Daily Count Up and Accountability

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McPhee
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Doing ok

I got up and went for a 28-mile bike ride first thing this morning and since then have done some research on the paramedic course I am thinking about signing up for next year. Now am hoping to get some writing work done, practice a couple of songs I am trying to learn and maybe get some housecleaning and other chores completed. I also want to watch the Dallas Cowboys game, so I probably won't get all of that done but that's okay. I am very glad I'm not playing computer games. Life as a compulsive excessive gamer sucks. I do not want to be like that any more, again, ever.

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

sidsel
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Back to scratch.

Was miserable with a cold for several days, and I didn't manage to scrounge up the willpower to hold the urges away while I was sitting coughing and sniffling. Played 2-4 hours on thursday, friday, saturday. But also slept a lot.

Today I haven't played at all. Counter reset to 1, I'm ready to get back to my good life again. Still got a cold, but energy enough to do useful stuff instead.

I suspect a week of binge reading the Harry Potter series might have contributed... I read the way I game - no ability to stop after 15 minutes. I have to finish a chapter, next chapter, the whole book, the next book, all 7 books... It's fun, but it's not really getting me anywhere.

At least that's over now.

McPhee
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I hear you

Sidsel, I am sorry to hear about you being sick and doing some gaming. It's best not to game, of course, but if you make a mistake, the only thing is to try not to repeat it. You can't undo what happened, and harsh self-criticism can be counter-productive. You're human, you made a mistake. Now try again, armed with new knowledge about your vulnerability when sick. You're not downing yourself too much about this episode, it seems, and that's good.

Like you, I am a very dedicated reader. I am currently deep in the five-volume Game of Thrones series and have been spending hours a day reading it. I kind of wish I wouldn't do it so much. I do read when I could be doing other productive activities. However, to me reading doesn't have the same compulsive, maniacal quality that gaming does. I don't stay up until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. reading, or decide to "take a break" from work to read and wind up spending the whole day and night reading. It's somewhat excessive, I'd say, but not wildly so. So I'm okay with reading instead of gaming. I think probably the same escapist mentality drives reading and gaming, but it doesn't seem to reach its full flower of malevolence with reading. It's not exactly under control, but it's not as out of control. Anyway, it's hard to be perfect and I'm willing to accept myself as a perhaps-excessive reader but not as an off-the-leash, nothing-else-matters, obviously unhinged gamer. (On the other hand, maybe I will try to limit the reading a little. You have given me somethng to think about.) I hope you can find some sort of balance that lets you avoid gaming and still be happy.

I'm doing okay. No plans to game today.

McPhee
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Ditto

Not much new here. Still not gaming, after about six months, and still not planning to today.

McPhee
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Urges and risky situations

While talking last night with my son about a new computer game he has been playing I had a few urges to game myself. It was nothing major and I was not at much risk of booting up a game myself. However, it's good realize that certain situations can lead to urges. One of those is talking in a positive, engaging way about gaming.

I think I can still discuss my son's games with him without becoming a gamer myself again. But the feeling of those weak and brief urges is a good reminder that gaming is something I'm susceptible to indulging in to an excessive, abusive extent. A lot of evidence suggests that is not going to change no matter how long I am free of gaming. Once an addict, always an addict, you could say, although personally I don't like to take such a harsh tone and slap on such negative labels. Once dangerously susceptible to excessive gaming, always dangerously susceptible to excessive gaming, is preferable, to my  mind. Anyway, I need to stay alert and be wary of situations that can generate urges. That's why I post almost every day. I don't want to go back to that life.

No plans to game today,

sidsel
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24 hours

Finally managed to stay away/busy for a full day. No plans to game for the rest of the evening. I can't find as good blockers for Safari as I had for Firefox, but one that delays a certain time seems to work. If nothing else, it turns my impatience against me, and forces me to do something else. Which usually takes care of the immediate urges.

Spent a lot of time on housework, drove my daughter to and from a birthday party and to her ballet class, and made dinner when I came home. Also spent far too much time dwelling on depressive thoughts about friendships and relationships.

Sven
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The last couple of days have

The last couple of days have been awful, I was already browsing the Appstore for a 'fix' before coming here, luckily nothing has happened so far. I think I need to come here more often again keeping my vigilance up.

McPhee
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Vigilance is good

Sven, I post here pretty much daily for the exact reason you mentoned: It reminds me that I have to keep my guard up against gaming. If I don't keep posting here, I worry that I'll forget that I have this problem and somehow get sucked back into gaming. I don't want that. Posting takes time, but it's just a few minutes a day compared to the 16 hours a day I'd be devoting to gaming on many days. Worth it. Good thinking, my friend. Keep it up!

Sidsel, you are so right about the power of delay when it comes to battling urges. If you can just not give in right this second, the urge will generally weaken soon. And it will always weaken eventually. Delay, delay, delay. Any obstacles you can throw up will help you. Of course, if you're determined, you can overcome any obstacle. But the idea is that during the interval while you're not yet gaming, you'll come to your senses and decide not to do it. Or, in your case, just get impatient and go do something else. Whatever works. It sounds like you have found something that works. Keep it in your toolkit. And add some more tools. This can be a tricky sort of problem to have. We can use all the help we can get.

