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My pledge to cut off gaming and overbrowsing the internet


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Hello forum goers! My name is Taylor and I am 23 years old. I have been a long time gamer/consumer of internet/tv etc. I never totally hit rock bottom but I have had a slow winding spiral downwards since being out of high school relating mostly to gaming/watching tv netflix etc. After grade 12 I did not get a job like most people and I just played 2 months straight of games before starting university for Biology. Before that summer I definately had played more games than I should have often and had a few all-nighters but it was never every day like the summer. My 1st semester was decent, I was not used to studying super hard all the time and so I did only decent, and I still played some video games. After that semester I quit all games and pledged to do my upmost best at school and crush it but continued to use netflix as my break from studying. Once a week or two on the weekend I would watch movies until like 2am but then the rest of the time I worked extremely hard at school. My grades turned A+s and I had a 95% average. I became a machine that breathed studying and crushing tests. I never slept better or longer hours in my life. I have been introverted and gave myself the excuse to avoid all social outings to study and I also pretty much stopped exercising.  My life's purpose was to perform well at school to have the best chance of an amazing career I told myself. The summer semester I didn't do school and I got a job at a grocery store as a cashier and found it very boring. I often played games late and came to work haggard and tired. But the next year of school I was super motivated and wanted to have awesome career related jobs and so strived to not have to go back to generic work. I did amazing in all my courses again and got a really cool park ambassador job at a National park. I loved that and was working on being more social. Then I got a heart infection and developed really awful health anxiety. I was convinced I was going to die or that my chest pain (anxiety) was some horrible thing that the doctors missed when really I was released from the hospital with only needing medications and the doctors saying the heart issues should never come back. Go and live your life normally. I still wanted to do well at school and somehow still got A+s, As and A-s while binging 40+ hours of netflix every week and gaming up to 6am sometimes, getting 3 hours of sleep and going to a class before coming home to game again. Then i would sleep for maybe 4 hours before my parents came home from work, do a tiny amount of studying or homework and repeat. I was sleeping 6 hours a night on a good day, 3 on a bad and getting some naps to get some ZZZs back. It was awful. After my 3rd year of school I was too anxious about my health to get a job away from home at first but when none were really around I got a summer camp job in another town. My anxiety had gotten a lot better and I stopped thinking I would never live long. At first I did all kinds of activities outside but eventually I got lonely and bored and started playing clash of clans again every day. A new habit formed and when I returned for my 4th year I had given up on amazing grades and my passions. Well  Ithink I was burnt out too from stufying as hard and tried to focus on more social things but idn't limit my gaming much at all. I still did decent but I largely didn't do many social things. I started getting suicidal thoughts and was getting depressed (I've likely had depression symptoms on and off since the health problems) because I felt I would never make good friends or many friends. I had developed anxiety about making new friends. I thought no one would like me if they truly knew me because I was so lame and I was not confident either. I ended up getting my dream job after my 4th year and got to do scuba diving research on coral reef fish in FLorida Keys. It was amazing but they also worked us 10 hours a day or more for 6 days a week, and once for 14 days straight. So that got to me and I started watching netflix to unwind and I became tired for work and not that it hurt my performance much (maybe a bit irritable at times) it really started hurting my outlook and enjoyment (overwork likely contributed too). Anyway still good experience. This last year I had school but still have not made any new close friends but tried to keep up with old ones. Had a co op job in another town with just me in the position. It was really lonely and I got depressed and had a lot more suicidal thoughts but never serious enough to ever want to or make a plan. I started counselling and have been doing it online every week since January. It is helping a lot with the depression and he is helping me stay accountable and feel better. I was starting to do a lot more activities and have a better outlook but then coronavirus hit and I went back to binging games/media since then. I started an online university course and am hoping that with the accountability with my counsellor and this site I will be able to kick games down to just social activities with my brother out of town or family. Most of my games etc are always by myself, that is where most of the problem lies. Also now I am so used to the dopamine hits I get bored easily and am constantly tired so I will improve my outlook and find better hobbies as I quit too. And hopefully make friends easier or be in a better position to do that once coronavirus is over. Since high school I never tried to get a girlfriend as I had zero confidence and felt like they wouldn't like me anyway. But now I don't think like that and am trying to get to a place of confidence and lead an interesting life with passion where I will attract someone down the road organically. And even though I am part of a minority group and feel disconnected from most people I won't let that stop me either. There's plenty of compatible people out there.

