18-30

“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.

I grew up as an average kid riding bikes and playing soccer. I got good grades in school, and never had a gaming console growing up. Sure, I played video games with the family PC but my gaming was kept in check by my strict parents. I never thought I had a gaming addiction.

Then university came along.

I purposefully chose a school far away from home to experience independence. While I did grow tremendously living far from home, there were no parents to tell me to stop when my gaming got out of hand.

I played all sorts of games (mostly MMO RPG’s, and League of Legends) and would often skip lectures to play. The only thing that kept my gaming in check was the very real fear of dropping out of school, and I would somehow not game during key points of the year such as midterms week, finals week, and the few days before a big project due date.

I had bad grades, but somehow, I didn’t fail any courses. I consider myself VERY lucky that it wasn’t much worse.

I Was Given a Second Chance and I Almost Blew It

Despite my bad grades, I managed to land a summer internship. Even to this day, I have no idea how I landed that job, and I honestly think all the other candidates chose another job, so the company had the choice of having no intern or hiring me. Lucky for me that they did, as my bad grades were preventing me from finding anything, and I was heavily regretting my gaming habits through university.

The internship felt like a 2nd chance. I worked hard. Sometimes, crazy hard. I would average 60-80hrs of work a week. While the other interns were out enjoying parties or travelling, I was working hard, determined to not let my 2nd chance escape. My efforts paid off, and I got a full-time offer. I was due to start after my graduation.

Fast forward a few years. I was working full time, and was ‘gaming in moderation‘. There were a couple of sleepless nights of gaming here and there, and the job kept my gaming in check, but that was about it.

My schedule was work, sleep, game. I would attempt to get out and socialize but would soon give up and go back to gaming. And, now that I was getting comfortable with this new life, I felt my gaming time was slowly increasing.

I just got accepted into Grad School, which I had planned to attend part-time after work. However, seeing how my university years have gone, I knew that if I continued to game, I would get horrible grades again, and would be wasting a lot of money to not really learn anything.

Now, let’s take a breather from the story for a moment. Seeing how gaming was wrecking my grades, and I was stuck in this boring routine, I attempted many, many times to try and quit gaming in college.

Here are the methods I’ve tried:

  • Gaming “in moderation” by sticking to a schedule – didn’t work. I would always say “1 more game”.
  • Deleting games – With modern internet, it is so easy to reinstall games. With a fresh PC, I can get a solid high-quality game up and running in less than 30min.
  • Try other things like exercising and studying – gaming is more fun and rewarding
  • Switch my PC operating system to Linux – This actually worked for a few weeks. The problem is, if your machine is powerful enough, there are plenty of Linux games available, and with the right set of knowledge, you can get most Windows games to work on Linux no problem…

gaming and college

It Was Time to Turn My Life Around

Back to the story. With Grad School just around the corner, I knew I couldn’t stick to the methods that have failed for me in the past. I needed to quit COLD TURKEY.

To me, this is what it meant:

  • Ask Riot Games to delete my League of Legends account. They will do this for you, after warning you that there is no going back.
  • I had NDS and 3DS console and games at the time. I gave them all to friends that wanted them.
  • I reinstalled Windows on my laptop and gave it to my parents who live a couple of thousand miles away.

Also, since I can’t not have a laptop, I got a crappy $250 Linux laptop that can watch videos and do office work. Most 3D games will probably not run on this system.

I found this step to be the most crucial. It’s very hard to stay connected with family and friends and do basic photo/file management without a computer, but not have the temptation to game. So I found this to be a good middle ground. Also, once you get used to a Linux system, it’s no different than using Windows.

The first couple of months were the toughest. I craved gaming so much and was depressed for long hours, but I had gotten rid of all temptations to get through it. After doing this, I successfully quit gaming for a whole year!

And this is what I accomplished in that year:

  • 4 quarters of grad studies with A’s in most of the courses
  • Went on 5 separate camping trips
  • Learned rock climbing. The highest level I succeeded was a V4 in bouldering (climbing without a rope)
  • Went back-packing to the lovely Havasupai Falls
  • Watched the first 6 seasons of Game of Thrones (ok, this has nothing to do with quitting gaming).
  • Tried Surfing. I managed to stand up twice!
  • Visited Sedona in Arizona.
  • Paddled in a Whitewater Rafting trip, twice.
  • Ran 2 Half-Marathons (a full marathon is still too much for me…)
  • Went Skydiving from 13000ft
  • Logged an average of 1.5hrs of biking EVERY DAY (totalling your car helps, though I don’t blame that on gaming)

Amazing right?! And I was just an average single guy working a 9-5 job and gaming for the remainder of the day. I was literally at the height of my physical performance, at the ripe old age of 28.

I am so glad that I quit gaming.

Then I Met My Girlfriend…

I wish that the story ends there, but it does not. After 1 year of no gaming, I met the girl of my dreams. She is funny, smart, cute, shares a lot of my hobbies, and is overall, an amazing person to be around. I also found that she is a gamer that plays League of Legends. The game whose account I deleted a year ago!

I wanted to share as many hobbies with her as much possible, so I got another laptop and installed League back on it. I argued that this was to get closer with the girl I liked and that I would only play with her, and never alone or with others.

It worked for the first few months. Sharing a hobby with someone you like is an amazing feeling. Eventually, I asked her out, and we became a couple. Naturally, our game time together increased.

However, as we played, I noticed a lot of toxic players which brought my mood down.

I especially hated when a mistake I made led to her death (in the game of course). In an attempt to compensate for this, I wanted to play more, to get better.

However, unlike me, my girlfriend is someone that can actually game in moderation. She would only play a few hours a week, and there would be days when she simply does not feel like playing, so I started to also have times when I played alone. This time gradually increased, and when I met especially toxic players, I switched to other games. This went on for about a year.

After a year of gaming again, I noticed a change in my behaviour. I noticed that I was less and less patient with people around me, including my girlfriend. When I was at work, I was secretly searching for gaming strategies. When I was not gaming, I was thinking about gaming, and when my girlfriend was talking to me, it was getting harder and harder to focus. After 20 hours of gaming in a weekend, I knew that I had become addicted again.

I told my girlfriend that I was going on a video game detox.

It is a shame that we can’t enjoy video games together anymore, but I got some key takeaways from this experience:

  • For some people, gaming relapses can come in huge waves. For me, it was subtle. So subtle, in fact, that I didn’t even realize it until I was addicted again.
  • Some people are more prone to gaming addiction. My girlfriend has been gaming since she was a kid, and even now, she can game in moderation and has a healthy relationship with this activity.
  • I was much more willing to do chores and be helpful to others since I have a lot more time.
  • I did my homework early! I can’t remember the last time I’ve ever done that in my life.
  • I was more attentive and focused on the present. Daydreaming about gaming was also an addiction. But without gaming, the endless daydreaming had also gone away.

I plan to continue with this detox, and the eventual goal is to never play video games again. I know I will get urges, and I may reason myself back to gaming again, but this 2nd time is much easier than the first, and I know if there ever is a 3rd time, it will be even easier.

Story submitted by Jason.

It was Christmas 2001, 4 days after I turned 6 years old, when my family – at the request of my older brother – got an Xbox.

From then on, up until I was 22, gaming was my main source of entertainment. It was how I de-stressed; it was how I passed time; it was how I interacted with my two brothers and the few friends I made. I didn’t play outside much. I never learned how to ride a bike or swim. And my visits to the beach decreased significantly.

Back then, gaming was still pretty outside of the mainstream, and massively multiplayer was only just beginning. I grew up with the mindset of an outcast. I wasn’t good at the things everyone else was – sports, making friends, etc. In fact, I have a very distinct memory of some time in elementary school when two girls in the neighbourhood came to my house to invite me out to play, and I pretended to be sick so I could avoid interacting.

Instead, I played video games.

I Hid Who I Was to Make Friends

I think the beginning of my change towards gaming began when I made a class presentation in 8th grade and suddenly realized I was pretty good at public speaking. This led me to have the confidence to speak more, but I was still incredibly insecure about having such a gaming-oriented childhood.

I intentionally water damaged our Xbox 360 to stop myself from playing it

So, to impress people and relate to them, I ended up developing a lying problem. I would tell people grand stories of what I did in my free time and how active a person I was, when in reality, when I got off the bus from school, I went to my room and played Halo, Runescape, Mass Effect, Command and Conquer, etc. I told people I hunted (I’d never held a gun in my life). I told people I played lacrosse (never held a lacrosse stick in my life).

You get the picture.

Eventually, I ended up getting caught in some lies (I think it was about the hunting), and a group of kids bullied me for this, which rocked my confidence for a while. But in high school, still feeling the urge to socialize but now knowing not to do it through lies, I ended up making friends with a lot of gamers. Desperate to fit in and finally have a social circle, I adopted their habits. I played even more games in different genres on different platforms. I watched the same Let’s Plays they did. I even decided to take STEM classes in high school just so I could be around these people who accepted me.

This ended up having a very strange negative consequence: I went to university for electrical engineering, because that was my background in high school and what all my friends were doing, but I’m not an engineer. Needless to say, all the math courses and engineering courses were really difficult for me, and I struggled through my freshman year. All the way, I de-stressed with video games. My sophomore year, I ended up leaving school to try to explore new things, but I mostly spent my time at home playing video games, and when it came time to decide what to do with my life, I reluctantly returned to engineering school.

It Was Time to Make a Change

This was when I decided to experiment with quitting video games, having identified them as a key point of failure in my freshman year. So, upon my return, I cut myself off from games, and it worked well for a while. Periodically, at stressful times, I would play, but once a test or big homework assignment was out of the way, I successfully returned to my gaming embargo.

I flourished during these times of cutting out gaming. Even though I don’t like engineering, I did pretty well in the courses. I formed a huge friend group out of studying for, and persevering through, difficult classes together. While it still wasn’t perfect (because I didn’t care for STEM), it was much better than having a friendship group based around my addiction.

I’ve had a number of relapses since quitting gaming that first time, but I’ve always gone back to trying to get away from them. Unfortunately, my relationship with my brother Ryan being largely based around video games doesn’t help.

Things were at their worst when I moved in with him to save money while starting my first engineering job out of college. His entire life is gaming, and suddenly mine was as well.

One night, I realized how far I’d fallen back into my addiction, and I had what I can only describe as a panic attack. I was so afraid that video games would be all I ever did with my life that I intentionally water damaged our Xbox 360 to stop myself from playing it. It’s not something I’m proud of, because it was shared property (if not more so his), but I believe it was something I needed to do to help myself at that moment.

I deleted my Steam account, but unfortunately, living with him pressured me into recreating one, because it’s the main way I relate to him and I want to be a good brother.

I also sold my gaming computer and bought a laptop that can’t run anything but games from several years ago, so no new releases for me.

I started seeing a therapist for the depression and anxiety that I believe are heavily rooted in my background in gaming.

Just in the past two months, I’ve had a terrible relapse, where I ended up installing a bunch of games from this new Steam account on that laptop.

But I’m quitting again. Just now, I changed my Steam account password to one of those randomly generated Google ones and didn’t save it, so I’m locked out of my account. The thing for me is: if I don’t have easy access, I won’t go out of my way to game. I see it for what it is in my life now, so as long as it’s out of harms reach then I’m safe.

I didn’t delete my Steam account again, because I knew how much it hurt my brother when he learned I deleted my old one, and he gets very defensive when I try to discuss my gaming addiction with him. I think this pathway will hopefully let me slowly grow into new pursuits and maybe reforge our relationship in different areas.

Gaming Stopped Me from Pursuing My Dreams

I want to change careers out of the software engineering job I don’t like that I have now. I want to get into writing and acting because those have always been things I’ve felt compelled to do. I’m working towards those goals now, taking some classes on the side.

