About Game Quitters

For over 5 years I lived with a gaming addict. This is my personal story.

When I met Joe (not his real name) he seemed like a good guy. He was caring and funny. We would do things together. But each night he would sit in front of his computer. I didn’t realize at that point how his addiction controlled his life.

Weeks passed, then months, and I saw how much the computer and his virtual life meant to him. He felt like his friends online were his real friends. He knew things about them, and felt connected to them. It drew him in every evening.

I would hear him yelling at the computer. He would be getting mad because his virtual friends didn’t like his gaming style, or he got the group killed.

World of Warcraft (WoW) was his first game of choice. He played it each day as he needed to keep up his numbers. It kept him coming back over the years. The new extensions had him talking about them every day.

He Wanted Us to Game Together

Well that wasn’t the case. He got bored because I wasn’t at his level. I on the other hand, couldn’t sit in one spot for 10 hours a day. Joe would sit a lot longer than that. He had his step dad start the game, and then his mom. So now there were two others who played. At dinners with his family they would just talk about gaming.

His gaming progressed to Rift, and League of Legends (LOL). I am sure there are more games he played, but I stopped trying to keep track. Joe even watched live streams of a couple who played games. The games just never ended.

Watch: Should You Watch Gaming Streams?

One night I asked Joe if we could set up a weekly date night. I had to pick a night he wasn’t in a WoW raid. That was tough. He would do a date night, but sometimes he would say I need to cut it short as the guys want me to join their raid.

I was always second to his computer and virtual friends.

I remember once just wanting to smash the computer with a baseball bat. I hated the fact I didn’t matter. My anger took several years to get to this point. I am a patient person, but even I was running out of patience.

Joe would sleep all day and be up all night. Things around the house were being ignored. I took care of everything. I was turning into a mom. I had to nag him to do anything.

It was like dating a kid. Even when we did do things the talk was always about gaming. I began to tune him out. It would seem like I was listening, but it was a lot of head nodding and not a lot of talking from me. When I did talk, he appeared to care, but couldn’t remember what I said.

Joe ate, breathed and slept gaming. 24/7 gaming was apart of his life.

Eventually I said it’s the computer or me.

He said, “I need to be in this raid… the guys really need me.” I knew then that this was much bigger than me. I couldn’t help Joe. We went to counseling twice. He wouldn’t go after the counselor said to him you have a great smart woman here who just wants to love you and spend time with you.

He Lived in a Virtual Life.

I began to live my own life. He was more like a roommate. Sex never happened. We never slept in our bed at the same time. He made me feel worthless and I felt helpless.

Once his mom said to me, “oh in a few years you will want him to go and game, to leave you alone.”

In my mind I said, “nope, not going to live a life like this.” I longed for him to just spend time with me and to love me. I couldn’t understand what was so wrong with me. Why he wouldn’t be with me even once a week for a date night.

I went to Alberta to see my sister in 2014 and it was the first time I was away from him. That is when I saw my sister and brother in law having a healthy loving relationship. I knew that things couldn’t continue this way anymore. I decided during that trip it was over.

In the months to come after the Alberta visit I decided to tell Joe. He wasn’t happy. He couldn’t believe I wanted more. After all what was wrong with gaming?

Gaming made me so angry, so hurt, so frustrated. I cared about Joe still. Did I love him? Not anymore. My love turned to resentment. I now actually had pity for him. I felt sad that he thought those people liked him that they were his friends that they cared. I felt sad he would settle for such an incomplete life.

I Am Now Married. Joe Lives with His Parents

He is still gaming. I knew I wanted more. I wanted to see life that is beyond a computer. To feel the sunshine on my face to feel the rain on my cheek. To get my hands dirty in the garden.

I married a guy who is present, who lives a life here in this world. Not a virtual life.

For those struggling with a partner who is gaming, my advice would be to look at what you want in life. What are the pros and cons of staying with your partner? Seek the support of a counselor.

In the end, you need to decide what you want for your life. What do you want from your relationship? What are you missing out on?

It’s a tough choice to move on. If you do, do it for you. It’s a personal choice to leave someone whom you care about. At what point do you begin to lose yourself? At what point are you no longer going to be second best? Those are all the things I thought about when I made the decision to leave Joe.

Life is so sweet when you are with the right person. Don’t settle.

“Thank god my parents always kept an eye on me. I don’t know what would have happened with me if they didn’t.”

My name is Dominik and I’m a 15 year old freshman high school student from the Czech Republic. I’m here to talk about my past addiction to video games and how I overcame it.

My story with video games starts in December 2005 when I received a Playstation 2 for Christmas. When I was younger I didn’t play games that much, but gradually year by year I played more and more, and it turned into an addiction.

The thing that I loved about gaming was how much fun you could have with your friends, and sharing your common interest in games. I also loved the sense of progress, and rewards.

