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Moving Forward


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Congratulations on your new personal best non-gaming streak!

One thing that I've noticed with myself is that quitting gaming has made the other negative parts of my life more difficult to ignore. It sounds like you're at that point with drinking. I stopped drinking/smoking weed a while ago, and was sober from them for large parts of my life, but most of my friends drink/smoke probably more than they should. One thing I'd say is that they never mind having a sober person around so I think that you also may not feel as ostracized as you think once everybody gets used to it. It's helpful having a DD and just somebody to make sure things don't get too crazy. They're still fun to be around too when I'm sober, and I find they don't reach the point of being hard to be around until later in the evening when it's probably time to go home anyways.

I also think that seeing your people continue to accept you when you are acting true to your nature (i.e. sober) does great things for your confidence and strengthens your friendships. Accepting the role of quiet (non-judgemental) scientist and finding that people accept you as that instead of despite that does wonders for the quality of the hangout sess imo.

It might be different for chemists though, I can't trust anyone who got through organic without ptsd 😛

Edit Just flipped through your journal and noticed we've got a lot of similarities. Basketball was my version of wrestling, family problems coincided with WoW addiction (We made it through the xpac release!), and ecology is my version of chemistry. I'll be interested in your progress. Best of luck!

Edited by Lampshade
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Day 66

I think you are correct (Lampshade) with saying that being sober in a group of people who drink is not as bad as I was making it seem. I think I get hung up on the fact that I'm the minority in most groups, in the sense that who I am and the choices I make are very much against the grain. I always feel like I have to reiterate that I don't eat meat, that I don't smoke weed (haven't smoked for 5 years and have no interest in returning to it), I don't watch sports, etc. With alcohol it feels like I'm further into the minority which I honestly kind of like...except on those shitty days where it feels like a storm cloud is above my head. I feel the loneliness more acutely on those days and it's hard to not want to just join the crowd even if it is at my own expense. Overall, I don't think that will stop me from cutting out alcohol, it is just something that worries me at times. And yea always having a DD is a huge plus. 

Also, thank you for the encouragement and it does seem like we are very similar, I'll take a deeper look at your journals after I am done writing this. It is always nice to know that there are people with similar struggles and interests. 

For today, I am going to be returning my ps4 to GameStop. I kind of wanted to sell it online but I definitely know that I am more concerned with having a gaming-free house rather than a few extra bucks. My gf and I feel somewhat similarly about having a TV in the house because it just feels like we waste so much time watching old movies and shows because we want to relax; however we usually end up feeling less relaxed and just more annoyed that the day is over. I'm not as hung up on getting rid of the TV right now because I feel like we are still getting comfortable in our new living situation, and we are already breaking other habits. It just doesn't feel like something I want to spend my time doing anymore and I don't think parting with a TV would be as difficult as ending my gaming addiction. 

It's weird how when you remove one really bad habit you start to see how all of your other habits actually affect you. I have the same attitude about them that I did originally with gaming where I want them all gone now. But that is an unrealistic amount of change to force on myself and I honestly don't feel that dragged down by these other habits (besides when I drink too much) to the same extent as video games. I simply feel more compelled to live better because I want to. Having that attitude/mindset is really what turned the tide with my gaming addiction and I feel like striving for better living is something I enjoy. It's like taking that sense of measurable growth that gaming gave me with leveling up a character or getting better at a pvp game and directing it toward a lifestyle I've envisioned for myself. I'm just glad that I have finally begun to take actions with real intention. 

To moving forward...

 

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Day 68

Yesterday was a long day...it actually went pretty well in most respects but it was definitely odd given covid circumstances. Personally, I'm not one for holidays I don't feel like celebrating the same way every year for the rest of my life. I understand holidays for family gatherings and brightening children's spirits, but my god when you get older holidays are just these weird days where families who don't really enjoy each other's company come together, eat a ton of food, and complain about each other. I don't understand why most families keep the tradition going when it just ends up being a really stressful time...like it's your day off, wouldn't you want to relax? I don't know...I feel subjugated by these traditions because I would honestly rather have the option to just not have the holiday experience and take the day to chill or hike or something. 

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I bit the bullet and texted my family that I'm not doing Christmas this year. Wife and I are introverts and we both feel like we're going to need an actual vacation around then. It's not like it's just the one day either, there's the stress leading up to it and after it. Sometimes I feel like people who enjoy the holidays are too un-empathetic towards those who it causes stress.

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Day 69 

The  more I round the bend towards the end of this detox, the more changes come about in my life. I feel like I am becoming more aware of myself on a daily basis and it is helping me in so many ways but is also causing friction in my relationships at times. With covid so much is out of our control and it has affected and continues to affect everyday life in so many ways. I feel like the pandemic has put me through a whirlwind and now the dust is settling and I am seeing things through a clearer lens (mostly because instead of distracting myself with gaming, I am sitting with it). I no longer want to give in to weakness and fear and even when I do I keep a strong mental attitude so I can pick myself back up with relative ease. I feel much more myself in every way and I don't feel hatred for aspects of myself that I used to dislike. I have begun to accept and work with my issues instead of ignoring and dumping them on others. I sit and try to take responsibility. It has not been like this for many people around me. In fact, instead of taking time to work on themselves they turn to worse and worse "bandaid solutions" that only end up making it worse. I don't know how to remain steadfast with my strife towards growth and remain a CONSTANT source of help and encouragement and reassurance  in their lives as well. One of these people is my gf, one is my brother, and one is my best friend. It's like as soon as I start taking real steps to better myself, the countercurrent to my growth decides to take it's gloves off and push/pull full force in the other direction, causing as much stress as possible. I feel like when I start to work on myself I become defective in reality and the people around me shove me back into place. This has happened before and I've felt the same way. I know it sounds selfish to say that i wish they would just get a grip but I feel like I'm being leaned on to the point of breaking...and all I want is to have time to meditate, read, write, and work on myself. I don't want anything from them other than them to just try to take control of their own lives and try things to help themselves instead of using me as a dump. I don't know I'm a bit thrown off by the last few days and I need to vent so there it is.

