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Day 11

ooo fancy forum upgrade.

Yesterday was a nice day around town. We got some nicer artwork at the thrift store and I bought  a new outfit. Also got a coffee but ended up dumping 3/4 of it out. I could feel myself slipping away.

When I was a kid, maybe like 12-14, I had friends who smoked weed or drank. At that point I was still sober. I remember someone asking me why I don't do anything like with them. I replied that I didn't like the feeling of not being in control. I don't think I ever really felt safe enough to let go like that. Anyways, that little kid had smarts.

The urge to game has been coming less and less but it's still there. Even just writing about it makes my chest tighten and breathing change. Other than that, I feel bored and depressed. I don't feel much emotionally when I think about the things I am supposedly looking forward to doing. I could probably use therapy but I have no idea how somebody without a well-paying job affords that. Even with benefits, only 4 sessions are covered. If this goes on for another couple weeks I may bite the bullet and go (further) into debt for it. I'm assuming it's just related to the dopamine problem of games. I do have depression and anxiety issues but the meds I've gotten before from my doctor for them all seem like they have addiction potential with harsh withdrawal symptoms. This experience with gaming aside, I've already quit a bunch of different substances that I've been varying levels of addicted to. I really don't want to add a new one in.

But I do feel much more stable. More focus. Still sleeping way too much.

Today I'd like to read and write a bunch. educated has turned out to be a fantastic book. One of those non-fiction books that feels more dramatic than fiction. I've also got a book to help with character development. I'm hoping that building fictional characters will satisfy some of the feeling that I used to get from building and trying out new characters in rpgs., but the weather is turning and at some point I should get outside and do some yardwork. The longer I put it off the colder it will be doing it.

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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

So that's been my plan. If I get up around 5:30 that should be enough time for me to get through everything if I stay focused. That said, my success rate for getting up is like once a week at best. I'

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

Yeah do that yard work. It's difficult, but it's got to be done at some point. I avoid it and get my mom to do it. But eventually I'll probably do some. Glad your book is going well. Psychotropic meds don't work for everyone. If they aren't working for you I guess you've got to figure something else out. I take meds, but they have a lot of side effects. I feel suicidal when I'm not on them though so I keep taking them.

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 Day 11

Managed to get up at a much better time this morning even though I couldn't get to sleep last night. Tried some sleep music on Spotify but it wasn't engaging enough to stop me from thinking, tried a meditation sleepcast on Headspace but that wasn't working either, then put on my audiobook of Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson and it did the trick, like it almost always does. I have no idea what I'm going to do for sleep when I finish this series because it's basically a lullaby to me at this point. That sounds awful, they're really good books, but they're also huge so you can listen to like a half hour of it and nothing much will really happen so it's not a big deal if you drift off. Shallan is my homegirl, and sometimes when I'm doing research I pretend I'm a scribe for Jasnah Kholin. She wouldn't stand for no nonsense gaming during work hours.

Speaking of work hours, I set a blocker on my browser for reddit and facebook to try to help me stay focused today. It comes on in ten minutes, so going to try to keep this short. I'm using Leechblock because it's free and way easier to use than ColdTurkey. Seems pretty simple to override, but I'm hoping that the extra step at least makes me more mindful of what I'm doing. I feel like I'm less likely to avoid work by scrolling if I have to admit to it beforehand.

Today should be a pretty good start to the week. It's my first week that I feel like I'm going back to attempting a normal life since the issues with dog and subsequent gaming binge a little over a month ago. I was in a really good place for making progress on my goals, stress levels, and just feeling like a decent version of myself prior to that and at that point I was still knocking off early and gaming for 2 hours or so everyday. I'm excited to see where I can get to this time. I picked up a planner and started structuring my days ahead of time again. Wrote down the important dates I got coming up. Organized my to-do list a little better. Just feeling more engaged and ready for real life than I have in a while.

