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2nd time quitter, 1st time w/ game quitters


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First time I quit video games was almost 6 years ago. I had dropped out of college, been at home for a year and half, and gotten into countless arguments with my parents. I had quit games many times throughout that time for a day, a few days, almost a week once. But games had their hold on me, really ever since I started playing online multiplayer. Gaming once had been a hobby, but now it was a competition to get to the top of the ladder. I hardly enjoyed video games like I used to. I had been working with a therapist, and that was helping a little. Still, I had gotten to the point that I was just so tired of it all. I was tired of living at home. I was tired of not doing anything with my life. Determined to graduate college, I realized the only way I could do it was without games. In a moment of clarity, I decided it was the end, and I really felt it this time. Honestly I cried, I journaled countless pages in my notebook, and cried some more. I had been playing since the N64. I had always loved playing video games. It felt like I was leaving a part of me behind. Unexpected to me, once I had fully committed I felt a strong resolve, almost felt like I knew I would graduate this time. I quickly made myself very involved back at school, and with lots to focus on, games were hardly ever on my mind. Life at college felt sooooo good. I was finally living my life.

I have played games occasionally since then, but nothing too serious, and life had been good. That was, until COVID hit this year. I had been working as an outdoor educator for the past two years, loving my job and my coworkers. However, my job immediately shutdown. The job was also providing my housing, for which they gave us a month to move out. So, within a month my entire life changed. All jobs in my field were currently closed, and I didn’t have enough savings to start renting on my own. I begrudgingly did the only thing I felt I could do, which was move back home. With no job, no purpose, and leaving all my friends behind when I moved back home, gaming sneakily crept back into my life. Within the next month I was gaming 10+ hours a day, staying up til sunrise, and sleeping all day. Wow, crazy how things like this can come back when left unchecked. Well, as you can imagine, this has led to many more arguments with my parents, and me feeling totally unfulfilled with my life. For a while, I was hoping that COVID would just pass, quarantine would be over, and I could go happily back to my job. However, it’s been clear for awhile now that’s not the case, and I’m ready to stop sitting around letting life pass me by. I figure while I’m in quarantine is the perfect time to get some solid habits going and get myself figured out. If I can do it now (arguably one of the hardest times to do it), then I’ll be set for the future when quarantine is over. Wish me luck.

- Neal
 

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Day 2

First Gratitude List
1) my new job
2) game quitters
3) my family (dad, step-mom, brother)
4) my other family (mom, step-dad, sisters)
5) my new coworkers are friendly
6) my supervisor is helpful and understanding
7) music
😎 pasta (dinner for tonight)
9) my bed
10) breathing (living)

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I’m feeling good. Probably helped that I’d been thinking about this for awhile before going cold turkey. I recently started working at Starbucks so I at least have a base structure I’m working with. And a couple weeks ago I started one of those 30 day workout challenges. So, I definitely have some things going for me, but before yesterday I was still gaming with any free time I have. This gaming detox is the next step on the path.

I’ve completed the first 6 Modules of Respawn. Kinda like last time that I quit, I’m feeling excited and motivated about the journey. At the same time, I’ve definitely been having thoughts all day about going back:
“When can I go back?”
“What about when the new season of League of Legends starts?” (my main game of choice for the past years)
“What about when Halo Infinite comes out?” (my friends and I were super into Halo 3 in high school)
“What about the Yogscast Jingle Jam Humble Bundle that happens every Christmas? Can’t I at least buy those games?”
My mind didn’t leave me alone throughout the day. I even had a dream last night about playing games. These are all things that I know will come up with letting go. It happened to me last time too.

One thing that makes me excited is that it snowed today where I live. I’m pumped because I actually love Winter. I love the snow, cold and all. I can’t wait for more. I asked many of my coworkers today if they ski/snowboard. I’m hoping that’s one of the ways I can meet up with people in the coming months. Looking forward to the days to come.

- Neal
 

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Day 3

Another night, another video game dream. It’s tough because then the first thing on my mind for the day is gaming. My solution so far has been to give my mind a fresh start through exercise right away. Just get moving and don’t get caught up in my thoughts. This is the workout challenge I’m trying to do right now. It helps me that I don’t have to plan the exercises, I just turn on youtube and follow the videos.

I feel like the real challenge hasn’t started yet. I’ve had my job the past few days, and all my free time has been filled up by watching Respawn videos, taking the action steps, and reflecting on the questions. But now I’m done with all the modules. Tomorrow I’ll have to actually start doing new activities and stuff.

Self-gratitude moment: finishing the Respawn workbook 😃

The real work starts tomorrow!