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Day 71

It's a windy, rainy, thunderstorm type of day and it's kind of nice. I am pretty much just going to read and chill without much thought to anything else. The last few days have been pretty rough. My gf and I had one of those recurring argument fights that has happened a few times before in our relationship and it's like each time we learn more and deal with the situation better...but it still is a very irritating and difficult happening. I find that it's hard for me to choose between what I want and what is best (for everyone involved) in so many situations. I am always thinking about how to get to the "best" solution even if it means sacrificing what I want. It's like an auto-pilot takes over and I always start from that perspective rather than really sitting with the situation and asking myself if it's what I want. I know that it is related to how I was raised and that my dad was always someone who dictated my life/was always watching and criticizing.

I grew up with the constant feeling of being observed and critiqued (because most of the time I was, both in and out of school) and I feel like I developed the habit of appeasing a situation for the group to avoid chaos and disharmony even if it meant I had to give up what I wanted. I remember there were a few times where I let myself just goof off and hang out with my brother and dad before a wrestling tournament, and I ended up not winning  (or not wrestling to my "ability") and I'd face the angry wrath of my dad after. I was so young that I equated my goofing off and relaxed state to my lesser performance (aka not taking 1st in a national tournament against older opponents) that I built this mentality that I had to just stay quiet and focused and that I couldn't goof off so that I would win at all costs and not have to deal with my dad's rage. 

I feel like I now carry this mentality with so many different aspects of my life. I have always been described as "black and white" and even my gf will call me out on it. I wish I could truly explain why my perception tends to be so binary with many things but I honestly don't know why I think like that. I don't have a way to communicate everything I am thinking and perceiving...nobody does. I try to tell people I don't know why I have such extremes built in to the way I think and I am a min/maxer. I try my best to not be stubborn but I feel like I am naturally like this and throughout my childhood I used it to adapt to abusive situations so it can be hard to just disengage with. 

And with my life as it currently is, with my current issues that I face both alone and in relationships/friendships, I still have this way of thinking and way of dealing with things. I always start from how do I appease the situation...how do I check of the best and most boxes for the most people, rather than do I want this? I have to take serious amounts of time to discover what it is I want in many situations, it doesn't just appear before me, and most of the time it'll change. I feel like most of the people around me lead with what they want before taking any other factors into account...and I'm just not like that. I think that both perspectives need to be tempered with bits of each other and I am trying to reach for that in my life it just takes time. And emotions don't like patience. 

Even with gaming I feel like I have the perspective that when I don't game I am so much better in so many ways and I enjoy life in a much more full way. But before this detox I would try to quit, not because I truly wanted to but because I wanted to maximize my productivity, cut out my bad habits, and be a better person for those around me (because my gaming would make me much more numbed out and would cause issues with my relationships). And when my will would give out, I would be like "why can't I do something for myself, why can't I do what I want and be accepted for that?" I would go right back to gaming because parts of me still enjoyed it or wanted to enjoy it even if I didn't actually like it that much (especially in regards to League and WoW). Now, I feel like I am finding out with much greater clarity that I can choose to do what I want and I don't always have to lead with that group appeasement mentality...because it's my life and I am responsible for myself, I want to be responsible for myself. That's why I feel like this detox is really working out and I am proud of myself for sticking with it this far. To Moving Forward

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Day 72

I have two possible jobs that I am applying for right now where I have contacts that have pushed me along in the hiring process. My god, for anyone who is in college, take the time to explore companies for internships if you want to work after you graduate. I did two research projects which definitely helps my resume as an entry level chemist but without these connections I would be screwed (and might still be). I just want to get into a company that's worth working for before I head to grad school in a couple years. Without an internship or knowledge of companies I'd like to work for, I've been stuck looking through Indeed and LinkedIn, and believe me most of those jobs are terrible. The companies just want to fill in entry level positions with grunts but they all list that you need 1-3 years of experience (for a job that pays $13-$17 an hour, no benefits as a chemistry graduate...) I know that listing those requirements is just "kind of what they do" and it's not totally necessary to have them all, but still it really pays to have a good idea about who you would want to work for. 

Anyways, I think I will finally be taking my Ps4 back to GameStop now that it is reset. Hopefully, I have enough time to do that today. That should give me enough money to float for the next few weeks and I am really looking to get one of these jobs. I will probably be spending a good amount of time researching these companies and preparing a small cheat sheet for a phone interview I have scheduled for next week. I wouldn't prepare anything for an in-person or zoom interview but for phone interviews I feel like it can help if you have some things written down to cover your bases. 