I'm okay today. No plans to game.

Sven
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Thanks McPhee. Its better now

Thanks McPhee. Its better now, but yesterday evening/this morning it was close, 50/50, I could have been binging on some god forsaken life waster by now. I'm grateful I'm not. I don't want this, I have enough issues in my life I need to come to terms with, I don't want to game my life away. 
Better now.
Take care.

McPhee
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Nice work!

Sven, great job resisting those urges. If you can just not give in, urges will always -- always -- weaken eventually. And, over time, they become less common and less powerful. I don't know that you will ever completely be free of gaming urges for all time. But it will not always be a pressing, intense issue. At least, I've never heard of anybody who had that experience. If you can just get some days, weeks, months and years of gamelessness behind you, it will not be difficult at all to avoid. Of course, it's not easy to get a long string of gameless days behind you. That's why we are here. That's why I'm here. But it can be done and it looks to me very much like you can do it. Again -- good job!

I am okay. No plans to game today, which is good since I am scheduled to spend 10 or so hours working as an EMT at a football game. It could be very busy, since more than 100,000 people will be there, many of them drinking heavily, and it's going to be hell-hot besides. I anticipate a steady stream of cases of heat-related ailments. Taking care of all those sick people will be far more real and significant than playing a stupid game, although unfortunately it will also be tiring and stressful. I will get paid a few bucks, which is nice too.

Hope all are well.

 

McPhee
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All good

The football game turned out really well, in spite of my team losing and the work being boring most of the time. I did get three calls to patients who were actually in need of medical attention, and that was extremely gratifying and engaging. I am looking forward to the next game. It's great when you do something that turns out to be highly fulfilling. I want more of that, and am working to get it in various ways. I want to encourage other people to ask themselves what they want, and then to come up with a reasonable plan for getting it. You may not get it, and if you do get it it may not be like you thought it would be. But the process of trying can be extremely rewarding. Good luck!

No plans to game today.

McPhee
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A little perspective

I want to encourage people not to take a moralistic approach to the topic of excessive gaming. It's easy, natural and tempting to put ourselves and others down as weak, bad people because of this habit of gaming excessively. And we may be somewhat weak, bad people, in fact, at least compared to some hypothetical ideal person. But that's not necessariily why we game. To a considerable although not complete extent, our actions are governed by physical properties and electro-chemical activities in our brains. Excessive, habitual gaming actually changes our brains' physical structure, making it quite difficult to change our behaviors. I don't know all the details, but it appears to be somewhat similar to the way running water wears a channel in the earth, which creates a low spot that, along with gravity, causes more water to collect and flow there and that causes more wear and a lower low spot and so on. Addictive behavior is a search for pleasure, in one form or another, and our brains can get so deeply grooved by this addictive behavior that it can be very difficult for us to find pleasure except by gaming. That, in a nutshell, is why it is so hard to quit and stay away from gaming, and why it can be so unpleasant to try to stop.

Most of us are going to still be able to stop. But to do so we have to overcome some real obstacles. We have to change our actions, staying away from gaming and giving our brains a chance to heal up. We have to replace troubling thought patterns -- thoughts like "I'll only game for a few minutes!" -- with more accurate, realistic, helpful thoughts -- "If I try to game a little, experience has shown I'll wind up playing for many hours and ignoring my other duties and this will make me unhappy." We have to replace gaming with more productive, healthy, enjoyable activities. Some medications may be able to help with this. Here's an article on that: http://luxury.rehabs.com/anti-addiction-medications/.

Giving up a compulsive, complex maladaptive behavior like excessive gaming is not always easy. And it looks like, in our cases, it is definitely going to be pretty hard. If it was easy for you to quit gaming, then you wouldn't be reading these words. Quitting often takes a multi-pronged approach, including behavior modification, counseling, group support, self-therapy and more, and it may take several or many tries before it is successful. Relapses may happen.

The good news, it can be done and I'm here to tell you that the payoff is real. I love my life without gaming. I think you will love your life much more if you can get the gaming out of it. Good luck!

No plans to game today.

McPhee
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Another day, another post

Still not gaming, although I did have some mild urges yesterday. I am reading the Game of Thrones pentalogy (that appears to be the word for a five-book series; who knew?) and the author was vividly describing some characters playing an imaginary chess-like game called cyvasse. When I read that, I had an urge to play chess or one of the strategy games I'd been hooked on for years. I was always very into the strategy games. The main one I'd started playing in 1989 and was still playing until about six months ago when I quit. That's about 25 years of life significantly compromised by dedication to a computer game. Not something to be proud of, but there it is.

Anyway, the urge came but I could not give it much encouragement. I just really do not want to go back to playing games all day and all night while my real life falls apart for lack of attention. And the way I got back into games last time was through chess. I had about two years off gaming, from 2010 to 2012, and then one day it occurred to me that playing some chess on my phone would be pretty harmless. It wasn't too bad at first. But, like most excessive and compulsive gamers, before long I was spending way too much time playing chess. Then it was easy to get back into the computer games. And then it was just like before, if not worse -- hours, days, weeks, months and years spent buried in a screen. That ended my longest streak of gamelessness since I started playing in 1989.

