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NEW VIDEO: I Replaced Gaming With Real Life (Nicco Transformation)

Ari's Recovery Journey


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Been having genuine cravings lately. Catching myself very frequently daydreaming about how I'd build a new island in animal crossing, houses I would build in the Sims, flips I would finish in house flipper... Etc.

It is a good thing that the games I crave are creativity based and not just completely pointless grind types (which I have played my fair share of... Fantasy Life is a good example... Not craving that one in particular even tho it was one of my favorite games.)

I'm not sure what's wrong. I have been doing all the activities I wanted to replace gaming with, and frequently. I've been doing a daily gratitude list exchange. I don't watch gaming streams or anything. I'm around my wife when she games sometimes but she doesn't play any of the games I'm craving.

Not gaming has given me so much, I don't understand why I'm having these cravings.

Maybe it's the changing of the seasons. I associate summer with detoxes, winter with going back to gaming.

We still own the consoles, we haven't sold them yet. I can't sell them on my own I need my wife's help. I'm afraid of repeating what happened last time I sold them... Going out and buying more when I inevitably went back to gaming.

Maybe I miss the sense of control? It would be nice to have a "house" of my own to actually decorate as I want and keep minimal and tidy. Our real house is so ugly and I've done about as much as I can on my own and with our very limited funds to make it better. Things are so much better than they used to be... but the reality is that I live in someone else's house that's got a ton of problems with someone else's crap and there's not much I can do about that. And I'm blessed to live here. We live in an extremely safe, beautiful neighborhood. We have a roof over our head at all, most people in our financial situation aren't that lucky. I hate how much I worry about the stupid things like aesthetics when I am objectively so lucky to be in the situation I am in. 

But I don't think that's 100% of the issues. I have no idea how to deal with any of this other than grit my teeth and sit on my hands.

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I think this is just how my brain works. I always think I'm missing "just this one thing I'm not allowed to have" because??? Humans are weird. I can't find the words to articulate my thoughts on this but basically... I think it's just monkey brain.

To combat my craving, for today's Inktober prompt (Jeltober list, today is "twins") I'm drawing an isometric room. I'm designing a bedroom for some theoretical twin teenage girls.

I have always wanted to draw these kinds of things but always convinced myself it was beyond my skill level. That's not entirely true actually, when I was much younger I drew things like this and didn't stress so much about the results because it was only for me!

I had started out the month sharing my Inktober on my blog daily, but then I realized it was causing me so much stress it was damaging my mental health. It didn't help that I was looking at other people's blogs, their numbers, and comparing myself to them. It felt too much like Instagram, which I have left permanently. WordPress was supposed to be different, but with the way the reader in the app works... I can easily find other wp blogs and get upset that 30 people interact with their post and nobody interacted with mine. I need to only use WordPress from my computer.

Since I stopped sharing my art daily and decided I would just make one big post in early November and just feature my favorites... I have had so much less pressure to get it perfect every time. I'm truly drawing just for myself now and it feels amazing. I really need to focus on working in obscurity and make peace with the fact that I may always be obscure.

This drawing is doing exactly what I had hoped: I get to create this story in my head about the room and it's inhabitants, I get to be a control freak and nitpick all the little details, I get to envision a beautiful, functional, tidy space. And I get to make the kind of art I've wanted to for so long, a kind of art I really enjoy looking at, I get to make art that makes me happy.

So yeah TLDR instead of using video games to escape into a world where I can be an interior designer, I am drawing instead. Which is closer to being a real interior designer anyway!

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11 hours ago, GrainSiloEnthusiast said:

Since I stopped sharing my art daily and decided I would just make one big post in early November and just feature my favorites... I have had so much less pressure to get it perfect every time. I'm truly drawing just for myself now and it feels amazing. I really need to focus on working in obscurity and make peace with the fact that I may always be obscure.

Yeah, I find that hobbies are the easiest to do when there are no expectations from the outside. Yes, you can get money/recognition if you publish your art, but it's on you whether you will actually share it with others or not. I haven't published my money blog articles either and that's fine.

