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LordArjuna

Long time listener, first time caller

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Well I've first come across Cam's sobriety program maybe two years ago, when I was getting divorced. But it wasn't until today that I decided to bite the bullet and buy his program.

I've been gaming since I was 13, which is to say for the last 30 years. There are many problems that I've had probably since I was an infant - since as early as I can recall I was considered odd by adults around me. One reason was that even then, I felt uncomfortable playing with other kids in the neighbourhood.

I've always felt uncomfortable around others and others have often commented about my own oddity. I have been depressed since before I started gaming. In the past I used to always have a small number of very intimate friends, but these days, we all live in different countries and each time I have moved in the past, I have discontinued my former relationships, partly because of being depressed and partly because it never felt like I had anything positive to say to the people that had meant so much to me in the past. Time went on, and over the years it has become harder to reconnect or to make new connections. I've never been able to resolve what the cause of my "oddity" is, whether its some inherent genetic problem, character flaw, poor emotional support when I was a child, or what. I've never felt comfortable in my skin and gaming provided a relief.

However, I've been unemployed now for nearly a year and I have a history of only managing my external problems very slowly. I've been repeatedly unemployed for long periods in the past and I took 7 years to finish university, after trying several different courses.

Although I have made numerous attempts in the past to quit gaming, I had always come back to it and sometimes within just hours of committing to never play again. Fundamentally I guess I've felt that it is the one reliable way that I can make myself feel better, no matter how unpleasant things are in my "real life".  I have also always given up immediately because I felt that life would be unbearable and even more bleak without my crutches. Apart from gaming, I am also addicted to porn, masturbation and fast food. 

Previously I was also addicted to smoking but have been able to quit that 8 years ago, because there was a medication that made smoking unpleasant. As a direct result of quitting smoking, my son was born a year later (as my erectile disfunction reduced). Although many other things have gone to shit since that time, being a good father to my son has been the one bright spark in my life.

I'm hoping that if I can somehow give up my other addictions, perhaps equally dramatic positive changes can still occur. I am 43, and I would like to live whatever remains of my life feeling more "complete" and more "together".

Anyway, I didn't actually expect to just let it "all hang out", in my first post... but there it is.

 

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Day 1,

After abstaining for 4 days, I spent yesterday gaming.

Sunday is a difficult day for me because I see my ex-wife when I either hand over or receive our son from her. For one thing, that meeting brings back to me regularly the truth that she was able to move on with her life and I haven't.

I didn't have a plan prepared for what I will do when I am hit with strong emotions so I let myself off the hook for the day. I will try to be more prepared next time. In my previous attempts I have always felt that a lapse was a sign that I am too weak to overcome my addictions, and so I should just resume my usual coping mechanisms - addiction. I think I see now that it is a sign of my complete lack of faith in myself. Giving in has only served to further undermine my opinion of myself and any efforts.

I like what Cam Adair wrote " it doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past, only what you do now, in this moment", this is a better truth to live by.

Gaming is a "victimless" pursuit, I haven't had to rob anyone or sell my body (or anything else). I've been able to maintain my "moral ground", or at least felt I had. Instead the reality is that literally decades have gone by and I have not in any meaningful way managed to handle any of my underlying problems. 

This time around I am going to become sober and finally face my problems. Gaming is just the top later, and no matter if I should lapse many times, I will not give up. I will develop better methods and try again. Get back up on that horse until it is tamed.

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After quitting last week: feelings of fear, confusion, overwhelm, hopelessness. Not all the time but sporadic at times appearing without a clear cause.

I have had actual physical symptoms of withdrawal last week - nausea, uncontrollable shallow breathing, stomach pains. Those were a surprise.

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Day 0,

It's been a mess.

I had an effective day on Monday. On Tuesday, I woke up after 5:00 and then started watching youtube videos - my favourite are history and politics. I'd repeatedly told myself I would get up after a specified amount of time. By 14:30 i was still in bed, so decided that I might as well bring the pc out of the garage and played for the rest of the day.

Similar story today, gaming from morning. I finally shook myself awake around midday and put the pc back in the garage.

I keep getting caught unawares. I always tell myself that I will only play for an hour, but it almost never works.... Overall, I guess I have still reduced the amount of time spent gaming this week.

Watching "the tubes" is just as much of a time killer. I need to be aware of that.

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I want to recover full access to myself and my life as it would be/should be.

Cam, in line with most modern therapy relies on using the WILL to break through. Sobriety by white-knuckling it. However there is a, to me, promising alternative route. It offers access through the body.