- Neal

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Day 4

I legitimately had a dream last night where I said “fuck it”, relapsed, and binged. When I woke up I had to remind myself that was just a dream that didn’t actually happen. Today has been a day for reclaiming. Rather than completely blocking sites like Reddit and Twitch, I went through and manually unsubscribed from every gaming related channel, and then blocked those specific URLs. I now only follow about 10 Twitch channels, one of which is Healthy Gamer with Dr. K (a good resource if you’ve never seen or heard of him). Also, I went through my emails and started unsubscribing. OK I didn’t finish this one because when my email hasn’t been managed in years it’s like a massive pit that I can’t seem to get to the bottom of. Wow I had a ton of useless garbage in my email. But now, I’m trying to reclaim that space to actually get useful updates to my life (aka Game Quitters).

OKAY, but that was all busy work stuff. The good stuff, didn’t come easy, at first. I just sat there for the first many minutes of boredom thinking how easy it would be to play games. Then I said, “FINE, I will try the pomodoro timer method.” Played my trumpet for the first time since college 4 years ago. Damn I’m rusty as hell, like this guy. Gotta restart from somewhere though.

Pomodoro is love, pomodoro is life.

- Neal
 

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Day 5

Indecision is something that has plagued my life for as long as I can remember. Rather than getting better at deciding, I came up with tools and tricks to avoid decisions. I would ask other people for their opinions a lot, and have ended up knowing little about myself. So now I’m at this point, video game free, and a whole new world is open to me. Even the last time that I quit it wasn’t quite the same. I was at college and there was just tons of stuff to do. I didn’t really have to think for myself. So now, it’s a bit overwhelming to say the least. I didn’t practice any new skills in my free time today. Just some exercise, reading, and reflection. How do I know what to choose to start investing my time in…?

Hmm…

- Neal

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14 hours ago, championeal said:

How do I know what to choose to start investing my time in…?

One of the biggest challenges. Few things are as easily rewarding as video games.

There's a hobby finder tool here.  Personally, though, I really struggled with starting fresh at something. I'd suggest thinking back to what you enjoyed as a kid. Maybe even ask some people who knew you back then. For me that ended up being reading and exercise/competition. I have a few skills that I pick at developing (coding thorough datacamp, another language through duolingo, and some work-related skills), but reading and exercise take up the bulk of my free time.

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9 hours ago, Lampshade said:

Personally, though, I really struggled with starting fresh at something. I'd suggest thinking back to what you enjoyed as a kid. Maybe even ask some people who knew you back then. For me that ended up being reading and exercise/competition. I have a few skills that I pick at developing (coding thorough datacamp, another language through duolingo, and some work-related skills), but reading and exercise take up the bulk of my free time.

I appreciate your perspective. I do love to read. Maybe I'm judging myself too hard for not seeing reading as being productive.

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Day 6

I don’t feel much like journaling today. I even did lots of things today. Exercise, yoga, meditation, reading, coding, duolingo. Video chatted with an old friend for about an hour. Probably the most exciting thing for me was I started researching Irish history (I’m mostly Irish), and was super into that for a while today. I guess I’m just tired. I was hoping when I quit gaming I’d have this incredible energy. So far it’s not been like that. I have to push myself pretty hard to get things done. I know changes like this take time to build. I’m not turning back yet, so I’ll just have to stick it out for now.

Another ‘X’ on the calendar.

- Neal

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Good luck in your journey!

 

6 hours ago, championeal said:

...I do love to read. Maybe I'm judging myself too hard for not seeing reading as being productive...

I would like to leave my 2 cents specifically about that. Everyone is different, but I think books can also be a source of addiction and compulsion. There were times I was addicted to book novels like ASOIF, the Saxons Chronicles and The Expanse. I also would read self-help and philosophy books out of compulsion and procrastination, as a way of escapism. That being said, I feel like reading/ literature can be a very wholesome activity and I am doing it everyday in moderation (one chapter per day only).

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9 hours ago, championeal said:

I was hoping when I quit gaming I’d have this incredible energy.

Ohhh so true!! For the first two weeks, I felt more tired than usual, probably cuz (the thought of) playing games was what gave me a lot of excitement/mental energy throughout the day. But after 3 or so weeks, I began waking up feeling rather happy, and began feeling much more excitement for "boring" activities- like reading and being on this forum.

Give yourself ~21 days to adjust: that's how long it takes to built a new habit or get rid of an old one. Your brain will learn to get excitement and energy from other activities, just give it time! 

9 hours ago, championeal said:

Maybe I'm judging myself too hard for not seeing reading as being productive.

Have to agree here too, that's how I feel about reading 22/7. I struggle to read for more than an hour or two per day if it is books that I like rather than school-assigned reading. What helps me enjoy books is thinking/journaling afterwards on how reading improves my life and makes me happier. Most of the stuff I read hits both areas, and when it doesn't, journaling/thinking about it helps me find a book that does.

Cheers!

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10 hours ago, championeal said:

I appreciate your perspective. I do love to read. Maybe I'm judging myself too hard for not seeing reading as being productive.