I feel like I've found a good rhythm with meditation and intermittent fasting now and even though I haven't been on a run in the last few days I feel like my body is much lighter and I have a general sense of relief. I want to continue to run twice a week but with bad weather and having to do wash at my mom's house I don't always feel inclined to get out there. However, I have found a good program for mobility and calisthenics/bodyweight workouts that I want to invest in when I get some cash. Even though I'm not jumping right into it, it is really nice to know what I want to do in regards to exercise. Being patient before buying it also makes me have a good level of certainty that I will use/do the program. I especially want to try the mobility one because I have been following some of the exercises from YouTube videos made by the people who made the program and they are liberating my joints. It's crazy because I've had so many injuries that I have to endure daily pain because I never got the proper time and treatment to recover so now I feel like it's a life sentence. But with these movements and exercises my body is beginning to return to me. I get excited and motivated every time I do the movements so I'm already fairly certain that when I buy the programs it will be well worth my money. Plus it's building strength and flexibility the way I want to, I'm not just stuck doing things I don't enjoy like benching and squatting. 

As a last note, I think I want to create a topic thread in the forum for a place where people can post about reflecting on good habits and things that really help them day to day. It doesn't even have to be relevant to their gaming detox but just things to be grateful for and that help in small ways. 

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2 hours ago, BryanJaz said:

As a last note, I think I want to create a topic thread in the forum for a place where people can post about reflecting on good habits and things that really help them day to day. It doesn't even have to be relevant to their gaming detox but just things to be grateful for and that help in small ways

Put that into the suggestions forum, maybe the devs could help you get more attention to that forum!

2 hours ago, BryanJaz said:

it is really nice to know what I want to do in regards to exercise

I'm so happy you figured that out! I was on a similar route, doing 10+ hours/week of exercises I didn't enjoy. Took me awhile to discover what I actually enjoy, but it feels so much better, right? I also prefer calisthenics heh.

On 11/30/2020 at 10:40 AM, BryanJaz said:

I am finding out with much greater clarity that I can choose to do what I want and I don't always have to lead with that group appeasement mentality

Jeez, reading the last few entries of your journal literally melted my heart, especially this part. I'm so glad you are able to do better socially, I also had a very similar issue- I could never say "no" when people would ask me for help, even if that causes other people to abuse me. I think learning to self-respect not only is good for your, but helps others be more kind and less selfish. 

Thank you so much for your thoughtful journal entries, they honestly make my day!

Cheers, Po

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Day 73

Thank you all for so much support and thoughtfulness, it makes me so happy to see people reading/commenting on these journals.

Yesterday, I finally traded my ps4 and games in for cash. I didn't even get half of what the sale price is right now but I don't even really care, it's not about the money. I want to trade my laptop in as well but I'm not sure if that will be totally necessary right now. I feel like I'm not drawn to online games anymore and I have so much else going on that it's easy to not be on my laptop except for these journals and for job stuff. I am really hoping I can nail a phone interview I have next week for a job I'd really like to have. Whereas I used to put my efforts into maximizing my gaming progress, now all my efforts are funneled into what I deem as important. I have a bunch of information I need to review before the interview and it actually excites me. I'm going to dive deep into their company and read up on all their products and the prospective job responsibilites. I'm going to review my research projects and refresh my understanding of them which always feels good. It's kind of wild that I feel so motivated to do things which I always just wrote off as boring or obligatory, and instead I have a genuine interest in now. Like reading a few journal articles about gasification of waste gives me a surge of excitement akin to that of logging into a character on WoW. 

As a brief interlude, I just remembered I had a dream that I was playing WoW last night or it seemed like I was playing for part of the dream and then struggling to close the program before I left that area. I remember trying so hard to hit a button that said "quit" because I didn't want to leave my account info up on a public computer. Apparently, it was a school trip or something and we were about to leave so I had to logout but the screen was frozen and hitting quit wouldn't register on the computer so I had to walk away. Talk about an ironic dream...

Anyways, today I want to ask my mom to help me sew a mask that is actually contoured to my face and to experiment with nose ventilation so my glasses don't keep fogging up on every...single...exhale. I'm hoping it goes well but I don't really know how to sew (my mom showed me how to make cornhole bean bags over the summer) but that's one of my mom's hobbies so I think she'll be able to help me out. I also want to use some sort of silky material because the typical blue masks feel terrible on my face and whenever my beard grows in it makes my face super itchy. We'll see how it goes...

As a goal for the rest of this week, I really want to wake up at 6:00. I feel like since I meditate and drive to my mom's house in the morning, half my day is gone by the time I get here. I want to do a quick mobility routine and meditate right when I get up because I feel like that will set my day up for success. I have already been doing some stretches and meditating 1-2 times a day for an hour each session so it's not hard to do, I just want to do it a bit earlier. I'll have to make a method and just stick to it. 

 

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Day 76

I've had a few tempting thoughts about games (DOS2 and DS3) that I was playing and never finished but they passed rather quickly and I actually did well with quelling that "maybe I could play a few hours, here and there when enough time has passed" thought. 

On 12/2/2020 at 6:16 PM, Bird By Bird said:

Game dreams like these is your psyche's way of purging garbage influences from your unconscious. Like it's saying: "Do you still want this? I'm throwing it out." Means you're getting better.

