Progress Report - Moving On

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RD
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Progress Report - Moving On

Hi everyone.

Believe it or not, it took me quite a while to get from the "hi everyone" line to the point - but not as unnerving as actually admitting that, yes, I do have a problem, and the problem is that I am addicted to video games.

As some of the members here I have been into the video gaming world from as early as when I was six or seven years of age. Being 26 now, a husband of a wonderful woman, and a father of an absolutely adorable almost-three-years-old kid, I have nonetheless been spending more than a fair share of my off-the-job time playing video games. My wife and I had a number of agitated discussions about this, where she would say something in the lines of me not paying enough attention to the family, and I would counter with a very limited and repetative set of "reasons" essentially boiling down to me wanting to relax after a hard day's work et cetera et cetera. And on it went until, at some point, she stated that it was time to choose - either it is the video games or her. It was then when I tried to sort things out by visibly spending less time playing the games, and it sort of sorted itself out - or so I thought. It took me two weeks maybe to return to the exact same situation where I would pick her up from work and my son from daycare, we would return home and I would be turning my PC on minutes after we walk in - all that on a background of my wife mentioning that we don't even talk any more, and saying in this casual-but-not-entirely way that she actually started to enjoy talking to her male co-workers more that talking to me.

How was that for some good news, huh?

So what I did the very next day - after giving myself a mental slap on the head - was simple: I deleted all video games from my PC and laptop thinking "Hey, it's gonna be simple as that".

Turned out not that simple after all. In fact, I was unpleasantly shocked to experience what I came to understand as an additction. You will probably agree with me that contemplating the thought alone (what? I' of all people, am an additct? No WAY!) is hard on you. What you do is face the truth, and decide to gert over it.

So, it's my fourth day video-game-free, and I have set myself a goal to reach 365 full days without having played one for even a minute. That is quite a challenge in itself, but for me it's either all or nothing - and I will do whatever it takes to get through it without slipping once.

After all, it's already 361 days, and time is running forward, not back :-)

Marceline
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Welcome RD! And congrats on

Welcome RD! And congrats on Day 4!! :)

You are right, it is not simple at all. Often it takes something major like a spouse leaving before we open our eyes. I totally get your all or nothing stance too, and I think it is awesome :) but if by some chance you do slip up (not saying you will!!) just remember, it isn't entirely all or nothing, you can get back up.

Make sure that you are taking good care of yourself too, especially right now. The first month or two especially can get rough sometimes. Coming to the chat meetings helps, if only to vent with people who get it :)

Hope to see you around more

"A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears." ~Michel de Montaigne

Patria
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Welcome! My goal is to

Welcome! My goal is to remain sober--game-free--today, that's all just today. I don't think in terms of the next year, 5 years or ten years, as that agitates me and makes me anxious.

If I just concentrate on not gaming today, or this minute, or this hour, I can accomplish a lot of things I thought were too tough before.

You might like the chat meetings at night. They were very helpful to me.

RD
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Thanks for the support, and

Thanks for the support, and for very vaild points in your comments. It does mean a lot to me, and, I am sure, to everyone who ever asked for help here. There's obviously no universal solution but my thinking is every bit of advice counts - and again, I really, really appreciate your help.

I noticed something very peculiar yesterday: leaving the first message here at OLGA forums helped in shaping my line of thought and making the situation become significantly clearer. I had previously made an attempt to stop any involvement with video games and such, and actually talked to my wife saying that I needed her help in getting through which she happily offered. It never worked out, though, as, from what I see now, I only did that so that she wouldn't be complaining. So, in contemplating the situation I got myself into, I understood suddenly that during the first four game-free days I actually intentionally stayed late at work so that I could spend less time at home! I don't regularly speak in cliches, but it literally dawned on me that the issue is not just the video games, it is way beyond it. So now I need to figure out what it is about, and do something about it. Again, simple at first glance, but not quite if you give it a second look.

Day 5 also brings up three questions - one kind of stupid, and the other two of a way more serious nature:

1. If you have any game DVDs, what do you do to them? Do you throw them away, give to friends of yours, leave them collecting dust on top shelves or in the back of the farthest drawer?.. I thought of maybe just throwing them away as junk but immediately got second thougths like "hey, what if I go through the 365 days fine, and then may want to play that game for a very short time?" and "hey, I spend money on that one, why should I get rid of it?". Problem is if I keep 'em I will know for sure that they are somewhere at my place and all it would take is to find 'em.

When I put this one in writing I actually thought: wow, now I am scaring myself big time.

2. What do you do with all that TIME that you free up all of a sudden?

Yesterday I spend some extra half an hour at work, then my wife picked me up and we went to a kids' playground with our son and spent some quality time there. However, when we returned home I realized that I would usually switch on my PC almost at once before, and since I hadn't done it that day I had no idea whatsoever as to what I should be doing - all that with my wife and kid in the same room! I probably had that idiot look on my face for the rest of the evening.

