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Liam Quits Gaming

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Hey guys, I wrote an introduction here: 

After reading through a few of these journals, particularly Mohammad, BooksandTrees, Catherine17 and PhoenixKing (you guys are all awesome btw), I've decided it's the way to go for me too. I have kept a journal down on paper before when I quit in the past, and found it useful. I have a few goals, but I want t keep things simple. I have a habit of trying to do too much when I quit, i.e. I will try to quit gaming, get fit, eat healthier, pick up a hobby, all at the same time to 'turn my life around', and to be honest, I just get exhausted.

1) Build a routine
I'm hopeful that writing here will become part of that routine - probably in the mornings, as I like to sit down in my home office with a coffee and relax for 30 mins before I start work. I want to set a wake-up time, a writing/meditation time, and a start-work time.

2) Become more comfortable with periods of calm/boredom

Gaming is exciting. It is instant gratification, and provides satisfaction without effort (mostly). I want to become more comfortable with delayed gratification, through activities that take time to build up towards a goal. As a software engineer, I would like to do more side-projects that take a lot of effort to learn and build, but eventually you can be proud of what you've created. I think I somehow need to rewire my brain to redefine happiness, so that I'm not constantly feeling underwhelmed/bored/feeling nothing for 'real life'.

3) Break the cycle

A little while ago, maybe 9 months, I did my usual routine of getting into bed with my wife, waiting til she falls asleep, then getting up and gaming for a couple of hours. I had been feeling pretty rough about this routine for a while, and after losing a couple of long, toxic games that left me feeling angry and frustrated (as well as tired, it was around 1am after all!), I decided enough was enough. I destroyed my PC. I took it apart with a screwdriver, and snapped the RAM and the MoBo, I threw it all in the bin, and went down to a tech store the next day and sold my graphics card for about £400. I felt great for a while - I picked up running, I read more, and I felt closer to my wife. As time went by the urge to play would ebb and flow, and I eventually convinced myself that 'it wasn't so bad if I just played in moderation', and that 'gaming was my thing! why shouldn't I enjoy it'. I eventually started wondering why I had quit at all. I went out and spend £1500 on a new laptop for casual gaming... and the cycle began again. I know that I will get to this point again - but this time, I want to recognise this period for what it is - a symptom of my addiction. I am in control of this.

So, with all of that said:

Day 1)

I have managed to spend most of my day reading/watcing stuff about game addiction. This is procrastination, and I have a lot of work to do, but feel like in some way its helping me get set-up to fight this problem. Right now, I feel pretty strongly that I don't want to play and games, but I want to try and remain mindful of this as time goes on.

I'm not going to start anything new or drastic right now, I just plan to write this journal, get my work done, and relax. This way, I'm not taking on too much at once, as well as fighting the cravings for video games.

 

Thanks so much for reading, I'd love to hear comments and feedback, and generally I'm just stoked to communicate with you all

Liam


 

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Well, I will try to make a shorter answer as I tend to write novels and I notice it and it only makes my posts longer rofl but I believe it is worth of mention, all you did so far to beat this addiction. 

You are making progress, more than you can see, acknowledging we have a problem is 50% of the problem as they say. You are making steps in the right direction and if you keep at it, do this 90 days detox without cheating or quitting, I believe that like me, we can break free from obessive gaming forever! One gotta be optimistic, one gotta believe in his dreams and yes, I suppose you could say it has become a dream of mine to live a life without gaming. 

Major kudos for ripping your pc apart, I would NEVER be able to do that (it cost me $1500 and I need it for learning bass, all those music softwares) but it is impressive, really! Wow. 

Yes, it is better that we don't do things too drastic too fast, that we don't burn steps. In my case, I haven't dated in over 18 years. Last time I tried doing Respawn as it is the 2nd? time, I tried forcing things and it felt horrible. I lost time going to a bar and not being able to talk to anyone, I nearly had a mental breakdown and got into a really dark place. I went from point a to point z in 2-3 days and it was wayyy too rushed. I have learned and will do better this time. 🙂 

I feel the same, the more we support each other and all the others on the forum, the more we will see progress. Helping people irl is kinda like helping npcs in WoW except this time, it is meaningful and I really like what they call the domino effect. The more we help others, the more it can lead to them helping others and it goes on and on. That our actions create a wave, like a domino falling on another domino and it goes on and on, does that make sense? And it makes us feel accomplished, it makes us feel good and truly, we are making this world better, one day at a time. As in World of Warcraft, sure, we are helping people but there aren't real and our inaction in the real world is accomplishing nothing or very little compared to what we would do if we were not gaming so much.

