Daily Count Up and Accountability

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BrandNewDay
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Starting Over...Again

After my second relapse, I hope that I'm even more experienced with overcoming addiction than before. So far I haven't gamed today, nor am I planning to game any time at all. Thank you celerec8 for your advice! I'll do it 5 minutes at a time.

I'm also using this app called Since on my iPhone to keep track of how many days I have quit since today. I think today's special as well because it's the first day of February. I'll begin here. 

NewDay

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

planner
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What i would do when i am 80 years old ?!

at that age, i would wake up early morning and go for work as long as i can. My job should be meaningful to me and to others during work time and not only to get paid at the end of the month. I would like to spend my time with people (friends and family) and i would like to connect with nature by growing something in my small garden. I will look for serenity through the awareness of passing moments.

so why i just start doing this now!!

"Recovery is not about dealing with gaming. Recovery is about dealing with Life"

BrandNewDay
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Checking in

I think that I can live without gaming today. Counting up to 3rd day.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

BrandNewDay
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No Games or Related Things

NO games today. NO watching or reading about games either. I'll read a book.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Back again

BrandNewDay, I hope you got through the weekend without gaming. The first game-free weekend is huge for a lot of folks, me included. If you need to start over, so be it. Don't give up! Game-free living is great!

I am back from my ski trip and about to start work again. It was great fun, way more fun than sitting around playing a game. I did get a little banged up from a fall, but that's real life for you.

No plans to game today.

McPhee
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All good

No gaming and no plans to game. I'm pretty fully engaged with real life and enjoying it. Thanks to all for your help with that.

BrandNewDay
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No games and No games

No games yesterday or the day before. No games today either. Thanks for your encouragement McPhee!

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Nice work!

BrandNewDay, that's outstanding! You are well on the way to getting through a weekend without gaming. That would be huge.

It's really important to not just sit around trying not to game. You have to come up with other activities to absorb the hours and attention you used to devote to gaming. Or at least, if you do that, then not gaming will be much, much easier. So pick some stuff you like doing and go do it. Make sure it's something you like. You want it to be appealing. See a movie, go shopping, take a trip, eat a fattening dessert, whatever. Distract yourself, reward yourself, motivate yourself, show yourself how fun life can be when you're not gaming. You can do it.

I am good today. No plans to game.

guitar1986x
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3 months and 24 days

Sorry for checking in so little! I'm still going strong and just 1 week shy of 4 months game free now.

Welcome celerec8, Texas Stew and BrandNewDay! Thank you everyone that posted, I've read it all.

McPhee, thanks for your many wonderful messages and help. Lovely to see you picked up the Slight Edge so quickly after I mentioned it! You've triggered me to re-visit the book now. I loved many of your posts. Especially a few (1) giving yourself mini-rewards for achievements, I'll try that (2) how every "epic" game memory comes at a terrible price of 100 moments in real life with varying horribly painful emotions, that will help me put my own memories into perspective and (3) the fear factory, I totally agree the "price" I would pay for relapsing is so incredibly high that I want to get away from that more than from my depression and tough feelings, which I've had a lot of the past month

Anewho, cool to see you pick up the Slight Edge too! I loved your post about you consciously working on your daily habits. I've been doing that a lot after I read the book and then stopped doing that. I'm going to pick that back up now.

Texas Stew, thanks for joining. I like how you count the days. I have to say that it's also one aspect of my motivation. Apart from the horrible price I know I would pay for relapsing, I also feel it would be the most TREMENDOUS achievement to truly quit gaming, and the months count up I've built with blood sweat and tears are dear to me. I find myself thinking: "however badly I want this ONE time playing games, it not worth giving up my EPIC achievement of reaching 3 months straight"
Watching someone play (in your case your son) I can confirm is a real test of character. I'll tell more about my own recent experience below. I'm not sure what game you play, but my recommendation to you would be that if it's any sort of MMORPG where you can "give" your son something, maybe consider logging in ONE time, giving your son ALL you have inside the game, and then deleting your characters. I've done that personally, and I found when I started up the game to do that I was 100% totally focused on the singular intention of giving my stuff away WITHOUT DELAY (i.e. without getting sucked back in talking to people) and then deleting my characters. It gave me a profound closure doing that and "forsaking" the game that way. In my opinion, starting your game up once with that intention, and carrying it out faithfully, is not a relapse because you start your game up with the singular intention to get closure, do what you need to do, and get out.

BrandNewDay, thanks for joining, I love how you mentioned that you start up OLGA when you are in a really TOUGH spot. That's just what I did today, and it's really helping incredibly much. I think that one change of habit, coping with wanting to game by logging on OLGA and reading stories / writing updates has a tremendous power to keep you away from games.

