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A journal, through and through

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Fight for yourself before you may fight for anything else. I know, this sentence might come out as an egotistical statement, but it is not. At least not in the context of of a person managing a serious addiction that threatens to ruin her life, because here the person isn't fighting against other people for some selfish goal, she is fighting against herself all along. And for a noble goal. That person is fighting to turn her worst enemy, herself, into her best friend. Know thyself. Become what thou art.

Today I decided to start this journal. I was resisting this because I was afraid I would lose interest in it and stop writing, but that assumes the worst outcome possible to this new journey of mine: that I'm going to fail, that I'm going to relapse. That is because the only reason for me to lose interest in something that actively benefits myself right now would be if I went back to compulsive gaming, which had the power to make me lose interest on about everything, from hobbies, to passions, to people. And which I am not going to, anymore.

I was also resisting because I was assuming I would break the commitment to myself that a journal takes, that I would not write everyday, that I wouldn't be strong enough for that. After all, what good is a journal that is not worked on every day? Journal, the word, comes from the Proto-Indo-European root dyeu (to shine), through the Latin dies (day), and the French jour. Italian for it is giornale. Portuguese uses diário, closer to diary, which comes directly from the Latin root. A journal with no daily entries is a contradiction, and I strive for consistency. Thus, daily entries, no matter how puny and ridiculous they might be, must ensue.

It has been 21 days since I started my first 90 days detox try. Before that, I have tried several times, without success, to moderate my gaming time, to game responsibly, and deep down I still wish I can some say manage to do it. But now, after finding Game Quitters community and Cam's work on the subject, I know I can't simply trust my rational brain to manage it. Know yourself. I don't trust myself with games, I'll not trust myself to game again for a long time, certainly not before I achieve my most immediate goals, which aren't trivial. I must conclude my graduation thesis, that has been delayed for about a decade because of my addiction, I must prepare myself for the Bar exam that will follow, even though it has been years since I seriously looked into a law book, and I must get myself to at the very least an intermediate level in French, from being an absolute beginner. If I still want to try gaming responsibly after all of that have been taken care of, then I'll give it a try. If not... Become that what you are. But for that, you must forget what isn't you anymore.

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You can do it! In regards to the journal, I've found so far that it has been a great accountability habit. Multiple times I've stopped myself from doing something I shouldn't because I knew I would have to write in my journal that I made a mistake. I've also found it to be quite therapeutic and liberating at times.

Best of luck, I wish you success.

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Good luck, keep track of everything that's relevant! Writing the journal in the evening has helped me too. It helps understand me my former self.

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So far so good. On more day out of gaming, and today not even a sign of cravings. Plus, I did some good progress organizing some of my stuff. My girlfriend came to spend the afternoon studying with me and she has an amazing work ethic, I was lucky I could sit beside her and concentrate on my stuff today. I have to be sure to let her know some day how much she inspires me.

Still, small activities like taking some French lessons on Duolingo, or taking economy classes online (which is something of a "serious hobby" of sorts for me) end up slipping by because of circumstantial stuff. I have to improve my time management skills ASAP.

@NannerZ and @Ikar, thank you very much for your support and your tips! Really appreciate it!

Onwards! Tomorrow has always something reserved for us!

Edited by Ambassador
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Whoopsidaisies. Yesterday night I was really tired, and when I remembered to actually come write my daily entry I was already at bed, trying to sleep. It was such a long and unproductive day, one of those you feel you are overburdened but nothing you do adds up to what you actually want to achieve. But, as a good wannabe lawyer, I'm going to hold on to the technicality that my last post was already made yesterday, since I was posting everyday after midnight, to say that I didn't break my streak. For now on, however, I'm going to post on the correct day.

Like I was saying, yesterday was not a very good day, in that I did very little towards my goals. Today, however, was a much better one. I woke up well rested, had very good insights and was able to put them to paper instead of letting them get lost amidst my very fast moving train of thought. The afternoon was slow, as it usually is with me. I have to do something to concentrate better and ramp up my productivity after lunch.

Good thing is that I had no cravings whatsoever. Bad thing is that I spent too much time looking into Forex trading simulation apps and texts. At some point in my life I had the intention to learn the stuff, but I got frustrated because no matter how much I read about it, for the life of me I couldn't learn to do it right. Today it seems it all finally started to sink in, but I am really, REALLY afraid to develop a toxic habit out of it and make it replace gaming, because it triggers some very close mechanisms to it. If I'm going to give it another try, I better define a very strict schedule for it. I don't want to fool myself into thinking I'm doing something useful with my time while I'm really not.

I need to drink more water.

Onwards we go!