And there you have it, another novel! lol I suppose that's 20 years of isolation, gotta let it out somehow.  

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1 hour ago, FenderUser said:

 I went from point a to point z in 2-3 days and it was wayyy too rushed. I have learned and will do better this time.

I feel exactly the same bro - a couple of times I tried to completely change my life around all at once. Too much, too fast. I burned out and went right back to the comfort of WoW. I definitely think just getting comfortable with life without gaming, and being generally comfortable with yourself, is all I want from my next 90 days. After that, who knows. We can be anything 🙂

Quote

The more we help others, the more it can lead to them helping others and it goes on and on. That our actions create a wave, like a domino falling on another domino and it goes on and on, does that make sense?

This is some real wisdom right here - I think we have little understanding on how our words and actions (both positive and negative) affect others. Just discussing this with like-minded people sufering with the same issues feels like a breath of fresh air. I played a lot of DOTA in my time, and have dealt with a lot of the toxicity that anonymity online breeds. I keep asking myself why I go back to a game with so much negativity, that often makes me feeling angry and stressed, rather than with real people in the real world, who just don't act that way.

Also just read through your journal so far and seems like you're doing great! Keep it going!

 

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Day 2)

Something I did not mention until now is the affect that gaming has had on my work. I am a work-from-home programmer. Working from home requires a lot of self discipline, and being a programmer requires a lot of time sat at my computer. I'm sure its obvious to all of you - this is a recipie for disaster when you're a gaming addict. Today I managed to be genuinely productive, and actually felt proud of the work I produced instead of some hacky, messy patch of code to fix a problem without any thought towards efficiency or extensibility. This was a huge step for me, as my mind felt generally clearer and I wasn't feeling like I was rushing my work to get back to playing another game of DOTA or HotS.

I don't feel like playing games at all, though when I did 'enough' work I did feel like I should reward myself with a game... I quickly suppressed the feeling, but I want to document it here. I want to stop feeling like every time I have an hour of productivity, I can therefore justify a 6 hour gaming binge for the afternoon. This is absolutely not the person I want to be!

All in all, feeling good. Picked up my guitar for the first time in a long time, but I have no plans to rush into another hobby right now. I just want to keep my mind relaxed.

I hope the rest of you out there are doing well - I'm always thinking about the stories I've read here and the people behind them. I want you all to succeed just as much as I hope I can.

Liam

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4 hours ago, liam said:

I feel exactly the same bro - a couple of times I tried to completely change my life around all at once. Too much, too fast. I burned out and went right back to the comfort of WoW. I definitely think just getting comfortable with life without gaming, and being generally comfortable with yourself, is all I want from my next 90 days. After that, who knows. We can be anything 🙂

This is some real wisdom right here - I think we have little understanding on how our words and actions (both positive and negative) affect others. Just discussing this with like-minded people sufering with the same issues feels like a breath of fresh air. I played a lot of DOTA in my time, and have dealt with a lot of the toxicity that anonymity online breeds. I keep asking myself why I go back to a game with so much negativity, that often makes me feeling angry and stressed, rather than with real people in the real world, who just don't act that way.

Also just read through your journal so far and seems like you're doing great! Keep it going!

 

Yes, it still happens to me as I tend to always want to do more and more and I burn out, I want it too much but I'm sleeping when I feel burned out and then return working. No more WoW, that's the big difference with before! Yes, likewise, it seems it will be a challenge in itself so that's what I'm gonna do as well. 

Indeed. lol, DOTA. I am so glad I never played this game as I heard it is so addictive, thank God I never played it! That's because it has become an addiction, we got addicted to a drug that is called dopamine and video games are like the people that sell the drug. I read that video games addiction can be as hard to quit as quitting hard drugs addiction so that's why it is so difficult. But we must not give up, if we stick to the 90 days detox, we shall prevail. I truly believe it. 🙂

Thanks! You do the same. 

 

 

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On 10/12/2019 at 3:35 AM, EpicJ0J0 said:

Good luck with all of this! I'll be checking in on your diary each day (assuming it's up before mine.) XD

 

12 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

Welcome to the community! I hope you find the right combination of life balance to find your way through this. We'll all be here to help. 

Thanks to both of you! Great to be here, and I really appreciate the support I've been shown so far. Looking forward to talking to you all more as the days and weeks progress 🙂

Days 3 & 4)

I've had a busy weekend! We had friends visiting us for the weekend with their 1 year old daughter, so we spent plenty of time with them going for walks, chatting, cooking etc. This meant there was not a lot of time to really thing about gaming, but also minimal time for journalling. I recently started watching videos on stoicism, which I would highly reccommend to any of you looking to generally be more productive and all round more relaxed and happier. I'm trying to apply some of the practices (check here for some insights!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQnvCI25wJg) to my daily life, including better journalling and being more protective of my time. 

