About Game Quitters

“I knew I needed help.”

My name is Anthony, I’m 23 years old and reside in Philadelphia. I began gaming at the age of 7 and my first console was the PlayStation 2. I absolutely fell in love with it and enjoyed all the incredible games that were popular at that time. Little did I know it would lead to addiction.

During school I was bullied a lot for being gay, so video games became my escape. I could be accepted and validated in a virtual world, while the real world felt harsh and unsafe for a gay kid raised in the nineties. Doing well at first person shooters made me feel in control and gave me a purpose.

Teenage Isolation

As I became a teenager, I started to isolate myself more and more from my peers and family. Video games became the only thing I enjoyed doing. Things like reading, family vacations, spending time with friends, was boring for me. I could only think about the next video game I wanted to play. I would stay up for hours gaming and then be extremely tired the next day.

Related: Find new activities to replace gaming

Eventually, this all caught up to me. I was lonely and depressed. I was exhausted of having no goals or vision for my life. I felt I had been wasting my life in a virtual world, while the real world was out there waiting for me. When I started to experience suicidal feelings, I knew I needed help.

A Life Worth Living

I began seeing a therapist and she encouraged me to unplug from video games and begin to build relationships with other people and take up some new hobbies. So I took a leap of faith. I sold and donated ALL of my gaming equipment. I completely deleted every single of my online gaming accounts.

After that everything began to change! I suffered withdrawal for about 3 months and then it got better. I joined a book club that met at a local coffeehouse and began to make some friends. We started sharing our lives together. I started to physically exercise and my health improved! Depression, suicidal thoughts, and loneliness began to disappear as I gained new hobbies and connected on a deep level with people.

After all this, I’m so grateful for the life I have discovered for myself! I have no desire to go back to video games when the real world is so much better! If you’re struggling with addiction to gaming, please know this: you’re not alone! You WILL get through it and find a life worth living beyond video games! Hope this is an encouragement to all of you!

Written by Anthony.

Today I’m 1 year free from video games. 52 weeks. I’m not stopping here.

I’m also 54 weeks free from social media. I’m not stopping here either.

I was so hesitant to sign up to Game Quitters and commit to quitting video games because it was all I knew in life. Nothing made me happier or filled me with purpose like gaming. All my friends were gamers and my whole world was on the computer. My video game addiction had control over me.

I never left the house, never dated, never developed myself into much aside from going to college and getting a job. I just looked forward to being home and playing games and not living my life.

At first, I was ashamed of that, but shame is a word you learn to say as little as possible when you’re in therapy and trying to improve your life. Shame and regret are two of the biggest negative emotions you can feel and they often contribute to relapse and emotional spirals into deeper depression and anxiety.

Quitting video games would force me to confront these emotions, develop strategies to deal with them, and studying myself to be truly introspective.

The Harsh Reality of Pro Gaming

Quitting games is something special for me. With my childhood, comeback story, dealing with abuse, and my insane year its been one hell of a journey. Gaming was my crutch. It was my place to hide. It was my place to live when I couldn’t live and felt trapped. It was the outlet for all of my frustration and the source of my power. For me to turn away from gaming after it brought me this far has been so difficult.

I just refuse to be controlled and dependent on something that isn’t me. When people, companies, and societies failed me and left me alone I couldn’t take it anymore. I got so angry with the routine of being depressed, anxious, angry, filled with hate, and sad only to retreat to my bedroom and play on the computer. I’d play games with other miserable people. I’d throw myself into the toxic communities of gaming. I was so tired of people picking fights with me in random games because they thought it was funny.

I was tired of trying to do amazing things in games and not have it matter to me. I was the best player in EA Sports NHL for 4 years, ran 2 clans on RuneScape for 11 years, and I was the best Grifball Player in Halo Reach for 2 years. I was on an elite team for Halo Swat mode on Xbox LIVE and was about to make a push to study and dedicate my time to trying to become a pro Overwatch player.

None of it mattered.

Nobody cares when you’re that good at a game. They want you on your team, they want your attention so they can get attention from others that they’re playing with you, they pretend to be your friends and abandon you the minute you’re not the best. Being the best in the world meant nothing to me. I got nothing out of it emotionally.

I reached my plateau in gaming when my college friends were meeting women, getting married, having kids, and traveling the world on vacation. I was alone with fake friends. Even my friends from college who played video games were fake friends. They just want to have me over, play Super Smash, beat me in it, get angry at me if they lose because they are judging me and want to put me down, and then drink beer after.

I detached myself from this.

pro gaming dangers

Gaming Had Taken Over My Life

I was tired of playing games for 18-24 hours straight from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon and then 16 hours on Sundays. I was tired of going home after work and playing for 6 hours and not sleeping. I was tired of feeling numb afterwards and turning to porn to feel a little more alive. I was tired of not eating 3 meals each day. I was tired of having physical and mental withdrawals from not getting instant gratification. I was tired of being lonely and knowing my friends were pathetic. I was tired of how lazy video game players are. They don’t clean, they don’t cook, they don’t socialize in real life, they don’t pursue hobbies, and they don’t care about you. Some do, but most don’t. I don’t care if you’re one of the few who do care. I’ve been gaming for 20+ years and know enough to be satisfied with my statement above.

