Accountability check

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Leonidas
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Accountability check

I've been off for more than a year.  Took a break to release the negative energy I had accumulated by then, with the social situation at the time, things were getting weird... I preferred keeping whatever sanity I had and left.  I've come back but this time to quickly check in on specific gaming rituals I would like to improve.  Politics I'll leave out of the way... and besides with the new AI platforms coming of age, the potential for personal data collection is too great to risk it.

I judge myself to be at about day 1 of recovery.  The ritual is mostly problematic in the evening, especially after 9pm... that's my vulnerability spot.  So I would think that my best chance of countering this is to create a habit that hopefully becomes automatic over time.  If it is reading a book, then my direction will be: "If it is 9pm, then I will close the laptop and bring a book to my bedside table".  Or if it is to follow an online course, then something like: "If it is 9pm, then I will run through 1h worth of material then close laptop and prepare for bedtime".

I'll add one more thing: something I discovered last year from reading Arianna Huffington's book 'Sleep Revolution' is that I had never given any thought on the importance of sleep.  Getting 6 hours a day was some sort of norm that I figured worked for 'most people' but that has proven a disaster for me in every way.  I am slowly shifting to get more 'good' 8+ hours sleep days than the 'less than 7'.

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Welcome back Leonidas

Welcome back Leonidas

Glad you are here! Thanks for sharing.

SLeep is underated by most. It's the bedrock of good mental health, so I have been told.

Looking forward to your next post

Polga

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Indeed it is, Polga!  Good

Indeed it is, Polga!  Good sleep paves the way to a good everything.  And the corollary to poor sleep leads to terrible outcomes.  This I know to be true by looking at my own little history: the less hours I get, the more restless, irritable, prone to many mistakes I become.  With the added bonus of sabotaging human interactions or avoiding them altogether.  And the ever present foggy brain that won't go away until an early bedtime brings back some equilibrium.  I also learned that sleep not only restores baalance and clarity, it puts the body into repair mode, trashing away neuronal toxins that accumulate in the brain.  But I'm waging that's not potent enough a motivator to most people, who would ever want to help their own cause?!

A bit of a slip last Saturday.  So that was one night in the week that I spent a late evening with a quick online game.  I could feel then that I had a choice in the matter, it was definitely not automatic, but backing off would have involved some exertion of willpower which I passed up on, opting instead to lazily reward myself for a 'good' week.  It's strange: every now and then I feel this sort of entitled "me time" where I could just do what I want, in return for the tough week that's been, now quickly sliding back into the rearview mirror.  A tiny reward might make sense, but I don't understand the self-entitled demand for "play time".  And yet, I'll probably have to come face to face with it soon enough.  How will I react?  Will I just 'give in' as I usually do?  Or will I consider the options for a bit longer, and try to argue the case for a competing option?  I might still lose and give in anyway, but if I do enter this 'negotiating phase', then this alters the typical pattern of automatically giving up...

I'm trying to be as patient as possible with the process.  I don't want to force an outcome if I'm not ready for it... but I feel an opening somewhere, so that is all the cue I need to hope for progress, however slow it comes about.

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Hi Leonidas

Hi Leonidas

Sounds like small changes feel more realistic and sustainable for you.

They say behaviour stems from a need it's trying to meet. What is your need for when you feel entitled to game after a hard day?

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HI Polga,

HI Polga,

I would agree with baby steps apporach for now, greater leaps to come in future.  Interesting question about the NEED.  You're right: it IS a need that is begging for resolution.  I don't have a clear answer yet, but I can guess: I've always liked puzzles, there was always something about problem-solving that brought a thrill.  I'm a sucker for anything Sherlock, or pretty much any of the myriad of ITV-based crime investigation shows!  The thrill of the chase, the solving of the riddle.  I suppose that's why the only kind of game I am drawn to is one that involves weighing the options, thinking a few moves ahead and so on... action/shooter game stuff never appealed to me.  Where TV crime shows or novels fill a gap for this interest, a part of it is left unexercised: the action of DOING the solving.  I actually never thought of it in these lines... but thanks to you Polga, something clearer is starting to emerge!

In line with my promise, I have to report another slip on Sunday.  Silver lining: shorter session this time which did not cut into crucial sleep time.  But still not cause for celebration.  Is this part of a pattern of slow weaning out?  And also, can I formulate some plan or idea that can get me to "exercise" problem-solving skills that don't have to involve a late night game?  If I could at least envisage some possible routes... that would be great.

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The other day I was listening

The other day I was listening to a Jordan Peterson talk on what motivates young boys to learn.  The current school curriculum structure is unsuited to boys, according to him.  The hours spent sitting down at a desk, listening to a professor discourse at length on math or language... appears to be somewhat adapted to the learning style of girls... yet completely misses the mark for boys.  The missing key?  The physical interaction with the world, handling of objects and the all important element of PLAY are essential pieces of a paradigm much more suited to boys' education.  Again, all this according to him.