With dreams I always find I will take the feeling with me the rest of the day, if it is insightful or profound and although this dream was a bit of both I found it be lacking in having a similar effect. I feel like my dreams have "relaxed" a bit and I want to dissect them some more so I can gather a fresh interpretation on them. I would have to agree that part of my internal world is disposing of the "dead weight" I carry around, it's just much less intense than I am used to. I've had the "purge dreams" where I am bleeding or puking from every orifice, and really going through it...these dreams feel much less intense but I feel like it is due to my mental state reaching a much more stable place. I hope that I can continue to ease into a lasting equilibrium and it is nice to have input on my dreams from others because I always feel like my dream world is so ridiculously different from anyone I've met. 

This week I was unsuccessful with waking up at 6:00 partly because I feel like I have been getting much better sleep. I feel like I have been really learning to dial back my surface thoughts and have had a level of clarity and reflection that have made my life make more sense. Involved in this has been a humility and return to fulfilling certain moral desires. I can certainly say that meditation has been the driving force in my mental clarity as I have been sitting for an hour a day at least. Alongside meditation, I feel like a healthy level of acceptance with the way things are and a loosening of the perspective that I need to be the one that changes things all the time have given a space in my life that I forgot could exist. It's space to just be myself and experience whatever that is. I don't feel so encroached upon by others because I am not so invested in having things a certain way. Although the past week or so points to a different conclusion, I'd say that most days I don't feel as burdened by myself or others. There are certainly times that push me to capacity and beyond, but it's like my limit is increasing the more I meditate and adopt a less ego-centric perspective. 

On another note, I am kind of banking on getting this one job that I have an interview for. I know that is a terrible plan but I feel like it's such a good fit in many ways that I really want it to happen even if it's not the job that I have for years. Its the perfect commute distance and deals with analytical chemistry and materials science which are what I want to specialize in (right now) for my career. Both my research projects are almost tailored to demonstrate that I have skills in both those areas but I don't have any working experience because I just graduated. I know companies list that experience is required and a lot of the time it isn't 100% necessary but they listed 1-3 years and it feels like the position is slightly beyond entry level. I don't know, I feel like I am just doubting myself because I don't have all the "requirements" but I have most and it just feels like the right job for me. I am going to be studying and researching about the company and relearning some of the things I did in undergrad just for a phone interview but I feel like it will help me a lot. It's also just kind of who/how I am. At the same time it's weird because even if I didn't get the job I know that I would try for a different place for a little but would just kind of make money as would be necessary. Then I would apply to grad school for next spring and just make money to pay the bills until then. I have a good backup plan but I don't want to have to use it because this position/company just seems so fitting for me right now. 

Lastly, I am nearing the 90 day marker and I am really excited. December 19th is the day. I don't have money to spare but I really wish I could get myself a reward, but at the same time I might just use Christmas to "supply" the reward. It wouldn't be anything crazy, probably just a book or feature for my zen den. But still I feel like learning to reward oneself appropriately is a good way to deal with overcoming an addiction. A big addiction factor is the systems of artificial rewards in place in each game. Without that, especially early on, it feels like there is a void in day to day life. And a successful 90 day detox seems like the appropriate time to reward oneself. Either way I'm feeling very good with this whole process and I think once 90 days is up I will probably begin to focus more on commenting on others while doing a journal article at my leisure instead of trying for every day/every few days. 

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Day 77

11 weeks down...and I continue to feel more and more excited with my progress. I feel much closer to myself and I know that I have taken control of many different aspects of my life. When I reach that 90 day goal I feel like it will be such a huge accomplishment as well as a true turning point in my life. For all those struggling out there, keep moving forward

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Day 78

I have been reviewing a lot of information for my upcoming interview. Even though I graduated with 3.6 I still feel like I didn't do well enough or learn effectively to the point where I can say I'm a chemist. In other words, I deal with impostor syndrome a lot. Now that I haven't been gaming for a good deal of time, I feel like when I review my notes/information I retain the information way easier. Once I pass the initial 10-20 minutes of wavering focus, I can dive deep into it with a real desire to learn and I come out of these learning sessions with a much greater clarity and understanding of the material. I am also way better at planning out what I want/need to know as well as budgeting my time to get it all in. I've done a good bit of reviewing today and I still feel like I want to do some more later...which is unusual. There's much less obligation and much more desire, it's so freeing. I'd say that until I finish the interview Wednesday morning, I'm going to be a bit more lax with posting on here but hopefully all goes well and I can write about it with a sense of relief and joy. 

21 hours ago, Jason70 said:

Congratulations on the 11 weeks, only 13 days to go! 

Also, thanks mate! Good luck on your journey as well.

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Day 80

I had my phone interview today and I believe it went well so hopefully I will hear back from them in a few days. I was super nervous all morning and now that it's over I just want to chill. It also started to snow (for the first time this year) which is awesome but I do have to say that I had a bit of a draw towards gaming. After finishing the interview, all my stress melted away and then the snow started picking up which made me think back on my early days with gaming. Snow days were the shit...you could go sledding and hang outside for the whole day and then warm up and play some games deep into the night. Some serious nostalgia has been kicking in today. It's not nearly moving enough to make me actually relapse but the feelings were definitely stronger than at any other time on this detox. I guess I could boil it down to "triggers" and that after a long, stressful day my reward was always gaming. I don't really have a reward system set up for myself in the same type of way but I don't really need one yet. I'm excited to be considered a prospect for the job, and to have the potential of working for this company specifically. I don't feel like it would be catastrophic if I didn't get the job, I would just need to make consistent money. But if I do get hired, I will definitely work towards making a new reward system for myself. One that involves real hobbies not gaming. 

