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mks
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Hi!

I am 31, it all began with gaming when I was around 8. From this time I have built a strong connection to the internet.
So gaming and internet are deeply connected. I was one of the first with a computer in school. Media played a big role.
Watching TV, playing games, surfing the web.

I was playing a lot of WoW which I have quit after playing it for 1-2 years. But my addiction didn't stop. Thinking back
my gaming addiction switched into a Youtube, porn and gereral internet addiction. The whole instant gratification thing. 

There are a lot of warning signs that I have an addiction:

- Having a lot of problems in social situations
- Neglecting almost everything when I do have unlimeted internet access (socializing, leaving the house, sports)
- The first thing in the morning is to go to my laptop, which ends in hours of wasting time
-  Not being able to stop although I know it has negative consequences

The last one is hugh, because it causes most of the damage in my life. Although I know I need to socialize more,
the addiction says "F*** that I don't need to worry about all that stuff when I am connected to the internet."

Yesterday I recognized, that this state of being worry-free doesn't exist. Although the internet or porn or youtube is
giving me that feeling - it adds up to much more life-dept. Doing it for one day and having a great life doesn't add up.
But doing it for years, maybe slowly starting at 8, it created a lot of dept in my life.

Recently I switched to watching Twitch. Watching streams gave me a sense of community and social interaction, which
was great in the beginning. I was listening to the stream while I was working on my project. But all in all I ended up 
watching the stream instead of working on my project, so that it became a distraction. Instead of socializing I went to
Twitch mostly just listening which gave me the feeling that I am not alone. But all in all this is just a way to cope
with my isolation and lack of social interactions. Quitting Twitch means being hit with the full force of isolation. 

Reasons why I go back to my addiction:

- Nothing to worry about (the main reason)
- Hiding
- Running away from problems

=== LIST OF ACTIVITIES ===

Mental activities: [ Practice piano ]
Relaxing activities: [ Reading book, swimming, going for a hike, photography ]
Social activities: [ Meeting with friends ]

=== LIST OF PROBLEMS ===

Last update: 13/10/2020

1.) Fixing my sleep schedule : 0%
2.) Having more structure throughout the day - making plans instead of improvising through the day : 0%
3.) Looking for voluntary work in my area : 0%
4.) Looking for ways to have more social interactions : 0%
5.) Going more outside: 100%
6.) Reducing the amount of regret, being resentful about things: 85%
7.) Getting a job: 0%
8.) Moving into a new appartment: 55%

Edited by mks
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I also realized that I used Twitch for procrastination and as a substitute for social interaction.  So I cut that off along with my other gaming.  I initially gave myself the option to stream games as "extroversion training" but I ended up deactivating my twitch account.

For social activity I recommend you find a martial arts school in your area.  Double duty of getting in shape and interacting with people.

Good luck on your journey.

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Thanks for the reply! This is a good advice. I think I will go into a climbing hall. I  once did this with a climbing partner. During lockdown it's a little bit hard as they only open on 06/02 in the evening. Hopefully they will lower the restrictions in the next months.

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Welcome to the forums. Detaching from the gaming lifestyle is one of the hardest and emotional transitions you'll make in life, but I promise it's worth it. I sense a lot of frustration and emotion from your initial post. I have full faith in your words that you're doing the right thing by quitting. You sound similar to me. Although I'm 83 weeks free from gaming, I still get pissed and have cravings. I recommend finding new ways to deal with anger such as exercise, eating properly, sleeping right, talking to friends, singing loud music, etc.

Also, be kind and patient with yourself. I think I've found long term and short term ways to deal with anger. If I'm brutally frustrated I'll do exercise to death metal for 10-30 minutes and it works. Otherwise I'll do vinyasa yoga and fix my sleep schedule for weeks and it helps.

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Thanks man! Really love the community.

Yes there is a lot of frustration and emotions involved. It's just too painful the damage it caused in my life.

