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Stopping and reversing the avalanche, my road to recovery


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Day One - Morning

It's the morning of an exam. In about two hours I'll be leaving for the university, sit down in a tent for two hours and try to convince my professor that I can calculate dynamics and solve differential equations. Even though I had nearly a month to prepare for it since classes finish, I've only spent the last three days on it. And the culprit isn't hard to guess. 

It started innocently after classes ended and I thought "I deserve some break, just a day of relaxing and gaming." I redownloaded osu! (which if people here are unfamiliar with is a - very addicting - rhythm game) and played the game for six hours straight. Afterwards I play some dota with some mates for some more hours into the night. 

The next day(Sunday) I resolved myself in the shower to start reviewing and studying. After breakfast I booted up my PC and saw the shortcut for osu! and thought to myself...... some more hours wouldn't hurt, I'm progressing as well, aren't I (I'm pretty high ranked for the game, which makes it even harder to quit)

The saga continues for two straight weeks. After I quit osu!, I relapsed on mobile gacha games. And played them for a straight week without taking care of myself. Yeah. As I mentioned, addiction is an avalanche. Once it starts, it gets rolling and gets increasingly difficult to stop. It hurts how many times this has recurred to me, how many times I've fucked myself over because of it. Yet I keep on doing it. And I keep on failing. 

I just want things to change. This online community of fellow people on roads to recovery will hopefully be my saving grace. 

As I mentioned in my introduction post, I am aiming for 67 days clean. If I can go longer it's great, but that's my baseline. I'll be writing two entries a day, 8am/pm CET, morning is to set out my plans and evening is to review and reflect. Not expecting to write walls of text like this one, but I want to at least make it a routine in my life. 

That's about it for now. I've deleted steam and all of my mobile games. In my free time, I'm hoping to replace gaming with reading books (something I use to love but gaming ruined), listening to podcasts, some physical activity.

First step to reversing my avalanche starts now. 

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Good luck!
Oh and on a side note, if you could (and want to), I might make you consider playing a real life instrument.
Also, stay relaxed because you are far from the only one finding this game addictive, there were a lot of players even those who spent a lot of time in it who quit the game to better focus on their studies and real life stuff.

Looking forward your progress 🙂

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Yeah good luck. Watch videos of Cam on youtube. It helped me out when I was getting started. Good idea finding replacements for gaming. Make a list of things you'll do if you feel the need to game and go do those things instead.

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6 hours ago, Carya said:

Good luck!
Oh and on a side note, if you could (and want to), I might make you consider playing a real life instrument.
Also, stay relaxed because you are far from the only one finding this game addictive, there were a lot of players even those who spent a lot of time in it who quit the game to better focus on their studies and real life stuff.

Looking forward your progress 🙂

Funnily enough I use to play the saxophone in high school, brought it with me when I moved out for uni, but then everything happened and can't find a band/mates to play with. Though I do want to start playing a new instrument to keep myself busy. 

Thanks for the reply, looking forward to my progress as well!

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Day One - Evening

Day going well enough. Arranged to study together at a friends place tomorrow to keep my productive streak going. 

As it's Saturday evening (normally regular gaming hours for me) I need a replacement to keep my urges at bay. I already sort of relapsed earlier, downloading an idle game on my phone before deleting it after 15 minutes.

I figured the best 'duct tape' replacement for now is reading until I figure something more. Picking back up The Shining and The Dragonbone Chair, horror and fantasy respectively. 

Seeing some of my friends playing on discord got some of the urges back, so I'm steering away as much as possible.

Might also study if I've got not much else to do. I guess that's sort of the point lol. Might just be my most productive Saturday in a while. 

Day One - finished

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Day Two - Morning

Woke up earlier than usual today. Not much to say. Will be coming over to a friends house to study. Urges are still around especially around mobile games, but I've managed to fend them off. I might need something big to replace my phone gaming. Maybe picking up a new language or something? We'll see. 

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Posted (edited)

Day Two - Evening

Went to a friend's house to study together for upcoming exams, I actually chatted about my addiction a bit and me avoiding games, they recommended learning an instrument as well. I can get behind that. I'll see what I can come up with. 

