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First ever public journal, here we go.

I've been an addict my entire life to different things. Drugs, games, sex, work. With games it started when I was young growing up in the country. Morrowind came out and I stopped going outside. Later, WoW came out and I stopped living real life. 12+ hours a day as a 14-16 year old. I stopped being a good kid at school. Got involved with the wrong people. My relationship with my family disintegrated (and hasn't ever full recovered 15 years later). I moved out at 16, which went about as well as you would expect, and dropped out of high school. The one benefit was that I had to sell my WoW account to pay rent.

Things were better for a while. I went back to school, met the woman at 18 who would become my wife. She went to the one class I needed to graduate with me so that I got my degree, and then we had some adventures. We got a couple dogs and traveled across Canada for a couple years.

We moved back to our home province at 20 and I felt like it was time to get a carreer. We wanted our own house. So I got a Class 1 license and moved tractor trailers around a yard, covering the loads with heavy ass tarps for up to 16 hours a day for three years. I was a 21 year old supervisor in my first real job and had no supervision myself, so that again went about as well as you would expect. I was fired after 2.5 years, but that was thankfully the month after we had saved enough to put the downpayment on a 700sq. ft home on 2 acres in the woods.

I bounced to a couple of garages for work but decided to go back to university for a BSc., and my wife once again went with me. Along the way, though, I had to buy a laptop. With the laptop came games. Someone I worked with introduced me to Civ and I played that more than I wanted to. Between Civs 4-6 I must have nearly 400 hours logged. Then I reconnected with my best friend from school and he reintroduced me to WoW.

WoW is the perfect game for me. I played basketball competitively. I was good, and have a few national-level awards (Canada, but still!) up until I stopped playing because of feeling like I needed to focus on work. WoW gave me back that feeling of competitive focus especially as I started getting good again. I have so many memories of clutch plays and feelings of flow. Going into a bg or arena gave me that sense of confidence knowing that I was probably going to beat the person I was going against, and if I didn't it was going to be a good fight. I loved that feeling so much that I played with 700ms lag and still hit 1800 in arena in 2s and 3s on priest, hunter, and warlock.

All that fell apart when my wife and I were hit in the face with the fact that she didn't know me anymore. I've never seen her so hurt. I honestly feel like I lost a part of our relationship then that I will never get back. We are each other's only real friends and have been together for 12 years now, 18-30. Before our worlds were intertwined. Now it's like that moment was an asteroid that hit us, splitting apart and sending our trajectories in different directions. I quit WoW.

Things were better and I recommitted myself to her. Then Kobe died, and this is going to sound ridiculous compared to the gravity of the rest of this story, but that affected me pretty big. He was my guy, my mentor. I'm not sure he's ever given an interview that I haven't seen. His death recommitted me to my work. For reference, during the beginning of my MSC. I was smoking weed and playing WoW, and had to do a proposal presentation. The whole time leading up to it I had this fake confidence where I was refusing to admit to myself and everyone around me that my head was not in it. It went okay, but not very well. Everyone knew it, and I knew it myself. Then, about a year later, 6 months after I recommitted, I had to defend the Msc. The feeling of leaving the house to do each of those two presentations was night and day. My proposal I maybe practiced 3 times. I had practiced my defense 2-3 times/day for 2 weeks leading up to it. I had done everything I could in that last bit and it made me absolutely okay with any outcome. A real form of confidence.

Things were good for a bit. I set out to start a PhD in Jan. 2021, which gave me 6 months where my savings and misc. grants would cover me and I would just write papers to get my publication numbers up work on some home repairs that have been needed to be done, and develop some skills. I had a decent routine but I was still playing 2-3 hours of DOS2 every day. That itself wasn't a problem, but it was like keeping a monster in the room on a short leash. It was just waiting for my attention to get pulled and it would break free.

One of my dogs got very sick about a month ago. He is old and has Lyme, so his immune system is poor and when things happen they happen quick. Still, I didn't notice something obviously wrong 2-3 days later than I would have if my attention hadn't been more on video games and work than everyday life. DOS2 made it so that my attention was always either on work or the game. I stopped my research and focused on taking care of him. Things weren't working though, and his problems were getting worse. I blamed myself for only half-heartedly doing 1/3 of the applications of his treatment because my mind was just not used to dealing with real life problems. Half-hearted efforts are rewarded in games, but straight up don't work in biology. Instead of the dopamine hit I was used to getting from games, I was told that we would have to try a harsher medication, the application of which he might not survive.