I think the best we can do is take full responsibility for our needs. Today I was sitting in my appartment 
and it got painful just staying there. I got up and went to a lake and was swimming for 20-30 minutes. 
It helped.  But it's still a fight to get outside because of former social anxiety which is getting better 
because my serotonine level were out of balance. So social anxiety is a lot better since fixing that with
a supplement.

But what I recognized this helped a lot with my need of autonomy. When I feel like I need to go outside,
I'll do that no matter what other people think. My need was more important in that moment than my 
feeling of social anxiety and what other people could think.

But the need of social interaction isn't fixed with that. Will look out for voluntary work in my area to improve 
my social skills and becoming more extroverted.

Fixing my sleep schedule is also important for me as I have problems starting the day because I have
big problems filling that void.

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So today it was really hard waking up. For me not getting up on time is like an escape.
When I am sleeping I don't have to worry about things. 

My question is now what I want to escape. Maybe it's discomfort. Not knowing what 
I want. But it's an escape. I wanna escape something. That I am not something special. 
That I have to get up on time. That I have to work like everybody else. 

I wanna escape reality. I don't wanna have to deal with all the problems. With all my
weaknesses and stengths. I am weak.

So yeah. That's one of the root causes. I am weak and trapped in that. And with every
hitting the snooze button, sleeping in, I am giving myself the feeling that I am weak.

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And then there is this scary question: "Where I could have been?" This question is super scary.
Most of the time I was more in a state of rumination but I never looked at the situation where
could have been. It's painful to admit that I made a lot of mistakes and it's painful where I could
have been if I would not have started gaming/TV/porn...But this is also connected with relief.
I was so scared of the truth that I was constantly running away from it.

It feel good that I got the courage to look at the situation I am in right now. Feels good but also makes
on part of me sad. It's like that "Yeah that's who I could have been." But in a more friendly way now.
It's not that I "should be way further than now". I am ok with it, which is helping me to move on.

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2 hours ago, mks said:

It's painful to admit that I made a lot of mistakes and it's painful where I could
have been

I also had trouble with that and figured out another way to think about it.  Instead of regretting what might have been start to think about the past as the price of admission that HAD TO BE PAID to even get what you currently do have.

To keep yourself motivated think about where you will be in 10 years, 20 years, at the end of your life if you DON'T make changes RIGHT NOW. 

Unreasonable perfectionism is a mentality that is catered to by gaming.  If you miss the secret on level 1 and you are now on level 5 you can restart your game knowing that and get it in the pursuit of the optimal playthrough.  In real life not only is there not an optimal path but seeking it can blind you to a better path that is right in front of you.  I'm training myself to accept the 80% solution and move on to the next problem.

The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, the second best time is today.

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7 hours ago, mks said:

It's like that "Yeah that's who I could have been." But in a more friendly way now.
It's not that I "should be way further than now". I am ok with it, which is helping me to move on.

You sound like you have a good, kind perspective on addictions impact on your life. I have the same kinds of thoughts and try to embrace a similar mindset on it. Yes I could have gotten a lot farther in life if I had been on this healthier path from the start. But I'm here now and it's okay and I'm doing good with everything in mind. Time to just enjoy life now as it is. Hope to see you more on the forums.

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Thanks for your replies! You both are right. For me this question also gives me a hint where I want to be, because when I
think about where I could have been - well than that's excactly what I want and don't have right now. 

I think that's what David Goggins mean with "At first you have accept it, then you can fix it."

In our situation it means fully accepting where we could have been by now. Visualizing that in every detail is a great relief although it's paradox.
I think it's because we try to avoid the pain behind that. But hey! My whole life is full of these pardox moments 😄
But once we get hit by the full force of the pain it's way easier to move on. Throughout my life with focusing and meditation 
this is almost always the case - the most paradox things are often the ones that bring depth and healing of lets

say the pain behind that which we run away from. 

Day 1 of my digital detox

Started reading Digital Minimalism. I got stuck with my approach of blocking everything on my laptop
because I ended up relapsing a lot. But since reading this book my perspective changed. It's a whole
philosophy of which technology we let into our lifes and that we have a choice to set rules for them. 

