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2 weeks clean - Journal Review and Summary of my Process


Lampshade
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The number one factor of my success so far has been to commit all out. I had never deleted my games because it takes like a full day to redownload them on my shitty satellite internet and I always wanted to moderate my use instead of quitting all out Deleting them was crucial though.. Not having them easily accessible got me through those moments of cravings where I literally (@codepants) had no control over my actions.

I never told anybody my intention to quit because I didn’t want them to see me fail. Not only do I not intend to fail, I have realized that hiding that vulnerability from people I care about, and who care about me, creates a gap between us. It is better to share in both the success and the failures even if they are embarrassing. If you’re spending the rest of your life with someone you can’t hide all your embarrassing moments.

I’ve also never joined a community like this before. It has been more helpful than I would have anticipated. It makes my actions feel more consequential. There’s also power in seeing similarities between the stories; being able to predict where someone else ends up because you’ve felt/done the same, and to see where you will end up if you follow some else’s trend. Finally, the community has helped me acknowledge my addiction. When you see yourself reflected in other people who are also struggling it really shines a light on the common denominator.

Below is a summary of what I’ve noticed from reviewing the last two weeks of my journal.

Days 1-3

These were the hardest emotionally. I was all over the place and trying to trick myself into thinking I was better than I was by constantly going through things I was proud of. This has been something I’ve noticed has declined a lot since I’ve quit. In games I was always the hero. I tried to carry that identity into my real life and it was forced. I’ve come to better accept a more comfortable and realistic attitude towards who I am. That doesn’t mean limiting who I could be, just acknowledging that I’m not there yet and that the process takes time

There was also a lot of craving for the state of flow that gaming gives you so well. I still miss that. It’s one of the points of life to me. I haven’t been able to get it anywhere else yet.

Days 4-7

My cravings seemed to be on the beginning of a decline in here. I was still triggered if I saw something that reminded me of games, but I wasn’t constantly on the cusp of loading something up and using my willpower all day like I was before.

A lot of heavy depression in here. I couldn’t feel anything.

Key part of this stage seemed to be replacing the gaming habit with something else. I bounced around a lot and noticed that I was spending too much time on reddit and such. That was something dangerous that I wanted to keep an eye on. Ended up using Leechblock on the laptop and taking the apps off of my phone. Eventually, a good book was the replacement that stuck. I did a few sessions of reaching my max of reading, and a couple where I went beyond that max. We all know that feeling of when you are gaming and you hit a point where it is becoming less fun in that session but we still keep going to chase that high. I was reaching that point with reading, but it is so much easier to just walk away from it for a bit. The difference between an addictive and less-addictive activity eh?

Days 7-14

The changes were coming more slowly at this point. I take that as a good sign that I am beginning to stabilize. I felt happy for the first time at Day 8. My writing became less emotional. I think that’s probably because I became less emotional. I’m thinking, again, that that’s a good thing. A ‘you have to tear it down before you can rebuild it’ type of situation. I feel less impulsive and distracted, but still depressed.

I am happier with how I spend my time. I’ve gotten back to work (albeit at a very slow pace). I am more able and willing to spend time with my wife that’s not optimized for my 100% enjoyment. I do things that she wants and try to practice just being present and engaged. I feel like a stable and healthy relationship is built more on the everyday interactions of just normal life than it is on the spectacular high moments. I didn’t have the time or patience when I was gaming for the slower pace that those everyday interactions required. I told her about my joining this community and commitment to quit gaming. I felt embarrassed. I don’t think she understood how much it was affecting me/us. She offered support but I told her she’s been dealing with this a long time and that she’s been great. Thinking back to how the relationship was during my binge times, and seeing gaming-addict-spouses posting on r/stopgaming, I honestly can’t believe she stuck around. I’m amazingly grateful for that.

Conclusion

I am still not ‘cured’, and never will be. Gaming predatorily targets aspects of my personality that are core to who I am. Knowing that, I know that I cannot game. I feel like my relapse risk is low atm. I think that my next big things to watch out for will be when big games come out and become popular in culture and among my friends. There will be heavy temptation to just try it out. And then the temptation to git gud. There’s always another big game, though, and the evidence so far has shown me that if gaming is in my life at all it will take full hold of me the moment something big and stressful happens in real life that I feel the need to escape. Those are the times I need to be present the most.

Edited by Lampshade
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  • Lampshade changed the title to 2 weeks clean - Journal Review and Summary of my Process

So proud of you that have have made it this far. Literally.

(sorry, couldn't help myself)

I am honored, too, to be a part of your journey, and to witness your vulnerability. What you said about bringing others closer, even in times of embarrassment or shame, really resonates with me. Life is better when we don't go it alone—we just have to find people we can share with, both the good at the bad.

We may never meet but I am glad I got to read about you taking this step. Here's to many more.

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12 hours ago, Lampshade said:

There was also a lot of craving for the state of flow that gaming gives you so well. I still miss that. It’s one of the points of life to me. I haven’t been able to get it anywhere else yet.

 

Being in the zone - that state of flow against a tough boss or challenge might have been my greatest pull towards games. I've also been able to get into the zone while playing piano, writing fiction and giving speeches at my Toastmasters club.

I can't get into the flow as often now as I could back then when I gamed every day but I intend to ramp it up because the zone is one of the greatest experiences in life and when I am at my best.

It will take dedication and experimentation but you will find your flow again. Remember to be chill because it cannot be forced. You already know what it feels like and that gives you an advantage over people who have never experienced it.

Edited by Bird By Bird
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22 hours ago, Bird By Bird said:

Being in the zone - that state of flow against a tough boss or challenge might have been my greatest pull towards games. I've also been able to get into the zone while playing piano, writing fiction and giving speeches at my Toastmasters club.

I can't get into the flow as often now as I could back then when I gamed every day but I intend to ramp it up because the zone is one of the greatest experiences in life and when I am at my best.

It will take dedication and experimentation but you will find your flow again. Remember to be chill because it cannot be forced. You already know what it feels like and that gives you an advantage over people who have never experienced it.

For me I have found it when something requires all my focus. Rollerblading is most often that thing—it uses new muscle groups, requires balance, coordination, a sense of acceleration, and many more things I'm sure. Fortunately my job also puts me in a flow state sometimes. Certain clients, especially.

I like to think that by practicing meditation I might be able to be in flow more regularly, even for less engaging activities like washing the dishes, but meditating is so hard right now. There's so much going on up there...

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