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Day 81

8/9ths of the way there. Yesterday, I talked about how I felt after the stress of the morning was gone and how the snow was pulling me back to nostalgic times with gaming. I talked about those feelings with my gf later in the day and I kind of had a moment of important insight. I guess I was still in the mental state of preparing to answer hypothetical questions like "what do you do for fun?" and I realized that although I have some answers for that question...the mere idea of fun was puzzling me. To answer that question, I feel like I would say things like hiking, kayaking, martial arts, reading, etc... But when I think about all of those activities I don't really associate them with "fun". They're enjoyable and there are aspects of fun tied with them but I wouldn't call hiking "fun". I would say an amusement park is fun. It was weird how this distinction hit me yesterday and today. I think of video games as fun...or at least I used to. For the last day I've been trying to remember the last time I actually had fun with video games. I feel like it was when I played spider-man on my ps4 last winter break. Even then it was fun but it didn't have the same edge it used to. All the other games I played were mostly frustrating or I was just playing to get to the "good parts", it was like playing wasn't actually fun 95% of the time. And I was playing a lot of games, I ran through shadow of mordor, shadow of war, kingdom hearts 1, kingdom hearts chain of memories, half of kingdom hearts 2, red dead redemption 2, the last of us, god of war, BioShock 1, Dark Souls 1 and 2, Dead space, and I was playing divinity original sin 2 and cod with my gf. I was playing A LOT of games this last year because I had finally got a ps4 after wanting one for so long and all the games were already out. But I really think about my time with these games, and I was just trying to finish them. I wasn't even enjoying them. There was very little fun. 

I know what it's like to play games and not have fun...I mean League of Legends will show you what that is like within the first couple hours of playing even when you're brand new. But I would still play League because I was addicted. With the ps4 games, I found them to be a refreshing break from league and it worked for awhile to keep me away from my pc. I was having fun in the beginning and simply purchasing the game was exciting for me. But that soon died out and I was just playing and playing and raging and raging and avoiding and avoiding...Even just listing those games out reminds me how extensively I was playing. And again it wasn't actually that enjoyable, there was very little fun involved. That is how I know that video games are not my friend, they are not my answer for the question "what do you do for fun?" They are not what I want to do with my time and they are not my end of the day/end of the week activity to relax into for fun. 

Even the Nintendo switch, I had one for a year before returning it (in a previously attempted detox). It was not an issue...for the most part. There was only one game...there only needed to be one game that turned that casual fun into addiction. I think most already know what game I'm talking about: Super Smash Bros. I loved the game growing up, I was always wanting to play with my friends who had the right console and game. It's one of those games that you feel like you've been playing for 4 hours and it's only been 10 minutes so then you end up playing for 4 hours but it goes by in what feels like 10 minutes. Seriously, I have played so much super smash in my life it's genuinely horrifying to think about. I feel like it just illustrates how much time goes into gaming but also how much time there really is available to you. Anyways, other than super smash bros. I would only play the switch like once a week for an hour or so. It was only gripping when smash was being played which generally was only with other people. But it doesn't mean that it was in balance. I would just argue that it was less addicting than the other forms of gaming I was used to. I still feel like I would never be able to have one and still live the life I want to live. 

Which brings me back to the idea of fun. I think for a lot of us, gaming allows us to pursue "fun" way too often for large chunks of time. I think I associate gaming with fun and nothing else is just pure fun in the same way. Most other hobbies only have a piece of what gaming has to offer especially in the beginning. But as you grow in the hobby then it really becomes fun and it checks off more of those boxes that gaming once did (measurable growth, sense of achievement, etc.) Even then, the pursuit of fun needs to be balanced into your life. I feel like people stop truly knowing what they find fun in life and then there's always the excuses that "I don't have enough time...blah blah blah". For most, they do have enough time or they could make time, but for some reason everyone stops seeing life as living fully and more as an extended period of conforming. So fun ends up being just thrown into a compromise like "I like going to bars" or "I find it fun to watch YouTube videos" which is just sad if that is what one turns to for fun in one's life.

For me, this detox has illuminated so much about how I spend my time, how my mind operates, who I am, etc. I feel like it is appropriate that near the end I have really started to ponder what I really want to do with my time. What do I find truly fun? Without gaming, everything else has become so much more enjoyable (that dopamine stranglehold is releasing) and in time I know I will be able to dive head first into new hobbies that have that similar level of fun that gaming once did. I am just very glad that I have had these insights into my mind and if anyone else is feeling similarly just know that there are others who can empathize. To Moving Forward

 

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Day 82

It's always at the beginning or end that time seems to slow down. I feel like when I saw day 4 or day 7, it was like shit I'm not even in the double digits yet. Now, I am nearing the last week and every day feels longer just out of anticipation. Strange to have anticipation for a 90 day detox that truthfully has not been a difficult period of the usual "I really want to just spend all day gaming..." contrasted with the other extreme "I will remove all possible triggers including internet access, and become an ultra-productive hermit..." I have had no relapses and very little temptation to play. I genuinely feel like I turned a corner with this detox. In other attempts, I always felt desperate...that I had to quit rather than wanting to quit. I've talked about this a lot in my journals but it is a key distinction. I feel like it is what made these weeks pass so effortlessly. I wasn't constantly fantasizing about gaming and restricting myself from indulging. I was focused and determined to start a new chapter. But this entire experience only happened after I reached a point of breakage.

