About Game Quitters

I booted up my computer. It was Friday and I had a lot of work to do, but hey, I kept the whole weekend free so it’s okay. I can start my work tomorrow, and play a game now. Before I knew it, it was 5:00 AM.

On Saturday I wouldn’t start on my university work either. I ate “brunch” at 2:00 PM and skipped dinner. I went to sleep at 7:00 AM on Sunday morning, and consequentially woke up at 2:00PM. By then I figured that my homework wouldn’t get done anyways, so I fired up my game. At 7:00AM on Monday “morning” I finally had a moment of clarity.

I Spent the Whole Weekend Gaming

dark keyboard

I skipped half of my meals and also a night of sleep. I failed to do my homework. I failed. But this time I didn’t return to the cycle of addiction. Normally I’d focus my eyes at the screen again to escape thinking about my gaming behavior. A paradox, but I fear a recognizable one.

Instead of running from the “fact” that I failed again, I put into doubt that conclusion. Was it fair to conclude that I failed? “To fail” means that you do not reach a certain standard. In this case, a standard that is set by myself. And that I had not met my standard was crystal clear: instead of doing homework, I wasted the weekend on a stupid game.

But this mismatch can also mean that the standard is the problem. And it was. Perfectionism is the disease of our time, and I am no exception. I wanted my life to be perfect, and in “reaching higher”, I had put so much guilt on myself that I went into hiding. Games merely gave me shelter.

So when I played games during the weekend, I didn’t fail. Demanding that I would do homework for the whole weekend at home was a ridiculous idea. Maybe the most disciplined among us can do such a feat, but it’s human to fail such a task. My standards were making me feel miserable so I did away with them and looked at my life. Without a standard, and without judgement.

My Life Was Miserable

man staring out the window depressed

I felt depressed. I seldom saw friends, or did anything productive. I skipped half of my school classes. And I played games, a lot of. And now that I wasn’t trying to hide from my own judgement I could finally look at this without fear. It was emotionless, rational. Gaming had numbed all my feelings.

Now for a solution I figured it would be too much to ask to shut down my computer right away. It would also leave me with a poor sleep schedule, going to bed at 8:00AM. So I decided that today would be the last day that I gamed. I also decided it would be too much to ask to not game ever, at least right now, so I decided to task myself with not playing any games for 30 days, after today.

When I shut down my computer at 5:00PM I felt a weird kind of energy. It was going to happen. I was going to break the cycle. And I was going to focus on that. Starting slow and easy: my goals for tomorrow would be to get out of bed, take a shower and not play any games.

30 Days Without Games

whatever it takes

The first day, Tuesday, was bad. Without my games there was no hiding from my loneliness. No reason to even get out of bed. No escape from the fact that I had about 3 weeks of homework waiting for me, due next week. But somehow I got out of bed and took a shower. Bought some breakfast at the grocery store, warmed up leftovers for dinner, and most of all, I didn’t play any games.

When I went to bed, for the first time in what felt like forever, I felt proud. Genuinely proud. And it felt weird, because by my previous standard I had achieved absolutely nothing. But for the first time in months, I made progress. And this feeling of achievement to look forward to is what got me through Wednesday. I was looking forward to lying in bed thinking: “today I didn’t play any video games”.

I Wrote My Family a Letter

writing a letter

On Thursday I decided that my parents and my brother should know about my situation. I shared details about my situation. About how terrible and lonely I felt. About my gaming addiction and interweaved depression, about my guilt. Writing this letter is one of the hardest things I did. It took me 2 days to write 500 words, but somehow I did it. I told my parents that I’d be coming home this weekend and I’d have something to tell them. They wouldn’t be too happy to hear that I might fail my class, but it had to be done.

I told my brother on Friday evening, I sent the letter to him online, and I called him on Skype. I read the letter to my parents on Saturday. I cried, my brother cried, my parents cried. But to have their support was important and the tears brought relief. With my parents watching me I made it through the weekend, and to my own shock that left me on Monday evening with the realization that I hadn’t played any games for a week.

Halfway through week three I was starting to struggle. The emptiness had caught up with me, and I still didn’t have a whole lot to do in my life. But I had something to look forward to.

I would go on a holiday to meet my brother who was studying abroad. I talked with him extensively about my problems, my addiction and depression. It made me understand my problems much clearer. And last, but not least, it was a break from doing nothing. Doing stuff is great, and my time with my brother was surrounded by his friends, whom I got along with.

With this newfound strength I finished the fourth week. My life slowly began to take shape. I went out for daily walks, I hung out with flat mates and I joined a club. Slowly but surely the void was filling. But also day 30 was coming up.

Resource: Need activity ideas to replace gaming?

I Tried Gaming Again

shiny computer

On day 32 I decided I’d play a game again, and it went quite well. I quit it exactly when I meant to. But on day 33 I didn’t. However I realized not all was lost. 30 days without gaming had taught me that there was something worth quitting for and I wrote a program that would shut down my computer if I exceeded a time that I set for myself. With this “gaming-clock” it was possible to moderate.

However I made sure that I kept filling the void. I signed up for a sport (a team sport!) and another club. I hung out with friends and flatmates. I even started being productive again. And by asking myself every time before I turned on the PC: “Is there something I could do that would make me happier?”, the time that I spent gaming decreased. And with that for the first time that year I saw a glimmer of happiness. But then Christmas came.

Christmas is great right? Well not for me. The holidays broke my rhythm completely and I stayed at my parents where there’s a whole lot of nothing to do. I went back to gaming out of boredom and frustration. It took me quite a while to recover, but the 30 days clean and subsequent introspection gave me the tools to do so. I never sunk as deep as I had in October. By February I returned to my schedule. Whether or not you beat an addiction is decided by how you bounce back.

Related: About to Relapse? Consider This First

In March I got a part-time job which started to take up more and more time, to my liking. With school I was starting to become a “busy” person. Things were looking up again. I started being invited to parties, being the “fun” person I once was. It’s funny to look at my calendar and seeing it fill up from February to now, getting busier and busier.

I had some more minor setbacks, but in general I always made more steps forward than backwards – progress. I filled up the summer holidays with trips funded by my job and I met a wonderful girl. (Too late) I consulted a psychologist who diagnosed me with “depression in remission”. And that brings me to today.

One Year Later

boy reaching for the clouds

Today it has been a year since I made that decision on Monday the 9th. A year since my moment of clarity. A year since the best decision in my life. And for the occasion I wanted to write out my story. To tell you, StopGaming, because hanging out in the discord is one of the many things that filled the void initially. Knowing that I wasn’t the only one kept me from going insane.

I hope my story helps at least one person. I wrote the whole story, not only the end result. Because I wanted to be more insightful. I wanted to explain how I was finally able to decide that it’s enough. And how I followed through on it, with both the ups and downs.

