About Cam Adair

Cam Adair is a speaker, writer and player of chess. A prominent thought leader on gaming addiction, he shares weekly videos on YouTube.

Game Quitters is a community for gamers who want to quit and get their life back on track. You can join the community for free, here.

I believe there’s a fundamental difference between abstinence from games and true recovery.

Quitting games isn’t just about quitting games, it’s about starting to live your life to the fullest. Press play and find out more:

So it’s not just about finding ways to fill the void but stepping back to really think about what your new goals and dreams are.

When you quit games it’s about closing a chapter in your life – one where you played games – to start a new chapter – one where you don’t. So it’s not that games are good or bad or that you should play or you should not, and it’s more about just recognizing that you’re moving on to a new chapter in your life.

So yes, at first you’ll need to find new activities to fill your time, but the perspective you want to have is to choose new goals. Use these goals to fuel your motivation and give direction to how you spend your time.

I don’t just want you to survive not playing games, I want you to thrive.

After you quit it’s easy to just sit around resisting your temptation to play games, but I believe this is a flawed approach. It’s not that you won’t go through a period of time where this is the case, but just remember what your intention is.

So what are your new goals? What are you moving towards now that you’ve quit? Share in the comments below.

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I’m back in my hometown today and thought I’d answer a question about how to get more motivated after quit playing video games. Press play:

Motivation is definitely one of the obstacles we run into whenever we want to make any big move in our life, and this is especially true when it comes to quitting video games.

When you quit it’s easy to feel lethargic and a lack of energy and this is completely normal, and one of the things to think about is that when you’re gaming, your lifestyle doesn’t really contribute to you having a ton of natural energy.

Just think about it: you’re likely staying up late (gaming), you’re sitting around a lot (gaming), you’re drinking a ton of energy drinks (caffeine) and your diet in general is likely poor (pizza, junk food.)

So when you quit gaming it’s not like you’re magically going to have all of this energy and in fact I think this journey of quitting is one of the biggest wake-up calls you can have about what the real state of your lifestyle really is.

And although it’s easy to feel down about this, it’s actually an incredible opportunity to begin learning more about what does motivate you, how you want your lifestyle to make you feel and even how your diet is serving you in your life.

If we want to be successful in being more motivated, first we need to understand what the components are that contribute to motivation.

One of the components of motivation is your sense of purpose – why are you doing what you’re doing. Now I’ll be honest, I used to struggle with feeling motivated (and still do sometimes). People would tell me to find my purpose and all that hippy hoopla, but it would only frustrate me because I could understand it logically, yes… finding your purpose sounds great!, but how?

And feeling frustrated would cause me to feel paralyzed and, you guessed it… less motivated. But I had a breakthrough that changed the way I saw purpose and motivation forever, and it came in the form of a short story:

Imagine you are in the dessert and you have a forty pound bag to carry across to the other side.

… How motivated would you be?

Not very much, right?

Now imagine that forty pound bag is your son and he’s sick. … How motivated would you be?

It’s a silly question, right? You wouldn’t even question whether you were getting your son across the dessert or not. You would get it done. It’s just a primal reaction. You sure wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not you had motivation.

So what’s the difference? With your son, you have purpose. You have a reason to do what you need to do. And because of that your motivation is just, there. It’s not something you need to think about.

If you want to become more motivated you need to find a purpose, a reason to do what you want to do.

And what’s great is that in A Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl shares that the last human freedom we have is our ability to give meaning to our circumstances. The last human freedom we have is our ability to define what our purpose is. We get to choose why we are doing what we’re doing.

So often when we think about purpose we make these two mistakes:

  1. We think purpose is a singular concept. “Find your purpose” makes us think it can only be one thing. But what if you have more than one thing you enjoy? What if it changes? When in fact purpose evolves. It can be one thing or it can be many things. It’s not a singular concept.
  2. We think purpose magically comes to us. When we actually need to define it for ourselves. We get to decide what our purpose is. It’s a choice. If we spend our time waiting around to find our purpose it will not come.

I learned this lesson in Christmas 2012. At the time my entire world had just crumbled in front of me: My business failed, I was broke, most of my friends weren’t really the friends I wanted (or needed), my trip to Costa Rica turned out to be a disaster and to top it off, my girlfriend left me.

This all happened within weeks of each other. I felt like shit. Even though I had made so much progress over the years, it appeared as if I was back to square one. I was depressed and had a difficult time getting out of bed every day.

