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talon32

Hello my shadow self. It's okay now.

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When I was little after my parents divorced, I was at a babysitters house, and I didn't eat all my breakfast. I remember it so clearly because it was my first dose of gaming. I wanted to watch the Disney movie Alladin with my older sister, but because I didn't finish my breakfast, I was forced to play a game on the computer. I think that was the start of this butterfly effect. I was around 4 or 5 at the time. But it wasn't until some years after this - now that I'm older - I remember the addiction taking hold. Being young, around 8 at this time, I had no idea the effect it would take on my life. At age 12, I fell in love with Runescape, being able to explore a world and be myself was intoxicating, at that time I spent at least 3 hours a day playing games. A few years later, I was sent to live with my father, who had one rule; "It's my way or the highway", we could do drugs, party and drink and it's fine. When I moved back in with my mom a little while later, we moved to Penticton British Columbia. At this point my life was filled with depression and anxiety from my childhood, from being molested by my friend when I was 8 to being bullied at school my whole life. I know people say they have the best mom, but I truly believe I do, she worked four jobs to put food on the table, and even though she found out about my depression late, she tried to help. I'm 16 at this point, steadily stopped going to school and playing video games 18 hours a day, that was my life for the next four years. My mom got remarried when I was 20 and I was told I had 6 months to find a place to live, as you probably guessed I spent any money I had on pizza/junk food and video games. Eventually I had a place, but lost my job. I lived on a 5 year old bag of bacon bits and a jar of nutella for a month.

When I finally moved, I was living with my sister, and we have never gotten along, so video games became my life again when I wasn't working. I recently lost a job last October because I called in sick at least four times a month, and I'd play games in that time. I'm about to lose my car because I don't have a job that pays enough now, but I do like it. And today was the day that 26 year old me decided to google "why i stopped playing video games". I usually watch videos while in the bathroom, and I have no idea what made me decide to search that, but I believe subconsciously I know if I keep playing games, I'll be dead before I'm 30. I'm trying not to cry writing this, I suppose it's good I'm not writing on paper or it'd get wrecked. But I'll be 30 years old in 3 1/2 years, I've wasted nearly 25 years of my life on games, and what do I have to show for it? Major depression + anxiety and constant suicidal thoughts. But I'm tired of this, I remember having near perfect grades in school before my addiction took off like a hurricane. The school district used me as a baseline to check for genius level intellect in kids my age and older. I had these ideas that one day I'd be able to fly or have x-ray vision - and it's exactly what you think it's for. I loved mountain biking and being outside, the most peaceful moments of my life were going for walks with my mom at night, just looking up at the stars while walking. I wish I could moderate my game usage, but like an alcoholic who can't have another sip again, I may have to say goodbye to games permanently.

I suppose I'm writing this to the boy who found life and people were an impassable mountain to deal with, and hid away in games. But I think I found the spark of creativity and limitless imagination you once had; so I'm going to protect it, nurture it, and watch it grow again. It's okay to feel pain now, you need to deal with 23 years of it in not a lot of time. You need to rely on the people you keep pushing away and the ones who want to help you. You need to make new friends and I genuinely hope this is the place to start. I can't let you decide my future anymore, you need to grow. I will protect everything you once were, kind, creative, energetic, loving, empathetic and more. But being afraid to live is as good as being dead, and being like that for any longer will kill you.

This is my story, the first two paragraphs are for everyone, the last is a message to the me who hid from the world in games, so he doesn't forget why we're doing this and how important it is.

~Alex 

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Your post made me realize a bit about my own addiction. I've played games since I was a kid but I don't think I was really an addict until I moved back into my parents house from Savannah, Georgia, where I was staying with friends. When I lived in Savannah I had tons to do, loads of friends, and a beautiful city to explore. When I moved home I had no friends, no job, nothing. So I stayed inside and gamed all day because I didn't know what else to do.

I think that the desire to moderate gameplay goes away the longer you're "clean". If you're developing new hobbies and friendships through the process, games eventually become something you don't even think about. I'm only at 5 days since my last game but I really haven't even thought about playing a game since last weekend. Normally I'd get home and immediately fire up my computer and plop down for the evening but now I read, play music, and clean up around the house. Weekends are still a huge struggle for me but I know that if I keep this up, it'll get better and better. Quitting is a process, not a one-off thing.

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@ceponatia Thank you for the reply, it means a lot and I appreciate it.