Questions I wish I would have been able to ask the future me a year ago:

  • Do I really have a problem? Yes. Unfortunately. You’re not a crazy person though, it’s common enough. And you can get out of it. But not without work and pain. Take it seriously, never let your guard down.
  • Shouldn’t I set myself the goal of never playing a video game again, instead of 30 days? If you can do that, go for it. But it is crucial that you believe, truly believe in your goal. 30 days seems like a good place to start for now. You can also do 30 and then evaluate!
  • What on earth do I do with my time? It doesn’t matter. Before you know it, another day is gone. But don’t play any games. In general: put effort into upgrading the quantity and quality of your activities and you’ll see that eventually your calendar starts to fill with appointments, meetings and parties. (There are a ton of ideas for new activities here.)
  • Is school important? School can help you get into a rhythm. Having some kind of rhythm is vital to recovery, attending a class in this respect is more important than finishing an assignment, because it gives a rhythm to your day. Recovery is the main objective, grades will come eventually. Contact your school about your problems (at least in my country they are understanding).
  • When will I see the light at the end of the tunnel? You won’t. It’s as if somebody slowly turns off the dimmer on a light. First you’ll see where you are, and then you’ll realize this place isn’t so bad after all.
  • What is the one thing you’d want to say to me? You don’t have to do it alone. Call your brother, tell your friends and go in therapy. And when you feel bad, tell someone before you feel the urge to fire up a game. And when you do feel an urge to, ask yourself; “what am I feeling bad about?’, then tell someone.

Join me for another 30 days without gaming.

Story written by OneYearAtATime0

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Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.

Take a Stand

Game Quitters exists to help those who need help with gaming addiction challenges to get the help, and to spread awareness about the negative impact gaming addiction can cause. Want to help? Grab a t-shirt or hoodie and show the world you care about this issue.

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“Gaming was my escape. All I did was work and game.”

Since I was little I loved to play games. It became more intense when I played World of Warcraft in 2005 and since then, there were not two days where I did not play a game. At some point it did not even matter what I played, it was just important that it kept me busy.

I denied the bad side effects this addiction had on my life a long time. But it got more obvious day to day.

I had a relationship and a job which I really do like, however over the years I could really tell my social life was becoming near non-existent. I tried to stop, but did not manage to stop for more than two days. All the emptiness and loneliness became apparent when I had nothing to distract me. However, the last months of my addiction were the worst.

Panic Attacks

purple hallway

Every weekend after extensive gaming sessions I got panic attacks, knowing that this behavior leads to nothing and that it did not bring me any step closer to my dreams… to a life fulfilled with happiness and things which I really want to do.

I came to the sudden realization, with my age of 27, that if I do not stop gaming right now, this will be my life… forever. The panic attacks, the feelings of not accomplishing anything. I will get old knowing that I did nothing to become the best version of myself.

I Quit Gaming!

decision

Right there. Oddly with my sudden realization (which took me years to get to) I did not have any trouble with quitting.

On day one I went to the gym and got a workout plan. I had a gym membership for the past year I had only used twice. I had anxiety attacks just thinking of going to the gym, worried of embarrassing myself in front of others, however I pushed forward.

I also implemented other things in my life which helped me a lot and allowed me to stay focused. I thought of useful habits, and used an app to track everything. Besides tracking my fitness and no gaming, I implemented a morning routine (including a skin routine), and was got back into books and painting miniatures. For the first time in years I played board games at my home with some friends.

111 Days Later

freedom

For the first time in over 10 years, I really feel I have my life back. That I am in charge of my own fate. For the first time in years I know what I want to be.

I am proud of myself that I finally took this step. I know that it’s only small progress, but it’s progress. And this keeps me going. I will promise right here, to my future self, I will not stop! I will do my best to improve every day, one step at a time.

If someone is reading this, all I want you to know is if I could do this you can do too. It is never too late to claim your life back! I believe you can do it… so should you.

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Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.

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“The online scene that swallowed me whole also provided the tools to get out of it.”

My name is Rou-Hun (Lowen Flowen) and I’m from the Netherlands. I started gaming around 6 years old with a Nintendo handheld, then the Atari came, Gameboy, Snes, and eventually PC with internet.

On consoles I played action games such as Mario and Zelda and RPG’s like Secret of Mana and ShadowRun. On PC I always played shooters: QuakeWorld, TeamFortress, Quake3, Q3: Urban Terror, and some Counterstrike.

I also played Magic: The Gathering for a couple of years and became a pro (top 50 in the Netherlands as a 13 year old). I wish I hadn’t sold those cards back in the day. What I liked about gaming was the challenge, the stories, and the community.

Escaping Online

“The problems really started when I got into online gaming.”

I was about 14 years old and I hated school. I hardly had friends, and the ones I did have were quite toxic and not very accepting.

Then I found online chat programs like ICQ and gaming communities where I could be myself. Nobody judged me, I felt accepted, and could just be who I was under an alias. That made me feel so connected and it became my new social network.

My grades went down. I didn’t want to do anything else but play and be online. Chatting online for hours was better than being out in real life. My outlet became the online world.

I was around 24 years when I acknowledged that gaming was a problem and decided to quit. The epiphany came when I realised I had to get a job some day. My parents were adamant that I finish college and reluctantly, I did. But I hated work as much as school so I figured I better find something that I can enjoy, and slowly started looking into other things.. online of course.

Ironically, during my gaming time, I had my own clan and someone in my clan built our website. He taught me HTML and I started to code a bit. I created a few websites and learned Photoshop and Dreamweaver. These days I’m a front-end developer and a writer.

What Helped Me Quit Gaming

Have a firm commitment

For me, the realisation was so strong. It was my inner realisations that convinced me to stop. Instead of playing I would try to learn these tools to code and make things online. I saw it as a new challenge and, completing challenges is something I enjoy.

Find new friends

I also made new friends which really helped. They still played games, but with this group of friends we would go out to bars and cafés. We were a small group, but very inviting and not judgmental. Gaining new friends gave me a good excuse to go out and socialise. Though I was always quiet and introvert, it definitely helped me in opening up to other people.

When I was gaming my typical game would be to wake up, take my food and sit behind the PC and start playing and eating simultaneously. Then I would go to school half-awake. Once I was back home I would play again until bedtime, which would total about 10 hours a day.

Get out of your comfort zone

Since I’ve quit over the last four years I have been traveling mostly in Europe and Asia while working as a front-end developer. The last year and a half I’ve been traveling with my girlfriend to over 20 countries.

Other than that, I’ve also written a fiction book where a young man in a unified Korea slowly loses his sense of reality from futuristic drugs and forgotten Korean mythologies. The book is available on shinbyeong.com, and I’m in the midst of finishing it.

Dive into new projects

Being able to do projects like this makes you realise what freedom feels like. If I was still gaming, I would’ve limited my world to digital experiences, and not allowed myself all the adventures of the real world.

Benefits of Quitting Gaming

“Being able to be the real me in real life is better than any video game.”

Besides the obvious benefits such as more time, more experiences, new friends, and a girlfriend, the most important thing is that I started learning who I am.

As a young person, you don’t have a strong identity and I would focus on the negatives instead of my positive characteristics. That really turned me into quite a depressive kid and I would run away by indulging in these games – where I could be someone else. In a sense, the real me was more apparent in a game or chatroom than in actual reality.

