I used to read these forums every couple of nights to relate with others and try to get support and motivation. This forum helped. I haven't come here for a year. It's been a year since I've played any video game.
When I decided to quit gaming last year I did not destroy my games or console. I keep them to remind me of who I used to be. (I'm still wondering if thats a good idea or not. I'm starting to think its not.)
Last Friday I popped in Fallout New Vegas into my PS3... I'm not going to tell you "I don't know why." Lets think here. What was the cause? What made me want to reach into my closet drawer to do something I've decided to never ever do again?
The cause? I needed a break! I studied for 4 very intense hours. My brain felt clogged, stuffed, fatigued! I needed to take a break. Then came the question. What do I do? I don't feel like doing my usual recreative activities like reading, listening to music, watching the news with no volume, talking with my mom, looking at the garden in my backyard (even though its not much).
So I played the game! And guess what? I ENJOYED myself! I'm not going to joke around! It really was fun! I felt PLEASURE! Immediate gratification! So I played for guess what? 5 hours! 5 hours!! Now to me today that's a lot! The me last year would've said 5 hours is absolutely nothing! (espcially for a game like fallout). So I enjoyed myself and thought to myself at the end of the night, "that was pretty good."
1 week later, guess what happened next? I had a scheduled plan to study for my classes and accomplish my other routines. But no I brushed it off and played another 5 hours of Fallout New Vegas! I was not supposed to be playing video games! I failed!
In my 5th hour of gaming the video game froze. It ticked me off. I was enjoying myself (not really) then the f***ing game froze on me! Come on! But then I woke up. The game freezing was what Tony Robbins calls a pattern interrupt. I noticed more clearly what I was doing. Then I remembered that, "THIS IS NOT WHO I AM! THIS IS NOT WHAT I DO!" So I pulled out the disc infuriatingly from the console, got a hammer, and furiously DESTROYED it to pieces, intentionally hoping to condition myself that this really is not who I am!
Now I feel free. Very free. When I was playing the game I knew what I was doing. I was doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing. But I kept talking to myself saying,
"Just one more hour! It's so good!" "I'm just going to play for 1 more hour, and then I'm going to never play video games again! Just this one hour, god please, its just soo good!"
But no. Even though I was saying these things to myself the pleasure I felt was not real pleasure. That pleasure was mixed with guilt, shame, disappointment, discomfort and a bit of anger. While I was enjoying myself, I was also repeatedly saying to myself, "What the **** am I doing?"
What is the lesson here? There could be more than 1. But the one thing that I want to get across is that we can do this. If I can do it, you can do it. I relapsed for 2 weeks after 1 year of no gaming. Technically I only played for 9 hours. 4+5=9. But I say I relapsed for 2 weeks because when I turned off the console I was gaming inside my head... What do I mean? I was thinking about playing the game... When I was in class I was thinking about the game. When I was in the kitchen I was thinking about the game. When I was at work I was thinking about the game. During the week I was visualizing how fun the game would be when I got to it on friday. How ridiculous.
Live life. You don't need video games. You are more than this. You can do this. You can do this. You can do this!
You're a human being. Try just being sometimes. Sometimes I like to just sit, be, and feel all of the magificent details around me. The beating of my heart. The breeze of the wind. The sun touching my skin. The birds pecking on the ground. The consistent sound of traffic from cars a few miles away. Seeing teenagers walk home after school... Play the game of life. I'm playing it and it has its downs but it also has its ups. And when its up, its soo good.