My addiction wasn’t that bad early on, but that all changed when I had access to my first computer with internet. I suddenly had access to a lot of very addictive video games, and a greater community of gamers.

The game that got me into my addiction was League of Legends (LOL). I played all night long, and even denied that I did to my parents. Almost all my free time was spent on games, and I really didn’t do much to improve at anything else. I lived in Spain at the time, and went to school as any other kid.

I was lying to my family, didn’t try hard at school, put aside my friends (only hung out with the ones that played League of Legends), and I also became a little myopic (2.5 my left eye and 2.75 right eye) – all because of games.

On July 1st, 2016 I decided to quit. I couldn’t continue to go on like this. I was going to go to a very hard high school, and I realized that gaming made me a person that I didn’t want to be.

I decided to stop playing forever.

During this period I was trying to get my hands on every advice I could to learn how to stick to my decisions, and quit gaming forever. Naturally this led me to find great channels on YouTube like Game Quitters, and Brendon Burchard.

I didn’t relapse thanks to all the support that I got from everyone. I really owe a lot to everyone that helped me.

It has been 9 months since I played.

My life is great! Here is a list of things that have improved since I quit gaming:

  • I became healthier (exercised more and ate healthy)
  • My grades improved in school
  • I improved my relationships with other people
  • I started chasing my dreams
  • I improved my physique
  • I learned programming
  • … and a whole lot more.
before/after

Before/After

I’d like to say that it all starts with yourself. Nothing is going to change without you being willing to put in the effort. Work hard and enjoy life, the struggle is worth it. You will become who you want to be, I can guarantee you that.

Want to share your story with the community? Submit yours here.

“I always had plans, and thought I would do them later. But years later the single biggest activity I had done was play games.”

Written by a member of the Game Quitters community:

Your latest post with the 17 year old going traveling is a great example of why not to spend too much time gaming. For me, it is interesting that he took up photography. Photography is a creative discipline, and from my experience creativity is the main area that suffers from playing games.

I am a designer and am lucky enough to be pretty successful. If travel is any mark of success; I have lived and worked in a few countries, Japan, UK, and Turkey. I’ve done projects all over, from Africa and China to the US.

My Gaming Has Always Been Pretty Secretive

It’s not good for my image as a designer, and I know it’s a waste of time. Despite this I have managed to sink hours into gaming, culminating in a couple of years in an MMO. I stopped playing that about 4 years ago.

Luckily for me I have always been pretty ambitious which has kept me in work, subsequently having work deadlines in a highly competitive field has kept my gaming in check. But there are two areas affected by gaming that aren’t often mentioned that I want to share with you:

Network

Every job I have ever had has been through someone I know, or a recommendation of someone I know. Creative work is all about trust, companies put a lot of money into a job usually with short deadlines, and part of the future of their business rides on the success of your work.

They will hire someone with a personal recommendation every time. Social media sites do not count. Networking isn’t anything special, it’s just a fancy word for friends.

Creativity

Computers kill creativity, and gaming most of all. Any time spent staring at a screen, even if it is a ‘creative’ program like Photoshop, is time not thinking for yourself. At best, you are just thinking within the confines of the software.

With gaming I found this spills over, sometimes I would think about a game even when not playing, but more often it is a subtle effect. I wouldn’t think about a game, but equally I wouldn’t be thinking very creatively or have much motivation. It is very insidious, and I would only really notice when I had time away.

A week without using a computer, and my mind would start racing with ideas, not only that I would have the motivation to execute them. Just like when I was a kid. Gaming isn’t just about the time spent gaming, it impacts the rest of your time as well.

“We are what we repeatably do. Excellence then, is not a single act, but a habit” -Aristotle

I always had plans, and thought I would do them later. But years later the single biggest activity I had done was play games.

There are many things I would like to be in life, a gamer isn’t one of them.

Want to share your story? Submit yours here.

I remember my rock bottom — I was playing Fallout 3 and I was stuck. I couldn’t get past a certain area without being annihilated. I was backed into a corner and I didn’t have a save that helped me out.

In the game you can see how many hours you had put into the game. My count was 57 hours. I had put 57 hours into a game that was now fruitless. I remember setting the control down and thinking 57 hours.

How did I get here?

I looked around my apartment and it was thrashed. Dishes hadn’t been done, garbage hadn’t been taken out, and my apartment looked like a fraternity had blown through it.

57 hours. I could have started a small business, got in shape, and on and on. Ten minutes after I set down the controller, my ADHD wanted me to pick it up once again. One more try. I sighed, deleted everything and realized that I had nothing, absolutely nothing to show for those 57 hours.

Except a lot of regret.

ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 1 1. Wiki: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder × , is something that affects 17 million people and to many of them, video games are a serious addiction. Video games constantly feed our ADHD’s need.

