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bonno51

The Long Road Of Fixing My Life

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Hi all I'm Bonno

This is my 2nd time quitting gaming. I submitted a post to the stop gaming sub reddit two weeks ago which outlined my past attempt at quitting and what has led me back here again. That post can be found here. If anyone is genuinely interested in following my story I'd recommend reading that first emotional brain dump as a lot of what I talk about will make more sense having done so. Gaming has been by far the biggest contribution to my current situation, but it has not been the only thing. So throughout these posts I will be trying to talk about others aspects of my life or behavioral traits that had led me to where I am.

So its been 2 weeks since I wrote that post. I've had a lot of time to think and reflect in these weeks, and also a lot of time to start planning and implementing changes into my life. The first and most important thing is that i'm trying to be less hard on myself. In the days following that post I learnt a lot more about the nature of my break up. Many things came to light surrounding the week leading up to, and following the split. My girlfriend had been less than honest about many things, most notably about the nature of her relationship with the guy she had been getting her emotional support from. It seems quite likely that I was cheated on a couple of days before we broke up, and almost certain that she was then with this guy in the week following. All whilst insisting that there was nothing going on and they were just both going through hard times and leaning on each other. I still coming to terms with everything that has happened in that regard. It is likely that had I not been so absorbed in video games for the last 12 months, and had paid more attention to my relationship none of this would have happened the way it has. But I am trying to hold my head up high, knowing that despite my faults I did not deserve to be treated in the way she has treated me.

For many people it takes a form of "hitting rock bottom" in order for them to wake the hell up and actually realise they have problems they need to address. For me this seems to be the loss of a long term relationship. I've been thinking a lot about the patterns in my behavior that have now led me back into the same terrible place twice now. My obsessive gaming obviously being a key factor in that. But whilst gaming has contributed to the loss of someone I truly loved, I've had to acknowledge that it has done far more than just that. At the height of my obsession I was regularly going to bed at 1-2 in the morning, sometimes even later. And when I needed to leave for work at 7:30am every day that was clearly a problem. Being tired at work become pretty much a routine, and arriving late wasn't uncommon either. Furthermore staying focused at work became increasingly difficult. I would regularly spend more time at work on gaming websites than I would actually doing my job. Despite managing to keep up the appearance of a good employee for a year or so this of course caught up with me eventually. A few months back I was dismissed from my job. Fortunately I work in a field with fairly high demand, and I am skilled and knowledgeable in this field. I had 30 days of paid gardening leave before my employment officially ended. This whole ordeal didn't even phase me, and in hindsight that's concerning. I started to job hunt the minute I got home from work that day, and within 24 hours already had an interview arranged. For the next month my life was spend a bit of time each day applying to jobs, speaking to recruiters and otherwise playing games. I ended up starting a new job just a few days after my gardening leave finished. What should have been a major wake up call was just a minor bump in the road to me. I was too wrapped up in my games to realise the seriousness of the situation.

Losing my relationship, with the person I thought I was going to spend my life with has been devastating. Break ups are tough for even the strongest of people, however once again my obsession with games has left me at a disadvantage. The best thing you can do when going through a break up is to surround yourself with friends. Well I've just spent the last year or so neglecting most of my friendships. Its tricky when a couple split up, and you have a large group of mutual friends. Most people want to stay mutual and in general not get involved. They make sure both parties are doing okay, and reach out to support them. But what about when one person has been actively spending time with those friends, listening to their troubles and supporting them. Whilst the other has been sat at home playing games, only appearing every once in a while. Not too hard to guess really is it. One person has their friends flock to support them, check they're doing okay and ask them what happened, the other is left entirely alone. Of all our mutual friends only one has reached out to me and been there for me. Ironically someone who we both would play games together with. And as in the case in a break up there is always two sides of the story. I already mentioned how my ex had been dishonest to to me regarding her actions, of course she is not going to dirty her own image with everyone by admitting her transgressions. So instead I am made out to be the bad guy by someone who until now has always been known as the honest person. What reason would anyone have to doubt her.

This leads into my next observation of myself. Whilst this might not be strictly related to gaming, understanding this behavior making changes moving forward is every bit as important as simply not playing games. Seeing the lack of messages coming through to me from our mutual friends has made it painfully clear how few friendships I had outside of the relationship. Of all the people I've been been friends with over the last 3 years, only 2 of those are what I would MY friends rather than OUR friends. Of course throughout the duration of our relationship this never even crossed my mind. I was happy to just have her, she was all I needed. I did a similar thing with the first girl I moved in though not to quite the same extent. I tend to disappear into my relationships and lose my own identity in the process, I become almost dependent on it. All well and good until things aren't good. Nobody knows which relationship is going to be the one that doesn't break down. Its clear to me now that I need to make sure I have a life of my own before I enter into a new relationship down the line. I should be sharing my life with someone not simply starting a life with them. That way if things don't work out I've still got a life I can continue on with. Unlike now where my life has been torn apart and I've got to rebuild it from scratch.