I went full effort, treating his care like a project. Cleaning his wounds over and over has been one of the hardest things I've ever done (emotionally). Being so up close with the mortality of something I care deeply for and not being able to save him. I did end up making enough progress to hold off on the harsher medication for another 2 weeks (recheck Oct. 22). However, at that point I was severely depressed.

That victory and the release of Baldur's Gate 3 coincided. I spent the $80 I don't have without hesitation, bought a bunch of weed, and binged for 3 days. It gotrid of the feeling of depression and anxiety and replaced it with adventure. My character was wise, capable, honest. I was not. Guess who I preferred to be? I never started back up with work and began playing during the day. It's been 2 weeks. Where before I was feeling like I was proud of how I was living my life, now I feel behind again and afraid to start, because then I'll have to face that fact and deal with the same feeling I dealt with way back when I did my unprepared Msc. proposal.

I committed to quitting games completely 2 days ago. I lasted like 22 hours before smoking weed and loading up BG3. I saw in the StopGaming discord that someone had uninstalled Steam and it was such the right move that I did it immediately. It's been 24 hours game free and my brain is an ant's nest of anxiety. I can't focus on anything wiithout second-guessing everything. But I'm here, it's a pleasure to meet anyone reading this. I already work out at least an hour everyday, sleep well, eat healthy, meditate, yoga. My challenges will be dealing with the fact that I have no real external pressure to do anything between now and Jan., but I once had a real desire to have done some things. I want to get back that desire, but this time be more present in day-to-day life, and to find some kind of joy in that. Nothing like a run-on sentence to end a long post.

<3

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First ever public journal, here we go. I've been an addict my entire life to different things. Drugs, games, sex, work. With games it started when I was young growing up in the country. Morrowind

Day 19 8:30 AM, did most of my morning routine, and I can already tell that today is going to be a 'just get through it' kind of day. Dark rainy weather and the start of a new work week. The perf

Day 33 Just a quick entry because I slept in and am feeling behind. Got to run into town in a bit to pick up some equipment that I'll have to spend the next few days testing, but more importantly

Hey bud, welcome to the forums eh.

Anxiety is a big issue for a lot of us - and using games  to escape is the easy solution or the path of least resistance. If we use games to escape from how we deal with anxiety (or real life problems as you describe it), then they are never going to get better, at best they are going to stay the same. I had similar challenges to you, and was a heavy WoW player, and I realised (most likely with the help of my son) that I was not getting better at dealing with my anxiety or dealing with life because we weren't practicing it, we were avoiding it by raiding or farming mats. We might not be good at dealing with anxiety or as good in life as we would like to be, but the fact we are progressing towards improving is the most important part of all.

How are things with your wife now? I worry that I don't spend much time with my wife, amongst the kids, work, running, and studying myself. It has caused me to want to be more deliberate with my days, and has spurred my second serious detox, this time of anything that does not contribute to my goals. It sounds like you might want to do something similar.

I am curious how your phD goes! I really want to do one but am having a hard time nailing down an idea or aspect to look into. Depending how the next year works out, it may be something I look into full time late 2022 or early 2023.

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Anxiety is a huge problem of mine as well. I think you're right about how effective games are at avoiding it. Part of what makes it so dangerous for me is that I can think about them even when I'm not playing. So when I switched to single player games even though it looked like I had it more under control from the outside, the reality was I may as well have been playing it with how often I thought about it rather than being present. I'd be interested in hearing how you've been managing your anxiety.

Things with the wife have improved but we are not at that easy place where we once were. Really, we haven't been for years. I'd say we're heading in the right direction. Things still feel a little forced, largely because I am still not fully present in the moment very often. I feel like I've been distracted so long I've lost the ability to focus on her as much as I'd like.

