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obelix_mtg
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20 hours ago, Fagus said:

Life is basically a rollercoaster for you now. Spikes of pride when you delete your Blizzard Account, admit your addiction or sell your Magic Card collection. But at the same time you feel grief over the loss of these things, that were in some way the most important in your life.

There is nothing to fill the void that gaming left. Your wife isn't any happier and all the things that made life scary are still here. And the possibility of gaming is also still here, lurking in the background.

Maybe you ask yourself if this commitment was a good idea? This forum is quite anonymous. You could just stop writing here and no one could stop you from returning to gaming. If you just hadn't talked to your therapist and wife, you could sneak back to gaming without anyone knowing of your attempt to quit. There is still the option of playing secretly and not tell anyone, like you probably are used to. But that would increase the burden of shame and guilt even further. Shame and guilt which then lead to even more gaming.

That's at least how I felt.

 

The one correction I would make is that my relationship with my wife has indeed improved a lot. She's generally sad and pissed at her professional situation, but instead of all that rage leading to us fighting I feel like we are much closer together since I stopped gaming.

Having said that, you hit the nail in the head with the rollercoaster image: I go from pride to grief and back quite a bit.

I really don't want to go back to playing anymore. To raise the stakes in this journey, I have also committed to writing to my parents to tell them about my addiction as well. I started three days ago, and have written 2 lines, but I have promised myself it will be done by the end of this month, so I really need to push myself this week.

How did you break out of this rollercoaster cycle? Was it a natural thing that just happened over time or did you change something else proactively to get out of it?

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3 hours ago, obelix_mtg said:

I really don't want to go back to playing anymore. To raise the stakes in this journey, I have also committed to writing to my parents to tell them about my addiction as well. I started three days ago, and have written 2 lines, but I have promised myself it will be done by the end of this month, so I really need to push myself this week.

How did you break out of this rollercoaster cycle? Was it a natural thing that just happened over time or did you change something else proactively to get out of it?

It might seem paradox, but the thing is: You want to go back to gaming. What you do not want is “wanting to go back to gaming”. Raising the stakes will not change this, I guess. It will only increase your commitment not to fulfill your desire of gaming. But it will not decrease the desire itself. This way you just raise the tension between your inner desire and your outer commitment. Now you must decide between not gaming (no fun) and not staying true to your commitment (heavy punishment). The only bright spot are the short periods of praise from your wife, your therapist and now your parents. But that is not enough fuel for this journey.

Hence, I follow a quite different approach this time. I know of my desire to play and I dislike having punishment as my only motivation. Therefore, I do not intend to quit gaming. Rather my goal is to be able to spend time with certain games I really like. But not the way I would do it now. Not as a way to escape my scary life, my problems, my pain, my insecurity or my boredom. I want to play completely free from guilt and enjoy every moment of it. To do so, I have set my self a period of about 4 month I will not play. I will also not use any stupid substitute like Youtube or Netflix. Because that is not what I really want.

Maybe in some month, I have no more interest in gaming, or I see that it does not work for me. But that is ok. I will work it out then. But it allows me to use one of my strongest motivations (gaming) to stop me from doing what I do not want to do (unhealthy gaming). In my mind I have a clear distinction between enjoying my favorite games in a healthy manner and killing my life with games I do not even enjoy (good example is your browser game). This gives me an immense motivation to get “clean” again and repels me from garbage gaming at the same time.

The other idea is, not to raise the stakes for relapsing, but lowering the obstacles for overcoming a relapse. After all, it is worse to relapse completely, than to relapse several times but always get back on the right track quickly. Therefore, I do not count my days without gaming, and I intend not to punish myself for relapsing. Because I know that if I do not keep my commitments, the shame and guilt will make me feel so miserable that I will relapse for a prolonged time. Instead, I try to monitor my general progress. Like being able to ride a roller coaster without feeling sick😉

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Thank you, @Fagus, your post was truly insightful. I am definitely struggling with myself, torn between what I consciously want to do and an unconscious impulse for self-destruction.

I not only want to want to quit gaming, I want to enable myself to feel proud and to enjoy my life. Obsessive gaming is rewarding at first, but then it makes me feel shame, anger and disappointment in myself. It's scary to take steps, definitely, but I truly want to become a better version of myself.

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You wrote that you played very competitive, attempting to get to EU rank 1 in Hearthstone. Maybe gaming the way I intend to, is not possible for you, because you would be sucked in again by the competitive element. On the other hand, this competitive attitude could be used to pull you into some activity in the real world.

I like the goal of enabling yourself to feel proud and enjoy your life. Feeling pride in what one does is an important aspect of a fulfilled life. I think I will adopt this goal for my own journey. It is not about forcing things but enabling them to come when they are due.

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/28/2020 at 8:39 PM, Fagus said:

Maybe gaming the way I intend to, is not possible for you, because you would be sucked in again by the competitive element. On the other hand, this competitive attitude could be used to pull you into some activity in the real world.

I like the goal of enabling yourself to feel proud and enjoy your life. Feeling pride in what one does is an important aspect of a fulfilled life. I think I will adopt this goal for my own journey. It is not about forcing things but enabling them to come when they are due.

I was like this. Every time I started playing something, thinking I'll dabble a bit in it casually, I would start tryharding a few days in, obsessively learning about the game, theorycrafting all the time.

2  years ago I decided I'll play a casual game of HOMM3... I learned theoretically "all" there is to learn about heroes of might and magic 3 in a span of the next 3 weeks. I ended up memorizing every unit, spellbook, mana cost, damage and resistances formulas, map layouts, different buildings and randomness behind spawn size, formula for awards, et cetera. I won against hardest AI, played around with various builds, and even started playing casual matches online. Those 3 weeks I even ended up smoking a lot less because I was so preoccupied with the game that I didn't want to pause it for a smoke break.

When I think about it, I notice that I loved to lose myself in a game because the sense of accomplishment and mastery is easily obtained in a relatively short time and indisputable. While, for example, studying in my field (philosophy) requires much more time, and often it is not even clear that you are progressing in any way. But, unlike games, it actually relates to real life and is a worthwhile lifelong goal for me, while games are just a distraction. I am so glad I quit gaming!

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4 hours ago, gargamel said:

[...] it is not even clear that you are progressing in any way

This is the key to lasting change I think. When we can imitate this in the real world, so that we 
really feel the progress that a game is giving us as a feedback, this would be an awesome skill.

This has also something to do with dopamine. Dopamine is released when we feel like we are
heading towards something. 

A sentence that fits this would be "I want to move forward in life / [or that thing]." like a "Just one more quest." When we
can transfer this into the real world this would be a super power 😄 We need to get a sense of "moving forward"
in real life. When we get this down we will gain a lot of willpower because of the dopamine released.

Ales Becker on Youtube is talking a lot about this in his videos about WoW and domamine. 

Let's move forward! 😄 

 

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