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Day 0

Honestly, I'm not even going to say I'll commit to this since I'm sick of hearing my own lies, but I'll give it another shot. I think this must be the 1000th time I've told myself I'd quit. My problem isn't really gaming at this point. It's more wasting my time on Twitch, Youtube, and Twitter, but I know those are ultimately the same thing. I still game occasionally, but it's not nearly as much of a problem of just browsing endlessly through those three platforms of social media.

I'm 23 now, and gaming was a huge problem in my childhood. It was how I hung out with my dad when I was just a kid, and I've only noticed in the past year or two that it has really just lingered on since then. I realized gaming had become an addiction as early as middle school, so I actually threw away my gaming consoles and my problem disappeared. I picked up skateboarding at the same time, which replaced my addiction for video games. However, my friends in that circle coincidentally began to game and the ones who purely skateboarded started leaving my school. Late into middle school, I bought myself an xbox and was heavily hooked again until my junior year of high school. It wasn't until then I became once again conscious of the fact on how much time I was wasting gaming and ended up selling my xbox. Unfortunately, right after selling my xbox was when I discovered the world of twitch, youtube gaming channels, esports, gaming social media, etc. I began to browse through these endlessly at the time, failing to draw the parallel between this and gaming. I didn't find this to be a problem for a very long time.

I didn't have a gaming (not including browsing gaming social media platforms) problem during my whole first year of college, but then discovered competitive ssbm. This became a HUGE addiction, probably the worst addiction for me in my life yet. I played this every day after work with a buddy one summer for about three months straight until 2 or 3am each time. I was working full time, so this would usually be from about 6-8pm until 2-3am. On days off sometimes it would be all I do.

My addiction to this game was when my problem rose to its next level. The video game itself is of a different nature than any other in that it's way more fast paced. It's hard to explain unless you've played it yourself. I think anyone who has played it seriously will agree that it's faster than any other game out there. This means way more constant engagement, way more excitement, and way more dopamine hits. Ever since playing this game, I've notice that my attention span began to shorten significantly. I began to have a harder time focusing in class, developed a harder time being comfortable sitting around doing nothing/being bored, and could no longer sit through an entire movie without having to be on my laptop/phone or I would have to cut it short. That was when I really freaked out. I used to love sitting around with friend watching full movies, sometimes on my own, but all of a sudden I found it impossible to sit through anything longer than an hour without feeling incredibly bored or empty. I felt like gaming, especially this game was physically altering my brain.

I began to do tons of research on the effect of video games on our brains since I literally thought I was developing some sort of irreversible mental condition, possibly ADD/ADHD. It's a whole other story, but I actually got checked for ADD/ADHD recently and fortunately don't have it, but got other unexpected results that aren't relevant to this rant. Anyways, upon my research on google and youtube, I ran into Cam's channel Game Quitters. I went through probably every video, the last being the 90 day detox, and decided to give it a serious attempt. (That time, I did not make an account on this website.)

At the time, my goal was to quit playing ssbm, stay clear of all of my friends who were gamers, and cut myself off from youtube gaming channels, twitch, and twitter. I remember this lasting for three whole weeks, but eventually gave in after some seriously bad life events occurred. I remember those three weeks to be equally dreadful and relieving. I almost constantly thought about gaming or going back to my room and just endlessly browse through gaming channels on youtube or twitch. But occasionally there were moments between where I felt like I was let free from the drug of gaming, which always felt euphoric. Unfortunately, this was back in I believe early 2016, possibly last 2015... That means it's been three whole years since then...

I'm writing here today since randomly, after yet again wasting multiple hours of my day on watching gaming videos on youtube and twitch, I saw a video recommendation in my suggested videos list a video from Game Quitters. I'd been through dozens of attempts to quit gaming since then, but it they were never as successful as when I stopped gaming for a bout a month three years back. Rewatching the video on the 90 day detox really put into perspective how long I've been nagging myself to make a real attempt to stop this endless cycle. I guess I'll give it another shot

Anyways, that's the end of my scattered rant. I honestly thought I'd write a few sentences and that would be it, but reading back I'm shocked how invested I got into this post. I hate writing comments, in forums, and in chat groups like  on youtube, reddit (never actually on reddit, just an example), or twitch. Infact, I never actually make posts in any forms of social media. I just waste all my time browsing through them. I guess me making this account is some sort of desperate attempt to see if writing to a forum might make a difference and somehow break me out of this endless loop of saying I'd quit, and not actually quitting, that I've been in forever. I don't know how this works, but hopefully I'll get a response from someone just to know if anything I'm saying is making any sense or is relatable. I'd like to know if anyone on this website was ever played ssbm competitively and knows what I meant when I said the addiction to that game was different than the others. This weird summary of my on and off addiction is really fragmented and I'd like to rant more about it some other time.

My goal for now is to stay away from gaming, but really gaming social media such as youtube, twitch, and twitter for a month. It's July 13th where I am so that would mean my end date is August 13th. Lets see how it goes this time.

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Welcome to the forums. You are not alone, I have tried quitting many times on my own, it must have been in the tenths or more, and I never succeeded for long. My mistake, which I didn't learn from, was that I removed gaming and I expected things to magically happen instead of it. Nothing happened. I stayed in bed and watched series all day. I had cravings, I was miserable with boredom looming over me. And so I went back. This happened so many times, but this time, when I joined here, I read the process and forced it upon myself. I forced myself to pick up new activities despite not feeling like it at all.