The most significant obstacle this weekend came about an hour ago. As our friends left to travel home, my wife had to do some work for her PhD, so I had some free time. This is the first time I've had some truly free weekend time since I decided to quit gaming, so my thoughts drifted immediately to the alluringly sweet dopamine rush of pwning some noobs at my PC. It actually took me a split second to remember that I was not gaming any more - such is the 'clouded mind' that this addiction often produces. I felt a little 'empty' when I realised I couldn't allow myself to play a game, and had some feelings of anger and frustration inside. I tried to remind myself why I am dealing with this, and the consequences playing a game right now - I would be letting myself down immensely. So, instead, I resolved to write my journal entries (both here and in my notion app where I am trying to keep a daily log to help build routines). I have also decided to do... nothing. Just relax, listen to some music, write a little, maybe read a little, but nothing too demanding. 

I'm pleased with how I'm doing, but I feel like things may start to get tough if I get some more free time. I hope I can overcome the temptation as well I as I did today.

God bless you guys reading this and facing the same difficulties - we, at least, understand one another 😄

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Sounds like you had a fun weekend! I'll take a look at the video you link, that sounds interesting. And the free time thing seems to be something that most people deal with, I mean most of us spent hours and hours on gaming and suddenly that time isn't being occupied by gaming. A good thing that has worked for me is setting up a rough schedule or write down a list of things that you think you will enjoy doing besides gaming, that way if you do end up with some free time then you have a list or schedule to look at to try and keep you from hovering into games.

Keep on truckin' and I'll talk to ya next time! 🙂

Edited by EpicJ0J0

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11 minutes ago, EpicJ0J0 said:

write down a list of items that you think you will enjoy doing besides gaming

Sounds like a great idea, think I'll do that this evening! Thanks man

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Hey!

Don't worry, soon you'll fill the time gaps with other activities, hopefully ones that work out better than gaming. I use Excel spreadsheets to write sort of a list/schedule for my days!

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7 hours ago, Ikar said:

Hey!

Don't worry, soon you'll fill the time gaps with other activities, hopefully ones that work out better than gaming. I use Excel spreadsheets to write sort of a list/schedule for my days!

Thanks Ikar! I've just started doing something similar but with Notion - its super flexible and great for keeping a daily reflective journal as well as daily/weeks tasks etc. To be honest, you can do an amazing amount with it!

Day 5)

Today was a great day, all in all. Not only did I not feel any urge to game at all, but I was extremely productive. I wrote more code today that I have in a while, and even discussed some relevant programming patterns with colleagues (these are conversations I usually avoid). I think my work quality was also better, in that I took more time and attention when planning out some functionality etc.

As I mentioned above, I recently started using Notion to keep track of my daily tasks and keep a sort of reflective journal. I'm trying to keep a stoic journal which entails writing down daily tasks, being reflective and writing down some things I'm thankful for each day. With such a powerful organisational tool to play my day, I found that I was even productive during periods where I decided to take a screen-break. For example, I washed all of the bedding in our guest room, I called up and booked a surprise spa day for my pregnant wife at a hotel she loves (it's in a couple of weeks, and I'm sure she's going to love it!), and I even spent 30 minutes digging a hole in my garden where I'm planning to move my shed in a couple of weeks. These are things I would never have done previously, given that they take time away from gaming - pretty pleased with that.

I'm being mindful that "the only constant is change", and the way I'm feeling now may not last. Withdrawals may get worse, and I really want to be careful that I don't lull myself into a false state of feeling that quitting is easy - only to lose focus and relapse. Definitely something I want to remain aware of.

I've really enjoyed reading some of your recent journal entries, and I'm so happy to see the progress that others have made. For those of you who are a few days or weeks ahead of me, my goal is simply to be like you - so thanks for sharing 🙂

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11 minutes ago, liam said:

Thanks Ikar! I've just started doing something similar but with Notion - its super flexible and great for keeping a daily reflective journal as well as daily/weeks tasks etc. To be honest, you can do an amazing amount with it!

Day 5)

Today was a great day, all in all. Not only did I not feel any urge to game at all, but I was extremely productive. I wrote more code today that I have in a while, and even discussed some relevant programming patterns with colleagues (these are conversations I usually avoid). I think my work quality was also better, in that I took more time and attention when planning out some functionality etc.