I’ve been writing my short stories and beginning some novels. I’m going to start posting on Medium, covering the subjects of video game addiction, Internet addiction, and switching career paths after college (a few things I feel competent in discussing). I’m picking up drums, too, which I always wanted to learn to play.

I feel like a creative person with a lot of drive and motivation and energy who has just been held hostage by video games all their life. I have a lot of regret for wasting my entire childhood, but I’m glad that, at 23, I’m able to move on in a healthier direction.

I have a lot of animosity towards gaming and, in some way, myself. When I saw the recent video: “Is gaming a waste of time?” I immediately answered “yes,” and there’s a part of me, I must admit, who dislikes people who argue that they’re wonderful and amazing and the best thing that ever happened to entertainment. In reality, the better part of me knows that they are simply able to have a different relationship with games than I am.

Anyway, I guess the message of my story thus far is that I may stumble and fall, but at least I’m getting up each time and moving in the right direction.

I just wanted to thank you (Cam) again for being one of the few people I know talking about this serious issue. I think more and more people are discussing the impacts of social media and the internet and hikikomori (I think that’s the shut-in culture in Japan), but very little of the conversation has extended to video games, which I believe is a huge part of it all.

It’s really heartwarming that, even when my mom and brother express doubts about how video games have negatively influenced my life, there is someone out there who has a similar relationship with them and knows the dangers they hold for some of us.

Thank you and Game Quitters so much!

Sincerely,
Tom.

Hello. My name’s Vadim and I’m from Russia.

I’m 27 and I’ve been playing video games for more than 22 years – since I was 4. I had an NES at first, but very soon I got a computer that had DOS OS and had a few basic games on it. But then I upgraded in 1999, letting me play games like Starcraft, Unreal Tournament, Half-Life, Quake and more.

I would play for hours until I needed to stop because my parents told me to. But when my parents were away I’d try to play as much as I possibly could.

My Gaming Problem Became a Health Problem

I loved playing video games so much, and I was genuinely passionate about them. I excelled in school, so my parents didn’t see any problems with my gaming. But soon I got a better computer, PSP, laptop, and so I could play more whenever I wanted. I would play at nights and then sleep for 4 hours before school.

Gaming was so enjoyable that I didn’t think there was a problem. I was a smart child, and had some good friends, but I was shy and unconfident. At one point I accidentally found that if I didn’t play for more than 2 days, I became much more confident and had better self-esteem. However, that went away when I started to play games again. I remembered it very well at the time, and it helped me to quit gaming in the future.

At this point in my life, my health started to decline very rapidly. Anxiety and exhaustion started to creep in. I ended up going to university, where I needed to study even more. But I preferred to play video games and as a result, didn’t sleep enough. This caused my health to decline even more.

At some point, it got so bad I needed to quit university so that I could recover. But I couldn’t do it for very long. I wasn’t healthy, I had almost no friends, and gaming became my coping mechanism. I was very depressed and lonely.

Video games were the only thing I loved.

Did I Really Enjoy Gaming?

After some time, I started to read about healthy diets, lifestyle, stress, meditation and so on. I started to implement it in my life and my health began to improve. This allowed me to finish university and ended up getting a job. This was the first time I started to think about how video games influenced my life and my body. For example, I’ve found that if I play video games I lose the motivation to go to work for days, I get low self-esteem, become anxious, and fall into depression.

I started to ask myself “Why do I love gaming? Why do I love walking and speaking with people in a game and why do I love working in a game but not in real life?”

So I started to read information about how video games affect the human body, the brain and the nervous system and found out about dopamine. Then I started to read about other addictions that were actually very similar to my love of gaming. This is when I started to experiment with quitting gaming. But I didn’t know how to stop playing.

I stopped for a month as an experiment, and it was very difficult and unpleasant, and then I started gaming again. But after several months I found the Game Quitters channel. I learnt about the 90 days detox and promised to try it.

meditating and reading

Quitting Gaming Was Harder than I Expected

It was incredibly difficult. I felt very severe and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. When you play games for 22 years and then stop, you find that you do not have anything else in your life. You do not have friends, you do not have any social skills to find them, all you know is gaming.

I made the decision to finish the 90-day detox. My life was a complete mess and I needed to stop playing games. The videos on Game Quitters helped me A LOT, as well as their podcast about video game addiction. The first 40 days were the most difficult, but then to my surprise I started reading books with PLEASURE, like if I would play games. It was very unusual.

Once a week or two I had severe urges to play, and the last big was on about day 84. I think it was the last resort for my brain to return to play video games and it was almost successful. But, after 2 hours, it subsided and I never had a big urge to play games again.

So I completed a 90-day detox and decided that I’m never going back to video games again.

Gaming was my life and my identity. It was me. I loved them with all my heart. After the 90 day detox, which is nothing compared to 22 years, gaming was no longer my identity. I have found the real me – the man who wants to live in the real world, who wants to read many books, speak with many people, and have good friends.

One thing that helped a lot was realising I had an addiction, not a love of gaming. I would say that I even have some antipathy to games now, that never give you real happiness.

It was difficult during the first few months, but my skills grew incredibly. I think for the first time in 9 years I’ve found new friends. My life has improved so much. I don’t think about video games every minute anymore, I feel free from them.

I do not need this overstimulation to function anymore and I don’t feel the desire to play games at all. I’m never going to play them again.

My Advice on How to Quit Gaming

  • Study addictions and learn how they work. Underneath the surface, they’re all very similar. If you understand how they work, you will understand what you feel and why.
  • Watch Game Quitters. Without it, I would never stop playing video games (thanks Cam :D)
  • Read testimonials. Game Quitters has loads of case studies from ex-gamers
  • Do meditation every day. You will find why you play and why you need to stop.
  • If you have an urge, call or text someone. I don’t know why, but it helped a lot.
  • Go for a walk if you have an urge for an hour or two
  • Cry if you want to
  • Be positive. If you struggle, just know that it will go away eventually
  • Read books about the problems you have. For example, if you have problems with socialisation, read books about it. If you have health problems then read about them. It definitely helps.

So good luck you guys. There is a much better, happy and fulfilling life outside gaming.

My name is Austin Tuwiner and I’m a 21-year-old digital nomad. I’ve been travelling the world for over 9 months now. Video games have had an enormous impact on my life, so I’d like to share my experiences with them, hopefully resulting in helping someone’s life for the better.

I’m writing this post from a coffee shop in Buenos Aires, Argentina; reflecting on just how far I’ve come. A place I never imagined myself going to (or even knowing it existed) during the period of my life that I was consumed by the video game world.

Before we go any further, I’d like to clarify that I do still enjoy playing the occasional video game. After discussing my story and how gaming addiction has affected my life, I’ll share some tips on how I’ve been able to find balance and reintroduce them to my life.

My First Video Games

I don’t remember what video game was my first love. If I had to guess, it would be Pokemon Crystal or one of the Mario games. To this day I have amazing memories playing on my GameBoy and Nintendo with my siblings and friends. On a snow day (no school due to snow), my brother, sister, and I would sleep in and play games like Super Smash Bros and Mario together.

As time went on, I upgraded consoles to an Xbox 360 and played more and more mature-rated games. I think this is truly where the first issues started to appear. I began playing games like Halo 3 and Call of Duty at 15 years old. Immediately after coming home from middle school, my friends and I would boot up our Xbox’s and spend the entire day online chatting and gaming with each other.

We’d only surface for food. Oh, and homework.

Due tomorrow meant do tomorrow. Without a doubt, video games had an impact on my grades.

After playing Xbox for many years, I upgraded to PC gaming. If I had to pick a video game I spent the most time and money on there would be no comparison. It’s League of Legends by far.

Read: How to Quit Playing League of Legends

I’m a pretty competitive person which is an extremely dangerous combination when paired with player vs player video games. I was addicted to improving my craft and reaching the highest rank possible.

When I wasn’t able to play video games, I’d be watching Youtube and Twitch gameplay of professionals in order to get better.

My mind was ALWAYS on video games. What builds to try, what the coolest new strategy was, or the next game I was going to play. All of this took me out of the present moment. In school, on the bus, or mid-conversation I’d be thinking about video games.

The highest rank I ever achieved in League of Legends was Diamond 3, around the top .3% of all players.

At the time, this was a massive accomplishment.

Looking back?

It’s a trophy showing how much of my life I wasted for a game I’ll never play again. A few years from now, you won’t care about your rank, your special skin collection, or any other virtual accolade. You only have one life, why waste time playing and earning virtual awards?

I couldn’t even tell you how many aspects of my life were neglected due to my PC gaming addiction. I played PC games all throughout high school until I finally quit towards the end of senior year.

Let me tell you how I did it.

xbox 360 addiction

How To Quit Playing Video Games

Whenever I’m trying to quit a habit, I found that nuclear options are the best and maybe the only way. I specifically remember this video that convinced me I had to commit to quitting gaming.

I deleted all my accounts and listed my $1000+ custom built gaming computer on eBay.

What did I do when my computer was sold?

Began playing Xbox again.

My Xbox was the next to go. I removed all possible video games and systems from my life. I had an enormous amount of time now. My days felt so much longer. I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Eventually, after doing some research and finding sites like Game Quitters, I decided to take action and find new hobbies.

Find New Hobbies

There’s a saying – “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Quitting video games will be near impossible without finding new hobbies.

With all of this extra time, I picked up activities such as scuba diving, bouldering, and travelling. I even started my own digital marketing businesses that I use to fund my travels and lifestyle.

By delving pretty deep into each of these hobbies’ respective communities, I’ve met more friends and made more high-quality relationships than I ever could have imagined.

It was difficult for me to leave behind all of my gaming friends. Some I knew in real life, and others I never even met. I had a lot of gaming friends. I even thought I had “deep” relationships with them.

Ever since I “quit” gaming, I don’t really hear from them. They’re good people and I hope to see them succeed in life. It just won’t be at my table.

How to Play Video Games in Moderation

After I took some time off from gaming, found new hobbies, and got my priorities straight, I wanted to find a way to introduce video games back into my life. When your life becomes so busy and fun that there’s little time to game, I think it’s possible to play video games responsibly.

Here’s how I’ve done it.

Avoid ‘Time Suck’ Games

One way I’ve found to limit video games is by avoiding the endless time-suck grind games. I don’t go anywhere near the endless grind video games I used to love like Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Path of Exile.

If I decide to play a video game, it’s for the story. Story video games are almost like movies for me. Games like Fallout, Far Cry, Witcher 3, and Skyrim all have a clear ending where video gaming stops. These are the only games I play or keep up with anymore.

Cloud Streaming

I’ve been travelling for 9 months now out of one backpack, so there’s no way for me to bring a console along for the ride (not that I’d even want to).

The last video game I played was Witcher 3, and I don’t see myself playing any others until Cyberpunk 2077 is released. Cloud streaming has allowed me to play video games once in a while without dedicating myself to the newest console.

The great thing about cloud streaming is you can delete and cancel your membership whenever you want, and it’s not amazing for playing the fast-paced time suck video games we mentioned above. There’s a slight delay but is unnoticeable for any slow-paced story/adventure game.

I don’t really think gaming is very different from watching Netflix, sports games, or any other hobbies. The main distinction between it and these hobbies is that you are battling a multi-billion dollar industry doing everything it can to addict you and extract every last dollar.

Understand what you’re up against, and set your life up in a way where it’s near impossible to become addicted.

Only this way was it possible for me to find balance gaming.

Thank you for taking the time to read my experience with video games, and hope there’s something you can take away from this.

Story submitted by Austin Tuwiner.

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

I found myself in a bad place.

I was completely addicted to one particular game – an MMO called Black Desert Online.

The thing is, I was really good at it. I enjoyed playing the game so much I actually stopped working so I could play it 24/7.

Why would I do something like that?

I was trying to make sure my name remained relevant in my own little digital heaven.

I wanted to be remembered.