I would like to offer a link to a practice called BIOENERGETICS: this is a full course of physical exercises by a therapist in England.

I have only dipped my toe into bioenergetics myself, because it is rather hard to find reliable therapy, I have just receive confirmation that what this guy is doing is legit.

So here it is, I myself am going to commit to 1 exercise per day:

 

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Interesting video, thanks for sharing it. I keep hearing about these physical exercises aimed primarily at improving your mental well-being, so I'll try to give it a shot too.

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Weekends are going to be the toughest, especially the ones without your son. Don't view those as empty voids that need to be filled, rather see them as opportunities. Opportunities to progress your hobbies, get out and about and meet new people, or just be in the moment. Weekends are going to be your biggest challenge for a while.

By using gaming as an escape for those feelings when you see your ex-wife, you're not confronting them and learning how to deal with them. At best, you are allowing them to stagnate or not change, and at worse you are causing them to become more of a problem. You need to be in the moment with them - yes that means that sometimes you are uncomfortable and that sucks, but by learning how it triggers you and how to learn from them you will truly go forward. I used gaming as a way to escape anxiety, and guess what, when I turned the PC off, the anxiety was still there. Gaming didn't cure it - it was just distracting you or covering it. You may as well use that gaming time to focus on the feelings and work out how they can make you better rather than a weakness.

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Ikar and Giblet thank you both for commenting. I was encouraged by what you said.

Ikar, I strongly encourage you to try it if it seems interesting. At least we'll have two samples of results to share with the other quitters.

Giblets, Thank you. True words. I don't know if this is true for other people, but for me the cravings don't go away if I just let them be. They just build up until I say 'fuck it' and give in. Sometimes I don't get cravings for a few days and I can stay sober, then they come and I'm helpless to resist. I think 'I''ll just play for an hour' - it is a verified tactic for not having to deal with the feelings of hopelessness. Then, I wake up again 3 days later having wasted all that time again. I have my son for 1/2 a week each week and the days when he is not here are usually a complete loss - nothing seems worth doing.

Maybe next time, I'll try to time how long I can resist and try to see if I can increase that number.

 

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Day 0, played from 4:00 till 9:00 a.m. when I decided it was time to put away the pc again.

Instead watched youtube for the rest of the day.

DId see some interesting videos on addiction:

3 part series from Extra Credits:

 

Doco on Korean gaming rehab:

 

 

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9:44 am Day 1,

yesterday: gaming time 0 hrs, screen time 9hrs.

Goal for today is to keep busy with activities from my to do list & have 0 hrs gaming and 1 hr max screen time (non-productive).

 

So far, I secured two job interviews for tomorrow morning.

Woke up at 5:30, morning jog, shower, breakfast, reply to emails and do some admin, laundry, unpacking from a trip last week.

Next, Jack Kornfield "meditation for difficult times", bioenergetic exercises, a little yoga, check government support for starting a new business

Edited by LordArjuna
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How far have you been jogging in the morning? 0530 is a great time to be up, there is something about knowing you're up and getting after it while everyone else is still pushing up z's. Jocko Willink talks about this all the time.

What is your intent about cutting screen time? Screen time can be productive, but you just need to harness it. Rather than cut down on screen time, I find if I am starting to lose my purpose/be distracted/etc I change my environment, like get away from the screen for a few minutes by making some tea or going for a stretch, before returning back to what I was doing (and making sure you close all your browsers when you do this!)

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16:02 Day 2

yesterday: gaming 0 hrs, screen 7 hrs (?)

yesterday was productive I did a dozen small things. Then when I went to pick up my son from school some unexpected unpleasant news.

I couldn't sleep at night so I wrote a strongly worded warning to the ex regarding her not living up to our agreements and putting our son in danger for her own comfort and ease.

After that couldn't fall asleep until 3:00ish. Mind churn.

Got up at 5:30 this morning. Two job interviews. 1st one went ok and its a job I'd be ok with doing. 2nd one I wouldn't touch with someone else's dick and the feeling was mutual.

Incredibly still haven't played, despite the tiredness and emotional roller-coaster!

15 hours ago, Icandothis said:

Jack Kornfield is simply amazing!!!

Sending infinite love and compassion to you my friend. 

Thanks, you too. Have you had positive outcomes with meditation. I've done it for about 20 years but never on a daily basis - somewhere between 3-5 times per week.

I'm not sure if it's not actually make me re-traumatise myself.

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17 hours ago, giblets said:

How far have you been jogging in the morning? 0530 is a great time to be up, there is something about knowing you're up and getting after it while everyone else is still pushing up z's. Jocko Willink talks about this all the time.

