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karabas

Part 3.1: Pulling out the weeds

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I kinda abandoned my last journal, mostly because I went to see my family back home & obviously relapsed hard on shows and other stupid nonsense. Then I was basically traveling for nearly 2 months straight and didn't have the time or energy to keep up anything.

But things have been overall not bad. I still haven't played any computer games, so it's now been over a year since I last touched one of those. That's a huge win, and I think the biggest factor was letting go of my ~$500 Steam account. I rarely get cravings anymore even. I have been here and there with mobile games & that's something I need to work on.

There's been a major update in my life: my wife got into a graduate program at a uni, so we once again did a trans-continental move. Finance-wise things will be a lot tighter in the new place and we're living in a studio-ish apartment (it's got a tiny 2nd room that fits a desk and not much else). But it's actually good for several reasons: I'm now surrounded by pretty committed students all around me and it's making me more committed to doing something with my life myself. Also, my desk is now out in the open. I can't secretly do crap aside from when my wife is in class, so I'm a lot less tempted to do stupid things.

Movies, TV, and YouTube have not been an issue for the last two months. I'm not really sure why. I think it's probably because I've been so busy with the move that I've always had something better to do. I'm really happy for them not to be an issue, since games & shows have been my primary addiction fuel. I'm not very confident that I'll be able to maintain this, because at some point life will settle down a bit and I'll probably have more opportunity to waste time. Which is why I'm starting this journal up again.

So here's what I want to accomplish with this journal:

- Maintain my game & vid-free streak. I'll allow myself an occasional video to watch, but no more than 1 and nothing actually harmful (like gaming vids, news, and other stuff that sucks you in). No getting stuck on YT for hours.

- No more phone in the washroom. This has been tripping me up a lot lately and wasting more time than it should.

- No mobile games.

I have some "positive" habits that I want to work on as well, but I'll keep things easy for now and will focus on what I should NOT do. I feel like right now, none of the above requires a LOT of willpower (although there's a particular mobile game that's been eating up a lot of my time as of late).

I think that's it. I've come a long way already, and if I can do the above goals for 120 days, I think my life will be in a very good place overall.

But success is only with and through God.

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Hi @karabas, it's been long since I talked with you. How are things so far?

On 9/7/2019 at 3:12 PM, karabas said:

There's been a major update in my life: my wife got into a graduate program at a uni, so we once again did a trans-continental move. Finance-wise things will be a lot tighter in the new place and we're living in a studio-ish apartment (it's got a tiny 2nd room that fits a desk and not much else). But it's actually good for several reasons: I'm now surrounded by pretty committed students all around me and it's making me more committed to doing something with my life myself. Also, my desk is now out in the open. I can't secretly do crap aside from when my wife is in class, so I'm a lot less tempted to do stupid things.

That's great, not a lot of gamers who want to quit could have the opportunity (like you have) to surround themselves with mindsets similar with yours.

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Day 2/120

No comp games: ✔️
No mobile games: ✔️ 2/120
No excessive video-watching: X
No phone in washroom: ✔️2/120

It looks like getting rid of phone games made me go back to watching vids. But it's not super bad at the moment, hoping I can get it under control.

15 hours ago, Lea said:

Hi @karabas, it's been long since I talked with you. How are things so far?

On 9/7/2019 at 1:12 AM, karabas said:

Hey! Yeah it's been a while ? Things are good, how about you?

16 hours ago, Lea said:

That's great, not a lot of gamers who want to quit could have the opportunity (like you have) to surround themselves with mindsets similar with yours.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to 2 years of this!

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22 hours ago, karabas said:

Hey! Yeah it's been a while ? Things are good, how about you?

It's great so far, though there are ups and downs. As for now, I take a semester off, so I would not not be in uni until next year February/March.

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Yeah, so it's been quiet from me because I somehow keep relapsing on this particular stupid android game. I think it takes up a good 2 hours of my time a day and I just now spent 1.5 hours in a particularly-long multiplayer slugfest that I had to eventually quit because I just got sick of it.