This is what I wrote on Day 30:

Quote

Reading has been the thing that's gotten me through. It's not the most productive hobby, nor the most creative. I'm sure there would be 'better' ways to spend my time. I'm okay with that, though. Most of my work day is spent learning new things, so it's not like I'm stagnating mentally or anything. I guess I'm also doing pretty good with exercise and I count that as a hobby. The lack of creativity is tougher; I would love to get back into writing but I'm not feeling up to the effort right now. Again, since I'm still considering myself in the early days of being a less addicted person, I'm okay with cutting myself some slack and just resting in novels. Maybe someday creative writing will be back in life. I do miss fun imagination, gaming used to give me that.

And this is what @codepants wrote in response, which helped:

Quote

I actually think of reading as a very creative hobby. When you watch TV, you are consuming, pure and simple. When you read TV, your brain fills in what's not described. That's why I generally regret watching a movie of a book before reading the book—I feel like I'm no longer allowed to imagine what the characters look like.

Anyway, reading reduces your change of getting Alzheimer's; reduces stress (by a lot - 5 minutes can reduce stress by more than 50%); increases your verbal intelligence; and promotes physical, mental, and emotional development. Sounds pretty productive to me. 🙂

I would emphasize that reducing stress is productive in it's own way, and would add that reading makes you a more interesting and diverse person. Gives you something to use to connect with other people, for example.

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Day 7

I’ve made it one whole week! Wow, I actually didn’t realize that until I typed day #7. I was about to be a downer, but I guess life really isn’t too bad then. Today was work, exercise, reading, and planning. So, not too much. The big thing is today I mailed in one of those DNA ancestry tests. I can’t wait to get the results because I’ve been super into learning about Irish history lately. If it comes back and I’m not Irish, my whole life is a lie haha.

One week down, many weeks to go.

- Neal
 

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@Commissar @dasvira @Pochatok thank you, and onwards to Day 8

I spent a lot of time future planning today, I’m just really excited about winter and the upcoming ski season. It felt good to be excited and follow that flow~! I reached out to some people and made different plans with them for ski trips to places within driving distance. Skiing is pretty cool because I’ll already be all bundled up and wearing a facemask so COVID can’t stop me from doing it and being social.

Work, exercise, reading...I got a new book today. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I’ve liked this quote from this book for a while about a fig tree that deals with indecision. The message I get from the quote is that it’s better to choose and give something a chance, rather than sitting around not deciding and missing out on all the options anyways. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out in the book.

Taking a chance on a new me.

- Neal
 

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Day 9

A good day. There’s no reason not to say it was good. So, it was good. My brother recently got home from college, and now more than ever, I’m especially glad that I’ve given up gaming. Usually I’d shut myself in my room to game the days away. Now, I can see the days ahead as a space for reconnection and bonding time. Today, my brother and I watched a couple TV episodes together, but more important, we had time to just talk and enjoy each other’s company. I feel satisfied. Sometimes the small moments can define the whole day.

Today was good. Tomorrow might be even better.

- Neal

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Day 10

My reflections arrived at this today:
I’m not as lost as I think, but I just haven’t given myself the space to be myself.

I had a similar conversation that came back to me, which I had a while ago with a friend while rock climbing. While looking at the wall, I said, “What if the hardest part of the climb is at the beginning? What if you’re actually 90% of the way there, but the 10% you still need to do is the first step?”

I’m feeling this may be the case with me and gaming. The 90 day detox is the 10%, and I feel like the rest will just come from there.

Sometimes the first step is the hardest.

- Neal

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On 12/2/2020 at 3:16 AM, championeal said:

Sometimes the small moments can define the whole day.

This was a big things I noticed from quitting. I was never around for the small casual moments. They're often the things I find myself remembering most. When gaming, there was never the time or patience for them to come up organically.

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Day 11

I’ve been noticing my energy being higher this week. And I’ve stopped having annoying dreams of video games. THANK GOD, because that was getting hard to wake up to every day. Still, whenever boredom creeps up definitely the first thing I still think of is gaming. It usually takes me a few minutes to fight that internal battle before I can move on to doing something productive. But today felt especially good. After work, things just flowed for the most part. From exercise to dinner to reading to music practice to language learning back to reading to now. I’m hoping to keep that momentum into tomorrow.

Following the flow.

- Neal

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Day 12

Today was a tiring day. Felt dead tired after work. Laid around for a few hours until my energy came back. Actually, my energy didn’t really come back until I decided to start doing stuff. Even though I felt so tired, I decided to join my stepmom to bake some holiday treats. I believe that’s what sparked my energy. After that, I was excited to workout even though it was late at night. Gotta remind myself to get moving even when I don’t want to, because right now I think it’s more of a mental block than anything.

Movement sparks the energy.

- Neal

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