Turning My Back on Gaming

Black Desert Online

As expected, things went south fairly quickly. I soon had to find a job and get back to work.

This was the catalyst for change. I ended up selling my account and didn’t look back once.

Just like that.

I remember, in the interview for my current job, my boss was telling me that the job could be boring.

My reply: “Don’t worry, I’ve been known to do the same thing for 18 hours straight and even enjoy it”.

I still cringe thinking about it, but I ended up getting the job. However, like most jobs, I soon became pretty bored.

I wasn’t fulfilled and I found myself having way too much free time. So, I started using this time to go to the gym.

It turned out that I could carve out a decent shape if I just follow a good workout plan. While this was a great habit, it didn’t help with the boredom.

That’s when I started experimenting.

Firstly, I turned to audiobooks.

I’m allowed to wear headphones at work. So, I started listening to fantasy audiobooks like the Wheel of Time series and Brandon Sanderson novels.

Maybe I still had the bug for getting enveloped inside a fantasy world.

This newfound passion for audiobooks worked really well for about 8 months.

But not well enough, I guess.

I was getting bored. Again.

Life Became My Video Game

After a bit of searching for things to do, I came across an app called LifeRPG.

This completely changed my life.

LifeRPG allows you to track your habits and goals, but it presents them in a way that makes real life into a video game. liferpg example

You gain experience for completing missions and can earn real-life rewards once you finish a certain amount.

I spent a couple of days getting into the app and adding little missions for myself.

Finish workout = finish a mission.

Clean my car = finish a mission.

It’s like having daily quests from an online multiplayer game.

Complete missions, get exp, level up skills, and earn crystals with which you can use to purchase your own custom rewards.

I was using LifeRPG every day, for a time, but it really got interesting when I decided I wanted to get into programming.

I started to study a lot, and almost forgot about the app. Then, one day, I remembered it existed and decided to use it to encourage myself to study.

I added dozens of missions, even rewards and stuff for myself. Some of my rewards included a day off or an unhealthy snack, to more expensive things like buying a new laptop.

Real Life Gamer

Not long after I discovered something called litRPG books.

I still only really listen to audiobooks, but I noticed that there were a lot of them involving characters playing MMOs.

They’d have stats that level up during the book, and it was as close to playing an MMO as you could – without the playing.

So I started soaking them up. Awaken Online, The Land, Life Reset, The Gam3, The Way of the Shaman, and so on.

litrpg example

There are so many of them. Some are better than others, but I even enjoy the bad ones.

I’ve completely lost any urge to play MMOs because while I’m working and driving I’m listening to someone else play MMOs.

Positive thinking doesn’t quite work for me, but turning my life into a video game works wonders.

I’d rather randomly take out my phone to complete a mission and add rewards to purchase than start gaming.

My Life Has Completely Changed

man on top of mountain

In the past, my typical day would involve me waking up really late, playing video games all day, and then going to sleep really late.

I’d miss school, work, and whatever responsibilities I had in order to play.

However, now my day is completely different:

  • Wake up early for work
  • Weigh myself (mission)
  • Listen to an audiobook in the car
  • More listening while working
  • Go to the gym after work (mission)
  • Drive home, audiobook again
  • Study programming for a few hours (mission)
  • Browse the internet
  • If I have time I’ll complete some optional missions

I’m well on my way to become an experienced programmer, and I have a great routine and structure to my life. It’s been so long since I was a hardcore gamer that I haven’t got any issues saying no to games anymore.

My Advice for Someone Trying to Quit

just do it

Don’t expect to change your life without taking some drastic steps. You have to do more than just uninstall a game or two.

You’ll have to change as many things about yourself as possible.

Get rid of that ugly lamp. Buy a new mousepad. Toss your old clothes.

These things might not be holding you back, but being able to change these little things will make it easier to change yourself.

And remember – The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now. The worst time is never.

Thank you for reading my story. Hopefully, I’ve inspired someone else who’s reading this to turn their life around by quitting gaming, it’s well worth it.

Signing off – Herman.

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 Herman and hundreds of others on Game Quitters, you too can turn your life around.

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 have been gaming my entire life. It has always been my true passion.

I’ve had other hobbies over the years to make my life more interesting and meaningful, but gaming has always been the thing I went back to.

I don’t regret this time. I have fond memories of playing multiplayer games with friends and cousins, and finishing single-player games with my younger brother watching.

I loved spending summers playing immersive role-playing games. I had a ton of fun in university playing multiplayer games; sharing adventures with online friends, being a valued member of my guild, and becoming a part of gaming communities.

Despite having spent so much time playing video games, I always had the discipline to not let them get the best of me.

I did well in school. I completed my master’s degree. I held several jobs and never had trouble keeping my bosses happy, or being a responsible adult.

I even got a girlfriend eight years ago who I’m now engaged to.

If gaming hasn’t ruined my life, why would I want to stop in the first place?

My Health Started to Suffer

mountains fog

As my interests in video games became more hardcore, it became difficult to find time to play without frustration.

With my work, relationship and other responsibilities, I didn’t time to play as much as I would have liked.

This worked surprisingly well for a long time.

A few hours every day spent playing during free time, or a Sunday afternoon here and there…

It still amounted to dozens of hours every month – just enough to keep up to date with the latest and most interesting releases in gaming for the past few years. I’d switch to a new game every few days or weeks, depending on the time it took to beat them.

In the case of games that you can’t really beat, spending enough time with them to get the gist, until you get bored and try something else.

But constantly being mentally stimulated and stressed about making the most of every single minute of free time, thinking about gaming all the time, normal responsibilities as an adult, and everything else life requires became stressful.

Both my mental and physical health began steadily declining.

I’m already spending all my day at work in front of a computer, and I’m doing the same at home when I’m gaming.

Every muscle in my body seems to be tense all the time, and I suffer from severe back pain.

Mentally I am a mess. Recently I started suffering from insomnia and panic attacks; I have more trouble concentrating, and feel like it’s almost impossible for me to just relax.

I feel irritable and depressed all the time and nothing about life seems fun or exciting anymore, even video games.

One Day I Would Have to Say Farewell

goodbye friends

Maybe some part of me always knew this day would come, but I don’t really enjoy video games anymore.

A few years ago my girlfriend went abroad for work. This left me with a lot of free time.

I had the idea of building a new gaming computer. I also purchased a Nintendo Switch to make the most of it. It was a lot of fun!

I played different games and got back into pure hardcore gaming. I took my passion to new heights and I loved every minute of it.

I beat the most epic boss fights by finishing the Dark Souls series and Hollow Knight. I explored the galaxy in Elite Dangerous, and sunk countless hours into Civilization VI.

I challenged myself with hardcore games like Celeste and Darkest Dungeon, and even tried to see why Fortnite is so popular by finishing an entire season.

I played the most incredible and immersive modern open-world games the world has ever known, and got completely lost in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

I got a rush from the past and became overwhelmed with nostalgia by beating the greatest challenges Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild had to offer.

I took a look at the future of gaming by dabbling in virtual reality with an HTC VIVE.

I even got back into World of Warcraft – the game I spent the most time of my life on. After leveling up and exploring new zones, I took screenshots and explored old content before my subscription ran out.

Being a Field Photographer I gained achievements for exploration, as if I knew that this was some kind of farewell trip

There’s Only so Much You Can Take

man and woman holding hands

Like all the ones that came before, these memories are a part of me now and I will always cherish the music, stories, characters, environments, and mechanics that made all those games so great. But, there are only so many times you can save the world before you become cynical about it.

There are only so many seemingly impossible platforming challenges or difficult boss-fights you can overcome before you start becoming anxious and nervous about having to do it again.

How many epic hundred-hour open-world adventures can you finish before you’d rather not start another one from the beginning?

I am getting too old for gaming. I want to save my physical and mental health because I clearly reached my limit.

I plan on doing the 90 day detox which I will start today. It will finish on June 8th, 2019.

It’s Time to Level up in Real Life

level up in real life

I will use this time to focus on other hobbies I have; music production, photography, and video editing. All of which will benefit from my current gaming computer.

I will spend time renovating my home, and doing other stuff I never got around to doing these past few months.

I will get a Kindle and spend some time reading.

I will spend more time with my incredible fiancée who shows her love for me every day.

I’m tired of that voice inside my head telling me that I’m bored with her and that I would rather be gaming.

I am tired of thinking about gaming all the time and of challenging myself artificially on top of all the actual meaningful challenges life throws at you anyway on a daily basis.

I am tired of being depressed and bored all the time.

I am tired of being tired from gaming too much.

My 90 day challenge starts today.

Wish me luck.

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The game that took hours of my life and made me return again and again was Lineage 2. I was drawn to the fantasy world of elves and dragons.

I used to play it in high school using the PC that my parents had gifted to me for my studies. Several times I stopped playing because of my exams and every time I returned.

There was a period of my life when I needed to find a job. I spent a lot of effort trying to pass software development interviews in order to get a good position. To make time to prepare for the interviews I quit Lineage 2.

After a while, I downloaded it again. It didn’t work on my PC anymore so I considered it a sign that I should stop playing the game and forgot about it for years.

Besides, I didn’t have the time to sit in front of my computer to play video games. I wanted a more active life.

Then I Got a Smartphone

lineage 2 revolution

After a couple of days using my new phone I discovered Lineage 2 Revolution. While remembering all of the great moments I had from Lineage 2 nostalgia got the best of me and I downloaded it.

I enjoyed the process of playing it wherever possible: on the bus, in queues, while eating, during meetings with friends, and even during work!

Every day I became more and more addicted to the game.

Related: Video Game Addiction Test for Gamers

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the game was P2W: Pay-to-Win. The more you invest (financially) in the game, the easier it is for you to win. I spent some money in the game, a little amount, just to thank the game developers, but I did not want to spend thousands of dollars as top players allowed themselves.

I tried to reach a gap in combat power between me and top players by doing all of the daily activities. One day I joined a powerful clan that motivated me to play more and more. But I was still worse than average.

I Decided to Quit Lineage

man playing piano

Why did I want to quit gaming?

First, I am annoyed by lugs and bugs in the game. I hate the rat race to get more and more combat power, and I don’t like the aggressive ways that the game creators make us spend an unreasonable amount of time and money.

I feel like I’m in a prison cell.

Instead of doing things that can help me to improve myself in my life such as painting, piano, and reading books, I must complete the game’s quests every day. If I don’t complete them today, then tomorrow it will be too late, and I’ll lose an opportunity to become a little bit stronger than I was yesterday. My friends and, even worse, my enemies will be ahead of me.

I want to stop it. Today is the day when I will say “goodbye” to my clan mates. I don’t care that I still have five days left on my subscription, or that I only need five more coins to upgrade my Lion mount from grade R to SR, or even that if I spend one more month in the game then I can upgrade my Strider mount from grade S to R.

I don’t want to spend any more time in the rotten fantasy world of Lineage 2 Revolution.

It doesn’t make me happier, and it definitely doesn’t make me better.

Thank you for reading.

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My name is Jeroen, and I’m an addict. Well, I used to be.

Today I am a Belgian personal coach and IT student, I am 24 years old and I used to game 10 hours a day whenever I had the time.

In high school I didn’t really have to work very hard to get decent grades. Well, for the first few years at least. When I was 17 I had to stay in the same grade for another year, due to poor grades – mainly caused by my severe gaming addiction.

I would wake up early and game a bit before going to school. At school I would think about gaming and my goals (in the game), finally return home, and continue gaming until my parents arrived from work. I ate my dinner and then went back to my room, gaming until bedtime. Rinse and repeat. This was my typical day from the age of 14 until I was 21.

Gaming Had a Huge Impact on My Life

escapism

While there are negative influences that came from gaming, it did also have its benefits.

Gaming was an escape. I used to get bullied in high school, and that’s exactly when the addiction became out of control. Through my game I could stop thinking about the bullying and other stuff that troubled my mind. Online I was just an anonymous boy. I could be anyone, and I was respected (most of the time).