My Advice to You

Understand why gaming is so addictive for you. Also take the qualities from gaming you like and apply them in real life. I believe games, though based in a fictional setting, are based on human realities. The challenges, the villain, the good guy. We can be the hero of our own game, of our own life.

Some of the qualities I took from gaming into real life are:

  • Relentlessly pursue excellence: it took me years to master a shooter and I became really good in it – if I was born later, I would’ve been a pro-gamer I think. I realised I could apply this to front-end development and other skills that would benefit me in real life instead.
  • In the real world I was introverted, shy and quiet. Online I was continually making jokes and having fun. Opening up to people made me realise I could do this in person too.

Even though gaming was a huge part of my life, I don’t regret any of it. Strangely enough, it was a way to find myself. I could be myself in this digital world. But an addict is not usually aware that they are an addict. I didn’t have a care in the world – living with my parents, hating school, and not doing anything but gaming. In hindsight it’s easy to think that it was good for me, but I am probably quite lucky I found a career through all of it.

One thing I hadn’t mentioned, is that due to the low grades, I had to redo my year. This actually also opened up my world to all kinds of new people and new friends. People who I am still friends with. The change of perception and being able to build up a new identity is very powerful.

I had new people around me, I could act different, show a different or new side of me. I was able to do the same in the online world. I could do this when I had to re-do my year. I was able to do this when I started living with friends in a tiny room. I did this when I started to travel alone.

There are so many opportunities to change yourself and open up to the world. Looking back on it, these were all tiny steps to solidify my own identity and become who I am today.

Written by Rou-Hun (Lowen Flowen). Find him on Twitter. Buy his new book, Shinbyeong.

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Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.

Take a Stand

Game Quitters exists to help those who need help with gaming addiction challenges to get the help, and to spread awareness about the negative impact gaming addiction can cause. Want to help? Grab a t-shirt or hoodie and show the world you care about this issue.

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gaming addiction story

“I am a 30 year old guy who stopped gaming last year. I hope my experience can help others.”

I got addicted to gaming from a very young age. My parents bought me a Nintendo console when I was around 5-8 years old. Damn that thing got me so excited! I still remember shooting those ducks with a fake gun on the screen!… Slowly they bought me more and more games. I got better at them and then I moved to Playstation 1. My favorite console ever.

Tekken 1 was my first game ever, then Tomb Raider Lara Croft 1. Then tons of others! I also bought the Playstation magazine that came with demo games every month! I was so competitive! I was getting so mad when I lost… To be honest my parents never thought my passion for gaming was unhealthy. They thought it was funny. “Let the kid be a kid and we go do our adult stuff.”

Gaming Became My Escape

digital prison

Onwards to my teen years gaming was my escape from the world. Escape from bullying, from bad family communication, from bad parenting, failed relationships, and psychological issues.

And then Lineage 2 came – an MMORPG similar to World of Warcraft. I hated it at the beginning, but then when I started getting the hang of it I got super addicted. My character was my life! I remember I used to daydream about the game during school time. Draw pictures of weapons and enemies! Making phone calls with my guild clan members. I even had my own guild. All those using dial-up internet! My parents paid so much money for internet back then.

Then faster internet came and everything changed. Unlimited internet made me start to lose the red lines. At 17 I did my first 24 hour grind leveling dungeon. Imagine playing 24 straight hours at the same spot to get one level! The sun came up and I thought “wtf did I just do… Is this real??” And went to bed.

Problems Started to Come

problems

My psychology started to change. I became more bored of real life, more avoidant of people, and sports started to get less interesting and more tiring. I became less fit and more fat. I had bad eating and sleeping habits, and poor posture.

I started to fight with parents a lot more due to them putting pressure on me for too much gaming. Sometimes our fights were escalating too much, and they would shut down the internet or electricity and I would rage. Boy those were really bad times but that game was my life. I was very respected and liked online. That was tremendous to me because in real life I was getting bullied and mistreated a lot, and thus had very low self-esteem.

Related: How to Build Self-Esteem

Off to University

university computer science

Guess what I decided to study? Computer Science. The reason? Gaming. I had this idea that I will make a game similar to Lineage. I wanted people to experience what I felt when I played it. I also choose a university that was far away from my parents so I could get away from their controlling pressure due to my gaming habits.

After starting university I discover I hate it! Physics? Math? Circuits? Tons of stuff I didn’t even like in the slightest. Extremely boring to me. Only programming was a little fun I can admit. But not so much to do it at my free time or grow an interest for it outside of university.

Courses keep piling up and so does my addiction. My social life suffers. I try to hide my emotions and anxiety to control myself but I barely can. My life starts to make me depressed. I attend half the lectures, I get such severe anxiety that I start to get stomach cramps. I rarely told my parents. I just tried to hide everything. Sometimes I did tell them they would make everything worse by escalating it. It took me 6-7 years to graduate from a university that was supposed to take me 3.5 years to finish.

Time to Make a Change

do something great

I start to learn more about myself and my way of life. At 25 I start to give up on MMORPGS. I am starting to wake up. I still played World of Warcraft, League of Legends and later, Hearthstone. Slowly I realize my mistakes. At 28-29 I give up on gaming entirely.

I still use a PC for work or surfing. I’m struggling to find work now because I hate my degree. I can’t stand working on a screen anymore. My back hurts. My neck hurts. My posture is awful. I go to a gym to fix it.

I still have self-esteem issues that I am working on. My family and I are working to fix our issues after all these years. I am inexperienced with relationships and still a virgin. I moved back in with my parents at 25 and still live with them at 30. I feel kind of stuck, but at the same time I am trying to move forward little by little. There are bad days and good days. I am learning every day more stuff about myself and the world. I am trying to help by volunteering.

Your situation might be better than mine or it might be worse, but for a moment, stop and think about how you manage your time. How does gaming make you feel? Why? Is it too much? Can you control it? I never could. I tried many times, and couldn’t. I never look back. My opinion is all those hours wasted, the escapism to a digital trouble-free world along with the psychological baggage being carried in real life is not worth it over some dopamine and virtual pixels in the end.

I hope you got something out of my story. Love to you all!

Related: Is It Ok to Play Games in Moderation?

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Need help?

Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.

Take a Stand

Game Quitters exists to help those who need help with gaming addiction challenges to get the help, and to spread awareness about the negative impact gaming addiction can cause. Want to help? Grab a t-shirt or hoodie and show the world you care about this issue.

cam adair game quitters

gaming addiction story

“It’s been 90 days since I’ve quit gaming. Boom!”

I’ve been a gamer for eight years. By far my biggest problem with gaming were games that featured a perpetual experience – that never ended. I accumulated 2,500 hours on Team Fortress 2, 1,000 hours across the rest of my Steam games, and god knows how much extra time I have on Minecraft and World of Warcraft. Conservatively I have gamed for over 4,000 hours. If I play six hours a day, that’s a total of 1.8 years of constant gaming, non-stop everyday.