Celerec8, welcome! I love how you mention playing at work. I've done that in the past, and personally always felt really guilty and disgusted with myself after doing it. It's nice to see your pride from the changes you see happening in your working habits and the newfound joy in your work, that are happening after just DAYS. Keep up the good work!
I also love how you mentioned playing boardgames with your family and doing things with your daughters. As a dad myself, it really reminded me just how much time I have for my daughters now that I've quit. How many bad times of disconnection from my kids I've prevented by quitting. You've reminded my that my family is one of the key reasons I decided to quit gaming. Thank you for that!
Finally, I love what you mentioned about your "fear" of a binge is greater than your urge to play. As I just mentioned to McPhee, that really keeps me going. Allthough in my case I wouldn't call it fear, but rather a desire to avoid bad things happening.

planner, thank you for your many inspiring post and your hard work to help other people. It's really touching to me, I'm very proud of your hard work and inspired by seeing you keeping at it, day after day.

An update on my own progress the past month
I've had loads of game cravings - doh - lol.
I've made a very strong decision for myself to STEP UP in life and ask more of myself. As I was mentioning before, me and my wife are getting great results with our family owned company, and I'm constantly finding that I need to expand my financial 'comfort zone' to allow us to grow to higher revenue levels. Because of current success is already beyond my comfort zone, it's a great challenge for me to execute my action plans to grow to even higher levels.

Basically three weeks ago I decided to step up, decided to re-double my efforts and make my "shoulds" "musts", strongly deciding that I was ready to do anything I need to do to allow us to grow further. I've been working extremely hard getting two people that I recently newly employed into my company up to speed with the way we want them to work, we're gathering real momentum to another steep increase in our revenue and financial success.

All that hard pushing myself is leading me to a realization: I cannot keep this up if I motivate my actions my FEAR and being my own personal tyrant. I also cannot keep this up if I constantly try to intellectually analyze everything. The only way I can do this is by acting out of LOVE and SURRENDER, allowing myself to get into a state of flow. Allowing infinite intelligence to fill my actions instead of trying to figure everything out mentally. Acting out of a BURNING DESIRE for my dreams rather than fear. Trusting in God to guide me, trusting that I am blessed and powerful, and trusting that I do GOOD and ADD to the life of the world with every transaction. Trusting that the world is a GOOD and ABUNDANT place. 

That realization is easily said, but hard work to truly "live" and internalize. And that's what I've been struggling with for the past weeks. It's a lifelong process of continuous growth. I find myself constantly craving to go back to gaming, more and more each passing day and week, and today strong than ever before. And I've gone a level deeper in understanding what I was truly addicted of when playing games. I'm addicted to DISSOCIATION of my life. In other words, I'm addicted to focusing on something outside of myself (games, books, thoughts, fantasies) so intensely that I forget what I feel and become completely dissociated with what is going on around me in the moment. I'm afraid to surrender to the moment and let go of my thoughts, affraid to allow the wisdom of my soul to come and allowing my actions to be guided in a state of flow.

I have USED GAMES as my first and foremost method of maining the status quo and my fear of success, and to protect my ego, that part of my self that doesn't feel ready to surrender to God and that lives in constant fear.

My wife and me run a business that's completely online, which means we can do it from anywhere. It's our dream to live as "digital nomads" and grow our business while traveling the world. Since our kids are still young (1 and 3 years) it's good for us to get some practice with that lifestyle now. That's why we traveled through the UK the past 2 weeks. In addition to the above described challenges, I've had to deal with moving from place to place, and balancing "work" with enjoying traveling. It's been a truly tough time with MANY low points in my emotion, but also many high points in my emotion and rich with learnings.

Interestingly, my game cravings began to peak after watching a friend that we were staying with in the UK playing games. That kind of "activated" my brain to think about games. It further increased by desire to dissociate, and sparked some "hope" inside me I might actually relapse into gaming (when I say hope,that's my dark side doing the hoping). That desire to game and dissociate has growth worse and worse over the past 10 days, peaking today. It's a lesson learned for me: watching someone play games is a REALLY strong test of character.

We're finally back home now, and I'm feeling confident that I'm well positioned to deal with these challenges and continue growing. This is going to be easier at home than while traveling.

No intention to game today at all, thank you all SO much for your stories. They have truly helped me though my deepest point and highest game cravings ever today.

With warmest regards,

Bart

McPhee
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Nice!

Bart, thanks for that fine post. It's very helpful. I have just a moment to post before heading out, but thanks again.

No plans to game.

BrandNewDay
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Thanks Again

Thank you all for your support in the last month! Thank you for your comment Bart! I just relapsed again yesterday by playing a dumb game that I had no interest in, but accidentally came across when searching other things on the internet. I already did not have much temptation to play it, but I didn't even realize I was playing the game until I had already begun. I only had 8 minutes to go to complete my 4th game-free day, but that didn't happen. Playing the game was automatic then. I realized that I hadn't gone on OLGA those 4 days, so I definitely lowered my guards for potential gaming triggers. I decide now that I'm going to check OLGA every day in the morning and at least count up my days on this topic, so that I don't forget to be extremely careful around games for the entire day. I hate games. And starting now, I don't want to game at all.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

Jamal
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things I learned this week

 "Children are a great incentive and impetus for parents to learn about themselves, about each other and about life itself. Unfortunately, much of the learning may occur at their expense."