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On 5/19/2019 at 12:10 PM, Ambassador said:

But now, after finding Game Quitters community and Cam's work on the subject, I know I can't simply trust my rational brain to manage it. Know yourself.

You remind me how grateful I am for what Cam has created.

When it comes to addiction, knowledge is the most powerful & radical cure.

Without Cam's work, I might still be without this knowledge - deep in depression, swinging blindly between addiction's heavy gloom & withdrawal's fierce stress.

Just saying "I am a gaming addict" made so much fall into place for me. I'm hoping the forum will be of great help to you too! Good luck😊

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An unremarkable day

Starting today I'll give journal entries a short title that I think captures the essence of the day it represents. It serves both as an exercise on concision and minimalism, and as an introduction to what I write, since my entries reflect my preference for a narrative, short story style rather than a journalistic one and, as such, are fitting to be preceded by a title that encapsulates them. I'm still reluctant to date the entries, though. Dunno why, but I kinda rather not. The system will end up dating them, anyway.

About the day, it was like some days before it, and probably like some future days will be. Uneventful. Woke up, worked on my thesis, precisely on curating journalistic texts I have been collecting for a while about stuff related to what I'm going to talk about, so that I can find them a little bit easier. There's still stuff to do on that front, I need to organize them better, perhaps by subcategories, and also curate the YT talks, lectures and lessons I have also collected. Bureaucratic work, but I feel it will make my life easier down the road. I also wrote a few lines on my thesis' project. Better than nothing, but I really must write more each day.

Today I also spent a lot of time looking on Forex stuff, and the progress I felt I had made at it suddenly vanished. Good thing it's paper money, or I would be bankrupt. This makes me question even harder if I should pursue this, if it's worth to spend that much time on it. I have even skipped French lessons and other reading I should be doing.

@taichi thank you for your support, mate! Indeed, it is emancipatory to be able to see the addiction for what it is. One cannot free oneself of chains one cannot see.

Still going onwards we are!

Edited by Ambassador
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The "meh" day

Nothing significant accomplished today. Forex kept occupying my time and I come to the conclusion I should quite it because it's turning into another addiction. I may revisit it when I have a better structured routine and more control over my time and myself, but for now I have to let it go, or I risk not achieving the most immediate thing I should focus at, my thesis. I feel partially bad at this, because I really like looking at charts and browsing for technical tools and thinking about strategy, but it's for the best.

I'll try to micromanage my day tomorrow. I'll set up a detailed agenda with time for everything and a list of the most pressing stuff I need to do. I don't really like this approach, but I fear it has to do with my very poor conscientiousness, which compromises my working ethic, so I have to try a different approach, even if it hurts.

Kind of a sidestep today, but onwards we look!

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Outta luck

Having plans and waking up with the intention to make them happen is one thing you should be proud of. Having circumstances turn on you, though, is something you cannot even complain about, but it's deeply upsetting nonetheless. Fate doesn't exist. Bad or good luck is a mere psychological escape goat people in general, myself included, often praise or blame according to their particular circumstance. Yet, sometimes it feels the world is occupied conspiring against you, or so your frustration wants you to believe. This is nonsense, of course... but it feels like. Funny to think, I'm always outta luck precisely because I don't believe it, but today the metaphor stuck.

I woke up today ready to plow through the tasks I schedule myself. Yet, my notebook didn't. Turning it on, I could see the screen was lit, but no image would come out of it. Great. And half of my stuff wasn't synced with Google Drive. I could borrow my mother's computer, but it would serve me nothing If I can't access my stuff inside my own. Unable to do anything useful towards my goals, I spend the entire morning configuring mom's notebook, because... moms and computers. In the afternoon I would get the chance to go looking for an HDMI-VGA converter, so I can maybe plug my own notebook to an old monitor that I have laying around here and finish the syncing, so I could work on mom's computer and send mine back to the manufacturer on the warranty. And so I went.

Found it, and grabbed a mouse because mine was already falling me. Did some errands to mom, too, because it was all on the same vicinity. On the way back home it was already hush our. Lots of cars, lots of drivers, most of them hungry, tired, annoyed, a good part not very polite or even rational. After making through maybe 20 meters in 20 minutes, I decided to take the only chance I had to try another route. I had to change lanes to the left, twice, and go over a viaduct that looked mostly clean instead of bellow it as I was headed. But no one would give me passage, turn signal and hand waiving seeming invisible. Then, an opening at my left quickly formed as the driver that should be filling that space lagged behind, and I decided to take the chance. Quick turn, all wheel to the left... and I hit the back left corner of the front car with the right front corner of mine. GODDAMMIT! Thankfully I only barely tapped the acceleration pedal, so it ended up being a light hit, but enough to damage the painting on both bumpers.

