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Stopped playing WoW - addicted to other Media/Dopamin though


Kim
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Hello to the Community. 

I just quite playing WoW. I was never a full neckbeard WoW Addict or anything, just a normal dude who likes fantasy games after work from time to time. I actually played quite casually when it comes to time. But I still have so many urges to lock in to see whats up or use the WoW App Companion or sneak in another Mythic run. Also noticed that I spent quite some time browsing Guides or Forums on top of the Gaming itself. I developed cognitive dissonanz in that I think WoW is a 'losers game' and i really don't like the stereotypes associated with the game, while still not changing my behaviour. 

So i deinstalled, which was hard because I have 2 friends from my hometown and we tend to play in a group together from time to time and it is a great experience to reconnect with these friends, which is now lost for now. Could not bring myself to delete my account of all the time/money/memories invested into different Blizzard Games and Characters. Always have the feeling that moderation is possible, than i fall back into it after 6 months. Wanna be better this time. 

My problem and the cause of writing: I tend to replace Wow with the next best thing. It does not even have to be games. Can be youtube videos, internet articles, more harmless non multiplayer games on a console or anything else to keep the Dopamine Flowing and my brain constantly distracted. My problem is not Games it self but constant distraction through all kinds of Media. I have trouble sitting still for a minute. New hobbies are daunting because they don't give dopamine (in the beginning) and I have trouble getting into Flow. 

Does anyone have some help for that? It is tough to compete with that constant flow of dopamine. 

Thank you for your time. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

You've done really well in understanding yourself. Most of my struggle was the same issue - I could stop gaming very easily, but then I would just pick up a different dopamine pipe. I had to sit down with all my dopamine sources and carefully categorize them - 'never use', '3 hours on Saturday', '1 hour a day but only after work', etc.

But how do you get to the state of mind to actually implement something like that? For me, it was falling back in love with books. Reading starts out really low-dopamine, but it forces you to use your imagination and eventually it feels incredibly good. So now I read a lot and use the other dopamine pipes very little, and reading feels healthy enough that I'm happy with that.

Hopefully that gives you some ideas. And, welcome!

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Thanks for the reply! Yeah I used to read a lot of non fictional books, but now it is hard to start because of the non-reward. I will try to categorize my dopamine activities as well and give them a limit. Sticking to the limit is another thing though..!

 

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Definitely another thing 🙂 But having your goal-limits in mind might help you reduce, as long as you don't beat yourself up about missing them.

The main thing is that your willpower is destroyed by heavy dopamine use. So, realistically, you only have enough willpower now to make a very small reduction in your dopamine use. But that's fine, because you will then have a little more willpower, which you can apply to using dopamine a little less... and so on. It's gradual but it works.

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  • 1 month later...
 What I learned so far after finishing my 90 day detox:
 
+No more cravings for games
+Much less moodiness and anger out of nowhere
+More introspection and learning about myself and my goals/dreams
 
But there is also a shadow side which makes me quite unhappy, because I guess I hoped, quitting games will solve all my problems.
 
- I am not productive at all. Youtube/Reddit and other now run the show more than before. Procrastination has actually gone up
- I still can't sit still and focus on my goals My need for stimulus is so strong, I just replaced gaming with other entertainment.
- "Lost" some friends that only connected through gaming
 
This is revealing stuff and it hurts, but I guess better late than never. I am pretty sure I don't have ADHD, judging by test results, I am just very very undisciplined and my goals are vague and I have not much self compassion if any. I tried a dopamine detox but after 3 days I could not take it anymore.
I am currently looking at ways too clarify my goals and get more structure into my life but my impulse control... is not there. Anyone having experienced the same?
 
TL:DR: Quitting games have me positive effects but it did not solve my core problem, not even close.
Edited by Kim
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If you only focused on the symptoms (gaming) without dealing with why you want to game all the time, then naturally you are going to be inclined to replace the space with another activity of similar nature. This is why Cam talks a lot about avoiding mindlessly scrolling etc.

 

Use the 90 days to focus on why you feel like you need to game/procrastinate. Are you avoiding something? Are you escaping from something? Even if you are on the other side of the detox, I still recommend doing it. The cravings for me never went away and I thought I was "broken". I found when I cut gaming out I still was not productive, so I thought well stuff it, if I am not going to be productive either way then I will not be productive while having fun.

 

But it required a mindset shift. Every time I was getting cravings (or still get cravings), I sit with my emotions and reflect on why I am feeling like that. The majority of the time for me it comes down to two things - 1) I am feeling overwhelmed with life so want to escape from it all, or 2) I feel like I am not achieving enough in life so wanted some instant gratification/achievements. By knowing what the underlying causes were and dealing with those, rather than the symptoms (gaming), I felt my life really took off on another level. Now when I feel overwhelmed I sit down with my to do list and try to break everything down into the smallest possible task to make myself feel like I am making progress. When I feel like I am not achieving enough, I reflect on the good things that I am proud of in the last few weeks/months. The cravings disappear quickly.

 

Quitting games is not the end of personal development, it is the beginning! In 5 years time, you will not recognise yourself if you stay on this path!

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7 hours ago, Kim said:
TL:DR: Quitting games have me positive effects but it did not solve my core problem, not even close.

What's up @Kim! Glad you finished the 90-day detox—I'm on Day 3. lmao!

I agree with @giblets, quitting games is just the beginning.

Think of it like WoW. Being able to complete 90-day detox is just, we can say, a trial account. Now you have to purchase the game and start leveling to 120. Equivalently, that "leveling" is actually the time to slowly work towards your goal/s. Who knows what you'll be doing after you reach 120, i.e., after reaching your goals. 😂

Good luck Sir Kim!

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11 hours ago, giblets said:

1) I am feeling overwhelmed with life so want to escape from it all, or 2) I feel like I am not achieving enough in life so wanted some instant gratification/achievements. By knowing what the underlying causes were and dealing with those, rather than the symptoms (gaming), I felt my life really took off on another level. Now when I feel overwhelmed I sit down with my to do list and try to break everything down into the smallest possible task to make myself feel like I am making progress. When I feel like I am not achieving enough, I reflect on the good things that I am proud of in the last few weeks/months.

In can relate for the escape part. I have huge fear of failure (starting something new where I am not good at) that is why I have a hard time starting new things I am not yet good at. I feel judged from the get go. 

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That's another trait we gamers can pick up; perfectionism! It's all those hours spent min/maxing, especially from WoW where you are judged from the get go if you're not min/maxed. It's almost like peer pressure or socially acceptable; you're not allowed in certain groups if you're not perfect or you are judged as being "carried".

I've done a lot of therapy on this subject, and you need to get rid of the "should' mentality. I should be better, I should be perfect, I should not fail. All this thinking does is put extra pressure on yourself, which makes artificial stress, and you feel overwhelmed and want to give up or reach for an escape. Rather, acknowledge where you are. You have given up games, you have started something new and productive, you have made progress in it.

There was a great quote I saw on these forums many years ago that still resonates with me when I have those should moments - "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

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Yeah I am definitly one of thous "should" people. I am currently working out what I really really want in life for myself, not be external demand and than I just cut out everything that does not fulfil that narrative. 

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