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My Journey to Recovery


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May 28

It's been less than 24 hours since i last got caught gaming. In all honesty, I've lost count of how many times I've relapsed, lied about it, and later got caught. 

I started my journey on Respawn today mainly to stop this cycle. I finally acknowledged I had a deep rooted addiction that I didn't understand much less want to stop and I needed help to actually stop and not game ever again. I needed to stop wasting my potential and wasting my time, energy, and thought life on something that I had known for a very long time wasn't actually real. I had to face my negative emotions and past traumas I had sustained as a kid and get my life back on track. I admitted I had a problem and I needed help to get through this. 

Right now I feel scared of possible relapses. I feel sad and depressed and heavily worthless and anxious. I've not been truly free for so long that I almost have forgotten how it is like to actually be free and successful. Even more so, I have forgotten how it is like to dream and have real life goals and aspirations due to how long I have been living in the video game world. 

However, in spite of these feelings, I have one goal and one goal only: To get clean and stay clean and succeed in life in all areas I have neglected due to video game addiction. 

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Welcome to the forums. Feel free to immerse yourself a bit and read some introduction stories. I have a decent one you can find on the first post of my diary. I also have a guide on how I was able to go over 500 days without gaming in the celebration part of the forums that I'd recommend reading first. 

Good luck. 

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Day 2 - May 29th - Morning

Pretty much knew it would be a struggle initially. Woke up and found myself thinking more so about the puzzles and color by number apps I used to do from time to time in the previous attempt to quit as healthier replacements for the MMORPGs I was addicted to. But then I still slipped into mobile MMORPGs due to not getting the high stimulation levels I had gotten from MMORPGs. 

In summary, I felt the need to get mental stimulation. I felt the need to do something on my phone. At least do something to stimulate my mind as I am so used to my brain being active. Not just about gaming but even just daydreaming and imagining about other things such as favorite crime thrillers and other non gaming related topics. 

That must be my problem. I am so used to getting dopamine highs that my brain is throwing a 404: Not Found Error whenever it doesn't get that or even a tiny bit of stimulation. Good grief... I am not necessarily angry with myself at this point. In fact, I can hardly tell what I am feeling  I already know that the journey will be a bit rough. It's all a matter of reprogramming my brain. 

Maybe later on , once I gone through the 90 day detox and am no longer craving dopamine highs, maybe then I can consider getting puzzles, match 3, color by number type apps to provide minor working of the brain rather than dopamine highs that comes from MMORPGs.

But I shouldn't be thinking about crossing that bridge right now. I need to focus on staying away from things that could get me back into MMORPGs (which was were my addiction manifested itself). 

Gotta stay strong and let the journey take its course.

Edited by amchow
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Welcome to the forums! I wish you best of luck. 

Also, don't worry, you are not irredeemably damaged or something like that. Wiring of the brain changes, we are adaptable, teachable. We can truly change. 
Mobile phones haven't existed until 30-something years ago, smartphones much less than that. You won't be needing any sorts of puzzles to get your mind going, life IS stimulating enough once you are clean for long enough. 

Stay strong!

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5/29/2020 - Day 2 - Afternoon

I didn't really think about wanting to journal whenever, but it's a much better way to deal with emotions than gaming (as I previously did). 

*sigh* 

Being a single woman is hard. Plus, gaming seemed to be a bit of an outlet for mood swings and unstable emotions caused by hormonal imbalances. I am in that usual once a month phase where I feel negative emotions... except this time I have no outlet for what I am feeling and thus have to put up with the usual things a woman goes through. It's hard when one has feelings that have no tangible cause and often cannot just be explained easily. 

Need to keep strong and not give in. My emotions are not and should not be my master and thus I must remain strong and not allow myself to relapse just because I am not feeling my best at the moment. Plus this will be part of me biologically as a woman until the age where I no longer have them and I need to get used to not self medicating through games. 

Need to stay strong and not relapse and remind myself that this too will pass. That I have better outlets for this than video games. 

Edited by amchow
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@Erik2.0

I already took care of deleting all of my games and accounts and thankfully had no subscriptions to streams and such due to having little interest in watching people play. 

I also have no real life friends who game so that was no issue. Plus all the acquaintances I made during gaming either stopped gaming or I lost contact with them. 

And in truth I have no intent on going back after all the negative impacts gaming has had on my life. I'm making sure it stays that way. 

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5/29/2020 - Day 2 - Later in the Afternoon

Feeling a bit better from my minor mood swing from earlier. 

Thank God that my mom is here with me to keep me company. She's been an excellent source of wisdom during this time and has been doing a good job of reminding me of why I am quitting video games. In fact, I often regret not listening to her earlier in my life when she was saying quite regularly that gaming would destroy me. However, I can't go back and change the past 14 years of my life. 

Now on a more positive note, I finally went and got rid of targeted ads on Facebook that centered around games. I had not been active on Facebook for so long that I had forgotten that the social media site logs 'Interests' based on what pages you visit (being the info gathering machine that it is). Turned off all targeted ads and cleared out recorded interests to remove a trigger. 