I've tried similar to what you are doing with your time, managing it more and making sure everything fits into goals and a person you want to be. I actually wrote out a schedule today to try to get back to that. A part of me resists that level of structure in my life. I really don't like seeing my full day set out for me like that, it makes me feel like I have no freedom. However, the odd couple weeks where I really nail it are so obviously better in terms of progress than those I don't. I struggle with giving up the fun impulsiveness, even if it's good for me.

I really enjoy grad school. After ten years of working retail and labour jobs the freedom of getting to be responsible for my own days has been amazing. In terms of topics a lot of profs already have projects that they are looking to take a student on for. Finding a topic itself can be a form of research. If you're interested I highly recommend the book 'The Craft of Research'. Other than that I use Robert Greene's method of researching something. I'll read things often, underline interesting tidbits, go back a week or so later and write those tidbits on themed index cards. Then I go through the index cards every so often and move them around and stuff. Topics tend to jump out from connections of ideas from different sources.

Anyways, thank you for the response, I appreciate it. My goal for the next little bit is to just stay away from games but it's been really interesting exploring this problem with other people. I had no idea how serious and widespread it was among adults.

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Welcome.

I know that feeling of flow. It's hard to get away from.

And the anxiety, too. I'm on day 17. It gets better. I'm not sure how, but it does.

Sounds like you have a lot of great habits and hobbies. Keep those up. I hear Canada has great nature, too. In the US there's this hobby called high pointing, basically you go to the highest point in every state. Maybe you could do the same with the provinces in Canada? Can Canada be broken up into more than ten parts, though?

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Thanks for the welcome and the reply Codepants. I feel like I've hit all the basics for hobbies. Like I do all the things they tell me should help. I'm sure they do, but the reality is that I'm still struggling. I guess the benefit is that when I do finally get over this I'll be a better person than if my hobbies were worse? As it is now, I'm fit and physically healthy, but my mental state is a mess.

Thanks for the suggestion on the hobby. Canadian nature is great. I think we have something like 12+ provinces and territories? I've been to the highest point of 4 so far. Traveling is just such a hard thing to do as a broke student. We haven't really gone anywhere in the past 4 years or so as the dogs health has started to go down. They've been in the country for a while now and aren't the kind of dogs you can just drop off at a daycare type place. When they do pass we've made it a commitment to get back to traveling.

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Day 2

Right now I feel like the chances of me relapsing are low, but my mental state is a mess. I can't hold a conversation for more than a few minutes. I can't follow one for more than 5 or ten. My brain feels like it's constantly searching for something, like it's trying to remember something it forgot. All day and night. I keep expecting it to go away and just relax, but it doesn't. It's like there's a mental hangnail or something that I can't stop picking at. I slept for like 11 hours last night because I felt like I had nothing to look forward to in the day, no reason to get out of bed. And still that feeling is there. Yes, I've gotten back into meditating. Previous experience has shown me it takes a few weeks to notice a difference though. No, I can't afford therapy, and local free options have a 6-month wait time. In the meantime I am this miserable portion of a human.

One of the things that makes this difficult, and one of the reasons why I'm grateful for this community, is that I don't have much in the real world that I can share this with. I've gotten very good over the years of hiding what I'm going through in terms of addiction. Even when I was binging I would spend an hour or two first thing in the mornings taking care of the things that would make it seem like I had my shit taken care of: walk the dogs, tidy up, workout, shower, shave ...then sit on the couch and game until an hour or so before my wife gets home. Then I'd do the same thing, have supper ready for her, etc. If I was feeling particularly bad, or had smoked weed during the day, I would find some excuse to hide. Either exercise some more or go for a walk. I think viewed from the outside I looked productive and healthy, but inside my head is in turmoil.

I moved my laptop back into my office; it had been on the couch for the past few weeks. Hopefully that will make it more likely that I'll get back to work. I have so many projects and ideas that I was excited about at one point in time, now I'm just afraid of the effort that they require. Going to try to tidy up the office and get organized again today. Yesterday I worked on getting a tent up to store the bike I use for plowing the driveway (Pic1). If I can get it up before the snow comes it frees up my shed for a workout area. Starting to get cold and wet working outside though. Normally this would take me an afternoon, Now in an afternoon I only got the roof put together. But that's more than I've done in the last month I've been saying I would do it. Also mowed the lawn for probably the last time this year (Pic 2). The changing of the seasons definitely has an impact on my mood as well.