This is really starting to annoy me. I'm wasting my time on really stupid stuff now - at least computer games are in-depth and require a good amount of learning, skill, etc... this stuff is pretty dumb and mostly luck-dependent.

So I'm re-committing myself to the detox above. I'm not really sure what else to do except try it again. I recently started rock-climbing and proceeded to injure myself on my first real day in the gym, so now I think I'm gonna be stuck recovering for a week or two, which sucks, as the activity was helping me stay away from this stuff.

Anyway... let's see what happens.

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On 9/9/2019 at 10:19 PM, Lea said:

It's great so far, though there are ups and downs. As for now, I take a semester off, so I would not not be in uni until next year February/March.

Ah, those can come in handy. And ups and downs are natural in this process ? Hope you enjoy your time off! What's your plan for this period?

On 9/10/2019 at 11:52 AM, Deku said:

Welcome back!! I missed you out here! Can't wait to see how part 3 goes.

Thanks man! Missed you as well! Here's to hoping this goes well... I feel like I haven't had any real movement on my detox since August of last year...

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Day 2/120

No comp games: ✔️
No mobile games: ✔️ 2/120
No excessive video-watching: X
No phone in washroom: X

Well, I somehow managed to stay off of mobile games! It was a close call, more than a few times. But I still can't stop bringing my phone with me to the washroom. Why?? I have no idea.

Hopefully it'll get better from here.

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i'm somehow still not able to stop playing phone games. what the hell is this?

i think i'm going to give my phone to my wife to hold on to during the day. not like i use it extensively for anything good anyway...

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Hey guys,

It's been a while, clearly. It hasn't been super bad or super good. I finally deleted my phone games, downloaded an app lock, locked my app store, and had my wife pick a password. Yes, I can probably hack the system to install more stuff, but for it's been enough to keep away from games for the past 2-3 weeks.

I did have a brief relapse with phone games when I went for a trip and had to unlock the app store, but I found that I now found these games boring. Crazy how getting out of an addictive behavior works!

I haven't been able to really move forward with not watching videos. I'm neither here nor there. Since our latest move, we now live in a studio, so my wife's usually around and I'm embarrassed to watch stuff in front of her. So it's been minimal enough that it doesn't take over my life. I don't go to bed late. I still get my work done.

The problem, of course, is that it does still eat up my time. By the end of the day, I look back and I wonder where several hours went - and it's down to stupid crap like watching random YT videos, surfing Facebook (which I hate), and otherwise reading stuff I'm not actually that interested about.

It's a problem, but I guess it's not a severe enough problem for me to get the motivation to finally kick these habits for good. Dunno what to do about that.

On the flip side, I've been experiencing the strongest cravings for playing actual computer games in the 14 months (wow, it's been that long!) since I've last gamed. There's one particular one that's out that looks really interesting, and I keep thinking "oh, i can just game a little on the side, no biggie". Yeah, right. If I start gaming, I know I'm not coming out of my room for anything for the next month.

Sigh.

I re-read my post from when I last quit. That helped me a bit. So far I've been holding off despite the strong urge. I just keep thinking about how much is on the line: my work, income, business, family life, health (I've finally started a decent semi-regular fitness routine), etc. I really don't want to screw things up now.

I'm hoping a few days of these cravings and they'll go away. Can't last forever, right?

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Well, as can probably be assumed, I did end up relapsing a day or two after the post above. It hasn't been a complete disaster in the sense that I haven't gamed my life away... but I've fallen just short of that.

I've been using an app called FocusMe as a crutch to block games I don't want to play. So I ended up playing somewhere between an hour and 3 a day... which still gives me time to do some work and other activities.

But I've been really falling behind. I need to be working more to keep my earnings, my own business is stagnating while I game. I haven't really had the motivation to stop until today. Not sure what came over me, but I did set FocusMe on for the next 90 days with no gaming allowed.