One example in this book is only watch Netflix with one or more person. So no binging in isolation. 

He talkes a lot about autonomy, which is the thing we want to gain back and that our personality suffers because
we feel are not in conrol over technology. As autonomy is a really important need, I like his approach. He is also 
not a fan of life hacks. He wants people to gain back autonomy and control over their digital life. So far
this mindset really helps. Today is day one of my digital detox. Let's see how things will work out. 🙂

Today I was:

- Reading a book at a lake
- Looked for therapy for addictions
- Bought some new t-shirts in the city
- Did everything before reaching 1pm
- No latop in the morning

All in all did a lot to win the day. 

My fixed need:

- Doing something productive, being active
     -> I needed that feeling of doing something. Only reading wasn't enough. Needed to have the feeling that
         I am making progress on something

Rules for my digital detox:

- Only visiting my own website where I can create content. So no mindless surfing the web. Only using it as a tool
- My only free time on the web is reading in this forum, but also limited in time. Maybe around 20-30 minutes
- I am not allowed to open my laptop first thing in the morning.
  Instead: I need to leave the house, do some sports, eat something healthy. 

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I really suffer from not knowing what I want in life. I really like to be outside in the city. Sitting in front of my
laptop became something I not do hate, but I really dislike missing out on life - at least I have this feeling. With
corona it's worse because right now I am at a point in my life where I want to change, meet new people,
enjoying life. 

Related to work I have no idea what I want to do. I was working as a webdev but don't know if I want to go back.
I started a blog around HTML, CSS etc. but I don't know if I really like writing about that topic. It's a hate-love 
relationship, because I want to experience life and well... sitting in front of my laptop is too much isolation.
As corona is still a problem, isolation is also a big problem.

But my biggest problem is, that I don't have a clear vision what I want to do or reach in life. I was in my bed the whole morning
thinking about what I want - but there is just emptiness. Absolutly no motivation to do something. This
emptiness is driving me crazy. I am so confused with that.  

I am missing purpose and meaning. Filling that (purpose) void is still a problem.

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Day 2

Semi-win today. I was sleeping til 8:30am. Was trapped in confusion what I wanna do. So I have the habit 
of looking inwards for answers. Sometimes this works. Sometimes I get lost. So I was kinda taking a nap
which ended up in long introversion and looking for answers (like in the post above).

Right now my priority is going outside as much and as long as possible. As I had huge social anxiety, which
got better, I want to sustain that level and even get better. I want to improve my small-talk. And be more 
present when I am around people. 

There is this state of "not wanting to be seen" or "wanting to be seen in the perfect light of others". I found out
that this is a problem of the fear of getting rejected. Not wanting to be seen in a strange thing, as this is 
improssible to achieve 😄. When I am hiding in my inner world mostly I act akward and achieve the opposite
of not wanting to be seen. Haven't sustained a level yet, that I am so comfortable in "being me" that I still

get trapped in hiding. It is getting better but I need more practice. This, by far, is the most important skill I
want to improve. My technical skills in programming are quite ok. I am also very good in interversion and
being alone.

So being more social and outgoing is the main thing I wanna work on. 

Because of that I want to be outside of my appartment as much as possible. Talking more to cashiers and
strangers. Smiling to people instead of being self absorbed. 

So yeah. In corona times this is a little bit hard but I hope to find a way to get into more conversations.

I added photography to my list above. That's something I wanna do tomorrow. Grabing my camera and
going outside. 

Update:

All in all I more and more recognize, that I was running away from my problems. Games and porn were my
place to hide. Since reading Digital Minimalism I am using way less media and I  get a sense for
my problems. My sleep schedule is a mirror of that escapism. Instead of waking up tackeling the day I 
am running away from it, sleeping in multiple times. 

So instead of running away from them I am now getting into the mindset of facing them! This begins with
defining. I think Sam Owens talks about this "Problem solving is problem defining."