It feels good doing that and sitting here having a good time watching Law and Order: SVU with my mom. 😄 

Going to keep it up with my journal and keep on going strong (and get used to being a bit bored at the moment). 😄 

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5/29/2020 - Day 2 - End of Day

Pretty sure I am going to journal later in the day from now on (feel like my updates today were a bit much due to needing to vent a bit). 

This time, I have more to report about what i have started with replacement activities. 

Here's the rundown:

  • Coding Languages - Started Learning Python 3.x on Sololearn. I've already done a couple lessons and am enjoying it. Giving me the right kind of mental engagement. I intend to pick up C and C++ later. I am looking forward to learning these as it will expand my potential job opportunities in Engineering. 
  • Learning a New Language: Picked up Duolingo and started learning Mandarin. Am also wanting to learn Korean later on for K pop and Korean variety shows.
  • Writing - Will pick this up later on after I start up work in a few days. Never finished the stories and series I wanted to write previously due to gaming over all other hobbies.

Overall, I am feeling better emotionally and with a clearer mind, I can pursue tangible goals and enjoy learning new skills and languages without gaming. I'll start with that before getting into the social area later on once all the Covid panic clears. 

Thanks for reading and I'll make sure to keep the community updated. 😄 Looking forward to each new day. 🙂 

Edited by amchow
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5/30/2020 - Day 3

Day 3 was a bit rough due to repeated urges and cravings throughout the day due to some stress and anxiety I was experiencing. I am quite sure it has to do with starting a new job on Monday with a new company and a new sub field in Engineering. I am quite glad that I kept up the good progress and resisted all of them. This also made me think about stress eating too. Need to work on both of these and be more aware of my emotional state. 

On a positive note, I found lots of enjoyment solidifying greetings and learning numbers in Mandarin on Duolingo and completing a couple more Python lessons on Sololearn. 

Continued to watch Law and Order: SVU with my mom and took the usual walks during the day.  It feels good putting my TV to good use after a number of years of very little use due to gaming. 

Overall, it all feels good in spite of some expected struggles (which I overcame). 

I am looking forward to more victories to come. 😄 

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YOU CAN DO IT!

I love programming. It is very therapeutic for me, yet I hadnt done it nearly enough in recent years, because gaming.  I recommend Java, because of its wide variety of application and popularity, and also C#. It is similar to Java in syntax but is such an elegant language to use.  I havent touched C or C++ since university, and the only reason we had to was for hardware programming and assembly code.  They are significantly harder to learn and put to good use than higher level languages like Java/C#

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5/31/2020 - Day 4

Today was a mix of stuff. 

First thing was positive. Went to a meeting with my church small group for bible study and we all shared a meal together. It felt quite good and helped stop urges and cravings I had. Literally felt none at all and felt good being able to be present mentally (rather than thinking of games and going home after to play them). 

Ended up successful in resisting cravings and urges caused by nervousness and anxiousness I am feeling as I am beginning a new job tomorrow with a new company, new kind of job position and work, and a new team to work with. 

But I need to stay strong. For myself and for the sake of my success and what I can create for my future rather than what I destroyed in my past. 

Still going strong everyone. 

Off to my first day tomorrow. 😄

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6/1/2020 - Day 5

Today is an overly positive day. 

What started as typical first day nervousness turned into overall high motivation and lots of happiness at work. 

I am so grateful to be working for a company who cares, who is willing to train me and treat me the way employees should be treated. Plus I am doing 3D modeling and design which is what i have always dreamt of doing!  😄

No cravings and urges due to having work as a focus today. 

Overall, I was very happy today and I am going to bed tonight hyped to go to work tomorrow for the first time in my whole career. 

Off to more work days and happiness. 😄

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6/2/2020 - Day 6

Dear Lord, almost a week of my detox already. It is encouraging for me to say the least. Not going to let that get into my head though. 

Now, for the update. 

I never thought it would happen, but it did! 😄 I am so happy with my new job and I am in a good mood. There were times training material got dry. I had my phone within arms reach and I had the temptation/urge to pick up my phone and try to entertain myself somehow. Thank goodness, I did not. Instead, I felt motivated to keep on working and training, reminded myself to be grateful for the training in the first place (as not all companies actually take the time to train you), and got through the rest of the day in a good mood. Thus, I came home happy and looking forward to the next day. 

I am quite happy as I am content with my job and beginning to be more emotionally aware of myself and how to better decipher my emotional state. 

Cheers to more progress and victories and change in mindset and habits. 

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6/3/2020 - Day 7

Wow.... One week down already. And I used to think days were fast with games. They are even faster without. 

I can say with confidence that my perspective on things has changed quite a bit since i started work. The change in work environment has really made things better. It is seriously night and day compared to where I was working before. It is so much better and a much more positive atmosphere. Thus removing a large source of stress in my life. I am so motivated to work that I don't feel any strong urges or cravings to play.

Of course they still come from time to time, but not playing has made me more aware of my prior motivations and mindset towards playing games and I want to change that up to make it more about having casual fun rather than letting it be an emotional crutch. 