3. How do you break the routine and force yourself to get some sleep?

Again, yesterday, it was a lot like "yeah, honey, you go see that our son gets to bed, and I'll be there shortly", doing stuff like washing the dishes, doing the laundry, reading a book, having some tea, etc. etc. until I almost forced myself to bed at something like midnight (I would typically stay up late playing some action game till about that time before).

I haven't told my wife of the decision as I am positive she will not take it seriously given my history with this additction, and I do not want to be seen by her as if it were a bravado. I do admire her, though, as she has been exposed to this side of me for quite a few years. It is so often that we do not give any regard to what our close ones feel and go through, and my oh my I am lucky to have understood this at this stage.

Day 5, 360 to go. I will try my best not to "overpost" - getting an update once every week or 10 days should do the trick.

Patria
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Actually there is a

Actually there is a universal solution, glad you asked.

1. dvds, games: I got rid of everything off the hard drive. I couldn't get rid of the dvds yet, but everyone here has done what feels good to them, give them away to friends, break them, trash them, sell them. I didn't feel comfortable selling mine, and didn't want to give to friends, so trashed them about 4 months later when I felt more comfortable about giving them up. I would advise you not to give them to a significant other for them monitor for you; that's not fair to anyone to administrate for you. It's our responsibility to take charge.

2. Time, go to meetings here, the chat meetings for sure. If you can't make them go to 90 meetings in 90 days at open AA meetings, or NA meetings. Depending on the games you played possibly SA meetings might be in order. But get to meetings and fill your time up with recovery. Also get into exercise and eating right. That all helps.

3. YOu probably won't sleep right away; quitting games gives us withdrawals which really disturb the sleep. And since most of us have been sleep deprived while gaming, eventually all you will want to do is sleep. Get a lot of exercise and don't use computer before going to bed.

Glad you are here! Spouses don't want more words about our behavior; what works is action. When they see you in recovery, they will believe you.

Marceline
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It took me a little while to

It took me a little while to get rid of all of my game DVDs and stuff too, at least a couple of months. When I finally did, I just donated them to a thrift store, quickly, before I changed my mind again lol.

As for the free time, I know at first it seems like nothing else could possibly be as fun, and I spent time aimlessly surfing OLGA or other sites, or wondering what to do, or even just hiding in my blankets on a bad day, but it passes. Eventually things that were once interesting to you will interest you again, and you will find new activities too :)

Also, there is no such thing as "overposting"! Ask any moderator or admin for a members badge, and you get your own blog :)

"A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears." ~Michel de Montaigne

RD
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Yesterday evening (I live in

Yesterday evening (I live in a wierd time zone so yes, it's already yesterday, heh) I finally talked to my wife about the decision to quit games for good. I never intended to thinking she would not take it for a true desire to quit, but the conversation was triggered sort of by accident: we were having a general conversation about someting unimportant (I actually started paying attention to her, big surprise) and she made a joke saying "Yeah, you go do your stuff, and I'll play 'your' Call of Duty". I said "Nope, you can't - it's not on the hard drive anymore", and that was what set it off. Admitting my addiction to myself was hard enough, but admitting it to her - and actually talking to her about this - was much, much harder than I anticipated.

Nonetheless, it was a very, very enlightening discussion that we had as I came to the following revelation: other than being afraid of getting a relapse and returning to gaming, there is another thing that I fear (yes, 'fear' is actually a very proper word for it).

What I fear is that I will find something to get my attention from gaming, and will get hooked to this new activity. I mean, what if I start reading too many fiction books, or spend too much time working out in the gym, or do whatever else comes to my mind ultimately neglecting my family and ending up in the very same situation that I had with video games? That thought hit me real hard.

Meanwhile, I started experiencing some of the withdrawals, but so far (knock on the wood) there has not been anything major that I couldn't cope with. And yes, I've made the decision to throw away my DVDs - took me some time to convince myself, though.

What I need to do now is sort myself out and start attending meetings. I caught myself making lame excuses not to attend so I will put extra effort to make it to Friday or a Saturday meeting (again, weird time zone, but still not enough for an excuse :)).

RD
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Day 10 game-free (it's

Day 10 game-free (it's strange as according to the posting dates it's day 11 but I still think it's day 10. Lost count of 'em in a good way :) ). Well, the difference is very obvious.

First and most important, my interaction with the family has imporved drastically. I spend more time with my wife and son, and this makes me wonder what in the world I was thinking before and what a waste of time gaming has been.

Second - not equally as important - I threw away all my game DVDs. Guess what: the moon didn't fall on the Earth, the rivers didn't turn backward, the world didn't end. Big surprise.

Third, my sleep has improved. I actually feel much better now having a more regular sleep pattern. I don't end up as tired at the end of the day, and becoming less over-concerned about pretty much everything because fo lack of sleep is a nice side bouns.

The withdrawals are there, but not to the extent I thought they would be. Procrastination is pretty bad, but I'm working on it, so to speak. Thoughts of gaming do come to mind, especially by the end of the business day (it's hard to break an established habit), and so far I manage to successfully wave them off.