I'm really enjoying being game-free now. My finances are improving, my work is going better, my hobbies are providing me with rich rewards because of the time I can devote to them. My kids and girlfriend don't (I think) laugh at me behind my back. Most importantly, I know I'm not living a lie, hiding out from life in a game. I can respect myself much more easily.

So, tell me, what are the chances I'm going to start playing chess again because of George R.R. Martin's description of cyvasse in Game of Thrones? Nil, I'd say. Zilch. Not happening. I'd stab my eyes out first. (Not really, but close.)

No plans to game today.

McPhee
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Not much new

I have lots of engaging and absorbing activities going on and I am pretty sure I would not be involved in most of them if I were still spending many hours a day buried in a game. I don't miss it. I encourage everyone to start developing some other fun stuff to do to fill the empty hours formerly filled by gaming. It makes it easier to stay away from the games and also makes life much more enjoyable, productive and fulfilling. That's a powerful double whammy. I used to be afraid that I couldn't do things. Now my main concern is that there isn't enough time to do the things I want to do. But I am finding that there's more time available than I thought, so I have plans to get involved in some new stuff. Gameless living is great! Highly recommended. Give it a try!

No gaming. No plans to. Thanks for your help with that.

Sven
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Today I downloaded a game,

Today I downloaded a game, everything was ready and all I had to do was to press start. I didn't. But its highly alarming nontheless. Its been like this for two weeks, and there's no end in sight. I'm actually thinking giving in to those urges will get me back on track faster, as I'm sure I would get ****ed off with how much time I'd be wasting fairly quickly. But its more likely this is just the addict in me talking.

So I deleted the half downloaded game again. I'm reading past postings here on Olga, but I don't recognize myself in any of them.
I will probably tap my emergency addiction fund to get me something nice, maybe one of those e-pianos I have been eyeing.

I know what you're saying re chess, McPhee. I'm staying away from Chess games, although there's no rewards to keep you going its very close to one highly addictive strategy game I have been hooked on for years.

Hope you're enjoying GoT, I'm somewhere in book 5 and its been a blast.

McPhee
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Hang in there

Sven, sounds like you've hit a rough patch. I'm glad you're able to avoid actually playing any games. I am pretty sure that the idea of playing a game to convince you not to play games is a bad one. If you want to try it, be sure and take notes on how it goes.

I'm interested in what you're thinking to yourself when you get these urges. What thoughts are running through your head? Any specific sentences or refrains?

Also, are you not filling the empty time with enjoyable and absorbing activities? It's going to be hard to avoid gaming if you're just sitting around twiddling your thumbs.

I am doing okay. About halfway through the last book of the Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire series. I guess Martin will get the sixth done in the next year or two. I thought these later ones are not as good as the first couple, but they are still pretty good.

No plans to game.

McPhee
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Interesting article

I thought this was a good one that had some helpful insights for people like us:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/quora/2013/05/06/does_it_really_take_21_days_to_break_a_habit.html

It seems to say that we aren't just weak and immoral, we have a physical problem in our brains. But, if we change our behavior for a few weeks, we can change our brains and do a lot better. I find that encouraging in several ways. If anybody reads it, tell me what you think.

I am okay here. No plans to game today.

Sven
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Its difficult to tell whats

Its difficult to tell whats going on in my mind when I get these urges. It feels like getting sucked into a vortex with my mind circling around the same thing again and again.

Anyway, the same thing happened again today. I resisted the urge to fire up the game but everything was ready, download and all. I realize its not the best time to work from home, and as a first counter measure I drove to the office and dropped off my laptop. I'm really angry that I didn't pursue getting my Blizzard account deleted. I send a signed letter to them in May, requesting my account plus licenses to be erased for good but it was returned to me for some reason. I will have another go at this on Monday.

I'm trying to keep myself busy, tonight I went to a concert and on Sunday I will be at a football game.

If this whole episode showed me one thing, then that this is a serious psychological condition, its an addicition for real.

No gaming today. Take care.

Sven
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Good read btw, McPhee.

Good read btw, McPhee.

Sven
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If I ever relapse (I hope not

If I ever relapse (I hope not to) and try again I will definately record a video message for my future self. I have written down the reasons why I decided to quit however words don't seem to transport the despair and urgency very well at all.

 

 

Sven
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So it happened, relapse,

So it happened, relapse, after 5 months. I'm trying not to beat myself up too much over it but I'm feeling incredibly disappointed with myself.
I'm scared also, scared that I will most certainly lose everything I build up during the last 5 months. I've already got in touch with Blizzard support asking for the address to send my account deletion request to, not sure this is going to be of any use tho, given the incredible simplicity you can set up a new account. The response of my body is overwhelming, my brain is restless, and I have that warm sensation in my front cortex every addict is familiar with. I'm feeling cold, literally when an hour ago I thought it was going to be a  pretty warm fall day.

Not sure how to proceed. I already hate it, hate what I have lost.

McPhee
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Chill!