And this is what I am suggesting to you too. Make a schedule for your days. Put in new activities, chores, learning new skills or getting better at something. This is a hard process, especially if you've been hooked for more than a decade like many of us here. But the process will not disappoint you if you follow it. Do the things, even if you don't feel like it, and write down how you feel every day. Make goals for yourself. Make plans. Think beyond who you were, and towards who you want to become, forget the mistakes.

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Hey, thanks for the response. It means a lot.

For yourself, was it harder getting over gaming or binge watching twitch, youtube, and other gaming media? I'm in this weird state where I feel like with all my attempts to quit binge gaming, I've been successful, but have created this other, tougher habit of that. I actually have a pretty healthy relationship with gaming now, but it's what causes me to binge these gaming social media platforms endlessly for the rest of my free time. It might not be what most of the others on this forum is here for, but I'm really cutting out gaming so that I will spend less time on those websites. Its like people who say they want to quit smoking, but need to quit drinking since it causes them to smoke.

Also, what's your opinion on quitting cold turkey? I don't know how much I trust it. I've tried it with previous periods of time where I'd take breaks from gaming, or even say I'd premaritally quit gaming, but when the habit comes back, it comes back stronger. It's caused me to try cutting back during detox periods and allowing myself to go on twitch for maybe an hour or two, but those methods eventually died as well and weren't nearly as strict.

Do you think this cold turkey detox method is the only way, the best way, or have you ever found success with other methods of cutting back/quitting habits?

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Day 1

Don't wanna say much today, but after yesterdays uncertain post, I've actually decided to give a 30 day break from gaming and gaming social media a serious shot. I was on the fence about it, but making that post felt so great and reading others stories afterwards made me want to try again. I'll try to post everyday, but no promise as for now. I don't know if a promise is the way to go personally anymore. I will be honest on my posts though. I won't lie if I relapse since I have a history of doing that to myself. In the past I've had instances where I would go on twitch or youtube and binge watch gaming for a few hours and give myself a pass since I had an, "extra busy day." I wont let something like that slide this time.

So my first day wasn't too bad. Was kind of bored most of the day, but slight boredom has in a weird way become therapeutic. I sat in my room and on my living room couch for 30-40 minutes at one point without looking at my phone or the TV and just immersed myself in my own thoughts. Its shocking the interesting things that come to mind when you don't have an electronic distraction glued to your face. I really don't know the last time I've just let myself be bored. It's nice now, but I know from experience that it will be difficult to resist temptation again in a few days when the slight boredom becomes dreadful agonizing boredom.

I decided to go on a bike ride for about an hour through a nearby park I've never really explored. It was raining and the park wasn't as nice as I've seen when passing by, but biking is another therapeutic activity of mine.

It's a small bill, but I paid off a bill that was due in a few weeks. This is honestly a huge accomplishment for me not since I pay my bills late, but I for no reason in particular always wait until the last moment to pay them off. This always builds up so much unnecessary anxiety for me. The same deal with some studying I got out of the way today. I didn't wait for a my deadline in a few weeks, but just decided to get the small things out of the way now. Although was a small amount of studying, I learned so much more now so much quicker since I did this weeks before a deadline. Whenever I push these things off till the last second, I'm wired with anxiety, which makes it harder for me to comprehend what I'm reading and always takes longer as a result. Small victories, but I'm proud of them.

I watched a a few hours of TV today, but with my folks. Despite what I said about wasting my time binge watching youtube videos and twitch streams, TV shows in general don't go against my personal detox rule, especially if I'm watching TV with others. My problem is watching gaming videos on my laptop, in my room, alone. I think long episodes of TV actually work towards what I want to fix since I have to concentrate for longer periods of times on slower paced things. With gaming videos, everything happens so fast and I'm always browsing through three other things on my laptop and my phone simultaneously that it fucks with my brain. When I patiently sit down and watch an hour episode or a two hour movie, I get the opposite effect. Anyways, I just wanted to stress how nice it was to watch TV with my family since even during the short periods of time I'm with them, I still would go to my room and watch gaming videos or Netflix in my room alone. 

That's it for today. I'll try and post once a night for a month, but again no promise yet.

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3 hours ago, RB1 said:

was it harder getting over gaming or binge watching twitch, youtube, and other gaming media?

For me, this is like a trigger. I studied addiction and how it works, not only in gaming but in all aspects of life, and whatever reminds you of your addiction, it has to be removed. In this case, material that handles gaming, like twitch and youtube etc, it has to be removed too.

 

3 hours ago, RB1 said:

Also, what's your opinion on quitting cold turkey?

Do you think this cold turkey detox method is the only way, the best way, or have you ever found success with other methods of cutting back/quitting habits?