Immediate Feedback

When you make a mistake in a video game, you know it. You turn down the wrong corridor, take the wrong path, fight the wrong monster. Done. Game over. Our ADHD loves immediate feedback because it knows what it needs to change.

When things are ambiguous and obtuse, our ADHD wails like a 4 year old who didn’t get a piece of candy. Video games offer that feedback and we can make adjustments quickly.

Leveling Up

In many video games we can gain levels. We improve because of the work we put in—we see the results of our effort and we can then have better and harder challenges. We learn exactly what we need to do to earn experience points. Unlike our job or relationships, we can quantify our actions and risk to see the benefits.

Watch: How Video Games Fulfill Your Need for Growth and Progress

Pseudo-community

When we are playing an MMORPG, we have a guild, and “friends” that we talk with. But this is the equivalent of eating Milky Way bars for dinner. It tastes great, but the nutrition it provides us is lacking.

In those relationships there is no give and take, no doing life with each other. We are living in a virtual world that ends once the power is cut off, once a simple button is pressed. Those relationships have zero risk and therefore, zero reward to them.

Unrelenting Challenge

Video games provide level after level of challenge. They prod you to keep conquering, gaining and winning—and when you figure it out—you get rewarded.

But it teaches that in life, the risk can fail, but you get to try again and again. This isn’t true. We have consequences to our failure. Risk is good, but video games don’t let us have a healthy prediction of risk.

I felt a bit lost.

monopoly

When I detached from my video game addiction, I wondered what do I do with my time now? So I started a couple of things.

I joined a board game club. I started learning about all the other board games that were out there. I loved the challenge, learning the rules, but I found that there was a much stronger social cohesion there. I was actually making more friends. We even went on a cruise together, just to play board games.

I also started making money on the side. I needed a challenge, an area where I could “level up” myself. I started editing writing for people. I soon got better and better and got more (and better paying) clients.

I didn’t have the immediate results from video games, but I could spend 2-4 hours editing and have something substantial to work on.

Watch: How Gaming Gives You a False Sense of Achievement

That was years ago. Since then I’ve been able to travel with my side money, hitting Australia and most recently, China. I’ve started expanding my side hustle into coaching. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never played another video game since, but I only play in social settings (party games) and I don’t have a system in my house (or will I ever.)

My ADHD railed against the thought of being without my video games. They fed my ADHD’s worst traits. But the time I’ve gotten back, the freedom to things that actually make an impact has made all the difference.

Today’s guest post is by Ryan McRae. Ryan is the founder of The ADHD Nerd, a blog dedicated to helping people with ADHD be more productive, focused and happy. He recently wrote the book Conquering the Calendar and Getting More Done (which you can get for free here). He has spoken all over the world, including Afghanistan. He can be reached here.

“I believe that in any fellow game quitter lies a potential so great that nobody can summarize it. But we won’t be able to unfold our specialty as long as we waste away in a fluorescent light.”

So, the day has come. Day 90 of 90 days of a personal gaming detox. What do I have to say?

Well for starters, it has been a tough ride.

First of all, I want to show my gratitude to Cam, who created this site and ignited a spark in many fellows. In a time, where we are supposed to consume, where it is so easy and comfortable to just fade away in a virtual world, without leaving any proof of our existence, he showed me and many others, that the predetermined way is not the only option. So, thank you Cam.

You might know the story of the Pied Piper, who came to town and led away all the children with his stilling tune, leading them all into oblivion. Well, every story, even the ancient ones, have at least two points of view. While the people of the town witnessed the Piper pulling away the youth, they labeled him the evil in this world. But halt, there is more to this.

The view of the young people who have been pulled away is quite different. In a world where everything is focused on consumption, a soul needs a safe place to expand. The Piper, with no bad intentions, led away the youngsters and showed them a world that grants exactly what they needed. A space, large as necessary, to unfold.

Pretty dramatic, right? I know. But if you think about it; if you remember the reactions of your fellow internet folks, you will notice, that they smiled at you in contempt, when you left the world you once loved so much. What seems to be pure evil and idiocy to one, might be redemption to others.

When I googled “how to stop gaming” on that lonely night, I took my own life.

Figuratively. I pulled the plug on my life, because I knew, it will pull the plug on me. Before I quit gaming, I felt lost, exhausted, always tired, mildly happy, and heavily forsaken.

I grew up with a computer in my room, which turned into my best friend. Where real people were complicated, my computer would always be there to serve me. But in the long run, I began to serve it.

I miss the words to express my eternal gratitude for what Cam has done. Only by lighting up a path that I was unable to see, he saved me. And even if I return to playing all day and all night; even if I give up my chances, my life and my future, I would have to do it entirely conscious. Because now I know what was cloaked.

If I give up my life, this time, I know what I do. But as long as there is any energy left, I will try to go my own path. Not the predetermined path.

I feel prepared for this path.