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Yeah! Most of the time my audience has no idea what I'm working on until I'm done with it. If I post a work in progress collage, It's with the final product. This has been what works best for me, I can keep the bad stuff to myself (for the most part, because sometimes I specifically want to write about "bad art" and why it's good to make it) and only publish the works I'm the most proud of.

The main thing I publish my work for is so that other people can enjoy it... I make free coloring pages and I put those out into the world because I want them to be used. I don't profit from them financially in any way. I enjoy free things myself so I make free things to give back to the world.

I think other people will enjoy my blog posts more if I am enjoying making them myself. I think how I feel comes out in my writing and post quality. I think one longer summarizing post is easier to digest for the reader anyway, and that's how I usually write about these bigger projects. Inktober doesn't have to be any different and I'm glad I'm now realizing that.

Edited by GrainSiloEnthusiast
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Here is the inked (but so far yet to be colored) illustration of the twin's bedroom! This is my first isometric room drawing in over 10 years!!

Sure I could have built something like this in the Sims, but I actually had far more control over this, which is great! No mods or CC required 😉

I am working on re-inking it digitally as well because it looks super clean that way. I want to color it digitally too, before coloring the original because I'm scared of ruining it!

PXL_20221014_173419091~3-01.jpeg

Edited by GrainSiloEnthusiast
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We're trying to save money to visit extended family in Texas, because our daughter's aunts and uncles and grandma on other mom's side have only met her through video call. Luckily they all live relatively close together down there.

This gives us a really good reason to sell the consoles. I would absolutely rather go on that trip than game. Traveling is one of my top priorities in life, and considering how poor I am it's not something I get to do often! Just selling the consoles alone should buy us at least one of our plane tickets. Luckily our daughter flies free since she is still so little.

We already know we can stay with her grandma, we just need the airfare and to know if grandpa can watch our cats while we're gone. This will probably work best if we wait until after he finally retires in December. Otherwise it's the "cat hotel" which is $60 a night per cat. We have 3 but one is currently dying, so we definitely need to wait until she passes. We want to be there for her when she leaves us.

Funny how these things end up so interconnected. This plan really reminded me of my priorities.

 

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I have already set up boundaries for my gaming in case of a relapse. Damage control. I was moderating before I did this detox so I know I can do it.

1) Only while daughter is at school or under someone else's care, 2) Only games that let me be creative, 3) Still no consuming gaming content on YouTube etc, 4) Must continue to make time for other hobbies/interests, 5) chores must still get done.

This way even if I relapse I don't have to completely fuck up my life.

But with all that being said, I don't want to relapse. My intention is to get through an entire year without gaming and then I will reevaluate my goals at that time. 1 year would end on June 1st 2023.

Edited by GrainSiloEnthusiast
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  • 3 weeks later...

I ended my Art Supply No Buy early. I still got through most of the year and it taught me a lot, so I'm proud of that. But I found that allowing myself to buy art supplies again (and not nilly willy, I make intentional purchases now unlike before) has really helped get rid of my gaming cravings.

All I want to do is arts and crafts!

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Oh, something I've been meaning to share but keep forgetting to do so:

I actually completed all 31 days of Inktober this year, which marks my first time ever. I used the JelArts' alternative prompt list, Jeltober, because the prompts just spoke to me more.

Here is a link to my art blog post about it, which includes pictures of my 5 favorite illustrations from the challenge, as well as a Google Drive link to see the rest if you're curious.

I absolutely could not have done this if I were still gaming. It was already extremely difficult to complete given all my other responsibilities, I know there's absolutely no way I would have been able to fit both gaming and such a time consuming art challenge. Knowing my tendency to take the path of least resistance, I would have quit within the first week and then filled all that other free time I carved out for Inktober with gaming.

It is so, so, so incredibly worth it to trade your gaming time for passion project time!!! Go learn that skill you always find yourself lamenting not having, you will not regret it!!!

