Daily Count Up and Accountability

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Steele
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Sidsel, if you feel like it, you can tell us what is happening. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling down every now and then... that happens. (which is not to say that it does not suck, because it does ofcourse.) Loneliness or isolation, that feeling I know all to well..

 

And what happened in my life today? 

About 4 or 5 months ago I had a periodic "job functioning" review with my supervisor. I remember that I was not very much pleased with the review. I had just stopped gaming, I was better rested each day, more present, I got a lot more stuff done, and I knew I was doing much better. But the review did not reflect that, and I was angry about that..  

Today I had another review. Actually, I was a bit like... lets see how this goes...

The review was very, very positive. My supervisor said that I had continued to improved a lot in the last months. It was great to hear that, and also, I know it is true. Before I also had the intention to do good, but I just could not get it done. I was very tired most of the time and zombie-like. Now I am present, active, doing stuff. 

That was a really nice "treat". Certainly I can take credit for part of it, but it would never have been possible without you guys, my early sponsors from years ago, to my local NA group, the alcoholic standing at my supermarket every day, and all of the community here. 

"I want to see people and I want to see life."

Keith7
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Starting again

I'm going to quit again. Someone here say it very well earlier. It's so hard to preserve the moment of decision to quit. It's especially hard for me because over the past years my gaming has actually gotten less. I choose not to do online games because the grinding is a time sink. I can choose a to not get on my gaming computer a few nights in a row. Those things give me the illusion of control.

But, I need to be accountable to the reality that the only thing that I really take serious interest in is gaming. The other things are obligations that I need to do. I stopped playing for almost a whole year and that year was a very different one in my life, I would consider it the best version of me I could be. Then I started playing again when I was going through a rough time. I immediately saw I took less interest in almost everything in my life. I still do my job and do things with my kids and wife but I never treat any of those things like they are the most important thing to me.

Anyway, i'm starting again to quit again. I don't know if I'll be able to hold the moment of quitting. Everytime I see a cool game, the latest in a series I think "oh yea It woudl be so great to play that latest installment". Then i go back to thinking "it's not that bad after all'.

I'll try to come back here everyday to keep myself accountable.

 

 

sidsel
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5 days

Nearing a full week. Today I did my non-gaming stuff - going for a walk, morning cleaning... but it was hard and slow and I was sluggish about everything, and half the time I was ranting to myself about why I'd never get this to work, and why I'd never make any new friends, and why unemployment is making me so lonely that games were my only chance of 'meeting' people at all. Last night I had a better conversation with my husband, at least.

McPhee
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Working it

Keith7, glad to see you here and making the effort. One way you could look at it is to say, "It may not have been so bad when I was gaming, but it was so much better when I was not gaming that I am not going to game." Truth is, there are worse things than gaming. Not that many people die from excessive gaming, athough it's been known to happen. Liz Woolley, the founder of Olganon, lost her son to gaming-related suicide. It's nothing like, say, alcohol or drugs, or even gambling. But it still can really mess up your life, as we all know. I think you're going to like not gaming and hope you do well with the effort to avoid it.

Sidsel, sounds like you are doing the right things. I assure you that the urges to game are going to decrease in strength and frequency. They may never completely disappear forever, but they will become so rare and weak that they won't be a problem. This could take a while, like months. Probably not years. And from time to time, when you are feeling down or stressed, you could experience a strong desire to game again, even long after you quit. But you'll be able to swat those urges down without difficulty, most likely.

I think it's a good idea to realize that not gaming will make your life better, almost certainly, but it won't mean the end of all challenge and difficulty. We still have to find jobs, work, earn money, pay bills, deal with difficult people and so on. It's just easier to do all that when not gaming.

Steele, that is amazing about the job review. What a turnaround! It sounds like it feels great to have somebody else confirm what you are feeling inside, namely, that you are very much more present as an employee and as a functioning human since you quit gaming. Excellent! Thanks for that story.

I am okay. Taking a day off the exercise. The long morning sessions have been sapping my strength for the rest of the day, and today I need to work. The triathlon is coming up in a week and a half or so, but I feel confident I will finish in at least a somewhat decent time. Onward!

No plans to game today. Thanks for your help with that.

Recovery4life
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Day 1 recovering. 

Day 1 recovering. 

I have been addicted to gaming for many years. I first realized my addiction to gaming when I was 17. Now I am 34, and I am fearful that if I start gaming again in the future the binge will last forever and I won't wake up. The last binge was 6 months. It was very difficult to walk away this time. I usually replace my gaming addiction with a stock market, options trading, and futures tradings binge. 

During my gaming binges I am able to live a normal life. However, I feel as many others stated. Everything in life is less important. All I care about is the next day of gaming. Now with the smart phone I discovered I can spend a few minutes every hour on it, but even then it will lead to more severe gaming. The little amount of time gives me a false confidence that I can handle gaming. 

I am fearful when I stop gaming I feel I have less patience, I am fearful I will pick up an other addiction. Owning a business has giving me opportunities to waste my work hours doing nothing but gaming.

In the past 3 years I've made 111 days without a relapse, then 63 days. Then I get to a point where a stressful event happens and I run back to gaming. However, I feel these days were not true because I replaced it with a stock market addiction. 

Stressful events lead me to a relapse. Over confidence leads me to a relapse. 

In the past I've been wanting to quit gaming now I am at the point I am not excited about quiting. I don't want to quit, but I want to live without thinking about games. I want to have the passion for my children that I did when I was not gaming. I hate how I neglect my children, my bussiness, and my wife when I'm gaming.

Day 1 and No plans to game today. 

Steele
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Thanks so much for sharing

Thanks so much for sharing your stories, Keith7, Sidsel, Recovery4Life. So much of what you are saying is so recognizable. One of the most damaging things about gaming is how it seems to take away the "shine" or "niceness" of life, all that is important is game. That is so true. 

You will get that back.

McPhee, I find that doing sports really helps to keep the mind positive and energetic. Nice to hear you are doing such a grand event as a triathlon. Impressive :-).

I am going to a NA meeting today. That helps me a lot to keep focussed. No plans to game today.

"I want to see people and I want to see life."

McPhee
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Let's do this!

Recovery4life, I hear what you are saying. I feel your desperation. You are not alone. There are some of us who, for whatever reason, are inclined to try to simplify life's complexity down to a single activity, like gaming or stock trading, and just push everything else to the side. I have no idea why we are like that. It does suck, no question.

At the same time, it's not the worst thing that could happen. We are alive, we are not in the hospital, prison or rehab. (I'm assuming here.) So while it's appropriate to be dissatisfied with the mess we have made of our lives because of our goofy compulsions, I think it's inappropriate to be extremely hard on ourselves or on our lot in life. Mostly, don't get so down on yourself that you stop believing you could do better. You can.

It's possible to put down the games, not replace them with some other complex maladaptive behavior like gamblng or boozing or watching porn, and re-engage with all of life's rewarding complexity and beauty. We can start taking care of our kids, partners and responsibilities in appropriate ways.

It takes effort, in forcing yourself sometimes to do things you won't really want to do. It takes persistence, as in continuing to try again when previous efforts have not been successful. It takes preparation. As you noted, when stress pops up, the gaming comes back. So you have to have a plan for stressful times. What are you going to do to not game when stress comes back? It also takes good tricks, techniques, tips and advice. We can provide some of that here. You should also take advantage of other resources. Read books, get counseling, do the 12 steps, check out other self-improvement regimes, etc. There are even medications that can help in some cases. Everybody's different and nothing works in all cases. But something will work for you. I do believe that.

You can put down the games and start living a real, engaged, meaningful life. You have made a good start. Personally, I find daily check-ins really help me a lot, and in fact make all the difference. So try that, is my suggestion. If that doesn't work, try something else. Believe me, it's worth it to get games out of your life. I've really enjoyed it. Life's still not perfect, but it's way better.

Today is 13 weeks and a couple of days since I last gamed. I have urges rarely and they are weak and easy to defeat. No plans to game today. Thanks to all for your help with that.

sidsel
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1 week

Recovery4, I hope you are holding on this first day. Maybe it might be useful for you to think about what healthier activites you can pick to take your mind off games, instead of 'wall street gaming'? I found the http://kingpinlifestyle.com/how-to-quit-playing-video-games/ to be pretty useful in discovering the psychology behind gaming addiction, and he has some good ideas for alternate activities.

I'm doing fairly good. No games, no plans to game, but the boredom of quiet house, tired morning, and free time are the hardest moments. I used to just open a game in these moments (which would turn into a day-long binge) - now I need to either find some other computer activity, or actually get off my behind to do anything else. Yesterday, for the first time in weeks or maybe months, I managed to write on my novel for as much as 45 minutes. I used to maybe push myself into five minutes, decide I wasn't motivated - and go back to games.

Also, went to my first stepchat meeting last night. Nice to meet people going through the same stuff.

McPhee
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Nice work

Sidsel, well done! Filling the empty time formerly occupied by gaming is a major issue. I found that the more I did this with activities that involved getting away from the computer, the easier it was. It's harder to game or be tempted to game when you're out of the house with a group of people doing something active. Clubs, teams and classes are all good things to look into, I have found. You seem like you're doing well as is. I have a novel I want to work on too. Glad you are making some progress on yours!

I am off to the pool and for a run, then a few hours of work and breaking mid-afternoon to drive to play an evening show out of town. Things are going fairly well. No plans to game today. Thanks for your help with that.

Recovery4life
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3rd day

Woke up thinking about gaming. I know that I can't and I know its not an option.

I was able to finish my complete work out without making excuses to quit them early. Picked my kids up on time from camps instead of an hour an half late. Been keeping my work days busy and I actually made 3 outgoing calls to clients. I can't even remember the last time I was proactive in my business.

Seeing how I've been down recovery in the past I know what my mind will do to try to waste time (Read news articles.. Check stocks.. )So I pull my mind back to focus on what is needed.

Thank you for your help. Stories of other people going through the same feelings help a lot.

I really enjoy thinking about quiting one day at a time. Saying I will quit forever causes great anxiety. Tricking myself saying I have no plans to game today is comforting and gives me peace.

No plans to game today

sidsel
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One day at a time Recovery!

One day at a time Recovery! That is good thinking. I'm doing pretty well, it looks like (8 days, still need to count daily), but I can't think about the rest of my life without gaming. That's just too overwhelming. Being clean today is a small and managable goal. And sometimes - being clean just this hour is the right goal. By the time the hour is up I'm probably doing something else that isn't triggering cravings anymore.

Needed the bathroom at 6:45 this morning so I got dressed early while I was there. Have already meditated, got the kids out and started breakfast - and then I needed to post here instead of running to my feel-good-games... We will manage. One day at a time.

McPhee
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Nicely done!

Recovery4Life, you are doing great! I am absolutely with you on the one day at a time. I think it is needlessly stressful to think about not gaming the rest of your life. It's also pointless, since you can't not game forever today. That's also true of other activities. You can't eat every hamburger you'll ever eat today. You have to eat them one (or maybe two) at a time. Same with gaming. Today, all you can do is not game today. Not gaming forever is not sonething you can do today, so why concern yourself with it? Good job!

Sidsel, congrats on the eight days! You have been through a game-free weekend, so that's a help. What's your plan for getting through this one? I used to take Saturday morning as a sign that a two-day non-stop gaming binge was in order. How about you?

I'm good. Lots of activities to keep me away from the computer -- music, triathlon training, ambulance work, driving my son around to his varioius appointments. I'm still at the computer a lot, unavoidably, to work. But I  keep in my mind the well-established fact that I am not good at computer games. I have some things going for me, but being able to game sensibly is not one of them. So, I don't game at all. It's better that way. It's been working pretty well for 13 and a half weeks now. I am hoping and planning to make it through today without gaming as well. Thanks to all for your help. I hope you're well and wish you a game-free day today.

sidsel
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I'm planning on a garden

I'm planning on a garden binge instead, lol! Tomorrow, the gardening center, digging up a new flowerbed, planting out my dahlias. Sunday all-day trip with the gardening club. Yes, there will be slow moments. There will be cravings. Hopefully I'll be better rested than I was today, and so better equipped to deal with it. Today I went for a long walk but otherwise there's been plenty of napping - couldn't focus on much else. I've picked up my old astrology hobby - since it's my birthday in a couple of weeks, I started a yearly chart/forecast for myself, just to get back into the mindset. Funny how just doing simple arithmetic and calculations is actually pleasurable to me - and excellent when I'm too tired to put in a lot of brain power.

Tonight I will be playing games with the children while hubby is on a company outing. The cardgame Dominion in real life now. I'm not even daring to play the same card game online anymore. Just in case it turns into 'gateway drug' for the big timewasters.

Steele
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Checking in

Great to hear how you all are doing! :-) Also nice article you were referring to, Sidsel. Recovery4life, it is very nice that you notice those positive changes of "picking up children on time" and "outgoing calls". :-) For me it is so easy to focus on the negative, while actually there is so much positive going on at the same time.

These days I was feeling angry and ignored. This feeling is partly caused by some individuals ignoring me in an ugly way, and partly because I have grown sensitive and paranoid towards people ignoring me. Well, it is a long story and something I am working on. I spend today a couple of hours reading on internet on possible causes of people ignoring you, "psychology" behind it, trying to find a way to deal with it. It is hurtful to me, and it makes me angry.

It is not that I am particularly a whimp or cry-baby (and even if I was, so what), but I notice that it eats away my energy and I am having difficulty shutting off how I feel. I think I just want to feel accepted, and these individuals are (were) important to me, and therefore it hurts. 

One quote I found was nice: "So forgive and forget the shunners, while making more time for all the people who love you unconditionally, and whom you can love fully in." 

That quote made me think. My working place is rather large with lots of people. With practically all people I have good standing, very pleasant actually. I think I will just stop taking breaks with the people that are making me feel like sh-- and devote my time to people who also show similar interest in me as I do in them. This will not eliminate the feeling of exclusion which these individuals provide, but it will minimize it.

But to cut to the chase: I was again going to my default behaviour of focussing on the negative, while actually the large majority of my colleagues show respect, interest, appreciation. It is just the rotten apples which got to me. 

Oh.. and hey! it is already Friday! For tomorrow I want to visit a friend in hospital, and buy some stuff for my house, do some cleaning, and sports. And I am completely happy with that :-). No gaming today! 

 

"I want to see people and I want to see life."

Recovery4life
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Day 4

Clean for four. I am still in good spirits. Been busy cleaning up messes at work from prolonged gaming. Been very difficult keeping my mind from wondering to news sites during work hours. Talked to my employees and they noticed by saying this is the longest we have talked for a long time. Had time to go to a church group for men and i didn't hurry home i just relaxed.

Crazy thought popped in my head when I was heading to bed. The mind is so deceptive. My mind was like see you can handle playing a game right now before bed. You don't have to play any other time u can handle it if u just play at night.

In the past I would of agreed with my mind. Now I think of a bible vs. Get behind me Satan.

No plans to game today.

sidsel
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Good job beating off the

Good job beating off the seductive voice, Recovery! Finding a spiritual solution can be a great help.

9 days free. Not planning on gaming today. Not starting the first game.

McPhee
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Looking good!

Recovery4life, well done! Sometimes you just have to refuse to give in immediately to an urge. This is where willpower can be handy. Willpower alone won't necessarily get you through many days. But one thing about urges is that they always get weaker over time if you don't give in. So if you can just delay, they fade. Then they may come back later on, but you can delay again. Good job!

Steele, you seem like you are being very resourceful and creative in dealing with these people who aren't treating you the way you'd like. That all sounds mentally healthy and emotionally sound. Good analysis of the situation and plan for dealing with it. Outstanding!

Sidsel, I've found playing board games with the kids, while similar to the gaming I had trouble with, doesn't necessarily lead back to the bad kind of gaming. However, it most definitely can be that gateway drug you are talking about. So I'd be careful about thoughts like, "If I can play this with the kids, then I can play one of my computer games." Just watch those and you should be good. But be wary. You are doing great and showing excellent awareness of potentially difficult situations.

I am feeling a trifle out of sorts. I've had a few somewhat negative developments, but I think probably the main reason I am a little down is that I haven't been as proactive lately in dealing with my various responsibilities and tasks. One reason for that is that I have been worn out due to triathlon training. At least I think that's it. I have only two or maybe three more difficult workouts and then will taper off to race day, so hopefully I'll stop feeling so worn out. Apparently, I may not be able to get heavily into the triathlons. Or maybe I just need to cut back on the training, although what I'm doing -- an hour to an hour and a half of running, biking and/or swimming per session, with sessions about two out of every three days -- seems appropriate. I'm getting fairly old, and that may have something to do with it. Anyway, generally all right here, although slightly uneasy. No plans to game today.

Sven
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Difficult day. Just returned

Difficult day. Just returned from my vacation and for the past ten years I've been looking forward to returning from vacation to be able to get back into gaming, rather ironically rewarding myself for putting up with the nuisance of 'having' to go on holidays. I have moved on to the last book of Games of Thrones and same chapters are staged in a winter scenario which immediately made my brain think of a well known single player RPG located in some Northern fantasy realm. I never 'beat' the game fully either, and some part in me craves finishing it. This is another shall we say 'peculiar' feat about my psyche, while most people finish games and atleast get some sort of sense of accomplishment out of this I would always start over again and again going for the perfect or ultimate run. It's difficult to explain but you wouldn't believe how many online character I have created just to delete them halfway through, just because there was some tiny detail that I didn't like. It borders on insanity.
I'm going to a concert tonight so no plans to game today, which is good but I think I need to come up with a plan for tomorrow. The good thing is with 40+ days under my belt it has become somewhat easier to identify and anticipate difficult situations. I have another week off before returning to work and this is definately one of those situations.
Good to see others joining in, and thank you for posting in this thread it would have been back to the treadmill for me many times over if it wasn't for this place.
 

Sven
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"I am absolutely with you on

"I am absolutely with you on the one day at a time. I think it is needlessly stressful to think about not gaming the rest of your life. It's also pointless, since you can't not game forever today.... Not gaming forever is not sonething you can do today, so why concern yourself with it?"

Very well put McPhee, sound logic.
 

Recovery4life
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Day 5

Thanks Sidsel.

I have found controlling the voice in the mind is easier in the beginning. Today's temptations were grand. Commercials on t.v for a new Xbox one game. My mind throwing ideas out there to just check my phone. For me I can't even look at anything to do with gaming.

Feelings are not nearly as positive as before. I am certainly feeling less motivation. I was just wanting to relax and not be active. I feel euphoria of quiting is starting to die.

No plans to game today.

Steele
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This is exactly like me: "..

This is exactly like me: ".. while most people finish games and atleast get some sort of sense of accomplishment out of this I would always start over again and again going for the perfect or ultimate run." .. but I dont think you would get a sense of accomplishment out of it. At least, when I finished once or twice, I would always start over, because it could always be more perfect, or maybe I can try this or that this time. It was an endless run of restarts for me, and I would always wonder.. what if I try it differently this time... endless.

This weekend I did not have any plans. I notice now that this is actually bad. I have been quite busy the last months and have felt little temptation. Now I thought that I wanted to have some "deserved" leasure and relax time, and desires to game pop back up. Being passive makes me more passive and inactive as well, and it gives me a desire to be "entertained". Yesterday I watched about 4 hours of movies + series. This is not good for me. I need to be more active.

I will start to clean the house. I hate doing it, but I know it will make me feel better with myself afterwards. Not going to game today.

 

"I want to see people and I want to see life."

Sven
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Aweful morning, couldn't get

Aweful morning, couldn't get myself to get up, and when I finally did I spent another hour on the couch mindlessly surfing away. I was halfway through registering a new Steam account in my mind (that would've been my third, no less). Luckily I decided to hit the shower instead, wash some clothes and practised some on the violin, which ended up in a fun 2 hour session. I think it was McPhee who said in this thread that action precedes motivation or something along these lines, and there's a lot if truth to it.
After practise, for the first time in ten years I tried out a new dish I read about yesterday on the Internet. It was quite simple but delicious nontheless, and a lot healthier than what I would normally have for dinner. I decided I'm going to pick up cooking for another pastime. Another case of action precedes motivation I guess. 
Quite pleased how the day turned out, another desaster prevented. 
Have a good Sunday everybody.
 

McPhee
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You are so right

"Borders on insanity" is right, Sven. Sometimes gamers' behavior crosses the line, in my opinion. I can distinctly feel that edge of craziness that would take over when I would start ignoring important responsibilities to replay some game I have played a thousand (literally, in some cases) times. It is wack, beyond a doubt, in my opinion. Glad you are hanging in there.

Recovery4Life, you are doing okay. Actually, since you are not gaming, you are doing great! There are going to be urges and temptations and reminders. They will continue for a while, perhaps a long while and maybe even forever. But they will get less frequent and weaker and easier to overcome. You still need to stay vigilant and keep sharp and fresh the memories of how screwed up the gaming life is. Don't forget that, at all costs! If TV ads are prompting urges, you might consider watching something ad-free like a movie, or not watching anything.

Steele, I need to clean house too. I also hate it. But I have company coming later this week so it's necessary. I'll feel better afterward. I already feel better having done a few chores along those lines. You are on the right track with avoiding too much aimless downtime. That can easily lead to gaming. It's a balancing act, however, as not enough downtime can lead to stress and the desire to escape in a game. It's like keeping a car in the middle of the lane. Not too much steering to one side or the other, and frequent corrections. You can do it.

It's rainy here so triathlon workout is off, as are other potential outside activities for the day. I have the aforementioned chores to do, plus some shopping, lawn equipment repairs, music recording software to experiment with, and required online EMT training to complete. It's kind of daunting to contemplate that much. I have found I do better if I don't over-schedule. Six more or less significant tasks per work day is a good number, I've found. More than that is overwhelming and leads to avoiding everything. On a weekend day like today, maybe three tasks would be good. So how about shopping, some cleaning and online training. I'd also like to get some recording software practice in, but that's more like optional. We'll see. At least I'm putting some thought into it rather than just reacting blindly. And I have no plans to game today. Thanks for your help wiht that. I really love not being an idiot gaming addict!

Silvertabby
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6 Weeks and 2 days

I've not been around much lately....haven't really felt like being here....not sure why.  No desires to game, though.  A lot of the time no desire to do much of anything....not sure why that is either.  Perhaps I allow my feelings to dictate what I do too much.  If I don't feel like doing something, I don't do it unless I have to.  Then I just make myself do it.  Anyway, no gaming and no intention of doing so.

 

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

Jamal
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SHAMED.....!

I lied
I fall again
I relapsed
Shamed
I hate myself
I can't trust myself
Something wrong with my brain!
I think I a freak
This is crazy
Shame

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

McPhee
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Try, try again

Jamal: I hear what you are saying and feel your anguish. That sucks. Still, don't get too down on yourself. It's hard to be perfect. Sure, you are a freak, but so what? I am too. Everybody on this site is. And nobody is a flawless example of the human ideal. There are many problems you could have that are much worse than an inclination to indulge in excessive computer gaming. Just look around you. There are millions of diabetics who can't process sugar normally, so they have to take medication daily and still have all kind of health problems and usually die young. Being allergic to peanuts -- peanuts! -- can kill you in a few minutes, and does kill about 150 people a year in the U.S. You could be mentally challenged, quadriplegic, psychopathic. And so on. The point is, yes, you are a flawed human being. But everybody is flawed. And this is not the worst flaw you could have.

So be dissatisfied with your behavior. Try to do better. Come up with new tricks and techniques and apply them with more energy. But don't get too down on yourself. Don't write yourself off. You and your life are not perfect, but you don't have to be perfect. Try again. It's worth it to get game-free. I will bet you do better this time. Most people who struggle with this have some experience of relapses. If the periods between relapses get long, and the relapses get shorter, you're making progress. Try again.

No plans to game today.

Sven
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Mh, anticipating a potential

Mh, anticipating a potential relapse in the next 48h. Nothing has happened so far, but I have thoughts in my mind telling me 40+ days is a decent accomplishment and not all would have been in vain. Thoughts that made me wonder if the decision has already been made subconsciously. I'm still on vacation for another week, unfortunately I took my work laptop with me just in case I would have to log on to my company's network and do some work from home. I think it might be safer driving to the office tonight and drop off the computer. Not that this would prevent anything I've been impulse buying several Xboxes in the past, but at least it would add another hurdle to overcome. 
I'm trying to go through the list of reasons why I wanted quit in the first place. Will I still be able carry on my violin practise? No. Will I be able to enjoy a book? Nope. These thing that I like doing and gaming are mutually exclusive, it just won't work out. I know this, yet why do I feel this urge building up? 
Anyway, this thinking doesn't help. But what does? I could go outside and read a book in my garden, its not too shabby outside. The only thing holding me back is my apartment being in a somewhat messy state. I guess most people wouldn't even notice but its me being overly perfecionist. 
I guess the trail of thought is, I'm not comforable with my surroundings, hence I cannot enjoy any activities to keep me occupied, therefore my mind wants me to fire up some game. 
So long story short, I need to change my surroundings. Talk later, I need to whip out that vacuum...

Recovery4life
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Confronting yourself

Hey Sven,

I can relate to a lot of your struggles. I've noticed I share a lot of the same qualities that other gamers have. Wanting order around us.

The same reasons why I initially quit will not  keep me from going back to gaming. My mind apparently will forget these reasons. Even though I can read what I wrote in a journal, and explain how it has affected me. My mind after being game free turns off all the noise and has one mission a BINGE. Then I go through the binge and hopefully I will start recovering. Thankfully I've been able to start recovering. What if 5 years go by? Or 10. And I still do not realize something is wrong. 

I was sitting in bed the other night calculating my real emotinal age. During all my gaming binges since 17. I'm 34 now. But emotinally I may be 24 years olds. I've spent 10 years gaming out of the past 17 gaming. That's a scary thought. I first started gaming hardcore at 17 then I realized I had serious gaming problem by the time I was 18. 

No plans to game today. Thank you for sharing your feelings.

Sven
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Thanks Recovery, I'm in a

Thanks Recovery, I'm in a very similar situation I'm 37 and I first got into gaming at the age of 12 give or take a few years. Quite sad indeed, but thinking about this I'm more determined than ever to close this chapter of my life. Thanks for this.
I think part of why the journal doesn't work for many of us, is that we are different persons when gaming. I can read through the notes I made 6 weeks ago but I cannot relate to them for the life of me, it almost seems like these are somebody else's notes, not mine.
Anyway, almost 9pm here in Germany so I can safely say no gaming today. Thinking about going on another short trip for the rest of week. 
 

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Take action!

Sven and Recovery4life, I hope you both are doing well and avoiding the games. I am no expert and have no masterful solutions to your predicaments, but it does seem you might want to get out of your house or apartment. That would distract you and remove temptation, I suspect. Resist those urges! They will get weaker if you just resist them. Sometimes we feel like the urges will just get stronger and stronger and eventually drive us insane, but that won't happen. You can make them weaken by getting interested in something else, or by just delaying. You can do this!

Later today I may go to Houston for a few days to assist with the aftermath of flooding from the tropical storm that is making landfall right now. They will likely need some extra ambulances, especially if any hospitals have to be evacuated, and I haven't been on a disaster deployment before so I volunteered to go. It's inconvenient for me as far as timing, but natural disasters tend to be that way, I suppose. Anyway, something of an adventure and definitely a new experience.

No plans to game.

sidsel
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12 days free

Sven - I can relate to the 'different person' feeling. I suspect it also has to do with the hormone flow through the body. When I'm depressed I think in an entirely different way than when I'm happy - and I can't for the life of me understand how depressed me came to conclusion A when diametrically opposite conclusion B is obvious to the happy me. Hormones change our brain - and it's kind of scary to realize I'm so much at the mercy of my chemistry.

Been really busy with housework and baking and garden today. Momentary desires to game, particulary when I feel I've done a good day's job and 'deserve' a reward, but I deflect it with other stuff and the desire is forgotten.

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Return to normalcy

No Houston deployment, as the tropical storm didn't turn out as bad as feared, at least so far. That's okay, since I have lots of engaging activities to be involved with at home.

Sidsel, good job with deflecting those urges! They say if you can just deflect them, they will weaken, and I've found that to be generally true. At the very least, delaying gratification is often effective. I'm glad the urges are weak and in frequent.

I think it has been 14 weeks and a couple of days since I last gamed. Urges come rarely  now and are easily deflected. And it's been great! I am really happier now that I'm not spending hours a day gaming and paying only half-attention to my activities the rest of the day because I'm scheming about how to get back to game some more. That's a really crazy way to live and I am glad to be living another way now. No plans to game today.

YouAreNOTalone
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Day 0

I had a relapse today...again. I feel like i'm drowning, literally. Sometimes I'm in despair, looking horrified at the pile of material I need to learn but I just don't do it and I don't know why. This month was an endless cycle of relapses. Almost every morning after i wake up and I do the usual morning things, I go straight to the Steam website and install Dota just after a couple of games to uninstall it, disgusted of gaming and myself. No one knows what's in my head but i'm definitely not well. I thought that going to the meetings during the first clean weeks was a joke but I realised once again how much it helped me and I will do it again. I so want to live that free life again and I must do it. I can't afford to let my life ruined by gaming. Thank you for reading . I really needed to write this.

"The future is determined by our choices in the present." - Anonymous Author

sidsel
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13 days

Depression hit like a ton of bricks today. Feeling extremely lonely and ignored. What friends I used to have rarely call back, or invite me to them or take any kind of initiative. They're busy with their jobs and their other friends and and and. And I'm not that important to them I guess. Life passed me by. No job, no friends. Games soothed the pain at least for a while. The work there was meaningless and the friendships shallow and fast forgotten. But at least it gave me an illusion of being noticed. Now I don't have that illusion either. Played a single sudoku-game on the web. Is that a relapse? Leechblock killed it in the middle of the game, anyway.

Today I dozed, cried, dozed, cried more. Cleaned up the tears before the youngest came home and managed to focus on homework, grocery shopping and dinner.

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You are not alone

Relaps is what we do. We are gaming addicts. You need to let go of the outcome and start focusing on your higher power's time table.

 

leveling in steps, serenity, sponcys, sponsors, exercise, and sleep, (sanity has been downsized)
sober from all electronic games since 11/19/2010

Silvertabby
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Almost 7 weeks

sidsel, do remember that you are still going through the withdrawal process.  Depression was one of the worst withdrawal symptoms for me and it lasted, off and on, for about 4 months. Just know that there will be an end to it.  As far as whether the sudoku game is relapse or not is something for you to decide.  For me any electronic games are off limits because I know, if I play one, I will play another and another and another.  

I've had some pretty strong cravings to game in the last couple of days and last night was the worst.  I considered just giving in and downloading my game, but I thought of how far I'd come since the last relapse and that helped me to resist the urge.  I really don't want to go back to gaming, even though I do.  Isn't it wierd how it's like we're split in two, the addict part of us and the real part of us.  We battle ourselves.  How can that be?

 

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

sidsel
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2 weeks

I hope you are right, Silvertabby. Depression and gaming is like chicken and egg for me - I've had it on and off for at least 20 years, and I think my gaming was a way of self medicating. Not in a 'get better' medicine, unfortunately though. Just numbing the feelings and taking my mind off it. I hope the recovery process will remove at least what the gaming added, but what will happen to the stuff that goes below... I don't know. There may be deeper issues that are waiting for me to get better.

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9 days

9 days into the recovery process. I would have to say the urges come in and go. Sometimes they are strong like a gust of wind then other times they are just a passing breeze. Being a hardcore, unhealthy gamer, is depressing. I know how I get when I game. For instance yesterday I upgraded to Windows 10, and my internet wasn't working after the upgrade. I had to get fixed before I could not do anything. I was late picking up my girls, I spent my dinner in my office until I figured out what was wrong. This same passion I had to fixing my computer, is the same passion that I have for games. And unfortuntaely games do not end after 30 minutes. 

I wish I could be a healthy gamer. I wish I could have an xbox in my house, I wish I could play 5 minutes of games. Then not have another passing thought about it. It doesn't work like that for me. After I have recovered for about 5 to 6 months I can control the gaming, but the control only last a little awhile. Then the roller coaster ride happens. 

Being game free for one week and a couple days. I have accomplished quite a bit. I have called my dad for the first time  for a few months. Being game free lets me think about other people instead of myself. I was able to read a book in a week instead of 8 months. Countless activities with my children that I was able to enjoy instead of just looking forward to my next gaming day. I was able to enjoy meeting my childrens needs at bed time instead of rushing them to bed so i can game on the phone. .

The first few days were really rough quiting. Waking up dreaming about games was crazy. Myself telling me I can handle it.

My real challenges now are being productive at work instead of meaningless activities. Self discipline, and commitment to stay motivated. I know i'll face challenges I know I'll be lonely I know I'll be bored I know I'll have to push myslef. I know the most challenges are ahead of me and not behind me.

Sisdel, my recoveries usually end when i start with a small game. The small game leads to the bigger game for me. 

 

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Still in the game (the real game of life)

I'm doing okay. No gaming or urges or time to game if I wanted. Having lots of activities that I enjoy has helped me a lot there. Yesterday I was at a water park all day, leaving about 8 a.m. and returning after 10 p.m. This morning I am going to do some triathlon training, then play a music show this afternoon and possibly attend a pro soccer match with my son this evening. Then early to bed to rise for triathlon about dawn tomorrow. I enjoy all this stuff and it's way better than hiding out in a game.

Life's not perfect. I could still find reasons to be unhappy and forced to take refuge in a game. And I am unhappy about some things. As often as not, it's my own sub-optimal behavior that upsets me. Other times, it's other people or just random events. I try to accept that things won't be perfect, forgive others and myself for our failures, and remember that gaming is only going to make everything worse. I have proven this over and over during a quarter-century of excessive gaming. I could feel bad about what I might have accomplished and enjoyed in my life so far if I hadn't had this gaming problem. I do feel bad about that. But I don't just sink into those bad, guilty feelings. I accept that I screwed up and that I'm a flawed human. But I also realize that pretty much everybody is flawed, many of them far worse than me, and that nobody always makes the right decision (at least nobody I ever heard of.) So I try again to do better. Sometimes it works. At least I'm not hiding out in a game many hours a day while real life passes me by. I hope y'all (that's Texan for "all of you") can join me in this better way to live.. We can do better. And it's worth it.

No plans to game today.

Jamal
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acceptance and letting go

I agreed with McPhee, life is not perfect, will never ever for me if I do not accept as it is. My disappointment, my fear, my expectations, my anger, my anxiety and all my feelings are attached to my judgment. I will need to believe that acceptance is to suspending all judgment and bringing awareness in will give me new perspective that may invite more clarity as what I can do next. Letting go the fear and judgment gradually will help me with my recovery journey.
All the time I being running away from these feelings as my ways to protect myself or trying to get rid all that feeling. But eventually the harder I try to get rid of something, the 'tying ' actually keep me ever more attached. This is because there is tons of judgment attached to the 'tryin' . I must decide to let it go and send myself more self love and distract myself.

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

Sven
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Day 50. Looking back at last

Day 50. Looking back at last week, the worst seems to be behind me, some urges this morning but thats ok, all in all I'm quite pleased I managed to stay sober throughout my three weeks off. On the downside, I've been spending pretty much most of last week on the couch, mindlessly surfing away. It's a dangerous situation to be in because I'm basically trading one addiction for another, gaming for surfing which makes me wonder how much those 50 days are really worth. It's somewhat easier tho to break away from the Internet to do something productive, so while things could be better, I guess they could also be a lot worse. 
I really do hope for the weather to improve, its supposed to be summer here in Germany but its cold and miserable outside, and with the winter sports, concert and football season over, its pretty much up to me to keep me entertained. 
Here's something to keep you motivated McPhee, love this video
http://youtu.be/vLKTxesPAHM
I'm looking forword to get back into sports, but not quite there yet. Triathlon looks like something I would enjoy also but not quite sure how to tackle this, even if I had a bike. Guess I have to start dusting off my running shoes ;)
 

Sven
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Hardly any urges today but

Hardly any urges today but whats literally been keeping me awake for the last couple of weeks is my sleeping disorder and/or restless legs, especially during night time. I've been staying awake till 3-4am in the morning for the last month or so and I've come to a point where I'm not sure I can continue this way. Maybe I have underestimated how long I've exposed to games, I will probably consult with my psychiatrist. Its so bad I've contemplated going back, and I'm pretty sure this is not just a pretext my mind made up to lure me back into gaming.
Well, back to work tomorrow, so I won't be able to sleep long into the morning, hopefully with a bit more structure in my life the situation will normalize again.
 

McPhee
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Awesome!

Sven, congrats on the 50 days! I am very sorry and concerned to hear about the diffculty you are having. Surely there is something that can help you besides going back to gaming. But, I'm no expert. I do encourage you to avoid gaming and try other solutions. Best of luck!

Also, thanks for the link. That Norseman race looks like a soul-breaker. The triathlon I did this morning wasn't even a warm up for something like that. The worst thing was that the swim was pretty weedy. Water temp = 78 degrees Fahrenheit, so no wetsuits were even allowed. Oh, and one guy crashed his bike in the rain and left in an ambulance. Otherwise, no problem. I finished middle of the pack as usual, maybe a little further back than I'd like. But it was good and I plan to sign up for another, maybe slightly longer but certainly no Norseman.

Jamal, just try again, is what I'm hoping you'll do. Try something different. Try the same thing harder. Mix it up. But don't give up. You can do this. Give yourself credit for what you have accomplished instead of beating yourself up for not succeeding on this attempt.

You can live without gaming and be happy. Probably happier than you've been with gaming. Excessive gaming is essentially a maladaptive behavior. It's a bad, unproductive, harmful response to stress, boredom, anxiety, depression, fear, anger or whatever else we are reacting to. It becomes habitual and it takes over our lives and contributes little in the way of real value. Especially when compared to the potential contributions of other activities, like living up to our responsibilities, taking care of our friends and loved ones, developing relationships with others and developing our own unique and irreplaceable selves to more fully express who we are and what we can be. Good luck with all of that. You are valuable to us and I hope you succeed here.

Today is Father's Day in the USA, when we celebrate fathers, and my local newspaper published my opinion column calling for fathers to have equal rights to custody of children in divorces. This is my social activist activity. It's challenging, since nobody cares about this issue. But I am committed to helping my son and other boys and men avoid what happened to me, as well as helping their kids avoid what happened to mine. This is an example of an activity with real meaning that can take the place of gaming in a positive way. I find it rewarding, despite the lack of progress, and spend some time almost every week trying to get articles published, arrange speaking engagements, get meetings with lawmakers and otherwise work for change. I may die without seeing any change, but I feel the work has to be done and I enjoy doing it (a lot of the time.)

No plans to game today.

sidsel
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0 days..

Definite relapse today. 'Just' five minutes on a less used site I hadn't blocked, and I closed the webpage - disgusted with myself. Not happy.

I don't know what to do with those tired 'can't be arsed' moments. All suggestions seem to imply I 'should' be productive and active - but when getting out of the chair is too much effort, when I cast around for something to do right here and now that doesn't cost too much willpower... I don't know. I've been to a couple of chat meetings, and they were definitely nice, but my tired moments are in the european mornings, when I need community - and there isn't any.
 Now the holidays start for the kids, and I can't run off to cafes or anything like that on a whim. I can read - but I tend to binge read as much as I binge game.

I feel so negative and grumpy now, like I'm looking for excuses to not succeed - but I just don't know how to make those moments pass.

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> I've been to a couple of

> I've been to a couple of chat meetings, and they were definitely nice, but

There are also voice meetings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30pm European time.

> my tired moments are in the european mornings, when I need community - and there isn't any.

Yes - none in the morning.  There is one at 12 noontime European time on Thursdays.

http://www.olganon.org/forum/line-meetings-message-board/all-online-meetings-computervideo-gaming-addicts

The tired moments of no motivation come and go.  So hard in the first month but easier in time if we don't game.  The important thing is to do anything but game.

McPhee
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Looking for motivation

Sidsel, that sounds like a difficult situation. I am thinking two things:

1) You may binge on reading, but I'm not aware of reading being as big a problem for anyone as gaming is for many people. In short, I think you could consider giving yourself permission to indulge in reading if that helps you avoid gaming. Later you can cut back on reading if that seems appropriate. I read a lot -- a lot -- myself but it doesn't have nearly the same edge of craziness as the gaming. You know what I mean?

2) It sounds like you are having motivation issues. I wonder if you could get motivated to do something if it were something you really wanted to do. A lot of us, myself included, have things we want to do but we don't even attempt because we fear failure, think it will be too hard, worry about people ridculing us, feel it's too expensive or confusing, etc. What if you picked something you really wanted to do, but weren't doing for one of those reasons, came up with a reasonable plan to do it and started taking the first steps? I find this can be a powerful motivator to get myself out of the chair and involved in real life. It doesn't always work. There are lots of things I want do but am not doing because I'm afraid of something not going right. But I'm doing some things I wouldn't otherwise do. And I'm not tempted to game. That is the important thing.

I'm okay. Today I plan to inspect and probably buy a slightly expensive (USD$800) used bicycle for doing triathlons. I promised myself I'd get a new bike only after I'd completed one triathlon this year and decided it was something I wanted to keep doing. I have a guitar I can sell for about that much, so it is not a huge extravagance. Lots of triathletes have bikes that cost several times that much. My current bike is probably 15 years old, doesn't have the special triathlon design, and likely would not bring more than USD$100 if I sold it. Are all these justifications? Yes. But triathlons and other weird activities help keep me off the games and in real life. I consider it an investment in not being an idiot.

No plans to game today.

sidsel
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1 day

My router died yesterday, so posting from my phone. Will write more when we get a new one in 2--3 days, but wanted to say thankyou for a long and thoughtprovoking response. I seem to be digging up a lot of issues on perfectionism and fear of failure.
No router, no internet, no games. Lots of food and fun at midsummer bonfire gathering yesterday with the children.

McPhee
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That's the spirit!

You're on the right track, I think, Sidsel. Perfect is the enemy of good, as they say. We are capable of far more than most of us ever attempt, and I believe a big reason is that we are too worried about not being good enough. In any event, you are doing well in avoiding the games, and that is a major first step in crafting a fulfilling, rewarding life. It doesn't have to be perfect.

I am okay. Not perfect. Also not planning to game.

Recovery4life
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15 days game free

15 days game free. My days go by so much slower now. My urges to game come, my urges to view my favorite game websites come. Learning from my past experiences has taught me a lot about what I am capable of handeling. I do not follow any urges. Sometimes I do run with the idea of playing a game for a few minutes then I am able to catch myself. 

I know the path that I will take if I look at gaming sites, if I play a game, I know what I am capable of.

I feel during this recovery period. I am much more prepared then my prior recovery attempts. I feel like I am more discplined. Which makes me very happy. I've been reading during downtime, playing golf, working out, and spending time with the children. My mind is filled with peace compared to constant thoughts of gaming strategies. 

No plans to game today.

 

McPhee
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Nice!

Recovery4Life, well done! You are doing something very smart, which is remembering exactly where you are going to go if you start gaming. Too often, we just think about those first few moments when we give in to the impulse to game, when it is fun and gratifying. It's essential to remember how you'll feel when you have been gaming for hours, neglecting your duties, ignoring the people you care about, telling lies to yourself and others, not bathing, eating garbage, not sleeping, not even blinking...you know what I'm talking about. Why would anybody sign up for that? Well, you see it coming and you aren't signing up for that. That is huge. Congratz.

I am okay. Jog this morning, some work today, show tonight. No plans to game.

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