I did not expect to write such a wall of text but clearly it has been weighing on me. Some things I have realized is that when your mind is addicted it will rationalize any reason to continue to play. I somehow spent 1000$ on Clash Royale loot chests over only 2 weeks which is crazy for me to think about now that i deleted the game and purged my account forever. With everything going on I lately I think I just threw myself at the game and felt amazing whenver i leveled up etc and could do better in the game. I would get so mad when losing and would justify blowing a bunch of money to level up my guys and then i would go battle etc until i hit a trophy ceiling and needed more upgrades etc. I was too impatient to play the game over the years like other people. Normally I played lots but never justified spending any money. And my mind rationalizing staying up late every night now even if not gaming like reading still until like 2am. HAve any of you found a good routine to quit evening play? Or quitting while still allowing social play? I find after I play a social game in the evening sometimes I will game another 4 hours after a session. So I think if I was to play with friends or family, early evening should be the latest I play. I used to be so committed to quit but I guess I am so used to having games etc and tv around that I don't necessarily want to quit totally still. I know this is different than most people on here that want to quit full turkey. I think my addicted brain is telling me to keep the social games because it knows I will still have access to them and likely abuse them and relapse. THoughts?

Edited by GonnaQuitThisTime
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Welcome to the forum man 🙂

Staying up late might be a sort of defense mechanism against anxiety. I suggest you make it a priority to have a healthy sleeping routine. People need a lot more sleep than they often give themselves, and lack of sleep by itself can lead to development of various psychological and physical problems. People in our age bracket NEED around 8 hours of sleep everyday.

I seriously advise against social play. That's the way that I slowly started to game again after staying away from it for 3 years. Alcoholic shouldn't drink even at a weeding of his son, and a gambler shouldn't play dices even for fun. 

Go full cold turkey! (Offtopic - I quit smoking a year or so ago cold turkey while my brother remained a 'social smoker', smoking when going clubbing and such. In this year he had like 5 semi-relapses and was beggining to smoke every day again and had to start from zero to fight his cravings, while I slowly but surely started to forget how does it even feel when you smoke. His situation is unstable and he will likely start smoking again fulltime in the next couple of years)

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Hey Gargamel! Thanks for the reply 😀 Yes that is a hazard that I am aware of, although I often rationalize that I’ll sleep in and the sleep will be almost as good as just going to bed early. They never are and sometimes I literally have no excuse and just am too addicted to stop even if I have work or things in early the next day. So that is a habit I’m working on-getting to bed earlier and earlier. I have found that I feel my best when I sleep really well and feel my worst when I don’t and different life circumstances can slide that scale but sleep plays a huge role. 
 

That’s awesome that you quit smoking! Too bad for your brother but your example exemplifies how the rationalization of a small social amount could lead to problems. I often go into denial about it. Almost always my gaming is still problematic even when I say I’ll just play socially because it doesn’t seem as bad to play outside of socially as well and I start thinking about the games again, how I could improve, what went wrong, how it will be more fun when I am better and winning more etc. I have a really hard time doing things in moderation. Thanks for reminding me I need to get in high gear to stop missing out on life and putting my best effort to reclaiming the interesting things in life that don’t come easy. So I’m gonna try to quit cold turkey and try for 30 days (since that seems more manageable and hopefully once I see that I can do it I’ll go to 90 etc etc! That will be the longest I’ve gone without games for a couple years, hopefully I can enjoy the challenge and overcome the cravings (like “watch with interest“ or something). Looking forward to the feelings of success that I’ll have if I make it

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I had the same problems with sleeping, obsessive thinking about gaming and rationalizations in highschool, before I quit gaming for the first time (check out my introduction if you like). Your thought pattern is still heavily influenced by your addiction. Your addiction has a voice because you have made your personality in the time you where completely ok with playing as much as you wanted so you are used to rationalizations and naturally do them. Don't hate yourself for it, but you shouldn't listen to them. 

I have a little sister, muuch younger than me and I've observed here recently trying to rationalize why she doesn't want to take the trash I ordered her to trow out. She said the dumbest excuses ever even tho she is quite rational and intelligent. Her brain couldn't just admit to itself - "I am lazy, I don't want to do anything boring, I also don't want to listen to my brother", it went straight into unconscious rationalization. The same thing happens to you when you go into denial about gaming.

I wish you best of luck in your 30 days quitting! And I hope you make it 60 more at the end of it! Maybe start writing a journal here to improve your chances of staying away from gaming. This community will remind you what you are losing when you game.

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