If you check my journal, you will see that when I started here I thought I could do moderation. If you go to the last pages of my journal (last 30 days) you will see that after 6 months of abstaining, I thought I could do moderation and get over my guilt and other negative feelings. My experience is that moderation does not work for a person who has a passion for gaming. We always end up back in a state of thinking about it a lot even if we're not gaming. It is really not good. I started like this, then I realized it didn't serve me, so I did cold turkey. At first we all hope we can do moderation, we do, really, but it doesn't work when you're addicted. If you could do moderation, it wouldn't be a problem is what I say to everyone here, and you wouldn't be fed up with it as most of us here are. When I went back to gaming for 2 hours per day, I still was unable to function like I did before. When I decided to give it up again, the withdrawal and such were almost identical with the first ones. Go cold turkey and don't look back, is my honest advice from personal experience.

I'd also like to share with you the reasons why my own attempts at quitting failed before. It is because when I quit, I would sit in bed all day waiting for things to change somehow magically. But nothing happened. And I was bored. And gaming was a habit, so it came easy back in my mind, and I'd  give up and go back to it. 

Don't do it. Don't allow yourself to be bored. Be busy. Schedule your days, plan your upcoming week, make goals for yourself. Boredom leads to addiction once more.

It's going to be hard and maybe nothing will be interesting for a few weeks, but this is proof you're addicted and that you need to keep on doing this.

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Day 2

I've thought about it a lot in the past two days and read through a lot of others posts, and I've decided that I'll fully commit to this 90 day detox program. However, I've got a slightly modified version that I think is best for myself. Constructive criticism is encouraged.

I will not engage with any gaming social media which is all youtube gaming videos, twitch, and twitter for 90 days. This is the most important to me personally.

I will not play video games on my own on all platforms including my phone for 90 days. This also includes playing chess. I used to play a lot of chess online and still thing it's a great mental exercise. However after reading @fawn_xoxo 's post above, I recognized that this would be a trigger to gaming and gaming social media for me. So that is going to be listed on my personal list of gaming.

I underlined 'on my own' in the paragraph above since I'm still considering what I'm going to do about gaming with friends in person. I'm currently not home and staying with family while I finish off the rest of a temporary job I'm working on until the end of August. Around here, I don't have friends who are gamers, but back home a lot of them are. I've gotten over gaming with them online actually, but I'd still like to game with them in person.

Regardless, I will give up gaming in a room with friends until I get back home and to my regular life, which is in 40 days. This means I should be on day 42 of my journal. From that point, I will continue my detox till day 90 for going on youtube gaming channels, twitch, and twitter as well as solo gaming (I consider online gaming with randos or friends to be solo gaming), but may decide to play some games with friends as long as we're side by side.

Anyone who comes across this, please let me know if I'm being delusional and am lying to myself by saying that it'll be ok for my after 42 days to game with my friends as long as we're side by side in a room. Knowing me personally, I really think the act itself is ok. The thing I'm really afraid of is this being a trigger and after hanging out, I go home and decide to spend the rest of my night watching gaming channels and on twitch again alone. In the end, it is my own decision though.

We'll, above is an official commitment to myself. I realize it may sound a little half-assed, but this is a conversation I've had internally and is what I know am willing to do without lying to myself again. I'd rather half-ass the program just a little bit than to lie to myself with a program that is too difficult and give up once again. I've made the bar too high too many times and know when I fail, I just relapse harder and become even more hateful towards myself. Basically, that's why I think my conditions above are ok for me. Please tell me honestly if you think I'm still lying to myself though.

With that being said, my day has been very average so far. I began the day with a coding project, which if I ever decide to do one out of self interest, is pushed off till the last second. I'm proud I started out my day that way. I continued with some studied, had lunch with my folks, and ended up watching the rest of the Chernobyl series together. Fucking brutal show, but very informative and very powerful. 10/10. I'm about to head out to the gym, get dinner with the folks, study up before work tomorrow and get back to the typical weekly grind starting again in the morning.

I haven't yet, but intend to plan things to do after each workday, since the moment I get home is when I know I'm most likely to say, 'fuck it' and relapse. I need to continually remind myself of those moments so I can be conscious of at that time of the day. I'm also trying to plan a hike with a buddy of mine next weekend. I'm trying to occupy myself with as many things as possible to keep myself occupied. I've always known about planning ahead, but have forgotten to practice it in the past half year. Thanks for the reminder on that @fawn_xoxo. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder from someone to jump start habits like that.

I'll try to post here at least once a day, every two or three. I'd really like to post consistently since I think tracking my progress will help remind myself what I've accomplished on the tough days. I'm a bit afraid, but overall excited for what's to come in these next 90 days!

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4 hours ago, RB1 said:

Anyone who comes across this, please let me know if I'm being delusional and am lying to myself by saying that it'll be ok for me after 42 days to game with my friends as long as we're side by side in a room.

Just a few days ago this happened with another member (and he's not the only one, most of us would have done the same if we allowed ourselves contact with games). You can always try it, but at least be aware that this is a big fat chance. XD

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1 hour ago, fawn_xoxo said:

Just a few days ago this happened with another member (and he's not the only one, most of us would have done the same if we allowed ourselves contact with games). You can always try it, but at least be aware that this is a big fat chance. XD

Thanks for showing this to me.

It won't be an issue for a month and a half till I get back home, but my current dilemma is that most of my friends are gamers. I know a lot of people will suggest that I should stay clear of them while doing this detox, but that isn't something I feel like I'm willing to do. For now I'll stick with what I said in my last post, but maybe my opinion will change in the next 40 days.