So that brings me more onto what am I doing now. Well i'm taking all the standard steps as one normally should in this situation. I've just rejoined the gym and had my first session. Despite all the mixed opinions on it I've opted to try crossfit. I've struggled in the past to actually stick with a workout routine. Hopefully the group nature of crossfit will help me to stick with it this time around. In order to try and deal with the current lackluster social life I've started using the meetup app to attend social gatherings around my area. I'm not living in a particularly busy area at the moment so the offerings are a bit limited but its something for the moment. My current work are providing me with online training so I can study towards obtaining some key industry certifications. This is something I've been seeking from an employer for quite some time so i'm trying to make the most of this. Finally and probably most importantly i'm planning on moving to a different part of the country in a city that one of my best friends moved to. I've been down to visit many times over the last few years and really like the area. At one point my ex and I were seriously considering moving there together, but I don't think relocating was ever truly in her heart as she would have been leaving to much behind. I find myself now in the opposite situation, where I have nothing to stay for but an entire city full of new opportunities and possibilities to move for. I'm essentially rebuilding my life from nothing either way, why not do somewhere that's got more going on and one of my best mates there.

Funnily enough gaming is not even really on my radar at the moment. But then this is how it went last time, when things were at their worst it was easy to stay focused and on task. Gaming got me into the mess i'm in, gaming is obviously not going to get me out of it. Its further along the road that I need to watch out. When I'm starting to feel comfortable and happy with my life again. Because that's when i'll start to think "look at how well i'm doing, I can start to play a bit here and there now without ruining everything" This is a long way off yet however. One day at a time for now.

This has ended up being quite the wall of text but to put into words a lot of what I've been thinking the last two weeks has been quite therapeutic. Future posts should be shorter and more contained to the day at hand. But we'll have to see whats on my mind at the time. If you've bothered to read all this, thank you for taking the time.

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@bonno51 Welcome to the forum! Rebuilding your life from the start is going to be difficult, but you seem to be taking all the right steps. Remember to congratulate yourself for the progress you have made so far and do make in the future. Meetup and going to the gym are great ideas! We're all here to support you through this, and don't dread on having this be the second time you have tried to quit video games: just keep moving forward. Remember the old Batman quote:

"Why do we fall, Master Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."

I wish you the best in your journey.

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Hey Bonno, welcome to the forum!

I'm sorry to hear about the situation between you and your ex. That's rough. Addictions sneakily turn us into the people we never wanted to be. 

You also sound like a very introspective person, and that's key to determining the behaviors we need to improve and remove. I'll be looking forward to reading your journal. 

Also, your post reminded me that I have a relationship (well, several) that I've been neglecting as well, so thank you for your post. 

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Welcome to the forums! 

Although since you're now single it might not be your priority, I recommend you look into the book about self esteem in my signature, because I've found it really helps with establishing correct boundaries with people, either loved ones or not. All in all, the dependency thing resonated highly with me since I've been a people pleaser myself but slowly growing out of it. If you'd care to discuss it more I'm here! Don't want to write an essay in your journal just because! xD

Be strong and embrace the hardship and boredom that are coming your way. It's all part of the process.

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So today is 19 days without gaming, still not really feeling any temptation to play but I know it will come in time.

Unfortunately I didn't have the greatest start to my day thanks to seeing an email from the ex about our flat. Our relationship may have been able to be ripped up and discarded in a matter of days, but leases are so not easy to get out of. At the time of the split we had just under 4 months left on the lease this is now closer to 3. I took it upon myself to move out straight away for my own sanity leaving her to live there in the meanwhile. I was able to speak with the landlord who agreed to put the property back up on the market and when new tenants are found we can be released early from the lease. I'm now having to deal with my ex making me out to be some kind of bastard because i'm not prepared to pay for her any longer than I have to. I'm well past the point of giving a shit what she thinks of me anymore, but I can't help but feel like my life is in a sort of limbo. Until this crap is dealt with and we're out of the lease I can't properly put her behind me.

In better news work at least went well. I was able to keep myself fairly well focused and get a good amount done. Little annoying that our building is currently swarmed with TV production crew as parts of some TV show called Hanna are being filmed there. So many of them getting in the way and walking around like they own the place. Winds me up a bit but oh well. Tonight I had my first one on one session with one of the coaches at the gym. After joining you do three one on one sessions in order to learn the basic techniques for the various exercises that are done. Being as unfit as I am at the moment it was some seriously hard work. But I feel great for having got through it and i know if I can make this into a proper routine I will be all the better for it.

