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Tbunge

A Journal is probably a good idea

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Hello,

 

I originally found game quitters and bought Cams program at the end of August. It's been a difficult journey, after reflection I've decided that creating a journal is probably a good idea. So far my experience has been a series of ups and downs. While I've managed to significantly reduce my playtime and make a few 4 week stretches without playing, I have not been able to make it the full 90 days without relapsing.

 

To give a short summary of my background I started playing video games at 4 years old on one of those old gateway computers. I think I've been really into video games throughout my whole life. I remember once being told I had to go outside and play at the park, so I took my gameboy to the park and played it there lol. Generally speaking though, while i certainly played as a young kid, I don't remember it ever being really interfering, although I did have a few summer breaks where i played a fair amount more age of empires on the PC than I should have.

If I were the pinpoint the beginning of when gaming became a problem for me it would be in 8th grade. The summer from 7th grade to 8th grade. I had just moved from the country where we had only dial up internet to my grandmothers house in the suburbs where we had DSL. I also discovered my first MMORPG at this time, Runescape ( lol ). Gaming seemed be the natural course of action being in a new area with no friends and now unlimited internet access ( I could only use our crappy dial up aol an hour a day before due to the cost).

I completely immersed myself in this new world quickly getting advancing in level. My favorite activity in this game was CASTLE WARS. I could spend hours there. When they released the ancient magic quest and I became one of the first people to get access to the ice barrage spell oh man, there was some serious DOPAMINE going there, you know despite the fairly dated graphics, it was fun immersive game. Up until this point I had only played single player games, but none of them compared to the thrill of being in an MMORPG, it was so much more real.

Another factor that probably lead to me playing games more was I had a heart condition, wolf parkinson white syndrome, which could caused my heart to enter tachycardia when under stress. This essentially ruled all sports out of me until the age of 17 when I had a surgery curing this. Usually things like real competitive sports that taxed the cardiovascular system were the main culprit. Video games had never given me any issue with this, except.... RUNESCAPE. I remember once being in the wilderness afraid i was going to DIE, you know.. in the game.. and lose all of my gear. The fear of losing my gear and all of my time into getting it was actually enough to trigger a tachycardia episode. Luckily I didn't die, in game or otherwise lol. But it just goes to show how powerful of a reaction games can create in you. I don't think I've ever told anyone or written about that episode before actually.

 

Eventually I did quit Runescape with the help of my mother. She said hey, that game is really old looking you should play this newer game World of Warcraft a co-worker introduced me to. So I did, gee thanks Mom! Way to help!

What followed next was probably the heaviest period of gaming in my life. From my introduction to WoW in vanilla, to my winding down/quitting toward the beginning of the Cataclsym.My playtime in WoW during these years was quite alot. I definitely lost interest in everything else entirely. It was the single thing I cared most about. Summer Vacation were the worst. Summer 2008 was the heaviest all of them. It was literally the only activity I played. I got quite good at this point, achieving the rank of Gladiator in game and making several PvP videos on WCM, however i was playing until way early the morning and waking up at quite unusual times. Definitely not healthy.

 

When I left to University I still played , but alot less. My enthusiasm for the game greatly dropped with the Cataclsym expansion. By the end of my first semester at college, I had quit. Granted, I did have some relapses and tough moments that semester. I remember wandering out into a field near my school and crying because I just wanted to stop and focus on my life now that I was there, and I did! What followed was an amazing four years. I had done it, I had quit.

 

All seemed well until after I graduated.... My first job involved a 3 hour round trip commute to the city and was quite unpleasant. This combined with being in a new area away from the life I had built a college made me vulnerable enough to restart playing wow in Legion. A voice in my head told me to stop, don't do it, but i ignored it, I did it anyway. I played for 2 and a half years almost after this, i thought about quitting sometimes, but not seriously. The first video I saw about gamequitters was in July. I was going to quit then, but an old friend came back to the game and said hey you can't quit right after I just came back! So I stayed, until August. At the end of August I bought cams programming and began the process. September was a rough month, I'd go like a week, then play, the go a week, then play. September 30th 2019, I decided to get really serious and I deleted my Battlenet account , Gladiator mount included and sent into the digital dust. I also transferred ownership of the discord community I had been running for 2 and half years over to someone else, and deleted everything related to wow/gaming. Twitter/Twitch/Discord entirely ect. I did leave my gaming youtube up though, the content i had made was on some other accounts i didnt control anyways so I left that up.