The detox was highs and lows. It was enthusiasm and depression. I felt like conquering the world, and in the next moment I thought I was falling down a 50 stories building.

It is tough to not compare my old life to the matrix. Because it is so close to the matrix. Being connected to a device that pretends to show me choices and options, while it silently pre-programmed my decision. A waste of life. That is what I was. An entire waste of life.

We do not have to be Christians to understand that life is a one time thing. This makes it precious beyond words. Sitting in front of a screen, drooling, like a machine is a waste of this precious gift.

I believe that in any fellow game quitter lies a potential so great that nobody can summarize it. I believe, that we all are special, creative, smart, gifted. But we won’t be able to unfold our specialty as long as we waste away in a fluorescent light, that will make our eyes go blind and turn our skin into greasy dough.

Don’t get me wrong. I still continue to work in front of a screen. But today, steam, origin, bigfish… none of that really interests me. I feel disgust when I think about how I wasted years and did not commit myself to any goal, any progress or any measurable sign of life at all.

Life happens offline, away from the screen. I know that. I feel that. And now I feel able to fight my way through this harsh environment that is this society. Now I see chances and will not be stopped until I reached them. And even if I fail, I will not go back to benumbing my inner desires. My true desires.

Because let us be real for a moment: You do not desire to reach level 30 in a world that will disappear once a guy pulls the plug. You do not desire to be “somebody” in a virtual world, where everybody can be what he wants to be without any need of work. In a world, where being special is handed out to anybody, nobody is special. You will be anybody; anybody will be you.

There are no heroes in this world, no interesting people. There are no people in this world. Only souls that slowly dance to a tune nobody can hear anymore because everybody is numbed by the drug they all took in order to get into the dance hall.

Nobody desires to be numb all the time. That is like waiting for death without the annoying annoyance of waiting without purpose. I do not desire to be that person, and I believe, neither do you.

This place is not redemption city.

You know that. I know that. You don’t sign up and feel relieved of all your bad decisions. We know that. We sign up for the tough work. If this was a game, it would be a survival game. But you know, most survival games out there have one major thing in common: they do not have a goal. Your only goal is to survive.

Imagine this: When you signed up, you were this one guy or girl, brave enough to raise his or her hand when the old leader asked if somebody is willing to venture forth to find a place to settle and to recreate society.

You were the one human that said: “I am not satisfied with surviving day by day, only to wait for my demise. I will not dwell in this limbo until my soul perishes. I will head out and I will fight my way through this mess that you people are afraid of. I will conquer back what is truly mine and when I disappear, I will leave a legacy behind.”

That person, my friend, is you. You and me. We took this step. We spoke the truth. We honestly admitted that we are guilty of the highest sin: Wasting our life. And we decided to change.

The 90 day detox is the first step. Now you are prepared. You took all the classes, finished all the lessons, and trust me, when you thought this is it, the real stuff only begins.

Be brave. Be great. Be honest. Be noble. Be conscious. Be you. You, my friend, have this under control. This is your life. Your choice. Your consequence. Even if you go out and fail once, twice, three times, everything is better than being numb and never trying. And rest assured, we are in this together!

Sincerely yours,

Robert

“You will never be able to achieve anything truly great if you spend all of your time playing video games.”

I am 24 years old and a Sergeant in the US Army.

I’m the guy who thought it would be a good idea to go on patrols and try to find people to shoot at me, so that I can shoot back at them – kind of like Call of Duty in real life.

I did a tour in Iraq in 2015. The weather was hot, like boot melting hot (~125 degrees fahrenheit).

The people were nice for the most part, except for the crazy ones who would drive around vehicles filled with a thousand pounds of explosives.

But life hasn’t always been this way and for much of my life, I was a gamer.

I started by playing Neopets when I was in the 5th grade. Soon after, I found Runescape. I got to combat level 98 on top of my various trade skills which took hundreds, if not thousands of hours of playtime to achieve. Quite an accomplishment if I do say so myself.

Next up is… World of Warcraft. Ah yes, this is where I truly shined. Over the course of five years I racked up about 400 days of solid play time – about 10,000 hours total.

I was so dedicated that I really didn’t have much of a social life in high school as my friends all also played video games for the most part. Whenever we would hang out and have a sleepover, we would bring our gaming systems and play together.

Off to College

college gaming dorm

The first semester I actually focused on my classes some and finished with decent grades. But this meant that my gaming performance was sliding a little bit.

I learned from my mistake and devoted so much time to gaming my second semester that I just stopped going to two of my classes, leaving me with only two other classes to worry about.

I entered the euphoric gaming trance which normal people refer to as “depression”, and was so committed to gaming that I didn’t go to class for a week straight one time. I barely passed the two classes, but my gaming performance was top notch.

That’s pretty much where my gaming career ends – kinda abrupt, I know. After that second semester I realized that I was destroying my life and decided to join the Army.