I want love. I want to love life. I want to wake up and know in my heart that nothing is pulling me to play games. Addiction has this invisible force in our brains which gives you anxiety if you’re not playing games. You feel like you can’t stand the quiet of being alone. You can’t stand the fact that you’re going to have to deal with your thoughts and your pain without drowning it out and forgetting.

I grew tired of the cravings. I went into my own detox out of anger. I was tired of failing. I was tired of not being confident enough to make friends and find more well rounded hobbies. Never again was I going to lay in bed at 7 AM trying to fall asleep after playing games for almost a day straight. Malnourished from not eating food or drinking enough water. Physically confused and mentally exhausted due to too much focusing on games and dopamine rushes and depleted serotonin levels. I was tired of crying myself to sleep in the morning when others were waking up about to start their days. I was tired of letting myself down and harboring thoughts of myself being a failure.

Shame, regret, and failure. It’s so easy to blame yourself and hate yourself. I learned a long time ago that I loved myself. When I was at my worst I was there to pick myself back up when I had nobody. This gave me confidence in trusting myself to get through addiction. When I have nobody I’ll have myself. My spirit is stronger than anyone else’s spirit because I believe it and proved it to myself. That’s the attitude I needed to quit gaming.

Quitting an addiction is tough. Most of the time you fight these demons alone. Communities like Game Quitters are important in giving people structure, community, and hope for when we absolutely need help.

If someone were to ask me how I have been able to quit video game addiction I would say a few things.

4 Steps to Quit Gaming

Recognize You Have a Problem

Are you hiding from your life and yourself? Are you playing so much each day that you neglect everyone around you and your life? Do you continue to play even though you don’t want to play anymore? Do you suffer withdrawal when you’re not playing? Is it all you can think about? Is it what you turn to in life for happiness, success, friendship, and purpose? Are you filled with in-explainable brain fog when you’re not gaming and don’t feel mentally clear? Then you have a problem.

Stop Playing Cold Turkey

Don’t try to quit for 30-90 days and then go back to it. It won’t work and you will fail. Eventually you will recede and go back into bad habits of gaming, escapism, and depression.

I’ve seen so many people on this website, including myself, say with confidence that they are going to try gaming in moderation and they all fail. They all come back and say they failed. I failed.

I quit gaming from April of 2018 until September 1st of 2018. I did it and then just went back to old habits. By October I was playing 18 hours straight again and getting so angry. In the middle of October I had such an enraged moment where I just removed myself from gaming and realized I let myself down.

I knew I had the power to quit gaming if I made it 4 months before this. I needed to keep going. I loved my life when I quit gaming and wanted the rest of my life to be even better.

Understand Why You Play Video Games

If you consider your emotional/mental balance to be a building, then consider video games a support column holding up that building. If you remove the column the building will fall.

You depend on gaming for happiness and emotional balance. That’s not healthy.

I played games because I wanted friends, needed to feel purpose in life, wanted something I could do that I was good at, and wanted a place to escape.

To counter this, I found multiple hobbies that are only done in communities such as yoga, rock climbing, board game nights, recreational sports leagues, group hiking, book clubs, movie nights, cooking parties, boxing, you name it. Some stuck and some I hated.

I now have tons of friends though and they all care about me more than my gamer friends. The hardest part of finding a new hobby is being bad at it.

We all used to suck at video games at first, but eventually we became great. It sucks being bad again – especially if you were the best in the world at something else. Allow yourself to fail at a hobby and be bad. We refuse to because we are ashamed of ourselves in the first place.

Behavioural therapy has taught me how to deal with embarrassment, shame, regret, and failure. I also took my job more seriously and became a lot better at it. I’m professionally recognized now.

Don’t Rely on Willpower

Willpower only gets you so far. If you don’t study yourself and have introspection then you will fail at quitting an addiction.

You have to do what I mentioned in step 3 in order to quit. You have to understand why you are addicted.

I haven’t craved video games in over 8 months because I replaced my sources of friendship, success, and happiness from gaming to other things. I no longer crave games and don’t need to rely on willpower at all. I no longer crave anything.

Final Thoughts on Quitting Gaming

I’m very proud of myself for quitting this far and continue to keep going. Gaming is evil in my eyes. I dislike most gamers. I dislike the gaming community, and I dislike game companies. I want my mind to be free for the rest of my life and I’ll make sure it happens.

Thank you everyone for being here along the way with me. If I can do it so can you.

Matt.

“It became impossible to disconnect from my devices.”

My name’s Jack and I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’m 16, and I’ve been playing video games since I was 8 years old. Up until I was in the 6th grade, I’d play games on my Nintendo DS for hours every day. Not much changed after that, but the DS got replaced by the Wii U.

I loved gaming because I could just switch off while playing. It didn’t take much brainpower and it would keep me entertained for hours.

Things got worse when I bought an Xbox One. It became impossible to disconnect from my devices.

When Gaming Takes Over

bored

I realized gaming was a problem because I started spending more time in front of a screen instead of doing what I really loved – playing the guitar. I began spending more time at home playing games than going out with friends.

My typical day while gaming:

  • I would wake up and play video games for a couple of hours while still in bed.
  • I’d get breakfast and come back up to my room to play more games.
  • After lunch, I’d get back to gaming in my room or on my DS.
  • Then I’d spend time playing games on my phone.
  • Finally, I’d head back to bed.

