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It is hard to try and introduce yourself while you want to avoid sharing personal information. The two things likely seem oxymoronic, but I think they are not, so I'll make a genuine effort at it.

Well, I would likely not be here if I wasn't connected to game addiction to some extent, so y'all know that already. In fact, I've been personally struggling with it since late childhood, and I'm well into my 30's. I come from a non-English speaking country where mental healthcare is stigmatizing and not easy to get, and awareness of most but the more common mental health disorders is practically non-existing. So, I'm self-diagnosed (well, technically, I was diagnosed by a family member, but I resisted that diagnostic for many years, until it finally caught up to me), but the symptoms and the way it affects my life makes for a textbook case of addiction. So, nowadays, and in possession of the information that I now have thanks to the effort of people like @Cam Adair in spreading awareness of the problem, I don't doubt that diagnostic not even for a split-second.

For starters, I'm about 10 years late in delivering my graduation thesis. How about that? My academic life and my professional opportunities were absolutely wrecked by my addiction and I even count myself as lucky, because my family relations weren't totally destroyed and because my social life managed to be just about OK despite of it. My covering efforts, endless and fatiguing excuses and lies made me pass as a secluded, somewhat weird and messy, but affable guy, which are things about as true as the fact that I'm an addicted to games, but it's also an useful image that helps to shrug away any major inquiry. Well, I don't want that life for me, anymore. I'm exhausted of it. I want to have a normal life, I want to not need to lie and hide my shame away. I'm ready to accept the consequences of my choices, clouded and irrational as they were. More importantly, I'm ready to make the sacrifices that I need to do in order to get my life back on track. Deep down, I wish I will be able to go back to games in a responsible and moderate manner some day, but If I have to let games go forever, I will. It is a compromise I must do, to detach and let games go, in order to avoid suffering not only for me, but for my family and my beloved ones, and I'll do it.

I actually am seven days into my first detox routine. Seven days without any gaming whatsoever is the biggest period I can remember intently pulling out, and I'm proud of it. But it has being hard, specially today. Yesterday and the day before were quite stressful, but I remained firm in the intent of not playing, saying to myself that if I can manage to plow through such stress without coping it with gaming, I can do anything I ever want to. But actually today has been harder. Quite a calm, hot Sunday, and it's being way harder, because I have no plans for the day and I saw myself watching YT videos about WWII, which reminded me of games I love, which usually would drive me into gaming. Suddenly, I saw that, yes, coping with, anxiety, stress and other negative feelings is a huge factor into my drive for games, but so is idleness, maybe even more so.That's why I decided to subscribe myself to this forum, which I've been lurking on for the past couple weeks, and write this. To clear my head of those things and occupy my time a little so that I can avoid the pitfall of idleness and maybe even start to organize my ideas a little bit.

I always have been an awful planner, I don't know how to organize myself and even when I manage to pull some plan for something, I drop it halfway through, so that is my next major quest: to learn how to make plans with the intent to stick with them all the way. I also have to deal with procrastination. Having devoted any and every time I've got to games, and even making time for it, taking it from other activities I should be doing, makes for extremely low pro-activity and initiative. Being aware of all of that is the key to tackle them, though, and I'm optimistic about my chances. I've been a smoker for more than 10 years and I quit it for 5 years as of now, I know first hand what cravings are and how they are triggered, I know what a withdraw syndrome is and how it feels. I hope this experience will help me dealing with quitting games. As a matter of fact, quitting games have been comparably more difficult so far. I don't expect it to get easier.

One last bit. Besides the messages of Cam, which I think people here probably already follow closely, another message that deeply resonated within myself these days and is helping me to find motivation and intent is the one delivered by Simon Sinek in his 2010 TED talk about what he dubs "the golden circle" and how great leaders inspire action. In short, he says leaders mustn't start telling people what and how they do the things they do, but why. In our case, we, our rational minds, must lead ourselves out of our addiction and into a healthy and fulfilling life, whatever this means to each one of ourselves individually. So, we all know what we need to do: we need to stop playing games compulsively or even stop playing games at all. "To stop to play" is what we do, and how we do it is by being aware of a behavior pattern that constitute itself in an addiction, and to be aware of the cues and triggers and of our environment so that we avoid relapse. That's all fine, we all understand that. But why? Why to stop this addiction pattern? Why are we subjecting ourselves to that not insignificant exercise in will power and to the sacrifices we know we need to do in order to achieve that goal? It seems to me that, to be successful in this endeavor, I must start by telling myself why I'll do it, but I only have vague ideas as of now. I know I want to live a better life in my own terms, I know I want to achieve certain objectives that have being hampered by the addiction in games I have, but those are all results. They don't describe my purpose, my cause, they don't describe why do I get out of my bed in the morning nor why should anyone care about it. But I remember telling someone, years ago, that, whatever I took upon myself to do, my goal was to leave the things around me better than that what I found. Yes, I'm aware that this is the most generic purpose one could have, but it is exactly the one guideline that fits every single situation and every single place and time. So, that's what I'm leaving your with, now. I will improve on it for myself, in fact I'm going to work on it right now, so that my intent isn't left empty and I would be risking a relapse, and so that my plans aren't left lacking and risking me abandoning them. And that is the one advice I leave you with, if I may. Find your why. Find the purpose that move and inspire you to leave the things around you better than what you found.

Thank you for reading it all.

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