 

 

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Day 3

I've really put quite a bit of time into the communities around quitting gaming (they've been a great distraction for the moments and it's hard to want to after engaging with others trying to quit). It's been surprising to me how helpful it's been because I am normally such an introverted person. I don't have any social circle at all. Just my wife and one friend, who is a bad influence. The idea that I have joined support groups for addiction does not fit at all with who I thought I was. The reality, though, is that it's absolutely been helpful for me to have a sympathetic audience and to be exposed to more of the problem.

Addiction is such a wide-ranging spectrum. There are people who are struggling with the 1-3 hours/day they are gaming, others like me who have had gaming put them on a destructive trajectory, and others who have never managed to get on a positive one. I still struggle with the thought that I am addicted, especially when reading stories of people who are in worse situations than myself. Despite my addiction, I have a good life. Most of the time I am unable to enjoy it (which just feeds the shame), but at least the background to my struggles are private, relatively stable, and I have accomplished things I am proud of. I think another part of my resistance comes from learning how long the path towards recovery actually is. My brain tells me '90+ days to feel better? what if games aren't even the problem? That's such wasted effort'

Anyways, yesterday I didn't get the office cleaned because it was a nice day and I worked some more on putting together that shelter for my plow. I also read outside in the sun a bit. I remember various points throughout my life of feeling like that was my favorite thing in the world to do. These days it kinda just feels like I am going through the motions. Like setting something down in a situation and being like 'Okay, you are now ...happy!', and then being surprised when nothing happens. I'd like to start writting fantasy again, like I did when I was a kid. I'm a bit afraid to though because that idea of creating is the same feeling I get when creating a character in an rpg. Same argument for starting dnd as a hobby.

Oh, and a grant that I had been waiting on came through, so I have a week or two of paid research work to do. Again, no supervision or external pressure at all besides the end deliverable (which won't even be looked at for months), so hopefully I can focus. I'm very grateful for starting this quitting journey when I did because the thought of trying to research while feeling the way I feel now is not a fun prospect. I still feel like my head is not in it, but hopefully it'll be a little better by Monday.

Thanks for existing and giving me a place to share this story. Putting it out there makes the commitment so much more real.

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Day 3 supplement

It’s a rainy day, I’m home alone and I miss WoW, so I’m going to write about it.

My favorite days were those where the internet was working well and it was dark outside. Late at night was great too. Throw on headphones and some music. Log in. Say “!” to my friends. Beat on a training dummy for a bit to get warmed up. Queue for a battleground. It pops and join a match.

The first few were always the best. I used to play basketball competitively as a kid and there were moments in a game where your body and mind just took over and everything came naturally, smoothly, confidently. You do amazing things, completely unplanned. WoW could turn those moments into minutes.

The match would start and there would be an opening charge. You could get a feel for your team by how they ran in those opening moments. Then you would see the enemy team and could again get a feel for them. The two meet and the best matches were those where they were fairly evenly matched. A full on battle-line with flanks and everything. It was beautiful.

I played shadow priest a lot so I’d spend a few seconds getting DoTs up. Then you figure out the weak spots in the enemy group and push, while backing up your own. A button was pressed every .7 sec., or whatever the global cooldown was for that character, at a steady rhythm. I’d love when you would be 1v1 somebody who didn’t have that rhythm down, or would pick the wrong spell, and you knew it would be an easy fight. I can still remember my opening for bg: 2, tab, 2, tab, 2, 4, 3, 4, 3, 3 (if healer in range) shift + e, (find kill target) q, q, 4, q, 3, q , 4. Then came improvisation and cc, so different spells. Doing an awkward combo on a keyboard in a set small window of time, like “e, 4, q, r, Shift + 3, r” is like a dance. It’s the same feeling I used to get from being locked in with basketball, but don’t anymore because of a lack of people to play with, age, where I live, and my own social awkwardness.

Arena had another flavour of that same feeling. My favorite moments were playing 2v2 with my best friend. Him going down, me finishing off the other guy and being low health but then outplaying my opponent even with a shit tonne of lag with your best friend watching. God that feeling of euphoria man. It’s hard to give that up for anything.

