Introduction & 90-day detox finished

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Posted (edited)

Hello GQ,

 

Today I hit the 90-day benchmark on my nogaming journey. As I have yet to introduce myself on these forums, I’ll do it here alongside with my story & thoughts about the 90-day detox.

 

Introduction

 

I am 22-year-old student and lifelong gamer from Finland. My earliest video game experiences are from the late 1990s, at age of 4-6, with SNES. What started as an innocent fun thing to do once in a while first turned into a hobby and later into an addiction. After approximately 30000 hours of gaming in 11 years and bunch of failed courses in university, I knew there was a decision to be made between the gaming and the studying.

 

The Gaming history & Addiction

 

From the late 1990s to 2005 the gaming for me was how it probably should be, a little bit single player games when nothing better to do and tiny bit multiplayer games with friends when it’s raining outside.

 

However in 2005 I was introduced to multiplayer game RuneScape (~16k-17k ingame hours) which slowly but surely changed the way I saw games, played games and finally changed me and my life. This game pretty much shaped myself to the person I am today. With the fact that I was putting more and more time to RS each day it pretty much alone gave me everything I needed: the feeling of challenge, social connection, constant measurable growth and escapism. And with all that, we definitely have the recipe for a disaster.

 

For over seven years I played the same game. It started with roughly 2.5 hours per day in 2005, up to about 8 hours daily in 2009 and onwards. Few years later I pretty much finished the game and it also killed itself so it was time to move on. But where would already seasoned gamer move to? You guessed it right. Next game, obviously.

In 2012 I picked up Guild Wars 2 (5000 ingame hours) and next year League of Legends (4k-5k hours), both of which I played until I started my detox. The gaming time ramped up from the 8 hours a day to the crazy amount of 12.5 hours a day for the first half of the 2016.

There’s also been other “minor” games (100-1000 hours) during the years.

 

Of course there has been positive things about gaming too such as learning history, mathematics, teamwork, leadership, photo & video editing and bunch of other stuff, but one could argue that those are not worth of the amount of time put into the games. One smart man once said something like “You can learn hand-eye coordination from video games, but you do learn it from juggling too”.

 

The Detox

 

I first came across the GameQuitters in late 2015 after the classic way of googling gaming addiction. For the next six months or so it was mostly a thing in the back of my head, as it’s not easy to just dismiss something I love so much, but all the time I knew something has to be done. In May 2016 I was pretty confident about my decision and choose the date to execute the plan. Finally on June 19th, as planned, I sent message to Riot Games asking them to delete my League account, and also personally deleted anything and everything my GW2 account had.

 

After the first day I wrote myself small piece of journal which I’m quoting here:

 

“Watching the gamescreen for the last time. ‘Delete’. I cried. But those tears were more than the sadness. There was also something else. Fear? Relief? Hope?”

...

“I have so many questions right now, but no answers. Guess they will come with time.”

“I don’t even know what to think. My thoughts are going back to games all the time, like always before, but this time I have no reason to think about games. I should think about something else, but I don’t even know what or how to. Strange – but funny.”

 

 

That pretty much describes my feelings for the first week. It was surprisingly easy to not to play games for a while, guess the motivation was so high in the beginning.

 

The days 15-45 or so were the hardest ones by far. The cravings, especially boredom, were crazy and at times I felt fucking insane. The motivation started to vanish and it was now time to see the discipline of mine. Habits were still as bad as during gaming, everything I tried to do felt just plain boring because no activity gives the same amount of stimulation as gaming does for long periods of time.

From that part onwards it gets slightly easier. Sleeping schedule is actually decent, eating more healthier, going outside just to wander around. Around day 70ish university starts again and I’m actually waiting for it and hyped, what is this blasphemy? Something I felt last time probably before the first grade.

 

Current situation & Future plans

 

Getting my studies on the level they should be on is my number one priority. Started pretty well this time, unlike before.

I’m eating (and drinking!) healthier than ever before and plan to keep doing so. Maybe I eat something dirty today just to celebrate my 90-days tho.

I take long walks & jogging/running occasionally and my goal is to start doing it regularly, let’s see how that incoming pesky cold winter will destroy my plans about this one. I also started doing bunch of a stretching and plan to start going to a gym somewhere in the distant future.

Unfortunately I still spend way too much time mindlessly browsing the internet, youtube and even watching some gaming streams as I don’t really have anything clever to do alone with my spare time. Guess this is the spot where gaming should belong, but as experienced previously it didn’t really work out so I have to come up with something else.

 

FAQ:

 

While sharing my thoughts with my (mostly gamer) friends during the last 3 months there’s been two very frequent questions:

 

1) So, what do you actually do now?

 

I spend more time trying to live healthy. Be it sleeping more, cooking & eating, wandering/walking/jogging/running outside and stretching. Now with the start of uni I also spend more time with studying.

I do still spend too much time browsing the internet, but I’m actively looking something else to do. I’ve tried stuff like drawing, writing and reading but all of those felt boring. The reason they felt boring might be because of the timing I tried them, in the middle of the hardest part of the detox, so it might be worth to give these activities a second go.

Other small changes in my time management are the following:

- I’m almost never ever in hurry anymore, especially when coming from somewhere back to home. Beforehand I usually wanted to come home to play games as soon and as fast as possible. Missing that one bus or train felt bad, so I was rushing everywhere. Now something takes hour or two more than planned? Completely fine. Small thing like this actually feels surprisingly amazing.

- I might just sit for a while on my couch, doing nothing but looking around, thinking about stuff and clearing my mind.

 

2) Are you planning to game at some point in the future?

 

Oh boy, the one million dollar question. The truth is: I don’t actually know. I want to. I don’t want to. All this question does is it creates more and more questions. Can I manage to play in moderation? I used to play with competition and “completionism/perfectionism” in my mind. Is that mindset still present if I get those things from other activities? Do I still find gaming fun after certain point? Do I find it worthwhile if I have other “meaningful” stuff to do? When is the moment I could play again? 1 Year? Most other addicts said that even after 1 year break the gaming addicted them back again instantly. Which game I should play? Old and familiar? New and intresting? ...

 

I don’t know. The future shall guide me.

 

 

Special thanks to:

- Cam for all the content & stuff you do

- GameQuitters & /r/StopGaming, been fun stalking you guys for 3 months

- Those who supported me

 

 

Thank you for reading,

TTH

Edited by TTH
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Posted

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Posted (edited)

Welcome to the community TTH! Awesome that you are coming here after already seeing success.

If you've had to go through the 90 day detox to get your life back on track, and spent up to 12.5 hours a day gaming, it's probably not worth trying to play games again in the future. In my experience, things all fell apart when I tried going back to gaming (most of the way through the detox) under the pretext that I'd be able to game responsibly and in moderation. It was too easy to fall into old habits of binge gaming when I had the time to spare, I take it you'd likely do something similar if you've been gaming most of your life. Even if you were able to game in moderation, would you be truly able to put in the time and effort to fulfill the dreams that align with your innermost values? For me, I knew that gaming couldn't be part of my life if I were to become the person I truly wanted to be. That's just my two cents on the matter, but I hope it helps to answer your million dollar question.

All the best for making the most out of life! :D

Edited by AlexTheGrape
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Posted

Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on your milestone. Don't let the ball drop!

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