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Journaling barefoot


Barefoot Mitch

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My story: 

 

I didn't journal the first day, unfortunately.

Day 2 - Friday, 14 August 2020

Today marks my second full day of being clean of video games. Yesterday and the day before went by very slowly, I didn’t have much to do and I was irritable all day.  I spent a lot of my time reading the stopgaming subreddit and this forum over the past few days, but I also managed to finish quite a few chapters of the books I’m currently reading (Liveship Traders Trilogy by Robin Hobb). The cravings weren’t as bad as I expected them to be, they are not comparable to the cravings I feel from masturbation or those I get from drugs.

I failed nofap this morning, on day four, which is a shame. I should jump out of bed instantly when my alarm goes off, even more so on days I don’t have to work. I decided that I would not completely waste the day, so I removed my gaming systems and hid them away. The next step would be to sell them. I feel quite anxious about taking that step.

To support my journey I bought a second hand MacBook Pro (2012), no games, just for programming and other skills I want to learn. I’m currently working on improving my full-stack development skills, and I’m thinking of creating e-commerce software, as I have never done so before.

I really want to go for a run, as I haven’t been able to in a few weeks. It all started when I stepped on a small bit of glass (I run barefoot) and I had to start work half an hour earlier, a small change ruined my schedule and turned me lazy. I had a week off this week, but the temperatures were well above 30c every single day. Maybe tomorrow?

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Day 3 - Saturday, 15 August 2020

The third full day of not playing video games. I didn’t do much this morning aside from browsing my phone and talking to a few fellow alumni classmates over WhatsApp. I decided to buy the RESPAWN E-book, every bit of help is welcome during this journey. One of the first things the book asks you to do is write down why you played video games, and why you want to quit playing them. Here are my answers to those questions:

Why I played video games

  • Sense of progression, and continuous goals to strive towards.
  • Being better than other people at something. Competition, boasting and “flexing” my superiority.
  • Escaping emotions. Games made me feel better than real-life, which allowed me to numb the pain of parts of my existence.
  • Socialising with like-minded individuals.
  • To not feel bored.

Why I want to stop playing video games

  • I spent a vast majority of my childhood and adulthood playing video games, with no real benefit at the end of the ride.
  • I haven’t progressed far beyond the physical and mental strength of a child.
  • I no longer find the majority of games interesting.
  • I used video games to cope with a lot of mental burdens, I wasn’t there when I needed myself to be pro-active.
  • I no longer want to be consumed by brain fog, restlessness, anxiety and depression.
  • It’s time to grow up, and take responsibility.

The book also asks you to write down how you are feeling. I feel strange, and anxious. The one thing that has been consistent throughout my life have been me playing video games, and that consistency is now severed. It feels like I’m dangling around on a few small pieces of string that are supposed to represent who I am, and my emotions reflect that. I still feel quite irritable, bored and I’m searching for stimulation. It’s still hard to grasp that I will not play video games anymore.

I decided at 1:45pm that now would be the most perfect time to go for a run. Lots of sweating, and I didn’t run as well as I hoped I would. My absence and the high temperature and humidity left me breathing hard after a single kilometre. Doesn’t matter though, I still ran. I Googled to check if there is a calisthenics park in my city. Calisthenics is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but wasn’t motivated enough to actually pursue. I doubt that I can even do a single pull-up right now. Unfortunately there are no calisthenic parks in my city, and the closest one is quite a drive away. I’ll scout for playgrounds and parks with bars (not the drinking kind) whilst navigating through the city.

I continued reading the Liveship Traders Trilogy over the rest of the afternoon and discussed my programming ideas with a friend of mine. I must say that I have gotten quite a tan for a Dutch man that sits indoors 24/7. After dinner I did some preliminary research about the NestJS framework, and will continue reading the book I’ve been reading before going to sleep.

TODO for future me:

  • Prepare a Windows 10 Home installation USB, Remove all previous data from all of my HDD/SSD’s, and re-install Windows on all my PC's
  • Take pictures of everything I need to sell (Two gaming PC’s, one gaming laptop, Playstation 4, PSVita, 3DS peripherals, and more gaming related items)
  • Sell the damned things, and throw shit away that nobody wants
  • Delete/sell Steam account, RuneScape account, etc.