 

This worked for 4 weeks! Then I relapsed hard for 3 days. I bought a new account, the game and also Pre-Bought the shadowlands expansion ( Collectors Edition ), ya really. In game I also bought a few wow tokens and went HARD at getting a character back up to par. I then stopped and went back to an early September cycle of going like a week or two, then playing 2-3 days, then quitting 1-2 weeks.

 

On November 30th, I deleted my SECOND battlenet account after deleting my new characters. And that was actually it for WoW, I haven't played it again since. I have relapsed again, but not to it. The Monday before new years the jiujitsu academy I was training at shut down. I had picked brazilian jiujitsu as one of my replacement hobbies for gaming as it fills alot of the same needs gaming did, almost exactly actually. With the academy shut down I had a chance. With days off I could do the WRONG THING and just game and not worry about training.

 

So I bought Elder Scrolls online and played that one day. I then deleted it saying, this is just another WoW, i really shouldn't do it. The next games I played were FPS in single player mode. Star Wars Battlefront Classic and Star Wars Republic Commando. I've spent about 6 hours on those 2 per steam. The last time I played was yesterday. I did find a new gym to train at saturday and monday so I have kept my alternative activity going. However I am effectively on Day 1. The dopamine loving voice says single player games aren't as bad and are easy to moderate, but I kind of think thats probably not true for me. I mean if something easy to do makes you feel good, why wouldn't you just want to keep doing it? I haven't played tonight. I decided i would come write this all tonight since I wanted to play. I still do, but I only have 2-3 hours left of the night now.

It sucks to feel like this right now, but i think I've made some progress. I've had a few good streaks of not playing, but im back again at day 1. I've had ALOT of Day 1. This process feels harder now for me than in college. i think this journal will help me with visibility and consistently. At minimum it's place to let my thoughts out. Thanks for reading. Excuse any spelling/grammar errors, i was just kind of free flowing without editing.

 

 

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01-09-20 , Day 3:

 

Yesterday 01-08-19 was pretty easy, I took a nap after work then went to the conventional gym after work. I watched videos meditation and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ( BJJ ), then an episode of Star Trek before falling asleep. No too many thoughts.

Today 01-09-19, has felt harder. I went to work and per my schedule go to BJJ on Thursdays. I felt a strong urge to not go and play Star Wars Republic Commando or Battlefront. I thought about the gameplay during the day a few times.

I managed to overcome it. I took a 20 minute nap after eating and went BJJ class. I'm still feeling thoughts upon getting home. Thoughts like I've done everything Im "suppose" to do , I deserve to be able to play. It's already late though and Im on here typing this so I don't think I'll have any issue. I also acted meaner today than I normally am. I feel like my biochemistry gets thrown off after stopping when my brain has readjusted to the neurotransmitters gaming produced. I know I acted a little out of character during my first goes with stopping. My stretch of playing during relapse was from 12-29-19 through 01-06-20, so it's expected i'll have to deal with some difficulty these first few days. Generally longer relapse, the longer the thoughts/craving last, but my overall time has been low over the last few months, so I imagine it should be easier by next week. 

 

Edited by Tbunge

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Hey Tbunge! Congrats on starting your journal! I 100% get what you mean when you say how MMORPGs (specifically Runescape) could set you up with extreme dosages of dopamine. Runescape was one of those games that sucked you in the moment you joined, so I'm glad you escaped it (albeit you swapped it with another MMO haha). It's awesome that you found an alternative to video games with BJJ, and I hope you keep that up! A small known fact, but video game companies hire real psychologists to basically "program" us into continuously playing their games. We can't let them win! I can see you taking control of your life, so stay strong and keep up the journaling! 🙂

 

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01-15:20- played for 4 days. Jan 10, 11, 12, and 14th. I keep hearing a voice telling me I can just play single player games and moderate them. And while SP has kept me from going back to MMOS which are probably the worst. I need to note play ANY games. As long as I play games I will never feel 100% energetic and motivated in my life. My brain will want the easy dopamine path and everything else will feel gray like the below video explains:

 

 

 

I literally hate my life. I feel stuck and I feel like the only way I will be able to gather the energy I need to break through to a better future is to stay away entirely. Single player games may not be as bad a wow but its still insidious and something i have to avoid to be free. 01-15-19 is day 1 again.... =(

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Hey, 

Your diary is literally a spitting image of my diary. I played runescape from 2004 to 2018, had a clan for most of it and transferred my discord of 2.5 years to someone else. Very emotional loss there after so much hard work. Jealousy even. 

You should read my introduction post. You might relate to it. You can find a link to it on the first post of my diary.

I'm at 64 weeks straight without gaming now and my life is so much better. 

Don't get down on yourself. You got this. 

Edited by BooksandTrees

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