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Day 3

Today wasn't good. I was really exhausted. But what I found out - the main thing I was running
away from was and still is my fear of getting rejected. This fear is so strong, that I am constantly under
stress and this pressure "to fit in".

Therefore I have unrealistic expectations and perfectionism. 

Gaming and porn are awesome tools to avoid getting rejected. We feel great while we do it, maybe
get social recognition and progress in general. But in my age of 31 rejection is already a problem. 
So I feel like being behind in life, which in itself is a kind of rejection of life. So what I think is, that
we can not not get rejected. Through avoiding getting rejected life will reject us in a way because
that's not what life is about. It's painful but now I know what I can work on. This is the single most
important thing for me right now, as this behaviour is holding me back sooooo much. 

Update:

I was socializing in the evening which was hard. Was out with some friends but it was challenging.
They have another foundation and are way ahead. Hard to catch up. Followed most of the topics
but couldn't talk a lot. So I was more of a listener. I hate this state, not knowing what to say and 
having no control. I really like 1:1 conversations and depth because of the control in it. But my
weakness is in day-to-day talk, small talk where there are a lot of changes  in topics... I gain a lot
from deep conversations but know that there is also a benefic in small talk or things that are not going deep.

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Day 4 -Relapse day

Today was a relapse day into porn. But all in all quite ok. I was doing office stuff.
I also listened to this video of Jordon Peterson. Really like what he is saying.

Related to my life - I am still in "Peter Pan" mode. I don't have any responsibilies
right now job related. Also kinda in this nihilism kind of state. Those two together
are a mix for depression. 

I try to implement the mindset of "everything matters and has meaning". Responsibility
creates meaning. 

Today I was walking down the street and saw some platic dirt on the street.
I walked across it and knew I could put it in a trash near this place. At first
I was walking by but even this little moment has meaning and creates meaning.
So I walked back, put it up and threw it in a trash next to the place. 

Meaning and responsibility can be found in every single moment. So let's take care
and be a better human being one step at a time. Try to improve myself and will 
take on responsibilty as much and wherever I can from now on!

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Making great progess. I found out my key issue, which is holding me back the most.

I have problems expressing my personality in groups of people and around strangers.
Mostly around more than 2 people. So when the conversation switches into a group
of 3 people (me included) I have a lot of problems.

I am really good in 1:1 conversations. I also enjoy being alone. Not all the time but 
I can enjoy it. I think that I would call myself an introvert.

So my main thing I want to work on is being around people more often. 

Oh and there are two states involved:
- Being present around people which makes me feel confident
- Being stuck in introversion which I want to call "hiding, holding back, being shy"

So yeah. I will stop working on technical skills right now. I will also stop working
for a while. I will focus on building relationships and being around people in groups
instead of 1:1 conversations. 

For me this is hugh progress as my problem can be defined now:

"I have problems to show my personality outside of 1:1 situations."

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2 hours ago, mks said:

I have problems expressing my personality in groups of people and around strangers.
Mostly around more than 2 people. So when the conversation switches into a group
of 3 people (me included) I have a lot of problems.

I have the same problem! I'm only able to be myself in groups that I'm really comfortable with. The more people, the worst. I think it's like an anxiety of being judged or something like this. Before the quarantine I was taking acting classes to adress that (extremely uncomfortable situation for me) and it was promising.

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7 hours ago, WhatAboutToday? said:

I have the same problem! I'm only able to be myself in groups that I'm really comfortable with. The more people, the worst. I think it's like an anxiety of being judged or something like this. Before the quarantine I was taking acting classes to adress that (extremely uncomfortable situation for me) and it was promising.

I had the same idea with acting classes. I will also look for group therapy. Meanwhile I try to be more around people and try to become more confident.

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So I am going the route of using a blocking software.

I found a blocker called "Cold Turkey". I am using the approach of whitelisting. So blocking the whole web
but I am unblocking specfic sites which I need for work or my Youtube channel and my own website.

Let's see who it goes.