I couldn't help but feel that he had hit the bull's eye... from my early childhood/adolescence memories, the ones I most cherish are the ones that involved some sort of activity that occurred outdoors or that involved a fun or - dare I say it - game-like aspect to it.  Or something that got me to use my own hands.  Oddly enough, the memories that have to do with academic success, even to the delight of proud parents... are nondescript and vague.  There is no color or tinge to them; I am hopelessly unmoved by these past accomplishments, regardless of society's approval of these as being important for building a good 'future'.

So I am left with a "what if".  What if I had received an education so dramatically different, swapping the relentless math equations exercises with say learning to work with leather, or learning the essentials of woodworking or the like... what if?  What if our days in school were spent dreaming up ways of designing a new monument or building that would be both functional and pragmatic while also passing as artisitc and beautiful to behold?  What if we were to set up dozens of experiments throughout the year, to be carried out outdoors (or inside the lab during the winter months), and watch our hypotheses flounder to the dustbin or flourish into a startling new scientific breakthrough?  What if.  What if we didn't have to lay that opportunity to waste.  Well the educational system wasted itself on me and I failed to reach my potential.. well that's fine, now I know - from my own retrospective glance back into my own life and Jordan's reminder - that something has to change for the next generation.  Something that offers an alternative to pursuing the highest floor of academia's white tower.  Something that deals with the world at ground level, where things happen and get done.  How did academia devolve to such a point where they've taken out the experimenting Aristotle out of the university and replaced him with a procedural bureaucrat?  And then the panicked collective gasp of surprise: less than 25% of men even bother enrolling into universities.  Surprise indeed... why engage in a hands-on rewarding occupation when you can rote-memorize and fill out multiple-choice question finals for the next 4 years instead?

Anyway, as I try to make peace with this issue, I can clearly see that the "concept" of gaming is not problematic in and of itself.  But rather the circumstances, the environment under which gaming is taking place.  If 'gaming' is an approach used by a detective to solve crimes and it works, then all the better.  But if I were to hole myself up in a room, shut out from the world for the next 4 hours and delve into an actual game so that I could "lose" myself, then the environment is neither positive nor productive, but rather escapist.  In the latter scenario, I would not be inventing my own 'game'... but rather consuming one that exists outside of me.  It's this counsuming part that I believe leads to addiction and self-destruction.

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I guess a question maybe you

I guess a question maybe you can ask yourself is " Am I growing from what I am doing" whether it's gaming or whatever, to ascertain if it's distraction or learning something you value. 

Best wishes to you!

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Absolutely spot on again,

Absolutely spot on again, Polga.

In fact I am going to try a game-like approach to brush up on a language skill I've left to dry for years.,.  I've gathered the materials, set up the supports, now I've just got to figure out a plan that gets me to start: not too much early on, and progressively add time and effort as I move forward.  I'll start tonight listening to recordings for about 15-20 minutes and that's all!  Then see what else I can do later this week.  But here's the hard part: just kicking myself into action... taking the first step is always the hardest!

As for gaming itself, been about 3 days clean so far...

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Three days clean; that's cool

Three days clean; that's cool! One step at a time. 

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Thanks for the encouragement,

Thanks for the encouragement, Polga!  So I gather that I have about 10 days or so of life without gaming.  This is good news, so I thought about exploring what might be contributing to that.

One one hand I've been looking out to plan for a short voyage, maybe in 2-3 months from now.  There's nothing spectacular about the idea of travel - everyone does it - but this particular plan is a little different.  Rather than go solo, I think I'll be bringing along a family member I care a lot about.  The way I see it, it would be a sort of "one of the last chances of embarking on a grand trip" with them.  Circumstances are such that I don't think this would work 5 years from now.  I also see the trip as breaking the monotony of everyday life and one that I hope will create good memories.  In that effort, I'm also getting reacquainted with the foreign language, which I have left by the wayside for more than a decade.  But after a couple of listening sessions, things are slowly starting to come back.

Another front that has kept me busy is reading and the occasional TV show.  The TV show is alright... formulaic, with a progressive story line that veers into the familiar-by-now theme of 99% of shows out there.  But one thing it does do, is change the perspective, even if for just a few weeks.  As for the book I'm currently on, it is probbaly what many would refer to as the greatest novel ever written: The Karamazov Brothers by Dostoevsky.  Of course that's a subjective statement, but it does resonate with me.  It's my second read, after nearly two decades... but this being another edition and writing style, I am catching and sensing the story and emotion in a completely different way this time around.  I'm glad I've dug in... about halfway through the 1000-page brick, but savoring every minute of it so far!

