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James Good

Question of the week: What's your advice for someone with cravings?

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Hey again, only me!

The interaction on the last post was great, it'd be great to repeat that this week!

If you missed it, check it out here. We shared what we were grateful for and the replies are well worth a read!

 

Now, back to this week.

 

This is something that I've noticed a couple of people struggling with on the forums recently. 

Well, they're definitely not alone.

The last couple of weeks I've had really intense cravings to go back to my old games. I've been game-free for 8 months, and this is the first time its really been difficult.

These cravings have gotten so bad at times they've become debilitating. I can't even use my computer for fear I'll download Steam, create a new account and install my old games (the ones I spent most of my time on were free-to-play).

I spoke to our resident expert Cam, and he told me the following:

Quote

These cravings have come back at a time of great emotional and work-related stress. Every other time this has happened in the past, instead of pushing through, you resorted to escaping your problesms through gaming. It's a coping mechanism.

The only way for you to get through this, is to do the work you don't want to do, and keep pushing forward to your goals.

It's a huge opportunity for growth, and this is the only way for you to grow as an individual.

 

After reading that, it all made perfect sense.

 

When things got tough in university I escaped to my room to play hours of video games.

What happened? I dropped out.

 

When I started my first business, I was having a fantastic time. A few months in and things started getting really tough, to the point where I almost had a breakdown.

What did I do? I quit.

 

All of these issues stem from a lack of discipline when I was free to play video games without consequences all through school.

As it turns out, the real world is damn hard yo.

 

So what's my advice to someone with cravings? Pretty much this whole message.

 

Let me know down below if you've suffered from cravings in the past, and what did you do to counteract them?

Did you give in? Did you beat them into the ground? Are you still having cravings?

 

Post your comments! ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️

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For me I had and have always great runs when I discipline myself totally and do not things half-assed. It seems I am not able to only take a finger (and for example play a little bit) my cravings see that as a sign of weakness (and try to take the hand^^) and there I go again down that self-destroying and time wasting spiral. So that is the reason why I am choosing to not play any games even after finishing the 90 days detox because I am sure I regress to the old and unhealthy routines and I have seen the consequences of that more than once so far.

So my coping with cravings are sport (in emergencies just run till you can not think of anything and afterwards you will be too exhausted for anything^^) , a cold shower (that is the extreme measure), keep myself busy (especially DO NOT stay in your room you are always weaker to the cravings there!), meditate (especially the noting technique where you accept your urges and then let them go or pass by is really great) and deny yourself one day at a time (this is where the diary helps) until it becomes an unbroken series of days and the longer this goes on the harder it is to fall back.

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I totally agree with Cam. 

Each struggle is different for everyone. I am using the same philosophy as I used with my previous addiction. I have to divorce myself and label my addiction as my enemy. If I don't I will always reason with myself to let it back into my life. If I don't go to war and admit to myself what it is doing to my life. I will never break free. 

Once I am at war with my addiction. Just like learning how to fight my battles in games, I have to find out what are my faults. How is my addiction breaking thru my defenses? What is making me so vulnerable that I have nothing but a overwhelming craving that dragging me back down the pit? What things around me are influencing me to think about gaming? What is working against me in my day to day life style?

Once I find my answers then starts the removal process. Places I can't go anymore, things I can't watch anymore, subscriptions I have to let go of. I have to start replacing them with healthy things. It is going to take time to find out what are healthy alternatives. It takes time to transition from one way of life to another, it takes time. 

Relapse is not failure, it is an opportunity to find out what weakness is being used against me. 

Recently what really put gasoline on my fire for war was how my brain was working against me. 

Most recently when was very vulnerable to my cravings due to being tired and beat up from work. It was more work to set up everything to play games, than to just go to bed and sleep it off. Somehow I was thinking to myself it wasn't worth all the progress I made recently. Mind you I failed multiple times to get to this point. 😃

I hope that helps anyone here. 
 

