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35 years of escapism, enough is enough!


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Hello. I'm Tom and while covid is rampaging I decided to take my vitality and attention span back and quit gaming.

I've been gaming free since the beginning of November, which is too much for someone like me, who has been playing every time he was on a console or computer's range. The only times when I wasn't playing was when I was doing military service, and that's not because it was my choice, but because it was physically impossible for me to have access to video games. And even then, whenever I will go outside as a civilian I would be visiting LAN arenas to play video games with others.

Picture this: Summer time, beach bar, 5-star hotel, a group of college kids visiting another country. Perfect, right? Girls getting tanned, boys playing volley ball and stuff. And me... I was in the arcades of the hotel playing games with any coin I could get.

But don't worry, I have lots of stories to share. For now I'm glad that I finally found a place where people can understand how it feels without being openly mocked or patronized. Thank you.

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Hi Tom!

Welcome to the gang! I know finding this place was a tremendous help to me in putting down games and moving on - Sounds as if we started around the same time. As you said, it's great to have a place where it can be treated honestly for all us folks who've found it to be a problem. I've noticed there's a few posters around here with various military backgrounds. I wonder if it's all the hurry up and wait. 😄

In any case, best of luck on your journey and congratulations on making the start!

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Congrats on quitting! It seems like for a lot of people this pandemic has led to some very positive life choices. I wish you all the best. 

6 hours ago, BornAgain40 said:

Picture this: Summer time, beach bar, 5-star hotel, a group of college kids visiting another country. Perfect, right? Girls getting tanned, boys playing volley ball and stuff. And me... I was in the arcades of the hotel playing games with any coin I could get.

This. I can totally relate to this. I missed out on so many fun life opportunities to play video games. 

Take care and happy quitting!

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I've decided to update my personal story, with a more fleshed out description on how I ended up like that. How my career goals turned into a distant dream. My twenties became my thirties. My thirties are now a 40. And while I still want to get into a career change and I'm trying to study programming on my own, my inner struggle remains. I'm unemployed for 4 years, missing teeth, hair, weight, friends, sexual life, mental health.

It all began with watching anime. And since the number 40 on my username is my age, you know we're talking about some very old anime. The characters were using computers to control robots, small, giant, didn't matter. It was at that point that I got interested at least in the concept of computers. We're talking about young young age, around 4 or 5 years old. And here is where things go wrong.

Back then (talking 1980-something) personal computers were a luxury or at least for us. Their were too expensive, and my father had better things to do with his money, like saving for a new car and a new house. So instead of getting a computer he opted for a console instead. An Atari. That was enough for me to feel like I'm killing bad aliens with my ship, being a cowboy, a race car driver etc.

Meanwhile, at school, I kept being the skinny short kid that gets bullied. And instead of my parents figuring out what was going wrong with the kid, they said "it's just genes" (because my dad was also skinny) and they let me be like that. A few years later, everything started collapsing: My parents got divorced, I got a brand new stepmother who was toxic towards me (attempts to choke me and throw knifes at me, I still have a scar from one of her knife swings).

And while my knowledge on computers was growing through computer magazines that I was buying with my lunch money to ogle them during intermission at school, my gaming habits were getting worse. We found rentals, I bought a Nintendo and oh boy was I getting a new game rental every THREE days, because I was breezing through them. Until high school, I must have played through 60% of the SNES library and at least the top 300 games for Playstation.

Years passed, and my desire to study computers grew. But since my grades were trash due to gaming addiction, I wasn't qualified to go to a big university. Worse, I had the notion that I don't need to go to a big university. Which is true but, it didn't end there. We somehow (me and my mother since I moved with her) got scammed by a private school claiming that "programming is for girls, and the male job market favors IT and networking" so I became an IT. Feel free to laugh at the sheer stupidity and ignorance that was sipping through me.