I went out to see the extension of the damage, the other driver went too. He was upset, with reason, but probably thought it was too little to be bothered with, or perhaps he was too tired to even care. I don't know. He just got inside his car again and drove into the distance... 2 meters forward, as the traffic allowed. I also got back into mine, exhaustion, upset and stress piling up, and waited until I finally found a way left through the other cars.

Back home, the consolation I can find is that, among all of the frustration, anger and upset I went through during the day, not once I felt driven to game. Actually, the only time I thought about it was when I decided I should come to GQ and write my daily entry. If that's the only thing good coming out of this day, I'm taking it. But I'm going to dine, shower and sleep, to end it as quickly as possible. No point in prolonging it for another couple hours. Tomorrow I shall make up for the time I lost today.

Another sidestep, but still looking onwards.

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On 5/24/2019 at 4:18 AM, Ambassador said:

I'll try to micromanage my day tomorrow. I'll set up a detailed agenda with time for everything and a list of the most pressing stuff I need to do. I don't really like this approach, but I fear it has to do with my very poor conscientiousness, which compromises my working ethic, so I have to try a different approach, even if it hurts.

I feel you on that, that's why I write down stuff I want to get done that might haunt/already haunt me for a few days to do them in my diary.

8 hours ago, Ambassador said:

I woke up today ready to plow through the tasks I schedule myself. Yet, my notebook didn't. Turning it on, I could see the screen was lit, but no image would come out of it. Great. And half of my stuff wasn't synced with Google Drive. I could borrow my mother's computer, but it would serve me nothing If I can't access my stuff inside my own. Unable to do anything useful towards my goals, I spend the entire morning configuring mom's notebook, because... moms and computers. In the afternoon I would get the chance to go looking for an HDMI-VGA converter, so I can maybe plug my own notebook to an old monitor that I have laying around here and finish the syncing, so I could work on mom's computer and send mine back to the manufacturer on the warranty. And so I went.

I went out to see the extension of the damage, the other driver went too. He was upset, with reason, but probably thought it was too little to be bothered with, or perhaps he was too tired to even care. I don't know. He just got inside his car again and drove into the distance... 2 meters forward, as the traffic allowed. I also got back into mine, exhaustion, upset and stress piling up, and waited until I finally found a way left through the other cars.

Good shout, I'll backup my files too right now after I tidy my desktop.

At least it was just a scratch! It's about half a year I managed to damage my mudguard, as the car in front of me didn't turn as fast as I expected, he was probably letting a pedestrian through. He probably didn't even notice, as he drove away and I didn't see any damage to his car either. Luckily, the mudguards were to be changed soon anyway, because they were already somewhat rusty, so no-one from the family even got to know!

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Should try harder

Yesterday I missed my daily entry. Day was quite busy, but not really productive, and at the evening I went to a ballet presentation with GF, Got home late and was too tired, didn't bother to fire the notebook just to write the entry, though I probably should have. Habits die pretty quickly if you let them, I don't want to let this one go.

Today was fine, I guess, did some stuff on my thesis, watched a movie with GF... an overall nice Sunday. But I really, really need to be more productive. I know, it's only one month out of gaming, I have to find myself and all of that, but I feel it's upon me to try harder, too. Be mindful of my plans, don't be too carefree as I'm used too, really put myself into it. I want it badly, I know I'm able to do a good work, but time is against me. i cant afford to lose any more of it, as I have lost plenty already.

Focus and effort to keep going, and onwards we go!

Edit: shout out to @Ikar, thanks for the visit, mate. Yes, keep your backups updated, electronics are unpredictable and will let you down sooner or later. Standalone backups are even better than the cloud.

Edited by Ambassador
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Really enjoy reading your journals, I like how you back up what you're saying with the emotions and mindset behind it

One thing I will say is that I spent way too much blaming myself for wasting time, that if I wasn't making progress every single day then I was failing.

Now, I place a lot more value on those days where I can enjoy myself and not have to worry so much about the pressures in my life. 

But, as you said, it's only one month out. 

I started my journey 4 years ago and it's still tough. Keep it up!

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Faltering under a stranger's pain

Slacked off a bit today, unfortunately. I have the annoying characteristic of being easily triggered by trolls and polemicists, and going into YT for political and economic lectures and reports, as well-intentioned as it might be, will sometimes end with me meddled with some useless, focus-shattering, energy-draining, endless discussion. That will create the stressful experience that will make the recommended videos a strategic pitfall. Now matter how relevant or informative the videos are, it's not what I'm supposed to be doing! I have to learn how to deal with my feelings and how to get over ill-intended people, because both things will never cease to exist.