That point was when I got my first "real" job after college. I applied to a bunch of random places, doing a bare minimum of research on the companies, and just hoped to get a job to pay the bills. I had a job get back to me instantly and I toiled with it for two weeks before refusing to do the phone interview. It was a shit job where I would be extremely overqualified and just completely there for money and resume experience. No passion, no interest, no challenge involved. I would have gone insane. I tried applying to different places again a few months later and one place got back to me super fast again. I did the phone interview process and an in person interview. Both times I tried to make it clear that I wanted some time to think it over but they called me back saying that they needed an answer by the end of the day. I felt extremely pressured both internally and externally, so I just took the job. I spent 3 days there before I started having what I could only describe as a panic attack. I was on the verge of crying and was having waves of past good-time memories, just thinking "is this what my life is now?" I'm not a crier and I was holding back tears just sitting there waiting for the day to be over before I told the dude I was working with that I wasn't going to continue there, gave him the key, and walked out. I've never experienced anxiety/panic like that before in my life. I have nerves and anxiety all the time but never like that...it's hard to articulate. But even after that experience and feeling like I hit rock bottom I still went to video games. I played for a few weeks after that experience until I hit the real breaking point and decided I was done. 

I've definitely told this story on here before and feel like I'm a bit of a broken record. But I honestly feel like it took such a profoundly negative experience for me to wake up and take command of my life. My family and I have been to many funerals in these last few year and so much has changed, I almost feel like it all caught up to me in those few weeks and I just decided that it was time for me to take charge of what I want in my life. There's a scene in Avatar: The Last Airbender (easily one of my top 3 favorite shows still to this day) where Zuko finds Appa under Lake Laogai before Aang. He wants to steal him but Uncle catches up with him and hits him in the chest (metaphorically) with two questions: "Who are you and what do you want?" It causes Zuko to undergo an internal crisis and he gets sick because he chose to do something so drastically against what he thought his identity was. I feel like those questions hit me hard and have continued to hit me hard during this detox.

How difficult it is to simply just know yourself and know what you want. I feel like I struggle so much with just being myself and doing what I want for my life that I end up compromising with a whimsical attitude and deflecting responsibility for myself onto extraneous circumstances. I know it is mainly due to how I was raised by a tyrant-like father. But that's not how my life is anymore. I know that taking control of my video game addiction was a huge step in the right direction but it is not the root issue. It will give me space to dive deeper towards the roots. Taking responsibility is one of the best lessons I've learned from this detox. 

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Day 88

I'm two days away and this last week has been probably the toughest I've had so far in this entire 90 days. First of all, on the morning of my job interview my gf and I woke up to 3 out of 5 of our fish being dead and the other two being near death. It was like an omen or something for how the day was going to go. She started freaking out and crying and I was just trying to contain my emotions because I couldn't deal with it at the moment, I had to go to my mom's to setup for the video interview. We both were extremely stressed out from the moment the day started...

Then I got to my mom's house and I couldn't relax. It felt like how I used to be before wrestling matches. Nothing stayed in my body, I must have gone to the bathroom like 5 times in the hour and a half period of time before my interview. Once the interview started I felt so out of sync. I felt myself rambling and not really answering the questions but also talking pretty personally about my life which in retrospect makes me cringe. For the few technical questions that they asked, I feel like I completely botched them and showed I was bad at thinking on my feet. To be fair, some of the questions were just so poorly worded/vague that I didn't even really know what the fuck the dude was trying to say. I remember him asking something along the lines of: "what would you do if you had to confirm results before moving onto the next step of a process?" It was worded in a more ambivalent way, and I was just like "can you give an example, I don't really understand?" He gave an example and it still was just not clicking so I tried my best to give an answer I thought would make sense. There were like 3-4 of those types of questions and it just kind of threw me off. 

But anyways, I feel like I did terribly...my phone interview went great but then the video interview was awful. After I got done, I was just irritated and had to immediately pack up and go home to deal with the fish plague. I got back and my gf came back on her lunch break and we had to try and fix the situation. It turned out that the biofilter for the tank was producing acidic compounds and the pH had dropped to 4.4. We didn't even really have a chance to notice the situation because it happened pretty much overnight and the lowest pH our test kit could read is 6. On top of that, we only were using the biofilter because the tank was originally her dad's, who wanted to get rid of it, and he never told us if we would need to worry about any issues with it. So for the rest of the afternoon I was changing all the water in the fish tank and trying to reacclimate the two surviving fish in a bucket to the new water. Only one of them survived that process...