Sven, yes, you have a lost a string of game-less days. But you have also gained a string of game-less days. You went five months without gaming! That's huge. I feel that should be very comforting to you now as you try once again to back off the gaming. You know you can do this. You have done it once. If, say, you go another five months and then game again one time, so what? That's not going to hurt you in any practical sense.

You have gained an incredible amount of self-understanding, self-respect and strength from this experience. One day or one month of returning to gaming can't take that away. Keep trying. Try again. Cancel that account. You can do this.

It seems like you might concentrate harder now on finding other activities that you enjoy to fill up the time you would otherwise spend gaming. Why not do a blue-skies exercise, where you ask yourself what you'd do if you could do anything -- anything! -- that you wanted to? What is it? Climb Everest? Date a super-model? Drive a Lamborghini? Let your imagination go wild. Remove every last constraint. Once you have something in mind, come up with a reasonable plan that could possibly work to give your dream to you and take a step to turning it into reality. Look for exotic-car rental agencies online. Check out a book on climbing Everest from the library. Send a fan letter to your favorite super-model. Anything. Just get started on something that will really captivate your imagination and provide you with enough enjoyment and engagement to keep you from constantly thinking about gaming. The more engaged you are with real life, the less tempting it will be to engage with gaming. Give it a try.

Try again. Keep trying. You can do this.

No plans to game today.

PS Also, I think the idea of the video message to your future self is brilliant!

Sven
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Ok, its been an awful day,

Ok, its been an awful day, but believe it or not it could have been worse still. Gaming for a few minutes didn't feel all that great as I had expected, but that thought is quite dangerous because you might conclude from it whats the harm if I don't like it now I may as well carry on playing and stop later, just to kill some time. At least this one I believe I got right because I stopped immediately having determined I don't like it. 
I went to that football game and had a good time. While I'm still somewhat ashamed its not all negative now. Blizzard support told me you can request your account to be deleted through their ticket system which I have done now. Hopefully they will be quick about it.
Thanks for your encouraging words, McPhee. 
Take care.

Sven
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They confimred my account has

They confimred my account has been deleted, incl. all games and licenses.

wazzapp
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Hi everyone nice to see you.

Hi everyone nice to see you. I'm a gaming addict

I'm currently 85 days game-free.  I go to NA meetings almost every day, have a sponsor and work the steps. Generally speaking my life has improved a lot.

Today life challenges me a bit more than usual, that's why i decided to pop in and spew negaticvity lol ;p. No but, whenever i get angry or feel lonely, i feel a strong need to escape my emotions and game. I've learned that i'm not unique in this respect. I've learned this by listening to other people, and reading posts about "HALT".

Being a recovering addict, i have a hard time dealing with my emotions. I can't really hide if i',m feeling angry or sad for example. This is not always acceptable in the professional world. I am expected to be able to smile even when i don't feel like it. I should probably talk to my sponsor about this....

I'm thankful for being game-free. Thankful for being alive. Thankful for good friends. I'm thankful for a nice dinner i had yesterday. Im thankful for being healthy. I'm thankful for my higher power. I'm thankful for that i have a nice place to stay. I'm thankful for my sponsor, and other friends i've met in NA.

Talk to u later

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

 

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Ayup

Well said, Wazzapp!

Well done, Sven!

I am good here. No plans to game today.

 

McPhee
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Counting up, sort of

When I get to my desk I will try to figure out exactly when the last time I played a computer game was. I'm thinking about seven months ago, but I'm not sure. At one point I had set up a spreadsheet where I could just click on it and it would give me the number of days since I last played. Not sure if that still exists, but I'll look. Or maybe I can look up my posting history on this website to see when I started counting days of not gaming.

I am slightly curious about the exact count up number, although of course that's not the big thing. The big thing is today. What are you going to do today? What am I going to do today? Today, I have no plans to game. I don't want to get sucked into an activity that will eat up 16 or so hours and leave me at the end with nothing but dry, burning eyes from not blinking, a sore wrist from repetitive motion injury and a long list of duties, tasks, opportunities, challenges and relationships that have been ignored. Thanks for your help with that. I am glad to be out of that world.

It really seems crazy, both looking back and at the time I was doing it. I have some activities that I overdo now, without a doubt. Reading is at the top of the list. But I am nowhere near as nutty about reading as the way I was about gaming. It's almost like some evil spirit takes over your mind, body and life. Of course, it's not an evil spirit. It's just you, acting like an idiot. But it's also more than just making a mistake or making bad decision. Addiction seems to describe it pretty well, although it's not my favorite term.

Oh, well, things could be worse than to be a gaming addict. I could be a gaming addict who is still gaming. That would be a lot worse. Being a gaming addict who doesn't game is really a very minor problem, more like an annoyance, actually.

I have been reading a psychology book that makes, among other points, the point that much research supports the view that our behaviors drive our attitudes, not the other way around, as is commonly supposed. Basically, we like what we do, as much or mor than we do what we like.

The relevance for this discussion is that the less you game, the more your attitudes toward gaming will be negative. The more you game, the more distorted your attitudes are going to be toward a positive view of gaming. I'm not gaming now and I think gaming sucks. So there's your proof.