 

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1 - Start talking to God "Lord, I have a huge craving to play this and that..." and do my rosary if this doesn't relieves the craving.

2 - Do my work or DIY or something valuable.

3 - Go to bed and read until I'm tired (that one is huge, because I always want to play when I could go to bed but I'm not sleepy).

4 - Play childish games with the kids

 

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54 minutes ago, James S. said:

Each struggle is different for everyone. I am using the same philosophy as I used with my previous addiction. I have to divorce myself and label my addiction as my enemy. If I don't I will always reason with myself to let it back into my life. If I don't go to war and admit to myself what it is doing to my life. I will never break free. 

Once I am at war with my addiction. Just like learning how to fight my battles in games, I have to find out what are my faults. How is my addiction breaking thru my defenses? What is making me so vulnerable that I have nothing but a overwhelming craving that dragging me back down the pit? What things around me are influencing me to think about gaming? What is working against me in my day to day life style?

Wow, dude, this is such great advice, thank you. Gaming has been easier for me to quit than expected (so far at least), but I have much more insidious addictions (internet, Youtube, etc.) which feel almost impossible to break by comparison (and perhaps the fact that I am still flooding my dopamine receptors with these habits is why gaming has felt easier than expected). I really like this analogy you use here. It feels like it gives me agency. Definitely gonna write this down and look at it every day! Thanks!

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I am only just starting my detox so this is helping me understand what will happen when I face another difficult or crushing type of challenge. The cravings are not there yet, but I'm glad to have a heads up about the impulses that may come during a time of trouble. It makes sense to prepare for it. Thanks.

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10 hours ago, James S. said:

Each struggle is different for everyone. I am using the same philosophy as I used with my previous addiction. I have to divorce myself and label my addiction as my enemy. If I don't I will always reason with myself to let it back into my life. If I don't go to war and admit to myself what it is doing to my life. I will never break free. 

Once I am at war with my addiction. Just like learning how to fight my battles in games, I have to find out what are my faults. How is my addiction breaking thru my defenses? What is making me so vulnerable that I have nothing but a overwhelming craving that dragging me back down the pit? What things around me are influencing me to think about gaming? What is working against me in my day to day life style?

Once I find my answers then starts the removal process. Places I can't go anymore, things I can't watch anymore, subscriptions I have to let go of. I have to start replacing them with healthy things. It is going to take time to find out what are healthy alternatives. It takes time to transition from one way of life to another, it takes time. 

Relapse is not failure, it is an opportunity to find out what weakness is being used against me.

8 hours ago, ElectroNugget said:

Wow, dude, this is such great advice, thank you. Gaming has been easier for me to quit than expected (so far at least), but I have much more insidious addictions (internet, Youtube, etc.) which feel almost impossible to break by comparison (and perhaps the fact that I am still flooding my dopamine receptors with these habits is why gaming has felt easier than expected). I really like this analogy you use here. It feels like it gives me agency. Definitely gonna write this down and look at it every day! Thanks!

I'm thinking I might be on the same boat with computer usage. I sometimes have thoughts about gaming and Twitch, but I don't really crave them. It's not even been 2 weeks for me, so I still compelled to catching up on goals that are present and that I want to pursue, so they actually happen, rather than pushing and establishing new things.

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I always try to recognise why i'm craving. Sometimes i'm craving it because i'm not willing to face up to things that need to be done (Actionable things), sometimes it's emotional things that I need to process more (There's a lesson to be learnt in everything, especially mistakes).

Other times I crave it because I don't feel a sense of achievement from what i'm doing - That lets me know I need to change something (Weather I need to recognise/reward myself for my hard work, or if I need to find better reasons / rewards as to why I should do certain things).

