portfolio. Very happy with it! I just need to keep making stuff like this and clearing out all my old work and I think my portfolio will be much stronger in a few months. Attached below.

 

john-muller-dhw-art-partycolour-001-jhm.jpg

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DAY 25-27:

Had a busy weekend, with a lot going on. Luckily I think it was good as I was at a lot of social events, and I was in-demand to meet up with various people around town. It felt good to have the time to be able to do those things and to stay on my feet for a few days in a row. 

Today however I had a slump again. Whenever I sit around the house I feel bad. It's funny because I normally consider myself a rather unmotivated and lazy person, and yet nothing makes me more miserable than sitting around all day. I guess that in the past, during a day like this I would kill all the time on videogames and somehow feel it was time well spent. Now, these days are torture. That said, when I have lazy days I'm still not very motivated to go out and do anything about it. A strange Catch-22.

Recently I've noticed that my best days are the ones where I get to work and get into a flow state while drawing, where I forget about myself and the hours just fly by. It's clear that being productive and making art is what I should be trying to do more often. I need to come up with a solution and a plan where I can spend more time doing just that so I won't be able to mope around, ruminate and generally be unproductive. I also just need to create more art for the sake of my career.

Considering my success so far in quitting games, I've decided that I want to take on the NoFap challenge as well now. Lately, since I've been doing a lot of reading on addictions, why they happen and how they affect the brain, I feel like I am better equipped than ever to finally kill my porn problem, which I have had for about 17 years. In all honesty, I consider my addiction to porn to be far more powerful and insidious than my addiction to gaming, and I believe that I can't really fully heal the reward circuits in my brain without giving up both. I'm a little scared about it. It's going to be really hard to let go of both at the same time, but I feel like it's now or never.

Edited by ElectroNugget

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Hi for your slump days there are a few things which are helping me a lot: 1) leave the house/flat to get out of this mindset, 2)do some sport/walking, it does not have to be strenuous just get your body to move (here it helps if have a gym or running buddy so that you are commited in the beginning) and the most important part: you have to accept that sometimes you will have slump days because it is impossible to have a crazy productive day everyday in your life or you will burn out and then there 2 options you can take a break and read something (that is something I like to do) or do the easy tasks like cleaning, doing the laundry, other small and other easy accomplishable tasks first to get in some kind of rhythm and this can lead to the flow you seek^^.

About the Nofap challenge that is a completly different beast believe me, I also started it with my diary here on the forum and my record for 42 days is: 25/3/3/8(the current one) days in a row and you will need a lot of failsafe plans and countermeasures to combat this one and all its triggers. (I thought like with with games after 20 days the worst urges are gone but there are a lot of triggers you did not know about before which hit you like brick and you fight it all evening). Here I can recommend you the reddit forum and the youtube channel improvement pill has a 12 part series about habits and how to change them which was really helpful. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE_vQWWxgaiEskIe2DMOZ_gFTURBeWCM_

 

Edited by Undsoweiter
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DAY 28:

Long but relatively uneventful day today. 

I am now 5 days into NoFap, and very determined to make that a permanent change as well this time. As I said yesterday, quitting two addictions at once may be hard, but I don't think I can really consider my brain rewired from gaming if I'm still addicted to porn. I talked to my girlfriend about it today and she made it clear that it's had a huge effect on her, more than I knew or expected. This has only further motivated me to make the change. I really hope I can do it this time. Porn is an addiction that I've been trying to quit on and off for about 3 years. My longest streak was 12 days. Hopefully I can far exceed it this time.

There's still so much to do, fixing my career, getting a job, making a new portfolio, quitting games and porn, getting enough exercise. Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed by it all. But I guess I just got to keep trying.

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8 hours ago, Undsoweiter said:

Hi for your slump days there are a few things which are helping me a lot: 1) leave the house/flat to get out of this mindset, 2)do some sport/walking, it does not have to be strenuous just get your body to move (here it helps if have a gym or running buddy so that you are commited in the beginning) and the most important part: you have to accept that sometimes you will have slump days because it is impossible to have a crazy productive day everyday in your life or you will burn out and then there 2 options you can take a break and read something (that is something I like to do) or do the easy tasks like cleaning, doing the laundry, other small and other easy accomplishable tasks first to get in some kind of rhythm and this can lead to the flow you seek^^.

About the Nofap challenge that is a completly different beast believe me, I also started it with my diary here on the forum and my record for 42 days is: 25/3/3/8(the current one) days in a row and you will need a lot of failsafe plans and countermeasures to combat this one and all its triggers. (I thought like with with games after 20 days the worst urges are gone but there are a lot of triggers you did not know about before which hit you like brick and you fight it all evening). Here I can recommend you the reddit forum and the youtube channel improvement pill has a 12 part series about habits and how to change them which was really helpful. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE_vQWWxgaiEskIe2DMOZ_gFTURBeWCM_

 

Thanks for the tips man I'm going to need them! I'll take a look at those. Appreciate the advice.

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