It's unrelated to what's being said above, but another dilemma of mine is that I'm currently in school studying to become a software engineer. Considering my work and studies require me to be on the computer a lot, it makes it harder to stay clear of twitch, twitter, and youtube gaming channels. I've taken measures like downloading self control to block twitch and twitter, but I need youtube for my studies. I've blocked basically all youtube gaming channels so that I never see gaming content in my feed, but when using youtube for actual studying, my mind wanders and thinks about taking it easy for an hour and binge watching gaming videos. So far so good, but from past experience, I know this will just become harder to resist over time.

I know a lot of gamers are programmers and I've read through other journals on this site and have seen that others on game quitters are programmers as well. I'll probably make a post on the general questions forum to address this specific problem. Maybe some other programmers in my boat could shed some light.

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Planning your hours spent on the computer and scheduling them to be productive will probably be a good measure to battle that. I work from a computer as well and I have realized, through time and frustration/boredom, that I actually do not like being behind a desk all day. So, make yourself do other things when you're not working/studying for your university and that will solve the other problem too. In general I've found what we have to do is replace.

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10 hours ago, RB1 said:

Anyone who comes across this, please let me know if I'm being delusional and am lying to myself by saying that it'll be ok for my after 42 days to game with my friends as long as we're side by side in a room. Knowing me personally, I really think the act itself is ok.

I can only give you my personal opinion based on my personal experiences. You know you, you know your triggers and how your brain works. Once every 2 weeks or so I'll have friends over at my place and we do play some couch co-op games together and it's a lot of fun. And then when they leave, I uninstall the games and forget about them. It hasn't been an issue for me personally. I also experienced a relapse  about 40 days in where I played a game on my PC I didn't get around to deleting and it stole a week from me. At the time I justified it by saying I was going thru a lot of stress right now (changing jobs, personal life issues) and this would ease my stress. Thankfully I haven't gone back in 30+ days since.

You're playing with fire here, and I would urge you to take it very seriously. There's been studies done on recovering gambling addicts and simply the sound of lottery machines trigger intense cravings.  I know that for me personally I have a really bad case of the "all or nothing" mentality. I can't play a game casually for fun, I have to be awesome at it, I have to be the top player each time. I hate to lose. And when I lose it just makes me want to play more and get better so that I won't lose again. Cam talks about this when he relapsed with Starcraft.

You do what you think is right, you know yourself best. 

 

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Day 3

Rough day at work. Things didn't go right from the moment clocking in till clocking out. The frustration made me want to go home and game and/or binge watch gaming content. The moment I get home after a long day is always the moment when my mind always plays games on itself and convinces me, "I deserve a little break", but I know what that leads to. Luckily I was able to remind myself of my goals and avoid it altogether. I needed to distract myself by continuing what I couldn't complete at work, so I feel like I haven't had a moment to relax all day. At least it did the trick. I also browsed through game the game quitter forums and read my stories as well as some random ones. I think that could be a good habit for me to get into if I decide to use my computer in stressful moments. Just open up this page before allowing myself to go to any other just to serve as a reminder.

I should've planned something to do before getting home from work today. I said I would yesterday, but just forgot. I need to plan ahead for moments I know are tough for me. Tomorrow after work, I've got a list of little errands I've been pushing off for a while that I will complete. That should keep me busy.

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On 7/16/2019 at 1:29 AM, fawn_xoxo said:

Planning your hours spent on the computer and scheduling them to be productive will probably be a good measure to battle that.

This made me come to the insane realization that I've only ever planned the hours off my computer... This means that all unplanned hours were at my computer by default. I've know this, but haven't really ever looked at it that way before. Really puts into perspective how addicted I am to my laptop and the internet in general. Not just gaming. I would like to combat that as well. I think I should take it one step at a time though and focus on eliminating time gaming and watching gaming content.

Thank you for the insight. Maybe I'll try planning out what my hours ON my computer look like and see how that makes a difference.

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On 7/16/2019 at 2:36 AM, NannerZ said:

You're playing with fire here, and I would urge you to take it very seriously. There's been studies done on recovering gambling addicts and simply the sound of lottery machines trigger intense cravings.  I know that for me personally I have a really bad case of the "all or nothing" mentality. I can't play a game casually for fun, I have to be awesome at it, I have to be the top player each time.

 

 I read this post a few days ago but didn't get the chance to reply. The fact that I've had to put a lot of thought to whether or not it's ok with me to game as long as I am with friends is definitely an indication that it's going to be a problem. I probably should stay away from that as well, but I'm not mentally prepared to make that compromise yet. I'm still in this mental state where I'd rather be honest with what compromises I'm willing to make with this detox than to say I'll fully commit and back out of it yet again. Hopefully I am ready to make this compromise before I get back home so I stay away from gaming even with friends. It's just hard when most of your friends are gamers... Feelin lost on this for sure.

Thank you for your message by the way. It means a lot.

Edited by RB1
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Day 4

Just got back from work. I'm having cravings at the moment and feel like I need to be on my computer, so I've forced myself to first open up game quitters.

Writing about what's on my mind is and I think will be a game changer for me. I've never posted in a forum like this, and I regret so very much. I've physically written in journals in the past when trying to quit games, but having people to talk and relate to about video game addiction makes such a big difference. Till this day, I haven't had a real conversation in person about my problems with video game addiction. I've talked about it in a joking manner with a few gamer friends, but when asked how serious I was about what I was saying, I would always step back and say I'm not serious. I've always done the exact same thing when it came to general life problems as well as depression problem. I've always been afraid to admit when I have a problem. Eventually, I want to make a detailed post about that.