Realizing this destroyed me. Gaming has worsened my academics significantly, forcing me to retake a year. I was making a mob farm in Minecraft the day before an important chemistry exam, having not revised at all for it. What was I thinking? I would never meet up with my friends, I had social anxiety, and my brain felt jacked on something.

Related: A Guide to Quit Gaming for One Year

Failing to Quit

I had casually tried to quit a bunch of times, and then ‘seriously’ some more times, but I never made the cut and I’d always go back. I would unplug my PC from my room, move it to another room with my monitors, and then put a laptop in its place.

Then within two weeks, I would replug-in my PC and all of my monitors, and then proceed to binge on gaming for the next 10 days.

I Finally Quit for Good

On May 10th a switch flicked in my brain. Enough was enough. My parents and my online gaming friends all thought this was another futile attempt to quit – and any other time they would have been right – but this time I did something different: I disassembled my PC and sold my graphics card ASAP. Then I formatted all of my hard drives.

This completely cut me off from going back, as the main games I was playing at the time were PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Rocket League, both of which required a dedicated graphics card, or an amazing laptop, and now I had neither. This strengthened my belief that this time was different, as I had never gone this far before. I was, and am, far too frugal to begin a cycle of rebuying an expensive graphics cards and then reselling them at a loss repeatedly. My decision was final.

I had never played mobile games, but I did have some on my phone. I deleted those too and didn’t feel a thing. I unsubscribed from all gaming channels on YouTube.

Watch: Should You Watch Gaming Streams?

A Slipup?

Around 30 days in I played Riven: The Sequel to Myst. I did lose a lot of free time to it, but the immersion and lateral thinking involved made it feel a world apart from the 4,000 hours of throwaway repetitiveness I had mostly experienced up to this point. I then played Myst and beat it in a day.

Now I know that saying I played a game during my 90 day detox and thought it was beautiful is a horrendously unpopular sentence to say in this community, but just like the best novel I have read (Moby Dick) I found it to be a magical experience. A one-shot, well made experience that makes you think, just like a good book, or a good documentary. It doesn’t compare to real life, but neither does any form of media. I still think most popular games fall into the abusive category and you should avoid at all costs, as they are skinner boxes and will not help you succeed in life. I have no plans on going back to those.

My goal in quitting was to avoid spending six hours a day for weeks on end on perpetual experiences that don’t change the more you play them (as I had been doing for seven years straight), so for my purposes these games were not relapses.

Has My Life Improved?

I took my exams (still waiting on the results), and believe I have made a massive improvement over last year. My mind fog, anxiety, and moodiness are at lifelong lows since quitting. I have more motivation. I feel like everything is better in many aspects. I have a surplus of free time now. I want to go out and meet up with friends. I’m in a better state of mind than ever before. The most important benefit I’ve received is presence of mind: being able to have initiative on new things I might want to do, or ways to think.

Yes, it’s amazing, and after a while you get used to how good it is, but I had to bring myself back to how bad it was originally to remember how good I feel now. Nothing will substitute doing it for yourself in real life. It’s like putting the human experience of consciousness into words, you just can’t. Just believe me, and the many others here who believe it will change your life.

My Advice to You

Build yourself up to sell your gaming paraphernalia. Disassemble your PC, and sell it if you don’t need that processing power. Format your C drive. ‘Downgrade’ to a laptop. If you’re a console gamer sell all of it. Uninstall all your games. Uninstall Steam.

It will feel bad for two weeks, but it will get better. Three months in feels beyond great. Build your way back up appropriately. Most importantly, you have to start and not give up. Just do it!

Join our Movement

SHARE this story to let others to know that life is so much better without gaming.

Need help?

Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.

Take a Stand

Game Quitters exists to help those who need help with gaming addiction challenges to get the help, and to spread awareness about the negative impact gaming addiction can cause. Want to help? Grab a t-shirt or hoodie and show the world you care about this issue.

cam adair game quitters

gaming addiction story

“I was a state-level tennis player before entering college, but that went right out the window.”

I’m a 29 year old male, working as a Senior Software Engineer in Washington DC. I got introduced to gaming around the age of 14-15. Road Rash, a very old Windows 95/98 racing game, and then a few years later Age of Empires. I was hooked, AoE2 was (and still is) one of the best games I’ve ever played.

I played alone, because online gaming hadn’t taken off yet. Even LAN gaming wasn’t popular back then. I also dabbled in Quake3 and UnrealTournament, with a bit of Command and Conquer here and there. A couple of years later, right before I went to college, LAN parties exploded. I got introduced to Warcraft. College brought in DotA. This is where my gaming addiction really kicked in.

Related: From 60lbs Overweight, to 6-Pack, Married, and 6-Figure Business. How Quitting Gaming Turned Nicholas Bayerle’s Life Around

Social Gaming

LAN parties at college were legitimately social experiences. Everyone was playing DotA and Counter-Strike. I was a state-level tennis player before entering college, but that went right out the window. LAN and internet gaming helped me make so many friends. And, that’s all we did together. Play and talk video games.

I was fortunate enough that it did not impact my grades. I did end up graduating with a Computer Science and Engineering degree with a 3.7 GPA. But if anyone asked me what my hobby was, I would proudly say a gamer. Hell I even wasted $3,000-$4,000 dollars of my dad’s money building PC gaming rigs. Even lied to my parents saying it was needed for course work. GPUs were expensive back in late 2000s.

I got into University of Penn, for a Master’s program in CS in 2010. This is where the gaming addiction reared it’s ugly head. I graduated with a 3.4 CGPA in 2012- half my grad school hours was spent on DotA2. Ended up getting a decent job, but was totally unfocused at work.

Just A Mild Addiction?

So far gaming was mildly addictive, but there were other things happening in my life which made me feel like I was progressing in those fronts. So I did not pay too much attention to excessive gaming.

Then in 2014, I decided to pick up an XboX one and a TV for my new apartment because I had lot of cash to burn and never owned a console, so I wanted to dabble in it. A few of my old college buddies were on Xbox Live. It was fun, and it allowed me to keep in touch with them (we are all geographically distant – DC, Seattle, New York, EU). They introduced me to Destiny. God! That game almost ruined my adult life. I had 2,000 hours in Dota2 and Dota over 7 years. And I managed to put in 3,000 hours in Destiny within 2 years.

I had gotten out of a 7 year relationship, and used video gaming to cope with the break up. I was in a depression – 27, lack of focus at work, no friends, no intimate relationship with a significant other, gaming addiction, suffering a major health issue (dental) and asthma, and absolutely lacked exercise or physical activity. Rock bottom. Stress and anxiety followed.

Video Game Addiction Quiz for Gamers

Life is Better Now

What snapped me out of this addiction, was last Christmas I ended up meeting a few of my grad school friends, and they were so far ahead in life. They had better paying and more fulfilling jobs, most were either married or in relationships, and overall they were all really happy. Some were in great shape as well. Everyone had thriving social circles and plenty of friends. None of this just happened for any of them. They all did the time, and reaped the rewards. I did the time as well, just got the rewards in the virtual world.