So yeah, I’m struggling. These thoughts and feelings are in my mind all of the time. When I’m alone, when I’m interacting with others. Doesn’t matter. No, I don’t want to learn a new language. No, I don’t want to scratch shaky lines on a page and try to feel some sense of accomplishment. I already work out like 1-2 hours a day, meditate 2 x 10 min., regular yoga, eat well, sleep well, have a career I enjoy when my mental state is good, marriage, garden, walk, read, write. None of it makes it stop.

All I want is to feel that feeling.

I’m not relapsing.

But I am constantly screaming into the silence of my own head with a pleasant (if distracted) look on my face.

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You're looking for the excitement you had in these games. You can find it elsewhere, for me I can find it in music (for example : epic music), or exciting tv shows (the boys, attack on titan, etc.).

It won't be exactly the same, but at least there won't be all the negative impacts of the games.

You can watch funny things too.

I see you work out a lot, I guess you can have some nice sensations in your muscles.

There are a lot of different things we can do in the real world, that give joy, excitement, good feelings.

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26 minutes ago, Martinof said:

There are a lot of different things we can do in the real world, that give joy, excitement, good feelings.

I'm hopeful that someday soon I can find that for myself again. Right now it all feels like poor caricatures of the feeling I described above, and it's always so short.

I don't have a tv atm and feel like I can't afford one. Maybe I should just go for it anyways. I work on my laptop and monitor all day, so I get sick of staring at it.

What are you listening to for music? I listened to an album of metal last night and it did give me a bit of the feeling we're talking about, but it also was linked to my adventures in WoW, and probably was what triggered the need to write this all out.

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I watch these shows on my computer (download or streaming). 

For the epic music, I listen currently the youtube channel "really slow motion" (ultra frost, maelstrom...). There are similar channels, like audiomachine, immediate music.

I listen to relaxing music too, like Ludovico Einaudi (divenire, primavera).

You should avoid any content that could trigger the desire to play again, it's too risky. I don't listen the music related to my game for example, because I will want to play again if I do ^^

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4 hours ago, Lampshade said:

I played shadow priest a lot so I’d spend a few seconds getting DoTs up. Then you figure out the weak spots in the enemy group and push, while backing up your own. A button was pressed every .7 sec., or whatever the global cooldown was for that character, at a steady rhythm. I’d love when you would be 1v1 somebody who didn’t have that rhythm down, or would pick the wrong spell, and you knew it would be an easy fight. I can still remember my opening for bg: 2, tab, 2, tab, 2, 4, 3, 4, 3, 3 (if healer in range) shift + e, (find kill target) q, q, 4, q, 3, q , 4. Then came improvisation and cc, so different spells. Doing an awkward combo on a keyboard in a set small window of time, like “e, 4, q, r, Shift + 3, r” is like a dance. It’s the same feeling I used to get from being locked in with basketball, but don’t anymore because of a lack of people to play with, age, where I live, and my own social awkwardness.

 

Think how much energy you spent memorising a rotation.

How is that rotation helping you in life? You look at someone good at something like this and think "man that is amazing". Whenever I see someone really good at these types of games I think, "Imagine what you could be doing with your life".

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Day 4

Was going through the process of changing the sheets on the bed this morning and had that feeling I typically get when I am daydreaming about gaming, except I wasn't. My head was just empty, but I was also ..whatever the opposite of present is. That's fine for now though.

I'm glad I got through yesterday. Ended up writing some fiction from the perspective of my WoW characters and that seemed to help get some of that feeling back that I've been craving so much. II used to write a lot of fantasy as a kid (i.e. steal other's). University kinda killed that, and my ability to read fiction. Not sure if it's a good idea to start back up writing in this style again. On the one hand, it is a creative outlet that can get me some of that feeling I craved from before. On the other hand, it keeps the feeling and memories present in my life. Thoughts?

Today my wife is home, so relapse chance is low. I'm thinking I'm going to head into town just to get out of the house for a bit. Being out in the country with not much to do sounds romantic, but even an introvert like me gets cabin fever lol. I'd like to get better at being around people.