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  • 1 month later...

Hey everybody, sorry it's been so long. Back with an awesome update!

6 months free of gaming since the 1st, and we finally sold the Switch and all it's games and accessories today. Went to a girl around our age (twenties) who I think will really enjoy it (hopefully responsibly!)

Got a nice chunk of cash for it, which we might be using to buy an e-reader! My partner and I both have been reading a lot lately, it'd be a good investment.

I had previously actually sold the Switch to my partner (we don't share finances and probably never will, this works for us) so all the money was hers. She still gave me $20 cause I did all the footwork of selling it 🙂

We still have two 3ds's though. Since they're hacked we can't take them to the game shop or pawn shop. So we'd have to do another round of Craigslist. It's a bit stressful for us to do because we both have social anxiety, so we're not going to rush that.

I actually got on mine and uninstalled everything that isn't an art related app. I figured, it's just a little computer, just like my phone is. How I use it is what matters. I have so many fond memories of drawing for hours on Colors3D (which is a drawing program and nothing but) and learning to paint on Art Academy (which truly is just an interactive virtual art class, it's not very "gamey" in any of the problematic ways.)

So I'm going to try using my 3ds like a drawing tablet and see if that works. I don't have any game cartridges anymore and reinstalling games takes effort, I think I'll be fine. Just having a gaming system is not going to cause me to relapse since I literally still use the same smartphone and PC I used to game on. Besides, I like my new hobbies way more anyway.

Still drawing and painting plenty traditionally. I even started using DeviantArt again haha. Recently we bought the bare minimum tools to start linocutting (stamp making) and both my partner and I have had a ton of fun doing that!

My partner hasn't gamed in forever either, just happenstance. Well, she loaded up Minecraft today, we'll see if that becomes anything. We've definitely been spending a lot more time doing analog activities and spending time together as a family, and I'm happy about that.

And finally... Dad-in-law broke up with his girlfriend. She and her three kids are moving out, so we get to move upstairs out of the basement in disrepair!! We're really excited about that. They leave at the start of January, and then we get to look through everything they left behind, declutter a bunch of crap, and then move our own stuff! I might be a weirdo but I actually love moving. Not that I've done it that many times in my life, that might be why.

I'll check in on your journals soon. Hope you all are well!

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  • 1 month later...

Well I was going to use that 3ds as a drawing tablet as I said... But I hardly touched it since that last entry and decided my partner needs the money more for fishkeeping. So we're selling both, and I'm letting her keep all the money in exchange for doing the labor of selling.

I'm excited that my partner has recently got into fishkeeping and 3d printing. She also invested in an e-ink e-reader. Her antidepressants seem to be working and she is making use of it, she has been productive lately and her hobbies are a lot healthier than they used to be. Not to mention, her Betta is the cutest lil dude ever. Think I might be a fish person.

My goal is still an entire year without video games, and I'm already more than halfway through that year. After that year is over (on June 1st) I will reevaluate my goals and intentions.

The ONLY games I TRULY miss are The Sims 4, specifically the building aspect, and House Flipper. I'm sure I could theoretically moderate these games, and because they are creative outlets they never felt as much of a waste of time as other games. But regardless I am waiting until June to worry about that.

I did play one round of a rhythm arcade game with my partner at the mall some time around the winter holiday. I don't consider that a relapse and it didn't damage my recovery, I had absolutely no cravings afterwards. I did approach the situation cautiously but decided to give myself a break and have a YOLO moment, and I'm glad I did. YMMV so don't take this as a free pass to mess with your own path.

The house project has been underway for about a month now! Turns out DIL's ex-gf was a hoarder. They did a lot of the work for us by bagging up a lot of trash and donations thankfully... but we've already brought 1400lbs of TRASH to the dump (two very full truck loads.) As well as 4 truck loads of donations to thrift stores and charities! We still have work to do, but our bedrooms (yes, my partner and I get separate rooms!!!) and the main living areas are good to go!