This is not a new phenomenon. It has always been and will always be the way. Don’t despair at the damage you have done to your children. While it can’t be undone, it can be corrected and the best way to do so is to correct yourself. We are resilient creatures and our desire to be loved can lead us down dark paths to find acceptance. However, that same drive can lead us to places where healing takes place. Become and remain the secure base in your child’s life and you will be experienced as a lifeline when needed.

addiction isn't a disease
addiction is an adaptation
it's not you
it's the cage you live in
ALEXANDRA, BRUCE K

BrandNewDay
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Checking In Today

I don't want to game today. I have stopped gaming for 24 hours now. I'll keep going.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Sharp!

BrandNewDay, well done. It's hard to be perfect. While it's best for most of us to completely avoid games, if you happen to slip, the thing to do is just stop playing again. You can do it. Keep trying. Good work!

Jamal, thanks for that. Parenting is an endless challenge and it's easy to doubt yourself. My kids are getting grown up but I still do it. Fortunately, they seem to be fairly happy and well adjusted. Long may it last.

No plans to game today.

celerec8
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almost to a month!

I have 3 weeks 4 days clean. I'm still adjusting. The urges are getting less. I haven't been on my Facebook but once in this time and that was on my phone with an accountability person nearby so it wasn't as easy or worth it to try to get to my games. Not sure if I will even go back to FB. I'm not deleting my account because there are so many photos I'd lose but I don't have much of a desire to even check it now. It's really nice not having that drama. FB was probably as much of an addiction as games. 

BrandNewDay, keep going sweetie. You can do this. Keep coming back to OLGA. Baby steps forward are still steps forward. 

game free since 1/14/2016

BrandNewDay
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No games today

I didn't game yesterday. It wasn't too hard. Still, I need to be careful today because I have a lot of "free" time when I'll need to finish homework. It's been two days already. I'm going for the third day today. No games today.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Sweet

Celerec8, well done! Quitting two complex maladaptive behaviors at the same time is a great accomplishment. If it starts to be too difficult, try to figure out whether gaming or Facebook is the biggest problem, and focus on that. It is better to let one problem slide temporarily while you fix another, worse problem than to over-burden yourself by trying to do too much at one time. It takes willpower to stop doing these activities, and willpower is like a muscle. It gets tired and needs rest. Does that make sense? You are doing very well. Congrats!

BrandNew, congrats on getting through two days without gaming. There is no way to get gaming out of your life without getting through the first few days, and that is often the most difficult part. It does get easier. The longer you go without gaming, the less frequently the urges will come and the more easily they will be defeated. It may be that you occasionally get a weak urge for a long time, even forever. But it gets easier.

You are smart to recognize that having free time is a danger point. You might consider doing your homework as part of a study group, or doing it someplace such as a library or family room where others are present. Changing the environment could make it easier to avoid gaming. A lot of quitting gaming is learning about various tricks and techniques. It starts with recognizing the triggers and cues and situations that tend to lead you to game. These may be different for you than for others, but free time, as you note, is very often a dangerous time. Try to schedule activities for all your free time that will make it less likely for you to game. That will help a lot.

I am good today. No plans to game.

BrandNewDay
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Thanks for your advice McPhee

I'm going to try to study and do homework in the library more often now. I have no want for gaming today, but today's going to be more difficult than before because I also need to keep away from unproductive time on the internet, which is my other addiction that I think I need to fix at the same time as gaming. I have started counting the days for no wasted time on the internet as well. I learned somewhere that, instead of multitasking, focusing on the task at hand makes a person happier, so I'm going to do just that. Eliminate distractions, focus, and eliminate all my addictions. No games and no internet.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Good thinking!

BrandNewDay, I think studying in the library is a great idea. Practically speaking, it's going to be harder for you to play games when you're in that environment. And you beat these addictions, in my opinion, by using practical approaches.

You are on target with your interest in focusing on one thing at a time. Countless studies have shown that this is the way to get things done. One good tool for improving your ability to focus is meditation. Just two minutes of meditation per day, spent concentrating on the breath and gently returning the concentration to the breath when, as always happens, it begins to wander, can significantly improve your ability to resist distractions and focus on one thing at a time.

On that same theme, I recommend you focus on quitting gaming first. Then once you have few weeks or months of game-free living under your belt, you can cut back on your other problem behaviors. This, again, is supported by lots of research. When we try to use our willpower too much, it gets tired. We all have a limited supply and need to refresh it with rest. When you are trying to quit multiple things at once, it never gets a chance to rest. I even went so far as to use other problem behaviors as rewards when I was quitting gaming. Like, I gave myself free rein to eat all the unhealthy snacks and candy I wanted. This was a reward and a rest from the effort to not game. Then later after I quit gaming, I started working on my diet.

Many people, when they decide to stop gaming or getting drunk or smoking or watching porn or gambling or whatever their issue is, decide to stop doing all kinds of other things at the same time. I don't recommend that. Focus. One thing at a time. You don't have to be perfect to be better.

You are doing very well. Congrats again on deciding to study in the library. I think that is going to turn out well.

No plans to game today.

BrandNewDay
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Got It

Thank you for your advice, McPhee! I do feel a bit more stressed out and tired just thinking about quitting all of my addictions at once. I think I'll just focus on not gaming for now. I love to see my Days Since counter go up every day. With my internet addiction problem, I'm going to make it harder to get distracted and waste time on the internet by going to the library to study. So, at this moment, I'll just focus on one addiction at a time, but be more conscious about my internet usage than before. (i.e. Using it after homework). 