I still play video games occasionally, but I find that I get bored with them after about a week or so, then I will read, or play guitar for about two months until I feel like playing a few games again, and the cycle has just been repeating.

I’m not exactly sure what happened. Maybe it was just a mix of my poor academic performance in college, and being away from everything for 14 weeks when I was at basic training… but I just changed.

Maybe I Just Grew out of It

army wilderness

Now, I don’t even really have time for video games and, honestly, I don’t even notice. I am currently involved in three business ventures on top of my long days in the Army.

Whenever I do have free time that could be spent gaming, I would much rather read books on leadership and personal development. Basically I have stopped spending all of my free time on video games and have been investing that time in my future. It feels great!

I am nearing the end of my five-year commitment with the Army and am looking forward to going back to NC State University.

Instead of looking forward to all of the free time I will have to play games, I am actually excited to go back to learn and meet new people. I haven’t completely stopped playing video games, but it probably averages out to about one hour per week, if that.

I’m sure many of you at some point have wished you could get all of the hours you have spent gaming back, and use them for something else. I know I have.

You Have the Power to Change Yourself

motivational quote

There is no Universal Law that says that you have to be the same person you were yesterday. You can continue down the path you are on and live a life full of regret and mediocrity, or you can decide to pursue your dreams that you have pushed to the side in order to make room for gaming.

You have the power make something of yourself and change the world around you, but you will never be able to achieve anything truly great if you spend all of your time on games. The choice is yours. No one else can make it for you.

Learn more about Adam’s story by watching his YouTube videos.

After her experience with Adam, his mother, Melanie, started an organization called Families Managing Media to help other parents understand how to successfully navigate the role technology and gaming play in the lives of their children.

“How would I personally describe the 90 day detox? You come back to be yourself.” – tirEdOrange

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The world seems crazy around you as soon as you realize how much you numbed yourself with games.

We are all so much more than we realize and as long as we numb our consciousness with gaming we only paralyze ourselves to the point where we become desperate and don’t know what to do.

There are no words to describe the value that the 90 day detox provides.

From completing the 90 day detox, here are 5 tips that will help you successfully complete yours:

1. Make a Journal.

You probably won’t believe it at first but this is some miracle stuff right here. Writing a journal on the Game Quitters Forum is something that will change you, not because people here are telling you how to live your life the right way (which they don’t do).

It is because you learn how to talk to yourself. How to listen to yourself. You start to get in touch with yourself and this is a very, if not the most, important lesson to learn during your journey.

“Making this daily journal has had a huge impact. It’s become an accountability habit.” – ors_tyrael

2. Follow the steps of Respawn.

Your first few days will potentially be filled with all kinds of physical and psychological issues and cravings, but it probably sounds worse than it is. It is a crazy time in the beginning, and you should acknowledge yourself for every day that you successfully complete.

The steps outlined in Respawn will help you during these initial challenges, as they show you how to handle all these crazy experiences and emotions, and help you understand how to endure them without simply giving up.

3. You will grow during the process.

This whole 90 day detox felt so overwhelmingly undoable at some points, so don’t give up if you feel like you can’t do it. I can assure you: You can!

If you need support, then seek it on the forum, because you will get it. It is simply great that this forum helps a lot. Tasks that seemed very hard in the beginning will become easy in the end, and you will grow stronger in so many ways that you will be able to handle a lot of different situations.

4. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

I’m very good at being too hard on myself… of expecting perfect results from myself, or seeing them as a failure if I do not achieve them. This is the reason why I had some of my problems: because in the end, a goal that has no potential for failure is a road that has no potential for victory.

The experiences that you earn during your journey are the most important thing, so if you make mistakes from time to time, don’t worry, just get back on track as soon as possible, and keep going!

5. It is never too late.

You know that feeling when you’ve taken a moment for yourself in the past and realized that you’ve lost a couple of years to this gaming addiction of yours… that you didn’t even really realize it until recently?

I felt very insecure about the fact that I simply lost so many years during my addiction, and if I’m honest then I am still a little bit insecure about it at the moment because it still affects my life right now but… you will learn during the detox that there is no reason to be insecure about it.

The “ideal way that everyone should go” is just an illusion. There is no time limit that tells you that you can’t start your life again right now. You can start it again anytime.

This is the core of my experiences during my 90 day detox. It opened my eyes and helped me to quit what destroyed me. Gaming was something that distracted me from my life, but the detox did more than just help me quit playing video games: it helped me to let go of everything that pulled me down these past few years.

I still have to deal with the consequences from all this, but hell, I’m so happy right now that I could cry tears. Go and enjoy your new life and all the things around you! 🙂

This post originally appeared on the Game Quitters Forum. Minor edits for grammar.