To get around my monkey brain instinctively craving mobile games I've downloaded some apps to learn Chinese Mandarin. I figured that learning that can occupy my wandering mind until I can refocus it somewhere else. I can already speak three languages fluently, so although Chinese is really fucking hard to get into it'll at least replace (at least partially) that craving for challenges - remembering characters, stroke orders, and intonations are quite a lot to handle. If anything, it's better than mindlessly clicking idle games. 

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Edited by TheKingNoob
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Day Three - Morning

Third day off and feeling a lot better. Got nothing planned to do today so I just need to keep my head down. These days are always the most dangerous. Nothing planned, just sitting in front of my desk and PC and convincing myself to do something productive. Good night sleep, no distractions, just get to work. 

Once I get studying it becomes easier to keep studying. As with a lot of things, starting it is much harder than keeping it going. Feels like I always need to have a good morning to at least get decent amount of work done. I think that's where I fucked up in the past, often I'd shower and get to gaming right afterwards, only to drain my motivation to do anything productive, which in turn leads to more gaming. It's a vicious cycle. 

Anyways, on to work. 

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Day Three - Evening

Exhausting day - in a good way. Got a lot of work done and some chores as well. Nearly seven hours studying - my highest daily in a while. Going to finish off the day watching some shows, maybe on Netflix or some anime, something to read to fall asleep - depends on my mood. 

No heavy urges, but when I browse youtube I naturally get drawn towards gaming content. I should avoid that minefield since it also invariably leads my brain back to gaming. 

Pretty good day! Keeping it up. 

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2 hours ago, TheKingNoob said:

No heavy urges, but when I browse youtube I naturally get drawn towards gaming content. I should avoid that minefield since it also invariably leads my brain back to gaming. 

If you're using chrome, you can add extensions that limit youtube content, like only subscriptions appearing on home page. For that, I use "UnDistracted". Additionally, you can install ColdTurkey to block specific search items- for me it was looking up vids of a certain game. Of course, I could get creative and find different search combinations to get to the same videos, but having just one more obstacle on my way towards relapse helps preventing it. 

Cheers, and I hope that you keep it up- I enjoy reading your daily entries 🙂

Po

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9 hours ago, Pochatok said:

If you're using chrome, you can add extensions that limit youtube content, like only subscriptions appearing on home page. For that, I use "UnDistracted". Additionally, you can install ColdTurkey to block specific search items- for me it was looking up vids of a certain game. Of course, I could get creative and find different search combinations to get to the same videos, but having just one more obstacle on my way towards relapse helps preventing it. 

Cheers, and I hope that you keep it up- I enjoy reading your daily entries 🙂

Po

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll try it out! I'm also using YourHour on my phone to track my phone usage and to (especially) limit youtube/reddit time. Eventhough there are workarounds the app lock and warning is often enough to bring me back on track. 

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Day Four - Morning

Woke up pretty early today so decided to go for an morning jog - first time in a while. Spring is nearing and making morning temperatures more bearable. Especially in winter months I could stay inside unless completely necessary, which didn't help with my addiction odds. 

Writing these morning journals - even if they're pretty short - is helping me stay on track on what I should be doing, constant reminder of my progress. Which is a nice feeling. 

On to work - still got plenty to catch up on but I'm confident in doing so before the exam. 

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Day Four - Evening

Another pretty tiring day. Still clean, though nearing the end of the day my mind wandered nearest to relapsing since I quit for days ago. Had to restrain myself seriously for the first time. But I did it!

Going to cool down with some manga and Netflix. Conked but another well spent day. 

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Day Five - Morning

Woke up early again, didn't go for a walk though. Also got distracted after showering, instead of making breakfast and getting to work I browsed my phone for around an hour before getting it together. Settling into work for now. 

Biggest change is my sleep schedule, often I'd game into late hours but because nowadays I sleep whenever I'm sleepy (so around 9-10pm) I wake up around 5-6 without an alarm. 

Also I'm dreaming regularly. I usually don't dream, but I've dreamt for like a few days straight now. Anyone else getting similar experiences? Probably got something to do with better sleep but idk. 