I had quite a pleasant surprise today when one of the ex and I's mutual friends got in touch to see how I was doing. It was nice to have someone actually want to hear about everything from my perspective. It helped me feel like my feelings matter, which is something I haven't felt a lot of since all this began. She had issues with her partner in the past spending far too much time on gaming which negatively impacted their relationship. To have a friend commend me for recognising my problems and working to fix them was very uplifting.

So a day that started terribly has managed to turn itself around and ended on several positive notes. More of those to come I hope.

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20 days and far too busy for gaming.

Today feels almost like a repeat of yesterday just with stronger emotions. Despite feeling pretty good last night at the time of posting my ex managed to trash that before I went to bed. More messaging about flat related stuff that honestly wasn't necessary. Despite my better judgement I ended up questioning her about her some of the things I knew she'd lied to me about. Funny how someone who claims "nothing happened with him" will still lie about where she went that night. People have done shitty things to me plenty of times before, but throughout most of my life I've been too wrapped up in gaming to really let it get to me. When gaming is off the cards though, its so much harder to not let these negative emotions get to you. Having been through this before I know it gets better with time. But sometimes you just wish there was a fast forward button.

As with yesterday however things got better as the day went on. Many parts of my body have been aching all day, which is surprisingly satisfying. A reminder that I worked hard in the gym yesterday. Work went well again, nothing special but I managed to not let myself get distracted too much. One event this afternoon did really boost my mood though. I've mentioned previously that I'm looking to move away from the area where I've been living my life up until now. Well a week or so ago I started applying for jobs in the city I plan to move to. I'd had a 2nd stage phone interview at the end of last week and today received news from the recruitment agency that they were impressed and were advancing me to the next stage. At some point within the next week i'll be doing a technical examination. The test is on something I've never worked with before, which is entirely the point. They want to see how well I can learn my way around a new system/process using online resources. Something I've always been quite good at thankfully. So I've come home and already started reading up on what it is they will be wanting me to do. If I can nail this and then a face to face interview, I could be moved away from here by the end of the month. And then I can really start to move on and rebuild my life.

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24 days without gaming. I've had a lot going on the last few days so didn't get around to posting in here. Going to try and cover those days in this post so it may get a bit long.

Thursday was for the most part like any other day. Emotions seesawing up and down throughout the day. Feeling great one minute for resolving a difficult issue at work, and then my ex popping into my head and bringing me crashing back down again. Whats done has been done and cannot now be undone. In my head I know that I can only move forward's and that my future is not going to have her in it. But keeping out of your own head is much easier said than done. I regularly find myself playing back our conversations over and over in my head. What if I had said this or that, what if I had just switched my damn computer off and spent more time tending to her needs in the relationship. I had what something so many people want and yet I let it fall apart. These thoughts don't benefit me in any way, I already recognise my mistakes, and I know the issues with myself that I need to work on. All these thoughts do now is bring me down. Its hard when you've been numbing yourself with gaming for so long you forget how to actually deal with negative emotions. Something to work on at least but unlike physical wounds there's no clear medical process to help the wounds heal faster. Only time will heal these emotional wounds yet each day seems to drag on forever whereas when I was gaming the weeks would fly by in a blur.

Thursday evening I had an interview with a Counselling Psychology student in the US. Part of his studies are in relation to behavioral addiction and he had posted in the stop gaming subreddit looking for volunteers to speak with him about their experiences. We spoke for about an hour and it was an excellent experience. He posed some very thought provoking questions about addiction, the differences of gaming addiction vs other forms of addiction such as drug addictions, and also peoples perception on gaming addictions. All in all it got me to think about more than just how i fucked my life up for a while which was nice. And in the process I've hopefully helped him with his research.

Moving onto Friday I was working at a customer site installing some new hardware which was supposed to take around perhaps half my day. This ended up taking all day and I still need to go back to finish up on Monday. This was in part due to some difficult customers and also some poor planning on my part. I could have better prepared for this install and completed the task within the estimated time frame easily. This is a little disheartening but something to learn from so I don't make the same mistake in future. At the time though this was a very stressful work day for me and I was happy to see the back of it. On the positive side though, being that busy and stressed out left me very little time for thinking about problems and feeling sorry for myself. Being busy and focused is a great thing when going through such an upheaval in your life, just next time hopefully a little less on the stressful side would be nice.