At one point I was so good at RuneScape that I was ranked 25th best in the world in PVP. This is the kind of hype that kept me drawn to gaming. The progress and sense of achievement is what makes gaming so addictive. The unlimited amount of dopamine that’s sitting right in front of you.

Related: Why You Game: Your Need for Accomplishment

College Helped Me Quit Gaming

denmark

While in college, and getting my Physical Education Degree, I had some experiences that caught my attention and got me away from gaming.

My favorite experience was the 6 month Erasmus studies I did in Denmark. While being there we had a lot of little projects, and I got to meet new people and interact with several different nationalities. It was a very cool experience, and it kept me from gaming. I think the main reason here was the fact that I actually felt useful, and I could really contribute to a lot cool projects that also had social value.

I’ve always been fortunate to have good friends around me and caring parents. I played soccer and went to the gym. These are things that really helped me when gaming started taking full control of my life. I mean there were still bad parts, where I would game 10-12 hours a day for a week, which is very unhealthy, but without sports or friends, it could have been a lot worse.

Is Productivity Sustainable?

productivity

3 months after my Erasmus experience I graduated college as a sports teacher and fitness instructor. I got my first job, and started my own business on the side as a personal trainer. The first month when I graduated I actually spent a lot of time gaming between looking for a job. Luckily it didn’t take me to long to find one.

When I signed my contract I made big decision. I was going to put all of my effort and time into this job, and creating my own business. Not one minute would be wasted. I was going to be successful in real life. I had never been so motivated.

6 months later I soon realized that this was not a sustainable pace to live my life. I would wake up at 07:00, workout, work on the business, go to work, and get home at 23:00. I also had to work weekends.

Most people would say I was doing amazing. Freshly graduated, got a decent paying job, and I was growing my own business on the side. What else could a man wish for, right? Well, that’s not entirely true. I just didn’t feel too well. The long hours, and tons of physical activity started taking its toll. I would have the worst migraines in the middle of the day, and sometimes even get dizzy when I stood up. I realized I was working too much and it was hard on my body.

Finding Balance

netflix

I needed to take some time to relax. Life is not just about working your butt off and making money, it’s about balance. Doing what you love, working on projects you’re passionate about, spending enough time with friends and family, watching a Netflix movie, or any other things that you may enjoy.

After spending 7 months without watching TV or playing a single video game, I started watching some Netflix shows and started gaming. Not when I had other things to do, but when I felt like I deserved it. I think gaming and watching TV are a good activity if they actually help you relieve stress and if you enjoy it. But one thing I have learned is that it is all about moderation and balance.

Related: How to Relax Without Playing Video Games

Present Day:

I quit my job as a fitness instructor 4 months ago. I decided to go back to college to become a front-end developer. This course will take me 3 years, but I know it’s the right choice. I am still working as a personal trainer for my own business, which I really like because I help people become more active. The goal is to one day combine these passions of mine and make a living out of them both. These goals are what keep me going.

This is my story, and this what I have learned from my addiction. I wanted to share this with you guys who are suffering from something like I did or who have been through this as well.

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I haven’t played a video game in two years and counting.

Quitting video games isn’t an unlocked achievement I put in my trophy cabinet to never think of it again. It’s an endurance training program. The goal of my program isn’t summarized in fighting back the craving every time I feel it until I win and relax (and repeat) – it’s how I don’t get used to relaxing because you never know when your gaming addiction will sneak back into your daily life.

I don’t mean that I’m at war 24/7 with myself, sweating anxiety and panic attacks. Things get easier when you do them on a regular basis. Gaming and not gaming follow the same rule.

My Gaming Addiction Started at 8 Years Old

teenager playing games

My gaming addiction started at 8 years old with Counter Strike. I loved how you could work as a team to achieve a common goal and have fun, show your abilities and self-declare ‘the best’. I desired to be the best at everything, recognized and valued.

As the majority of people who struggle with this addiction, I didn’t have an idea of how much games hooked me and made me believe they were the only ones who wanted to make me happy. When you’re a kid and a teenager, what matters is being recognized by groups. Why should I care about real life?

After Counter Strike I went to the world of MMORPGs. I still recall how sad I was because I couldn’t play a game because my PC specs were too low. At this time my parents never said a word about it – according to my mother, “it was fine because I wasn’t in danger outside.” We hardly knew the consequences of playing 10-12 hours per day.

I dedicated half my day, every day, for 15 years straight to playing MMORPGs. I felt I needed to play games for hours and hours – if not, someone would surpass me..

Grades Were Fine, Depression Was Not

teenager depressed

Games were a piece of my heart and soul, but my school life remained intact. My grades were great, I talked to people (although being shy) and had a minimal social life outside academic walls. When I got transferred to another school at 14 years old I met a new friend named Depression. We held hands for 6 years.

I didn’t want to talk to people, not feeling understood by society. Depression was now friends with games too, who could tell…They seduced me to play MMORPGs over and over. At 18 years old, I went to college guided by my mom’s feelings. I don’t blame her – how could I if I simply shut down my mind to live in a virtual world?

“My decisions were based on how I could be better at games, not at real life.”

I wanted to overcome depression. I sought professional help with a psychologist. She recommended posting more on Facebook to start making friends and being visible to the real world. I can’t explain how a professional would recommend the virtual world as the solution to the virtual world itself. I felt misunderstood and undervalued.

Note: Do seek help. Only you can solve this mess, however don’t neglect professionals. There are good and bad ones. Find one that works for you.

Suicidal thoughts chimed in. I was nothing in real life. I wanted to be a gamer, one of those streaming on YouTube and Twitch, or a professional gamer, winning millions of dollars and proving that I was ‘the best’ to everyone. I even told my mom I wanted to be a gamer, she was like: “do whatever you want, but I don’t agree with it”. Of course I interpreted as my family was against me and my ‘dreams’.

Related: Why Your Parents Don’t Believe in Your Dreams

I Decided to Quit Gaming

inhale the future exhale the past

At 20 years old I tried to stop playing games over and over, unsuccessful. At 23, I discovered Game Quitters. Someone decided to share his experience, to say we were not alone and yes, it was possible to stop for once and for all. I watched all the videos and interestingly, my doubts were answered where no one could help me.

November 1st, 2016: the last time I said ‘I won’t play games anymore’. Cold turkey, ‘all or nothing’. Each day taught me about who I was and what I could learn from others.

Not everyday is the same, so there isn’t a single formula to solve all your problems and questions. If you believe in a single formula, you get used to it. I adapted this sentence to ‘getting used’ to new experiences, solutions and interpretations about myself and my life everyday.

Even if you use an old formula today, you are actually using it for the first time. As, Heraclitus’ says: “no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”.

When I finally started to live this phrase, I got used to learning everyday, to use my addiction to learn about myself, and about itself. It was hard, shaking in my bed and the impossibility to think about anything outside ‘you have to play games, you are losing time’.

Related: How to Deal with Cravings

Where I Am Today

man walking on hills

At 25 years old, reading books, walking for the sake of walking and gathering knowledge is what define me, for now. I study Psychology (oh the irony) because I love it, I want to help people live their lives with passion, with what they can and have in the real world. I’ve never been so happy and motivated in my whole life, virtual or real.

I have a path, I pursue goals, and I make decisions. Bad moments happen everyday, but now I have a choice in how I respond to them.

More than 2 years later, I still haven’t played games. I decided to quit games by sharing my story with you, as Cam shared his. Thank you, Cam.

Fifteen years later I see myself out of the world of games. As I said, I’m the ‘all or nothing’ person, dedicating my time and my life in goals that matter for the better of people. Please never give up. Thank you for reading my story. Thank you for those who choose to share their stories as well.

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Playing games has been a huge part of my life since I was six years old. I started my gaming hobby at my early age, which later turned into addiction, from Playstation 1.

When I was first introduced to Playstation 1, the console looked nothing more than a mere gray plastic box which magically reads CD and displays moving pixels on TVs. Being a naive child I was at the time, I grew up fondly with Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Tetris Plus, Pac-man World, and many more.

Time moved on, and the golden times of Nintendo Gameboy, DS and Sony’s PSP came. I remember how everyone in my elementary school had a Nintendo DS and we played Mario Kart together. I also borrowed my father’s PC to play Starcraft: Brood War, and Age of Empires III. Those two games would later define Real Time Strategy (RTS) as one of my favorite gaming genres.

Early Signs of Gaming Addiction

ps1 controller

As I also had Playstation 2 and Nintendo Wii, I would go to a gaming store and buy around five games a week and play them one at a time. I remembered one moment where I woke up early in the morning everyday just to feed virtual dogs in Nintendogs. To this day I still cringe remembering that I would comply to my own addiction, and knowing that timed-event games just use their on-device clocks.

I carried my gaming hobby-turned-addiction to high school, where Starcraft II was recently launched. I was really happy at the time, and ended up playing the Wings of Liberty chapter immediately. This is where my addiction worsened. When I was on my campaign streak, my father came in and said something that would ring in my mind years later:

“You won’t achieve much of what you want in life if you keep on playing games. You are just sinking all of your time into games that do not translate into real life.”

Certainly I was pissed because he ‘ruined’ my gaming mood. I understood what my father was saying – I could be doing something more meaningful than just playing games. But if I stopped playing games, I would be losing one of my favorite hobbies since childhood. So I kept on playing quietly without my parents knowing.

Over the years, I also joined a band of friends playing Dragon Nest. I recalled the time where we spent sleepless days completing the highest raid available from 40 cap to 93 cap level era. I grinded gears, watched YouTube videos, read future content, and got as many achievements as I could in the game.

I did keep my school grades above requirements, but only for a short period. I was almost out of my mind at that time. I neglected my future academic life and only applied to one overseas university. The addiction hurt my grades badly and I barely passed my exams. Still, it was not the end of my gaming craze.

I Wanted to Quit Gaming

university cafeteria

Before going to university, I said to myself I won’t be playing video games anymore. One of my friends just said “That’s BS, you’ll be playing again in a few months. Otherwise you’ll burn yourself out.” Again, I brushed it off as if nothing happened.

Before ‘cutting myself off’ from gaming, I went on a full-gaming month playing Tree of Savior. I slept from 2am to 10am and played the game as soon as I woke up. I made sure I got the most satisfaction out of gaming before quitting. After leveling up my character to level 200, I stopped playing, but only for only four months before buying Overwatch and getting addicted for another year.

Initially I was enjoying the game, reliving the fun I had playing games with friends. However, as Overwatch is an online multiplayer game which is heavily dependent on teammates’ performance, its nature slowly drew out the toxicity within me.

I would get frustrated and often blamed strangers on our team. I tried really hard to not blame my friends, accept criticism and feedback from them, although sometimes the toxicity still got the best of me. This would go on for weeks. I was sleep-deprived, frustrated, and wanting more of those PotGs and worthwhile wins. Looking back now, I am still happy (and surprised) I did not flunk my grades during my addiction.

Related: How the Toxic Gaming Community Made Me Quit Gaming

Things Were Getting Worse

man working on startup

This continued on until summer 2018. I was doing an internship at a startup, while all of my university friends were having internships at big and well-known companies. I felt inferior to them. I was not even enjoying my internship.

What was I doing in my life? Just play games and sink all of my time in them? Those thoughts haunted my mind, followed by the insulting jokes from my university friends. On top of that, my family notified me that my grandmother recently passed away. I cried that evening, thinking of how all the life events turned around against me at once. I was burned out from my internship, looked down upon my friends, and lost a family member whom I was very close to.

I felt worthless and depressed for two to three weeks. It was my lowest point in my university life. I was helpless, and decided to seek help and shoulder to lean on from my friends.