Ironically, (I hate the pressure to use that word correctly these days), I also spent 15 mins this morning salivating over the new Magic: The Gathering Online layout. That was another game I spent a lot of time playing at one point and I get hit with an ad showing that the layout no longer looks like it was made for Windows 95. It's not really a video game. At least That's what I said while hovering my mouse over the download button. But the online version fills that same role for me. I think the irl version would be better, at least then I'd be socializing, but it's a 45 min commute to town. Also I'm I'm still shy (at 30).

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Day 13 (double counted 11)

Yesterday was good. Spent the early part of the day organizing my notes for a paper I had been working on prior to the Great October Gaming Binge. It feels good getting back to it, annoying how far behind I am than if I hadn't stopped, and a bit disheartening at how much slower I am at working through the information. It'll take time to get back into the rhythm. What a monstrosity of a word, rhythm, It has no right being that long without a real vowel. Anyways, the afternoon I listened to and helped evaluate the Honours students projects. It was great. I like seeing the students who have discovered something they enjoy. This cohort had such an extra challenge with the covid restrictions. Imagine trying to plan an experiment where you have to check in on something, or do some manipulation, at certain time intervals (while often taking 3-4 other classes) and expecting at any point the university could just shut down. The students going through school now are definitely going to have a unique skillset.

Slept in today. The rest of my days are actually pretty decent these days, it's just the damn mornings. Starting every day off with a fail is so frustrating. I have no idea why my body feels like it needs 10 hours of sleep.

I think I've narrowed down the main triggers for my bad/addictive habits: Boredom, Procrastination, and Escapism. Next step is to figure out how to deal with those feelings better than I have been in the past.

Cool line in the book I'm reading that I relate to quite a bit, and I think others here might as well. The author is struggling with her conflicting desires for a traditional and non-traditional life and she goes to someone for advice. For reference, she turns out to be amazingly talented academically. But the person she goes to for advice was not the popular professor. It was a "quiet, soft-spoken man [...] with a serious expression" The man thought about her problem and dropped this gem:

     " First find what you are capable of, then decide who you are"

That's such a great line, delivered at the right time to help someone with a  lot of potential to pursue it. I loved it because I feel like a lot of the people we are exposed to who are obviously headed for success are those with big, public personalities and strong social media presences. The professor that gave the author that advice does not seem to be that type of person but he still mattered. I am so much more comfortable with the idea of me having a genuine impact as a quiet, soft-spoken person in the right spot at the right time than any impact I might have if I continue trying to awkwardly force my personality to be something I'm not. It seems dishonest.

 

 

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On 10/26/2020 at 6:59 AM, Lampshade said:

Ironically, (I hate the pressure to use that word correctly these days), I also spent 15 mins this morning salivating over the new Magic: The Gathering Online layout. That was another game I spent a lot of time playing at one point and I get hit with an ad showing that the layout no longer looks like it was made for Windows 95. It's not really a video game. At least That's what I said while hovering my mouse over the download button. But the online version fills that same role for me. I think the irl version would be better, at least then I'd be socializing, but it's a 45 min commute to town. Also I'm I'm still shy (at 30).

This video only exists on FB, so I feel kinda bad linking to it, but Adam Ruins Everything does ruin the ruining of the word "literally:" https://www.facebook.com/truTVAdamRuinsEverything/videos/nobody-likes-a-grammar-cop-literally-adamruins/585449938324418/

Magic would be a great way to meet a bunch of other shy people and practice not being shy. 🙂 My friends and I often wonder how our lives would be different if we'd played D&D instead of Smash Bros all throughout high school. For example, we might have developed social skills a lot sooner... 😅 Unfortunately though, the only way to play Magic during COVID is probably online.

10 hours ago, Lampshade said:

What a monstrosity of a word, rhythm, It has no right being that long without a real vowel.

I lol'd.