And finally, doing as best as I can work-wise.  That could translate into a promotion a year or so later down the line, and open up possibilities for work in other places if I wish.  So I'm keen to give management no reasons to hold back or come up with excuses for not being able to do so..

I suppose being occupied on many fronts is what is keeping gaming at bay.  Anyway on to the tasks that await..!

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I see a lot of great things

I see a lot of great things going on for you there! Trip sounds awesome. Sounds like a film story. Who will play you when they make it ?

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LOL, Polga!  I don't know,

LOL, Polga!  I don't know, Keanu Reeves?  if he's desperate enough for roles, lol!

Wow, time has flown... this July things are about to get tighter, with many things to do, many things to learn.  As I look back on June, sure there may have been a couple of slips, and as annoying as these are I don't feel them any more that I would a couple of food stains on an otherwise impeccable shirt.  The analogy was just a roundabout way of saying that gaming no longer has a crippling effect on my life.  Much less is it the fear-inspiring monster that would persistently nag at my back, telling me there's something horribly wrong with me.  The first cry of alarm is helpful: it informed me that change was necessary if I wanted to have a better life.  But the persistent shooting the self down was not; and unfortunately that's just how we humans are built... we thrive on high-wire alarms and fight-or-flight reflexes, but it's how we conduct ourselves in the calm after the storm that will ultimately define character.

And so that's how I'm looking at the next 2 months or so ahead of me.  A period of relative calm, but one where I have to do the utmost to prepare and stash away as much practical knowledge and wisdom as I can.  Not because I'm being graded for it by an external God-like entity.  But rather because by so doing I am fulfilling an intangible personal gratification that comes from trying one's best in the goal of attaining something really worthwhile.  Right now, that would be for me to make this trip overseas happen.  Who knows, ultimately it might turn out to be a flop or never even take off (for whatever reason)... but just by formalizing the intention, it becomes more than just a wish.  The darn thing has taken a life of sorts!  So now I gotta get busy investigating plans, forming contingencies, covering the basics of communication and so on... The only downside: sounds a bit like a military campaign.  This lack of improvisation, or of just letting things happen isn't for lack of want... it's just that in the last 4-5 years or so, everything has become a lot more complex... with increased use of technology, has come in tandem the incessant demands to sign off on this waiver of privacy, on these methods of payment, on the requirement for so and so certificates, and so on... The days of care-free travelling are pretty much over for anyone who isn't a billionnaire... and even so the billionaires may need to contend with other types of worries...  anyway, I digress.

So here's to not worrying about gaming!  It's an empowering feeling, but as I slowly revert back to a more baseline mood, not desiring gaming might just feel like a 'normal' thing.  What's more important is what goals I might come up with in future that will occupy my mind and energies.  I just have to believe for the time being that there will be nothing to fear... whenever I get the next call to take action, I'll simply figure out a way to start it.

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Sounds like things are moving

Sounds like things are moving and changing for you. Awesome to plan your trip. Yeah technology sucks. Keep us posted!

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Nothing much to report for

Nothing much to report for now.  Life more or less in cruise control.  But I'd like to report that I have just recently finished the best book I've ever read.  I might have mentioned it before but I'll repeat it for myself: The Brothers Karamazov.  There is something about the way it talks about the human soul, the duality of light and darkness, the ultimate victory of youth... but above all it's the depth of each character that made me identify with all three brothers, maybe slightly more with Aliosha.  I wish the story didn't have to end, and yet the inconclusive ending gives way to hope.  And I suppose hope is a promise that does not require explicit storytelling.. that is left to each one of us to imagine the rest.  Anyway, couldn't help myself from dropping these few lines, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

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You've sold the book to me!

You've sold the book to me!

Was there an old movie made of this?

Feeling loneliness when I read your posts. Of course I could be barking up the wrong tree totally. Only saying this to try to be helpful. 

With all best wishes

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Yeah, there was a Hollywood

Yeah, there was a Hollywood style movie made about this... the one with Yul Brynner in the late 50's or so.  I don't think it was bad, but obviously no movie can ever delve deep into character development to Dostoevsky levels... Surprisingly though, no TV miniseries were ever attempted, save maybe for a Russian production sometime in the 60's.

You're totally barking up the right tree, Polga!  I do feel an impending feeling of loneliness.  In my immediate surrounding I am not, but I have this nagging fear that I'll somehow end up totally alone.  I'm aware that my 'natural' or habitual inclination is toward solitude, but that has also brought suffering.  I am trying to break this habit... but I know that I won't overnight become a social butterfly or anything like that.  I'll have to establish a covenant with myself so that I can consider change, then implement a tiny change, then maybe follow it up with a slightly bolder step and so on... that reminds me of the story a clinical psychologist said about a 'hoarder' taking the tiniest steps to finally - after months of trying - convince himself to put his room in order!  But what you said is very much spot on.