Even thought I'm on day 4, I just wanted to express my thanks to the few conversations I've had with other members about my addiction problems. I've been quiet about this forever and didn't realize how far even a little bit of truth would take me. I've still got a long ways to go, but I've relapsed countless times in the first three days of my, 'committed' 90 day detoxes and this forum has made the start very easy.

I know the detox is going to get a lot more tough, but I have more confidence than ever that I'll be able to get through this. I'll need some help days 11-15, since those are ALWAYS the days I give up. I had some cravings when beginning this post, but they're pretty much gone now.

Thanks yall and thank you for this community.

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Day 5

Tired. Long day at work.

Told myself I'd either go to the gym after work or phone a friend and get dinner or something, but here I am again at home doing nothing. I'm just too mentally drained to go do anything. Simultaneously, I'm using my mental energy to stay away from gaming and binge watch gaming content. I don't know. I don't know. I'll get over these old excuses sometime soon and actually do the things I say I'll do after work.

I'm starting to enter a familiar point of my detox where my cravings aren't constant anymore. However, when I do have them, they are much more intense. That makes them harder to get off my mind in the moments I do have cravings. I know I'm supposed to find some activity to keep the cravings off my mind, but what're you supposed to do when you're spending all your mental energy to not think about something? I feel like I don't have room for actually thinking about something else I want to do. Any advice?

Too tired to write a bunch today. I've got a couple of things on my mind I'd like to write about and get off my chest, but maybe I'll talk about those things another time.

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25 minutes ago, RB1 said:

I know I'm supposed to find some activity to keep the cravings off my mind, but what're you supposed to do when you're spending all your mental energy to not think about something? I feel like I don't have room for actually thinking about something else I want to do. Any advice?

From my own angst and frustration I can tell you that it's not possible for the human brain to "not think about something". When we focus on not gaming, we are actually focused on gaming but in a negative way. It's one thing to feel the urge and admit it, but it's another thing to stay static and think about the gaming and how you shouldn't do it. 

The mind can think, instead, of another thing. 

If you'd like to go deeper, try to pin point what "focusing all my mental energy on not gaming" translates to. Is it a specific set of thoughts? Is it feelings in your stomach or body in general? It's a good start I think.

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10 hours ago, fawn_xoxo said:

If you'd like to go deeper, try to pin point what "focusing all my mental energy on not gaming" translates to. Is it a specific set of thoughts? Is it feelings in your stomach or body in general? It's a good start I think.

If I'm understanding you correctly, me focusing my mental energy on not gaming or binge watching gaming media translates to the mental gymnastics my brain does to convince myself it's ok to game or watch gaming content, and myself trying to combat that. For example after a day from school or work my brain 'says' to me, "You've had a long day. You're stressed and need to take it easy or you're going to be exhausted tomorrow. Lets play some games and get that stress off of your back ok? Everyone has their ways or de-stressing and this is just your way. Nothing wrong with that." Or, "You're back after a long day and you need to lay down for 30 minutes or an hour to cool off. If you're just gonna lay around doing nothing, why not go on twitch or watch  some gaming videos to take it easy? It's not like there's anything else you can do at the moment." So myself trying to combat these kinds of thoughts is what I mean when I say, "spending all my mental energy to not think about gaming." I constantly need to remind myself why this is wrong and it takes a lot out of me. In terms of a physical response, I've never really thought about it. I'd have to think about that the next time these cravings come around.

I'm not exactly sure if I answered your questions properly. Could you elaborate on your last post? What do you mean specifically by "translates to"? Is what I said above what you meant? Also when you say pin pointing this is a good start, what do you suggest I do with that information?

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You concentrating on "not to play" is like keeping a your favourite type of cake in front of you with a spoon in your hand, staring at it and trying not to eat it. It is a lot easier if you turn around and start doing anything else, like reading a book or learning something you like (history, a language, building robots, drawing, playing darts, etc) and completly forget about any cake. The struggle ends because you're doing something else. Walking in a park is easy and helps recharge some energy and makes you forget the cake, if you need an easy suggestion.

Also, check out the signature of @fawn_xoxo, particularly the Atomic Habits, I started reading it and it's great. fawn_xoxo, thanks for that! :)

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You answered it very well! You're doing a really good job in trying to self-discover here, being honest with your thoughts and such. 

It does sound like a tiring process, I understand it completely. Maybe it is a good strategy to write down all the negatives of gaming, put it in the drawer and, when you get an urge, you take it out and read it? If I understand it correctly, a part of you isn't persuaded that gaming and gaming content is problematic for you, the inner debate isn't settled yet. If that's the case, I suggest you print this article ( https://nosurf.org/2018/08/28/how-the-internet-changes-your-brain/ )and put it in the drawer for when you need the extra arguments to remind yourself why you are doing this. 

You can also try this: When the thoughts come, allow them to be and listen to them with your mental ears so to speak. Then inwardly tell them, "I understand this is what one part of me thinks is right, but I have decided to give the detox a go and this is what I'll do." And then move on to take some sort of action, a hobby, a chore, something! Because what is happening (again if I understand correctly) is that you're actually giving time to the addict in you and allowing it to speak to you too much. 