10 hours ago, Lampshade said:

Cool line in the book I'm reading that I relate to quite a bit, and I think others here might as well. The author is struggling with her conflicting desires for a traditional and non-traditional life and she goes to someone for advice. For reference, she turns out to be amazingly talented academically. But the person she goes to for advice was not the popular professor. It was a "quiet, soft-spoken man [...] with a serious expression" The man thought about her problem and dropped this gem:

     " First find what you are capable of, then decide who you are"

That's such a great line, delivered at the right time to help someone with a  lot of potential to pursue it. I loved it because I feel like a lot of the people we are exposed to who are obviously headed for success are those with big, public personalities and strong social media presences. The professor that gave the author that advice does not seem to be that type of person but he still mattered. I am so much more comfortable with the idea of me having a genuine impact as a quiet, soft-spoken person in the right spot at the right time than any impact I might have if I continue trying to awkwardly force my personality to be something I'm not. It seems dishonest.

That is a cool line. I like to think I drop those little gems every now and then with my clients. Going to have to write this one down and use it sometime. It reminds me of that quite by Emily McDowell,

“Finding yourself" is not really how it works.

You aren't a ten-dollar bill in last winter's coat pocket.

You are also not lost.

Your true self is right there,
buried under cultural conditioning,
other people's opinions,
and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid
that became your beliefs about who you are.

"Finding yourself" is actually returning to yourself.

An unlearning,
an excavation,
a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you.

I think it is often the combined force of all the soft-spoken people in the right places at the right times that create change. Maybe that's just me.

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28 minutes ago, codepants said:

I often wonder how our lives would be different if we'd played D&D instead of Smash Bros all throughout high school. For example, we might have developed social skills a lot sooner

I am unsure if replacing Smash with D&D in high school would have resulted in a brighter or a darker future. We can only focus on the choices we make today and plan for the future.

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I've looked into selling mine but it's too risky for me. It's against their rules so if you get caught you lose your account and don't get anything for it, lol. I'm sure there are ways to do it securely and privately but I'm out of the loop with that kind of stuff.

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12 hours ago, codepants said:

“Finding yourself" is not really how it works.

You aren't a ten-dollar bill in last winter's coat pocket.

You are also not lost.

Your true self is right there,
buried under cultural conditioning,
other people's opinions,
and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid
that became your beliefs about who you are.

"Finding yourself" is actually returning to yourself.

An unlearning,
an excavation,
a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you.

I think it is often the combined force of all the soft-spoken people in the right places at the right times that create change. Maybe that's just me.

That's an idea that's come up a bunch in my meditation practice, thanks for that! It's so true too, I often find when I'm feeling off that it helps to just start cutting out the extra stuff in life. Get back down to the bare self.

Oh and I'm excited to check out that video. Facebook is just blocked for me during the day so I'll look tonight.

Day 14

My morning got thrown off by a morning meeting. It wasn't even that early but it made it so that I didn't have enough time to do my full morning routine. Now I feel very thrown off. The price of sleeping in. Same as a lot of other bad habits, it's fine until it isn't. As much as I complain about how boring morning routines are, turns out they also just absolutely make my day better. Patrick Bet David on youtube (yeah he can be a lot but he gets me pumped up sometimes) once talked about the day as a mountain and that what you accomplish in a day depends on how high you can get in the morning. Also the idea that you want to climb high early so that the rest of your day is at a better, more enjoyable pace. I like that. Right now my days feel crammed.

On a more positive note, two weeks clean! I'm going to do a full reflection in the accomplishments area and go through my old topics to get a feel for how I've progressed. I'll edit and put the link in here when I'm done. Gonna have a cup of decaf while I do it cause I feel like poop. I still count decaf as coffee, so I'm not happy about that, but yeah I'm going to anyways for no reason I can justify.

I also just finished my first ever 10 day meditation streak. I've now got 29 hours logged on the Headspace app alone, which blows my mind a bit. I bought in after halfway through the 'Managing Anxiety' pack a year or two ago after it improved my life in such an obvious way that even I couldn't miss it. I was in a big group meeting which always triggers my anxiety. This time I noticed it rising and flashed a visualization technique and it completely changed the path of the rest of my day. I was calmer than I normally would have been, therefore able to deal better with a stressful situation that came up in the meeting, therefore avoided something negative that would've eaten away at me for a long time. Meditation works folks, and I can't recommend Headspace enough for people new to it.  The $75 or whatever a year costs is absolutely worth a more comfortable mental state.