Today I don’t own a gaming console, or gaming PC, just a basic Intel NUC with Ubuntu/Fedora for programming at home which my profession demands. I have no Steam account, no BattleNet account, and no Xbox Live account. They took a month to permanently delete. I followed Cam’s advice – replaced gaming with activities that target the same highs which video gaming provides as a proxy:

  1. Strength Training – There is something raw and primal about lifting weights. I’m a skinny guy.. But even lifting 185lbs deadlift makes you feel really really good. Also this prompted tangible, measurable progress that I had been substituting “leveling” up a character in the virtual world with.
  2. Tennis – I suffer from asthma, and cannot engage in long duration endurance activities. I tried long distance cycling and running, but went back to playing tennis. It’s an activity with short movement bursts and allows me to recover in between points. I’m currently a 3.5 on the NTRP, and would like to hit 4.0 in two years time. Again, measurable progress.
  3. Being Social – Still working on making friends in my city. I have good friends, but they are all far away, and we can only meet once in a few months.
  4. Completing courses on Coursera and Udemy. Learning and resharpening my coding skills, which I will see benefits from in my software engineering interviews at top tech firms I plan to apply for soon. More progress that can be tracked.
  5. Dating – Managed to get a couple of dates with some really well rounded and beautiful women. Nothing has worked out for the long term, but hey, some progress on this front. Someone finds me attractive, which is a great confidence booster when you are trying to recover from low self-esteem.
  6. Day trading – Making my money grow. I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, and as an engineer you make decent pay, but my money wasn’t growing. I have been investing mostly in tech stocks since this is a industry I understand well, and have made a few hundred dollars in a year after taxes.
  7. Wood work and carpentry classes – I started with the free ones at Home Depot, and then enrolled in a local community college for weekend classes. I like working with my hands, and hopefully spending time with like-minded people will lead to friendships.
  8. Animal shelter volunteering – I had a wonder Alexandrine parrot for a decade, she passed away in 2017. I reached out to the local shelter and asked if they could use a hand with basic cleaning, moving boxes, and bookkeeping activities. It’s a minor contribution, but I really feel giving back to the community is cathartic.

Forge your own path in the real world, folks. Life is too short to be lived in the virtual one. Good luck.

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Need help?

Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.

Take a Stand

Game Quitters exists to help those who need help with gaming addiction challenges to get the help, and to spread awareness about the negative impact gaming addiction can cause. Want to help? Grab a t-shirt or hoodie and show the world you care about this issue.

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gaming addiction story

“I would sleep all day and game all night. My mom said I lived like a vampire.”

I’m Adam and I’m 26 years old. I started gaming early in my childhood, and loved to play FPS games, especially Battlefield 3 and 4! I was very good at it, hitting the top of the scoreboard most of the time. I really liked the sense of achievement, skill, and being a bit of a show off.

The biggest draw to gaming however was playing with my friends. I was very easy to log in and socialize, without having to leave your house. I don’t regret those memories with my friends, they were some great moments! And really for a long time I saw no harm in playing, even until five or six in the morning. There seemed to be many more upsides than downsides to gaming, however looking back now it was because I had no greater vision for my life at the time.

Read: A Guide to Quit Gaming for One Year

My Wake Up Call

I would sleep all day and game all night. I became a cave animal who hated sunlight. My mom said I lived like a vampire. Life became too big and scary to face so my big comfort blanket was gaming, and it was so familiar to me as it was part of my life since childhood. This continued until one day my girlfriend left me. I was devastated and completely blindsided, which happened because I was blind to her and everything and everyone else around me.

This was a major blow and took me a long time to get over, but it was also a wake up call. I suddenly got on my own side again and decided I wanted to live! It wasn’t until much later that my mom and I would really clash. Our fights and falling out made me much more aware of the toxicity of this habit.

Video Game Addiction Quiz for Gamers

I Discovered Game Quitters

It was around this time that I came across Cam’s TEDx talk and his YouTube channel. What struck me the most was a video showing how much of the world I was missing out on.

This incredible beautiful planet we live on, all out there for me to experience, suddenly gaming looked much smaller, and real life much larger. I’m feeling quite emotional actually as I write this because I realize it all happened for my own growth, as painful as it was at times.

I decided enough was enough, and committed to the 90 day no gaming detox! Half way through I actually sold my PS4 console so there really was no going back for me!!

I have not played a game since!! The most powerful leverage for me was simply this, disgust. Jim Rohn has talked about disgust being a powerful emotion to inspire change, and it really is. It wasn’t until I was truly disgusted at my habits, my way of living, and gaming itself that I really wanted to be free from the addiction. Cold turkey worked!!

I’m quite the lone-wolf type so I didn’t seek extra support, but always watched Cam’s videos on his channel and he gave guidance and emotional support through the whole thing. Plus a vision of who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, and what I wanted to have post-gaming which was just as important.

The Benefits of Quitting Gaming

jade rice fields

Since I’ve quit gaming my self-esteem has improved a lot, I have much less social anxiety, and a greater confidence overall. I have more interest in people and the real world.

Click to Tweet – The Benefits of Quitting Gaming

Plus a real deepening of my involvement with personal development! I work on my life purpose, I care about myself a lot more, the world, and people in general. I have a lot more free time to do what really makes me happy and fulfilled, and my sleep is obviously much better! I could go on, the results mean that I know I will never go back. I have realized life is simply too short and full of possibilities to hide from it anymore.

I really hope this helps anyone who is looking to quit, or has already quit and inspires them as well. Thank you Cam in helping me get my life back :).

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Need help?

Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.

Take a Stand

Game Quitters exists to help those who need help with gaming addiction challenges to get the help, and to spread awareness about the negative impact gaming addiction can cause. Want to help? Grab a t-shirt or hoodie and show the world you care about this issue.

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gaming addiction story

“The only way I’ve been happy and not depressed in the past 15 years is when I’m not gaming.”

I’m here today because I’m addicted to video games. I’m here today because I want to be a part of a community who understands my struggle with gaming and won’t try to convince me that I need moderation or need to be less hard on myself. I recently opened up to my friends about gaming and its effect on my life and received mixed feedback. Some supported me 100%, while others were almost offended that I’d even mix gaming with addiction, life issues, and sickness. It’s something people dedicate their lives to and not everyone can do that. I’m one of them.

My story begins as an 8 year old and the Nintendo 64 and Playstation 1 had just come out. Everyone was getting them and oh man, I needed both. I’d beg my parents. I didn’t even understand the concept of what gaming was. All I used to do was play hockey and build legos. Christmas came along and I got the Nintendo 64. A few years later I got the PS1. I found myself playing the EA NHL games all night long. They were soothing. I could escape any troubles at home and play all the time. I got so good at NHL 99 and NHL 01 that I’d be scoring almost 100 goals a game and never lost to anyone. I then got an Xbox and started playing Halo, Halo 2, and the NHL 2k games. I wasn’t addicted, though. I could do other things. The issue was when I got online games.