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Cravings come and go, I acknowledge them as simple biological an psychological habits. I know that the less I give into them the weaker their grasp on life. I build an identity that does not play games, and that helps diminishing the strength of the gaming world on me. Just like cigarettes, not smoking seems impossible when you are a smoker, but once you define yourself as a non smoker, then smoking is no longer in align with who you think you are, or who you want to become. This gives "inaction" meaning.

So that's it for me, I just no longer consider myself a gamer, and I do things as I always have done, its just that games are no longer part of my life. And the spare time I have, I try to use as best I can, as we all do.

 

 

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To deal with cravings, you just have to let go and move on. I know I do things in moderation, but there's something more to fulfill my goals and resolutions than I thought I would. To be honest with myself, I would just have to avoid something that distracts me the most from accomplishing in a long time while I have important things to do like schoolwork.

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This post has helped me so much.

I've been game-free for 5 months and only recently have I experienced the most intense cravings yet. 

What Cam said applies to my situation like a key slotting into a key-hole. 

I have an exam on the 14th May, a project due on the 7th, and I've written and directed a play about game addiction that is being performed on the 7th May. 

So applying Cam and James' logic, it is now clear to me that my cravings have appeared purely as a coping mechanism to the stress/pressure. 

So thank you. 

I was worried because I didn't think there was anyone else who had been game-free for as long as me, and suffering from a sudden ambush of life-debilitating cravings. 

I want to reemphasise a point I've made before because it is particularly poignant in cases such as these; 

Watching gaming-clips as a form of appeasement does not work. It is effective in the short-term (a couple of hours) but exacerbates the cravings 10 fold in the long-term.  

I was so fucking close to relapsing this week, but I persevered.

My gaming-friend Jet epitomises the worst type of gaming-friend. He's highly manipulative and persuasive and I've experienced the full brunt of his attempts to woo me into relapsing. 

If you have someone trying their best to get you to play games with them, who is fully aware of how its ruining your life, remember that they're probably feeling sad that they don't have the strength to quit.

Maybe this is a little extreme, but I'd suggest cutting them out for a while by blocking them on social media. It's so advanced these days you can block people without them having the faintest clue. 

 

 

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Before you can fix things in the physical realm, you have to try to take back control of what's going on in your head. There is nothing more destructive to your future success than your negative self talk. For most addicts, I imagine that self talk is frequent and intense. Best thing to do in my mind is to accept that there is some truth to what that voice is saying, and then replace it with something compassionate.

"I will never be good enough" becomes "I'm not good enough right now, but eventually I absolutely will be".

Just keep in mind you still need to take physical action to accomplish your goals. It's just a lot easier to do so when you're confident and believe in yourself.

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I was going to create a thread for this, but I figured it fits really nicely in here. I'm 12 days into my first detox routine and I had my as of yet biggest craving this afternoon, to the point I thought I was gonna relapse. Thankfully I didn't, and the effort had me thinking about the nature of cravings according to the info Cam already shared in his videos. I systematized a bit my effort to cope with it and I'm bringing it up to get some feedback. Here we go:

- Face the craving. Recognize it for what it is.

- Understand that the nature of the craving is the abstinence syndrome you are going through.

- Understand that the role of the craving is to take your focus away from what you are doing to throw you into an activity that supplies your body with that what you ultimately crave for, i.e., it wants you to game so that you get the dopamine released by the instant gratification cycle.

- Appropriate yourself of the craving instead of letting it appropriate itself of you. Name the craving out loud, realize its mechanics, rationalize it.

- Suppress the craving. Actively reject to submit, tell yourself you're not going to play because you have much more important things to do.

- Focus on your assignments immediately.

- Repeat if and when the craving comes back. If it's too insistent, change the task you are doing for something else you have already scheduled or reward yourself for resisting the craving: go for a walk, play with your pets or do some other activity that will physically remove you from what was causing you to crave games.

This resumes what I did. It took me around 5 min to go through this thought process and it worked pretty well for me, albeit only repetition will tell if it's really something useful or just wishful thinking.

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