Someone else in this forum had one said, thoughts like those can be treated like a younger sibling. It's no good to blame it for suggesting stupid things to us (because then we'd be self hating) but we can politely ignore what they're saying since we know better now.

I hope I helped and didn't confuse you further!

Edited by fawn_xoxo
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Day 6

This is really the morning after, but I'm just gonna make a quick post to fill in for yesterday.

Shit day at work. Very stressful. Felt like an idiot. Hated myself afterwards. Got invited to go drinking with two buddies, but I was so mad at myself I lied about something I had to do early next morning so that I couldn't go out. Ended up staying home, watching a little bit of TV, and watched random videos on my laptop all night. When I'm filled with self hatred, I've almost always given up on any break or restrain I put myself on gaming and on watching gaming content, but luckily, I was able to push past all that this time. I spent a lot of time reading through random posts on game quitters while investigating the problems within me.

Basically I have re-learned that my harmful addictive behavior stems out past gaming and watching gaming content. I say, 're-learning' since I've known this about myself. But gaming, especially binge watching gaming content has been the primary addiction I've invested most-all of my free time into for the last 6-7 months. That constant engagement with video games clouds your mind, numbs you, and probably the worst of it all, sets you into autopilot mode. After 6 days without the constant stimuli from gaming, those three things have faded away just barely enough to allow me to really think again. I am extremely glad the brain fog and numbness have begun to fade and am proud I've abstained from gaming long enough to get here (although it's just the beginning). However, the other problems I've been putting on the back burner have begun to come back into focus.

I'll talk about those in my Day 7 post. I'd like to post a long 1 week summary of what I've learned and how I feel. There's a lot of good and bad to address.

Regardless day 6 was rough, but I'm glad I'm pushing through.

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Day 7 (Long post ahead but I really hope someone will read this. In need for some encouragement and advice):

 

tldr: Accomplishments: feeling less brain fog, numbness, and not auto-piloting through life. Spending more time with the folks. Feeling less on edge. Failures: sticking to my plans, making a schedule, making excuses/saying no, still spending a lot of time on my computer. Other: Realized I'm not just a gaming addict, but an addict in general. Few other bad addictions have come to the surface after soul searching all week.

Week 1 Complete!

So my 7th day is almost over, meaning that I've gotten through my first week of the detox! That's 1/13 weeks, which is still small, but that's a small step in the right direction. I'm very proud of myself for getting through the first week and am nervous, but excited for the rest of my journey. I want about the thought's I've had in the past week that I haven't had the time to go into detail about. Now that I've taken some time off gaming and watching gaming content (from now on when I say gaming, I will be referring to the act of both playing and watching gaming content since I'm tired of writing both all the time. That is, unless I specify otherwise) the numbness caused from the drug of gaming has faded a bit, allowing me to really think about what's going on with me.

My thoughts after 1 week:

Accomplishments:

Now that I've been off gaming for a week straight...

The brain fog, numbness, and auto-pilot lifestyle is slowly easing off of me. I think it's safe to assume if you're on Game Quitters, you know exactly what I'm talking about. This has really allowed me to just take those brief moments we have between work, tasks, and activities to really be present. To let the world, the moment, my environment, my feelings, my thoughts, ideas, memories, really just myself to sink in. What I'm saying is I feel like I've regained some consciousness in the last week. I think this is the single biggest thing gaming seized from me. Let me know if you agree. I could talk about this all day, but I'll save that for another post.

I'm spending more time with my folks! I'm staying at my parents place for the summer since I coincidentally got an internship at a firm close to them and far, far away from my home. The first few weeks I arrived back at their place I did what I always did as a child. I went to my room and played video games in the day, left my room for meals, and at night would sometimes go see some friends, but otherwise would lock myself in my room. I'm 23 now and am absolutely disgusted and embarrassed that this was how I still behave. I mean, when I'm back home where I live alone and an take care of myself, but it's absolutely unacceptable that I still act this way when I get to see my folks, which is rare these days. It made me feel like a god damn child again. The realization of this is one of the things that made me make an account on this site and decide to give the detox a real shot again. Anyways yeah, I've spent a lot more of my time with my folks before and after work and I'm so glad I'm doing so. Granted, most of that time is spent on the living room couch watching TV, but hey, that's still a big step forward. I have a good relationship with them and they're great parents, but I don't feel that I ever have REAL conversations with either of them. Maybe I can start by watching more TV with them and talk to them about real things in the future. Lot to say about that as well, but it can also be a post for another time.