Day 1

Alright, so this officially sucks........... Just gotta let that sink in. So today I got up knowing I can't play any games, and withdrawals and cravings started immediately. So I can say with absolute certainty that I'm addicted and need to be consistent with this journal and the 90 day detox. But what I'm really thinking in my head is "fuck me sideways, this is gonna be a long ass haul". Part of me is determined to do this, and the other is saying "you've been safe in gaming, so don't stop now". I'm writing this now instead of later because I'm really feeling a desire to play even Minecraft or a single player game... But I can't keep ignoring all the negative things it's doing to my life. And I'm seeing changes already; I haven't made a life changing decision for awhile, and today I managed to book my provincial exams to get my license for Life Insurance, Accident and Sickness and Segregated Funds + Annuities. This job is commission based, but I get the opportunity to change peoples lives. I can help them reach financial goals and plan for a comfortable retirement. It's a small step but it's a step in the right direction.

Thinking about it now, I've spent hundreds of hours on a game to get ONE "feelz gud" moment, and my decision today gives me a sense of actual accomplishment. I'm probably going to study my GED book once I'm done writing this, before I cook dinner for my parents. I can't remember when I stopped enjoying it, but I used to love cooking. So hopefully today is the start of me remembering all the things I used to enjoy (so I should probably get a chess board). My mom is being really supportive of this and is trying to find stuff for me to do so I don't play games again for 90 days at the minimum. The weather outside isn't helping and I'll be adding pictures after I post this since they're on my phone.

Thinking about it now, I have to ask myself how much is my time worth to me? Because I'm sure 90% of you feel undervalued at your job; but I came to the realization that it's not true. We undervalue our own time by playing video games in excess, personally I feel my time is worth $40+/hr and not just from work, but in every aspect of my life. I need to treat my time as something special now, where games have no place because they bring no value to my life - they remove it in every way you can think of. But tomorrow I'm expecting to feel a little better, I might even go buy a book that I need to read again, since I have 2 copies of the second book in the series (like wtf?).

P.S: I'm getting body twitches and paranoid from not playing a game... More reinforcement that I need to see this through.

~Alex

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Edited by talon32
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Hey Alex,

Welcome to the forums. I invite you to read my introduction post. It's linked in the first post of my diary if you're interested. I think you might find some similarities here and there which might benefit you. I also invite you to read my post in the celebration part of the forums where I write about being almost 500 days removed from video games.

In there it might help you come up with ways to diagnose some of your habits and also institute some change in your life that you seem to be looking for. You're definitely in the right place. You're going to find so many people here who are similar to you, but also so many people here who are polar opposites of you. It's good to learn from both kinds of people. You might end up finding out your future path while spitballing on here and then talking to others.

Stay strong and if you relapse like we all have, stay on the forums. Don't be ashamed or anything. If you don't relapse, that's excellent. I'm just saying a lot of newer members might relapse and stay away. Right now you're gonna be using a lot of willpower to stay away from games and triggers. Eventually you want to be at the point where it takes no willpower at all because you've systematically removed the necessity to play video games from your life by replacing triggers with other solutions. I discuss this a lot in the celebration forum piece.

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Hey, you really know, how to write. Great stuff. But let me tell you very shortly some things, that I already said several times in this forum to reduce the pressure a bit, which you are creating for yourself. Like @BooksandTrees already said it is ok to relapse. Actually, I encourage you to don't focus too much on your results and numbers, like the amount of days without gaming or streaks. I don't want to say that this is nothing of tremendous worth, but I encourage you to instead focus on the process itself. Like in Germany, we say that the way is the goal. What happens during this journey, matters way more. 10 days without gaming is great, if you relapse on day 11 (only hypothetically), so what? Just start again at day 12. Those streaks are quite amazing and a great measure for success, but they are not, what you should focus on.

30 days of not gaming is a success. 20 or 10, even 2 days of not gaming is a success. Just registering in this forum at starting at day 1 is an unbelievable success. Because every single time, you don't game, it is like looking outside of your comfort zone. You don't need to make a huge jump; just one step after another. Slowly expand your comfort zone to reach your new life.

There is another reason, why the process is so important: You will become a different person during process. Your ultimate goal is not to avoid playing for 90 days, but to become a "non gamer". The 90 day detox is just a tool to measure your success on the way and to have something for yourself to encourage your even more that you are not a gamer anymore. Instead, you can now focus on what you actually want to become. How do you wan't your life to look in a year? What excites you? What gives you a good feeling? And like b+t said, removing triggers and replacing them is a good idea. Just don't become like a sugar addict, who now on a daily basis will tell himself ("I shall not eat sugar, I shall not eat sugar...). That is unlikely to work.

Take care man. We can't wait to read your story!

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Your posts hit me in a weird way. That feeling of crippling depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts... yeah man, been there done that. I feel for you. 

I won't lie to you, if you do it right and you do keep away from the games, this year will feel like absolute hell. If it doesn't feel like that, you're probably doing it wrong and trying to escape in some way.