I don't want to game today.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

BrandNewDay
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No games

I just finished the fourth day without gaming. I also didn't waste any time on the internet yesterday and went to the library to study. I listened to music and meditated to relieve some stress. I still do not want to game today. 

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Yeesss!

BrandNewDay, four days! That's outstanding! Well done. Keep it up! And watch out -- the weekend is almost here. That is often a tough time to avoid gaming because of all the unstructured hours. One good way to deal is to structure those hours. Make plans. Go places. Start other projects. Get out of the house and away from the computer. If your phone is the problem, start reducing the hours each day that you  use it. For instance, make a rule that you won't look at your phone before, say, 8 a.m. Or at least check social media. Anyway, recognize that weekends can be full of cues and opportunities to game. Plan not to game. And again, very well done!

I'm good today. No plans to game.

Jamal
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wish to share

Dangers of Taking Recovery for Granted

When people first become sober they are likely to experience a great deal of relief. Their years of suffering have come to an end, and they are understandably going to feel highly grateful for this. It seems to be human nature to take the familiar for granted, and this is what happens with people and their recovery. When they first become sober it all feels so new and exciting but eventually it just becomes normal. No matter how good things get they will become normal and taken for granted after a bit of time.

If people take their recovery too much for granted it can lead to problems. It may mean that they are not willing to fight hard to keep their sobriety. As soon as they hit a rocky patch in their recovery they may decide to relapse because they don’t believe that they have that much to lose.

Grateful People in Recovery Never Relapse

It is suggested that those individuals who continue to feel grateful for their recovery will never relapse. This is because their gratitude will keep them motivated to do the right things to keep them sober. They never really take their sobriety for granted and so it continues to be something precious and worth fighting for. Those individuals who slip towards relapse will have forgotten how much better their life has become – they are no longer grateful

addiction isn't a disease
addiction is an adaptation
it's not you
it's the cage you live in
ALEXANDRA, BRUCE K

BrandNewDay
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400,000 seconds

I've reached "400,000 seconds since I stopped gaming" milestone today. Again, I need to write this down to remind myself: go to the library, focus on one addiction at a time, and just focus on one thing at a time. I'll also meditate. And, as Jamal said, I'll always need to remember how hard I've worked to stay sober and never stop being grateful.

I don't want to game at all today.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Thanks!

Jamal, I really appreciate you sharing that bit about gratitude with us. I alwasy try to keep my gratitude just a little higher than my expectations. That helps me to have a better day. Thanks again.

BrandNewMe, that's great that you reached 400,000 seconds! Milestones can be really motivating, both to reach them and to maintain them. You're doing great! You have a system and a plan and you're working it. Very well done.

I am good here. No plans to game today.

 

BrandNewDay
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Some weak urges yesterday

20 hours until one game-free week for me. That will be the first time in the last year that I have done this. I've gone 500,000 seconds without gaming now, and that feels great. I had some weak impulses to game yesterday, but overcame them. Just thinking about games makes me tired, so I don't want be exhausted from gaming for hours and hours; that truly scares me. I also didn't find it hard to stay off Youtube, so I've been off those videos for more than 3 days. I'm now getting double the rewards from quitting both addictions. But I'm still only focusing on gaming addiction, and no youtube is just something that happens. I'm also controlling the impulses by listening to music a lot, which really helps relief my withdrawal symptoms. I'll also meditate today and finish my homework.

I hate games for adding so many problems to my life. I don't want to game Today.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Outstanding!

BrandNewDay, that is fantastic! Very well done. What you're doing when you describe feeling exhausted sounds like "playing the tape to the end." It's anachronistic now, but it refers to playing videotape recordings of movies. When we think about gaming, a lot of us focus on the first few minutes or hours of gaming. That's when it's fun and we aren't cramped, ignoring our responsibilities, dirty, hungry, thirsty, lying to people about what we're doing and all the rest. Playing the tape to the end (of the movie) means looking past those fun opening scenes to the bad stuff that happens at the end of the movie. You're doing that and it is so smart. keep it up!

I'm good. No plans to game.

BrandNewDay
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Thank you for all the support!

I realize now that most of the support and motivation I have in life right now has been from you all in this community. You are the main reason that I have been able to stay off gaming one day at a time, and have the courage and energy to face difficulties throughout my day. My teachers right now do not know about my problems, so they criticize me for not putting enough efforts into my homework. But I've been trying hard to not put off homework till the last minute, though this habit has been extremely difficult to change. I believe that, by not gaming for a while longer, I will experience more of the good things in life, and enjoy the things that I once hated compared to games, such as homework and sports. Then, I'll have an easier time starting and doing all of my homework, just like I used to more than a year ago. 

For now, my strategy is to just bear this out and wait through this period of difficulties: from teachers' pressures, withdrawal pressures, and peer pressure. But OLGA has truly helped me through much of this already. I hope, by the next week, I will be able to do homework much more efficiently and find my no-gaming self again. 

Thank you all again for helping me through this!