Looking back it’s pretty clear I had a problem. I started sleeping less and found myself not enjoying life as much. I became depressed and anxious.

Related: Video Game Addiction Test for Gamers

Finally, I decided something needed to change.

I had to remove myself from gaming completely. For me, there’s no such thing as moderation. I sold my Xbox One and finally bought that second guitar I wanted. I had to sell my DS and all of the games for my consoles. I even got rid of all the games on my computer.

What really helped me was replacing urges with going outside or hanging out with a friend. It’s a lot easier to overcome the cravings if you get yourself out of the house.

Life is Amazing Once You Escape the Virtual World

amazing life

My typical day now includes more activities like biking, taking pictures of nature, and playing the guitar. I even joined a band!

I have learned so much more about myself than I thought possible, like finding out that I’m great at photography. It’s now one of my deepest passions.

My advice for someone else who is in the same position as me is to find other hobbies and talk to friends. Try to find some friends that don’t play video games.

Related: 60+ New Hobbies to Replace Gaming

Respawn is also a very helpful program and there’s a great community to talk to when you’re struggling, especially on the forum.

This has been a long journey, but I am finally free from video game addiction for good.

“What started as a harmless hobby, transformed into a life-destroying addiction. One that ultimately led to me getting discharged from the military and having a marriage ending in divorce.”

I’m from a small town in Virginia. There wasn’t much for us to do apart from the annual get together at the local park.

I remember my dad bringing home a PlayStation one day when I was four years old. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.

Best of all, I was allowed to play pretty much anything.

What started as a harmless hobby, transformed into a life-destroying addiction. One that ultimately led to me getting discharged from the military and having a marriage ending in divorce.

I don’t blame my parents one bit, though. They didn’t know. How could they?

Gaming Was Always A Part of My Life

playstation controller

Since the original PlayStation, I always had a gaming console. I went from that to the original Xbox after I was introduced to Halo. That’s when it really took a hold of me.

I played non-stop some days – even during the school year. It really affected my grades.

This was before parents could go online and see a detailed report of their child’s schoolwork so when I told them my homework was done, they had to believe me. I never failed a grade, but I certainly didn’t live up to my potential. I always passed with C’s or D’s.

In 2004, Xbox Live was introduced, and I could finally compare my skills to other people around the world. I loved it, and I thought about it constantly.

I craved it.

It even took precedence over football, which was my main focus at the time. I was offered scholarships from major Division-1 schools.

But I couldn’t escape video games. I couldn’t leave my house for more than a day. When I went on family vacations the Xbox came with me.

Related: How to Deal with Cravings

Gaming Addiction Caused My Divorce

gaming addiction divorce

It took a divorce to make me stop gaming. I didn’t really take notice until I enlisted in the military, and my thinking was “if I’m forced to do something, then the issue will take care of itself.”

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

After two months, I was deemed “unfit for service” in the Army. My addiction ruined any chance of a successful military career.

After getting home, a short time after, I met my now current ex-wife. If you couldn’t already tell, we ended up in divorce.

We had a child, a house, and everything seemed to be looking up. I did this all while gaming in my spare time. However, gaming was always my number one priority. Over my wife, my child, and the countless jobs I had squandered away.

The divorce was mainly due to my video game addiction. I was neglectful. To her and my son. This is when I finally said, “enough is enough.”

Breaking Away from Video Games

outdoors

After the separation, I decided to do three months of “no gaming detox”.

With help from friends and family I sold about $20k worth of video games and separated myself from technology completely. I didn’t even use my smartphone during this time. Friends had to fill out my job applications on their own computers

I bought a house. A new car. I even restored my relationship with my son. My ex-wife and I are now some of the best co-parents you’ll ever see. I even felt comfortable enough to buy an Xbox again.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Are you crazy? You’re going to fall off the wagon!!”

Those 90 days did wonders for me. 90 days turned into 180 days. 180 into 245. I picked up a controller for the first time in April and…

It just didn’t feel the same.

I didn’t have the competitive drive I once had. I didn’t feel like I had anything to prove. It didn’t feel like an escape. I enjoyed it for what it was for about 30 minutes. I sat the controller down and went outside to join up with some friends to play basketball.

My life is finally back under control.

Sure, every day is a struggle. And the temptation will always be there. But I won’t let it take control of my life again. It’s meant to be a hobby and enjoyed in small segments. That’s all it’s going to be for me.

Sure, I might play once a week. But I have found that it’s much more rewarding to be an outstanding father, to have a career, and to have a meaningful relationship with someone.

To live a real life.

It’s Possible to Make Real Change

father surfing with son

Gaming addiction is real and it won’t go away until you decide to take control.

You have the power to do it.

Here’s how my life has changed since I quit:

  • I own one Xbox, and I use it mainly for Netflix.
  • I’m an Engineer for a building supply company.
  • I own my own house and brand new car.
  • I have my son every other day, and he loves to spend time with me.
  • My ex-wife is proud of my accomplishments.

I even have a girlfriend who’s supportive and understands my daily struggle.

Life is so much bigger and more rewarding than what any game can offer you. I’m living proof that you can overcome your addiction and really create a life worth living.