 

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Hey @Barefoot Mitch, good news that you found your way here. My first couple of days (weeks) were uncomfortable to say the least. It takes time to figure out your new self (I'm still in the process), but it's a good feeling knowing that you're working your way there. Just take the bad times as they come. Don't put needless expectations on yourself for the next while and just try to focus on quitting. 

All the best! You can do this. 

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14 hours ago, MuMuMelon said:

Hey @Barefoot Mitch, good news that you found your way here. My first couple of days (weeks) were uncomfortable to say the least. It takes time to figure out your new self (I'm still in the process), but it's a good feeling knowing that you're working your way there. Just take the bad times as they come. Don't put needless expectations on yourself for the next while and just try to focus on quitting. 

All the best! You can do this. 

Thank you very much! I've read through your journal a few days ago. Impressive stuff, you're nearing the two month mark! I'm especially impressed by your dedication towards meditation, that is definitely something I need to pick up in the future.

 

Day 4 - Sunday, 16 August, 2020

Fourth day of not playing video games. I hoped for a lazy Sunday, but that illusion was quickly shattered by my mother who invited over a family member I barely know. Before they came I was quite moody, I didn’t feel like socialising at all. I got to know the people that came a bit more, which was actually a nice feeling. They also told me a bit about myself, apparently I was a very shut off kid when I was very young, I would be too busy playing with a toy car or with my stuffed animal fish and couldn’t be bothered with communicating with others, pretty autistic (never been tested) if you ask me. This behaviour was also present later in life (when I was starting or already were addicted to video games). They were surprised with my progress in life though, they didn't really expect me working full-time or finishing a bachelor's degree. I might be able to help them a bit as well, as their son is suffering from similar issues I have had growing up, and he is also addicted to video games. Me, my mum and sister should visit them sometimes, that way I can get to know the boy a bit and figure out what is bothering him, and share my experiences with him.

Programming sucked today. All I’ve been doing is dealing with stupid unfixable configuration errors and I haven’t been able to write one single line of code yet. F JavaScript, and F VSCode, makes me feel like I should’ve picked a different profession at times.

I really want to leave the house and get my own place. I’ve been looking for a place to live for over two years now. I earned too little during my bachelor’s to rent government subsidised housing, and now I earn too much for to be eligible for subsidising. I cannot afford to rent private property. Buying a house is out of the question too, even small studio apartments (40m2) go for over 100k easily. My maximum mortgage is less than 100k because of student loans.

Work starts again tomorrow, I hope there are more interesting things to do than before my week off. I will finish the night off with a bit of reading.

 

Edit: I nearly forgot to mention, but I cooked for my mum and I today. A nice burrito bowl. Tasted great. Haven't cooked in a while, so felt good to put something tasty on the table that we both enjoyed.

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Day 5 - Monday, 17 August, 2020

The fifth day of not playing video games. Today was a grown-up day. Woke up at 6:30, went to work at 7:15. What a beautiful morning it was, the entire city was filled with fog, and you couldn’t see past 50 meters. Looking at the fog floating above water was mesmerising.  Strange weather the entire day throughout, what started off foggy quickly turned to blistering heat, which turned to rain and thunder, to blistering heat, to hail, and now we’re back in sunny paradise. Work itself was quite boring, I had to play catch-up with a week’s worth of missed meetings.

At home I decided act like a grown-up for once. I looked through all my financial records and ordered them in an Excel sheet. I might be able to rent private property after all, and still live comfortable enough to save up a little bit of money to buy property one day. More on that in the future. I noticed that I pay quite a lot for my health and car insurance, so I changed providers for both. This should net me a decent savings of around 60 euro a month.