As I mentioned above, I recently started using Notion to keep track of my daily tasks and keep a sort of reflective journal. I'm trying to keep a stoic journal which entails writing down daily tasks, being reflective and writing down some things I'm thankful for each day. With such a powerful organisational tool to play my day, I found that I was even productive during periods where I decided to take a screen-break. For example, I washed all of the bedding in our guest room, I called up and booked a surprise spa day for my pregnant wife at a hotel she loves (it's in a couple of weeks, and I'm sure she's going to love it!), and I even spent 30 minutes digging a hole in my garden where I'm planning to move my shed in a couple of weeks. These are things I would never have done previously, given that they take time away from gaming - pretty pleased with that.

I'm being mindful that "the only constant is change", and the way I'm feeling now may not last. Withdrawals may get worse, and I really want to be careful that I don't lull myself into a false state of feeling that quitting is easy - only to lose focus and relapse. Definitely something I want to remain aware of.

I've really enjoyed reading some of your recent journal entries, and I'm so happy to see the progress that others have made. For those of you who are a few days or weeks ahead of me, my goal is simply to be like you - so thanks for sharing 🙂

Enjoy this moment. Be mindful of the clarity in your mind with less brain fog. This is something that will get better over time and you'll appreciate the journey you're on. It's nice not having a "Pull" in your head to play games because you're craving it. It's nice to have no brain fog from exhaustion after gaming. 

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Day 6) 

Feeling a strong urge to play an MMO this morning, something that I can escape into and experience calm and comfort. I've notices that when I go for a morning walk for 30 mins in the forest, this urge goes away and I have time to relax and refocus.

I've also been listening to the GameQuitters podcast, starting from way back in 2017 - this means I have two years worth of it to listen to which is really exciting. I've found it to be really relaxing as I listen to it on my morning walk. Not only do I learn a lot, and gain a lot of advice, but it is calming and refocuses me.

Work was stressful and busy, and then I went straight to a "Bump, Birth and Beyond" class with my wife - this was really informative regarding topics such as safe sleeping, breast feeding, attention and child brain development, and I feel just that slight bit more prepared for fatherhood. After coming come I immediately cooked, watched some TV with my wife then slept, so I didn't really get chance to post a journal update on the evening. Been feeling a bit anxious and stressed so couldn't sleep too well, and I'm wondering if this is a symptom of withdrawal. Time will tell!

Day 7)

My first full week of intentionally quitting gaming is here - I'm really pleased with the effort I've made as there have been many occasions where I wanted to play for escapism/relaxation, but managed to stay focused and was happier as a result. Had a 45 minute walk in the morning in the forest, while listening to the podcast I mentioned yesterday. I'm learning a lot from it, and starting to feel like it might actually be possible that this is not just a 90 day thing, but in fact I could potentially quit games forever.. this is pretty exciting.

I'm still heavily focused on building new habits. In yesterday's baby class that I attended with my wife, we watched a video about the strengthening on neural pathways between cells as certain actions are repeated over time. Actions that are not repeated cause the pathways to dissipate through a natural pruning process. I couldn't watch this and not apply it to my own life - I am able to strengthen the pathways in my brain related to my morning routine, journalling, my morning walk, playing a little guitar, rock climbing, programming and getting fulfilment from the people in my life.

This, coupled with pruning my old habits (though they are so well established after 15 years, they may never fully dissipate!), I am hoping will gradually lead to more positive behaviour that I am content with.

Thanks for reading - wishing you the best!

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Good work on changing your environment - I found that is the most effective way to defeat cravings, rather than trying to close tabs or block apps or whatever. I have extended it to other aspects of my life too - so I try to change my environment often if I am frustrated etc and I encourage my work mates to do the same.

The podcasts are great and have a lot of useful information! Don't be afraid to listen to them more than once to get the message to stick in your head or remind yourself of why you are doing what you are doing. I recommend Episode 14 from the 2017 season and 003 from Gaming the System - they both have this very attractive charismatic guy on them who sounds like a dream 🤩

How was your stomach after the birth video? I just about passed out when I saw it in our child education (or whatever you call it) class. I didn't manage to go to the second lesson as our son arrived so early but you pick it up as you go!

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4 hours ago, giblets said:

Good work on changing your environment - I found that is the most effective way to defeat cravings, rather than trying to close tabs or block apps or whatever. I have extended it to other aspects of my life too - so I try to change my environment often if I am frustrated etc and I encourage my work mates to do the same.