Suddenly… It Happened

pursuing goals

I had no urge to play video games anymore. I stopped feeling guilty for not playing games. The whispers inside my head went from “Why are you not playing your games?” to “Those rewards and statistics you’re getting are meaningless in real life.”

One time my friend invited me to play Starcraft II and I joined. While I was clicking around, making buildings and controlling my army, I felt nothing. That proud feeling of having strong base and army, satisfaction when I crushed the enemy bases. Those feelings were just not there. I could not continue after around 20 minutes and I told my friend I was going to stop playing for a while. And that was the first day I stopped my addiction.

Results

guy meditating on mountain

Ever since I stopped my addiction, I have been meditating every morning, expanded my social circle with people and being in tune with my friends’ emotion. I listen more to my friends about their life and spend more time laughing with them. I also spend my time going out to live concerts, and I’m on my third book now.

Currently I am on exchange at a university with a rigorous Computer Science program. I struggled with the academics at first, and I felt like giving up. But I pushed on and kept going.

After getting a hang of my courses, I went on to meet people in tech events and conferences in various cities, while expanding my professional network. I also applied to tons of internships worldwide, and, to my surprise, I got my first interview offer from a well-known company. Even though I have not received the offer yet, I feel more confident in applying for internships around the world.

I was still shocked with the fact that anyone could achieve dreams that were once their fantasy. Applying for worldwide internships was never in my reachable goals while I was addicted to games.

What I am really grateful for is that, after putting my effort and time into real life, I get to see the tangible rewards and experience. My lifestyle and studying habits become more organized and productive. I become more confident. My emotions are more stable and I rarely lash out with anger at somebody else. Looking forward, I believe better things will come as long as I put in the effort into my life, families, and friends.

Conclusion

this is the sign you have been looking for

To those who are still struggling to end their addiction, I want to note that stopping addiction may happen differently for everyone. Some will stop when they are their rock bottom, and some will stop when shit just happens. Others will stop when they have something to fight for.

Stopping an addiction is not about ending the gaming streak glamorously, or saying “Just one more game and I’ll stop”.

It is about realizing the harsh truth, the negative impact you have been carrying along with your addiction. It is about confronting your real life fears. No more making excuses, no more what ifs, no more “what happens when I stop playing.” You need humility, mental resilience, and commitment. There will be people who disregard your addiction, and people who acknowledge your burden. Seek those who will help when you really need it.

I really hope what I share here will be an inspiration to those who are still finding the motivation to stop playing games and start a new phase in life. One way to picture life is as an MMORPG. You grind experience, develop skills, take on new challenges, and get the actual rewards. Real life, in my opinion, is more challenging, fulfilling, and rewarding if you put the necessary time and effort into it.

For those who are on their no-gaming streak, I also had moments where I relapsed within this period. I played some mobile games when I really had nothing to do and wanted to have a dopamine boost.

Upon playing for 15 minutes, I got bored, and uninstalled them immediately. Although I plan to play casual RTS games after my exchange, I also filled my future schedule with physical activities and socializing with my family because I know I get bored fast playing games now.

The important thing is when you realize that you can’t play games for extended hours without getting bored and you have more important things to do in life, you are already set for a better life.

Good luck!

Story written by Slitz_Treaver

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Take a Stand

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

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

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

I Spent the Whole Weekend Gaming

dark keyboard

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

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

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

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

My Life Was Miserable

man staring out the window depressed

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

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

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

30 Days Without Games

whatever it takes

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

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

I Wrote My Family a Letter

writing a letter

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

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

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

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

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

Resource: Need activity ideas to replace gaming?

I Tried Gaming Again

shiny computer

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

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

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

Related: About to Relapse? Consider This First

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

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

One Year Later

boy reaching for the clouds

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

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

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

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

Join me for another 30 days without gaming.

Story written by OneYearAtATime0

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I have been gaming since I was 8 years old, and I can’t remember a time in my life where the first thing I did when I got home wasn’t sitting down at my computer and playing a game. It has been 64 days since I deleted steam from my computer and 20 days since I dismantled my PC.

Over 10 years of gaming I played with the same friend every weekend, joined many large communities, and also developed great friendships with other random people I’ve encountered. I’ve spent at least 10,000 hours on a Skype/Discord call, and at least 15,000 hours playing games.

You would think that someone so “addicted” would have such a hard time quitting, but it was probably one of the easiest things I’ve ever done.

So many people classified me as a gaming addict, but I wholeheartedly disagree still to this day. The problem was I didn’t have anything else to replace my time with. People would say “study more, or play a sport” – sure, but if I’m getting home at 4pm, and I study for a few extra hours, I’d still be playing at least 3-4 hours a night if I’m going to bed at midnight.

Over my life I averaged between 40-60 hours gaming per week. Some days I gamed 16 hours a day on the weekend, and particularly during holidays.

Since quitting, I’ve started multiple e-commerce businesses, made huge fitness gains, and been heaps more social. Rarely I might get a small urge to play a game, but honestly it’s rather insignificant.

Should You Quit Gaming?

thailand market

Quitting gaming is a rather extreme approach for any normal person to take, but it really depends on the person. Throughout my time gaming I developed a range of skills that are beneficial and applicable to my real life, and met many extraordinary people that have given me great life advice.

The skills you develop from gaming will depend on what type of games you play. I spent a large amount of time playing MMORPG games, where I was able to build a respectable degree of wealth. I learned the concept of risk vs. reward, and developed negotiation skills. On a holiday in Phuket, Thailand I found myself saving large amounts of money by using negotiation techniques I had learned from games.

Learning how to study a market and all the possible ways to earn wealth, then making a plan utilising them is a skill that can be applied to many forms of business. This has been particularly useful for me in creating an investment plan and budgeting real money. I also learned how gambling is not worth the risk no matter the wager, and that other forms of risk are much more worth taking.

In many of the games I played I found myself connecting with much more experienced players, and I noticed how their wisdom was able to quickly progress my development in the game. This has benefited me in the real world, as I have been going to venues and public events trying to expand my network of people who can assist me and advise me with my business.

I Don’t Regret Gaming

friends in joshua tree

It made me who I am today – it’s just time for me to move on and explore new avenues of living.

I’m not going to tell anyone to quit, but I will say this: If you are considering stopping gaming, do it because you want to, not because other people want you to. If you don’t actually want to quit, then you will simply be another example of a relapsing drug addict. The only drug addicts that successfully quit are the ones who want to do so in the first place.

I’m putting this out there because I just wanted share my experience quitting gaming. I will be returning to gaming for a short period of time when Skyrim 6 is released, but then after completion I’ll remove it. I do believe that you shouldn’t deprive yourself of your passions and joys, but when it begins to negatively impact the quality of your life, that’s when it becomes a problem.

My only advice would be to set real, achievable goals to work towards that consume most of your day. That has been the biggest tool for my success.

Thanks to everyone who read my story. Good luck to anyone on this journey with me!

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

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

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

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

Panic Attacks

purple hallway

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

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

I Quit Gaming!

decision

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

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

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

111 Days Later

freedom

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

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

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

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gaming addiction story

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

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

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

Gaming Became My Escape

digital prison

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

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

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

Problems Started to Come

problems

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

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

Related: How to Build Self-Esteem

Off to University

university computer science

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

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

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

Time to Make a Change

do something great

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

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

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

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

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

Related: Is It Ok to Play Games in Moderation?

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

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

cam adair game quitters

gaming addiction story

“My /played in World of Warcraft reveals a 650 days of game time.”

It is 2010, I am graduating high school and my “/played” in World of Warcraft reveals a combined 650 days of game time across all my characters. I have conquered Azeroth numerous times, I am notorious across servers, and my stats suggest I am one of the best PVPers to grace the pixelated landscape we call home.

My high school peers have conquered something entirely different. College acceptance letters sweep through the halls, pumping up and down in excited palms. Where they are physically holding achievement, my achievement is relegated to some intangible world, one that will inevitably be washed over with the next series of updates.

While they will live out their best as undergrads, it will take me years to figure out what my best even is. Ironically, I have overcome the effects of wasted time by impulsively spending my time.

Then I Met a Little Girl

little girl playing inside

Fast forward 2 years and I am living in Santa Barbara. I am a live-in nanny for two girls (8 and 10), the youngest being recently diagnosed with severe ADHD. Meanwhile, I am seeing a therapist who’s diagnosis for me is anxiety. I, lost and afraid of the uncertainties of my future, am in the presence of a little being, for whom the world is a playground. She, constantly told to contain herself, has this tall jungle gym of a man who embodies control (partly because his anxieties make him hyper-aware). Together, we are each other’s superheroes with the purpose of helping the other.

Related: Why ADHD and Video Games Can Be a Brutal Combination

I foster her passions with empathy. I teach her to be conscious of the outcome of her behaviors – that probing hands are acceptable when playing with most things, not people or people’s things; that an interrogation is not like a conversation and how you can get the same information through both; that someone who does not like you can be someone who just isn’t ready to understand you. Through this I find a desire to teach and support. I find passion.

She unknowingly shows me the significance of a moment. I learn how to be confident – she gets us into awkward situations, often, that I learn how to remedy even the most uncomfortable situations; I push and pull my environment and perspective like her, molding a framework that works for me; I learn to be curious about everything, in much the same way she does. We find power where others see disability.

Today I Pursue Life With Passion

cliff jumping

I have since gone to create my own experiences. I have traveled across the US to present research, explored a variety of jobs, traveled across 4 continents, published poetry, started conversations with the most unique strangers, and more all in chase of passion.

Throughout these experiences, I have had the occasional urge to play video games. Relapse is something I have learned to cope with. My relationship with video games will last the rest of my life. However, not unlike ADHD, this thing called addiction is perspective. A little tweaking, and it becomes the reason to push my boundaries.

The one thing that remains constant through my life is the love to teach and support others, a calling that I will utilize as a professor. For now, I am passionate about being passionate and so I will be just that.

Written by Cameron Chernobieff

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

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

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gaming addiction story

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

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

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

Related: A Guide to Quit Gaming for One Year

Failing to Quit

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

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

I Finally Quit for Good

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

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

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

Watch: Should You Watch Gaming Streams?

A Slipup?

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

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

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

Has My Life Improved?

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

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

My Advice to You

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

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

Join our Movement

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Need help?

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

Take a Stand

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

cam adair game quitters

gaming addiction story

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

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

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

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

Social Gaming

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

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

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

Just A Mild Addiction?

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

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

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

Video Game Addiction Quiz for Gamers

Life is Better Now

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

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

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

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

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

Take a Stand

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

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gaming addiction story

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

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

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

Read: A Guide to Quit Gaming for One Year

My Wake Up Call

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

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

Video Game Addiction Quiz for Gamers

I Discovered Game Quitters

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits of Quitting Gaming

jade rice fields

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

Click to Tweet – The Benefits of Quitting Gaming

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

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

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Need help?

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

Take a Stand

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

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gaming addiction story

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

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

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

The Problem: Online Games

the internet

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

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

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

Related: How Your Need For Accomplishment Keeps You Gaming

Academic Probation

college

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

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

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

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

Gaming Is Ruining My Life

self awareness

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

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

Quitting Gave Me My Mind Back

clarity

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

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

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

Join our Movement

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

Need help?

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

Take a Stand

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

cam adair game quitters

gaming addiction story

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

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

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

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

My Gaming History

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Could Not Stop Myself

depression

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

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

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

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

Casual Gamer

australia

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

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

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

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

I Quit Gaming for Good

magic the gathering

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

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

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

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

Join our Movement

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

Need help?

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

Take a Stand

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

cam adair game quitters

gaming addiction story

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

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

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

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

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

Is Gaming Bad?

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

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

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

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

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

3 Steps to Quit Gaming:

Step 1: Establish Your Foundation

breathe

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

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

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

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

Step 2: Schedule Your Day

plan

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

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

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

Read: The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Step 3: Create a Vision

vision

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

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

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

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

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

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“My parents just wanted me happy, though they didn’t see the monster that was evolving inside of me.”