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On 6/7/2020 at 2:37 AM, WhatAboutToday? said:

I have the same problem! I'm only able to be myself in groups that I'm really comfortable with. The more people, the worst. I think it's like an anxiety of being judged or something like this. Before the quarantine I was taking acting classes to adress that (extremely uncomfortable situation for me) and it was promising.

Made some progress with that. I think this comes from "having to say something really intelligent or something really funny". Or on a date "James Bond like confidence". 
I think this problem is related to perfectionism and unrealistic expectations. So in my case I "freeze" because of those expectations. Lowering those expectations should
help with that problem I think.

A good way would be to have no expectations at all when we talk to people.

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9 hours ago, mks said:

So I am going the route of using a blocking software.

I found a blocker called "Cold Turkey". I am using the approach of whitelisting. So blocking the whole web
but I am unblocking specfic sites which I need for work or my Youtube channel and my own website.

Let's see who it goes.

ColdTurkey works really well! I went the route of blocking software too. I think it works better for me because the blocker forces me to "forget" the habit of openning Instagram or another website a thousand times a day. Once I'm no longer trying to open it several times a day, the blocker is no longer needed, but I keep it, just in case.

2 hours ago, mks said:

Made some progress with that. I think this comes from "having to say something really intelligent or something really funny". Or on a date "James Bond like confidence". 
I think this problem is related to perfectionism and unrealistic expectations. So in my case I "freeze" because of those expectations. Lowering those expectations should
help with that problem I think.

A good way would be to have no expectations at all when we talk to people.

Nice! I totally agree with you. We have expectations too high when it comes to be interesting to other people. And if we are not the funnier/smarter/cooler person in the group we judge ourselves in a very harsh way. My brain would think that everybody is judging me for making a fool out of myself. But the truth is that everybody is flawed. In general people are actually concerned about themselves, not judging other people.

I was trying something a while ago to break this pattern, it's called "exposure therapy", have you heard about it?

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13 hours ago, WhatAboutToday? said:

ColdTurkey works really well! I went the route of blocking software too. I think it works better for me because the blocker forces me to "forget" the habit of openning Instagram or another website a thousand times a day. Once I'm no longer trying to open it several times a day, the blocker is no longer needed, but I keep it, just in case.

Nice! I totally agree with you. We have expectations too high when it comes to be interesting to other people. And if we are not the funnier/smarter/cooler person in the group we judge ourselves in a very harsh way. My brain would think that everybody is judging me for making a fool out of myself. But the truth is that everybody is flawed. In general people are actually concerned about themselves, not judging other people.

I was trying something a while ago to break this pattern, it's called "exposure therapy", have you heard about it?

Yes I heard of it. Am doing something similar on my own. I am standing on a street where are a lot of people. 
It's a great practice anxiety wise. But group therapy would be the best.

I was overprotected as a child. In conversations I also was hiding behind people a lot. It sucks. I was talking
a lot with parents about problems instead of facing them. This didn't help to cope with life on my own.
Right now I am stuck. It's like waiting for someone who is picking me up but no one will come.
This is also a problem with conversations. There is no one who is holding my hand (sounds strange, but as 
being overprotected, this is something one part of me is still in...)

I am 100% responsible for everything. But I so often fall back. I don't know why this happens.
I was making so much progress but something happens all the time and I get into a reset where
I have to start all over again.

I have still no clue why this happens. It's like climbing a mountain and I fall back all the time once
I gain momentum. Still figuring this out.

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I feel similar to how you do, mks. I'm very antisocial and "unintentionally creepy" I've been told (which isn't very nice but they meant well). I was in group therapy for alcoholism a couple of years ago and it helped a lot with my social problems but unfortunately it was only a year long program so I don't have that anymore. I'd recommend it if you can get in one though.