What is your intent about cutting screen time? Screen time can be productive, but you just need to harness it. Rather than cut down on screen time, I find if I am starting to lose my purpose/be distracted/etc I change my environment, like get away from the screen for a few minutes by making some tea or going for a stretch, before returning back to what I was doing (and making sure you close all your browsers when you do this!)

Thanks Giblets, I am 30% fat and have never been into sports even as a child so when I tried c25k it was completely undoable as I would get so knackered I wouldn't be able to do anything else. It was at that point that I realised that advice for "normal" people wouldn't work for me and I have to set goals based on my actual situation, regardless how pathetic it looks to others or especially to my inner-critic self.

I jog for 20 minutes + 2x5 min walk warmup/cooldown. During the jog, I actually jog for 15" per 2':30" period. If I do this 2 days in a row my legs chafe for the next couple of days. At that rate I'll run a marathon when I'm 1000 (if they get very good at life extension) still, you have to know your limits.

I had to look up who Jocko is....

Re screen time, this is shorthand for all the unproductive ways to sped my time with devices and internet now that I'm cutting down/quitting gaming. I've noticed in the past that I will just switch to the next avoidance activity: porn, youtube videos, documentaries, binge series watching. Then there is the food - whenever I'm bored, worried, etc. - I hit the fridge or go scavenging through the shelves.

 

For me at least, addiction is not the problem but a solution I have found a long time ago to all the things I couldn't deal with. And then it's just become the default solution to any form of struggle or unhappiness. I know that I need to deal with each layer of addiction as they reveal themselves. At the same time, I know that if I try to do it all at once I will fail, I've done that a million times. That's why I decided not to commit to 90 days, because that is just too overwhelming. Nor can I plan my schedule two weeks in advance. Instead I just plan very small activities about an hour ahead. This way I've already found my moods changing, my depression lifting. As compared to gaming 24/7, because the bar is so low, my current level of productivity per day is already comparable to my previous output for a month.

The other thing that I found has really worked is writing out not positive affirmations or abstract 5 year plans but intead just stream of thought reasons for not doing anything to help myself. Doing this for just a few days and looking on what I've written, it's immediately obvious that I'm mostly scaring myself with some extreme thoughts. I can now look at some of them and move past them.

 

Enough rambling for 1 day.

 

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Giblets, you seem to have a lot of good advice for a lot of people, what you said to me about weekends was spot on.

What has been your degree of addiction and are you "fully recovered"?

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Day 0, Suday 13:11 Consecutive days without gaming: 4; then 2 days gaming: 30 hours (approx)

I am going to stop resetting my count to zero every time I relapse (from now). It feels like I'm not achieving anything and is undermining. Instead, The day count is for how long I've been making being sober a top priority. I am making changes and need to stay positive that whenever I choose non-gaming it's a win.

As Cam says: It doesn't matter what you did in the past, it only matters what you choose to do now (probably not an accurate quote).

Last week I faced to a number of challenges and found that I COULD cope, I also had positive outcomes when I have stood my ground.

Then I told myself that I need a reward for how well I've been doing and play for a bit. I only stopped after 2 days. But 2 days is better than 7 days!

I'm not going to worry or beat myself up (more than I already would). I need to believe that I have (more) agency in my life if I choose to take it.

When you wake up after a drunken binge, your headache leads you to take some positive action in the moment (water and aspirin?) = that is a moment of nirvana. (It is not changed by relapse later = both are true). I am not just an addict or just a person dealing with addiction.

From reading some posts here, I can see that a lot of people are pushing themselves to be "perfect". I can see that a lot of us in the forum have fallen for the self-help "be your ideal self" line. I don't believe that this is true, or possible, or healthy.

There's a lot of inputs that went into making the me that I am at this moment. Biology, chance, cultural trends, family history, beliefs about who I am and what the world is, etc. etc.

Most of what happens to "me", including what the "me" inside of me is, is stuff that just happens, predetermined = . I can push the nobs and dials on the console but I'm likely to push the aeroplane into a stall if I just push the nose up and push the engines to full thrust. The system runs itself (it's had 3.5 billion years of development) and pushing on the controls too hard will just lead to a series of increasingly dramatic over-corrections. This is called "pilot-induced oscillation" in aeronautics:

 
There, I've just contradicted myself from the middle-part to the end-part of the post. So be it.
The ancient Greeks were great because they believed in moderation in everything, including moderation itself!
 