So I went to the army afterwards, served 2 years and when I returned instead of looking to get a job I got into Diablo and Counter-Strike thanks to friends. It was a miracle that I got my first job because my mother knew a guy who was looking for an IT assistant. And you can imagine how it went too: Late at work, early leaver, sleeping at 2 a.m. because I want to grind for that Buriza/Oculus/SoJ. And during the weekends I would be at a LAN cafe. Playing from 10 a.m. to 5 a.m. and only going back at home for food.

Things had spiraled waaaay out of control. My first girlfriend warned me to cut down gaming and what I did instead was broke up with her. In hindsight, she was a saint who deserved better than me. My physical health took a gigantic hit, started with a type of headache that's similar to tension headache and never ever stops. And I mean never, I even feel this headache at the time I'm writing this post. My nails changed color, doctors cannot explain why. On cold days my fingertips and toes get colder than the average person, but no rheumatologist (at least from the ones I found) dares to call it Raynaud's phenomenon. Some doctors asked me if I also listen to voices. Hell no, I don't. My stomach has chronic indigestion, I get constipated. I went through the appropriate exams for those and I got diagnosed with Celiac disease. Great, now I have to abstain from gluten for the rest of my life. Thanks luck.

Back to gaming, there was a point where I was fine by simply watching twitch.tv streamers daily past 9 p.m. but it didn't take much to start complaining. I'm super competitive. Suddenly even single player video games weren't rewarding. Games were "too easy" for me, and what I did was complain about it and switch to multiplayer games. Oh boy, here we go again.

Fast-forward to today. I haven't booted up a game since the start of the month. The quality of my sleep suffers tremendously with short awakenings throughout the night. There are hours where I feel like installing a game and just give it a go because I cannot focus on anything else, and even if I try I feel impatient, anxious, stressed. Everything feels counter-productive to the goals I'm trying to achieve in my professional life.

As I'm downloading Windows (because I switched to Linux to make it harder to play, the game performance on Linux sucks at least for my hardware so I refuse to game on Linux) I'm bumping on youtube videos about gaming addiction. One guy suggests to avoid quitting cold turkey because it's the worst thing to do. Another says to do it cold turkey. I'm confused. I'm rationalizing things again. My thoughts become "so what if you game for an hour or 2 a day? We have a coronavirus lockdown and you live with your old mother, you can't afford to go outside much".

Now I just downloaded a Windows 10 iso to reinstall. I can't stop thinking about Dragon Quest, in spite of the fact that I know the moment I'll play it will take about an hour tops before I start thinking "what am I doing?", "how is this entertaining? I'm just mashing the same command over and over", "fast forward because I have to get the sense of achievement faster?". It's like I'm in the stage where gaming stopped being fun but I still have to do it out of compulsion or/and habit!

I don't believe in soul or in after life, so basically this is hell right now. My life. Hello.

Edited by BornAgain40
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You can do it!

What you've written here definitely echoes how my journey's been so far, disrupted sleep, suspected celiac, and all. I used to game until exhaustion, and then fall into bed and drop off pretty much immediately. Since I stopped, sleep's been slower to come, and more interrupted (though, oddly, since I'm actually making an effort to take regular hours of sleep, on the whole I'm more rested). It's all small steps, and you won't see buckets of progress straight-up. It's a wild ride, initially.

Gaming filled a heap of a niches for you, and it takes time and effort to find alternatives - But, it's very much worth it. Cam's big ol' book of hobbies was useful for me. You don't need anything that you're super passionate about, just something to give a go. I found a routine was more of a help than anything else. At 7.30pm, I sit down and draw now, regardless of how I'm feeling at the time. Knowing it'll happen, regardless, seems to help a bit with the restlessness, at least for me. Extensions like youtube rabbit hole, greyscale the web, and pause all helped a bit with cutting down wayward browsing, too.

It's rough, and getting settled into a new routine is probably the hardest part. But, if it's any comfort, it gets a little easier from there.

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