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A Single Step

Salvaging What's Left

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Good evening. Like the vast majority of people on this forum, I am addicted to gaming and have been for a very, very long time. However, it wasn't until very recently that I began to understand just how severe my addiction is, and how much it has stunted my life. I used to have big goals and dreams for myself--getting a great job, becoming fabulously wealthy, buying that big home and nice car, marrying that unbelievably awesome woman, traveling the world, making a difference. However, with every year that I piss away gaming, those dreams become fainter and fainter, to the point of basically no return. I'm almost 25 now, and while I'm not quite the 30 year old neckbeard living in his mom's basement, I'm well on my way there. I still spend the vast majority of my time gaming, watching Netflix/Youtube/anime, and lying to my parents about what I'm doing with my time. I do feel guilty almost every day about all the talent and potential that I wasted living my ridiculous lifestyle, and my head is always telling me to wake up, that I'll only live once and that I need to get real right now. But my body won't listen. All it wants to do is stay attached to the excitement, pleasure, and meaning that gaming can bring it without it having to exert any physical or mental effort. And because of that I'm spending day after day, week after week, year after year cooped up in my room wanting to change, but unable to muster the strength and self discipline necessary to do that.

Today I hung out with an old friend from my high school class, someone I would game with frequently back in the days when things were so much easier. It was a hard punch straight to the gut when I realized the guy is living the life I wish I had. He's graduating from medical school this year, helps run a clinic in Nepal, and probably benches triple what I can. He showed me a picture of his girlfriend who he's planning to propose to before the end of the year. She's extremely beautiful. This will be the 24th valentine's day I'm spending alone.

I went home tonight and just got under my covers and cried a lot. Then I got up, searched how to quit gaming, and found myself here. At this point I truly feel that I've fucked up life up beyond repair, but if there's any chance that something can be salvaged then it must start with me getting rid of the disgusting habit that got me here. I hope that it's not too late for me to take this step. I would do anything to have another chance to make something of the one life I've been given.

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Hey!

First thing you you should know is never compare yourself with others. Only compare youself with yourself. Improve day by day be a better version of yourself. I mentioned  before in a comment that  i know someone who entered medical  school at age of 37. You are only 25. I can't type much now because i am a busy now but we let you  know if you are here to become who you want we are all here to support each other 😊

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Hi @A Single Step, welcome!

You have not fucked up your life beyond repair. Hell no. Just like your name states, you are on your first step, and that is fucking awesome!

The only thing that happens when you waste 25 years of your life is that your goals are delayed, and often harder, but not impossible. Think of how an investment grows with compound interest--the most important factor is time. 

Three things that might be helpful after reading your post:

1) Start small. If you're truly feeling like you can't do anything to change, find the smallest "unit" that you can possibly change and try to implement that consistently for a week. For example, if one of your goals was to save a thousand dollars for an emergency fund (not sure where you live, but that amount is likely way too small, just an example), you could cut out one non-essential item (i.e., coffee) from your life. By the end of the week, you could have saved $20. At the end of the year, you would have that thousand dollars. Or if your goal was to get better social skills, a small goal could be to learn how to maintain better eye contact or smile more. Over time, these small habits add up, become something you can be proud of, and will put you in a very good position to start tackling your major goals. 

2) Make it hard for yourself to relapse. If you are completely giving up gaming, uninstall games, delete accounts, block websites, etc. Personally, when I'm in my weakest moments, I find it very hard to stop if nothing physically gives me pause. If I can stop the avalanche of bad habits, even if just for a moment, my success rate is way higher. It creates breathing room for your rational mind to try and jump in during moments of irrationality.

3) Experiment. The best thing you can do is experiment. See what happens if you get more sleep. See what happens if you spend more time outside of your home. See what happens if you tweak your diet. Small things can make a big difference with mentality and keeping catastrophic thoughts at bay, Everyone is different though, so it's really up to you to figure out what changes you need to make in order to not game anymore and achieve your goals. For example, my first two points are recommendations, but you may find that it doesn't help you at all. That's fine, but you don't know until you test it. Make a hypothesis, experiment, examine results, iterate, improve. 

Good luck. You are making a great change and you should feel very proud of yourself!

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Hello @A Single Step, welcome to the forum. I think that @DaBest already said the most important things. Just this little perspective in addition:

Love yourself! And I don't mean in a stupid esoteric way, where you start to say to yourself, how beautiful and grateful you are for all your failures. ^^ Actually, there is a reason, why so many people here get into grooming, diet changes, sports or better sleep: They try to appreciate themselves and are trying to take care of themselves in a good way. Start to take care of yourself like you would take care of your favourite pet. It is crazy to think that we go to the doctor with our pet, we feed it well - only with the best nutritions, we nurture it, we love it. But we refuse to give ourself good food? We don't go to the doctor and are doing bad things to ourselves, sitting in front of a computer screen and not working out? We say to ourselves that we are failures, look in the mirror and hate us? We give us the label of a person, who failed or compare ourselves with other people? Why? Hate the video games, but not yourself.