@giblets You're right. There's much better ways to spend that energy. It's one of my main reasons for quitting

@Martinof Thanks for the suggestions. I love me some Einaudi. Contemporary piano as a whole is one of my go-to chill evening playlists. Just checked out that Youtube channel, looks awesome

Edited by Lampshade
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As I said, try to avoid any content related to videogames. If you are addicted to wow, writing some fiction about it isn't a good idea I think. You are fueling the desire to play this game.

You can still write some fantasy fiction, but it should be really different that the wow universe. I was thinking about lord of the rings, but there are a lot of common elements (orcs, elves, dragons, etc.). It could be about Greek mythology for example.

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@TheNewMe2.0@MartinofProbably a good idea. Gonna take the advice.

Day 5

This has been an interesting experience so far. My head keeps flipping between thinking that I'm not addicted and just being dramatic, and obviously addicted. One thing I've noticed, though, is seeing things in other people's stories and thinking 'well that's not healthy', immediately followed by 'I do that too'. I think teeth grinding was the latest one. Sometimes when I'm thinking about games and how free'ing it would be to just give up on this whole commitment, and my goals, my jaw clenches right up and my neck tightens (Exhibit A). It's also pretty sobering to be thinking "I'm good!" when it is literally day 5 and just a few days ago I was having near mental breakdowns.

I did notice a trend. Saturday was the day where I was craving an escape, and I think Friday was the day that I got put on a new work project. Maybe procrastination is linked to my addiction to games? Gaming is definitely an effective way to procrastinate, and playing first thing in the morning was my favorite (and most shameful) time to play. I don't do that anymore, but it's created a new problem that I now need to solve: I've got no reason to wake up in the morning and end up sleeping more than I want to. The work I do is great in the freedom it gives me ( no set schedule or anyone checking in), but that freedom requires a lot of self-discipline. I was never good at self-discipline over a long term.

Picked up a few books yesterday. One was Stephen King writing about writing and another was a book about building better characters. Despite it stroking my WoW fires, I did enjoy writing the other day. It's a way to get away from real life for a bit, but not something I can spend 8 hours every day doing (unless....). Kidding, but I am going to assume that it will be a healthier distraction. I don't feel the same need for it like I do games. There was also a self-help book (Think like a Monk). Normally I listen to audiobooks for self-help because I can usually get them free and do other things at the same time, but it's more difficult to remember, reflect, and reexamine them that way. The last book I got was Education. The story seems interesting to me, someone from an uneducated rural area finding success through education. Hoping it makes me more excited again for my own education. I've also got a Joe Abercombie book on the go but it's really just something to pick up once in a while. The whole book seems like it's just a big battle, which is fine but doesn't hold my interest the same way it once would have.

Edit Forgot to mention something important. My wife has been excited about this new painting technique ('Dirty Pour') for a while now, and last night I joined her to try it out. It was nice, and looking back on the pictures makes me smile. If I had been gaming regularly I most like would have said "I think I'm just going to play video games tonight." At best I would have been distracted, rushed, and definitely would not have helped with clean-up. I still don't feel like a full version of myself but I've stopped trying to pretend I am. Which is good, I think. Mine looks like a space squid cause I f'd it up in the beginning lol. It was more just a way to spend time with her than anything else. It was less exciting than gaming, but a more lasting kind of fun. I'm glad we did it. Here they are.

Edited by Lampshade
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Day 6

    Tidied up my office some yesterday and last night. Put my mechanical keyboard up for sale, but I'm kinda hoping it doesn't sell. Even though I'm committed to no more gaming it's still so much nicer to type on. I'm using a cheap regular keyboard now to write this and it's like running in mud. I've gotten spoiled. I wanted to sell off my gaming laptop as well and buy something without a gpu in it but I'd end up losing like $500+ trying to get something with equivalent specs but without a gpu. I can't downgrade my specs because the stuff I do for work is pretty resource heavy. I can't put together a desktop to replace it cause I need to be mobile, again for work. Oh well, it was a nice thought.