I'll soon be making an agreement with myself, about the direction I want my social life to take.

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Have you ever read anything

Have you ever read anything about "attachment theory"? I wonder if it could be helpful for you how you understand yourself. 

I lean that way too, but try to make more connections. Wondering who would be at my own funeral helped! 

All best wishes

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Been off the forum for a

Been off the forum for a while... but always keeping it in mind.  Just a simple check in to remind myself that I'm still in this fight.  I'll be absent again for a month or so, travel plans finally did work out and will soon be off!  While things will be easy while I'm busy exploring, the fight will become all the more critical once I return.  It's the everyday type of habits that count... no matter how 'nice' an accasional adventure may me.  That's where it plays out.

Polga: Thanks for the suggestion on attachment theory.  I looked up authors and found around 4 or 5... among which the 'reference' appears to be from Amir Levine.  Is that the one you recommend?  Or did you read from another author's?

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Attachment theory as I know

Attachment theory as I know it develops from the theories of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth; I'm sure other people have developed it over time since Look at the stuff about what secure attachment is and the types of insecure attachment and how they form and how they can play out. 

Have an awesome trip!

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Back again after a while away

Back again after a while away from the forums. And a recent relapse on Monday! A reminder of how the beast of addiction works: given an inch and it takes a mile. Excuses and rationalisation are the fodder; losing the will to fight the engine, for the continued behaviors. So today, I am recommitting to a life without artificial stimuli, which includes gaming. The old Greek word 'daimon' aptly described the concept of 'will to fight'. I want my daimon back!

As great as the trip went, it's all over now! It was a fantastic change of scenery and most memorable. But here I am, back into the routine of every day life. And the fight is ever more critical in the day to day - this is where things happen. Even the idea of the trip fermented in the days of ordinary living. And so much more can sprout from it. So I don't see routine as drudgery at all! It's the opportunity to spot the next move or project. And it so happens that for this to work its magic, it would be best to keep idle hands at bay and prevent things like gaming from interrupting that process.

I am a deeply flawed person, I admit. Time and time again, I seem to relapse. But with commitment in hand, those relapses will slow and trickle... and hopefully one day completely disappear from the landscape. It will take strength and determination. I am reminded of the current conflict in the Middle East. I see it as part of a recurrent pattern: waging war as a strategy for conflict resolution. Humanity seems to love relapsing into war. And it seems destined to forever repeat that pattern into the future. So then at an individual level, are we bound to live forever with our patterns of behavior? Or can patterns be broken and transformed? If I didn't believe the latter, I wouldn't even be here trying. For humanity, that's a taller order: it involves multiple sides to commit to change. But focusing on the self first is a good place to start. And that's the most meaningful contribution I can think of: vanquish my own demons first, and then I may help others in any way I can (if help is welcome).

Daimon.

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Well, Happy New Year to

Well, Happy New Year to myself!  (and to any one else passing by)

I figured that to give myself the best possible hand of cards (and by that I don't mean gaming!), to achieve that it would be best for me to set out with a vision or at the very least an intention.  My intention this year is to gradually release the hold off gaming.  I have been writing here for some time, and yet I am still not out of the woods yet.  I am not proud of it, but dweling in shame won't grant me my wish any sooner either.

Back to my vision: gaming is like an invisible hand that grasps at a forearm and won't let go.  It might fear that letting go would mean it will dissolve away into the infinity of time and space.  That invisible hand may well be my own, grasping at myself.  What will happen to me if I lose this part of my life that was supposed to be so enjoyable!  And yet.  The promises of joy and pleasure are never in the aftermath but always in the lead-up to gaming.  The world on a string is what I trapped myself into believing.  And then I kept recovering again and again, patiently rebuilding my character from a desolate sense of emptiness brought on by the pursuit of that promise.  It fails again and again, but maybe - I thought to myself - it was because I had tried the wrong game.  There's got to be one that fits me like a glove, that will complete me.  And by now it should be plain to see that I - like many others - have signed on to a mass delusion, resolved to see it through.

Thank God for the chilly wind blowing through my window.  Like a shot of caffeine, it jolts me back to the present.  OK.  So I have fallen... REPEATEDLY.  Now what?  Do I keep investing in this empty promise, do I keep giving it multiple other chances?  Or shall I call it a day, cut my losses, and move away from the spot that will never bring me joy no matter how hard I try?  Can I simply start by moving away, slowly?  Can I say to myself: leaving this place will be difficult, but staying here will not create the better life I am seeking.  Can I nudge myself forward without looking back?

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I hope so; that you can move

I hope so; that you can move away from that pained spot where you have been seeking solace and not truely achieving it. 

Happy New Year Leonidas!

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