Best,

BrandNewDay

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

SmartenUp4Life
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First 24 Hours

Hi guys, new to the community here. I am determined to stop gaming one day at a time. In 1 hour will be my first 24 hours game free. I have already deleted all the games off my phone and computer, so right now resisting the urge to download again. I am planning to leave the house and go to the library or Starbucks this way it'll make re-downloading one more of an obstacle due to limited bandwith.

Reading the forums and attending my first mumble meeting today really has helped motivate me to make this a life-long commitment. Yes I do have urges today, but going on OLGA helps remind me of my determination. 

No plans to game today.

SmartenUp4Life

Jamal
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keep trudging

 like reach seemingly impossible goals and milestones of sobriety even after chronic addiction. Maybe society has written us off, or our family and friends have given up on us. We can still rise above their less-than-positive expectations of us and achieve sobriety milestones.

It all depends on how committed we are to our recovery. What difference do milestones in sobriety make? For one thing, they’re a reminder of how far we’ve come. That we’ve put so much effort and time into our goal of abstinence is something to be celebrated, a recognition we truly deserve – and should acknowledge.

Just because the milestone is 30 days doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. In fact, the first three months of sobriety are the most critical. It’s during this time that we’re gradually gaining our foothold in recovery. It’s also during this time that we often feel the most tested, confused, uncertain, and have the most difficult time coping with triggers and cravings and urges. So, 30 days of sobriety is a big thing to those of us who reach it. In fact, it is our first demonstrable achievement in our newfound sobriety.

We all need goals. When we are new to recovery, it may seem like we don’t really have a grasp on just what our goals should be. That’s all the more reason to take the opportunity to recognize and celebrate every one of our sobriety milestones. When we reach 60 days, this is a perfect time for a round of self-congratulation – also celebrated in the rooms with our 12-step group members and sponsor. The same holds true for our three-month or 90-day sobriety milestone, then our six month and one-year anniversary of being sober.

What should we do besides accept our chip in recognition of our achievement? We should use the opportunity to redouble our efforts, to learn even more, maybe start to give back to others as they have helped us in our early time in recovery. Each person’s situation is unique. Each person will find his or her own way to acknowledge sobriety milestones and make the most of them. But for everyone who achieves a milestone in sobriety, the goal should be to keep on moving forward, to make sure that we continue to achieve progress in our ongoing journey of recovery

addiction isn't a disease
addiction is an adaptation
it's not you
it's the cage you live in
ALEXANDRA, BRUCE K

BrandNewDay
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Don't have much time

Remind myself: I don't want to game today. 

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Super!

Jamal, thanks for that. It's very helpful to hear your perspective. Great stuff!

Smartenup4Life, you are living up to your handle. That's a very smart approach!  Everything you can do to make it harder to start gaming again is a help. Any obstacle, such as deleting games and canceling accounts and making it harder to re-download, raises a barrier to starting up again and gives you a chance to change your mind before you start playing again. Because you will get urges, almost for sure.

It's also very smart to go out, get to another place, away from your gaming cave and in the presence of other people. We are all ashamed of our compulsive excessive gaming, I think it's fair to say. We want to hide it. And it's hard to do that when we're around others. So go around other people. Their peer pressure will help you keep on the path you want.

Also, other activities are essential. It's extremely difficult to just sit around twiddling your thumbs and not game. You absolutely must find some more productive, positive, enjoyable ways to spend all the hours you used to spend gaming. Restart old hobbies, pursue long-delayed dreams, grant yourself forbidden indulgences, reward yourself for not gaming. Go shopping, watch a movie, hit the gym, eat chocolate, whatever. Replace the messed-up activity of excessive gaming with something that makes you happy or makes you proud or both. You will feel so, so much better about yourself and about life.

BrandNewDay, I absolutely believe you can stay off this gaming treadmill and put your energies and attention and time back into something really worthwile, like your studies. Making good grades is a pleasure and a thrill and a great accomplishment. It helps you in so many ways. You will very rarely if ever meet anyone who feels that getting a good education was a poor use of time. You are doing everything right. I am really optimistic you're going to do well.

Warning: Don't think you have this gaming thing beat and so you can go back to moderate gaming. That rarely happens for people like us. Once you have this unfortunate habit, even if you successfully replace it with other habits (like studying) the habit is still there, like a deep groove worn in your brain, waiting for you to direct some energy into it again. Even a little bit of gaming will very likely almost immediately turn into a lot of gaming and then an insane amount of gaming. It's sort of like an allergy. Once you're allergic to a bee sting, you just have to avoid bees. You are (sort of) allergic to gaming. There's no real cure. You have to avoid games.

By reading and posting and participating here, you are increasing your chances of avoiding games and having a real, rewarding, full, fulfillng life you can be proud of, instead of the shameful, hidden, empty, profitless life of the habitually excessive gamer. I'm proud of you all for being here and really glad you can make it. It has helped me enormously. Without you and people like you, I would probably still be wasting hours, days, months, years and, yes, decades of my one life playing a pointless computer game. I don't want to do that.

No plans to game today.