There's ways around the app (to some degree), but I'm hoping I can do the 90-day detox again despite that.

I still have the problem of watching videos, but one thing at a time eh?

I guess I'll need to start a new topic, since I'm not really pulling weeds here anymore. It's back to full-on gaming detox.

What bothers me the most is how long I didn't have any motivation to quit. It's not like I relapsed and then wanted to quit immediately. I gamed from November to nearly end of January until I started getting the feeling like maybe I should stop. And I'm not super convinced about it yet.

Sigh. Not sure what's going on, but I guess I'm back to try to figure it out?

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I think you should keep this topic and use the relapses as fuel to your fire for quitting. You can read them in the future to see how far you've gone. Don't hide from your relapses. Use this journal and use it as motivation.

I think you need to write down every reason you're relapsing, why you want to quit games, and what you've been doing that has triggered relapses.

Welcome back.

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On 1/23/2020 at 5:39 PM, BooksandTrees said:

I think you should keep this topic and use the relapses as fuel to your fire for quitting. You can read them in the future to see how far you've gone. Don't hide from your relapses. Use this journal and use it as motivation.

It's not really hiding from them, it's more like organizing 🙂 But I'll stick to this one for now, I guess

On 1/23/2020 at 5:39 PM, BooksandTrees said:

I think you need to write down every reason you're relapsing, why you want to quit games, and what you've been doing that has triggered relapses.

Yeah, this is an exercise I did a long time ago, probably worth to refresh. It's not that I'm "relapsing" constantly, it's more like I was off of games for 14 months, and then relapsed once. This is my first time since having relapsed in November that I've gotten enough motivation to quit again. But I'm not yet where I was back when I relapsed a year ago - not ready to give up my steam library & uninstall all the games. I'll probably have to work my way to it.

The reason I relapsed was that one of the games I used to play prior to quitting games was a particular sport management game. I was watching that sport since there was a big competition going on, then I ended up looking up the game again and checking out the new features since I last played it, and then the desire to play just became overwhelming. I still lasted quite a while (I think several weeks) before I succumbed to it. I wasn't under any delusion that I could control myself if I returned to gaming. I knew full well what it would descend into. I just couldn't stop myself.

In retrospect, I'm not sure what I could've done differently... so that's something to think about for the future.

After I got one game, that obviously quickly expanded to other games. Mostly old games that I know & love, not a lot of new stuff. Most of the new games don't really interest me.

In terms of why I'm gaming, I think it's a simple issue of running away from responsibilities. I'm a freelancer and thus my work is entirely self-motivated. And while I don't hate my work, I'm not in love with it or anything. I see it as a means to other things I want to do... but that means I basically have to force myself to work. And I've never been very good about making myself do stuff that I know is good for me but I don't want to do.

That's why since quitting games again this time around, I haven't really increased in productivity. I just replaced my wasting time with watching movies, TV shows, etc.

At the moment, I'm getting just enough work done to get by and feel OK about myself, so the desire to quit the time-wasting isn't super strong. Last time I quit was when I got myself in such a hole that I was behind on everything.

I'm not really sure what to do. In the long-term, I'm hoping I'll be able to work just a few days a week and steer clear of the computer the rest of the week. But I have to work hard to get myself there, and I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to that.

*sigh*

Anyway, it's been 9 days since I quit gaming. It's been OK so far. Not a ton of craving, but not free of it either. There's a particular game I want to play that I've been itching to do. My computer blocker basically won't block new games, so I know I can buy something new and play that. Of course, I know that once I waste a few days on that game, I'll add it to the blocker, so I'd be paying ~$50 to play it for a couple of days. For now, that's sufficient motivation to not play. Let's see if it lasts.