It’s pretty difficult for me to decide what I should do after a workday. I want to go for a run, but I blistered one of my feet on the hot pavement last Saturday. I want to read, but my air-conditioning in on (mobile unit, very loud), I want to do some programming, but at the same time I also do not. I think I should find more hobbies, or find something that forces me a certain schedule. I’ve been looking at Muay Thai boxing, as there is a gym (dojo?) that trains people in it in my city. I’m not sure if I can take that big of a step yet though.
Language learning sounds fun, but also quite useless as I don’t have the ambition to move to a different country. Learning how to play an instrument would be amazing, but the lute I ordered a while ago (inspired by the book The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss) hasn’t come yet. I’ll contact the lady I ordered it from today.

I’ve taken a small step towards getting rid of all my gaming systems. I have prepared a USB-drive with Windows 10 on it, I will gather all my computers at one point and re-install Windows on all of them. Then I’ll sell ‘em.

I find myself missing a bit of entertainment in life now. Before I quit gaming I didn’t consume any type of traditional media, aside from video games, YouTube, Twitch, and books. My mind wants to fill the gap I’ve created by watching series or movies. I don’t think I should, as I would just waste my at home time by watching media again. Still, it’s an itch that wants to get scratched. Does anyone have any advice or personal stories about this sort of craving?

IMG-20200817-WA0000.jpeg

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Day 6 - Tuesday, 18 August, 2020

Decent day. Made a fair bit of progress with our webshop at work today. I also managed to fix a few stupid configuration errors I were having on my development machine at home. Let’s hope that programming at home is smooth sailing from here on out, without any configuration issues.

Short journal entry today. There isn’t much I can say about my video game addiction right now, I haven’t really craved playing video games today, as I was pretty busy throughout the entire day. I still feel a bit restless though, and I’m lacking a bit of stimulation still.

My blister seems mostly healed, so I’m probably going out for a run again tomorrow night. I received a mail back from the luthier I wrote about yesterday, she was still busy with the lute as she’s been facing some delays because of COVID-19. Unfortunate, but understandable.

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Day 7 - Wednesday, 19 August, 2020

A whole week! A tough week, but a necessary one. I finished off the week by running my first 5k. I ran 5.8km barefoot, victory!

I also managed to figure out what I liked so much about one of the games I played. I didn’t just like osu! because of the scantily clad anime girls, the music and the flashy colours, but I seemed to like it most because it was a constant fight of me versus me. Me versus me, without anyone else being aware of my successes or failures, a battle to continuously improve my own skill. That is exactly how running felt today. I really enjoyed the run, the tougher it felt, the more I enjoyed it. My feet are absolute destroyed now though. I will have to rest for at least two days.. Worth it.

7 days down, infinity to go!

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Day 8 - Thursday, 20 August, 2020

A productive day at work. Nearly done with the webshop changes I don’t need our third-party vendor for. I’m currently reading the “EasyPeasy” PMOHandbook book about stopping porn addiction.

My feet are pretty beat up, but still in much better shape than I expected them to be. I can walk just fine, and I don’t even have muscle soreness. I wonder if I will be sore as can be tomorrow.

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Day 9 - Friday, 21 August, 2020

It’s going to rain all weekend according to Google’s weather forecast. I’m partially glad, as my blisters aren’t healed yet. I wanted to substitute running for cycling this weekend though, we’ll see if that’ll be possible.

I painted our awning in the evening. Might have to coat it again, not sure how well that will go with the rain. Is summer really leaving us already?

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I was thinking about running and cycling. I usually don't have energy to run though. Also we have seasons here so it's like, I could only go outside for those activities half of the year. Summer and winter are too extreme to go outside. But then cardio machines at the gym suck too. So I'm kind of screwed on cardio. Yep. 

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2 hours ago, Erik2.0 said:

I was thinking about running and cycling. I usually don't have energy to run though. Also we have seasons here so it's like, I could only go outside for those activities half of the year. Summer and winter are too extreme to go outside. But then cardio machines at the gym suck too. So I'm kind of screwed on cardio. Yep. 

Snowy and icy winters and blistering hot summers? I've heard that some people run barefoot during (snowy) winter, others cover up their feet with Vibram Fivefingers or similar type of 'barefoot shoes'. Bike riding during winter seems unwise, too slippery. I never liked running on a treadmill myself. You could substitute cardio with martial arts training during winter time once COVID-19 ends. 