Why did it even matter?

So if you’re feeling a lack of motivation right now, you need to find a greater sense of purpose. Now when I say that I mean you need to find a reason why you are doing what you are doing.

So during Christmas when all this crazy shit was going down, I committed to this because a redemption story in my life. This was going to be a turning point for me to learn how to be happy, how to make new friends and how to have an impact on the world.

So what’s your redemption story? What’s your why?

Remember, motivation is more like a volume knob than a light switch. It’s something you have to turn up
over time. Hope that helps!

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When you quit gaming you want to set yourself up for success, and one of the essential ways to do that is to be aware of any triggers that could cause you to relapse.

So what triggers should you watch out for? Press play and find out:

When I quit gaming I knew I had to take my triggers seriously, because they would be the main reason I would end up relapsing and going back to play.

To be successful to quit playing video games it’s really about setting yourself up for success.

I got rid of all of my games.

I didn’t watch any commercials. I didn’t watch any gaming streams. I didn’t check to see when my new favorite game is coming out. I didn’t do any of this.

Why would I? If I did any of that I would just want to play! And the whole point of moving on from games is to not play.

That doesn’t mean you won’t get cravings and as we’ve talked about before you want to have specific ways to deal with that, but triggers can also cause your cravings to get worse.

Here are two steps you want to take to avoid triggers:

  1. Identify what your triggers are. What are the potential things coming up that could cause you to be vulnerable to give in and play?
  2. Understand what your default actions are when you are feeling triggered. When I saw a commercial after I quit I immediately changed the channel.

And of course as we’ve talked about before, make sure you’re taking care of the basics: finding new activities, scheduling your day and not being on the computer all day.

Sometimes triggers happen, sometimes cravings happen, but by preparing for them beforehand you can set yourself up for success and continue to move on with your life.

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How to Deal With Cravings

What’s up from Vancouver! Today’s question is about how to deal with cravings and this is a question I’ve been get a lot lately, so press play and check out my answer:

When it comes to how to deal with cravings it’s important to understand that cravings are a matter of momentum. And when we use this mindset of momentum with cravings it allows us to become empowered about them instead of feeling like they have all the power over us themselves.

When we quit playing video games it’s easy for cravings to become difficult, they can come out of nowhere, and catch us by surprise. Cravings come in many different ways, we can feel nostalgic about games, we miss our gamer friends, we can feel bored with our new activities and many others.

When we feel cravings first we need to understand that they can come out of nowhere and understand what they are. When we are focused on the steps we need to take to move forward – filling our days with new activities and being organized with our time – our cravings will be less.

But still they can come out of nowhere so it’s important to prepare beforehand with different tools and practices to respond well when they do come in. One of these practices is one I love and it’s a 3-step process to change any emotion.

Step 1: Acknowledge It

What you resist, persists, so when you experience a craving you need to acknowledge it as something that is happening due to a chemical imbalance in your body and by taking the time to recognize it you give it less power. You don’t need to hide from it.

Step 2: Accept It

Say “Oh well.” By accepting it that doesn’t mean you’re blindly accepting it and being a victim, you’re just acknowledging that it’s happening and you’re recognizing that that is ok. A craving doesn’t have to be a big deal if you don’t make it a big deal. Just like it came in randomly it will go away randomly too.

Step 3: Take Action

Now that you’ve acknowledged it as a craving, accepted that it’s there and that’s ok, now you want to take a positive action step towards creating the new emotion you want. What’s a step you can take to start building your momentum in the direction you want. One small action starts your momentum again. Go for a walk, get out of the house, move your body, meditate, write in a journal, call a friend.

Lastly, cravings are very similar to a breakup, and when I’ve been through breakups I just thought about my ex all the time, but over time it went away and got easier. It took some time but it gets better. Cravings are similar. They will be more intense at the beginning but over time they get easier. They’ll still come in randomly here and there so just don’t make it a big deal.

Focus one hour at a time all day long and definitely start meditating which will help you a lot.

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I’m back in Canada and wanted to answer another question I received from my #AMA thread happening right now. The question is about how to stop using gaming as a way to procrastinate, especially when it comes to studying or working.

To find out my answer, press play:

So this is a great question and this is definitely one of the cornerstone issues of this gaming problem, which has to do with the way we use gaming to escape from our problems.

It’s important to remember that gaming is just an activity and when it becomes a problem it’s because we have underlying issues going on, so we want to start learning more about why we are trying to escape from whatever we’re trying to escape from.

Is it anxiety? Is it stress? Another emotion?

This is a problem I personally relate to and after I quit gaming I needed to learn how to deal with these emotions and still have to work on every day. Part of it is learning about how to focus better.

An example is from today, I spent the entire day doing my taxes, and that sucks, that is an activity that is incredibly boring, it’s not inspiring, so it’s easy to procrastinate. So what I did was focus on smaller blocks, 10-15 minutes at a time, take a quick break (without technology) and then sit back down and do another 10-15 minutes, rinse and repeat.

These short breaks help me release the anxious energy that can build up where you get a bit antsy and you want to move around but by taking a quick break over time (in my case today, 7 hours), I was able to release that energy during my break instead of going on Reddit or Facebook and then running into a ton of other distractions.

Another thing you want to do is learn how to focus for longer periods of time, and this is a skill like anything else. I’m a big advocate of learning meditation, because the science behind meditation is so clear that it’s a great way to improve your focus.

Lastly, when it comes to motivation, you need to remember why you are doing the things you want to do. So when you find you’re getting distracted, make sure you take a minute to remind yourself why pursuing what you’re trying to pursue is important to you.

Needing a temporary escape is natural, so it’s just about learning how to fulfill this need in a way that you don’t need gaming. Meditation, taking a short break (without technology), going for a walk, etc are all good ways to do that.

Hope that helps and if it does, make sure you share it with someone it can help!

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Today’s question comes from the #AMA thread I have going on right now and it’s about whether or not you can play games in moderation.

This is a question I get all the time and I think it comes from a place of anxiety you’re experiencing when you think about what your life will really look like without games. It’s natural to feel this anxiety in your life because quitting games is a big moment in your life.

You can also feel anxiety when it comes to the uncertainty of whether or not you’ll ever be able to play again. Even though right now you know you want to quit, games mean something to you and the idea of giving them up forever is scary.

So in my opinion, there are a few dynamics to understand when you think about this question.

First I want to talk to those who recently quit and you’re feeling anxious about whether or not you’ll be able to play again.

For you, I think it’s important that before we make any decisions about whether or not you’re going to play again (in moderation), that you complete the 90 day game quitters detox. This is what research shows you need for your brain to recalibrate back to normal dopamine sensitivity levels.

In doing the 90 day detox you give yourself an opportunity to learn about what life is like without games, you get to learn more about yourself and the role gaming plays in your life, and you get to come back to this question with more clarity.

Plus, if you can’t go 90 days without playing games you probably shouldn’t be playing games in the first place. If you want to learn more about the structural changes that can happen to your brain from excessive gaming, watch this video.

Second, whether or not you can play in moderation is something only you will ultimately know, and after you complete the 90 day detox you can consider whether or not you want to try, but I personally don’t play in moderation (other than playing Chess a little bit here and there.)

Lastly, you want to remember that we play games for specific reasons (they fulfill certain needs we have), so this isn’t really about games but why we play them. The anxiety you’re experiencing when we think about whether or not we’ll be able to play again has more to do with finding new ways to fulfill the needs we have.

By finding those in other activities (if you need ideas, click here), I found I don’t really miss gaming and other than it feeling nostalgic here and there which is normal. But by having new activities and new goals, I find I’m not really drawn to games in the same way I used to be, and instead I’m excited about the new life I’ve created for myself.

So I hope that helps and if it does, share it with someone you know who’s also struggling with this stuff.

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Today’s question is from Ella from /r/StopGaming and it’s about how to develop better relationships, which I definitely agree is a main focus we need to have after we quit gaming.

Press play and watch my answer from Long Beach, California:

One of the reasons why we play games is because they are where our community hangs out, it fulfills our social relationships. I believe gaming is really more of just the activity we are doing and it’s the needs it fulfills that causes us to continue to play, even if we don’t want to.

Feeling anxious about trying to improve our ability to have better relationships after we quit is normal. I relate to this because growing up I was bullied a lot, which caused me to isolate and stay in my room all day playing games.

But the thing is, I was still lonely, and it’s this loneliness you need to pay attention to. If you’re feeling lonely even though you’re playing games, you need to take a break and start working on feeling less lonely in your life.

And this is exactly what happened to me. So when I quit I decided to start learning how to make new friends and improve my social skills. I knew I couldn’t continue to live my life the way I was and even though I didn’t know how to improve my social skills, I was going to figure it out.

So how do you train yourself to develop better relationships?

At first I started going out every night, sober, to clubs. I did this for a couple years but then I realized I didn’t really like clubs or the types of people I was meeting, so I switched it up.

And I followed these two strategies:

1. Who do you want to meet?

For me, that was entrepreneurs, who like to travel, who are more conscious, who want to leave a positive difference in the world, who would be a good friend, people who are ambitious, people going after their dreams who inspire me, and people who can teach me.

Now you: Write down three qualities you want in your friends.

2. Where do these types of people hang out?

For me, that was going to different events like The Higher Purpose Project and StartingBloc.

Now you: Check out Meetups, clubs at school or events in your area. Find one you can go to this week and make it happen.

But what if you’re anxious? Use this mindset.

The biggest difference in my life now between when I played video games and where I am today is due to the people I’ve surrounded myself with, and I’ve done it very intentionally and from the ground up. I was bullied in school, I didn’t have any friends, people told me I’d be a 36 year old bum, and I’ve proved them wrong.

But I’ve done it by surrounding myself by people who believe in me, but first by believing in myself first. Thanks for the question.

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When you quit gaming one of the biggest issues you run into is feeling bored. You want to quit because you want to start living your life, but can life really be fun without video games?

I personally struggled with this a lot, so I don’t know… you tell me… does it look fun? Press play:

When you quit gaming it can be scary. Gaming is how you have fun and it’s easy to find other activities to be boring, and even though this happens for specific reasons, it’s common to wonder if life without video games is really even fun.

But the truth is, life is as much fun as you decide to make it. Although we all come from different circumstances and each our our situation is unique, we get to choose how we respond to these challenges.

And one of them is learning how to have fun after we quit gaming. It’s not that life without video games isn’t fun, it’s that gaming has always been our go-to activity to have fun. So naturally when we remove it, we will need to learn new ways to have fun again, and that might take some time.

I know it did for me and that’s ok, it’s a process, but, most importantly, life can be fun without video games, you can have fun without them.

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I thought I’d answer a question I got recently while I was in Malibu. The question is from Tobias and it’s about what other activities are good to do on the weekends, and whether or not he can play Hearthstone and Chess even though they are kind of video games. Press play:

So the thing is, when we quit playing video games, we need to think about what we’re going to do with all of this new time we have. This is a common obstacle to go through, because gaming is what we know. So when we quit, we tend to still gravitate towards them, when that’s kind of missing the point.

The point of quitting video games isn’t to continue playing games, it’s about putting ourselves in a position where we have no choice but to learn how to interact (and entertain) ourselves without using gaming as our crutch.

What helped me the most was focusing on setting new goals, and using these new goals as a compass to figure out how we should be spending our time. Remember, we play games for specific reasons, so you want to find activities and goals that fulfill those same needs.

For me, that was learning how to make new friends, so I started going out a lot. And then I wanted to learn how to DJ so I started doing that. And now, travel is a big goal of mine so I’m finding ways to do that too.

Gaming is where your comfort zone is, so now that you’ve quit, focus on setting new goals and using your new activities to move in that direction.

To help you guys out for new activities, I’ve put together a guide called 60+ New Hobby Ideasthat you can download for free here.

And just remember, the bigger idea is about new goals, it’s not just about killing your time. Hope that helps!

Driving down the coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles today and stopped by a beach to share a few thoughts on quitting video games. Press play:

The thing is, a big mistake people make is that they focus too much on video games and forget that this is really about much more than that.

This isn’t even really about games. It’s about getting your life to a point where you don’t need to be stimulated all the time. Gaming gives us a lot of stimulation but it creates this false sense of expectation that you need to be that stimulated all the time, when this is something that happens because of games… instead of because life is really that way.

Games are an outlet for us whenever we feel bored. But to us we have a choice, we can use games to help us escape that boredom… or we can choose to be present in the moment and not need to escape from it.

So it’s not about whether gaming is good or bad, or whether you should play or not. It’s about getting your life back to a point where you could go to a beach and enjoy it, or have dinner with your family and enjoy it. You could do anything and enjoy it because you have the type of mindset and perspective that allows you to do so… instead of just expecting it to be that way – which can happen when you are gaming.

Hope that resonates with you!