Now to cancel that all out with a cup of coffee. Zoom!

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15 hours ago, Bird By Bird said:

I am unsure if replacing Smash with D&D in high school would have resulted in a brighter or a darker future. We can only focus on the choices we make today and plan for the future.

Our hypothesis was that we'd be better at social interaction, role play, and improv. With Smash you just stare at a screen. With D&D you are creative, forced to improvise, interact with each other, etc. It is just a hypothesis.

We can focus on the choices we make today and plan for the future. We can also acknowledge the role the past played in getting us where we are, learn from it, appreciate what was good, and mourn what was bad.

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Day 15

Still failing at quitting coffee, almost entirely due to boredom in the early part of the day. I need to figure out a way to include relapses in my 'I quit x by...' thing. My wife has also been trying to quit and she agreed to take the decaf we have out of the house next week, so I think that will be my turning point. It just messes with my anxiety too much. I can notice a difference in myself even later in the day depending on whether I had a coffee or not. Maybe I'm caffeine sensitive, or just overthinking it, I don't know. All I know is that the more bored version of myself is a higher level of average comfort than the version of myself that gives in to cravings and then feels anxious.

I've noticed that self-improvement can quickly become a very deep rabbit hole. There are so many things I want to work on. I was using a brain training app for a bit but it felt too game-y. I've got Duolingo going 15 min/day to try to get some of my French skills back. I'm also now trying to become a better speaker. And a better writer. And continue meditating, exercising, stretching. It can feel overwhelming, and hard to chose which is best to spend the time on. I think that maybe working on getting rid of the idea that I'll ever complete any one thing might be helpful. Instead just try to think of it as an ongoing lifelong process. Yeah, that sounds like something someone who has their shit together would say. /nod

Today should be pretty good. It's the first day where the temperature is above 5C (all the way up to a high of 10!), so my main goal is to finish a project I've got half done outside. Chance of snow soon. Probably only got a week or two left and I've still got a couple things to do that I need a clear and relatively dry ground for. Here's to cold, frozen hands!

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12 hours ago, Lampshade said:

I've noticed that self-improvement can quickly become a very deep rabbit hole. There are so many things I want to work on. I was using a brain training app for a bit but it felt too game-y. I've got Duolingo going 15 min/day to try to get some of my French skills back. I'm also now trying to become a better speaker. And a better writer. And continue meditating, exercising, stretching. It can feel overwhelming, and hard to chose which is best to spend the time on. I think that maybe working on getting rid of the idea that I'll ever complete any one thing might be helpful. Instead just try to think of it as an ongoing lifelong process. Yeah, that sounds like something someone who has their shit together would say. /nod

Thisssssssssssssssss is something I've really been struggling with. I've seriously been considering picking five things and not doing anything else (I think your list is already five things—French, speaking, meditating, exercise, stretching). I want to do ALL THE THINGS with my life. Too bad days aren't 36 hours instead of 24.

Here's to cold, frozen hands. 🙂

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12 hours ago, codepants said:

I want to do ALL THE THINGS with my life

Me too man, I've said that exact thing so many times

Day 16

I just had a meeting with my grad student supervisor and I've got to write a bit about how extremely grateful I am for him. He hired me in my first field work job during my undergrad and turned my attitude towards university from this cynical 'get a degree so that I can work in a different factory' to 'holy crap I get paid for this?' I pretty much get to decide my projects on my own and when I tell him about them he is enthusiastic, supportive, and excited. I'm going to be doing my field work in a spot that's a half hour hike  through the woods from my house that I've been visiting for almost ten years now. It blows my mind. Before going back to university I used to make hand-drawn maps of the area and appreciate it for what it's was. Now I get to go back with a buttload of cool gear and a bunch of education and study it. I'm ecstatic. I hung up the Zoom call and did some chair spins/fist pumps.