Thank you for reading this. I hope it helps you in some way.

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.

This is the story of how I stopped being addicted to Neopets.

After some 10 years, 10,000 hours, and millions of points won in various online games, I finally accomplished my dream of becoming an elite gamer…

Okay, I wasn’t an “elite” gamer. But I did make it to 100 gold trophies on Neopets.

In the end, all my trophies were gold, with not a single silver or bronze. I’d set my sights on this target for so long — and I was proud of how I reached it.

Gaming Was My Escape

neopets logo Explaining why I gamed is hard to do without spilling some of my most personal details. But, I’ll do my best.

First, I’m transgender – male-to-female. I was born as a boy and wanted to be a girl.

If life wasn’t difficult enough, it became much trickier in middle school. Then there was the impending doom of male puberty… I wanted to escape my body.

Then, there was the teasing at school… “that’s so gay” reverberating in my head like a corny pop song lyric. In games, I could escape that judgment too.

It soon became obvious how un-alone I was. Browsing the forum and beautiful stories at Game Quitters, it was clear how much I had in common with other ex-gamers.

So many people feel like they can’t be who they want to be for all kinds of reasons. In games, we get to choose our own character and it can feel like a miracle.

As Cam talks about, we all want a meaningful challenge. That’s another reason why I gamed.

If the 26-year-old me could mentor my preteen self, she would have gotten lots of words of reassurance… along with a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People, and about eight dozen other books!

Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to turn my passion into a meaningful challenge. I felt alienated from society, ready to plunge head-first into a fantasy.

I Was At Home Inside the Game

inside the game

Despite playing a variety of online games, Neopets was the only one where I really found a home. The place was populated with cute creatures and their stories, and a wide assortment of games and activities to never get bored.

Each player on the site had a page with their stats and accomplishments. I was struck by the shimmering stacks of trophies that adorned other users’ pages, and soon was hooked on winning them myself!

It was kind of like being in school, where we vied for A grades (now, trophies), only the atmosphere here was more playful. Plus, participation was optional; you could play whatever you wanted! In that way, Neopets felt familiar, yet new and self-empowering.

Amid being addicted to Neopets or any game, sometimes it’s hard to say if you’re happy or sad. You’re flooded with euphoria the moment you hop back on the computer. You’re ecstatic over every in-game escalation. But at the end of the night, you can’t shake the feeling that this techno-bliss rests on a real, physical world – where the evidence says you’re not thriving.

Overcoming My Neopets Addiction

neopets addiction

Comparing myself through the years, I could see that gaming hurt me socially, mentally, and physically. It weakened my patience for dealing with life’s imperfections. The sheer time-suck prevented me advancing towards my real life dreams.

Dreams like solving the confusing enigma called gender. Of one day having a joyful relationship. And the dream to help humans be more compassionate towards animals.

I realized at age 11 that I didn’t want to eat animals anymore after learning about factory farming, and about what is involved in bringing animal products to the table.

I wish I could have devoted my energy to promoting a plant-based diet – but gaming always got in the way.

Another thing I realized is that some dreams are already right there in front of you… like having a family. Family can be tough, but being lost in a game world made it tougher. My mom was dying of cancer, and I wish I had supported her and my other family members more.

Those bigger dreams take thoughtfulness and concentration. I knew that if my gaming addiction persisted, the years of little progress would keep rolling by.

As my depressed teen years turned to a better early adulthood, I managed to quit gaming completely several time.

Video Game Addiction Test for Gamers

I also tried to game just one hour per day or one day per month, but the intrusive thoughts were just too much!

So I recommitted to not gaming and I’ve been free since the spring of 2017. Over two years!

Turning My Dreams Into Reality

purpose

Spring 2017 was also when I got my first paid job related to protecting farm animals. I’ve stayed in the movement and kept finding work ever since.

Meaningful challenge – complete!

Currently, I work part-time for a plant-based meat company that you may have been hearing about in the news. It’s exciting because it helps people who want to eat less meat, but still want that awesome taste!

Meanwhile, I live as a woman in a very LGBT-friendly area. When you’re transgender, I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to walk around and have people see you as the gender you feel you are. Times have changed and I’ve gotten acceptance from my family too.

I’ve lived a very lucky life, and count my Neopets experiences as a part of that. Still, there’s no denying the losses I’ve incurred, by so much gaming during those formative years.

Finances got off to a rocky start, and I’m in debt. My knees are in bad shape, exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle and poor physical alignment. My passions for tennis and for writing fizzled out. It’s just generally disappointing to feel I didn’t give things my all and wasn’t fully “there” to experience them.

Fortunately, the success that I enjoyed on Neopets gives clues, clues about how I can live the rest of my life to the fullest.

Download: 60+ New Hobby Ideas

Life Is Just One Big Video Game

Whenever I get nostalgic now, I ask myself what I’m missing from the game. How can I create a real-world version of it?

Gold trophies were an effective motivator of my behaviour (mastering the games). They were visual, memorable, and beautiful to look at. Most of all they were public. We could watch each other gain trophies, spurring on some friendly competition.

Neopets TrophiesI now have a printed list of my goals and commitments, kept in a (fittingly) golden folder. It’s inviting to pick up and glance at multiple times a day, keeping me focused on what matters.