What I do not to game:

Family involvement - Okay, so the very first thing I did was re-align my priorities from gaming to family. It is very easy to do after you admit to yourself that 1) you are a video game addict, 2) you disregarded those people who matter to you in favor of video games, and 3) you want to change it for the better. Stuff like going to a playground with your kid(s), helping with cooking/house chores (yes, it can be fun if you choose to make it fun), just generally chatting to each other helps.

Working out - self-explanatory. Visiting a gym a couple times a week both helps improving your general health condition and distracting you from the addiction. Since there are reasons I can't attend after work I go for quick 40-minute workouts during my lunch break.

Picking up old hobbies - I used to play acoustic guitar a long time ago, so I'm brushing up on these skills now. The next step of my plan is to get certified in first medical aid and maybe occasionally visit a shooting range.

I finally got my car fixed! Had "no time" before to take it to a car electric/mechanic guy 5 miles away for what turned out to be 1 hour's work.

Quick conslusion:

Guys, it can be done. I'm on day 10 of zero video gaming exposure, and I am absolutely happy with how my life starts to look like. First several days are pretty hard, but when you realize that you actually do not need the games to live your life it gets easier.

Thanks for everyone here at OLGA for support and comments. Your help does matter.

dan1
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What a great and inspiring

What a great and inspiring story! Big congratulations.

As for getting addicted to something else, well, I'm what I like to call a free-range addict--"anything worth doing is worth overdoing" is my motto. lol. My therapist told me--"be careful what you do twice." Really, though, it's not as bad as all that. Sure, I'm a disorganized, out-of-balance procrastinator and general escape artist, and I can find lots of ways to do that. But not all escape mechanisms are equally bad. The stuff that's addictive is usually stuff that is artificially overstimulating. If you want to know if it's addictive, ask yourself if it existed 100, 200 or 500 years ago. Examples: Coca leaves are cool to chew, heroin destroys you. Playig a game of soccer with friends is great fun and exercise, while spending 12 hours on the computer with virtual "friends" clickking away at 3 times per second is overstimulating and addictive. Erotic art has always been around, but being able to surf through many thousands of images in a few minutes is....overstimulating. Pick your poison: Hard liquor, refined sugar, whatever. Life used to be more balanced because we didn't even *have* these overstimulating things.

So I wouldn't worry about going to the gym or reading a nice book. It's not as overstimulating as computer games, crack cocaine, meth, vodka, computer porn and refined sugar are.

Oh, and I think about "someday" going back to the casino quite often.....like when how much time or money I have doesn't matter (when will that be?) or when I have a lot of money (say I win the Lotto--but wait, how exactly would I win the Lotto?), etc. Fact is, my brain will never forget how to get high on computer games or gambling, so I just can't do it. But why do I need to? There's soooo much more in life....

Great to hear your inspiring story. Best wishes.

I am a recovering computer game and gambling addict. My recovery birthday: On May 6, 2012 I quit games and began working a program of recovery through OLGA No computer games or slot games for me since December 12, 2012. No solitaire games with real cards since June 2013.

RD
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Enter the recovering addict

Enter the recovering addict :)

It has been quite a while since I last visited OLGA or left any messages here. The fact is I have been very busy with "life, the Universe, and Everything", so to speak - hence my absence.

Anyway, below are two major milestones I am proud to share with you here:

1) I stopped counting game-free days as zero gaming has become a habit.

2) I am not afraid of relapses anymore. Knowing that I may get triggered by video game-related materials I made a deliberate choice not to visit any VG-related sites/YouTube channels/other web- or LAN-based resources of similar nature. If a page I browse contains any reference or links to VG-related articles/trailers/reviews I simply skip these reference. Yeah, it may sound stupid, but here it is - scrolling down works like a charm :)

Again, for everyone out there: you CAN do it. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, the initial withdrawals are pretty tough. However, when you get over them - and if I could (and I am but a regular person) there is little reason why you cannot - you will re-discover the real world that now you will have both time and energy to enjoy. You will be amazed with how you can have real fun and do something you wanted to but never "had time" for (you know what I mean, right? :)).

And, most importantly, always remember that you are not alone. This knowledge helped me resist the temptation and carry on during the first several weeks until I realized I didn't need video games in my life any more.

I know I have probably just repeated things that were said here a million times before, but I really wanted to show yet another example confirming that the addiction can be dealt with.

Maggie
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Hugs, keep it up! Welcome to

Hugs, keep it up! Welcome to the club!

It's good to have goals and dreams, but while you're waiting for things to change, waiting for promises to come to pass, don't be discontent with where you are. Learn to enjoy the season that you're in--Pastor Joel Osteen

LearningSerenity
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Glad to hear that things are

Glad to hear that things are going well for you, RD. Keep it up...

When you're going through hell...keep going. --Winston Churchill There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still --Corrie ten Boom

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