I found my controller in a drawer and it brought back memories of easy days just sitting on the couch playing games all day. Made me really want to. It'd feel so good to just stop trying. I must've fluffed the sheet like 30 times this morning when making the bed because my head was thinking about gaming. It's almost funny, if it wasn't so stressful, how much control an inanimate object can have. When I found the controller I realized that I should just give it away. Why hold onto it, if I had decided to never use it? It's like a part of my brain just started screaming in resistance and I had to put the controller back in the drawer and stop considering getting rid of it in order to quiet my head. I have a friend that I have some other stuff to drop off to probably this weekend. I feel like I have to whisper this so that my brain doesn't hear, or some such nonsense, but I'm going to give it away then. Just can't think about it too much. In DOS2 there's a character that repeats that line over and over in a meme-worth way. "I'm alright, as long as I don't think about it too much". That's me right now.

Still haven't started working yet, but I've been relatively productive. I's amazing how quickly you can fall behind on just everyday chores and such. Three weeks of doing nothing seems to take the same amount of time to catch back up. Cleaning, tidying, laundry. Yeah.

One thing I've noticed is that I need to be careful about my screen time. I've been spending more time than I want to just browsing youtube, reddit, etc. It was okay at first because I was thinking that anything other than games is a step in the right direction but now it's just starting to become a problem of its own.

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Day 7

1 week mark. Woop woop. Yesterday was the first day I did a near-normal work day. Once I got into the rhythm of it, it was fine (rhythm is a monstrosity of a word spelled out). My focus is improving I think, but not by much. Motivation is still pretty low, and I am sleeping a lot. My brain seems to have given up a little on trying to get me to impulsively game. Having everythign uninstalled has been great for that. I hate how popular Among Us is right now and how often I see a button telling me to download it. I hate how social it supposedly is, and how that is one of the main things I am missing right now.

Yesterday I decided I was going to quit coffee as well. A foolish, 'too-much-coffee' inspired decision. As it stand right now, though, I have already gotten rid of all coffee in the house and it is about a 30km walk through the woods to the nearest store. Hmm, so there is a chance of getting another cup after all.

I wanted to write about a couple times I had encountered addiction during times when I was relatively healthy. One, when I was about 20, was a neighbor to a place I had just moved into. He had inherited his mom's house and was a welder by trade. However, he didn't take a single job the year I lived there. He did drink a lot though. He knocked on my door once at like 4am, drunk, looking for a drive somewhere. I remember being shocked at him not understanding how inappropriate that was. I also remember him bragging about how there was never any dirty dishes in his sink and thinking 'dude, that's all you have to do in a day'. He was trying to get another place, and I heard the seller telling him in a tone normally used for children, that he would have a better chance if he got a job. Another was when I was working as a cab driver during my undergrad. I delivered some alcohol to another cab driver's apartment on his day off. The place was dark in the middle of the day and smelled like vomit and uncleaned litter boxes. I was bringing him a big bottle, and he had already put down some. The man was friendly, as if he was having a fantastic time.

I see myself in both of those cases. Gaming addiction presents itself differently, but there are similar trends. A main one seems to be the denial that anything is wrong. I've written a lot lately about how I went on a 3-week binge immediately before quitting. Even before that, though, for years I would take a day or two off from doing anything every week and instead just watch porn, smoke weed, play video games. How could I possibly think I would present as a normal functioning human after days like that? A part of me knew I couldn't, so I would try to hide myself. Video games were always there for that as well. And after a while they felt like the only thing I could do.

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Day 8

Hit a milestone yesterday, first time I felt genuinely happy since quitting. I had just gotten back from a run. It was brief but the first natural smile I have had in a long time. I was surprised, and then surprised I was surprised lol. I guess you don't really know how low your baseline mood has gotten until you are surprised at a feeling of joy.

God I want a coffee.

Today is the recheck appointment for my dog. His illness, and my inability to effectively care for it, was the main reason I quit gaming 8 days ago. He's gotten better but still hasn't fully recovered from the fungal infection. The next step is a harsher medication. Not ideal for an old dog with other problems. Those other problems are still there, too, underneath the more immediate one. There's a movie I watched a while ago that I don't remember much of. Something about a tree monster and a boy whose mother was dying (dieing? how do I write that). The point of the movie was for the boy to admit a secret about the situation. He said something like 'I just want it to be over.' I loved that moment. It's such a beautifully human thing to express. To be able feel two contradicting emotions, like love and selfishness, at once. No wonder we're so often a mess lol.