Games: a fun past time to play with family, friends, or by yourself. Gaming has evolved into something incredible in contrast to the early 90s. In my early days it was Commodore 64, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Game Boy Color, and PlayStation.

I remember how much I loved to get off the bus, run inside, drop my backpack, and turn on my gaming system. I’d usually be interrupted by “You have homework”, or “supper’s ready”. I enjoyed games from the Super Mario franchise to games like Riddick Bowe Boxing and Donkey Kong. I didn’t have one certain interest, I just loved to play.

It was my only ambition at that age: Play the game, beat it, and be the best at it out of my siblings. My competitiveness and poor sportsmanship showed greatly in games like Mario Kart or Madden Football, as I’m sure it did with anyone at that age.

Related: How Your Need For Accomplishment Keeps You Gaming

Gaming Wasn’t A Problem (Yet)

I was an energetic young boy who loved the outdoors just as much as I loved my games. I loved spending time with my family also, whether it be a game of baseball or a game of Super Mario 3 on an early Saturday morning with my brother and two sisters.

But my interests continued to grow in gaming, especially when I got my first taste of online multiplayer on my Dad’s PC. I’ll never forget the game that I indulged into: Delta Force 2. I loved working my way to the top of the scoreboard, becoming better each time I played, and meeting other players along the way.

My addiction to gaming went into full force with the introduction of this game. I day dreamed about playing while I was in school, drew pictures of battles I imagined myself playing in, and stayed anxious on the way home to bring my computer to life so I could once again battle it out on one of my favorite games at the time.

My attention to my education took a dip and stayed down for the years to come. Years later after I got bored of Delta Force 2, my uncle gave our family a collection of old computer games, and in that collection lived another first person shooter that once again sparked my interests.

Half-Life

When I first read the front of the case, I didn’t think much of the game. A man with what looked to be a hard plastic suit with a symbol on the chest didn’t really excite me, but then I turned the case over and read that this game was a winner of over 40 Game of the Year awards. That made my jaw drop a bit, and without a second thought I began to install the game onto my computer. Amazed by the storyline I was instantly hooked.

Years later my uncle gifted us an Xbox with an inclusion of various games from Halo to Ghost recon. I went through game after game, defeating one after another, wanting to buy more games as I went. I’m sure I put a hole in my parents pocket with the interest I had, but I know in the end they just wanted me happy, though they didn’t see the monster that was evolving inside of me.

Down the road, my Dad bought a game that without a doubt was another cause of my obsession with first-person shooters: Call of Duty. Little did I know that, once again, I would be immersed in the multiplayer world.

The gaming world in Call of Duty was so in-depth compared to the other games I had played. Players took losing seriously and was adamant on becoming the greatest gamer they could be. Clan after clan existed throughout the community, and I was excited to become a part of it. I convinced my parents to buy me a stand up microphone and I found headphones my sisters used to use to listen to their portable CD players.

If I would be able to go back in time and stop myself from becoming addicted to games, this would’ve been the point where I would’ve tried to convince myself that there was more to life than gaming.

Are you addicted to gaming? Take the quiz.

Xbox 360

I was in awe of the graphics compared to my previous system. I couldn’t believe what the new generation of gaming had produced. My dedication to becoming the top gamer doubled, and so did the amount of time spent playing. My attention to education dipped further than ever with my focus on the gaming world as I fought to become as great as I could be, perfecting my kill/death ratio, win/loss ratio, and accuracy percentage.

Let’s step out of the story for a moment. So far I had been in my obsession with gaming for about 8 years, and I had no realization that I was working towards nothing in a literal sense, but in my eyes, I had made this my life. I felt like I was someone in the gaming world. It was my reality, and the world outside was just a nightmare in my eyes that I couldn’t wait to get out of when I picked the controller back up and continued on my journey to being the best.

I had a circle of gamers I played with and as a result stemmed to playing other games, as my brother took over the Xbox as basically his own to play. This was the beginning of the crumbling of our relationship. Before, we were close. We played games together on Xbox, PlayStation, and all the other systems we owned. We played outside together, and pretty much did everything together, with the exception of arguments that escalated quickly to physical or verbal actions, but all in all, we bonded.

With my interest in PC gaming, his interest in Xbox 360, and our passion to be competitive, we parted ways with playing together. We both would spend hours upon hours on our beloved games, only to take breaks for dinner or whenever needed. We talked less to each other and more to our friends of the gaming world. My social life in school was already an empty shell, and gaming kept it at bay.

Gaming at School

boy at school

In the mornings before school began, I would go to the library, boot up one of the computers, and play games such as Quake 3 or the Halo demo. There were a group of kids like myself who liked to game early in the morning and we would all get on computers and play. The sad thing was I didn’t even know who the others were I was playing with, nor did I try to find out.

Any opportunity I had to play a video game at school, I would take it. I would skip out on doing work assignments also. I remember lying to my teacher, telling her I had an essay to do online, so she allowed me to go to the library where I played Quake 3 for the remainder of the class.

When I was 16, I got into my first serious relationship and took some of my focus off of gaming (I still played a lot). I grew up a little, got a job, and came back into reality. I continued to focus on my relationship and left little attention to gaming. Time went on, and when the year came, I graduated high school (somehow), and began college that following fall.

My gaming obsession quickly slipped its way back in during my short lived college life. I wasted my reimbursement given back to me from college on a $2,600 gaming laptop. I would skip out on class to play my favorite PC shooter, or literally be in class at the back row playing a game. Yes, I literally ignored listening in class and ignored focusing on my career goals to game. I failed several classes due to skipping class and playing video games while I was in class. When I was about 18 I found out I would be having twins and that my whole life was about to change, and that it did.

My Girlfriend Got Pregnant

I dropped completely out of college and began working towards a career in the underground coal mines. The job paid well, but it wasn’t the ideal dream occupation. Gaming went to the back burner for the time being until I landed a job at a local company.

During the pregnancy I began developing a want, or a need in my eyes, to occupy myself. Maybe it was the fear of what was to come, or just the stress in general, but my obsession with gaming made its debut in full force once again in my life. I had the money so I bought myself a nice Xbox 360 with all the accessories and rejoined the community that I had secretly missed and been away from for too long. My girlfriend didn’t mind much, since at the time we didn’t live together and through the week I pretty much stayed at my house.

I worked 2nd shift and she was still in school at the time, so I seriously had a lot of free time to do whatever. I said I would quit cold turkey when our kids arrived, although I should’ve known I was kidding myself.

Related: How Joe Became the Father He Always Wanted to Be (And Quit Gaming for One Year)

I had my laptop setup playing an online MMORPG in the hospital room when it was getting close to delivery. When my twins finally did arrive, I stuck to my word to not game, but as time went on, I went back to my old ways. I would skip out on going over to her house to see them to play Modern Warfare, or would be on the Xbox while they were at my house.

I sadly even have a picture of one of them in my lap while I was playing Xbox when they were a year old. I was hooked again, and by the time we had got married and moved in together, I had spent over $1,000 in gaming gear such as a headset, video recorder, custom controllers, and games. My relationship with everyone around me suffered greatly, more than it ever had.

My Relationships Deteriorated

I was already distant from the family that I grew up with, and now I was separating myself from the reality of my family that I created. After I had got a full time job all I did was work, game, eat, and sleep. I never talked about games much at work because frankly, I was embarrassed by myself. I had been since I was young and knew I played video games way too much. I remember when I was younger my dad was asked by someone if I played any sports, and he told them “no, he likes to play computer games though”. I think my face got so red from embarrassment that it could’ve popped.

The sad thing is I couldn’t honestly tell you what the first few years of my children’s lives were like. I was working 12 hour shifts, but when I had those few hours of cherished time with my kids, my priority was leveling up on whatever game I was playing.

I’m left with regret of missing out on the most memorable times, and there is of course no way to get it back. As time went on, I began battling myself to quit gaming and focus on life. I knew I was making a negative impact on my family and realized there was no way for me to manage my time with gaming because I didn’t have the self control.

Unfortunately, I would always find an excuse to stop myself from getting rid of everything permanently. The excuses would be from “I can make money gaming by playing in cash leagues” or “I’ll only play a few hours a week”.

I Missed the Wake-Up Call

I had a lashing out over losing in a game that it should’ve been my wake up call. I remember it clear as day, I was getting owned in a team deathmatch on Modern Warfare 3. I was already cursing at the screen like I had done in the past ever since I began multilayer gaming, and got to the point where if I died again, I was done. I, of course, got shot in the face and in that same second, I quickly stood up, threw my controller, and then threw my headset from my head so hard that it broke. Then I took my Xbox and slammed it to the ground not once, but twice. It was beyond pathetic.

After that incident I didn’t game for a little while because well, I couldn’t, due to a broken Xbox. It wasn’t long before I made the excuse that I’ll buy another Xbox and eventually repair and sell the other to get my money back… yeah, that made a lot of sense.

After spending another $500 or more on new gaming equipment, I had everything back. I had the most expensive headset, the new version of the Xbox, a game recorder, and a custom scuf controller. I went straight back into gaming for six hours a day on the weekends and when I could through the week, ignoring what mattered in my life most.

I strayed further and further from the person a father and husband was supposed to be and dove deeper into the gaming world. I began trying to start a YouTube channel (which was a joke), that consisted of reviews for gaming gear, and gameplay videos… none of which I was good at setting up or presenting.

I needed alone time and peace and quiet to have an uninterrupted video so my wife at the time and the kids stayed in a room upstairs while I recorded. I later moved on to dedicating myself to playing in gaming leagues for cash where I easily spent more money than I made. I wasted money on resetting my stats because I was such a stifler for having the perfect win/loss ratio, wasted money on more gear, and wasted my time indefinitely because in comparison to other gamers I was terrible, despite my expensive gear and years of experience. I did win a 1600 Xbox points card, but needless to say it wasn’t something I chose to sell online for money, and rather used to buy online accessories, like changing my gamertag.

Marriage in Free Fall

love hearts

What really sent my marriage and relationship to my family into freefall was choosing to switch from day shift/2nd shift rotation at work to straight nights for the sole reason of being able to have more time to game through the day.

What ran through my mind was having the ability to stay up past my kids bedtime before I had to leave to spend time on gaming, and have the following morning before the kids and wife woke up to game as well. I purposely sacrificed sleep to game more when I could. I got what I wanted in my own selfish ways and continued to make those around me who needed my attention suffer.

My gaming obsession slowed a bit when my marriage took a big hit. I died down to playing single player games, sold a lot of my gear, and came back to earth so to speak. I still played multiplayer games from time to time, but the hit my marriage took was a stronger focus than Xbox ever could.

I eventually got to the point where I realized gaming wasn’t getting me anywhere and that I was wasting my life away, and it was like looking back and seeing the things I had destroyed… looking at the rubble of structures that were my marriage and relationships, the dust of my empty ambitions, and the pieces that were nearly impossible to put back together of my life.

Divorce

Within a year my marriage took another hit, and that was it. Despite having children together, we separated and I began a new chapter of my life. Games left a sour taste in my mouth because I knew the damage it had caused ever since I began playing them. After moving back in with my parents, I decided to sell everything and quit all at once. It took something so catastrophic such as my divorce to make me realize how much I missed out and ignored in life. I lived in a virtual world and ignored reality.

I hate that I never had the self control to manage my time or just put the controller down and focus on what mattered. There’s nothing I can do about it now, and the only thing I can do is do the right thing from here on out.

Happy Ending

I found the woman of my dreams. My children are in a more stable home, my marriage is doing great, and all in all, I’m who I should’ve been a long time ago. I still struggle with a gaming addiction such as having the want to download a game on my phone, PC, or Xbox from time to time.

But the thoughts always stick with me: What’s the point of playing this? What else could I be doing? Do I really want to dip my foot in this ocean of addiction again?