Still working on continued change as time goes on. 

Staying positive all the way. 

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6/4/2020 - Day 8

Going to keep this entry short today due to feeling very tired.. 

Today feels rather tiring, but I plowed through in spite of my fatigue. 

As expected, I still had the usual cravings and urges, but I am determined to see this detox through. Keep going to change my mindset and establish better schedules and habits. 

So far, I have been successful and intend to stay successful for my own sake. 

And with a large source of stress now been removed, it's made it easier. 

Per usual, still staying strong. 

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6/5/2020 - Day 9

I'm keeping track of the number of days with no games, but I am certain that I will loose track of it at some point due to there being so many days past. 

Work is continuing to go well. The change in atmosphere has really made the journey easier. 

Even with that, I still find myself too often looking to the future and thinking about possibly getting safer apps back in and thinking about how long my detox will be. I then reel myself back in and continue reminding myself to keep going strong as I am not yet ready to even consider playing in moderation as my past behavioral patterns have not been completely overwritten yet in terms of thoughts. 

I keep reminding myself of what I have currently gained and what I will lose if I end my detox too soon. 

Must stay strong and not end my detox until I am certain I have changed my mindset and habits. Right now, it is too early to consider things too far ahead. 

Gotta stay strong. 

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6/6/2020 - Day 10

Today went well. 

Been resisting any urges and cravings and keep throwing out thoughts about when to start moderation and blocking out schedules for the single player offline apps. 

This is kind of expected. First couple weeks would feel hard (especially towards the end of the two weeks). 

Need to not think so far ahead. Otherwise, it would be too easy to return to playing with no limits or restrictions and being on autopilot all the time. 

As per usual, staying strong (and I need to make these entries more positive >.< )

Edited by amchow
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6/7/2020 - Day 11

Today felt like a good day. Spent a lot of time on Duolingo learning Chinese (Mandarin to be specific) and listening to music in between sessions. 

Still felt the occasional urges and cravings due to some internal issues within my family (nothing to do with me I swear) but I learned to manage my emotions and not let myself relapse. 

Looking forward to work again this week (except I will be working from home this time around). 

As per usual, going strong and staying positive. 

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6/8/2020 - Day 12

Day 12 felt slower today since it was the first time I worked from home due to all this pandemic craziness. It's much different from working in the office. 

As Cam stated rather accurately, the first two weeks would be hard. It seemed a bit easy at first but then it has become a bit harder. However, I have started to become more familiar with the main triggers that cause me to have urges and cravings. All of them are emotional. Mainly due to stress from family issues. I am teaching myself how to deal with my emotions and understand them. Plus I don't see my urges and cravings as abnormal or that I shouldn't have them. For now, they are part of the process and they will fade with time.

In the meantime, I tend to continue being successful in my detox and not relapse. 

While I do that, I'll continue learning Mandarin and Python and watch Blue Bloods and Law and Order: SVU while I am at it + be successful with my job. 

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6/9/2020 - Day 13

Day 2 of working from home. 

All I can say is: it gets hard when training material is dry and a bit monotonous and your mind wanders a bit and you feel restless. 

Originally at my previous job I would have been shouting "YES!!!!" from the rooftops to get the chance to work from home but after 3 months of job searching and being stuck at home, safe to say being at home isn't super ideal. 

But hey, I am grateful that I even have a job in this pandemic craziness and thus I have no good reason to complain. Besides, like urges and cravings to game, this too will pass and I will get into the real meat of engineering and 3D design soon enough once I get past learning about the company's release process. 

I enjoy what I do though. 3D modeling, design and engineering is what I have a passion for and it's what I want to do for a career. 

Continuing to enjoy real life and resisting urges and cravings. 

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6/10/2020 - Day 14

Two weeks without games. I wasn't sure I would make it for even two weeks much less a week. But it turns out I did. 

Today, I found myself thinking (amidst having to sit in an uncomfortable office chair for a nine hour work day). Why do i keep thinking about gaming in moderation following my detox? 

Really... what are my motives? And I came to this conclusion. I've been a little too determined to somehow prove I am capable of gaming in moderation especially after many years of failing to do so with MMOrpgs. It's like I am wanting to prove myself that I can game because I enjoy it and not because I want to use it as an emotional crutch. I want to play offline single player games along other hobbies I have started and prove I can manage my time and prioritize the right things. 

Right now, I need to change my mindsets and habits before I can even consider crossing that bridge and not touch games until i prove to myself that my mind and heart have been changed. Until then, any plans i think of will need to be put aside and I need to focus on continuing to succeed at work and with my detox. 

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6/11/2020 - Day 15

Was in a much better focused mood today (in spite of the slight hiccup at the start of my day due to not setting my alarm the night before). Thank God I work from home and the call meeting I had at 8 AM got cancelled. 

Continued my detox and am continuing to enjoy learning Mandarin on Duolingo. 

I've also started to understand myself better when it comes to my emotions and how to deal with them appropriately. Even thinking ahead to what NOT to do when I come home feeling stressed. 

Continuing to get better. 

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