 

Day 10, Saturday, 22 August, 2020

Blisters are still healing, riding my bike has been postponed to tomorrow. Decided to sand down and remove the rust from the metal bench in my backyard, spend most of the morning and afternoon on it, still not finished.

One of my ‘friends’ thought that me quitting games was unnecessary and that I should just ‘play some casual games during the weekend’. Sure man, I’ll just use a little bit of heroin whilst trying to quit heroin. No thank you sir, I feel much better without video games.

 

 

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Welcome to the forum!  Thank you for sharing your story here. Love the picture of the fog on the river.

I feel like we are kindred spirits as my kids and I try to go barefoot as much as possible. But mostly in the grass doing yoga. 
 

Will be following your journey. 

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11 hours ago, Icandothis said:

Welcome to the forum!  Thank you for sharing your story here. Love the picture of the fog on the river.

I feel like we are kindred spirits as my kids and I try to go barefoot as much as possible. But mostly in the grass doing yoga. 
 

Will be following your journey. 

Going barefoot really is the way to go! Healthy feet, happy people. Good on you for teaching your kids the proper way! I'm a bit wary of grass myself, as you can't see glass in it that well. Thank you very much for the warm welcome!

 

2 hours ago, Erik2.0 said:

Yeah maybe I could do kung fu or something, that'd be cool.

I never looking into kung fu before, but it seems that there are two gyms in my city teaching it. The more you know. Seems like an interesting sport. We've apparently even had a Dutch champion in 2017. Cool stuff.

 

Day 11, Sunday, 23 August, 2020

Rainy day, rainy day. Didn’t do any exercise :-(. Wet asphalt feels much sharper on the feet than dry asphalt.

Aliexpress product recommendations really came through today. As I was looking for some (fake) plant decoration with LED lights in ‘em for my room the site recommended me a cool looking flute, after clicking on it I saw something that really peaked my interest; a Kalimba, also known as a thumb piano. I looked up the sound signature of the instrument on YouTube and they sound really good. So I ordered two (one that can connect with audio equipment and one acoustic one). Excited!

Work tomorrow, hoping for a good nights rest.

 

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Enjoy your kalimba. That's quite the unique choice of instrument. It's cool. Congrats to the Dutch kung fu champ. Honestly I'll probably just get back into walking now that the weather's better. I'd like to get out to the trails more often as they're a lot safer than walking on the street or in neighborhoods. Cars often don't obey the crosswalk rules and will nearly hit you with their cars sometimes. It's dangerous to be a pedestrian going for a walk.

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3 hours ago, Erik2.0 said:

Enjoy your kalimba. That's quite the unique choice of instrument. It's cool. Congrats to the Dutch kung fu champ. Honestly I'll probably just get back into walking now that the weather's better. I'd like to get out to the trails more often as they're a lot safer than walking on the street or in neighborhoods. Cars often don't obey the crosswalk rules and will nearly hit you with their cars sometimes. It's dangerous to be a pedestrian going for a walk.

It certainly is, I never heard of Kalimba's before before seeing them on Aliexpress. Walking is a great way to see some awesome sights and get some cardio in, sounds like you have some trails nearby which makes the experience even better. The part of the Netherlands I live in is a bit lacking in terms of nature and trails, going somewhere nice takes up a few hours of your day. Same issue in the Netherlands for pedestrians, especially in bigger cities like Rotterdam. The nicest drivers I've seen so far in the Netherlands weren't Dutch, but German. They stop for everyone and everything, as German law is much more strict when it comes to protecting predestrians.

 

Day 12, Monday, 24 August, 2020

Busy day at work. Got a lot done for our web shop. Nearing the deadline, so we’re all feeling the pressure. Found a very nice looking second hand Hugh Tracey Kalimba that I would love to buy, so I put an offer on it. Still awaiting the sellers reply.

I’m still feeling very good overall (freedom from video games and porn!), but I’m not really investing my time wisely yet. Not much else to say about today.