Jamal
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outgrowing your addiction

Addicts are really hard on themselves, so there's always a need to self-medicate the pain that's self-inflicted when we shame ourselves, and that's the vicious cycle of addiction.Addicts are always scanning their inner terrain and beating themselves up for something. If you began whacking yourself in the head with a baseball bat from the minute you got up in the morning, how do you think you'd be feeling at the end of your day? Wouldn't you have to alleviate that pain--and how would you go about that?? More importantly, who do you think originally taught you how to criticize, shame and guilt yourself?? 

Running away from your difficult feelings, means running away from yourself. You cannot form and maintain a solid relationship with anyone else, until you learn how to have a nourishing, friendly one with you.

Outgrowing any sort of addiction involves growing emotional muscles. When you first start to feel the dark/difficult sensations you had to repress/kill-off during your childhood (in order to survive) and begin trusting that they won't annihilate you, emotional development is the inevitable outcome. Addictions are terminated when there's no longer a need to numb-out--or run from You. In short, feeling brings about wholeness and Healing.

addiction isn't a disease
addiction is an adaptation
it's not you
it's the cage you live in
ALEXANDRA, BRUCE K

BrandNewDay
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Agreed

I agree with Jamal that being harsh with ourselves is a major reason for our addiction. It's often the environment when we were young that taught us how to criticize ourselves. But it's up to us to overcome the self-criticism and have no more need to escape from it. I also think that we should teach ourselves to face the stress and social pressure as well, and not run away from them. That way, we can have far less need to play games than we used to. Overcoming addiction is an opportunity to train and mature our minds, and I'm sure that the skills we learn here will also benefit us in other areas and activities that we do. 

Today I still didn't dare to directly face the main source of my stress, which is homework. And, because I ruled out the option for games and videos, I simply tried to spend time on anything but homework or anything that reminds me of homework. I have just recognized that I have such a strong fear of homework. I realize now that I need to face this fear and overcome it. I agree with McPhee that I should find more worthwhile activities to do outside of gaming, and I believe facing my fears is my top goal now. I'm not afraid to face them. 

I'll face my homework now. Peace out.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

SmartenUp4Life
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Well Said

McPhee, you are totally right about making resisting the urges more difficult to accomplish if I don't replace my free time that I would otherwise be gaming with something else to keep me occupied. I ended up spending a few hours at the library yesterday surfing the web and in the evening catching up on TV shows. I still have some ways to go before I can completely replace all the time I am spending on unproductive activities (video/show watching and internet browsing) to productive ones (reading books, studying, job hunting) but I'm determined to focus on one thing at a time. First is completely cutting out games in my life. Happy to announce that I am successfully 2 days free of gaming and have resisted the urge to read up on any gaming related news as well.

Jamal, you made a good point on addicts being more likely to be hard on themselves. It completely describes me. I often get down on myself for wasting a lot of time, but when it does come down to a time when I do have the opportunity to put in the effort and prepare for something that builds myself, I find myself lacking the courage to overcome the laziness and succumb to a path of least resistance which usually involves procrastination and excuses to not face the issue directly. In the past this was even more gaming to numb out the difficult feelings. I am going to try to embrace these tendencies as something that I know are part of me and take a step-by-step approach by initially setting small, extremely achievable daily goals. Once I successfully achieve them, I will slowly work my way up pushing myself a little bit more each day. If I falter, that's ok, it's normal, just pick myself up again and redetermine.

BrandNewDay, keep up that great progress! I find it really inspiring to read about your struggles, developments and victories. I look forward to seeing you fulfill a great potential.

Thank you OLGA community for providing such support, a great resource, and an emotionally safe environment as I work towards a new game-free life.

No plans to game today.

SmartenUp4Life

BrandNewDay
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Productivity is difficult

I agree with SmartenUp4Life that being productive when just starting to quit gaming is difficult, because though I've outlawed gaming in my life, I haven't stopped trying to avoid (unsuccessfully) the things that I'm afraid of because they might cause me stress. I'm deciding today that an important way out of the tendency to game is by dispelling these fears and facing them straight on instead of procrastinating, and thus see that they are actually not as stressful as I believed. By reducing stress this way, I will be less likely to game. 

I'm one week and one day completely free from gaming. I feel so much better now knowing that had I not stopped, I'd be in a very bad position right now. I'll face my fears today.  

I don't want to game today.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Amazing

Smartenup4Life, BrandNewDay and Jamal -- you folks are incredible. You are really sounding very self-aware, mindful and competent. Jedis, actually. Great work!

I want to say something about trying to be perfect. The idea, especially right now, is not to try to be perfect. You are trying to quit excessive gaming, which as we know can be quite challenging. You are not trying to replace every single less-than-optimal activity with utterly optimal activities. It's okay if, instead of gaming, you watch TV or hang out or do something else that's entertaining but not necessarily productive. One thing at a time. When you get several weeks or months of not gaming under your belt, then you can try replacing some other imperfect activity with a more desirable one. If you try to do too much at once, it makes it harder to accomplish the main goal, which is getting gaming out of your life. This is not a good opportunity for multi-tasking.