The Problem: Online Games

the internet

In April of 2004 I started playing RuneScape. My friends got me into it during science class and we all played. I fell in love with the game instantly. I loved being able to control someone and level them up. I loved that I could work on skills that weren’t related to fighting. I could just spend my afternoons mining with people I’d meet online and become friends with them. The draw to this game for me was that I could have friends. I had friends in school, but I wasn’t really allowed to bring anyone over my house. I had issues with my dad and I didn’t want to bring anyone over. I was so depressed and I lost a lot of friends because I never was able to visit them or bring anyone over my house. RuneScape allowed me to make friends whenever I wanted and see them all day and night.

The issue with RuneScape was how rewarding it was. Over the next 6 years I would become extremely high leveled in the game, become the owner of a clan of over 200 people, lead clan wars, and other events. I was looked up to as a leader, a friend, and someone who could help others. I loved that kids my age would tell me their problems with their parents, school, family, or drug issues they were facing and trust me with it. They could confide in me and I could help them. I remember we’d be mining in the mining guild and we’d be tutoring a few clan members in calculus and history. Kids from France would help me on my French homework. We had one thing in common and that was we needed each other. We were lonely, hurting, and struggling with different issues, but all respected one another.

My grades dropped big time. I am a very smart person. I don’t mean to say this in a pompous light, but I have a photographic memory and love to learn. I was one of the top students in my school without having any study habits. When I play RuneScape or other online games, it prohibits me from being able to reach that top level of knowledge in my brain. I actually can’t sustain a photographic memory or care enough to try and do something. I felt like any major concept wasn’t worth putting mental effort into because it wasn’t as rewarding as RuneScape. This was when my natural rewards system became tarnished by gaming. I no longer saw satisfaction in life. I only felt committed to the game and just wasn’t absorbing anything in real life.

Related: How Your Need For Accomplishment Keeps You Gaming

Academic Probation

college

In 2010 I received a letter from my university that said I was on academic probation. I managed to receive a 1.1 GPA after my first year of college. This happened because I played RuneScape for 12 hours a day. I had a fake girlfriend on the game who was catfishing me, a clan of over 200 people, and I wanted to max my stats. I crashed real hard. I beat myself up and got uncontrollably depressed. I dumped the catfish and got rid of my membership to the game. I took a week off from everything and just felt terrible. My dad made me get my first job ever after that week. He said being a part of society, having responsibility, and interacting with others would make me a better person. He was right. I became a cashier and made some incredible friends. I was so angry at first, but I made it my goal to speak to every customer in line and try to make their day better. I wanted to know about them, tell them a new joke every time, and listen to their life issues. I was the only male cashier and was the best cashier for 2 years there.

This didn’t end my gaming issues. I started playing RuneScape again and it crushed my grades again. During my first semester back I dropped 3 out of 5 classes because I was failing. I felt like such an asshole. I quit RuneScape immediately and just felt lost. I got my grades back together and managed to get a B- and a C in the two classes I was still registered in. I started playing Halo 3 online. This was a bad idea. I got an Xbox Live membership and would spend hours playing team slayer. I then got hooked into Minecraft. The second semester finished and the same thing happened. I dropped my major, dropped 3 more classes and only passed 2 classes again. I had officially spent 2 years in college and passed maybe 7 classes.

I decided to quit gaming and just watched anime all summer that year. I went through a major hardship with my father and decided I’d never speak to him again. I moved out of the house and played no games at all, but I also did not replace them with anything healthy or make new friends. I just sat and did nothing, but watch TV. My junior year started and I picked up Halo Reach. I couldn’t put it down. I became one of the best Grifball players in the world and would get killionaires each game, unfriggenbelievables (40 kills without dying) and just had a blast. I then switched to Swat and played it all day. I started dropping out of classes again. This time I was able to pass just 3 classes. Spring semester I picked up NHL 12 and this was the end of things. I started a team on there and learned how to play goalie. I only passed 2 classes that spring as I became one of the best goalies in the world. I was utterly dominant. Fall semester came and NHL 13 came out. That year I continued to only take 2 classes a semester, while living on campus. I became the best goalie in the world. I was and still am on YouTube and the hockey community remembers me still. I shutout every good team, lead the WORLD in shutouts, games played in 6 v 6, goals against average, save %, and most importantly, time played.

I took a leap of faith and asked my mom if she’d let me stay in an apartment. I thought if I could have more responsibility I wouldn’t game as much and I could just do school work. It worked. I stopped all my video games and after a couple months I actually managed a 4.0 GPA for 2 straight years to get my cumulative GPA to above a 3.0 so I’d get accepted into the Master’s Program. I got a job and created a new life for myself after failing for a decade.

Gaming Is Ruining My Life

self awareness

I’m here today because I started gaming again. On and off for the past 3 years I’ve been gaming, while doing my Master’s degree and working full time. I’ve been doing great at work and graduated with a 3.9 GPA for my Master’s degree, but I was still gaming. I’d game on the weekends only because I didn’t want to ruin my work week. Work means the world to me and I didn’t want to ruin it. I mostly played NHL or Halo on the weekends. This was fine until Overwatch came out. Holy shit. I couldn’t put the game down. It was too addicting. I needed to be great at all of the characters and every map. It was like Halo and League of Legends put into one game with the competition I loved in NHL. Oh man it was bad. I’d play each night for 6 hours and was a zombie at work. I only cared about the game. After a year of this I got so angry at Overwatch because the community is full of assholes. They are bad at the game, toxic to you and your teammates, and just ruin your day. I’d find myself yelling at the computer for hours and I wasn’t happy anymore. This made me wish I could just relax on a video game. This made me think back to the one game that was always peaceful to me: RuneScape. So I started again, from scratch on the Old School servers. I was 13 again. I loved every second of it.

The unfortunate side effect was that I wasn’t able to learn very well anymore. I’d need to stop playing for weeks at a time if I had an exam coming because I knew it would hurt my learning. But it also kind of made me not learn very well at work. Any success I had was based off of prior knowledge I’d learned while not gaming. I realized I needed to quit this past December. I had a clan of 50 people again, a full discord channel, and was only playing the game. I also started playing Overwatch again in January. Both of those games combined really burned me out. I started to get sick. I’d get these depression headaches where I didn’t feel pain, but I felt sensations in my head that wouldn’t go away. I’d almost want to hit myself in the head to make them stop, but they wouldn’t. I’d stop playing games at 6AM and just lay in bed suffering. I hadn’t eaten a regular meal in half a day or more, barely any water, no movement, nothing. I’d sit there in bed for hours with anxiety and my body just screaming for nutrients, sleep, and some sort of normalcy. I’d cry myself to sleep because of the mental anguish I was going through. I knew this was a big issue and I needed to end it immediately. In May I quit both games and decided to dedicate my life to living in the real world.

Quitting Gave Me My Mind Back

clarity

After 2 weeks of being free from gaming I had my mind back. I had clarity. I don’t know if you guys feel this, but that mental fog effect from gaming that prohibits you from taking that next step to learning, thought processes, and intellect was gone. I started to excel at work to a point I’d never done before. I was dominating everything, except outside of work. I was trying new hobbies, but I started to feel like if I wasn’t doing something amazing each night then I was a failure. So I started to be afraid of starting new hobbies or just relaxing. I’d yell at myself for just watching TV or reading. I needed to do something great.