I try not to overthink these lists, but do update them regularly as the vision for my life evolves.

Making friends with trophy collectors in the game was something I loved. Thus in real life, I pursue friendships that are centered around a shared goal. They keep me accountable, and it’s friendly competition.

On Neopets I learned ways to cheat and won with unscrupulous techniques. I eventually froze my account out of guilt and started clean with a new one.

On my last (and most successful) account, I was proud that I gamed honestly. I learned that it’s not worth it to taint a good thing with even minor disloyalty. Living truthfully has many obstacles, but it’s an amazing feeling and one we all deserve to have as much as possible.

If I catch myself “cheating” in real life I remember how I redeemed myself in the game and know that it’s never too late to correct a bad habit, make amends, and choose a more authentic path.

My message is this: Be your own real-life hero. Take on the real world’s juiciest challenges with integrity. Your long-term happiness – and the other beings you help along the way – will thank you.

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.

I stopped enjoying gaming after I quit watching porn.

Hi, my name is Hayim and I’m going to tell you how I quit video games without even trying.

Like many other guys, my teenage years were filled with too many video games, porn and shitty habits.

I would spend countless hours in the basement with my Playstation 2 from the moment I got out of school until bedtime when my mother would coerce me out of the basement.

Joining the Army

hayim

When I was 18 I joined the Israeli Army in a combat unit. It was tough as hell and basically a constant state of exhaustion for years.

Even in the army whenever my buddies and I would get off for a weekend we would head home and play Battlefield 3. We were soldiers playing army games on the weekends.

Sounds funny I know.

We would spend the whole week in the field training for war and on the weekends we would get home, make some food and try to level up on Battlefield 3.

We’d resort to gaming because video games distracted us from the thought of having to return to base after a few days, and all the exhaustion that comes with it.

Related: How to Overcome Escapism

Long marches, sleepless nights, and the occasional action.

Gaming is Fun, But…

computer gaming

Video games are powerful, and I know why many of us play. I’m not going to go on and tell you how lame they are and why they’re ruining your life.

What I’m going to tell you now is going to help you quit because you won’t even enjoy the games anymore. Discipline alone is a tough way to attack any problem.

It’s a lot more effective when you attack the root of the issue, and that’s what I accidentally discovered.

Instead of putting the focus on quitting to play video games, we should instead focus on the question: Why do we enjoy video games so goddamn much?

Let me explain.

A few years after the army I started studying engineering. But after classes I would still play games up to three hours per day.

It may not seem like a lot but that’s three hours that I was not studying, in class, or sleeping.

The other thing that was holding me back might surprise some people, but in hindsight it was incredibly obvious.

Link Between Gaming and Porn

I used to watch porn, and porn and gaming are inextricably linked.

In Philip Zambardo’s TED talk The Demise of Guys he conflates video game pleasure with porn pleasure – Referring to them as Present Hedonism. Present hedonistic people live in the moment – seeking pleasure, novelty, and sensation, and avoiding pain. Philip Zambardo knows his stuff, he was the leader of the notorious Stanford Prison Experiment.

Video game addictions thrive upon a similar reward system that is very different from substance addiction but very similar to pornography.

Related: Why You Should Quit Gaming for 90 Days

The similarities between porn and gaming don’t end there. With the rise of high speed internet they’ve both earned their own disease classifications in the ICD-11.

The ICD is the International Classification of Diseases and was created by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The newest edition of their disease classification manual ICD-11, has included new diagnosis for both Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder and for video game addiction Gaming Disorder.

Both of these issues have had a notable uptick with the advent of high speed internet that allowed for extremely immersive media.

Digital Addictions

porn addiction

Digital addictions differ from that of substance addictions like drugs and alcohol in one very simple way.

When you’re enjoying a digital form of entertainment we seek different types of pleasure from that same source.

Our pleasure comes from something new and unique. That is why multiplayer gaming has caught on so much, with every match you have a totally new experience thereby creating variety and wanting different experiences with every round.

The same goes for pornography. When someone browses through online pornography, they’re constantly looking for new variety with every video. No one sticks to the same type of porn for long periods of time, they’re constantly changing it up.

This leads to desensitization of porn tastes and can lead to more and more extreme pornography.

But substance addicts?

Substance addicts just want more. They just need more alcohol, more drugs, more.. Whatever.

If you focus on quitting porn, your brain will start to enjoy life more and you won’t require the dopamine that can only be provided by the novelty of video games.

Porn addiction is massively understated in society. Most men have been watching it from as soon as they became old enough to search for it on the web and many go on into their 30s and 40s without ever noticing how dependent they are.

The core reason porn leads to increased video game pleasure is because porn messes up our dopamine reward systems.

We get so used to massive dopamine rushes when watching porn that very little else can compare to it. But video games? That dopamine hit that we get when we headshot that guy with a pistol at 50 yards on Metro?

That can compare.

I Quit Porn (And Gaming)

hope

I quit watching porn in February 2015 and within 6 weeks I went from playing three hours a day, to thirty minutes, to deleting my computer games within months.

I wasn’t even trying. I simply lost interest in them.

I accidentally discovered that video games were only enjoyable for me when I would watch porn.