Time is a big factor. Going a day without gaming is not the same as going six months without gaming. As you get more game-free time under your belt, the urges will always become weaker and more easy to deflect (although they may not ever completely disappear.) In the early days it's not a good idea to try to achieve total purity, even though this is a tempting idea. You may think, "I feel better because I'm not gaming, so maybe if I also quit surfing the web, watching Youtube videos, smoking and eating chocolate, I'll feel even better." You probably will be able to do all that -- eventually. But willpower is a finite resource and, when you use up your available supply, it takes time to replenish it. Don't use all yours up now trying to quit the less-problematic behaviors. Replace gaming with stuff that gives you some of what you have been getting from gaming. If possible, make it something positive and productive. But don't get too worried about being perfect and never doing anything that's less than ideal.

Focus.

One thing at a time.

You don't have to be perfect to get better.

No plans to game today.

Jamal
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good stuff

Hi Jamal,

This email contains important information, please read to the end if you can.

We're just 24 hours from the start of the 6th Recovery 2.0 Addiction Online Conference!

The Conference is going live at 6am Pacific time on Wednesday, February 17.

Here is the link you will use to access the conference: http://recovery2point0conference.com/feb2016

Your participation means everything to us. It signifies we are a community pursuing health, wellness, healing, support and love. The conversation around recovery is making more and more sense. It’s becoming ever more inclusive and accessible. We are at the edge of that movement and it’s really exciting.

Please Tell Your Community About Recovery 2.0!
Make sure to post on Facebook today that you will be participating in The 6th Recovery 2.0 Online Conference this week and encourage your friends to join us as well. Send them to: http://recovery2point0conference.com to register for free.

addiction isn't a disease
addiction is an adaptation
it's not you
it's the cage you live in
ALEXANDRA, BRUCE K

BrandNewDay
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200 hours but still high pressure

I'm 200 hours free of gaming now. I'm considering this a major accomplishment.

I agree with McPhee's advice that I shouldn't multi-task all these self-improvement goals, but my circumstances right now can't afford another week of no gaming but still low productivity. I need to raise my productivity dramatically within this week.

I'm in a very high-pressure time attending my school right now, and the expectations for the quality of work are very high. Still, before eight days ago I couldn't manage my time at all and had so much trouble completing my work that I slept at 3 am every night. Now, my situation is improving and I'm recovering from the addiction, though I still need to be very careful. Even now, though, I'm still sleeping at around 1 am trying unsuccessfully to finish all of my homework.

That's why I've decided over the last week that I needed to fix multiple of my habits at once, even though that would use up more of my willpower. Besides stopping gaming, I've worked on stopping Youtubing (5 days already), Googling (just 19 hours), and just this morning, facing the sources of my stress instead of escaping from them. These three additional goals have surely used up more of my willpower, but my circumstances are forcing me to make these decisions. I don't have even one day to rest at this school. My hours are full of obligations, though I still spend 3 hours per day unproductively one way or another. Therefore, I have no other choice but to work on improving all these aspects of myself, just so I can finish my work and sleep a little earlier. I know working on these four things together will expend a lot of my willpower, but I believe that I've gained enough motivation from you all at OLGA and my Days Since counter and seeing my improvements everyday that I can accomplish all these goals at once. 

Another important motivation for me is seeing my grades improve and return back to where they used to be or even higher. Because I don't have weeks or months to spare just to stop gaming, I need to go all-out. I would also lose a lot of the motivation to stop gaming if I can't hope to see my grades improve. 

So, because of my special circumstances, I believe now that it's best for me to do all of these things together right now instead of letting myself go on youtube again. Still, I'm going to mainly focus on quitting gaming, which is easier because I'm coming here every day, but I'll also need to work on facing my stress and stopping time-waste on internet.

If this plan stops working, I'll probably change to focusing on just gaming. But I hope that my plans will work. 

I don't want to game any time ever.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

BrandNewDay
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Still focusing though

Actually, I'm thinking that it would really help if I just focused on fewer things: stopping gaming and facing the source of my stress. Just those two. I'm going to leave internet waste for later, when my urges to game get weaker. By focusing on less things, I can better resist gaming urges. 

I don't want to game today.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

BrandNewDay
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Didn't work

Just focusing on gaming didn't work for me yesterday. Because I had already kept away from youtube for 5 days, it felt extremely bad to allow myself to go back to watching videos. I realized that working on multiple things at once had been helpful in the last week, because I gained motivation from not just one, but multiple time counters. So I'm deciding to go with working on all of my goals today.

I don't want to game today.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Very impressive!

BrandNewDay, you are really showing some game! Nicely done! I sometimes get carried away and think and talk as though I know it all. I see now that there is more than one path to getting gaming out of your system, and you are certainly describing a very viable way to do that.

I guess the most impressive thing about reading your posts is the mindfulness. You are showing great awareness of both your internal and external realities, and crafting a response that takes both into consideration in your effort to live a fulfilling life. If you gotta cut out Youtube in order to get your studies caught up, that's what you gotta do, obviously. I would just caution you not to voluntarily take on additional self-purification efforts unless you need to. We are only humans and we can over-stress ourselves.