Cheers
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That's a good idea with your jogging - don't try to follow the guidelines of distances. I have found people seem to get anxious when they read distances that they should/are recommended/want to run etc which causes them to stop exercising. They also compare themselves to elite or people who have been training for a long time as well, which I never understood either. Just run for yourself, and based on time is perfect. After all the time I have done running and training, I still mainly just base it on time (unless I am in a specific short-term training plan with a target). This is mainly because I am trying to do so much every day that shaping my mindset to allocating 1-2 hrs blocks makes it easier to prioritise running.

It took me so long to be able to run 20 minutes constantly - I used an interval trainer to keep me 'honest' with the running/walking changing. I can't remember the app I used back in the day when training for my first marathon, but these days I use Intervaly.

It sounds like you use your addictions as escapism, which is similar to my problem. I have a natural tendency to be pessimistic or grumpy (I am avoiding using the words depressed, as that's a whole another level) - so I always used addictions to disctract myself from the fact everyone around me seemed so much happier. When gaming its pleasure, which made me happier, and put me on the same level as everyone else, which is why I went so heavy into it. The traits or symptoms are still there with my running I realised in the last few weeks - I am addicted to the dopamine which makes me feel on an equal ground with those around me. If you can realise what the cause of your addiction is, then you can deal with the underlying issue rather than just the symptoms - the gaming. If you try to focus on just the symptoms, then you'll never be truly free of it.

I am not sure if I am full of good advice! I would really like to use my experience to other people's advantage, that's all. I am not sure what 'degree of addiction' I was/am - I read about what other people have done to their lives and their families, or what they have not been able to achieve and I can't relate to a lot of it. Some people would describe it as a 'functioning addict' maybe. Maybe that is why I thought I was a little different. But I mega-relate to @Cam Adair 's recent video on Wow where he mentions that while it was a lot of fun and he has achieved a lot - he would give it all up in a second. I'm exactly the same. I would and will choose gaming over absolutely anything else - sleep, eating, drinking, running, family. And everytime I do - I feel guilty as fuck. I use the memories of guilt to keep me from going back to those 'good ole days'.

Sorry a bit of a rant! Hope you're doing well buddy. Don't beat yourself up over having to reset the counter so often - you're not going to master anything overnight, this takes practice. I loved using a counter (and I still do - it's on my phone wallpaper) to remind myself of how well I am doing, rather than forcing myself to keep me accountable.

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Day 7, Sunday 14:00. No gaming consecutive days:7; screen time (non-productive): several hours each day

Just came over the line for a complete 1 week with no gaming at all.

Had an upsetting and busy week with an unexpected death of of an elderly close relative.

Today I am free of all obligations and alone for the first time since Monday, but despite some cravings and feeling bored and uncertain what to do with myself, I haven't reached out for games. In the last week, it also would have been easy to have done some gaming in the evenings to "deal" with the emotional roller-coaster, but it just seemed too trivial a thing to do with my time (although I did still manage to waste a lot of time on-screen).

I am glad that I've been able to do that. I don't think I've ever before been able to go without gaming for anything even approaching a week, unless it was completely unavailable (for example: when traveling). I will need to tackle other non-productive activities in due course, but I will now continue to focus on no-gaming for the next week. Hopefully, I'll be able to succeed on a less intense week, where I have already succeeded when emotions were rough.

Thank you everyone.

 

 

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Giblets,

I now realise why your posts sounded familiar. Two years ago, when I was first looking at game quitters, it was your referral for Cam's program that caught my eye, as we are in somewhat similar circumstances. It's your thoughts and story of success that stayed with me and convinced me to finally give this program a serious try. Thanks. Glad you are still here, and glad to have met you in person online. Greetings from Melbourne.

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Lord, I am not in a good place to write a full post at the moment, but I wanted to post to at least say you're on the right path even if you are facing adversity. My first few months quitting games was a disaster. I remember the 24 hour binges and the sicknesses that followed. 

I also feel for you with your son. Something you stated where you were upset she moved on in life and you haven't yet struck a chord with me. The feeling of shame is one of the most painful feelings we experience as humans. Recognized belief that we are a failure, messed up, let others and ourselves down. It is emotionally and mentally crippling. 

But it's also powerful. You have the choice to change. Guide that feeling of shame and regret into a guiding light of hope that you never want to feel that bad again and that you'll always fight for yourself to never feel it. Every day isn't a fight. You can do small things each day. 

When I fall into a rut I rely on my routines to give me guidance. I sleep and wake up at the same time to stay cognizant, eat 3 to 5 different sized meals a day to stay nourished, and keep good hygiene with showers and brushing my teeth. Then I add some more activities. Slowly my routine gets me through the worst days. Notice my routine makes my body and mind healthier. It promotes better decisionmaking over time and lowers depression. I exercise after that or do whatever to improve. 