It usually brings me to putting the controller/phone down and walking away, because I know that, for me, if I let myself go a foot, I’ll go a mile. Instead I focus my time on what matters, on what’s going to make a difference in what I love: My wife, my family, my goals, and my life.

Some of you may be dealing or have dealt with an addiction like this, and I hope and pray you find your way. Whether those who are addicted will admit it or not, some of us just can’t manage our time and don’t have the self control to break away into reality. We’ll make every excuse in the book to continue playing games and make it seem like it’s okay. That’s the struggle with any addiction, though.

Video Game Addiction is Real

The definition of addiction is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. Several doctors and sites label an addiction as a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences (Wikipedia).

Drugabuse.gov describes an addiction to drugs “as a chronic, relapsing brain disease”, but upon removing the mindset of drug addiction and replacing it with a gaming addiction, it still fits the answer to the question: is gaming addiction an actual thing? It continues on about “compulsive seeking and use despite consequences, and is characterized as a brain disorder because of how drugs change the structure of the brain and how it works.”

Whether you believe it or not, your addiction and mine to gaming has altered our brains, especially from excessive and extended use. We’ve deteriorated relationships, missed out on learned vital life skills, burned bridges, and the list can go on.

Related: Why You Need to Take a 90 Day Detox

If there was some way I could have the ability to go back and stop myself from ever touching a game, it would at least be at the time when I began getting seriously addicted, because I wouldn’t want to completely erase everything. I would be wiping away moments I cherished with my family playing harmless video games together, laughing, and enjoying ourselves all the way.

Here I am, 26 years old with around 17 years of gaming under my belt, and I am still struggling with it today. I have had several relapses of downloading five to ten games on my phone/computer, enjoying myself for about a week, feeling guilty, and then deleting all the content I had installed.

I’ve even went as far as writing out a vow that I would quit gaming and that I would instead strive to be a better husband, father, and person. Not even a week in I broke that vow, making the excuse that I just need some leisure time in my life. The addiction to gaming will still linger no matter if you’ve defeated and overcome it or not. You’ll see the release of the next chapter to that game you always loved to play or a remaster of an old game with stunning graphics with the storyline you fell in love with. It’s just like any other addiction.

You hear about it, see it, or just plain fall back into it. Before you know it gaming is on your mind again, and it’s all you look forward to everyday. Everything else in your life seems dull and boring without gaming in it. I don’t know how long I’ll last on quitting gaming cold-turkey once again, but this time I hope it’s for good. I’ve done enough damage to my progress in life to let it slip back in and cause my destruction.

Invest Your Time Wisely

productivity

I’ve grown to realize how many things I don’t know now that I should’ve learned by now. I could’ve mastered guitar playing. I could’ve graduated college already. I could’ve done things right the first time if I would’ve put those things first in my life. I could be at such a higher level of progress than I am now. I can’t say anything else but coulda, shoulda, woulda. Dwelling on these things isn’t going to get me anywhere. It’s what I choose to do now, what I choose to strive for today that is what is going to get me somewhere.

Will there be setbacks? I guarantee it. Will I overcome them? I hope and pray so. The first few steps are the hardest, just like when a baby is trying to learn to walk. But the more steps I take forward, the easier things are going to get, all the while filling the void that gaming has left after years and years of use.

It’s never going to be easy, but I know that with prayer and support from my family, especially my wife, that I can do it. I’ve overcome it before for almost a year, and I can surely go for another, and another after that, and before I know it, I’ll be gamer-free for 20 years.

Today I make a vow to become game-free. I vow to become closer to my family than ever before, and to strive towards improving my relationship with those that I love, and to strengthen my faith and knowledge in God. I vow to fill the void with my callings and passions backed by Grace, and to always continue to step forward, and at those times when I stumble, I’ll pray for God to lend a hand in my times of troubles. This is the beginning of a new day.

What will you do?

This story was submitted by a member of Game Quitters. Sharing your story is one of the best ways to encourage others to quit gaming too. If you care about this issue, SHARE this article to let others to know that life is so much better without gaming.

Need help?

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

“Playing League of Legends was the world to me.”

I don’t really know where to start. I just got out of bed after not being able to sleep for two hours, my mind racing with thoughts. Honestly I am not sure if this is just one of these sleep deprived ‘I-Will-Fix-My-Life’ rants like I’ve had so many times before, where a day or two later I’ll be relapsing and my life will continue it’s all too familiar nosedive once again. I really hope this isn’t the case.

I guess it all started when I was 11, playing my first game that started to consume a lot of time, Maplestory. A friend got me into the game and we would play and grind together, usually at his place. At this age my life was still largely controlled by my parents who wanted me to explore life and experience as much as possible, luckily they also had the funds for it. I was playing field hockey, football, tennis, the piano and occasionally joined my father for a game of golf.

Most of the sports or other things I did I was considered pretty good at and I would end up in the highest teams of the respective sport clubs. I was very competitive and couldn’t handle losing very well. Even though at that age I already enjoyed gaming and losing myself in a completely new world it wouldn’t really ever get to the point of me playing excessively, because my parents controlled basically all things I did. I never was a social outcast either, I had a lot of friends and could easily make contact with everyone. All sounds pretty promising, right?

The Beginning of the End

netherlands

I live in the Netherlands, so at age 13 you move from primary school to high school which will take six years from that point if you do the highest level, which I did. The first few years of high school were relatively normal; I had friends who I got along with, my grades were relatively high, and I got pretty close to having my first girlfriend which I stopped pursuing after my parents laughed at me when I brought it up.

Although my upbringing was rich of experiences and chances, there really wasn’t any room for emotional parenting. I had stopped playing soccer, tennis and piano because I didn’t want to have to go to practice, when I could just play Call of Duty or Maplestory with my friends. Those were the first things I started giving up in order to play more games, the games I loved so much because they would constantly challenge me mentally.

Fast forward to the 3rd year of high school, a friend introduces the game League of Legends to me. The beginning of the end. This was also around the same time I started to really hit puberty. Playing League of Legends was the world to me. It allowed me to do something competitively with friends, constantly get better at something, and being able to show that I was better. It was the fun I got out of playing sports, but permanently, without physical exhaustion.

I quickly got very good at the game which in turn made me play it more and more. The more I played though, the more things around me would suffer. I chose to quit playing hockey, because it would allow me more time to play, I would stop playing golf with my father, because it would allow me more time to play, and I stopped doing any work for school, because it would give me more time to play. All I cared about was that game and getting better at it.

It gave me a place where I was worth something, better than anyone else, and I really enjoyed the constant competitive challenge, the feeling of getting good at something, which high school really wasn’t providing. I also stopped caring about my appearance, as the only thing that mattered was this game and how I ranked up in it. Buying clothes, showering, using skin products or anything else appearance related didn’t matter to me anymore.

Then Puberty Happened

university guy

My puberty kicked in full force, I got braces and as cherry on top I also stopped growing as fast as the other guys in my class. Suddenly I was the long haired, braced, acne-faced little kid, who didn’t play sports anymore, and just played games all day. The only thing that saved me from getting bullied was having friends from the first grades, and the quick wit I had to defend myself verbally.

Even though I recognized that I was becoming ugly, my perfectionism combined with my low self esteem made me all-in on pretending I didn’t care, just so I wouldn’t have the chance of being the guy that tries to look decent, but still isn’t. Both my self esteem and my grades sunk. I barely passed.

I kept playing and playing, and my grades kept dropping and dropping.

The panic started to kick in for my parents. They had already read articles about how gaming ruined the lives of other people’s children, and got (rightfully) scared. This lead to a lot, a LOT of fights. There have been countless of threats to smash my computer down or throw it out of the window which luckily/unfortunately never happened.

On one hand my parents saw that I enjoyed gaming but on the other hand they saw everything else get worse and worse. I got gaming bans, which I dodged by playing when my parents weren’t home or when they were asleep. I have been sent to an after-school organization that forces you to do your homework, which I dodged by always playing the friendly, down-to-earth kid, while straight up lying to their faces about the homework.

My Only Goal In Life

esports

I only had one dream in life, one passion, one goal: becoming a professional gamer. Even though I never wanted to admit that I had also read the articles about people dropping out of school and never making it.

I got stuck between a rock and a hard place, on one hand I really wanted to play the game and try to go pro, and I hated my parents with a deep passionate hate because they were in my opinion the only thing between me achieving my goal, and on the other hand I didn’t want to drop out or throw my life away, and I hated the game with a deep passionate hate because the love I had for it stopped me from achieving any other goal in life. This ever clenching feeling has been going on to this day.

Watch: Should You Pursue Pro Gaming?

I finished my high school in six years, barely, and then started university studying Law. Law in the Netherlands is the kind of study everyone who doesn’t know what they actually want to do studies. I lived at home for the first year of uni and I managed to pass all my exams because my parents forced me to study and would straight up ban me from playing.

At this point the fights had already gotten to the point of desperate and there was an extremely toxic atmosphere, I wouldn’t look at my parents anymore and they wouldn’t look at me. They would say I smelled, ridicule me for playing, and call me a junk every time. My little brother and sister would happily chime in. Everything I wanted to say or suggest would be angrily shot down while making a lot more nasty comments.

I felt like a stranger in my own home.

I had no self-esteem, I played all day but when I finally started to rank up really high and get approached by bigger teams my parents would ban me completely and I would get worse again. I missed most of the parties and other social events, and became a little awkward because I just didn’t have the social experience the other kids did. This also lead to very little experience with girls.

I Moved Out

university guy

By passing my first year of university I secured myself a position at the university and I couldn’t be thrown out anymore by not passing exams. Because of this, my parents decided that I should live in the town I studied in, and so I did. I joined a social club and started a new life there, on my own.

At first things were looking really good. I was getting into social situations, lived on my own, and slowly started to look after myself better and better. There was a big danger though, because my parents no longer supervised me my gaming shot up to a new level. I played and played whenever I could, and I stopped going to my lectures and seminars altogether. I put my time into this game every waking hour and I stopped studying at all.

At the moment it’s been almost two years since I’ve passed my last exam.

I have been ignoring university this whole time, while my parents paid for everything, only doing so because I lied about passing my exams. All I’ve done is go out to drink or game.

My life is a mess. Recently they found out about my lying behaviour and have told me they will stop paying for anything for me ever. I am on my own, and I won’t be able to afford my next year of university. This has forced me to only play more and more to escape the reality of all this and I feel like there is no way out.

The only thing I can probably do is pass my next exams with very high grades and come back home begging for mercy, but I only notice myself playing more and more, not being able to stop. Gaming has made me into someone with very low self esteem, no ambitions, and no dreams. I feel like I’m slowly fading away just playing to keep my mind off all this.

I want to quit. I am done ruining my potential, ruining how I feel about myself, even if it costs me the biggest passion and dream I have ever had, even if nothing will ever fill its void. I have deleted League of Legends but I am afraid my attention span, and probably botched dopamine reward system will just make me relapse.

I’m pretty scared.

Is there anyone that can help me?

This article was submitted by a member of StopGaming.

Turn your life around today. Quit gaming. Start your 90 day detox.

guy fishing

“Besides my basic necessities to live, I spent all of my money on video games.”

I started to get into video games at four years old. My oldest memory of myself playing video games was me playing some old Tony Hawk games. Yeah, I played my games on the side with my friends and my brothers, but I was for sure not a gamer by any means.

I was an outdoors kind of child – sports, hunting, fishing and everything else in-between. I got along very well with that lifestyle. Video games on the side, everything else up front. I have some amazing memories of couch gaming.

When I turned 10 or 11 is when my gaming experience changed for the worse. I got an Xbox 360 and a few First Person Shooters. The role video games had on my life changed. I went from playing video games on the side to playing video games just as much as everything else. I got really chubby, and stopped riding bikes around town. I stopped having fun.