One of the issues with trying to kick a habit of excessive gaming is confronting all the messes we have created by hiding out from life in a game. You are having to face your neglected studies. Other people have neglected relationships, careers, finances, health, hygiene, etc. There is a tough spell where you haven't really kicked the gaming habit all that thoroughly, and yet you are having to deal with a built-up pile of responsibilities that are just the sort of thing that used to send you sneaking back into a game to hide out from the stress and uncertainty and anxiety and all the rest. You are really confronting all that in a highly courageous and thoughtful manner. Great job!

Jamal, I will have to check out that conference. Truthfully, I am too ashamed and embarrassed by my gaming addiction to go public with admitting it to the world. I will be open about it here, and perhaps with a few face-to-face people, but I can't confess on Facebook. Olga's anonymity is a major plus to people like me. Maybe someday I'll be able to be more open about it, but not yet.

No plans to game today.

 

SmartenUp4Life
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No Games Today

I have successfully completed my third day without gaming. Still having trouble tackling major problems head-on like pro-actively responding to emails and reaching out to people for networking and job hunting purposes. But I'm slowly working my way to that. One tip that I want to share, especially for dealing with urgent matters where I cannot afford to procrastinate is imagining the feelings I would have if I fast forwarded to the future the results of having procrastinated and not completing / not doing a good enough job. Most of the time these feelings are strong and uncomfortable enough to give me the kick I need to get the task started (which is always the hardest part). Once I'm in the groove, the rest come easiliy as long as I focus on one chunk at a time, breaking down complex tasks into manageable sections.

Did not game today. No plans to game tomorrow either.

 

SmartenUp4Life

BrandNewDay
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A great day

SmartenUp4Life, you are doing great by keeping off gaming for three days! You can do it by being careful around games. 

McPhee, thank you so much for your support these days! I've gained much motivation and many strategies to keep off games from your posts. And, I realize now that everyone nevertheless have slightly different experiences and circumstances from each other, and I should understand and respect their own methods of quitting gaming and improving their lives. There are definitely common themes and strategies, but each person can vary in how they quit. I'll now keep a more flexible stance toward all strategies that I come up with myself and learn here. If they work, I'll keep them. If they don't, I'll stop using them. It's that simple. I'll do whatever it takes to stop gaming and improve my life.

Thank you all at OLGA.

I don't want to game today.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

McPhee
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Yeah!

SmartenUp4Life, fast-forwarding as you describe is so smart and an excellent approach to getting gaming out of your life. Some people call this "playing the tape to the end," and it's all about looking past the early minutes or hours of gaming, when it's still fun, and into the later period when it's not fun and our lives are crumbling around us as we compulsively and helplessly continue playing. Very well done. Great job!

BrandNewDay, I just can't imagine a wiser or more promising attitude than the one you describe. You are really on top of this. I know you've struggled, but right now you are doing great and seem to be getting stronger and better-informed by the day. I am very optimistic you are going to put this episode behind you and move on to a wonderful and fulfilling life free of gaming.

I'm okay here. No plans to game today. Thanks to all for your help with that.

celerec8
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milestone

I've been so busy doing things I need to be doing I forgot to post on the actual day. I just wanted to say that I've reached a milestone. I have not gamed in 1 month and 3 days! I've gotten on FB a couple of times from my phone but always supervised by an accountability person and with a time limit. I actually found I really didn't even care. I can't believe I've made it this far. I'm still one day at a time and trying not to get too cocky into thinking I won't relapse because I KNOW that I can. I'm just trying to stay aware of that and be "on purpose" about not gaming. 

game free since 1/14/2016

BrandNewDay
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Keeping this up

Celerec8, congratulations on a month and three days! That is extremely impressive! I agree that you have all the ability to completely quit the games, now it's about remembering to be careful to not touch games every day. Keep it "game free since 1/14/2016"!

Thank you for your encouragement McPhee! I realized that, by quitting gaming, the internet is no longer addictive as I thought it was. I find that I can now manage my time on it much easier than before, and that the main reason I was using it so much was to escape the stress and pain caused by the consequences of gaming. Now that I have far less stress from gaming, I also can use the internet far more responsibly. Still, the pressure from school gives me an urge to escape into the internet, but I'm constantly working on reducing this stress. I'll try to get the stress under control by this weekend.

I haven't gamed for ten days and ten hours now. I couldn't have imagined this accomplishment when I first quit. And now, I still can't imagine a month of game free time, or even a year. But I'm definitely going to do my best. I've gone so far. I need to remind myself of the sleeplessness and horror that I had after every gaming session. 

I don't want to game today.

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

wazzapp
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hello all

hello all

im game-free, alive and fairly well

thanks for this community

Never alone, go to meetings <3 Mumble voice meetings on cgaa are great, see you there <3

 

wazzapp
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hello all

doublepost

Never alone, go to meetings <3 Mumble voice meetings on cgaa are great, see you there <3

 

BrandNewDay
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Thank you wazzapp

Congratulations for being alive and game free! 

I'd also like to thank this community for keeping me off games for the past 11 days. I'm feeling much more like a conscious person now. I don't want to go back. I wasted some time on the Internet yesterday. Still working on that.

I don't want to game today.

 

"The trouble--it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found." - Home

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