But that wasn't what struck me the hardest today. My GF messaged me late morning today about a classmate of hers. The girl attempted against her own life during a practice at their university. When my GF got to the clinic they practice together under supervision (it's a healthcare related course), her classmate had cut her own wrists with a scalpel. My GF had to help the girl basically alone, as her other classmate and the teacher that were present at moment were both panicking due to the fact that both had had past experiences with depression and self harm. My GF only reached me after the fact, and after having an anxiety attack and I tried to help from afar the best I could, but there was nothing much I could do other than recommend the national service for suicide prevention and to give some ideas on how to deal with the fallout, like keeping an eye on the girl, contacting the university's social service, stuff like that.

The whole thing got me thinking about how fragile we are, and how it doesn't take much to knock us out of balance, to put us on the verge of disaster, specially on the current climate of increased anxiety, open discrimination and pressure to conform to social normative that so many of us live under. Life is precious beyond description. We must care for it not only inside of our political, religious or philosophical dogmas and narratives, but all around us, in our neighborhoods, our communities, despite the difference, despite the odds and the issues. I wish we could stop looking down one another and start looking up for each other more often, sincerely and with joy.

For those out there struggling with depression, don't think you are alone, and don't think no one cares. I do. Many others also do. Ask for help, reach out. I'm here if you need it, just PM. Or reach your national Suicide Prevention Service, odds are there's a 24/7 phone line you can call and talk. Reach out.

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Thanks for the visit, @James Good! Really appreciate the support! Yes, I've always been hard on myself, that's probably something I should sort out. I guess there's no point in trying hard if you cannot enjoy the process. Thank you again.

Edited by Ambassador
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Ha, here I went I'd read a "normal" daily report and look at that. It's the real and unexpected stories that keep someone interested, very much like Jordan Peterson described to me this morning in his lecture. Some days are more interesting than others and deserve to be written about more than others.

It really is staggering how vulnerable people are. I've been heading towards hell slowly, but steadily with my addiction. Yet, I can't even begin to fathom what would have to happen to bring me towards having suicidal thoughts or actually attempting suicide.

I hope that woman find a way to straighten herself out and crawls out of the ditch she's in. You have one go on your life, so you might as well enjoy it, rather than just die prematurely. Happy to hear your girlfriend has her act together and that she was able to do to avert the tragedy that'd meet her classmate's friends and family.

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Giving value to an OK day

Some things really help us to put things into perspective. Yesterday's experiences did it for me. Today was an OK day. Not great, not awful. OK. I did many things I was supposed to. I didn't got to do other that I should have. But those I can get to tomorrow. And, day after day, I can feel my level of energy and my commitment to my projects and objectives increasing. Slowly, but surely. Tomorrow my goal is to complete more tasks than I did today. Tomorrow I can tinker with my plans, I can perfect them, I can change my strategy according to the results I've been getting so far. I have a tomorrow. I'm trying to build a better one for me, and for my beloved ones. I have that going on for me. And I'm glad I have the ability to put my life into perspective not only see the things I'm fortunate for having, but also to see the things I want to change. That is more than some people have, unfortunately.

My GF's friend is fine. I mean, for someone who recently tried to end her own life. She's alive, and her friends are looking after her. That's fine-ish. If she's truly fine, I don't know. I guess not. But my bet is that she'll be, in time. My GF seems fine. She doesn't seem affected by what she witnessed, and I'm grateful for that as well. She's making plans for us to go on a concert this weekend. Everything is going to be fine. I'll probably have to dedicate an entire day to that, so I better work a little extra until then, to compensate at least partially.

Today I also started looking for freelance writing jobs on one of those online platforms. I could use a little extra cash, but I don't know what to expect of it yet. Time will tell. Can't hurt trying, though.

Overall, an OK day. I use to be upset about mere Okay-ness, but today I'm not. OK is OK.

Going onwards, being OK about it.

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16 hours ago, Ikar said:

It really is staggering how vulnerable people are

@Ikar Thank you for the visit, mate. Yes, specially when it's someone that looked fine from the outside. I mean, you never know whats going on inside people's head. But my bet is that everyone is more or less susceptible to some kind of breakdown, even if not that bad, but still bad anyways. I guess it's a matter of pressing the right buttons, or the wrong ones. There are things that affect you more than others, there are times you are more fragile, and when things come all of sudden, and everything pile up... we are only humans. Few have the inner strength to keep standing after being pounded merciless by life, let alone to fight back, without some sort of support.

Thank you again for the visit.

Edited by Ambassador

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Learning to accept days that aren't amazing or productive is a big step on the journey.