As soon as I stopped watching porn my dopamine reward system didn’t need video games to enjoy things anymore.

I started to enjoy reading, meditating, working out, and doing more.. “mediocre” things.

I started a daily meditation practice that I keep to this day, and I’ve gained “superpowers” of confidence, posture, vocal tonality.

It’s been over four years and I still don’t own or play any video games or watch porn. In fact, I’ve decided to try to help as many men as possible and recently started a website dedicated to helping guys diagnose their potential addiction to porn.

I’ve turned my life around and so can you.

If you’re going to turn around your video game habit, take a look at your porn habits first.

Written by: Hayim Pinson

Welcome to our guide on how to play video games in moderation. Continue reading or use the table of contents.

Life is too short, you should do things you enjoy, right? For me, that meant blowing off my work, and completely wrecking my sleep schedule. Why?

All because I wanted to play one more game, climb one more rank, waste one more hour.

The thing is, gaming is fun.

It’s a way to escape stress in your life, however, at some point you need to ask yourself… “Is this really worth it?”

After coming close to losing my job, I tried to find something, anything, to stop my compulsive impulse to close my work, and open up League Of Legends.

Believe it or not, being addicted to gaming is a real issue. The World Health Organization officially declared gaming addiction as a mental disorder in 2019.

Through this article, I want to share some of my tips to help others find the time to focus on more important things in life – such as your job, your family, and making new memories – while still playing some games on the side.

What Is Gaming Addiction?

The first thing to do is see if you’re actually addicted to gaming, right? I mean, an hour of gaming a day is far from addicted.

To give you some insight into my addiction, I used to play games for 15 hours a day, on top of my full-time job. How I managed that I have no idea. Just imagine if I spent that time on something productive!

Some common signs that you or a loved one is addicted to gaming include:

  • Compulsive/Obsessive Behaviour – As with most addictions, when you aren’t playing games, you may start seeing some red flags such as restlessness, irritability, and aggressive behavior.
  • Lack of sleep/signs of exhaustion – If you are addicted to gaming, you’ll know exactly how this plays out. It’s 12 in the morning when you see your cyber-friend from another country come online. So, instead of getting a good nights sleep, you decide to pull an all-night with them. Who cares if you have work or school in the morning, right?
  • Lack Of Interest In Other Activities – I struggled with this one first-hand. Working for myself, I always wanted to develop new skills. Be it programming or learning how to improve at my job. But, for some reason – I could never find the time. The problem was, whenever I was doing non-essential work, all I wanted to do was load up my favourite game and play until the early hours of the morning.

Now that we have a general idea of what it looks like to be a gaming addict, it’s time for you to figure out a strategy to help you break the cycle.

It’s time to focus on the things that really matter to you and take back your life.

Related: Video Game Addiction Test for Gamers

Tips to Play Video Games in Moderation

I’ve tried all of the strategies and advanced tactics to quit gaming. The problem is, you will never stop something unless you want it. Which means having the desire and willpower to stick to it.

Also, just like any other addiction, don’t expect to go cold turkey from day one.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t try cold turkey, a lot of our members have found great success with it. However, that strategy might not be for everyone, which is why it’s best to experiment and see what works for you.

Just remember to take it slow, make sure each day gets progressively better, and you can’t fail.

Step One: Identify What You Are Losing By Playing Games

Until we take a step back, it’s difficult to see what’s being taken away from our lives when we’re gaming. Think about it, is your girlfriend always complaining that you are never talking to them? What about work, do you blow important tasks that could lead to a raise just so you can play an hour or ten of games?

Life really is short. The only difference between the rich and the poor is how we capitalize on each hour, minute, and second. I want you to put thought into what beneficial activities could replace the hours you spend on games, and where those activities could take you in life.

Related: 60+ Activity Ideas to Replace Gaming

Step Two: Think of Something You Really Want to Work Towards

Are you tired of struggling financially? Do you want that new car, perhaps even your first car? Or are you trying to study a new programming language to help you land that huge promotion at work?

Guess what…

All of these things require time. The time that is being taken up by all those hours in front of your console or computer. That’s why in this step, I want you to think about that one goal in life that you really want, and start working for it. Make a timeline of when you want to achieve that goal and a strategy of how you plan to go about it.

Try picturing your life after completing that goal. From there, try working backwards to where you are now and reverse engineer that life you’re dreaming about. Break it up into small, manageable steps and you might realise you’re closer to achieving it than you think.

Step Three: Schedule Your Day For Balance

As fun as it is to play games all night, it really messes with you more than you know.

Did you know that no matter how long you sleep for, you can only recover one hour of sleep a night?

That means if you pull one all-nighter and lose 8 hours of sleep, for the next week you will be unable to work efficiently on your goals. That means you are putting your work at risk, your exams at risk, and even your relationships.

Moderation vs. Cold Turkey

life planner

For me, quitting cold turkey was too difficult. What I did instead was to learn how to play video games in moderation.

I would delete my games completely each Monday, and reinstall them on Friday evening for a weekend gaming session. This way they did not interfere with my work, which led to me being where I am today.

Find what works for you. It does not have to be perfect, and there will be slip-ups, but even cutting down 2-hours a day will put you so much further ahead in life than where you are at right now.

And if you are unable to play video games in moderation, you may want to try a complete 90-day detox instead.

Written by Thomas English

My name is Jaroslaw and I am from Canada.

I began my gaming journey at the young age of 5 with Final Fantasy 1 and Star Tropics.

For me, games provided a sense of achievement and a means of escape from the reality of my life. I wasn’t happy, and instead of dealing with my problems head-on, I escaped to video games to drown my sorrows.

About 6 years ago, I started realising that I had a problem.

Related: Video Game Addiction Test for Gamers

I was so miserable and felt like with all that I had suffered through, the world owed me something. I decided I didn’t like the direction my life was going and knew I needed to do something about it.

My Life As a Gamer

gamer

When I used to play video games, I’d wake up feeling groggy because I didn’t get nearly enough sleep and go to school or work.

I’d usually come home and immediately play games until 2 or 3am, if not later. I would only take breaks to go to the washroom or eat – the basics.

My relationships with my family were not good. I hardly had anything to talk about with any of my extended family and I had no social circle whatsoever.

My health was deteriorating, both in terms of my weight and my ability to do basic tasks.

To top it off my finances were a complete mess.

I Couldn’t Keep Going On Like This…

quotes about change

6 years ago I decided to make that decision to quit gaming.

It was tough to begin with. I didn’t realize there was help available for video game addicts, and none of my family really understood what I was going through.

One day I ended up googling “how to quit video games” and found Game Quitters. I learned about the 90-day detox and decided to try it.

I went through a cycle of quitting and relapsing a number of times, with varying amounts of time between each attempt.

My Biggest Hurdle Was Myself

self reflection

The number one issue I faced was a lack of self-confidence, which never existed while I was beating up monsters in video games.

When you’re inside a game you feel invincible and nothing can stop you.

So, what did I do?

Along with visualizations and affirmations, the biggest help for me was creating a playlist with positive songs such as Firework by Katy Perry and You Gotta Want It by Roberta Gold.

I listened to this playlist every time I was in my car. The messages started to sink in… I deserve to be happy and confident in life.

The single biggest strategy that helped me get to this point, however, was to never give up on myself.

Even through my relapses, I held on to the idea that I need to quit video games and work on my goals and dreams.

As long as you don’t give up on yourself, you always have a chance to succeed.

I’m not really a morning person, so I was still waking up groggy even with the proper amount of sleep! However, after some early morning stretching and eating breakfast, that usually went away.

After work, I would eat dinner and either hit the gym, read a book, go on a hike, or watch some Netflix.

My Life Has Improved…

hamilton ontario

Here are a few things that have gotten better since I quit gaming:

  • My social circle is much better now and I’ll occasionally go and hang out with friends.
  • I’m much more willing to try new things.
  • I have much more confidence in myself and my social skills.
  • I have more time to spend on the things that matter most, like my family and my goals.
  • I’ve taken back control of my finances.

Pretty much every conceivable thing that could be better, is better.

“As long as you don’t give up on yourself, you always have a chance to succeed.”

I also like to read books and make music. Something I never had time to do in the past. I’m exploring the idea of turning one of those into a career, either becoming an author or musician.

I’ve always thought of myself as more of a technical person but I think I enjoy the creative side of things a whole lot more.

My Biggest Piece of Advice

focus quote

Don’t try to take on too many things at once.

Quit games and immediately find one activity that you can do that isn’t gaming. Commit to doing that activity at least once a week.

Download: 60+ Hobby Ideas to Replace Gaming

What you do for the rest of the time isn’t that important as long as you stay away from games and everything gaming related.

As you move further away from games, you will naturally get interested and involved in other aspects of life, depending on what’s important to you.

You don’t necessarily need to know what those things are at first, just slowly work on figuring them out. It’s easy to get super excited about doing everything possible at first, but if you try to do too much at once, you’re going to end up relapsing.

After your initial excitement fades away then you have to rely on commitment, which might be much harder than you realise. Goal setting, multiple activities and all that good stuff will come in time.

You have to remember that it’s a process that takes time. You won’t see results overnight and you have to be comfortable with that.

A Call for More Help

therapy

Video game addiction is a serious problem that is only going to get worse, and the world isn’t nearly set up enough to tackle this issue.

The real-life resources available for video game addicts are next to non-existent, at least where I live.

I saw a psychologist for a while, but I didn’t get the sense that she was treating the video game addiction at all.

People just don’t have enough experience handling the problem.

I think what needs to happen is we, as a society, need to accept that it IS a problem, and then maybe we can get to work on developing real-life strategies that will work.

If you want to find out more information about video game addiction, and how it might be having an effect on your life, check out the 90-day detox. Like Jaroslaw and hundreds of others on Game Quitters, you too can turn your life around.

I’m James, a 40-year old Dad living in Spain.

I’ve always loved video games and have been playing since I was 8 years old.

Recently, I’d noticed that I was playing games more often – but I was enjoying them less than ever. I would feel compelled to fire up the PS4 or my phone after work and just start playing mindlessly.

I’ve always enjoyed playing FIFA 19. But more recently, I’ve played mobile games that I used to despise such as Candy Crush and Gardenscapes.

Can Gaming Ever Be Replaced?

piano

The fact is, game developers use smart techniques to hook you to games that you’re not even really enjoying. You just feel compelled to get that loot.