“Instead of completing an assignment over the weekend, I spent 32 hours straight finishing Dark Souls 1.”

photo-1472457897821-70d3819a0e24

It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly my gaming experience began. The earliest memory I have is when I was 5 years old, roughly 16 years ago. My dad introduced me to the classic games of the Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64.

As I grew up I became more interested in gaming. I had a cousin who was a year older than me, and we always lived close to each other.

So back in the days when online gaming didn’t exist, it was easy for us to walk to the other’s home, stick on whatever co-op game we felt like (usually Baldur’s Gate, Dynasty Warriors or Star Wars Battlefront), and play for hours.

Online Gaming. Blessing or Curse?

It was almost a natural progression in secondary school. As online gaming was introduced through Xbox Live, it became the norm for every single person I knew to own an Xbox 360. Combine this with Call of Duty and FIFA, and it’s a recipe for disaster. I think I racked up over 100 days playtime on Call of Duty 4, 5, and 6 combined!

I was always an active kid, involved in sports, music, scouting, and spent a lot of time outside. But as I got older, I started spending more of my time upstairs in front of a screen. My daily routine was usually along the lines of waking up, going to school, come home and meet everyone online, eat dinner, and then go back online to play away the rest of the evening.

Go to university… Get a job… Live a happy life… Or so they say.

Like everyone else, however, I never really viewed it as a problem. It was what everyone did. I managed to stay on top of my studies, doing decently well at school and college. It wasn’t until I went on to study Physics at university that I noticed a problem.

I Hated University.

Not a real picture of Jimmy.

Not a real picture of Jimmy.

Let me clarify, I loved the people, the social aspect and the freedom. But I hated the work. Every single assignment (and I mean every single one) was completed the night before the due date.

It got pretty bad in my first year. So bad in fact, that instead of completing an assignment over the weekend, I spent 32 hours straight finishing Dark Souls 1.

I didn’t eat during this time. I stayed in my dark room, which luckily had an en-suite, and I only got up to get water or go to the bathroom. But hey, I completed it! That’s what I get for taking my gaming PC to university.

The second year of university I ditched the PC, left it at home, and bought an Xbox One. Why was it so impossible for me to be without a console? People don’t get addicted to video games, do they?

It wasn’t until my final year that things really took a turn for the worse.

After failing a couple of my exams for the first time in years, and not being able to find the energy to even get out of bed in the morning, a friend of mine thought that it would be a good idea to seek professional help.

Depressed? Me? That’s Not Right..?

The verdict? Moderately severe depression.

Wait, what? I’m not depressed. I’m just miserable. I’m not depressed, I just procrastinate a lot. I couldn’t get my head around it, and yet, something seemed to resonate. I started thinking back to secondary school, and the thoughts I used to have. I never thought anything of it at the time, but looking back it all makes sense.

As you can probably imagine, from this point onwards things started spiraling rapidly. My grades suffered, I stopped turning up to lectures, and I’d spend hours every day playing FIFA on my Xbox. I became detached from my friends, staying put in my room until I was forced to get out of bed. I hated everything.

Come on, It’s Just One Dissertation..?

It got to the point where I couldn’t even write my dissertation. I managed to get an extension to give me a couple of months to work on it and prepare myself for the upcoming exams. I only had to do two of them, but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t do it. I hated it. I’d forced myself into believing that nothing would ever work, regardless of how hard I tried. Goodbye, job opportunities.

However, after dropping out of university 2 months from finishing, something strange happened. My outlook on life changed completely. I’m not saying I miraculously cured my depression and was a bouncing bundle of energy. But something was different.

A Light in the Dark?

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I’d been passionate about entrepreneurship since the start of my second year of university. I loved the idea of personal development and self-help, and planned to start my own business after I finished my studies.

It wasn’t until a prolific online mentor that I followed, Stefan James Pylarinos, released a course on how to become an affiliate marketer online, that I decided to make a change.

I’d never really done anything that spontaneously, so dropping £1200 (which was basically all of my money) on a course was really out of my comfort zone. But something about it felt right.

It was also around this time that I was recommended a Game Quitters video on YouTube. Holy s***. Why didn’t I find out about this years ago?

Naturally, I did what any normal person would do and binge watched a bunch of Cam’s videos. Shortly after, I made the decision to quit gaming. Bearing in mind I’d just discovered Skyrim mods, Dark Souls 3 and Overwatch. It was probably one of the most difficult times for me to quit.

But I was committed. I introduced myself on the forums, started a journal, and carried out the 90-day detox.

Pain Is Temporary.

These 90 days had a much more profound effect on my life than I could ever imagine.

It’s almost indescribable. During these 3 months, I’ve created two businesses, ran a half marathon, became involved with photography, started killing it with my workout habits in the gym, cleaned up my diet, and I’ve got so much more energy than I ever had before.