I'm less on edge than I was before. What I'm referring to is that 24/7 craving for some form of stimulation. Don't get me wrong, I still feel like it's in control of me, but the claws of mental stimuli have eased its grip just a littttttle bit. I didn't feel this in my previous attempts to cut/quit gaming until about 17-18 days in, which I've only ever gotten to I think two or three times... The difference this time is that I'm writing on this forum! I have a computer addiction (that I will talk about in just a sec) problem along with gaming addiction, so when I cut gaming in the past and went on my computer, I had this constant anxiety within me where I needed to be on the computer, but had to avoid gaming at the same time. Now, when I get home, I still open up my laptop, but the first thing I do every time is open Game Quitters. This immediately eases my anxiety and is a constant reminder of the goal at hand. Before, I used and application called selfcontrol to block twitch and twitter. I also monitored my youtube account to eliminate any recommendations to gaming videos. This always fell short since I knew that by changing the time on my computer to the next day, I could bypass the selfcontrol website blocker feature, and despite blocking gaming channels on youtube, I could always just unblock them and watch them when I gave in to cravings. Fortunately this time around, I've paired these two tools with Game Quitters and it has shown tremendous success so far! Reading through peoples stories as well as my own journal relieves my anxiety. When my anxiety goes away, that auto-pilot feature of my brain recedes and it puts me back in control of myself. It makes those irresistible moments to gaming manageable, allowing myself to say "no" when it's most important. Thank you Game Quitters and thank you to the people who have commented and reacted to my post! It's made this process so, so, so much easier!

Failures:

Sticking to my plans. So I've successfully avoided gaming for a week, but I've failed to stick to the plans I've made for myself during the free time I have in a day. This is essential to the success of my detox since in the past, it was usually just the moments where I was incredibly bored, the moments where my brain was begging for stimulus that I've given up and gone back to gaming. @fawn_xoxo made a post about this in my journal earlier this week, which was an excellent reminder (Thanks!) It was also the moments I felt lonely and depressed that I gave in, which are more likely avoidable by sticking to my plans. At the beginning of each day this week, I've told myself that after work I would either go on a walk, go to the gym, or go hang out with a friend. I did none of those things each day and this needs to change or it will cost me. Each day, I pretty much said I was too tired to leave the house, so I spent the time between getting home and sleeping watching TV with my folks, on game quitters (which isn't bad), or watching non-gaming content on youtube or facebook. I did spend some time after work on two days this week doing some self studying on programming topics I've wanted to learn about, which I'm more proud of than the other things. Although these things aren't necessarily bad, it still means that I didn't stick to the plans I made, which is what's important here.

Making a schedule. This is similar to the above so I'll keep it short. What I mean by this is planning out my day, week, and maybe even month in advance. I'm not doing this. When I said sticking to my plans, I was referring to something I decided I'd do spontaneously that same day later on.

Making excuses/saying no. I was invited by friends two nights this week to get drinks after work, but made the classic bullshit excuse of, "I'm too busy" to hang out. The result was I went home, didn't stick to my plans like I said above, and didn't do anything productive. As an introvert, when I'm feeling mentally, emotionally, or physically tired, I need time alone to recover/re-energize. This is a conundrum that I need to learn to deal with in general, especially during a gaming detox and here's why. To me, the detox is incredibly mentally and emotionally draining. I made a post the other day about how I spend a lot of my time trying 'not' to think about gaming (I got some good advice, but it's still a work in progress. Thank you @TTT and @fawn_xoxo). Because of that, I'm a lot more mentally, emotionally drained and as a result feel the need to be on my own. However when I spend too much time alone, I'm prone to depressive feelings and thoughts, which lead down the rabbit hole to gaming. It's this self feeding loop that I've struggled with past attempts to quit gaming that I still don't quite have the answer to. I know the answer is to leave my comfort zone (saying yes in moments like that and be around people despite being tired, drained, or uncomfortable) more often, which I'm hoping will be easier to do as I progress through my detox. Maybe I'm wrong. Thoughts?

Continuing to spend a lot of time on my computer. I'm still spending a significant amount of time on my computer. My goal is to get through 90 days gaming free, but what am I trying to accomplish as a result of this goal? I'm still working on those specifics, but the big picture is to create significant change in my life. When I spend all my time gaming, I'm spending all my time on my computer. Even if I cut out the time I spend gaming, what does it really mean if I still spend all day on my computer? It would be an accomplishment to go gaming free for 90 days, but ultimately I'd like to spend more time away from the computer. I have a plan to do this and I'll write about that below.

Edited by RB1
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“I now believe true strength is found in vulnerability, and forgiveness in love. There is a beautiful upside-down truth which is that these moments of purest strength appear as weakness to those who do not know better. For a long time, I didn’t know better either. I asked you and your bother to reject history as a narrative of strength and instead have faith that it can be a narrative of love.” -- King Harrow, The Dragon Prince

RB1, The path we are laying out for ourselves isn't always clear, but to be as vulnerable as you were just now is a sign of strength. What is the most challenging thing here, for you?

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11 hours ago, RB1 said:

I spent the time between getting home and sleeping watching TV with my folks, on game quitters (which isn't bad), or watching non-gaming content on youtube or facebook.

Every time I tried to quit games before GQ, I replaced them with passive activities. That was why I failed all those times. And it's not easy to pick yourself up, a lazy self in my case too, and force them to take action outside what they're familiar with, however it's that which the process demands. For me it was a good idea to trust this tested process and trust that I at least shouldn't do what proved not to work before. You will decide what it is you'll replace all this free time with, but it's true that you need to take action in order to recover faster.

These big journal entries are a big investment you are making, an investment to yourself. I understand self loathing all too well, because it was a stage that lasted very long for me. But do know that admitting we have an addiction is the first and crucial step to then find out how to deal with it. 