Oh, and I watched a Hunger Games movie last night with my partner. There was a line relevant to this forum. 'It takes ten times as long to build yourself back up as it does to tear yourself down.'

 

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  • Lampshade changed the title to Lampshade Journal

Day 9

Recheck appointment for my dog went well. We've avoided the harsher medication that I was worried about. He's still got a bunch of other problems but that stuff is due to age and underlying problems.

This evening and weekend would normally be a bunch of gaming. It's nice not having that there. Whenever I gamed for an entire weekend the time flew by and I often didn't feel like I had enough. How can 12+ hours not be enough? Looking at it from the scope of other hobbies, that's crazy. Instead I have a relay race scheduled with my partner for this afternoon. Tomorrow we're going to head into the thrift store and pick out some house stuff and a fun outfit, and I'm finally going to get my degrees framed. The rest of the time I plan on reading, writing, and doing some work in my shed. It feels like a much more fulfilling way of living.

I saw somebody on r/stopgaming got rid of their steam account. I still have mine. Realizing that (and not acting on it) is a great reminder that I am still an addict. I've got so much respect for the long-term people across all addictions. It seems like it gets to a point where your brain doesn't remember the bad times anymore, and instead it just feels like you are pointlessly depriving yourself of something fun. For years/the rest of your life. Day 9 and I'm like 'it's probably fine!' But as soon as I think that I go straight to desires to binge. There's always the feeling that maybe someday I'll be able to moderate but I'm not sure when I'd ever be able to tell if it was okay.

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I read a lot of similarity in your posts so far. Although Morrowind wasn't the beginning of my addiction it's definitely an exclamation point in it. Also had an 18 year addiction to alcohol which I finally managed to put an end to two years ago. I don't think Kobe's death affecting you is weird or silly... we all should have someone like that to look up to in our lives (and if someone doesn't they really need to find one ASAP). I can think of two people whom I've never met but who have had a profound impact on me and if (when) they die it will feel pretty terrible. I guess a bonus of reading philosophy from the past is that those people are already dead, lol.

Sounds like you accomplished a lot even with your addictions and you got a taste of how much more you can do without them.

To your last post, I've been sober from alcohol almost 3 years and I've heard other people say that "some day you don't remember how bad it was" but that moment has never come for me. I still vividly can taste rancid alcohol in my mouth from the next morning, feel the pounding headache and self-hatred at doing something embarrassing. I think if you want to forget it, you can, but I don't want to.

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@ceponatia I think you're spot on with what you've written.  I've also seen similarities in others stories, so many that I've lost count. It was easier to pretend I had things under control before I started seeing parts of myself in other people who also struggle with this and other addictions.

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the perspective of who has been at this long-term.

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Day 10

Run went well yesterday and I have a full day planned for today. Also Day 3 of no coffee (though I may have one later), 6 Days of meditation in a row. I also have a pretty good morning routine that gets all my daily hygiene and stretching taken care of, that's been really nice to have. All these daily routines make the days so boring though.

Hoping everyone makes it through the weekend okay. I know I would just love to relax for a full day and indulge.

Oh and I looked a bit into selling my steam account. Even if I could get 100-200 for it, that's a lot of money for me right now. I may even be able to insulate my shed so that I don't freeze working out in it this winter, or use it to try the stock market, or more books!. Anybody have experience selling a steam account? Imagine I just have to remove all personal and billing info.

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I don't know how to sell a steam account but good luck doing it, I'm sure it's possible and you can google how to. An insulated shed sounds nice. Or any of your ideas for the money. I have been off games for about 11 months now. I too felt the great boredom of daily routines and doing the same things everyday/week. Even I have tv disorder so I can only watch a handful of shows so I have to repeat watching them. So it's extra repetitive in my life. Still I embraced the monotony of it after a while and just kept doing the things and accepting that this is my life. Now I'm okay with it. I don't think about the repetitive nature of it all and I even enjoy my life as it is. I still get tempted to game or masturbate. But I'm learning to control my thoughts so they don't spiral out of control and lead to relapse.

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