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Th334's Coming Back Home


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Day 0

Hi everyone! I'm super thrilled to be a part of your community. ? As you might know, dealing with addiction is always an isolating and painful experience. ? It's been painful for me every time I relapsed, despite all my blessings and privileges that I'm super grateful for:

  • I live in the beautiful and prosperous country of New Zealand, where I feel like I can belong, my voice is listened to, and life is full of possibility and wonder! ? (I hope this isn't too cheesy, but I really am super grateful to be here. Being born in a troubled country in Eastern Europe and having lived there for 20 years, I feel like I know the difference.)
  • I currently have a simple yet rewarding job, where I get lots of perks like taking a break to learn the language and sing the beautiful songs of New Zealand's native people!
  • I have a wife, a place to live, and two adorable sausage dogs!
  • Most important of all, I think I have found my calling in life, and I'm going back to university next year to pursue it! I will be studying to be a psychotherapist!
  • Which means that I also have a therapist myself! My personal and relationship psychotherapy has already been a deeply enlightening and transformative journey, and I'm so grateful to have access to that!
  • I know how to meditate, I'm passionate about it (when I'm not in a relapse that is), and it has been an extremely valuable tool for me! This is what "coming back home" in the title refers to, this wonderful ability each of us has to be present and at peace with life fully, just the way it is. If only I could access it more readily when I need it the most.
  • I have quit gaming for extended periods before and have witnessed firsthand the freedom and meaning life can have when you're not stuck in painful addictive cycles!

...and despite all these amazing things, here I am telling you that I'm still only a human, and without continued care and vigilance I'm still vulnerable to a painful and isolating relapse to this chronic illness for which there is no permanent cure (only successful mitigation), AKA gaming addiction. ? I tend to forget the "chronic permanent" part from time to time though, and so here I am.

Anyways, sorry if I bored you to death (I always felt like I might benefit from a gratitude practice, and voilà, this was the first thing recommended here!) What I really wanted to say is that now I can add you guys and this Daily Journals forum to the list of things I'm grateful for, and I hope that this support will be just what I need right now to reclaim back my happiness and meaning that has been temporary obscured by my unfortunate illness.

Thank you so much for being here, and I sincerely wish all of us freedom, happiness, meaning, belonging, love, and the knowledge that at our core every one of us is already perfect and has nothing else to prove or gain through any achievements in video games. ?

Edited by Guest
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Day 1

My first successful day of not playing! It was not easy though. After I relapse into gaming and quit, I experience severe restlessness and irritability. At lunchtime today I was literally lying in my wife's lap, hugging myself and almost shivering. I didn't know what to do and nobody could help me. I was quick to blame my wife for how I feel and how she's unable to support me and make me feel better. I knew I needed to get out of the house, but I didn't know where. What we ended up doing was something my wife has been excited to try for a long time now: go to a VR cafe and try playing Beat Saber! I know, I know, it sounds awfully suspicious because it's technically a game, but for me it was just an activity and a way to spend time with my wife. It's something new, and I didn't feel addicted at all, it was just fun. Sadly, none of the games I'm addicted to are even fun for me anymore. ? It was such a relief to get out of the house and do something fun with somebody else, I rarely get such opportunity these days.

I also started reading Respawn, and I wanted to share with you what I wrote as my reasons to play video games. It looks almost identical to the reasons Cam identified in his guide, but I made it feel really personal to me by adding details from my own history and some insights I've had into my addiction. I felt sad writing it. I feel empathetic towards the tragedy of this little boy that I was and still am somewhere inside, who can never feel like he's good enough to be loved and accepted by his family and friends. Here it is.

Why did I play video games?

  • As a temporary escape from self-imposed expectations and pressure to be constantly improving, working, achieving, so that I can meet the unrealistic expectations of greatness my mom has had of me and as a child I have internalised deeply.
  • To feel like I'm good at something, to have mastery of a skill, to feel empowered, to achieve. In real world, I'm too quick to disregard my important achievements, because I always feel like it's not enough. It is a given in my mind that I should be good at anything (this much has always been expected of me), but I need to be not just good, I have to be great. Games give me a controlled and manageable way to excel that I can understand, execute, and see results quickly.
  • To have a sense of purpose. Who am I if I'm not striving to become this fantasy of a great human being? What else do I do with this life and my time? What do I even like and enjoy if I'm not trying to be better than I am? I have no idea. It's scary to even consider giving up this burden of striving, this is the only way I learned I can be loved and accepted. Games simplify life immensely and offer a solution: what I need to do is simply excel at this game, and I know how to do it.
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Day 0 again here ?

I've relapsed again, but caught myself pretty early this time. My wife bought a PS4 to play Beat Saber as an exercise, and this confused the addiction part in my mind and triggered cravings. The plan at the moment is for me to spend some 30 minutes a day with my wife playing Beat Saber, consider it as an exercise instead of a game, not to play it alone, and not even consider any other games on PlayStation. Beat Saber itself has been fine so far in terms of addiction, but the cravings led me to play one of my old games on my laptop today. That I'm trying to stop from happening. I am open to banning myself from Beat Saber as well if I see sings of addiction or if it keeps triggering cravings to play other games.

I want to quit playing video games because:

  • I judge myself harshly for being addicted and wasting my life. I get flooded with anxiety and fear when I stop gaming and look back at my day.
  • Gaming allows me to hide in denial of important tasks I need to do. I didn't complete final assignments for my PGDip because of this and wasted a year of work. Left unchecked, my addiction can do the same thing again.
  • Gaming damages my relationships with others. Being addicted is extremely frustrating, I experience mood swings, and can be very irritable and impatient.
  • Addiction is isolating and makes me shun, avoid, or neglect my family, friends, and pets.
  • I want to fill my needs for purpose and self-respect with something wholesome. Addiction can never truly fill those needs and only prevents me from living a happy, meaningful, and peaceful life.
  • Overcoming my own gaming addiction and helping other to do the same will be a massive accomplishment and something I can be proud of.
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