The podcasts are great and have a lot of useful information! Don't be afraid to listen to them more than once to get the message to stick in your head or remind yourself of why you are doing what you are doing. I recommend Episode 14 from the 2017 season and 003 from Gaming the System - they both have this very attractive charismatic guy on them who sounds like a dream 🤩

How was your stomach after the birth video? I just about passed out when I saw it in our child education (or whatever you call it) class. I didn't manage to go to the second lesson as our son arrived so early but you pick it up as you go!

Thanks - I couldn't agree more. I've even started doing it when I'm not feeling productive at work, I'll just get up and wander for 10-15 minutes to sort of 'reset'. Seems to work for me.

Aha - my stomach was ok however I do have a huge phobia medical things, blood, needles, etc so I'm terrified I'll pass out at the birth or something. My wife constantly teases me about it! She is also convinced that he might come early, so I'm spending my weekend painting his room 😄 Great to hear from someone with experience, its a huge life milestone and its hard to really understand what to expect - I guess you just have to live it!

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Day 8*)

Today I got up at 7am and went for a walk, listening to the Game Quitters podcast. I'm happy with my current morning routine, though it is still quite a lot of effort to get up and out so early. Once I'm out, though, it feels great.

Work was busy so I spent the rest of the day coding, without much downtime. To be honest, I felt quite bored all day, and without video games to fall back on I got a bit cranky. Trying to put effort into not getting so annoyed by interruption/disruption to my routines (though this has always been a struggle for me!)

I started reading a book called 'The Slight Edge' a week or so ago, and I'd really recommend it. Reading daily is something I never felt I had time for before (except when I really get into some fiction, i.e. Malazan/Rothfuss/Riftwar Saga). I also started listening to 'My Dad Wrote a Porno' podcast a couple of days ago. I know its super popular, but I didn't realise how much I'd enjoy it 🙂 Also highly recommended, if you like a laugh

You guys are all my heroes, so keep up your amazing levels of commitment and effort - I love to read about your progress

Edited by liam
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8 hours ago, liam said:

Day 8*)

Today I got up at 7am and went for a walk, listening to the Game Quitters podcast. I'm happy with my current morning routine, though it is still quite a lot of effort to get up and out so early. Once I'm out, though, it feels great.

Work was busy so I spent the rest of the day coding, without much downtime. To be honest, I felt quite bored all day, and without video games to fall back on I got a bit cranky. Trying to put effort into not getting so annoyed by interruption/disruption to my routines (though this has always been a struggle for me!)

I started reading a book called 'The Slight Edge' a week or so ago, and I'd really recommend it. Reading daily is something I never felt I had time for before (except when I really get into some fiction, i.e. Malazan/Rothfuss/Riftwar Saga). I also started listening to 'My Dad Wrote a Porno' podcast a couple of days ago. I know its super popular, but I didn't realise how much I'd enjoy it 🙂 Also highly recommended, if you like a laugh

You guys are all my heroes, so keep up your amazing levels of commitment and effort - I love to read about your progress

Having these routines is important because when we have bad days we can rely on them to get us through the day. 

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15 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

Having these routines is important because when we have bad days we can rely on them to get us through the day. 

Thanks mate - its really an inspiration to see how active you are on these forums helping people who just need the extra little push. I really appreciate the sentiment!

Day 9)

Today I spend ~15 minutes in the morning preparing a sort of 'daily checklist/diary' template in Notion that I can just replicate every day, outlining a few things every day:
 - Steps in my morning routine
 - Some daily 'slight edges', i.e. small and mundane things I can do each day, that I'm hoping will compound over time
 - Daily tasks and intentions, if I have anything extra to accomplish
 - Things I'm grateful for
 - Steps in my evening routine

Many of these are checkboxes that I can tick off as I do things throughout the day, and also with a little space to write something each day as I please. I think it was a productive way to spend my time, as I hope to rely on it for some positive habit building over time.

I've also been reading The Slight Edge, which I've found to be a really inspirational book. I would recommend it especially to people in the community (I think it was originally a suggestion I found from Cam on one of his youtube videos). 

Feeling very productive, and the wealth of other actions I've found to fill up my day have really helped me in not really thinking about gaming. I'm conscious that it's literally day 9 for me, and I'm definitely still in the 'honeymoon phase' of the quitting (I've been here many times), but things are going well generally.

Some great progress and stories on the forum today, really proud to see you guys progressing the way you are, despite some hard times!

Liam

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Sounds like you are doing great this time around Liam 🙂

from my experiences it's when you stop working the problem that you relapse and it sounds like you really are working it this time

If you haven't done already setup the barriers that bar you from gaming 'easily' like Cold Turkey for the computer and Stay Focused for the phone - it really really helps when the decision to whether you can game or not is out of your hands. I recommend this greatly.

 

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