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Day Five - Evening

Nearly cracked today. Closest to getting back yet. Was pretty tired after studying so browsed youtube (enjoying some history content like Kings and Generals/Invicta) where I ended up with a CK3 video and urgh that flared up my brain real hard. I was installing steam and telling myself I deserve the break, until I get to my senses and deleted everything again. 

 

Tough going. Exam tomorrow morning, another one on Monday, than Easter break (finally). Hopefully still clean until then. 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, TheKingNoob said:

browsed youtube (enjoying some history content like Kings and Generals/Invicta) where I ended up with a CK3 video and urgh that flared up my brain real hard. I was installing steam and telling myself I deserve the break, until I get to my senses and deleted everything again. 

That's the issue with youtube. Not only is it a rabbit hole where when you say "just one video", it will cause you to then watch like 30 or more but it will give you just the "right" recommendations to make you click on it no matter what the video is. Even as a gamequitter myself, when I would watch non-gaming videos or Cam's videos I would see gaming videos in the recommendations tab, which was so intriguing. All in all, youtube can be an issue in and of itself when trying to quit games, but it also can be a distraction. Have you thought of trying to stop or reduce your usage of the app? I see your into history and there is a bunch of history books that you can read. There are also podcasts for History. One Cam recommended was Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. Both books and podcasts are good replacements for youtube if you decide to reduce your usage. Glad you came back to your senses.

Best

Jason

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18 hours ago, Jason70 said:

All in all, youtube can be an issue in and of itself when trying to quit games, but it also can be a distraction. Have you thought of trying to stop or reduce your usage of the app? I see your into history and there is a bunch of history books that you can read. There are also podcasts for History. One Cam recommended was Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. Both books and podcasts are good replacements for youtube if you decide to reduce your usage. Glad you came back to your senses.

Yeah I'm slowly phasing myself out of it, but I've used it regularly for so long that it'll take a while (like gaming) but it'll be worth it in the long run. I've been restarting my reading habit and I'll check out some podcasts for in between as well. 

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Day Six - Evening

Seems that I missed the morning update. Had an early exam and just forgot, not a big deal though. I'll phase them out when I'm steadily better, though I still need them now for the morning boost. 

Wrote my exam (quite tiring), after I got back (happens a lot to me, in the past as well) I have that flare of dopamine urging myself to download some games to unwind, thankfully I got over it and skipped any shenanigans. Tough but doable. Not as bad as previously. 

Finished my first book of this month (The Dragonbone Chair, don't read it, its bland and boring) and resuming some other books I was reading. Did some more work and going to cool off by watching some shows. 

Strangely I get bored quickly when watching shows/movies online. Everybody's brain works differently I guess, I can never finish a film on Netflix if I'm watching it alone, but I could easily watch a livestream on hours for twitch or go down the youtube rabbit hole. (Bad) Habits are scary. 

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Day Seven - Morning

Improving my morning routine bit by bit everyday. Momentum is super important for me, starting the day well can snowball into high productivity during the day, also true for the opposite. Being off games really helped my mornings. 

On to work, then. Still got a ton to catch up to. 

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Day Eight - Evening

Still going strong. I'd expected Saturday to be a ticking time bomb but no urges. Hung out with some friends and am settling for a chill night. 

Also one week clean! Longest I've been off games in a long while. Not bad. 

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19 hours ago, Jason70 said:

Congratulations on the one week! It's good to hear you've been doing well!

Best 

Jason

Thanks! Keeping updated here, even if its short helps keep me on the right track. 

 

Day Nine - Evening

Another tiring day, exhausted and too tired to revert to games - though a week ago I wouldn't have been. Reading quite a lot to replace them and still learning my daily Mandarin -- the daily grind continues. 

 

 

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Day Eleven

Still going strong! Passed my previous milestone of 10 days for longest time off gaming in a long while. Getting a lot more work done, books and shows supplementing the nasty urge. Here's to another eleven. And another after that. 

 

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Day Twelve 

Started reading "Addiction, Procrastination, and Laziness" by Roman Gelperin today. It's highlighting the psychological procress happening when our brain rationalize procrastination and addictive behaviours. Pretty insightful stuff and definitely relatable. Makes me more aware of how dangerously easy it would be to fall back into my old habits. Gotta stay away. Maybe I'll discuss the book further when I finish it. 

Nearing the two week mark!

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