By the end of the night I was so irritable and frustrated and my gf and I were just butting heads. I was so stressed and wanted to just drown everything out with a video game. I ended up reading like 300 pages of my book and just trying to forget the day, especially what I said during the interview. It's been two days and I think the worst part is this waiting period before they get back to me. I would be genuinely surprised if they took me on, because I feel like the interview was just weird and tense. This whole process has caught me off guard because I realized that I actually wanted the job and I'm used to deluding myself with an "I don't care/indifferent" attitude. It sucks because now that some time has passed I feel really humbled. I feel like I have a confidence in myself and what I can do, especially in regards to my major, but this has illuminated how little I really understand. I feel like a noob in a game, the kind that talks big but just gets crushed when put to the test. I feel like I realized how much I let video games interfere with my learning process while I was in college and how even though my GPA was good, I didn't ingrain the information in my head. I memorized for tests, but I didn't learn deeply, at least not much. 

Everybody says to not be so hard on myself, but they don't understand that that is just how I am and it was made worse by how I was raised. I don't like to feel incompetent, it's something that really pains me. I always want to do better and push harder. After this whole process, I have been trying to figure out a way to make some time for studying material for my career. The only good thing that has happened during this time is that I have really narrowed down what field I want to pursue which is actually huge. I know that I want to pursue a PhD and I feel like if I don't get this job I am going to pretty much just find a way to make money and look at places to apply to for next spring. 

For video games, I'm literally days away from being at 90 days but I also have a real craving to buy DOS2 and start playing as soon as the 90 days are over. I don't really want to and I know it would be a terrible choice but at the same time I feel like it would be so nice. I know that I can't and probably won't but the stress really hit me hard and it's tough to just let my days go on by. I miss creating characters, solving puzzles, building a dope team, the role-playing. I miss the customizability and strategy in turn-based games and how you can really make a unique squad. I never finished the story when my gf and I were playing and that always kills me. I think most of all though I miss just being alone at my desk and diving deep into another world for hours. I miss playing deep into the night on a snow day like today. I know it sounds ridiculous because getting lost is actually what made me want to quit gaming but at the same time it's also appealing, especially during periods of high stress. 

I have more books to read and some wooden puzzles which will definitely help occupy my attention and keep me focused on something else. I know if I had some extra money I could definitely buy a few things for hobbies that I want to start back into. That might actually be the worst part of this whole situation...I have no income right now. I can't buy things to help funnel my cravings into new hobbies. I just have to keep waiting. 

Either way, I am almost at 90 days straight of no gaming, I've never had zero relapses in a period of time this long with anything before. It feels good but due to the last week I almost feel like the accomplishment will be overshadowed and I won't really be able to acknowledge it. I guess I shall see how I feel on Saturday. 

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Day 89 

Almost there! After tomorrow, I think I am going to write a summary/reflection of how the 90 days went and where I feel I am at now. I know that I have undergone considerable changes during this period of time but I also recognize that it's only been 3 months not 3 years. I want to try my best to articulate my feelings as they are and to look back on what felt different about my life during the 90 days. It might take me a little bit to write it all and I'll probably do it in Word so I can just attach the file. 

As for today, I feel okay. My drive over to my mom's was terrible, people seem to be even more impatient and rushed when the road conditions are bad. I don't get it...I feel like I want to live in a less populated area than I am in because driving makes me so annoyed. Also, people are less and less aware when they drive and I'm always nervous that something will happen to myself or someone I love because of another person's negligence. The fact that people text and drive makes me want to scream, it's probably the least responsible action you can take and yet it's only getting worse. 

I am still feeling in limbo with the whole job situation after my interview. I really just want that confirmation with the job, even if I don't get it. It would suck but it's better than the uncertainty especially knowing how poorly I felt I did. Either way, I feel like I have a better handle on the process and I know where I want to go with my education/career so even if this particular situation ends up being a failure I will still have grown from it. 

For the rest of the day, I will probably just sit on YouTube for a little while then go sledding with my niece, make dinner, and read before going to bed. I still have to do all of my Christmas shopping and I'm kinda just wanting the holidays to be over. I've never been one for holidays and this year it just seems like it would be nice to not feel obligated to "celebrate" them. It would be nicer to just have a day to chill and relax with close family. 

Also, even though I was craving games this week (and still am to a lesser degree) I don't think I will struggle with the cravings to jump back in. I don't have any money and I'm not nearly as enchanted by the prospects of playing games anymore. My cravings feel much more manageable when I let time pass without acting on them. It's not how it used to be where I would fantasize endlessly about installing a game, getting caffeinated, and just playing all day. That doesn't have the same stranglehold on me as it used it, where one stream of thoughts could hook me back in. The appeal is significantly lessened because other hobbies and activities just seem more enjoyable to me even if it something like reading or even meditation. I miss aspects of gaming (which I discussed yesterday) but again it's not as appealing anymore. I also want to take responsibility for my life and get started in my career rather than push it off. I feel like it's very grounding when you want to move forward with work/career stuff. 

Well, either way I will be making my journal article tomorrow and capping off this 90 day detox with a writing project. After this is done I want to give myself a bit of time and then I would like to make my focus sleeping better and getting up early. I'm not sure if it will be a 90 day thing but that would probably be helpful. 