The way I see it, as long as I do something that I intended to do then it was a successful day.

Good to see your girlfriend is handling the situation well, it can become a huge drain on your own life if you have someone relying on you emotionally.

In terms of freelance writing, most of my income is now made up from writing articles so if you ever have any questions then feel free to send them over! Always happy to help.

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Having a cold is not hot

Yesterday I was already feeling the initial symptoms, but they were weak, and so I couldn't care less. Today it hit me hard, though. TBH, it might be a flu.

I did manage to do some stuff in the morning, but the afternoon was just about getting laid on the sofa, coughing and drooling. GF and I were talking about meeting today, but I don't want her to be sick. Also, I would be no fun. So, no date. Going to have some mint tea with honey, and going to bed early. Will get better tomorrow.

Coughing onwards, sneezing strong.

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@James Good Thank you for the visit! Yeah, I think the most important lesson I'm taking this last month is to take my time to adapt, instead of trying to rush a lot of things and then end up on a depressive spiral because of not being able to accomplish most of them. This reminds me of a country-folk song that goes something like "I walk slowly because I already have had a rush... like an old cowboy leading to cattle I'm leading the days, through the long road I go, the road I am".

16 hours ago, James Good said:

if you ever have any questions then feel free to send them over!

I do! I've never did that before, I'm kinda lost... Is there any platform you can recommend to get jobs? My first impressions about the one I'm currently using weren't all that great, TBH.

Thanks again for the support!

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Getting better feels great

Still sick, this flu ain't gonna give me a break so soon, it seems. But today it didn't stop me from doing my stuff, either. Managed to work throughout the day and, probably because of that, I'm feeling great now. Still coughing, still feverish and broken, but great nonetheless! Almost finished organizing my sources, wrote a little bit, figured out some stuff I was planing to. Today was a good day overall. I hope I can carry out this momentum for tomorrow.

Weird. Either I work better with a stuffy nose, or the extra effort I had to put today really motivated myself. Could it be the case that I'm aiming too low and thus not having the pressure that could drive me to work relentlessly? I definitely have aimed to high in the past, maybe I'm now too afraid to commit the same mistake. Dunno. Will have to think on that... Meanwhile, will keep the plans unchanged.

Onward we go!

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Good Friday

Getting better from the flu. No more fever and ache, just a little coughing and some stuffy nose, and that's about it. Did good work today, also. Hope I can put on a streak of accomplishment to really get things going faster.

Had GF over to watch a movie. Good fun, she's such a good company. Dunno if I would be able to hold steady without her support, I'm thankful for that.

Will keep it short today.

Onward!

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Inspired

Another good work day. Did basically everything I intended to. Still sick, though. Coughing my lungs out. Damn flu doesn't want to go away. Will stay quieter tomorrow and see if I can just recover faster with that.

Today was such a good day it even inspired me to write some poetry, something I don't do for quite some time... not saying it's good poetry, though. Honest, rough, a little forced rhymes. No iambic pentameter, no, nothing fancy like that. I can barely spell, let alone count stressed syllables. Besides, English syllables are weird.

Keeping short today, also.

Onward and rhyming
awkward, blimey!

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9 hours ago, Ambassador said:

Besides, English syllables are weird.

Our language is so dumb sometimes it hurts 😧 

Wishing you a speedy recovery, but it's great that you're rediscovering things you used to love, and what better than poetry! 

Looking forward to seeing The Complete Poetry Works of A. M. Bassador one day 😉 

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Looks like Lady Creativity is back

I've been really inspired, these days. I've always been a creative person, since childhood, but gaming... it didn't take it away, but it... I guess it drained my creativity, that would be focused on gameplay. You know, finding ways to beat a level, finding ways to solve specific game problems, finding new strategies, all those things actually require a lot of creativity. But it's, let's say, applied creativity, kind of mechanical and conditioned. It's different from writing, or taking pictures.

But these days I've been recovering that creativity I once had, that artistic curiosity, that itchy for making something yours, something unique. Today, specially, was a particularly good day on that front. I did very little work on my thesis, but it's OK, I gave myself that free pass. I was more interested in something else. And I did create something I did enjoy, not just for the result of it, but actually for the whole process of making it. It still need a final polishing, but I think I'm gonna put it in here afterwards. Game Quitters community sparked my light again, it's only fair that I show it what it resulted on.

The flu is almost going away, just a little coughing persists, but I'm pretty sure I'll be fine soon. My GF, on the other had, got sick. She's not too bad, but it means we couldn't see each other today, and will probably not see each other probably until Wednesday. 😞

Anyway, that's all for today, a less short entry.

Onward and inspired!

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