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March 4 is the date, I think

After re-reading my old posts from this thread I have settled on March 4, 2015, as the last time I played a computer game. Or maybe that's the first day I didn't play. Either way, I am about to hit seven months of game-free living. It's much better, believe me. I am still not perfect (although very close.) I spend probably too much time reading, and not enough time doing housework. But I'm doing better in a lot of ways.

Last night I was about to settle down and get into a book when I decided to go to the weekly "Song Doctor" meeting of my local songwriters group. It's where you get together with 15 or 20 other mostly amateur songwriters and play a new song and everybody tells you what they think. It is often fairly brutal. But it's a good way to test a song and get some ideas for how to make it better. I have an old song that I don't play much anymore and that's what I took in for critique. I think I got some good ideas. We'll see.

The point is, instead of hiding out in a book, I went out and engaged with some real live humans and real life. I think, generally speaking, it's a good idea to do quite a lot of that kind of thing. So I'm giving myself a pat on the back. Now I need to re-write that song and come up with some new ones. I have several partially written that I could likely finish and be pretty happy with. We'll see.

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

Sven
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Congrats on seven months,

Congrats on seven months, McPhee. Socializing more is on my priority list also but I do find it challenging. My violin teacher suggested for me to join an amateur orchestra and while its definately a bit early for that its something I look forward to.

No gaming today.

Take care.

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5 Months

Tomorrow I hit my 5 month game-free mark.  That's when I relapsed last time was at 5 months out, but I have no desire to game since returning from my vacation a week and a half ago.  

Sorry to hear about your relapses, Sven and sidsel, but it happens.  The best thing to do is try to learn something from it and move on.  I've certainly had my share of relapses, but it seems I always learned something from them, even if only to confirm that I am indeed addicted go gaming and there's no way I can moderate it in any way, shape or form.

Glad to hear things are going well for you, McPhee, and congratz on 7 months of game-freeness!!!

 

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

McPhee
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Howdy howdy

Silvertabby, thanks for the update. I naturally have been wondering how you were and it's great to hear you have been well and are getting into your sixth month of game-less living. Wonderful work. I'm so happy for you. Stay alert! Keep the faith! It keeps getting better (mostly)!

Sven, joining an orchestra sounds pretty scary. I find classical music inimidating, with all the emphasis on technique and very little accommodation for human limitations. Like, my son is now in his second semester of formal, three-times-a-week classical guitar instruction, and has never learned to strum a C major chord, which is probably the first thing that I would teach somebody. Taking the easy way out is not really a part of classical music, as far as I can tell. That's beautiful for listeners, but challenging for the musicians. I understand your reluctance to expose your technique. Still, I'd like to see you try that orchestra before too long. I'll bet they can find a place for you. And I think it would be very rewarding for you.

Struggling with the desire to hibernate is a constant for me. I guess the truth is that I am a loner, able to tolerate and enjoy long stretches of minimal human companionship. But I am not totally a loner. I can't be completely alone all day every day and be happy. So I make efforts to reach out to friends, join groups, participate, etc. It's not tremendously successful. My personality is not a particularly friendly or appealing one, I suppose. People aren't drawn to me, as a rule. So being standoffish just a little turns into a lot of solitude. I can take a lot, but not an exclusive diet of it. Anyway, I'm going to Dallas later today to see my brother's movie  premiere. That will involve some socializing and, of course, an expression of solidarity with my brother. So that's my social move for today.

Unlike many people, who get a lot of virtual social interaction from gaming, it was always a solitary activity for me. I played off-line, one-player games aganst the computer, exclusively. I tried going online against human opponents a few times, but it just didn't work out. The games I played were not like League of Legends with millions and millions of players and a huge online scene. I just huddled by myself and played against the computer. Escape. Retreat. Hiding out. Avoiding. All of that. Glad I'm not doing it any more. I still hide out some, notably by reading, but it's not nearly as wacked-out excessive as with the games. Don't want to go back there.

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

McPhee
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Anosognosia

Anosognisia is a word I heard for the first time yesterday. It means not being aware that you are sick or showing sypmtoms of illness. It is mostly applied to people with schizophrenia. It is a major reason why they don't take their medications, or quit taking their medications, and wind up in the hospital or worse. I think us excessive gamers are exhibiting something like anosognosia when we fail to see how excessive gaming is screwing up our lives and the lives of those who depend on us.

The way they deal with anosognosia with schizophrenics is to set them up with a support network of family, friends, therapists, etc. This support group keeps an eye on them and makes sure they know that there is a problem and they need to keep taking their meds. We don't have meds. We just have not gaming. And we have this support group to keep our heads on straight about the gaming problem.

Anywhere, here's a reminder: Gaming has caused you and me a lot of grief. We have a problem. Recognize it. You can't game normally. So don't game. Do something else fun instead. Be aware of anosognosia.

No plans to game today.

McPhee
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No anosognosia today

I'm not interested in gaming. I know if I start I will game for many hours, for days, weeks, months and maybe years at a time. I don't want the financial, physical, emotional, relationship and other costs of that kind of craziness. So, I'm not going to game. Instead, I'm going to devote my energy and attention to some of the many things I am interested in: writing and playing songs, booking gigs, rehearsing, pitching article ideas to editors, researching and writing articles, biking and swiming and lifting weights (running when my achilles gets better), competing in races, working to advance equal parenting, spending time with my kids and siblings and mom and girlfriend and friends, making more friends, keeping the house and car and other stuff in good repair and looking neat, reading lots of books of all kinds, and so on.