I was so addicted that I realized there was nothing else that could possibly give me the same level of gratification.

Crazy, right? You might think so. But at the time it didn’t seem crazy at all.

Mindless gaming seemed like the most normal way for me to have fun. Only by taking a step back have I realized how ridiculous this notion was.

I did the 90-day no gaming challenge and it opened my eyes.

I assumed I would spend my evenings and weekends sitting on the edge of the sofa waiting for time to pass since there could be nothing to replace gaming.

Wow, it feels weird saying that now but that’s really how I felt!

In reality, I instantly found new things to do during this time.

I started doing crossword puzzles. My son and I would go play soccer in the park. I spent more time with friends, took up swimming, and I’m proud to say I’ve learned the piano and can now play some songs.

It’s been a real eye-opener to realize how your sense of fulfillment can get twisted playing video games.

Download: 60+ Hobby Ideas to Replace Gaming

There’s More to Life Than Video Games

father son time outside in nature

It becomes easy to forget that the real world is, in fact, a massive multiplayer open-world sandbox. And one where you’ll find much more meaning and value than you will on a hard drive.

Since finishing the 90 days I have gone back and played a few games.

And you know what? They don’t really do it for me anymore.

I’m much happier spending my precious time on other pursuits these days.

I’d like to thank Cam for being such a wonderful inspiration for those of us who are needlessly losing huge chunks of their lives to gaming, never stop what you’re doing.

If this story has resonated with you and you think you might be addicted to gaming, take a few minutes to try out our free quiz for gamers.

Not a gamer? We also have a video game addiction quiz for parents that can support you if you are concerned about a loved one.

Giving up video games isn’t easy, especially when it’s such a huge part of your life. But once you realize you can spend your time leveling up in real life, you will begin to see that anything is possible.

If you want to find out more information about video game addiction, and how it might be having an effect on your life, check out the 90-day detox. Like James and hundreds of others on Game Quitters, you too can turn your life around.

Tanner Guzy

I just finished my 9-day social media and email fast.

And it was even better than I expected.

Significantly easier, much more satisfying, and even more relaxing than what I was hoping for.

I was nervous to do this because my business depends entirely on my contact with my audience.

If I’m not posting content – on social media or sending emails – I’m not getting new clients.

But I knew I had a problem…

I Was Always on My Phone

social media detox

In between sets at the gym, stopped at a red light, taking a leak in the middle of the night, it didn’t really matter – I was always on my phone.

All because I got a constant dopamine hit from it.

My twitter account is active enough that every single time I hit “refresh” on the notifications, there’s something new – even if I just refreshed a few seconds ago.

Any time I wanted to, I could pull that proverbial lever and get a punch of dopamine to my brain.

The problem is, like any other addiction, I was needing more intense stimuli to get the same effect. Likes and retweets were no longer enough – it had to be comments or quote tweets.

If my open rate on emails wasn’t high enough I was discouraged and my mood was affected for the day.

If an Instagram post had fewer than 400 likes I was so frustrated that I was ready to just bag that medium altogether.

I was no longer in control of social media – it was in control of me.

I needed to step back and recalibrate.

Social Media Detox

social media likes

When I first decided to do this I was planning on it being incredibly difficult.

And it wasn’t.

It helped that my first full day was also a day in which I had a client in town and shopping so all of my mental energy was there.

And day two was a Sunday where I was already used to logging out of this stuff on Sundays to spend more time with family.

But Monday rolled around and, surprisingly, it really wasn’t that tough.

I got a lot of actual work done because I wasn’t able to push it aside and procrastinate on Twitter.

I learned quickly that, as important as creating content and marketing are, I’d allowed them to become a crutch.

Why focus on the tedious, long-term things of my business when it was much more enjoyable and super easy to justify the work of creating more content?

It was work after all, but it often came at the expense of other things that were equally (if not more) important but weren’t as fun or as urgent.

Monday night I realized I was enjoying the process when we met my parents to pick up my kids.

They’d taken them for a couple of days and we were meeting up with them at a Wendy’s halfway between us to make the pass off.

We’d been in the restaurant for nearly 45 minutes before I realized I’d left my phone in the car and hadn’t even missed it.

That was a fantastic feeling.

It Wasn’t All Fun, but…

tanner guzy

There were a couple of times throughout the week where I’d catch myself sitting in my office and realize that I’d just been sitting there thinking for half an hour.

There were still too many times throughout the week that I’d check my phone for notifications out of pure habit.

And the last two days were actually really hard compared to anything prior.

If you plan on doing this yourself, I definitely recommend keeping some books or magazines in the bathroom during the first couple of days.

But all in all, it was totally worth doing.

So much so that I’m not adding these apps back onto my phone.

No I’m not leaving social media and I’ll be back to writing more frequent emails, but I’m not adding any of my social apps back onto my phone.

By just keeping them on my iPad, it means I only use them when I want to.

They won’t get in the way of date nights, or gym sessions, or traffic, or any of the other stuff that really should be getting my full attention.

I’m excited about that balance.

Tanner Guzy is the author of The Appearance of Power and a men’s style coach. He teaches men how to improve their lives by learning how to dress better. He’s based out of Salt Lake City, Utah where he lives with his wife and four kids.