There are downsides of course. 40 hours/week is like the minimum, and probably not competitive enough if I want to keep my options open at the end of the degree. Even 40-hours I struggle with. 50-60 doesn't leave much time for anything else. I've done 60 with another job, and have gone all the way up to 80 at one point, but I barely remember those 3 years. It doesn't officially start until January though. I think I'm just going to have to spend the next couple months aggressively experimenting and cutting away excess stuff in my life so that I can focus my time on what's really important when it's time to hustle. My relationship and physical health are two things I know I don't want to compromise on, for example.

I'm so glad I got gaming out of there. There just wasn't room in my head for any of these awesome plans for the future, or any time to flesh them out if there had been, when it was so much easier to immerse myself in a game instead of life.

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Sounds like a super exciting time coming up for you! A lot of what you're writing here resonates; finding the stuff that's important to you and doing that. Looks like it'll be busy, but rewarding. Academics are generally great to work with - Even my undergraduate supervisor was similar. Genuinely passionate about what it was he did, and eager to find someone, anyone else who shared that interest. It's really inspiring to read about the change in your view here, and the space to think about your future that shuffling gaming out made for you. It's got to be a great feeling, to feel as if each day is taking you closer to somewhere you want to be.

Best of luck with the planning and the looming promise of cool gear. It sounds as if you'll have the opportunity for a bit of built-in hiking too!

Edited by Commissar
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Day 17

Weekend entries are going to be short I think, but I want to keep the habit.

Went out to hang out with a friend at their place last night. Normally we just game all night. Told him my story, gave him my controller, and instead we had a wonderful time with his room mate just talking around the table and playing crib, then went out for late-night ice cream. It was much more memorable, I got to learn some things about someone I've known for 17 years, a new card game, and met a new awesome person. Much better way to spend the time.

Today I'm finishing up some yardwork, doing a quick run in to town with the wifer, then hopefully going to read some and write a silly story about someone who can make time out of grocery store ingredients.

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@TheNewMe2.0 Thanks 🙂

Day 18

I've gotten to a good place with productive habits. Loading them up in the morning is the way to do it for me or they're on my mind all day. Strangely, there's been a downside of building productive habits: I'm feeling a lot of anxiety if I can't do them. I had a couple early meetings last week, for example, that left me with less time than normal in the mornings. I don't want my whole day to be thrown off just because I didn't make do one part of my routine. Especially since it keeps growing larger and larger as I get excited about new things. I've cut a few out, but my list of things that I feel like I should add has been growing. I'm calling it self-help creep.

Another weekend of no gaming. I'm amazed how much fuller the day feels when the lapses between doing things are spent relaxing, tidying, chatting with the wife, etc. instead of jumping into a game "for a bit".

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"Self-help creep." 😅🤣😂 that shit is REAL.

I can't remember if it was your thread I suggested this in but maybe you could have A days and B days? Like, do some habits on A days, and some habits on B days. That way, each day doesn't feel so cramped. I'm also considering adding forgiveness into my habits, i.e. I get one pass per habit per week. I'm just worried that will evolve into... pass creep?

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The dreaded 'for a bit.' What a problem to have, though! It's great you've picked up enough things now that the issue is choosing between them. It's still early days, so I imagine you'll settle onto a handful that you find are most helpful as time goes on. In the meantime, there's nothing wrong with shuffling and sorting to get a feel for it. Codepants' idea sounds good, to figure out which ones are really of interest.

I definitely feel you on the schedule changes! I'm super routine-orientated, and not starting right tends to knock the whole thing off-kilter a little. With any luck that'll settle down some as you move into this new stage in life and expectations normalise a bit.