It wasn’t easy. There were some dark times during the detox. The cravings became so bad at some points that I had to force myself to not even look at the computer. I’d get out the house and just walk. As long as I could. But it was all worth it.

If any of you are interested about my personal outdoor business you can find it here. If you’re a student and you’re interested in contributing to my non-profit student education site, or even just to get some advice and support, you can find that here. The sites are still pretty young, but I’ve got some big visions for the future!

A Final Thanks to the People That Saved My Life.

Finally, I just want to give a huge thanks to Cam and the Game Quitters community. You guys got me through it, and were so supportive at every step of the journey, I really don’t know how I can ever thank you. But I’ll find a way!

If anyone is reading this and you’re on the fence about quitting, or you’re struggling to make it through your detox. I really recommend you to become more involved in the community. Interact with people and make friends. Keep yourself on top of your journal, and I swear the time will fly by. You’ve got this.

“I didn’t have a job, and I wasn’t looking. When my girlfriend would leave the house for work, I would boot up my computer and open a bottle.”

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When I was 6 years old my family got a PC and I started playing games like SkiFree, Keen, GTA, and Lemmings.

As a restless child who was constantly battling boredom, video games provided me with the stimulation I desired. They were simply more fun than any other activity, and it was exciting to be in control!

I felt like the master of my small computer generated universe – it gave me a sense of power which I lacked in my real life.

I Kept Gaming Every Chance I Got.

I made friends in school and my parents made me join a few hobbies. But I knew what I wanted to be doing; I wanted to be playing games.

My humble beginnings transformed into a serious problem when I got my own computer. I’m still not sure why my parents thought that was a good idea – I’m pretty sure they saw what a little addict I was. But alas, I got a refurbished PC in my own room around the age of 13, and ever since then it was game over.

I spent all my free time behind that monitor, gaming or internet browsing until early morning on school nights. Self control and awareness weren’t in my agenda. The games I played evolved as well. I picked up big titles from Blizzard like WC3 and WoW, and a whole slew of Steam games to boot.

Online Gaming Became My Go-To.

It gave me a sense of connection and community. I sorely needed some kind of human contact, and these games provided me with just enough pseudo-connection to keep me pacified.

I’m not proud of it, but I gamed my college experience away too. My dorm mates were all gamers, so it was easy to continue my compulsive computer use. Hardcore gaming hurt my grades, destroyed my sleep schedule, and stunted my personal development.

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I didn’t outgrow my shyness, in fact, it got worse. And I hadn’t even hit rock bottom yet. Around 2011 I found my raison d’etre: drunk Dota2.

Let me preface this with a little bit about myself. I have an addictive personality and alcoholism runs in my family. The combination of booze and a Skinner-Box MOBA game created an unholy blissful paradise.

Just One More Game… Just One More Drink…

Amidst the hangovers and sleepless nights, I somehow graduated college. I moved into a small apartment with my then girlfriend, and proceeded to bloom into a full blown alcoholic and Dota2 addict.

I didn’t have a job, and I wasn’t looking. When my girlfriend would leave the house for work, I would boot up my computer and open a bottle.

At this point I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t care. I resigned my fate to a rollercoaster of drugs and video games. Full steam ahead! That is, until the morning that I threw up blood… “I guess I’m dying” I thought to myself, “Fuck”.

I want to tell you that this was the moment when I turned my life around 180 degrees. But how do you steer a life with 20 years of momentum behind it? Little by little.

I knew I needed help, but I was not ready to join an in-person support group. So I began lurking around reddit groups like /r/stopdrinking, /r/stopgaming, /r/nosurf.

Communities That Changed My Life.

I read stories, posted my own ramblings, and found solace in our shared struggle and pain. As I see it, these groups gave me a sense of belonging, and created meaning in my life.

Even with the best intentions, quitting an addiction is no easy feat. I relapsed over and over again. I would fall down, and I would get back up. I would delete Dota2 and pour my liquor down the drain, only to reinstall and buy more in a matter of days. But the intention to quit was there, I had a burning desire to overcome my addictions.

After a year of relapses and failed promises, I decided that enough was enough.

I had proven to myself that I couldn’t keep my convictions. Something had to change. And that something was my environment. As long as I had my gaming computer, I would game. This thought crystallized within my mind during yet another sleepless night where I played Dota2 until 6am.

I hated myself. I hated my life. Enough was enough.

I ripped the hard drive out of my PC, packed up my rig, and started driving to the dump. With tears in my eyes, I violently threw my tormentor into a dumpster. I would later regret not selling my PC instead, but at least my impulsively desperate act makes for a good story!

So that’s my past. I’m not proud of the way I spent my time, but it has created an unyielding fervor to better myself and help others who share my struggles.

Two Years Sober and Game Free!

Although life isn’t magically perfect now, I am proud of who I am and how I spend my time. Was quitting games worth it? YES, absolutely.