I have recently added fiction writing to the list. I want to get a short story published somewhere and write a novel. I have a short story done in rough draft and am trying to get it ready to start sending to potential publishers. That's not that easy but I enjoy the feeling of being a fiction writer, even if I'm just getting started.

I would like to go to paramedic school next year, because I enjoy the emergency medical technician work I've been doing this year and would like to be able to do more. Getting a paramedic patch is moderately challenging, however, involving more than a year of pretty intense study and many hundreds of hours of clinical observation and assistance on ambulances and in different units at the hospital. It also costs several thousand dollars. But if I can get a short story published, and possibly the novel written, in the next six to nine months, I might pull the trigger on paramedic school. We'll see. You can only do so much.

It is sure great to not be under the spell of computer games. I wouldn't be doing much of anything besides barely making a living and gaming all day and night if I hadn't stopped gaming. That's a messed-up life. I am glad to not be living it anymore. Quitting can be a struggle, and was for me, with many failures and setbacks along the way. But it's worth it. I hope anybody reading this is motivated and encouraged to try. You can do it. And you'll be glad you did.

No plans to game today.

McPhee
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Urges

I had the weirdest urge to game yesterday. The urge itself was pretty ordinary. I just thought for a bit with a moderately intense sense ofl longing about how nice it would be to set up and play one of the games I used to be into. What was weird was the circumstance. I had just finished a bike ride was sitting in a chair on the driveway tightening a new cleat on my bike shoes. And that was when it hit. Why then? I can't figure out anything about the situtation that would suggest gaming. Just possibly, it was the thought that by completing the bike ride I'd done everything on my to-do list for the day and now had some free time. Free time, as you know or should know, is risky for gaming urges. It's probably best to keep yourself fairly active, or even tightly scheduled, if you want to avoid urges. I don't know. I guess urges can strike at any time. In the event, I had no trouble ignoring this one and it went away as quickly as it arrived.

No plans to game today.

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Same old

Doing okay. Last night I ran into one of those situations that formerly would have led to gaming. My son decided not to go to soccer practice so I unexpectedly wound up with a three-hour gap during which I had expected to be busy picking him up and watching practice. In the past, the vision of a suddenly empty evening would have been the cue to boot up a game and bury myself in it until the wee hours. Instead I read a book I am hoping to review for a magazine, practiced a few songs and went to bed at 11. Much better.

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

McPhee
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Hanging in

No gaming to report, no plans to game. I'm not going back there. I'm not doing anything, like playing chess on my phone, that past experience suggests will lead back there. I'm going to keep my days and evenings filled with enjoyable, productive, constructive activities that beneficially replace the hours and days and weeks and months and years and, yes, decades, that I have spent playing godforsaken computer games.

I think I'm starting the seventh month of game-free living. Here's hoping it continues. No plans to game today.

wazzapp
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Hi everyone, im here to spew

Hi everyone, im here to spew some negativity again ;)

I'm having a cold with fever, throat pain etc, and my mind goes to very dark places, telling me all sort of things: 

"ur a looser, worthless piece of sh*t . U cant accomplish anything, see this person X, he's so much better, just give up, kill urself, u never do anything u set out to do, ur indecisiveness is pathetic......."

It goes on and on and on. 

Actually, in reality, i have things that's going my way, and i have a lot of reasons to be happy, but my mind doesn't acknowledge thos things ofcourse......

i will live through this day x)

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

 

McPhee
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wazzapp!

Wazzapp, sounds like rough times there.When you say you are thinking you might as well kill urself, are you speaking literally? Are you thinking about hurting yourself? If you are you need to check in with a relative, friend, doctor, priest etc. That kind of thinking can be dangerous. OK?

I have had more than a few similarly bad days myself where I compare myself to others in an unfavorable way. It can be really upsetting. But, it sounds like you are actively arguing against these irrational thoughts you're having about how you measure up against others, and that is huge. If you didn't do that, you'd almost certainly be feeling worse. So, great work! If you weren't working to defeat them, these negative self-comparisons could make you even more miserable. If you can maintain your anti-negative thoughts efforts, the downers will eventually pass and you'll feel better. Normally, anyway. If it keeps up for more than a few weeks and you're feeling really bad, or actively thinking about hurting yourself, you should probably talk it over with a health care professional or someone you trust. I dislike overreacting but self-harm is a pretty common and serious problem and yet it can be dealt with if you seek help.

I try to cut myself some slack. Yes, I have screwed up in some fairly profound ways. But I've done better than I could have -- no credible charges of cannibalism have been leveled against me, for instance. And I'm working to do better. We all have our weaknesses and limitations. Mine are more serious than some, less serious than others. And nobody's perfect, or at least very few people are. You can't choose the strengths and weaknesses you are born with. You can only try to manage them as best you can. So keep trying and try not to be too hard on yourself. We believe in you!

I am okay today. No plans to game.

wazzapp
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Thanks for answering McPhee,

Thanks for answering McPhee, I always find your posts very helpful.

No, there's no literally chance of me physically hurting myself, just the negative rhetoric of my mind.

A question i often find myself asking in these situations, should i actively argue against the voice, or should i by some magic stop listening to it? It would be nice to be able to recognize it for what it is: ,a part of my insanity, and not identify with the voice as much as i do currently. 

This negative inner-voice that's active right here is something that's part of my powerlessness and unmanagability (step 1). I can't see the beauty of life, I can't see the opportonities, the solutions, the fun. My sponsor would probably call this the "destructive force" as opposed to the "loving self-actualizing force" which is my higher power.

"Higher Power,Take my will and my life. Guide me in my recovery. Show me how to live."

"JUST FOR TODAY my thoughts will be on my recovery, living and enjoying life without the use of games. 
JUST FOR TODAY I will have faith in someone in NA/Olga who believes in me and wants to help me in my recovery. 
JUST FOR TODAY I will have a program. I will try to follow it to the best of my ability. 
JUST FOR TODAY through NA/Olga I will try to get a better perspective on my life. 
JUST FOR TODAY I will be unafraid, my thoughts will be on my new associations, people who are not using and who have found a new way of life. So long as I follow that way, I have nothing to fear. "

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

 

McPhee
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Good work!

Great job, wazzapp! I'm a fan of actively disputing negative thoughts. I try to write them down. Then write down what's wrong with them. Then write down a more helpful, realistic thought.

Like, I'm thinking: You (meaning me) are a loser.

What's wrong with that, to start with, is there is no definition of what a loser even is. Is it somebody who lost once? Who loses more often than they win? Who's never won anything? None of those is very useful, obviously. Everybody loses, a lot. Everybody wins sometimes. If you lose 51 percent of the time, does that make you a loser? So the label is meaningless and serves only to upset myself. And I don't want to be upset. So why upset myself by thinking something isn't true and is, in fact, meaningless? Answer: Not going to.

Next, a more realistic and helpful thought is something like: Yes, I did get my butt kicked on that specific thing there. But, you know what? I've won lots of things and I'm not ready to give up on this yet. I have some ideas for how I can try again and maybe I'll be successful this time. If not, well, you can't win them all.

This sort of thing can be very effective at disarming problem-causing thoughts. You can find tips on how to do it here: https://sites.google.com/site/psychospiritualtools/Home/psychological-practices/d. If that one doesn't make sense, just do an internet search for "disputing negative thoughts." Very helpful, I have found.

I am okay. No plans to game today.

wazzapp
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Wow, thanks! The link you

Wow, thanks! The link you provided is also good, well-written and easy to follow. The whole website caught my interest

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

 

McPhee
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Excellent!

Wazzapp, glad that caught your interest.

About 30 years ago, I was trying to get over a romantic disappointment when I picked up a book called Intimate Connections by David Burns. I did a short written thought-changing exercise it described and was amazed when I actually felt a little better. Any improvement at all can be huge when it seems like you're just sinking in an endless spiral of depression and pain. So I read that book and his big one, Feeling Good, and I was hooked.

Cognitive therapy, which is the fancy name for what Burns and other people like him do, has been one of the most important discoveries of my life. And it's not just me. Since then, it's gone totally mainstream. Feeling Good is the best-selling self-help psychology book of all time, about four million copies. Cognitive therapy offers a really powerful way to manage your moods. It may not make quitting gaming easy, but it could very well make it significantly easier. McPhee says: Check it out.

I am okay today. No plans to game.

McPhee
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Seven months and two days, I think

March 9, 2015, looks like the day I quit the games. I counted back from my May 5 post on this thread saying that the day before had been eight weeks, and March 9 was the result. So that means today is seven months and two days. It's been good overall and a lot of times great to be off the games. I still get occasional urges, however. And sometimes I feel sad about the thought that I am unable to play games and, probably, will not ever be able to play them again without taking on the unacceptable risk of descending once again into crazy excessive and compulsive gaming.

Yesterday while on a bike ride I started thinking about how nice it would be to play one of them again. And it's true: I would enjoy it for a while, possibly quite a lot. But then, more likely than not, it would become ridiculously excessive and I'd begin ignoring other duties, responsibilities, chores, tasks, relationships and obligations, not mention other pleasures and diversions in order to play for many hours a day. My life would get more and more screwed up as I got behind on deadlines, ran out of money, began living in squalor and lied to people in order to hide my behavior. I (obviously) don't want that. And the risk is too great, verging on certainty, that something very similar or worse is what would happen. So I have no plans to game today. Thanks for your help with that.

wazzapp
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Thanks, got a few pages of

Thanks, got a few pages of the book on my desk now.....

The past days i've been obsessed by tv-series. I've been using it in the same way as i was using games, unplugging my brain and just stay in unconciousness, escaping my present reality, not taking care of basic chores like washing clothes, cleaning...

it's a typical addiction cycle: watching->cursing myself->stop watching->find myself watching again the next day--.

Getting emotional when i'm not watching. I justify it in different ways, but my behaviur is really not ok, tv-series is messing me up big time.