Recently I decided to take my art off the internet for at least a year. My only exception is the WetCanvas forum for critique, I'm not allowed to post in the name of trying to build a following anywhere. My reasoning for this is that I need time out of the public eye just for learning and growing. Unfortunately I suffer from people-pleasing tendencies and that causes me to fear making mistakes. But in the art world, mistakes are the most valuable tool for learning. That's why critique is such a big thing. Unless you take risks and just let yourself make bad, ugly art, you're never gonna get to the good stuff.

I'm relating what I'm doing to going offline while entering art school in order to stay focused. Except I can't afford art school and frankly I'm too disabled so I don't have the energy for traditional schooling. I will essentially be homeschooling myself, though I might consider taking a few local classes that aren't super intensive.

My silence on the forums isn't indictive of a backslide... It's because I'm out there in the real world living my life! I wish the same for all of you someday ❤️

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  • 3 weeks later...

Announcing this here because... where else would I hold myself accountable? Feels relevant.

I'm quitting Reddit, and this time I don't just mean deleting my account. I always still end up lurking and reading it, and it's better when I don't have an account, but I really need to completely remove myself from it now.

I end up stumbling across things that make my blood boil, which sends me into fight or flight mode, which I get STUCK in sometimes for HOURS. This is so unhealthy! But it's also somewhat avoidable, so that's why I'm trying to quit.

Something that I found to help me do this is the "LeechBlock" extension for Firefox, since it is available on Android that's what I'm going to be using to block the site entirely. I hardly ever use the computer anymore, and when I do it's for backing up or looking through photos.

I'm also going to be using my Goal Tracker app to count the days I successfully stay off Reddit. Absolute bare minimum: 30 days. I know I can at least do that. Already been on Reddit a bunch today so I officially start tomorrow.

If for some reason, the ONLY proper search result I need for something is on Reddit... I'm going to send it to my wife and ask her to give me a summary. Hopefully this won't happen that often. If I don't get on the site myself I won't count it against my goal, because if I don't get on the site myself I can't go down any rabbit holes (and I always do!)

I've been able to successfully kick every other social media besides Reddit and YouTube. YouTube still has enough usefulness for me to not completely remove it from my life (at least not at the moment) but I have been actively cutting back on that as well lately. I just get tired of it, overstimulated, even when it's all wholesome and educational content.

I'll let you all know how it goes ❤️

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Today was day 3 without Reddit, and LeechBlock has saved my butt quite a few times already!

I have clicked Reddit Google results without even realizing it's Reddit until the extension blocks it for me. (I read the blurb of the search results more than the titles, plus I skim very quickly and pick a result within seconds. Easy to miss what website something is on when I work in such a way!

So far I have already noticed a general improvement in my well-being from avoiding just that one site. I'm still averaging 2-3 hours of screen time on my phone per day (which I want to work on decreasing) but that's actually way better than some of the days I was using Reddit... Nearly 6 hours one of the days last week!

This is something I keep wrestling with. My Internet/ social media addiction is one I keep falling back into over and over again. I've been combatting this for YEARS! It doesn't help that those sites are literally designed to be addictive...

I know though, that as the weather warms up, it will be easier and easier to get off my phone. I anticipated this struggle as winter approached and decided I'd go easy on myself since I am in the process of quitting gaming. I'm doing so awesome at that, 8 almost 9 months without gaming! My habits have changed significantly and I'm meeting way more of my goals.

The only reason I don't make a screentime related goal is because I've been reading books a lot on my phone lately, and that can inflate the time a lot. I definitely don't want anything else holding me back from reading! I would be reading more paperbacks but with a toddler it's way more risky, phones can take a lot more of a beating than books can. I should see if my partner will let me borrow the e reader...

Anyway I didn't intend for this to be so long, I just wanted to check in and let everyone know I'm doing okay with my new goal!

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3 hours ago, Pochatok said:

Have you thought of buying a nook? It has helped me tremendously with reducing screen time in this manner. I never read on my phone anymore 🙂 

My wife has one, and after writing all that I asked if I could borrow it, she said yes! She hasn't been using it a lot lately 🙂 So I don't have to feel guilty for keeping it from her either haha

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Today will be day 9 without Reddit!?

This is turning out to be far easier than I expected it to be... Which really comes as a surprise. After the first few days I hardly even remember I ever used Reddit in the first place...

I also try to stay away from sites like Quora, but I haven't banned it completely because that's not what I was compulsively checking.

I actually have come to APPRECIATE the login-wall that comes up on Quora, where it forces you to sign in or leave? I don't currently have a Quora account and for the longest time the login-wall was so irritating to me... But now it stops me from easily going down a rabbit hole (which I did all the time when I had an account, just like Reddit.) It still tempts me with all of it's "related" links... But then the login-wall saves the day. How ironic is that?

So far so good!

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On 3/13/2023 at 1:09 PM, GrainSiloEnthusiast said:

20 days without Reddit! And it really has been as beneficial as I thought it would be.

Congrats, the first days are always the hardest! Did staying away from Reddit give you more free time and Can you share some stuffs that you switch to to entertain yourself if it did?

Besides using the time to take care of your family that is 😄

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On 3/18/2023 at 2:44 AM, LostRiver said:

Congrats, the first days are always the hardest! Did staying away from Reddit give you more free time and Can you share some stuffs that you switch to to entertain yourself if it did?

Besides using the time to take care of your family that is 😄

Staying off Reddit has helped me diversify where I get information from when I need to get an answer to a question! I used to always default to adding "Reddit" as a search term on Google when I wanted more "human" answers. Now as an alternative I use "blog" or "forum" instead. This is for more personal stuff, IE maybe things like spirituality, not scientific or news stuff.

And yes staying off of Reddit has given me back a lot of my time, because the rabbit holes would always suck my time away before! Even time spent on my phone feels more productive than before. I tend to default to reading an ebook or something, rather than reading a bunch of nonsense that isn't even relevant to my life lol!

I've drastically cut down on my YouTube consumption as well recently. I've found my patience for that kind of media is incredibly thin. It feels very bombarding to my senses, how every video tries to pack as much as possible into 10 minutes or less.

When I want to just veg out and watch something, I have to put on an actual show or movie... And I am PICKY! None of that ADHD-triggering crap. Pacing, editing, focus... Those things are incredibly important to me and I am very sensitive about it.

Switching from short-form to long-form media is really helpful for regaining an attention span, even if what you're consuming is purely entertainment. It's better to watch one long good movie than several YouTube videos in the same amount of time.

Part of this whole revolution going on in my relationship to tech is me honoring my autistic body. I am learning to quicker recognize when I am getting overstimulated, and when I do I respect myself and simply turn the damn thing off!

 

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31 days without Reddit!

(Not to mention... Coming up on 11 months without video games!)


I still need that site blocker for sure, I accidentally click on it ALL THE TIME.

Leaving Reddit will likely be permanent, much like my choices to leave Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Now that I've been away from it this long I can see it's not necessary and hardly beneficial to my life.

Patience for any sort of moving pictures with sound is quite thin these days, be it online videos, shows, or movies.

Even music I can only listen to when I'm in precisely the right mood for it! Very different from how I used to be.

I crave peace, slowness, quiet. My favorite activities are reading, writing, drawing, and simply observing the real world.

No doubt this has to do with raising a toddler... Self explanatory really.

But with the weather changing... I find myself with more energy and I'm craving activity.

Recently I bought a cheap kick scooter at a thrift store, took that out once last week and it was a blast. We also stumbled across MOUNTAIN BIKES in the shed, they're DIL's but we can use them, so I really want to get back into biking as well!

I really want to lose some weight too... I'm still breastfeeding though which makes that incredibly difficult. Currently sitting on the borderline between healthy and fat, and I've always been skinny before. They're not kidding, pregnancy changes everything. I'm hoping just making some healthy changes now will contribute to the end goal when it becomes more feasible!

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