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That's good to know about German drivers. I'm glad their country enforces stricter laws on protecting pedestrians. I remember in China it was like cars had the right of way and peds just tried to survive. It was even worse than the US. That's too bad you have to drive so far to go hiking. There are definitely trails nearby for me. If I can manage to get up earlier one of these days I'll enjoy going for a hike in the morning before it gets hot. Congrats on being game/porn free that's a big step in the right direction.

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4 hours ago, Erik2.0 said:

That's good to know about German drivers. I'm glad their country enforces stricter laws on protecting pedestrians. I remember in China it was like cars had the right of way and peds just tried to survive. It was even worse than the US. That's too bad you have to drive so far to go hiking. There are definitely trails nearby for me. If I can manage to get up earlier one of these days I'll enjoy going for a hike in the morning before it gets hot. Congrats on being game/porn free that's a big step in the right direction.

You definitely should, I couldn't imagine a better start to the day than going hiking and seeing the sunrise! 

 

Day 13, Tuesday, 25 August, 2020

Another busy day at work, with very little exercise (rain, go away). Deadline for the web shop is moved to Wednesday rather than Thursday, so I’m pretty nervous about it. Internal mailing list has already been notified of the new web shop, and external mails will be sent out as soon as we are live. Hope everything goes smoothly.

I watched a dozen YouTube video’s about people making their own (chromatic) Kalimba’s. I would love to source some materials and built my own chromatic Kalimba one day. I’m going to read Musical Instrument Design: Practical Information for Instrument Making by Bart Hopkin soon.

Two weeks free of gaming tomorrow. Who would've thought. I think the longest I've ever gone without RuneScape was during my teenage years. I used to get grounded from the computer, and the longest I've ever been grounded has been two weeks. I usually were allowed to use other electronic devices though, so I substituted playing PC games by playing PS2 or other console games.

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3 hours ago, Erik2.0 said:

Congrats on two weeks. 

 

Thank you very much!

 

Day 14, Wednesday, 26 August, 2020

14 days! It’s fun comparing the first few days of my journal and compare it to how I feel now. I’m feel much more clear-headed, less anxious, and way less angry and irritable than when I were still gaming. Enjoying work, learning new things, meeting expectations, being more social with other employees within my company. So far so good, let’s keep it up!

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Sounds like things are going well. I wish I enjoyed work more. I enjoy my work with clients but not the time I spend getting supervised which is like 1/4 of it right now. Getting supervised is rough. They're all up on my case about everything and it's really difficult to bear. But I'm doing it and doing the best I can to work with what they're telling me to do.

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3 hours ago, Erik2.0 said:

Sounds like things are going well. I wish I enjoyed work more. I enjoy my work with clients but not the time I spend getting supervised which is like 1/4 of it right now. Getting supervised is rough. They're all up on my case about everything and it's really difficult to bear. But I'm doing it and doing the best I can to work with what they're telling me to do.

Things are definitely taking a turn for the better for me it seems like. Getting supervised for a quarter of the day sounds unimaginably stressful, is there nothing you say or do to get them to back off a little? Seems like something that could seriously hinder your performance long-term. 

 

Day 15, Thursday, 27 August, 2020

Rather stressful day. Web shop still isn’t live properly, aggravated colleagues (and me) and the boss won’t be happy until the site is completely. Customers can order products, but one of the domains is not working as of yet.

My Kalimba should arrive tomorrow when I come home from work, excited for that. Bit of a busy weekend coming up. I want to dedicate the Saturday to reading, working out and playing music. My family and I will be visiting the family member I mentioned earlier in this journal on Sunday, and we will go shopping for new clothes as well. Not that busy for a regular person I imagine, but still much busier than what my weekends used to be in the past few years.

I'm having some odd cravings about video games (probably because of the more stressful days I've had), but I counter those thoughts with "I am free from that now". It's still odd that I crave after games I haven't played in years, sometimes even games that no longer or never had entertained me. There's also been thoughts about jumping into game development, but if I think even one small step ahead it's just another form of mental gymnastics/rationalising that goes back to "I did something hard, so I should be rewarded with enjoyment". 

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