 

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Day 90

I did it! Woot woot! A 3 month period of time of no video games whatsoever. It really flew by after the first month. I can't believe it's already December 19th, this date felt so far away when I started this detox. I'm inclined to find a way to celebrate but I also feel like the accomplishment is a reward in itself. Today, I'm just going to be hanging out with my gf and family. Probably gonna go sledding with my niece for awhile and then watch a movie before heading home. I'm probably going to read through all of my journal posts a few times and try to start writing out my reflection of this detox...why it worked, what I would change, how to improve and grow from it, etc. Also, I want to try and commit to a new 90 day habit, I like the approach of a 3 month period of time with continuous journaling. I will have to give myself time from this one before starting up that and hopefully I will have a job somewhat soon which will kind of be a new "habit" in itself as well. Aside from that, I will continue to post here as often as I feel but I think I want to focus more on other's journals and commenting on their detoxes. To Moving Forward!

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Day 91

I solved a wooden puzzle, twice, that took me hours to figure out before...in about ten minutes. I am almost certain that gaming was inhibiting my ability to problem solve because I never wanted to take the time to just figure things out. I will be attempting to solve another puzzle that I started probably about a year ago and just never gave myself enough time to solve. It's harder to figure out now because I forget what it's supposed to look like, but I am confident I can do it. 

This type of mentality has stifled me so much with doing things for my education and career that I really get to notice the huge benefits of not gaming. I feel like it will help me with staying away from games when pursuing grad school and/or career changes. 

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Day 94

I'm still working on my 90 day reflection piece which I think I will trim up before I make a new thread somewhere to post it in. I don't know if anyone else has made a thread like this but I feel like it would be a solid idea.

Today, I had a strong urge to play LoL which stemmed from boredom, being stuck in a waiting period, and watching some YouTubers that play LoL. I felt compelled to start it up again, but I feel like I could see that I was just being impatient with my current situation and I quickly talked myself out of it. Even though it could've led to relapse, I'm glad it happened. I feel like I reaffirmed in myself why I started this journey in the first place. I also was able to understand how important setting specific dates for certain goals is. I want to take that approach with some of my other habits and really give them an extra level of dedication to help myself succeed with them. 

My next big 90-day goal is almost certainly going to be working out. Getting back into exercising is something that always seems to come in waves for me, especially right now. I know that this is mostly due to the fact that I go about it alone with no feedback/support systems. I also know that my favorite form of working out is either wrestling/grappling or martial arts followed by competitive sports (I got really into basketball for a few years in college). With COVID, even if I could, I think it would be dumb and selfish of me to practice martial arts right now which is pretty frustrating. But I feel like I don't really want to be working out to utter exhaustion, I just want to work towards a stronger, more flexible body. I want to do calisthenics and yoga. I know that if I could buy a program from calimove that I would be able to be consistent and I would have a level of feedback that would work for me. I simply don't have the money to buy the program and the few other pieces of equipment I would need to do it. 

So my true goal right now is to secure employment within the next month because 1) I have to pay student loans  2) I need to bear my own financial responsibility for once in my life 3) I know what I want do with my career, I just need to do it... and 4) I want to be able to start habits that I can't afford at the moment. 

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Day 99

Christmas and the holidays are over for the year and I'm glad things can at least slightly settle down. I have spent a lot of time around my immediate family but in semi-COVID standards and I kind of just want to take a step back and do my own thing for a bit. I love seeing everybody but it is also really draining for both my gf and myself. We ended up turning the place we were using as a TV room into an art/reading room which is something that makes me feel good. My gf and I have been watching a lot of movies (because we still don't have wifi) and it ends up messing up our sleep and making us have less time to do some of the activities we enjoy. 

We also tend to snack way too much when we watch movies so it ends up messing up our sleep even more, not to mention adding some extra fat around our bellies. I'm not super against watching TV right now at night when we want to chill but mostly we've been doing it every night because we were trying to get comfortable at my grandparent's house which is our current living situation. We were pretty much forced into staying there and it's way too much space with way too much junk that can't be thrown out so it was difficult in the transition there. 

Now, though, we've been there almost 3 months and we both feel like less TV and snacking would be way more helpful for our overall health. I re-opened "The World's Healthiest Foods" which is a book I bought when I originally decided to cut meat out of my diet but I haven't used it much in recent times. It's more of a textbook but even reading a few pages has reinvigorated my drive to live a healthy life and I'm glad my past self bought the book. 

I also got a fitbit for Christmas which is actually really nice even though I have to get used to the feeling of having a watch on a lot. It's light so it isn't terribly noticeable but still can be annoying at times. I just like the tracking features, especially the heartrate tracker, because I want to see how my different activities affect my heartrate and if I can gradually lower it over time.

I haven't meditated in over a week now and I definitely notice the difference in my mood. I'm way more aggravated than usual and I snap a lot for silly reasons. When I don't take time for myself to just be with myself (aka meditate or stretch) I become irritable almost on default. Especially, if I don't eat well, don't sleep well, consume alcohol/caffeine, and neglect exercise. I always end up realizing how important meditation is when I don't do it for a good period of time; and it isn't like a cure-all remedy for my problems. It's more like I just end up making good decisions for myself in a calm collected manner, instead of being disgruntled and stressed making "choices" in a frenzied state of irritation. The change is subtle but powerful and with continuous practice I notice the change becomes a positive feedback loop. I end up doing more and more things to better myself. It's the opposite of the downward spiral experienced when I indulge in gaming. I end up becoming this irritated person but intensified to the point of breaking. I always come back to meditation as my foundation/keystone habit. I better get back on the train again. 

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