My best advice to you is to focus on the things that make you feel the worst and attack them. I feel like that only thing that has helped me through all of this is focusing on the pain and scary things in my life and starting to overcome them. I lose sight of this sometimes, but when I actually do follow through, I feel like the best I have in years. 

Anxiety is your radar, and video games are the radar jammer. 

Good luck. We are all rooting for you!

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I really appreciate everyone's comments, and it's really helped put some things into perspective for me.

Day 2

So yeah, day 2.... I played a game, but oddly it didn't feel like a compulsion and it didn't make me feel good. I felt nothing, and I think that's the problem. I'm beginning to see the real reasons I crave video games. It's been my crutch for years, because rather than dealing with my feelings I bottled them up and hid in games. I'm happy I played a game today, or I wouldn't have learnt probably the most important thing about this whole ordeal. Instead of being something to enjoy, it became my crutch, my painkiller and my anesthesia. So I have a new goal today, and once this is all over, I'll try games again. I also discovered something about the games that I crave, and I never noticed it before.

I don't starve for games like The Witcher 3, TES: Skyrim, or anything like that. I crave a game like Runescape, Eve, FFXIV. That moment you reach a goal and your friends all yell their congratulations, is my drug and my crutch. How did I discover this? I talked to my mom, told her I wanted to try playing minecraft to see how I felt. So I did, by myself, and when I reached a goal there was no one there to say congratulations, no feeling of accomplishment. What does this mean for me? I believe I've tied my own self worth to what other people say and think about me, and that thought makes me sick. I think if I was younger I wouldn't be discovering these things so fast, but it also means I've lived my entire life more concerned with what others tell me than what I believe myself. I find the fact I require another person to applaud my accomplishments, instead of being proud of myself to be the worst kind of self betrayal. And I can't live with that anymore.

What does this mean for my future? Well, this time away from playing games will give me some perspective. I'm going to start taking up hobbies I used to enjoy, so I'm going to start writing, biking, hiking, etc again. Slowly starting to convince myself that I can be whoever I set out to be and that I don't need to coast through this process. I want to feel every day of this process, attacking the feelings that will make me fall. I want to live a life I'm proud of, not base it on what others think of what I've done. I believe this is going to be the best and worst 90 days of my life, and that's okay. Because I want to see the person who comes out on the other side of it.

~Alex

P.S - Anxiety is the Radar and video games are the Radar Jammer - That's a nice way of looking at it, because I see now that it's all too true in my case.

Edited by talon32
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Day 3

Smaller post today, but I finished my provincial exams for Life Insurance licensing! Once I get my marks back and I pass, I can start helping people save money for things they want to do. It's definitely a good feeling getting stuff done that means something rather than playing a game. Made a mad scientist dip for pepperoni from Mayo, little mustard (seed kind), some sesame oil and a little honey. Wasn't too bad actually 😄

Anyhow, it's getting easier to ignore games, probably because I played them on obligation for so long too. So here's to seeing what the rest of the week holds.

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so far i know , we the members of game quitters have almost the same story : 1. start dealing with problems  2. we chose to escape the reality 3. we dragged into gaming 4.gaming becomes addiction 5. we lose a huge amount of our lives 6. we decide to quite and start a new life

i am 21 years old and my life is pretty much like a sine chart . i experienced good times and bad times , i too had suicidal thoughts  , i hated all my family at some point , i lost love of my life , i lost valuable years of my life while all of my friends are at university but i am at home doing nothing.  we have a proverb in Farsi/persian that says : if you stop and avoid harm from anywhere ,  that is your benefit. i lost those years but thank god i am at the right path , not at the perfect shape in life schedule but i am fixing it step by step.

the thing i wish i knew when i started to try quitting video games ( a few month ago) is that i needed a goal or goals at first , you should ask yourself why do i want to quit? and when you find the answer you start to plan for it and take action. and also you need to improve your mind to deal with problems at your way. i guarantee if you have even a 1 goal in your life and improve yourself mentally you will achieve whatever you want , only these two !   

 

i hope this helps! good luck

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Hi Alex,

I read you introduction and it’s very similar to my story. I am 25 now and felt like my years have been wasted in games. I now realise gaming is a coping mechanism for all my social stresses, financial stresses and life stresses in general. Stresses and gaming put me in the pit of moderate depression and anxiety, which I don’t wish to stay in for any longer. 

Recently I come to know someone who started his life again in his 40s. He was thin and pale, miserable and all and got divorced in his 40s. He had enough with a miserable life . After divorce he went to university again, later started his business. Now he is in his 70s and ran a couple of marathons. Strong, healthy and rich. I hope his story reminds us that it’s not too late to start the sh*t all over again.

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