Overcoming itches?

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Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 06/12/2017 - 7:53am
Overcoming itches?

It's my first time seeking help in these sort of places. I figured it's best to ask for help from people that have already gone through what I'm struggling and have persevered in the end to a better state versus friends and family that haven't gone through the same ordeal.

Long summary, I've been gaming since a young lad with the super nintendo/arcade machines, now at 23 I'm gaming with a laptop. Not MMORPGS, never was that interested in them, but more-so with single-player games with multiplayer elements like Dark Souls series, though I've also poured a lot of hours into the Fallout and Elder Scroll series. I went cold turkey a few years ago and I succeeded for a year, but then I made a few friends that would like to play a little bit of Smash bros or Rocket league and got re-introduced again. Stopped being friends with some of them, but that reignited the itch. Then I slowly started playing videogames again until a few days ago I engaged in bad habits again, of playing tons of flash/indie games and stuff like Dead Island or Path of Exile. I've started to neglect some of my friendships and my own personal health, I don't shower daily anymore, I stopped exercising, I've been eating like crap, I've been sleeping at like 6-8 AM (it's 6:16 AM as of now for reference), and I haven't brushed my teeth in over a week.

I've been through this before, of literally waking up and spending the entire day playing videogames until the late night where I physically can't keep playing anymore, sometimes skipping meals altogether. I deleted all of my games and uninstalled Steam, hopefully it sticks but I've done the same in the past and re-installed them after a while. And I'm smart enough where I can do decent in a top university while playing all the time, but I don't want to do the bare minimum, I want to do my best, and sometimes I feel I use this as an excuse to justify my gaming habits by proclaiming "oh, it's not that bad actually since I'm still functional!" I'm functional but I feel disappointed in myself, not necessarily because I game but because I'm using gaming as an excuse to not utilize my potential, if that makes sense. I'm using academics as the prime example but it applies to multiple areas of my life, such as dating, exercise, general friendships, learning new skills, making money outside of scholarships like through jobs, et cetera. I even considered ditching hanging out with my friends two days ago even though one of them, a good friend I've had close talks with, was visiting to celebrate his birthday with us, all for the sake of playing more videogames. I don't even enjoy videogames that much as I used to, yet I still do it. I've recently started asking myself "for whose benefit am I spending all this time gaming? Certainly not mine since it doesn't help me in the long-term, and definitely not for the sake of friends or family." It's good for my meditation practice but I am still bothered and haven't done enough inner digging to find this self, if any, that my gaming habits help.

I realize that I gravitate towards gaming when I'm bored and idle, so I'm going to work on engineering projects with friends and study to become an electrician so I have something to do. I've also done research on exercise and losing weight so I'm thinking of getting back into weight training while adhering to alternative day fasting with intermittent fasting thrown in on the days I do eat (already have some fasting experience so I'm not worried about this). But I don't want to stop there, I want to reach the point where I can just sit with boredom without feeling this compulsion to play videogames, or where I can play videogames but I am now dispassioned with them and therefore they can no longer establish a foothold in my mind.

Long-winded post. It boils down to this: What can I do to alleviate these itches, and how can I come to peace with these urges, in the sense I am no longer compelled to run away or engage with them? Right now Buddhism has been of great help to me with other issues in my life so certain suttas that you think are valuable would be greatly appreciated. I'm also okay with other stuff like certain passages in the Quran or Bible, even some article on psychologytoday or whatever would be fine. Doesn't have to be specifically about video game addiction, addiction in general should be of immense help, but I would appreciate it if you can point me to stuff that's highly relevant to video game addiction.

Silvertabby's picture
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
OLGA memberOLGA moderator
Joined: 11/23/2010 - 4:42pm

Hi throw and welcome to Olga.  It's hard to quit video games, as you well know, but many of us are doing it.  There are different forms of help out there.  Many find the 12 step program helpful - getting a sponsor, going through the steps and talking to other addicts.  Some will attend NA or AA meetings or other local 12 step groups, while others find a sponsor online and attend CGAA meetings.  I have found the CGAA meetings very helpful.  You can find a list of the meetings times here.  One thing that most of us have found is that we can't do it alone, and we don't have to.  There is also a thread here where people post their progress, sort of an accountability group.  You can find that post here.

However we choose to get off the games, we've all found that there's no going back.  We can never touch a game again without getting hooked back in and having them take over our lives once again.  I, for one, have found that by experience.  I quit gaming almost 7 years ago and every time I've tried to game again and control it, it doesn't work.  I get sucked back in and all I can think about is playing.  It's all or nothing.  

Keep coming back.  


Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. ~Maria Robinson

Last seen: 1 day 7 hours ago
OLGA member
Joined: 06/04/2015 - 3:09pm

Wow, long parts of what you wrote sound like you're talking about me.  My life spun out of control with the compulsive gaming.  I'm so glad to be free of that vicious cycle.  Life isn't always great compared to what I want it to be, but it's phenomenal compared to what it used to be.

Like Silvertabby said, it works well to connect with other people who are doing similar things.  I have gone to some of the meetings and found the people friendly and helpful.  It helps to know we're not alone in this and that other people have made the kinds of changes that we want to make.  I'll pop into a meeting or two this week, maybe see you there.

wazzapp's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
OLGA memberOLGA moderator
Joined: 01/04/2015 - 10:59am
Thanks for sharing Throw, you

Thanks for sharing Throw, you story is very relatable!

I personaly have found NA (irl) and CGAA (voice) meetings a great to stay in recovery and not play games. Remember to reach out if the going gets tough, 

See u :)

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


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