This past week I went through a really stressful event and got very upset. I got so upset that I signed up for RuneScape again and just started playing. What a mistake that was. I played for only 2 days (2 hours each day) and the mental fog was back. I couldn’t think again. My mind was so clouded with doubt, anxiety, the inability to think at a high level anymore. It was all gone. I got very depressed. I asked my mom the last time I felt this way and she said the first week of May. It was a sign. I had been talking to my therapist about this for a year or so and he said he believes I am addicted to gaming. My happiness production was solely based on gaming. I would just lose my ability to be happy about anything or want to learn. I quit the game again and signed up on this website.

I think I have the self control to stay away from games, but I really wanted to be a part of this Game Quitters community because I really need help sometimes. My roommates still play games. They never prompt me to play or rub it in my face, they are really nice about it. I just get jealous that they can play games without issues that I know of. I just know that gaming is not right for me, and the only way I’ve been happy and not depressed in the past 15 years is when I’m not gaming and just living life.

Join our Movement

SHARE this story to let others to know that life is so much better without gaming.

Need help?

Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.

Take a Stand

Game Quitters exists to help those who need help with gaming addiction challenges to get the help, and to spread awareness about the negative impact gaming addiction can cause. Want to help? Grab a t-shirt or hoodie and show the world you care about this issue.

cam adair game quitters

gaming addiction story

“I realized how beautiful the world is, more beautiful than video games.”

Magic The Gathering is more than just animations in a video game, it’s a board game that has given me more benefits to my mental health. Such things include critical thinking, decision making, strategy, the appreciation of art, logic, contingency plan (sideboarding) and the use of math.

Magic did not just gave me these things, it made me a better person and it was the board game that killed video gaming in my life. Since joining my local MTG community, I have made friends and no longer feel lonely and it gives something that video games never do, social interaction and meeting new people. The people that I meet at my local MTG community are from different paths of life such as students, clerks, teachers, managers, programmers and even lawyers.

Related: How To Make New Friends And Improve Your Social Skills

My Gaming History

I started gaming back in September 2001 when my elder brother introduced me to gaming when he got a PlayStation 2 console from overseas. I was in the last year of elementary school and I was facing my Lyceum exam for secondary school. It was a time when I did not realize that I was playing too much, and unknowingly that it was ruining my health and also my grades.

I used to play three hours a day, everyday. It was an activity that impacted me on the negative side without me even knowing it until I received my academic results. They were a bunch of Fs.

The first day of secondary school started and I was a bit like a fish out of water. Everything was new. I met a facilitator who treated me like a child. I didn’t like her until someone took over her place and that was another woman who has made an impact in my pre-teenage life.

I was overweight and demoralized. She started to encourage me to do physical exercise and to lose weight. I noticed the difference. She strongly advised me to avoid staying for long hours sitting down.

Third year video games were an escape for my school problems. My mother did not know that I was addicted to video games. I gained weight and I felt really bad. I ignored my personal hygiene, and did not care for school, but I played video games for six hours a night.

Related: From 60lbs Overweight, to 6-Pack, Married, and 6-Figure Business. How Quitting Gaming Turned Nicholas Bayerle’s Life Around

I Could Not Stop Myself

depression

The fourth year was the worst of all. I went from bad to worse. My addiction persisted. I was aggressive, and did not give a damn for homework. My tutor noticed that I had a problem. She told me I needed help. I also struggled with gambling.

In June 2006, my mother asked me if I was interested in going to Berlin. At that time, there was the World Cup. I said “yes” and she smiled. It was the wisest decision I took back then. I started to appreciate the world around me and realized how beautiful the world is, more beautiful than video games.

The first day I started experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The aggressiveness and anger never left me. A German was staring at me, observing every move I do. He realized that I was not normal at all. He approached me and asked me “Do you have a problem?” “I cannot play a video game” I said and he told me that I was an addict. He asked me “You have a choice, be a woman or remain a crazed addict”. I said that I want to be a woman. He told me to take his advice and he promised me that I will get out of my addiction. He became my mentor, another influential person in my life. We started to get along together like as if we knew each other for a very long time. He thought me how to speak German, to be ambitious, responsibility and some basic self-defense just in case.

One week later, I was turning into someone else, a recovering addict with ambition to quit my addiction and get my life back on track.

Casual Gamer

australia

I moved to Australia and experienced withdrawal symptoms again but not as bad as the ones back in Berlin. I stayed for a few months away from gaming, instead writing a book and working more on my martial arts and weapons training. Even if I had a PlayStation, I did not game more than hour a day. I became a casual gamer just playing for fun and overdoing it at all. I attended school there and I felt more welcome than back in my country. I did not have anymore problems with gaming, it wasn’t boring but I was homesick sometimes.

I returned back in Malta in January 2007. I was fighting my addiction until I quit when my television broke down. It wasn’t a problem for me and I went hardcore in my writing career, writing two or three books per year. The books were continuing with one another and together they became the Terran Saga, a series of speculative science-fiction books.

I did three years at the Higher Secondary. I entered MCAST and took a diploma in computing. I committed myself to one year studying and the next year I graduated with my first diploma. My parents were glad with my achievement.

I got my first job as a clerk in a shipping company and worked there for six months under a definite contract. I was still gaming then but only for an hour. My contract expired and I was at home. I was desperate and gaming was pulling me badly but I did not let it take me hostage and instead I was reading some articles online and writing books. I then felt my health deteriorating and I heard my manager telling me that gaming is causing all of that.

I Quit Gaming for Good

magic the gathering

I attended a MTG Pre-Release in January and then another in April. I have been playing Magic: The Gathering for five years and it was that card game that has done so much good for me as I started to make friends again. I put all my games for sale, selling three of them as a result. I was glad that I got rid of them.

I chose Magic and the outside world and got rid of gaming. I started a 90 day detox and I watched videos made by Game Quitters founder Cam Adair. He was my motivator and after a week I already felt a difference. No more fatigue, no frequent consumption of energy drinks, no more burning eyes, muscle twitching, strain injuries, or power naps. No more of this addictive gaming anymore.

Now I will soon end my detox and I swear to God that I will never touch another video game again.

If you are a gamer, please play video games responsibly and don’t overdo it. If you know an addict, it is not a sin to ask for help.

Join our Movement

SHARE this story to let others to know that life is so much better without gaming.

Need help?

Reading this and struggling with a compulsion or addiction to gaming? You are not alone. Check out Respawn, a program specifically designed to help you quit gaming and take control of your life back. Backed by scientific research, join thousands of others like you who have quit gaming. Start your journey today.

Take a Stand

Game Quitters exists to help those who need help with gaming addiction challenges to get the help, and to spread awareness about the negative impact gaming addiction can cause. Want to help? Grab a t-shirt or hoodie and show the world you care about this issue.

cam adair game quitters

gaming addiction story

“We have big plans to travel, start a family, build a home, and live abroad.”