After work I was driving down to Bristol for my friends partners birthday night out. This is about a 2.5 hour drive for me and is also the place i'm trying to relocate to. Long drives at the moment are not enjoyable at all. Very little to distract myself from my thoughts and its easy to let your emotions start to overwhelm you. Once I got there though all the negative slipped away. Its amazing how putting 100+ miles between you and where everything fell apart can make all those things seem so insignificant. Just me and a few friends going out and having a good time. Meeting new people who don't know you, and aren't judging you for the mistakes you've made in the past. She was still in the back of my mind, but I didn't let her stop me from enjoying myself. She'd actually messaged me whist I was driving down, this message was completely unnecessary. It wasn't in relation to the flat lease which i've said to her is the only reason we need to be in contact for anymore. But she'd noticed a small lump a while back and i'd told her she should get it checked at the doctors but she didn't get around to it whilst we were still together. Well she'd finally got it looked at and confirmed it wasn't anything to worry about and had decided to let me know. I didn't really need to know though, of course I don't wish cancer on her or anything like that. But she hurt me, she lied to me and gave up on me. Her personal life isn't my concern anymore, I don't want to know anything whether good or bad and it only makes it harder for me to move on. Thankfully as I said I didn't let her popping up ruin my night. This weekend has reaffirmed that I will be making the right decision by moving away. Part of me was kept thinking before am I just running away from my problems like a coward. But as I said earlier on whats done is done, the relationship is no longer fixable. I'm not running from something because its easier than fixing it. I already tried to fix it and she didn't want to. The only problems I have left that are fixable are the problems I have with myself, and no matter where I go I'll be taking myself with me. So no i'm not running away from the problems, instead i'd be moving away from the constant painful reminders of the life i've lost. Its going to be hard to start over and build a new life, whilst also working on myself to find happiness without gaming. But it will easier to do so without having to drive past places everyday that hold so many memories of the happiness I once had here, with her.

Saturday was a day I had been dreading since all this began. We had tickets to see a band we loved with some of our friends. Of all the things we had planned to do together this year, this concert was the thing I was looking forward to most. Naturally she was still going with said friends just without me. I could either go alone, or not go at all. For me when I have been looking forward to doing something with the person I love to then do that thing without them just isn't the same. I could have never gone to that concert and enjoyed myself without her. Yet I know she will have gone and had a great time. Is this something wrong with me? another case of getting too emotionally attached? Or the other way around, Is she cold and heartless? did she care about me too little? These are questions I know i'll never really be able to answer. I spent most of the day still at my friends house until driving back in the evening so having company helped me to not think about this too much. But now its the Sunday and i'm sat at home, its hard to not think about it. It seems so unfair that someone can hurt you so much, yet they still get to go out and enjoy the things you had planned together whilst you suffer.

I now have the rest of today to complete the task set for me by my potential new employer. I need to get her out of my head and absolutely smash this test. As that is my ticket to getting out of here and away from the negatives.

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25 days without gaming.

Honestly not a whole lot to report on today. Haven't been able to complete the technical assessment for the job i'm going for yet. This was due to some errors on their end and although I knew how to correct these issues to complete the task, that involved rebooting the virtual machine they had set up. When I issued the reboot command however it didn't come back online. I got the job agency to notify them of this today so hopefully they'd have it sorted for me to do tonight but no such luck. This did free up my evening though so I was able to go to a board game night i'd signed up for through the meetup app. Was good to get out of the house and meet some more new people all whilst enjoying some new games i'd never played before.

Its only coming up on a month since everything fell apart and already so long as a certain person doesn't pop up on my phone I'm managing to have good days without letting things drag me down. When I compare this to how much I struggled the first time around its very reaffirming of how much I've emotionally matured in the last few years. So long as I keep gaming off my radar I'm sure there's a lot of great stuff waiting for me in the future.

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26 days without gaming.

Another pleasantly uneventful day. Work was quite busy without being stressful which is honestly the best it can be. Was well focused for most of the day and actually in a pretty good mood throughout. Back in the gym tonight for my 2nd one on one with a coach. Another extremely hard session which left me absolutely exhausted, I had to rest up for a good 30 mins afterwards before I felt I could actually drive home. I've dabbled a bit in the gym over the years but never have I come close to working this hard in such a short space of time. The satisfaction you feel at the end of the work out having pushed so hard is incredible. Its easy to see how people get hooked on this, i'm hoping to become one of those people. Would be nice to actually have a productive habit for the first time in my life. One that benefits my health and well being instead of turning me into a zombie like gaming did. One more session next week and then I can start booking onto classes, aiming to start at two per week moving up to 3 per week once I feel ready. Last night I really struggled to get to sleep so hopefully tiring myself out will lead to a good rest tonight, I sure deserve it.

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27 days without gaming

All in all another good day. Not much time spent dwelling on the negatives just pushing on forward. Work went well again even if the morning was a little stressful. Tonight I was finally able to get on with the technical test for the job I'm trying to get. Spent most of this evening working on it and feel confident that its going to secure me a face to face interview for the final stage of the interview process. Things are certainly looking up.

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