It took me years to realize I only played video games because I was lonely and wanted achievement. I made new friends at societies and clubs and work. I then tried out new hobbies until some stuck. I went from gaming 6 to 18 hours a day for almost 20 years to nothing. Next Saturday I'll be 1 year clean and I don't struggle anymore. 

I don't say that to brag. I say it to show hope. I got tired of crying myself to sleep each night. I got tired of being lonely. I got tired of hurting myself. I got tired of waiting for people to help me when nobody ever would. I learned to love myself. 

I also had the help of seeing a professional behavioral therapist once a week and still see him. It's a social interaction and very insightful. I don't take medication either. 

We game to fill holes in our lives. Don't try to just quit games. Give yourself time over the next few months to explore your heart and mind to realize what's missing and what you need to replace. Find healthy and fun stress outlets.

Success is determined by how high up we bounce back after hitting rock bottom. Your ex wife is a human you can't control. You can control you. This is your life and your time.

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Wow look how far you've come already! If you had told your former self that you would go a whole week without gaming you probably wouldn't have believed it right? 

And even though you reset your clock a few times, you pursued to start again. That shows you're a fighter! 

I think big things will be waiting for you my friend. Keep up the good work, stay strong, have a positive mind set, and enjoy your rebirth! 

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Day 9, Consecutive no gaming days: 1; total gaming time:6-7 hours; screen time (non-productive): all of yesterday

I'm on here instead of writing a business proposal for a meeting today.

So I lapsed several hours after sending my 7-consecutive days post - to "reward" myself for being so good. Actually, I think a part of me is trying to sabotage any success I may have at this (or anything else). I spent all of yesterday looking through this site and watching "Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur" (free promotion) on the Tubes.

Today is going to be an emotionally challenging day with 2 difficult meetings to attend.

Goal for the next 24 hours: -> stretch my resistance to urges:

1) definitely no gaming

2) no unproductive screen time (so what am I doing now?)

3) observe my avoidant behaviour; observe my urges;

4) no porn or masturbation

5) keep busy and tire myself out with tasks as they arise or follow to do list if I can't think of anything productive to do

byee

 

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Day 10, 8:45; Consecutive non-gaming days: 2; total screen time (non-productive) since last entry: 2 hours

Well, yesterday went well. I was able to stick to my goals, except that I watched some youtube to put myself to sleep.
Both my meetings went well as well.

The second one especially was very emotionally significant and may represent a breakthrough in the intense Cold War that my ex-wife has been fighting against me ever since we separated and then divorced 3 years ago.

Goal for the next 24 hours: -> continue to strengthen my ability to resist urges.

1) no gaming

2) no unproductive screen time

3) morning routine (get up at 5:30; jog - walk for 1h; meditate; breakfast shower) - done

4) no porn or masturbation

5) keep busy => do 1 thing at a time with focus;

                             pay attention to tiredness, boredom, hunger;

                             switch activities after a while - including some more physically active things to complement work at a desk.

                             myself out with tasks as they arise or follow to do list if I can't think of anything productive to do - so I can feel like I accomplished something today and to help me fall          

                                  asleep at night

 

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Day 11, Thursday 6:19 am. Non-gaming consecutive days: 3; total screen time (non-productive) since last entry: about 4 hours

I don't have enough energy to be doing something all day. As I wake up before 6:00, I'm usually out by lunchtime. I don't mean that I am working physically digging trenches or anything ike that. I don't know if I am sick, lazy or what. I know that I am filled with negative emotions, especially fear. It's possible that I'm exhausting myself just with that.

Yesterday I had pretty strong urges to play but somehow didn't. Didn't do much productive stuff though. Watched two movies back to back in the middle of the day to calm myself down emotionally, felt that I might as well be playing games.

Is this progress!? It's ridiculous. I just go on this huge emotional waves over the slightest incident. I know I am overreacting, but that has no effect on how I feel. I can't spend hours watching movies or days gaming just because somebody said something or someone looked at me with disapproval. I am a wimp.

Goal for the next 24 hours: -> continue to strengthen my ability to resist urges.

1) no gaming

2) no porn or masturbation

3) morning routine (get up at 5:30; jog - walk for 1h; meditate; breakfast shower)

4) no unproductive screen time

5) keep busy and active to build up my energy and ability to be productive for a longer part of the day, and to fall asleep more easily

6) work on my life plan               

Edited by LordArjuna

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