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My journey has created a uniquely clearheaded perspective on the overuse of technology, and what it can do to your life. I feel passionately that our society is headed in the wrong direction, and that our device use has become a problem.

Specifically, young men are prone to video game addiction, and people of all ages are apt to overuse social media and smartphones. Our devices are tools. They are useful. But when mindlessly overused they can greatly damage the quality of our lives.

I have thus created an online presence, MindfulFinn, to promote the mindful use of technology. You can follow my journey on YouTube and Instagram.

Thanks Cam and Game Quitters for spreading awareness about video game addiction. We’re all in this together.

“Because no matter how much I game, the void was never filled, I was never happy. In fact, I became more miserable than ever.”

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I can vividly remember sitting in front of my triple-monitor setup, contemplating my whole life at the end of summer break, wondering why am I still miserable while having the coolest video games, the most advanced gaming equipment and the “cool” identity of being a gamer?

Ever since I started gaming (7 years old), I noticed something within myself. A sense of dissatisfaction, a hole that needed to be filled.

But as a kid, I didn’t really have many ideas about how to go about filling up this sense of void… So I did the only thing I could: play more video games! Well, everyone else is doing it, and they all seemed to be happy and joyous, also it can’t possibly lead me down the wrong track in life, right??

As I was attempting to fill up the hole with more gaming, my constructed identity: “Gamer” grew bigger and bigger.

It got to a point where I stopped seeing myself as a good student so I neglected school work. I stopped seeing myself as a social person so I neglected my social life. I stopped seeing myself as a nice and caring son so I neglected family.

Most importantly, I stopped seeing my authentic self.

All those things added up into a lifestyle of “living for gaming’s sake.” One of my favorite activities was to come back home on Friday night, neglecting all my homework and assignments, and hop onto my PlayStation and play Battlefield Hardline with my buddy Andy.

Sure, the lower part of myself was very excited by all the stimulation provided by gaming, but my higher self sensed something was else. It acknowledged that perhaps something isn’t really working… Because no matter how much I game, the void was never filled, I was never happy. In fact, I became more miserable than ever.

Not only was the void not filled, but also my confidence eroded, my higher values squandered, my passions and the love for my life waned. But the lower self is still too unconscious and close-minded, so I continued to buy more games, pursue better rankings, wishing that someday the void will be finally filled…

My Turning Point:

This story happened back in mid 2015, the two-week summer break. I spent the entire holiday gaming 6-8 hours a day and lived life as a legitimate “gamer.”

I drank soda, ate a lot of junk food, didn’t come out of my bedroom for dinner, and didn’t attempt to attend any social events. The process was very stimulating and exciting in the first week, but as that enthusiasm wore off, a scary truth started to uncover itself…

The truth that no matter how hard I try, there is no way out, and gaming will never bring me fulfillment and happiness and the ultimate satisfaction that I was lusting after this entire time.

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It got to a point where all I did was continuing going through the motions of gaming without really enjoying any of it, because my mind was controlled by video games like a puppeteer, and me myself, the puppet.

I remember sitting in front of the glowing screens, viewing my life objectively with brutal honesty for the first time.

I asked myself: “Is this all there is? Is this what my authentic self wants to be like? Is there another way? Am I diluting myself?”

I was tired of all this non-sense, tired of being controlled by this puppet master since I was a kid, tired of not finding something that truly fulfills me, tired of being shy and having low self-esteem, tired of not having a passion to follow and most importantly, tired of living this identity of a “gamer”.

Right on the spot, I made a bold decision: I’m going to quit playing video games.

Instantly, a new horizon opened up for me as I made the decision. I saw a more passionate, a more loving, a more confident, a more self-actualized human being waiting for me on the other side of the barrier.

Interestingly enough, the day after I decided to quit, my friend Mark asked me if I wanted to sell my PlayStation 4. My original intention was to keep my PlayStation and to game in moderation, but my intuition told me that selling the console is probably the best decision there is.

So that’s exactly what I did: I packed everything up and sold that pile of equipment which symbolized misery, dissatisfaction, hopelessness, low self-esteem and most importantly: my identity as a gamer…

How My Life Changed:

Sure, the withdrawals were tough. But my cold turkey approach and the compelling vision I created pulled me through the entire 90 day detox. Also Cam’s videos helped me out a great bunch, too. (Thanks, Cam.)

After the 90 days, I felt like a radically different person.

downloadI started defining my authentic values, I became really passionate about my education and transformed myself into a top-performing student; I became so much more confident and social, and I found my passion for practical psychology and started my podcast.

Listen to my interview with Cam: How to break your gaming addiction.

Most importantly, I finally experienced the bliss from living my life to the fullest. Today my commitment is to a life-long study of personal development, and to live the most extraordinary life possible.

What is your commitment? What do you want out of life? Share your answer in the comments: