An addicted psychologist

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MerDeNoms
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An addicted psychologist

Yeah, today I fully noticed that my life slipped out of my hands - I played for so long for two days in a row (like straight after waking up till late at night) that I forgot that an online appointment with a client. We were to skype at 20, I noticed that about 20:30... and shrugged mindlessly and returned to play for 5 more hours. Coming the end of the day I saw my hand and legs twitching and had a strange perspective on that - I imagined that somebody is too in the room and sees me, and I saw a smelly, fatty guy with yellow teeth, yellow-red eyes, aching back, limbs anxiously moving after two day exhaustion, in a dirty room achieving unimaginable things on the screen. And later I couldn't sleep till like 0530, even though I've always slept very well. How is this my life?

It hasn't always been like that, when I was in high school I read amazing stuff, made creative things like writing, went out often with friends, had trips, learned new things. And gradually after that my life has shrunk to this state till today when I'm 26. It's not that I'm attached rigidly to the idea that a good life should be lived exactly that way, but something has really changed for worse. I tried dealing with that in various ways, of course, but nothing ever worked as a permanent solution - it's always a pattern of doing well - relapse - doing well - relapse and so on, and the "I'm going to solve it on my own".

Well, I still haven't and I feel powerless now, there's also shame and self-accusing. The irony is that I'm an aspiring psychotherapist, I know how science is made and I technically know what works and what is unproven. I should know what to do. It's an equivalent of standing in front of a big wardrobe and complaining that there's nothing to put on. Apparently it doesn't work that way, and it's easier to encourage others to step out of the comfort zone than to do it myself.

And there is so much to put on, really, the wardrobe is oh so full! It's not about the dry psychological techniques, but it's about my health, looking for a full time job (I still haven't looked for almost any despite it being like half year after my graduation, and I studied a year longer and had bad grades because it was more interesting to play a game or sit on fb), being an independent person, doing scientific and clinical progress, helping my family and others and discovering what is beautiful in life, loving, learning, cooking and travelling. At my best I'm caring, creative, hard-working and intelligent, there is a lot to fight for.

But instead of that I'm just rolling slowly, doing average therapy to people that really hope that I will make a difference in their life, cleaning myself mostly only when I go out, my health is degrading, I'm afraid to go out and search for a job or to date. And instead of that - games, internet, porn, a cycle of sitting in front of the monitor, eating numbingly and masturbating. I'm lost, really lost, and I feel like crying now. I don't want to wake up alone at 30 or 40 just to see the same myself in the same place with new, stronger glasses.

Today a wrote a mail to an acquaintance of mine could he be my therapist. There is not much scientific therapy available around so it's not like I have many options especially with computer-related addiction, but even if he declines I still want to make progress. So I searched the net and arrived here. It's encouraging to read your stories and to have some structure and accountability with dealing with that sh**.

--

I want to cut games completely, porn too and cut internet usage to more acceptable amounts (haven't established what that means yet). Some the changes I've already made:

- uninstalled all the games I have

- contacted the therapist

- blocked pages with funny photos

- stopped eating in front of the computer, instead mindfully eating in the kitchen or with family, my mind and body were really struggling with that!

I'm not sure about blocking most of the sites though. Having a social media account is important for contacting friends abroad, running a site for my web-page or just getting access to interesting stuff that some of my friends put there. On the other hand I tend to descend into that pattern of ocd-like clicking, refreshing, jumping between sites and investing too much into temporary illusions, to little into what matters to me.

But it's not only about erasing stuff, there has to be some new and valuable behaviour that would be something more than a set of techniques - finally it's about living a better life, not becoming the technique master. I don't want to jump yet into setting goals though, just to establish myself in that newly found helplessness. After all that fix-it attitude to emotions has brought me here - mindlessly eating, playing, interneting and masturbating as a short-terms fix to my insecurities and a comfortable way to avoid real life, real women, real struggles and real me.

It's something very new for me to share such things that way. I think I'll be writing here from time to time as a diary of some sort and if somebody has anything to say he or she is greatly encouraged!

Fighting for a meaningful life: sober from computer games, porn and excessive internet usage since 6th Feb 2014.

Bill F.
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MerDeNoms, Welcome. I'm glad

MerDeNoms,

Welcome. I'm glad you're here. I can relate a lot to what you talked about in your post. I too had an increasingly downward spiral into my addiction for a while, and was gaming for multiple days a time before I decided I might need some sort of help. I've found recovery from my addiction here though.

By coming to online meetings, talking to other addicts on the phone, getting to face to face meetings in other 12 step groups (SA/SLA/SAA may work for you in reference to the porn problem), posting to the forums, getting a sponsor, working the steps, and taking it one day at a time, I've managed to not game for a year and a half. Recovery isn't easy, and it isn't pain-free, but it is possible to heal and no longer be ashamed and guilty of who we are and what we've done.

I hope to see you at an online meeting. We have meetings every night from 9pm-10pm EST, and more, you'll see if you click on the "Meetings" tab at the top of the website.

Last game played: April 24th 2014

Silvertabby
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Hi MerDeNoms and welcome to

Hi MerDeNoms and welcome to Olga. The journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step and you've taken that first step by realizing you have a problem that you can't solve on your own. And that's just what this community is here for....we help each other with support and encouragement to stay stopped after quitting gaming. It's a rough road to travel, but we can do it together. What helped me, after I quit my games, was the following: posting what I was going through, posting to encourage others, doing the 12 steps with a co-sponsor (although I never finished them) and attending meetings. Another thing that really helped was having an accountability partner. It's hard to stop and even harder to stay stopped, but you can do it, and what an opportunity to use what you learn in your practice. Best of luck to you!

 

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

Andrew_Doan
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As a medical professional, I

As a medical professional, I can relate to you. Gaming is a digital drug that is a "euphoric sedative": stimulates the mind but at the same time kills the pain & allows escape.

Andrew Doan MD PhD

My Videos: Internet gaming disorder is real & my story 

*The views expressed are of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Navy or Department of Defense.

cdgoldilocks
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Ok, I'm not the addict, I'm

Ok, I'm not the addict, I'm the anon.

I also read over your post and was intrigued by how conflicted you seem. You seem to really be thinking about this. My husband thinks gaming and ignoring family members is really bad, only he doesn't do that because he is physically there.

You have started taking meaningful actions (not eating in front of the computer, calling a therapist, uninstalling games)

I also see you trying to rationalize/justify keeping "some" online access for social purposes. Can you get than connect via conventional means? Flip phone, landline, face to face time with real people? If all else fails, Starbucks, where it can be time limited?

I really hope you stick around, learn something, teach something. I don't know, maybe we can get gaming addicting in the next DSM!

Get well. The real world awaits. We have cookies.

dusty0
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I decided that my computer

I decided that my computer is a tool, not a toy. This means that I do not use the computer for entertainment at all. No news, jokes, browsing articles. If I'm not actively doing work, I put my laptop away. For me, this mindset helps me stay off sites like reddit, fbook, and the likes, and getting off the machine lowers the temptation and opportunity to start that first game.

Welcome to olga! Congratulations on starting your journey to recovery.

Patria
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I'm like Dusty, I use the

I'm like Dusty, I use the computer as a tool, not entertainment.

And welcome!

MerDeNoms
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Thank you for the

Thank you for the encouraging answers. I realize that I have to be in constant state of vigilance, having the issue featured in my head till new changes become a kind of habit of mine. I've already caught myself negotiating in my head that if I don't play enough then would it be possible to play a bit. And when I'm somewhere or waking up it's so pleasureable to think about that game sounds. Well, the short-term pleasure is what brought me to this, wasn't it?

Unfortunately I can't attent the online meetings - I'd like to, but 9PM EST is 3AM European time, so if you see me there it means that I had a powerful relapse and I really need some help. :)

I started talking about it with friends, but it seems that my accountability will be in front of the community here. There are some meetings going on in Poland, but they are far away, so these won't be anything systematic.

I like the metaphor of euphoric sedative. That is really good, it describes what happens well!

What I don't agree is with putting gaming addiction in the DSM. DSM is a deeply flawed system even according to its makers and it only opens door to medicalizing the issue. I'm a firm opposer of both DSM and psychiatric treatment as a main method of dealing with problems. There are well researched scientific reasons to avoid those pills and to avoid DSM as a diagnostic tool - and there are alternatives too.

About the computer totally not for entertainment - music or films are a computer thing, so cutting to that level is not what I want to acheive.

About Facebook. There are pros and cons. The reasons why I won't delete the account:

* I have friends from other countries and this is how we keep in touch.

* Some of my friends there are in the same field and they put interesting new publications on the wall, that is how I update my scientific knowledge.

* I run an FB page that promotes my www page with psychology articles and psychotherapy offer. It's a free way of advertising my services.

* Events help me organizing meetings with friends or joining the existing ones.

I have noticed though that FB also functions as an avoidance measure, is a real time consumer, I have become somewhat dependent in my mood and self-esteem on the amount of likes I get and also tend to fall into an "F5 loop", where I refresh pages just to finds some new stimulation. So it's really, contrary to games and porn, a non-obvious matter.

Fighting for a meaningful life: sober from computer games, porn and excessive internet usage since 6th Feb 2014.

drj
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Hi MerDeNoms, I notice you

Hi MerDeNoms,

I notice you are in Europe and the Skype meetings on Wednesdays and Saturdays are at 8pm GMT which should work out for you. They are usually well attended and it would be great to see you there.

I can see where you're coming from in many ways (including as a counsellor and recovering addict). As for the discussion on the DSM inclusion of a range of 'behavioural addictions' - it's a discussion it would be great to have offline.

Best wishes

J

SecondLife escapee and qualified Counsellor.
I am very interested in working with South-UK based clients facing the challenges of Internet addiction in any of its aspects - please PM me.

Steele
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I can realy relate to what

I can realy relate to what you are saying. Practically all of it, and although very sad, at times it gave me a smile in recognition. Good life, relapse, fedup, substituting with porn, and feeling miserable because it is not fulfilling and only shortterm immediate fix. I tried many times to quit, with comp in the house. Same reasons as you say: need to connect with friends and family. Music, movies, work, all goes through that device. .. But what was I realy doing? I always fell back to games. One weak moment was enough to get hooked again. So finally I decided to have my comp shipped away to a friends house 200 km away. I am now more often bored, I visit friends, buy newspapers and magazines, take walks, work using printed documents and notes. Sometimes I even start working out of sheer bored. And I dont game..now at least. Not having a comp near saved me several relapses for sure! Yes, it is a downgrade, but realy: the final result in productivity, happiness and self esteem is very positive. If things dont work out with a comp near, consider this option. Life does not end without it. :-). And this was written on my mobile..man this is slow :-) Good lucky on your quest to quit. You will succeed, sooner or later .

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

dusty0
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MerDeNoms wrote: About the
MerDeNoms wrote:

About the computer totally not for entertainment - music or films are a computer thing, so cutting to that level is not what I want to acheive.

Is the computer the only way to access music or films? I think there's something powerful about the behavior of sitting in front of the computer screen for media consumption. I mean, I'm sitting the same way, in the same place. My body is sedentary while my mind is free to spin up. The only difference is that I'm not participating, and there are few barriers preventing me from making the jump and starting that first game. If staying game free means I have to inconvenience myself in my media consumption, it is a good trade for me.

MerDeNoms
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After week 1. It's my first

After week 1. It's my first week of joining the site and making a commitment to radically reduce wasting my life and start living well.

Watching my mind and body was an interesting experience. I noticed how in subtle ways my mind gives me reasons to start gaming again: negotiating in my head that if I make progress then I'd be able to play just a little or having computer-related dreams and sounds in my head. My mind is also unhelpful when going out, giving me reasons not to leave home like "maybe tomorrow", "you're tired", "you can wait at home, take the next bus". So I try not to fight those thoughts, but just to notice them and engage in valuable kinds of behaviour in presence of them - they are like cues to start doing well.

It's harder with watching my body. There was a black-out for a few hours and I noticed that I'm struggling with a very uncomfortable feeling in my chest. My reaction was trying to be compassionate towards that and engaging in some valued actions like reading books, caring for hygiene or helping around the house. It wasn't that bad, but it made me think how dependent I'm when the pc is around. Such things very rarely happen when I'm out through.

When surprised me is that after a few days I blocked youtube completely. I miss science podcasts, but most of the time I still used it for watching games commentaries and even though it wasn't that clear I decided to let it go. And it's a change for better.

After this week there are a few positive changes. I get out more, striving to meet people offline - I had a few get-togethers, met some foreigners on an English Meeting what was very fresh and new or just spent time with friends, so like every other day I was out somewhere. At home I read more, watch more films ("Synecdoche, New York" is one of the most beautiful and sad I've ever seen), I'm more engaged in family life and chores, there are no jarring hygiene neglects. I don't miss porn either, I turn out pc more often now (actually it started happening). I asked a couple of girls for a date, but to no success - but I like that I started doing that and I don't control the outcome, but I can control whether I strive or not. My usage of social media is ok as long as I notice when there is nothing left to do and it's time to shut down.

There are also fields where it's not as rosy:

* Unfortunately my therapist friend has no time to help me as his schedule is 120% full. That means that there is no evidence-based therapy for me. I'm reading an Acceptance & Commitment Therapy self-help book about addictions instead, it's ok, but surely not as powerful.

* I still haven't done any work-related stuff. No writing cv, no looking for a job, no reading a therapy book. It looks like it's a bigger issue for me to deal with and it's a very very big obstacle in my life.

* I'm not keeping my www site very well, it's one of those things I value that are somewhat neglected.

* Many alternative behaviours I started doing are quite cool, I enjoy films, tv series or reading, there is some self-development in that (maybe except tv series), but all of them are home-related. They are still sedentary, lone behaviours. I encouraged my father to go with me to a swimming pool yesterday, but it was closed for public and only for school children on that hours so we returned with nothing. The weather is crap now, but when it gets better I'm getting on a bike.

* Even though I'm vegan I'm still getting fatter with all that beans, bread, beer and fruits. Need to cut some stuff and move more.

So all in all it was a week of positive changes. The thing is to keep it as I have a history of positive changes followed by a total relapse. So thank you for the opportunity to share that stuff and monitor the progress together.

--

One funny thing about the online OLGA meetings - I wondered yesterday whether to meet with a friend for a film or to attend an online session and noticed that the goal of attending would be to get out more so I better get out more now. :)

About not using computers for entertainment. That would entail lots of money going to buying a music player and cds (when all I want is to have as few objects in my possession as possible), renting films or going to cinema (and there are no older films there) - it's just not an option for me, I don't want to do that, even if it would be cool to disconnect music and computer.

Fighting for a meaningful life: sober from computer games, porn and excessive internet usage since 6th Feb 2014.

YouAreNOTalone
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Hello MDN ! How are you

Hello MDN ! How are you feeling now? I hope you'll get better soon...I wish you a wonderful game-free weekend

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

Steele
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To help with negative

To help with negative thoughts I started reading "Cognitive behavior therapy for dummies". It is full of " open doors " but was useful non the less. Take it easy, little by little the less"normal" interests and enjoyment will come back. The more you do the better you start feeling. And yes, I know it is easier to give advise than to follow up on it. I am learning as well :-).

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

iamhuman
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I have a suggestion which

I have a suggestion which may or may not help help - I started by cutting out things a lot and I still stick to that, but what I've noticed is that as time passes you develop better ways of using things. Don't get me wrong - I still avoid all and any game, but my computer use is quite different from when I had just quit. I had to be Extremely careful - like a fresh wound - at that time. It's easier and more subtle for me now to deflect 'temptation' - I mean I don't even think of it as temptation anymore, it's just an idiotic waste of time. That doesn't mean I will expose myself to it because I know what it can do to me - in short, what I'm trying to say is that even if it feels like drastic steps are unsustainable - do what you need to do right now, and allow your body and mind to 'heal', without worrying about your way of life six months down the line (or even two months).

I'm also stuck on the job application stuff stage - good luck with that.

MerDeNoms
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Thanks for the input y'all.

Thanks for the input y'all. I think that with the recent deep cuts within my routines (no games no youtube, less social media) my days became more interesting and fulfiling.

Iamhuman, I can see where that conclusion comes from. I noticed that I'm using Fb more to arrange a meeting with friends in real life, less for actual talking. The constant danger is starting to be complacent, like "oh, it's been so good for so long, let me sit at home for longer". Eventually I'll need some youtube stuff for work so the next challenge will be to use it without abusing, but for now I keep it blocked.

The second thing is that cutting old habits is not enough. They do make space for the new, but you still need to surround yourself with friends, books, bikes and swimming pools, engage in new things that might be out of your comfort zone.

Got two nice progress reports:
* I've defied facebook regarding birthdays and instead of writing on a friend's wall I called him and he was touched. Facebook has really flattened and depersonalized birthday wishes, it was a nice action on my part that required some anxiety to bear, and we both reminded ourselves how it was before machines made us remember who has what when.
* I sat today till 3 AM preparing documents & writing samples for a job application abroad. I learned about it close to the deadline so I really had to put some hard work, there was lots of translating going on... and I managed that. The chances are extremly slim, yet I'm tired with comfort and safe not-failing through my life. It was awesome.

Fighting for a meaningful life: sober from computer games, porn and excessive internet usage since 6th Feb 2014.

Patria
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That's great MerDeNoms. I

That's great MerDeNoms. I like the idea of getting together with a friend in person rather than writing on his FB wall. I've cut out FB for the most part. I didn't set out to do that, it just became less important to me.

Youtube still is important to me, but mostly I use them to listen to music or recovery tapes.

I wasn't able to get out right away and do a lot of things, it was outside my comfort zone, but I've been getting out more lately...I still get uncomfortable sometimes, but doing it anyway.

Great progress!

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