There is no one holding my hand is an idea I had to get over as well. A therapist brought it to my attention several years ago when I kept failing to make a necessary doctor's appointment. He said something like "This is your life, nobody is going to do this for you." It was blunt and he was angry so it really stuck in my head. Sometimes having people angry with us can be a good thing, I guess. It didn't fix my life or get me to stop being lazy about appointments overnight (I was still an alcoholic, after all) but over time it ate away at me more and more and these days I make doctors appointments for even minor issues, which makes me laugh a little thinking about it. Still, there are other aspects of my life where I wait for people to hold my hand and guide me and I think that'll be something I battle for the rest of my life to some extent. I do believe I've gotten much better and will get even better in the future but I don't think I'll ever not be that way at all

Feeling like climbing a mountain and falling back all the time... that's a very common feeling of mine too. It's something I discuss with my therapist frequently. One of the issues I've had with the Game Quitters system is what my therapist and I talk about a lot: I have no problem picking up new hobbies and often try something new a couple times a month, but I never stick with it and fall back to zero over and over. It's probably a major cause of depression for me so I totally get where you're coming from.

 

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32 minutes ago, ceponatia said:

I feel similar to how you do, mks. I'm very antisocial and "unintentionally creepy" I've been told (which isn't very nice but they meant well). I was in group therapy for alcoholism a couple of years ago and it helped a lot with my social problems but unfortunately it was only a year long program so I don't have that anymore. I'd recommend it if you can get in one though.

There is no one holding my hand is an idea I had to get over as well. A therapist brought it to my attention several years ago when I kept failing to make a necessary doctor's appointment. He said something like "This is your life, nobody is going to do this for you." It was blunt and he was angry so it really stuck in my head. Sometimes having people angry with us can be a good thing, I guess. It didn't fix my life or get me to stop being lazy about appointments overnight (I was still an alcoholic, after all) but over time it ate away at me more and more and these days I make doctors appointments for even minor issues, which makes me laugh a little thinking about it. Still, there are other aspects of my life where I wait for people to hold my hand and guide me and I think that'll be something I battle for the rest of my life to some extent. I do believe I've gotten much better and will get even better in the future but I don't think I'll ever not be that way at all

Feeling like climbing a mountain and falling back all the time... that's a very common feeling of mine too. It's something I discuss with my therapist frequently. One of the issues I've had with the Game Quitters system is what my therapist and I talk about a lot: I have no problem picking up new hobbies and often try something new a couple times a month, but I never stick with it and fall back to zero over and over. It's probably a major cause of depression for me so I totally get where you're coming from.

 

Thanks for your openess.

Yeah it's also something I will have to deal with my whole life I think.

What kinda helps me was a talk from Jordan Peterson. Because I am suffering from a lack of purpose,
the following sentence kinda helps: "Everything you do matters."

This is something I discovered for me. 

It matters if I sleep longer than I should.
It matters when I see something on the street which could be thown in the trash.
It matters how I treat my appartment, cleaning it.

Sometimes I try to outtalk this inner wisdom. I often know from my inner voice what
I should do. Then I try to outtalk it like saying "it doesn't matter if I stay in bed a little
bit longer".

But everything we do matters. Even not doing something has a cause (we feel bad for not
taking action). So it matters even those little things. 

I try to practice these things right now. It seems to fill that purpose void which is 
making my life a little bit more meaningful.

Regarding falling back I think I will try to make it a habit the things I wanna do.
I think at some point we may lose motivation which isn't reliable. Read the book
"Mini Habits" on that. I think I will try to implement some mini habits which will maybe
prevent the falling back, as mini habits are so easy, that we can't fail to do them 
(One pushup a day).

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I listen to a lot of JP as well (listening to the podcast right now actually) and thinking like that has helped me a lot as well. One thought I had along the lines of seeing something on the street which could be thrown away is that things are only fixed or cleaned once someone decides to do it and often if someone isn't being paid to do it, nobody does.

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6 hours ago, ceponatia said:

I listen to a lot of JP as well (listening to the podcast right now actually) and thinking like that has helped me a lot as well. One thought I had along the lines of seeing something on the street which could be thrown away is that things are only fixed or cleaned once someone decides to do it and often if someone isn't being paid to do it, nobody does.

True I try to be the person who is just picking things up when I feel like it. Just feels good bringing things in order.

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