What a year it has been. My life has changed so much in one year that in the occasional moment I actually don’t recognize myself.

I have fought off a long depression, lost weight and got into shape. I have grown mentally and spiritually into a more confident, aware and happy person. I challenged my social anxiety and awkwardness, and can now look people in the eye and hold a conversation. I even mustered all my courage to ask a girl out, we fell in love and I asked her to marry me. She said yes! I also discovered a passion to pursue, and created a vision of an epic life that I’m (we’re) working toward.

This has all been accomplished by a guy who just over a year ago… didn’t work, woke up just to game all day, every day, was overweight with no regards to eating healthy or exercising, dwelled deep in depression with suicidal thoughts, and who was living a lonely, directionless, miserable half-life.

Related: From 60lbs Overweight, to 6-Pack, Married, and 6-Figure Business. Nicholas Bayerle’s Story

Is Gaming Bad?

No. I think they can be absolutely amazing when used for the right reasons. But they can be bad when you use games like I did, to escape adversity I needed to face, to pretend I was achieving goals when my life stood still, to procrastinate, and to cover wounds that required attention and healing.

I’d say it’s not about quitting games. It’s not about finding other things to fill the time games used to occupy. It’s about having a vision for your life, living with intention and purpose toward it, and to experience life to its fullest – whatever that may mean to you.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows though. Behind every step forward, there was me forcing myself out of my comfort zone, and facing many fears and uncomfortable situations.

Near the end of last year, I had a total breakdown. My world, my hard built habits and routines were turned upside down and thrown out the window. But reflecting on the situation now, I realize those things needed to go to make room for new things. Wonderful things.

I now have a great job that leaves me with time to pursue my passion. I have a life partner to support each other through adversity and also double the amount of fun we both have. We have big plans to travel, start a family, build a home, and live abroad. We’re both working hard toward our individual and mutual goals.

3 Steps to Quit Gaming:

Step 1: Establish Your Foundation

breathe

This is the most important aspect of changing for the better, and if you do nothing else but maintain this your life will begin to shift almost automatically. Your foundation involves the following:

  • Get Enough Sleep! Maintain a regular sleep schedule, and get the amount of sleep you need. It’s recommended to sleep 7-9 hours a night, but it can actually vary everywhere between 4-11 hours. Be sure you know your individual need! Exercise and diet may be factors too.
  • Eat Real Food. A clean diet involves avoiding processed food, additives, and sugar. Learn to read labels, and if the label contains a bunch of words that sound like a scientist wrote them, avoid it! I tried a keto diet and intermittent fasting, and loved both! Find a diet that suits you.
  • Exercise! Start small, but be consistent, and build your routine up slowly. I recommend doing something you enjoy, making it as low-thresholded as possible, and scheduling it during a time that you’re most likely to do it. The trick I got myself to exercise was doing it at home, with minimal to no equipment, by watching exercise videos from a preferred YouTube channel as a part of my morning routine. On top of that, I played basketball with friends, went skateboarding, and nowadays, I run with my fiancée.

These are called keystone habits, meaning they are foundational habits that impact every other habit. They even have a supporting effect on each other! Sleep well to have more willpower and energy which will help you make better decisions regarding food and getting yourself to exercise; Eat healthy to sleep better and have the energy to exercise; Exercise to sleep better and have your body craving nutritious food.

I also recommend meditation, which is backed up by science to improve happiness, and reduce anxiety and stress. Meditation provides actual physical changes in the brain on those who practice it regularly!

Step 2: Schedule Your Day

plan

Create a morning and an evening routine. Having a well planned morning will make you excited about waking up and get your momentum going to have a great, productive day. Mine looked like this:

  • Wake up immediately. I disabled snooze and placed my phone across the room so I had to leave the bed to turn it off.
  • Make your bed. It’s an easy task to create a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning, and builds momentum to be productive. Plus you have a more clear and organized mindset when your surroundings are in order and no mess or disorder bugging you.
  • Water & vitamins. Getting hydrated will give you a boost of energy.
  • Mediation. I did 15 minutes. Do whatever amount is low enough to get you to do it consistently every day. Consistency is the key here, not the time of a single sitting.
  • Coffee & chill. This was my carrot (motivation) to look forward to mornings. I allowed myself the luxury to just enjoy some good coffee and browse Reddit or watch Youtube.
  • Workout. Provides you with energy for the rest of the day, and for me, it was one of the hardest tasks, so getting it done as early as possible helped a lot.
  • Cold shower. You have to push yourself, but afterward you feel amazing. Not only that, it’s also a great way to start the day by going out of your comfort zone.
  • Get ready for the day. Do everything to make yourself presentable from hair to feet. Making yourself look great will also make you feel great.

That’s it! Craft your own, write it down and make it visible. Seriously. Keep it somewhere you can’t avoid to see every morning. A whiteboard in your room can work wonders.

Read: The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery

My evening routine was much simpler: hot shower, brush teeth, etc. Then dim the lights, and read. Your evening routine’s purpose is to act as a cue that the day is done and it’s time to sleep. I have big problems falling asleep, especially during summer when daytime is so long, so having an evening routine has been really important.

Note by Cam: An eye-mask and earplugs have helped me sleep as well.

To plan my day I use Google Calendar. It’s not perfect, but so far the best I’ve found. I plan my days hour by hour so I know what I should be doing and won’t have to waste energy and willpower pondering if or what I should do.

The free hours you have will be limited when you schedule everything. Take 24 hours in a day: 8 hours goes to sleeping, another 8 likely for school or work, leaving 8 hours which includes commuting, cooking, eating, cleaning, picking up kids, walking the dog, time with family/partner … whatever have you.

Start to see the importance of scheduling, and thinking about how to organize your days so you can maximize the time you have to achieve your dream life. Life is all about the choices and sacrifices we make, so make sure you are aware and in control of what you invest your precious time into. Discard anything that is not aligned with your highest potential.

Step 3: Create a Vision

vision

Don’t just fill your time with hobbies, but with things that move you to where you want to go. If you don’t have a vision and goals for your future, now is the time to start figuring that out.

With all of the time that stopping gaming left you, you can now use it to build a vision for your life. The vision will change and shape as you move forward, and that’s okay, but more important than where you’re going is that you are going, because it’s only by going forward that you will know if it’s the right path, or if you need change direction after all.

I started by making a mind map where I put everything I wanted out of life, or at least what I knew I wanted in the moment. Then I planned my days so I was working toward my goals. My days were suddenly filled with purpose and meaning, instead of just hobbies and entertainment to pass the time.

You don’t have to know your purpose or passion yet. To discover them, you’re going to try new things, truly giving them an honest go, and develop useful skills to aid you in the future. Learn a language, woodworking, or programming to name a few useful ones. You can even make a list of things that might interest you, then try them out one by one, crossing off the ones that didn’t spark a flame.

That’s the purpose of quitting games. To free your time to be used with an intention. Envision your life and live each day toward it.

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