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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 perfect day to light up and game instead of putting in the effort to get into work-mode. I've been having more cravings this morning than I have in a long time. First it was for gaming, then it was for anything to get me out of my mind. Almost smoked weed (I have no idea why I've been hanging on to it for 18-months now). It was like I knew that if I could just get out of my head for a minute then I could get gaming and then get through the day in peace.

Nothing is even going on to cause this. I had a great weekend. I was feeling anxious about Monday last night but I don't even really mind doing the stuff that I have to do.

Well it would be nice to get through the day and have something to show for it rather than just wasting it on the couch or the internet. I think I'm going to manage, but man, it ain't going to be pretty.

I'll get to any replies when I'm in a better state of mind.

EDIT

Ended up finding a half pack of cigarettes. Sometimes I feel like that same kid I was 15 years ago looking for shit like cough syrup and nutmeg to get out of my head.

On a more positive note, I've done 15 days of Headspace in a row and unlocked a free 1-month trial to share with a friend. Does anybody want it?

Edited by Lampshade
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Sometimes it doesn't matter if the weekend was good - when the soul wants to grieve, it grieves and the rest of the body grieves with it. It's post-halloween depression. All Saint's Day where we descend from our halloween highs and become grossly aware of out failings. It's natural, even if our work-obsessed culture would prefer us drugged and productive, than rain-faced and real. Stay clean and stay strong my friend.

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Sorry you had a bit of a rough one, Lamp! Sometimes, it's all you can do just to keep on keeping on, and that's alright. Gaming's one of those escapes to stop us from feeling the low days and, in a way, just having one and letting it happen is a triumph, y'know? It's that little bit closer to human. Even the lows are an experience we'd just have numbed ourselves to before.

Rooting for you, mate. Hope today's a bit brighter!

Lamp. Brighter.

... I'll see myself out.

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@Bird By Bird@Commissar You're both so right. The down-days are all part of it. We have so many ways to escape them these days that it's sometimes hard to remember how to get through them without covering up the emotions. Thanks 🙂

Day 20

Alright. Got through yesterday relatively sober. Just the two cigarettes. Ended up feeling better around the early afternoon and at that point the consequences to giving into cravings became real. It was a shitty 4-6 hours ( and a pretty 'bleh' rest of the day tbh) BUT twenty-odd days ago if I had started a day off like that I definitely would have taken it off and given in to all my impulses. That would have meant a guilt-ridden gaming session where I tried to convince myself I was having fun, a stressed out afternoon trying to sober up for when my S.O. got home, skipping our evening workout, and an anxious evening from being wired all day leading to a hungover morning. Rinse and repeat. Instead I'm sitting content with my daily habits just about done in a quiet room with the quality of lighting that inspired my profile photo. I think it's going to be a pretty good day 🙂

I'd like a better way to deal with how I was feeling yesterday when it does come up again though. I haven't come up with much. For now I'm just hoping that as I go further into the great journey that is sobriety those emotional swings will swings will swing less far.

As for the cause, I think a lot of it is just related to work. I technically haven't even started grad school yet so anything at all I get done during this time is just bonus work. The more I do the better the future will be and I don't mind the work, so it's not like I'm trying to go all high-intensity crazy forcing myself to do something. A part of me thinks it's to do with my parents (who were also super-anxious people, and young when they had me) and how I was working full-time retail for years as a teenager. Being micromanaged like that really messed me up, I think, when I look at how other people get through a day. Often I'll feel like if I'm not working super hard on the best possible thing every second of the work day, I'm slacking off. That's a lot of pressure, it overwhelms me, and I crack a bit.

Edit: In a purge mood apparently. Threw out all my weed and deleted some games I had on an external. I have somebody that I trust who would probably buy my steam account. I managed to get to the listing of the games before choking. God there are a lot of good games on that list. I got hit with the 'maybe someday you'll be able to play, you're only on Day 20...' justification. Related, I found some old videos of some gaming moments I was proud of and it just felt gross. I feel like I should hold onto them though, for the same reason I hold onto photos? Maybe? I don't know.

Edited by Lampshade
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