I tell you something, I know with a hundred percent certainty without even knowing your friend: His life is a mess as well. All our lives are a mess. For some more than others. There has to be a reason, why so many movie stars are severely depressed or even commit suicide. The photos they show you, their profiles on Facebook and Instagram: It is not real. It is want they want you to see. Just because your friend has a beautiful girlfriend doesn't mean that they don't fight, that they will not encounter many points in their relationship, where their relationship will come close to an end. As a matter of fact, the statistical chances of their future marriage to survive are not looking good. So why compare with those people? Like @reza Mrb said: "First thing you should know is never compare yourself with others. Only compare youself with yourself. Improve day by day to be a better version of yourself."

Your goal from now on is not to "not game" anymore, but to explore your new life, to become a new person, to find new hobbies and to love yourself and to take care of yourself. Just like you would take care of someone else, who you love. Emma Watson recently said that she is in a happy relationship with herself. And everybody is so perplex about this statement. Why? Clearly she has understood something that the majority of stupid humany has not understand yet.

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Thanks everyone for the kind and encouraging words. Reading your posts may have made me cry a little more--happy tears this time though.

Day 1 went by in a flash today. I decided to go volunteering today, which is something I've always wanted but could never bring myself to do, and that took up most of the morning and early afternoon. I was utterly worn down after that, so I ended up taking a huge nap in the afternoon, before spending the evening doing some chores around the house. It was all in all one of the better days I've had recently. 

I think I really like the idea of doing one small goal at a time that @DaBest suggested. If I can incorporate one good habit into my life every 1-2 weeks, that'll be like 30-50 good habits I'm picking up a year. Exciting stuff. I think the first habit I'd like to do would just be to get 8 hours of sleep a night. I did some research online today into self improvement, and every single blog lists sleep as the foundation for a successful life. So I think it would be important to nail down a good sleep schedule first.

With that in mind I'm probably off to bed soon. Thank you for reading and hopefully I will see you guys tomorrow.

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Day 2 now and the urges to game are still really, really bad. I ended up volunteering again today, which took up a lot of time--however, because I've spent so much time volunteering this weekend I received a VIP invite for an event on Monday. One of my biggest heroes will be at that event so I'm super excited at the possibility of seeing him there. 

I also got my TB test done to finalize a job offer I received a couple weeks ago, and decided to finally get around to hand washing my car. The thing looked awful and the carwash was a long time coming.

That's all for today I think. See y'all tomorrow.

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Great start @A Single Step, you're looking at all the right things to make small changes to.  And you're amongst fellow addicts here who want to heal 🙂

As somebody who felt very similar to you at 25, I can vouch that wanting to turn things around and not feeling like you've unlocked your potential is very difficult to process emotionally.  As others have said really well, it really is about the little stuff and looking at making improvements to yourself every day.  Other people, even your closest and dearest, will always be moving in their lives, whether forwards or backwards and comparing yourself to them is just one of those things we humans naturally do.  The emotional growth comes from being able to accept that feeling like that isn't right or wrong, it's just a feeling.  In time, we can train ourselves to not let the feelings determine what our behaviours are.

One thing I do want to really emphasis is that you haven't messed up ANYTHING beyond repair, and this process won't be just about salvaging what's left because you've got SO much time left.  When I was 25, I was in an abusive relationship with a fellow gamer and hating life.  I started volunteering, spending more time out of the house and eventually qualified as a Teacher.  The important thing about my point here is that I didn't even make it in that career, it didn't work out for me.  I ended up having to face down a lot of the issues from my past. honestly and without deceit. The challenges involved in that career weren't the ones I wanted in life, but I learnt more about myself from making real, everyday human mistakes than I ever did from achieving level 60...;)

Time is the great healer if you start with forgiveness of yourself.  Focus on one day at a time and let yourself be vulnerable.  We're all here for you whenever you need reassurance.

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@Alexanderle It's dumb really but now that it's time for elections there's a candidate that I've always been really passionate about and I went to go knock on some doors for them. It was scary as hell because I'm not good at talking to people, and at one point yesterday I straight up had a panic attack midway through and almost quit. But I'm glad I pushed through that in the end 🙂

@Talby Thanks for the very kind and wise words. Hopefully in time I'll learn to stop comparing myself to others.

It's Day 3 and I decided not to go to that event. I had a crazy panic attack last night in bed, stressing about how I'm running out of money and need to find a source of reliable income before I become homeless. My bank account finally dipped to just a few thousand dollars last night and the realization of that was so scary. I've been reading reviews from former employees at the job I was offered and it doesn't seem like the hours are consistent enough to where I could sustain myself, so I think I'm going to contact them and back out of there before the situation gets even worse. Thinking about all the possible ways I could make enough to get by drove me crazy, and by the time I finally passed out it was probably around 2 or 3 in the morning. For all those reasons (stress, lack of sleep, etc) I decided to just skip the event and spend the time improving my situation instead. I found a seasonal job at a warehouse paying $16.75 an hour, and it's the graveyard shift so I would be able to do it while finishing up some classes (the idea of such a fast-paced job terrifies me, but it would be more than enough to get by for now). I'm going tomorrow to the site to get my drug and background testing done. I also got myself to get a good bit of studying done for a class today. So all in all pretty productive day I would say, and probably worth the event skip.