You are making great progress, and it is because you devote all this time to journaling if you ask me. It might help you to be honest with yourself in a private physical journal when it comes to things you might not want GQ to read, you will still get the benefit of processing everything and being aware. We get further via this self reflection progress and you're doing better because you put in the hours and effort and heart.

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Rant for myself, but feel free to read:

After yesterday's post, I fell into a real dark place. I was supposed to go out drinking with a friend, but he had to cancel last second. Decided I'd be better for me to go out to a bar own my own than to be home on my own. Big mistake. Got pretty drunk on my own and tried to be social on my own, which never really works. There was a group of nice Australians who were visiting the country on vacation that approached me and we spoke for a little while. We had a nice quick chat 10-15 minutes, but after the small talk, I didn't really have much to say and I could tell they we're getting weirded out by me since I was already in this pissy, shit mood. I tried to ignore my negative emotions in the moment, but couldn't quite fake being, 'normal' for a just a little bit to hold up a real conversation with these people. This dropped my mood from a low, to an even lower point. Ended up slamming my last drink and heading home two hours earlier than I intended. I got home, went to my room and spent the rest of my night just watching stupid videos on youtube instead of socializing like I wished to. Luckily, I didn't relapse, but what's the difference really if I isolate myself and do other meaningless things on the internet?

I'm actually not good, but not bad at socializing. Not really good when it's meeting people at bars though. That's when I'm in a good mood though. When I'm in a bad mood, not even my closest friends can get me to go out and be social. I just become like this lifeless zombie. I tend to have these real sudden ups and downs in my life that I don't have control over. When I reach my highs, I feel normal, but when I hit my lows, I have a hard time taking control of my life. This is one of the reasons I've had trouble sticking to detoxes like this in the past. When I hit those lows, I just stop giving a fuck and go into week, two week, 4 week, 2 month, and so on, gaming binges.

I didn't plan on posting something this personal on GQ, but I've actually recently was diagnosed with Persistive Depressive Disorder (PDD) and Other Anxiety Disorder. I never intended to get tested, but I actually went to see a psychologist since teachers, family members, and a few close friends thought I had ADD, including myself. I got tested for that, and after 12 hours of tests, the doctor told me my trouble studying and focusing doesn't come from having ADD/ADHD, but a depression problem. To be honest, I've thought since high school that I had a depression problem, but it was always intermittent so the moment I felt better at all, I would tell myself that I'm weak and that I'm a child and just need to deal with my problems on my own and grow the fuck up.

I also have gone through my whole life basically blaming myself 100% for any issue I've had or and mistake/decision I've made. The one good thing about this is that I'd take responsibility and really try to address my problems. The bad thing about this that I learned over time is that by blaming myself 100% for any issue, I'm assuming that I have 100% control over everything that happens around me so I am 100% to blame and should be able to fix 100% of the issue. This is just not he way life works. We have very little control over what happens around us and we need to try to take charge of the small parts of our lives that we actually can have control over. Blaming yourself for everything forces you to take responsibility, but when you blame yourself for the things you don't have full control over like your depression and anxiety, you just spiral in this destructive cycle endlessly. This is what I've done for I'd say 8 or 9 years now and it's time to admit that I need to reach out for help. I was recommended to seek counseling which might possibly mean I'd get recommended anti-depressants, which I've been strongly against my whole life. I was recommended this just as I was leaving home to do my internship, so this won't happen till I'm back home later in August. While away, I started to tell myself again that I am responsible for my depression and can fix it on my own. After my depressive episode last night, I've reconsidered again and think I should seek a counselor when I'm back home.

I don't think I would have come back to that conclusion unless I started this gaming detox. I fell back into a gaming binge after speaking with that doctor, so I stopped caring about everything. I started getting brain fog, numbness, and went into auto-pilot again, so I really forgot about the severity of the conversation I had with the doctor. I kind of just said, "to hell with it" and spiraled back into a dark place. The detox cleared my mind right back up and reminded myself of the problems I'm facing both in terms of gaming and out. This post will serve as a reminder to me to take this seriously and seek help when I get back.

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Day 8:

I talked about what's going though my mind in my rant above, but enough reflection. Time to take action again.

I learned in the last week that cutting out gaming alone wont get me through this detox. Unless I take action with the other problems and addictions I have in my life, I'm bound to relapse.

The root of my problems is that I'm a recluse. When I'm tired, feeling depressed, or just generally bored, I take my laptop to my room and binge watch videos. For the last week, those videos haven't been gaming related, but I still have this bad habit of turtling up in my room, on my bed, with my laptop on my stomach and binge watch meaningless content for hours. To fix my problem of being a recluse, my internet addiction problem,  and my computer addiction problem is the first thing I need to do is stop bringing my laptop to my room.

This is the gateway to all my problems. When I lock myself up in my room with my computer it allows me to do whatever I want without any real social interaction. When I leave my laptop in my living room, or even better, at work or away from home, I don't fall victim to these addictive tendencies since isolating myself is what triggers them. From this moment on, I will not bring my laptop into my room. I will start a separate counter for this.

This will take priority second to gaming, but I still do believe it is essential for the sake of my detox. This is becoming a lot to promise since I feel that I'm already giving up a lot with gaming, but I must do this. I won't consider it a full relapse if I bring my laptop to my room, but this post and the counter will serve as a reminder to the goal I'm trying to accomplish.

Edited by RB1
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