My sponsor told me i should treat obsession the same way as the "main addiction": work the steps and talk about it on meetings. 

Found a documentary on tv-series addiction, checking it out after NA meeting.

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

 

Sven
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Still struggling, but no

Still struggling, but no further relapsing since Sep. 27th. I hardly think about smoking anymore, and also my Facebook abstinence doesn't bother me at all, interestingly enough, but the urge to game remains, which may or may not be suprising given the fact that I have been gaming ever since I was a kid.

I'm thinking about adopting various other activities, like start to play the piano or getting back into astronomy, however adding new activities somehow conflicts with my "downsizing" project. By downsizing I mean getting rid of unnecessary clutter in my life, both material and non-material. I have been selling a lot of my physical stuff and I generally enjoy living the minimalist lifestyle. There's something liberating in getting rid of stuff. Likewise I have been trying to streamline my activities, so I'm somewhat reluctant about adding new hobbies, but maybe thats what it takes at the moment to stay away from games.

Take care.

McPhee
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Yeah

Wazzapp, your struggles with overdoing various activities sound familiar. I was telling somebody a while back about my own tendencies in that area, and the person looked at me and said, "Addictive personality." I hesitated and said I wasn't ready to agree with that. I'm not sure there is any such thing. And I'm fairly sure that labeling myself in that way, certainly in the absence of an expert diagnosis, is not terrifically smart.

It is pretty clear that a tendency to overdo stuff is a common human trait, and I have at least some of that, maybe more than average. So what? So I have to watch myself or I get sucked into activities and start doing them compulsively. Big deal. I need to be careful and be ready to take action -- like I'm doing now -- or I'll wind up doing more stupid things than smart things. That's okay. I can live with it.

I think you can too, if that truly does describe you. Watching TV excessively arguably is not the best use of your life. But it's not all that bad. Why not try to substitute some enjoyable, productive activities and see how it goes? And enjoy Feeling Good. It's like a toolkit for your brain. It's like you've been working on your car your whole life, using your fingertips to twist bolts, and somebody gives you a set of wrenches. Very powerful.

Sven, I definitely get the appeal of stripping away unused material possessions. I'm not as clear on why you want to avoid doing fun, productive activities. What's your objective here? I'm not sure simplification for its own sake is an ideal goal. Simplification doesn't shorten the day. What are you going to spend your time doing?

I am more or less okay today. Some stuff is going well, other stuff not so much. No plans to game today.

McPhee
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All well

I am doing okay. No plans to game today.

wazzapp
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Thanks

Thanks

I like 3 principles of cognitive therapy described in the book:

 1. emotions are caused by thoughts

2. Once in a "negative mood", my whole world becomes negative.

3. These negative thoughs are almost always not accurate of the actual situation i find myself in, but they seem valid.

These ideas reminds me of a book called "power of now" by eckhart tolle. Very helpful for me. 

I'm doing okay today. No plans to game. Thanks for this community

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

 

McPhee
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Sounding good

Wazzapp, that's a good summation of cognitive therapy's main points. I'd add that you can change your thoughts if you use some of these jedi mind-bending tricks they'll teach you. That means you can change your attitudes, and that makes a big difference.

I've never read anything by Eckhard Tolle, although I regognize the name. One title that popped up in my thoughts, probably because of the talk here about attitudes, is "Man's Search for Meaning," by Viktor Frankl. It's about his time in a Nazi death camp and discusses why some people, even in that most awful of circumstances, managed to maintain a (relatively) good attitude. His point, as I recal it, was that even if we can't control anything around us, even if things are as bad as being a prisioner in a concentration camp, we can still control our attitudes. I doubt you or I will ever face anything as extreme as being in a death camp, so it seems perhaps we might be able to control our attitudes in the face of our daily provocations and irritations as well. I've found this sort of thinking helps me keep from getting so upset a lot of the time. I still get mad, sad and the rest, but not as much. These tricks have also helped me stay off the games, I think. I think I gamed to escape upsetting emotions, and when I have another way to manage them, I don't feel the need to game. That's part of it anyway.

Thanks for the post. Thanks to Olga for being here, and to everyone who participates. You people are important to me. No plans to game today.

wazzapp
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Thanks for your posts. Yes i

Thanks for your posts. Yes i believe i also gamed to escape my emotions and my life. Gaming is a symptom of my unmanagability (step1). Today i've felt really good, partially because of external validation, which is scary, since validation comes and goes... I want to feel good inspite of "bad situations", at the same time i also want to accept my emotional rollercoster, not beating down on myself for having a bad day.

However, the approach adopted by Viktor Frankl is very good, asking myself "do i have control over this?" If no, try to let it go, and change what i can, which is my actions and attitudes at this moment (not tomorrow or yesterday). This is the simple thruth, but not easy to apply in my daily life. Well, right now it's easy, i feel great, but this too shall past ;P

Today i've been going to 2 NA meetings, public speaking workshop, writing, audiobook, hung out with a friend. My cold is clearing up so soon i'll hopefully get back to excersise. 

Going up really early tomorrow so going to bed soon (it's 9pm here). Just gonna eat something, meditate, and shoot a video-log.

Love u people, thanks for helping me staying game-free one more day

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

 

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