Thankfully no gaming urges today. The good part about my body literally entering survival mode is that all unnecessary thoughts were just straight up pushed out of my head today. 

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Good progress made on income, I get being worried about the fast paced environment but I think you'll acclimate fast. I'm kind of in the same boat... I don't make enough to support myself at all but fortunately I'm able to live with my mother for now so I make just enough to pay my bills and have a little bit of fun... especially now that I'm not buying $200 worth of video games / dlc every week.

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Day 4.

I drove 50 miles to the warehouse headquarters today to get my hiring stuff done. It feels weird now that the reality of my new job is starting to set in. I'm probably going to sound elitist af, but I was raised in an upper middle class household, went to a good college and only ever held white collar positions. Now that I'm firmly in the blue collar sector it's a humbling and terrifying feeling. But hey, at least it'll only be a temporary gig until I finish my classes, and start a job that makes a little more of a consistent paycheck.

Other than that today was pretty uneventful. I kind of just surfed the web, spent some time on Reddit, stuff like that. I think I'm going to clean up and head to bed soon, and do a little reading for class tomorrow. I might try some breathing exercises as well; with this whole warehouse job situation and the lack of gaming to cope I'm noticing a definite increase in my anxiety. I hope this is something that's temporary.

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1 hour ago, A Single Step said:

Day 4.

I drove 50 miles to the warehouse headquarters today to get my hiring stuff done. It feels weird now that the reality of my new job is starting to set in. I'm probably going to sound elitist af, but I was raised in an upper middle class household, went to a good college and only ever held white collar positions. Now that I'm firmly in the blue collar sector it's a humbling and terrifying feeling. But hey, at least it'll only be a temporary gig until I finish my classes, and start a job that makes a little more of a consistent paycheck.

Other than that today was pretty uneventful. I kind of just surfed the web, spent some time on Reddit, stuff like that. I think I'm going to clean up and head to bed soon, and do a little reading for class tomorrow. I might try some breathing exercises as well; with this whole warehouse job situation and the lack of gaming to cope I'm noticing a definite increase in my anxiety. I hope this is something that's temporary.

Going well dude, keep moving forward.

I'd say one thing about the anxiety.  It was always there (as it is in all of us), but the addiction was just masking it and keeping it from being able to release.  The hardest part of this is allowing it to be a part of you.  It's your mind trying to protect you, and that's a good thing so try to avoid beating on yourself for it.  I know it might sound counter intuitive but thank your mind for trying to protect you, trying to look after you and keep you safe...but then gently remind it that you are safe, you aren't in immediate danger and that you're not going down that road of self-destruction again.

Hope that helps a little.  All the best mate.

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Day 5 of this journey...

Not much happened today. I went to class, and then went to the grocery store afterwards and meal prepped for this week. I think my goal is to cook once a week on Wednesdays, since my job will be Saturday-Wednesday, thereby making Wednesday essentially my Friday. My menu is looking something like this:

Breakfasts--Oatmeal+Berries, Medium Boiled Eggs, Milk

Lunch--Shredded rotisserie chicken, power greens, a little bit of rice

Dinner--Rice, Rotisserie Chicken, Steamed broccoli/carrots

Snacks--Almonds, Walnuts, Apples, Instant noodles (lmao)

I also bought some coffee pods for the keurig coffee maker I never use. Could be useful later on.

Other than just cooking, didn't do a whole lot today. Spent some time with my friends. One of them is turning 21 this weekend so might do something to celebrate it with him then.

Edit: just wanted to add a picture of my dinner. My culinary skills are nonexistent, but I’m feeling quite happy because it took 2 minutes to make and tastes quite good.

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Edited by A Single Step

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Day 6

I stayed up way too late last night on Reddit, and was pretty tired and cranky today. One of my roommates used one of the coffee pods that I bought without asking meand I got so incredibly angry when I found out. It just ruined my day instantly, which was amazing because it was such a small thing. Probably a lack of sleep or hydration talking.

Also, my background check for the warehouse job passed, and my starting date (March 7th) is finalized! I think what I'm going to do though is try to find another 20-25 hr/week job in the next couple weeks that has more reasonable hours. If I can't find one, the warehouse job will be fine. And if I can, then awesome, I won't have to work in such a fast paced environment while being perpetually sleep deprived.

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Day 7

There wasn't a whole lot that happened today. I did a little bit of studying for my classes. Watched an episode of a TV series with my mom. Can't believe it's been a week already. Time goes by so fast and that's scary.

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