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2 hours ago, karabas said:

It's not really hiding from them, it's more like organizing 🙂 But I'll stick to this one for now, I guess

Yeah, this is an exercise I did a long time ago, probably worth to refresh. It's not that I'm "relapsing" constantly, it's more like I was off of games for 14 months, and then relapsed once. This is my first time since having relapsed in November that I've gotten enough motivation to quit again. But I'm not yet where I was back when I relapsed a year ago - not ready to give up my steam library & uninstall all the games. I'll probably have to work my way to it.

The reason I relapsed was that one of the games I used to play prior to quitting games was a particular sport management game. I was watching that sport since there was a big competition going on, then I ended up looking up the game again and checking out the new features since I last played it, and then the desire to play just became overwhelming. I still lasted quite a while (I think several weeks) before I succumbed to it. I wasn't under any delusion that I could control myself if I returned to gaming. I knew full well what it would descend into. I just couldn't stop myself.

In retrospect, I'm not sure what I could've done differently... so that's something to think about for the future.

After I got one game, that obviously quickly expanded to other games. Mostly old games that I know & love, not a lot of new stuff. Most of the new games don't really interest me.

In terms of why I'm gaming, I think it's a simple issue of running away from responsibilities. I'm a freelancer and thus my work is entirely self-motivated. And while I don't hate my work, I'm not in love with it or anything. I see it as a means to other things I want to do... but that means I basically have to force myself to work. And I've never been very good about making myself do stuff that I know is good for me but I don't want to do.

That's why since quitting games again this time around, I haven't really increased in productivity. I just replaced my wasting time with watching movies, TV shows, etc.

At the moment, I'm getting just enough work done to get by and feel OK about myself, so the desire to quit the time-wasting isn't super strong. Last time I quit was when I got myself in such a hole that I was behind on everything.

I'm not really sure what to do. In the long-term, I'm hoping I'll be able to work just a few days a week and steer clear of the computer the rest of the week. But I have to work hard to get myself there, and I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to that.

*sigh*

Anyway, it's been 9 days since I quit gaming. It's been OK so far. Not a ton of craving, but not free of it either. There's a particular game I want to play that I've been itching to do. My computer blocker basically won't block new games, so I know I can buy something new and play that. Of course, I know that once I waste a few days on that game, I'll add it to the blocker, so I'd be paying ~$50 to play it for a couple of days. For now, that's sufficient motivation to not play. Let's see if it lasts.

I know how you feel. I'm a huge hockey fan and I was the best player in the world at EA Sports NHL series from 2012 to 2015 or 16. I had quit video games for a while and then watched hockey. I just missed playing it, though. I checked out the game and all my friends saw me log in and hundreds of people messaged me. I went on to play club games with them and then got invited to the Canada vs USA tournament to be the starting goalie in it. I was hooked again and it took so long to pull away. I finally could pull away because the game kept getting worse and less enjoyable to play. I then realized I hated all of my "friends" on that game because they weren't real friends. They just enjoyed that I was getting them victories. I felt hurt. I also hated how long it took to find clubs to play and stuff. I quit and moved on to other games like RuneScape and Overwatch but realized the same thing. Nostalgia doesn't last long once you play. The games aggravate you and you remember why you quit in the first place.

Maybe you need an environment where you have to be productive? I thought I'd enjoy quitting my job and creating stuff as a hobby for money. It put so much pressure on me that I ended up going insane (also the fact I was being severely abused by someone I was living with to the point of suicide, but that's not the point I'm making). Being at an office has actually fueled my life and made me just focus on my work and feel important. I can be a self starter there, but not outside of work. That takes all the pressure off of me once I'm out of work.

I think you might benefit from a working environment where you need to be productive so you don't have to push yourself that way so often. Maybe also finding a hobby. It took me 8 months to try rock climbing and 1.2 years to try 3d modeling and I realize I enjoy those hobbies the most. Don't give up. Sometimes it just takes time and frustration. Keep repeating good habits and being observant. You got far before and can do it again.

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