When I had friends over all we did was play video games. When I was forced to be out doing stuff all I wanted to do was play video games. This was an addiction. I looked for every excuse to play. I still hunted and fished, but I didn’t play sports anymore. If I thought to myself that I didn’t want to do something, I would just replace it with video games.

I had an extensive library of games, since I would blow all of the money I earned from summer jobs away on video games. All of it. Besides my basic necessities to live, I spent all my money on video games up until I was going into my junior year of high school.

I am not even going to go into detail on the fights I have had playing video games. The unhappy hours. The destruction it caused in my life. If you’re reading this I’m sure you know what I mean.

Are you addicted to gaming? Take the quiz.

What Changed?

xbox controller art

One day early in my junior year of high school, I got home from school and instantly went into my room to load up my games on my Xbox. Out of almost 300 hundred games, I couldn’t find one I wanted to play. I just wasn’t in the mood… and figured I would pick it up again tomorrow. The next day I still didn’t want to play, and I haven’t since. I just don’t see myself having fun playing games anymore.

The real kicker is that I have had time to think about it. Not only do I just not find them fun, I have many reasons to not like video games. I could make a very long list of why, but one comes to mind more than any. Not the industry being trash, and moving in a direction that hurts gamers wallets. Not micro-transactions. Not the toxic community. Not the fake of all the companies. The big kicker… Regret.

Regret

Man do I regret it all. What I could have done with all that time. All that sweet time. Serving nothing. Learning nothing. Not growing. Not expanding. Wasting time. I just have so much regret.

Not too long ago I counted up a fraction of my time spent. Only including my time on Xbox, not any other platform… the first few games out of almost 300 I had well over 8,000 thousand hours and I couldn’t allow myself to even count up the rest. For those of you who don’t know there are only 8,760 hours in a year. God knows how much time I actually wasted.

Watch: Every Hour Counts

This is not to say I regret all my gaming experience. I for sure don’t regret any of the couch time with other people in the same room. I don’t regret all the online time, just most of it. I am aware enough now. Think about the skills I could have learned, or the money I could have saved. Think about how much happier I could have been if I were using that time to pursue all the things that actually brought me joy.

Luckily I have remained an outdoors child all these years. Even a social child. I never gave up hunting. I love fishing more than anything. I can’t bare looking at a video game for more than a few minutes without dying from boredom, but I can sit on the river bank, or sit on the lake all day. Feels great to say that.

I hike, I bike, I party, I chase girls, I take drives. I’ll never regret doing these over video games. I have had a few girlfriends, and I think I have some of the truest friends a man could ask for. These past few years have just been the best without video games.

To those of you who are just contemplating in the slightest about removing video games from your life… do it. Sell your gaming stuff. Take action today. The less regret you have the better. Good luck.

This story was submitted by a member of StopGaming. Sharing your story is one of the best ways to encourage others to quit gaming too. If you care about this issue, SHARE this article to let others to know that life is so much better without gaming.

Need help?

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

When you started gaming? What games?

I started gaming as soon as I could pick up the controller, maybe five or six years old. I used to watch my mom and her neighbor play Legend of Zelda and Star Fox on the Super Nintendo and I remember my first gaming experience beating the first Corneria level with a sliver of health only to run out of lives on the next asteroid level!

It was all downhill from there, from being the Nintendo 64 kid (basically) opening up the present under the Christmas tree to skipping class to play my GameCube and spending 6 years playing world of Warcraft around 18 units of college classes.

What did you like about gaming?

What immediately comes to mind is the sense of validation. My parents were very hard workers and were determined to provide me with everything I needed on a concrete level. However I would say withholding of encouragement in things I was interested in. I remember running out of my room to show my parents something exciting in my game only to be rejected or given a quizzical look.

Video games provided simple rules for success: get the exp, shoot the bad guy, score the loot. It made a lot of everything else seemingly too complicated. Things like real life friendships, relationships, responsibilities. I also liked the way video games advanced in graphics, narrative, and art form I think it got me interested in technology, arts from the beginning.

Watch: How Your Need for Accomplishment Keeps You Gaming

When did you notice it becoming a problem?

I think the first major wake up call was six years ago when I had to make a phone call to my mom that would make her cry. I had missed a deadline to re-apply for nursing school and I was unemployed at the time. I had been playing Final Fantasy 14 and was deeply involved in a guild raiding regularly.

After the hard smack of shame that phone call represented I got into a private channel with my guild leader and told her I had to quit the game cold turkey. I went on to take month off of gaming altogether and afterwards restrict my gaming to certain genres.

What consequences did you start to experience?

I think I was struck at first by how challenging real life stuff was as I got into my mid twenties… Showing up at work, being sociable in real life, and my school work all took on this “why bother?” quality.

Not being a kid anymore I had nothing to hide behind except video games and I could see it for the first time as the real barrier to life it was for me. Eventually my shame amassed enough that I came to know real depression and neuroticism all the way up to suicidal ideation at one point which I stepped down from and never saw again as I began to take interest in my personal growth.

When did you decide to quit?

I decided to make 2018 the year to quit on January 3rd, 2018. I was laying in bed playing Hearthstone on my phone. I remember I was really mad about losing at an arena run and mad at my phone for having short battery life and my charger cord for being just as short.

All at once I was struck by what an ugly person I felt like. The rage, the inability to come back to real life after four hours of gaming, and the shame worst of all.. it all stood before me in stark relief. And I didn’t want to be that kid anymore.

Watch: The Secret About Quitting Video Games

I had been dealing with the death of my father in November 2017. It had been suggested to me to use video games as a stop gap between me and being totally consumed by this trouble. I decided to use gaming to provide a relief from the grief that had been plaguing me for the month after.

Up until then I had gaming pretty well managed and had it down to short evening single player sessions. But in my mourning I got into multiplayer gaming with Overwatch and Hearthstone (thanks Blizzard for being too good at your job…). I had abused it for most of December before I hit that rock bottom in January.

Did you seek help or support? Start the detox? Relapse?

My plan was to quit cold turkey. I hit really heavy pangs of boredom within a week and it was very surreal. I kept it under control via meditation, running, and what I call my “methadone” in the form of board games.

I picked up a board game called Splendor to play during the very common lulls at work. I also joined a weekly Dungeons and Dragons meet up at my local board game store and made new friends that way.

Those would trigger very familiar cravings but it would be a lot easier to watch and manage as I could only do these in person with a group of people. At days 30 and 60 of no video games I treated myself to an hour of virtual reality with a friend. Through these I found “softer” ways to game.

What benefits have you gotten from quitting?

First I’ve afforded myself a new sense of adulthood. Things like getting a job, moving out of my mom’s house, and finishing school have all helped, but I would always come back to video games to make myself feel small again.

I’m getting a better “can-do” attitude when confronted with issues. My social life is taking a new sense as I find I’m less needy and worried about what people think of me. My inferiority complex triggers much less. When I see a way I want to improve myself it’s become much less daunting to take the first steps.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

For anyone reading and thinking they can’t do this, you can. You’ve always had it in you, you just have to put it to work. It’s not easy at first, but you will learn to do it in a real and lasting way that you will decide.

The goodness of life is always there if you choose to seek it, you just have to realize it’s not waiting for you on a computer screen.

This story was submitted by a member of Game Quitters. Sharing your story is one of the best ways to encourage others to quit gaming too. If you care about this issue, SHARE this article to let others to know that life is so much better without gaming.

Need help?

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

“In the past there have been days when I’ve missed work so I could binge on a game for another day.”

I set a goal to make it 90 days without gaming, and I also included not watching Twitch for a detox. Today marks the 90th day.

What I Learned:

  • Actually permanently deleting my Steam account was a massive boost. Knowing all the games I had on there were gone forever was ultimately a relief and a weight off my shoulders. If I was tempted to game, not having a steam account was a noticeable barrier.
  • Reading Respawn was a great way to start. As well as reading others’ posts on here and keeping a journal. Journaling daily, especially at the start, was important.
  • Ditching my laptop was also key. Having my desktop stationed in the living room as opposed to my bedroom decreased my desire to game.
  • Keeping a calendar and a to-do list are very important. I now have a weekly dry-erase calendar – I like to look at the upcoming week and plot a few things on there. If I’ve got nothing to look forward to, it’s much easier to fall into despair and making some poor decisions.
  • Weekends are the biggest challenges, this is when I have large blocks of free time. It’s helpful to journal out possible things to do that day on those mornings.

Watch: Is It Ok To Play Video Games on the Weekends Only?

  • I’ve been more loose and open to connecting with other people. A great example is my roommates. Before when I was gaming I tensed up when they were around. I didn’t want them around so I could enjoy my game in solitude. But now I’m much more welcoming of the company.
  • I read more. Over the last 3 months, I think I read at least 200 pages a month, which was much more than the preceding months.
  • I went to work more. In the past there have been days when I’ve missed work so I could binge on a game for another day. 0% chance of that happening if I haven’t been gaming.
  • It did get easier, and as it got easier, I was able to put more focus on other challenges and goals.
  • When I began cutting out gaming there is some evidence that the addiction “switched over” to other things. I would drink more, binge on television, and watch more porn. It’s important for me to be aware of when this happens and actually work recovery rather than allow myself to give in to other things that aren’t healthy for me. My recovery especially involves giving it over to my higher power and connecting with others.

What’s next:

  • After completing the detox, I have no plans to go back to gaming or watching Twitch. There have been too many benefits of not doing it, and too many poor consequences in the past of when I was doing it.
  • I will experience urges from time to time, it’s just part of being human.
  • There may be some times when I’m hanging out with some friends or family and they’re playing a multiplayer game. In those situations, I’ll need to assess the situation and how I’m feeling before I dive in. In some of those situations, I think it’s okay for me to game. In others, it’s better for me to pass. Playing a light game for an hour or two is much different than playing a more intense game for 6 hours straight into the wee hours of the morning.
  • My next goal is 180 days. I will continue to post on the forums once every week or two, read others’ journals, and welcome newcomers. This site is a wonderful reminder of why I chose to quit.
  • Now that my cravings for gaming seem to be more under control, I’d like to focus more of my willpower on giving up porn. This is the other addiction that has been with me since I was a boy. Other goals include getting fit and getting more involved with my church. All this, of course, means getting out of my house more.

Thanks to everyone in the community who have shared their own journeys and given me some support along the way.

This post originally appeared on the Game Quitters Forum. If you care about this issue, SHARE this article to let others to know that life is so much better without gaming.

Need help?

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

england

“I would constantly have thoughts about how much easier it would be for everyone else if I weren’t here.”

I’m a 23 year old skinny bloke hailing from the tropical island of England. From a young age I haven’t been the happiest person, in fact, I’ve been rather negative, easy to piss off, and well a grump in practically every sense of the word.

I never really had issues making acquaintances, I still have my best friends from a good 10+ years back, and wasn’t bullied in school, but for reasons I’d like to keep private, I always hated myself. I would constantly have thoughts about how much easier it would be for everyone else if I weren’t here.

Now I’m not sure if you’ve been in this situation but let me tell you, it’s one hell of a vicious circle. Internally I loved everyone I surrounded myself with, I loved to help people through their problems, I loved giving advice and things of that nature or making them laugh which was usually through self-deprecation.

However, when you don’t love yourself it’s extremely hard to show affection to those around you (those that I did help, I came across as more of a therapist than a caring friend), but when it came to family I was always negative, especially towards my parents.

Negativity Spreads Negativity

So when those people would respond back to me in a negative way that would confirm to myself that I, in lack of a better way of putting this, was a piece of shit.


This persisted for 15 years, getting worse as I got older. I had one way to release, gaming. I never really gamed for the competitiveness, although I will note that I loved shitting on people in 3v3s, 2v2s, and battlegrounds in World of Warcraft.

My main pull to gaming was the escapism, I didn’t feel like I had to escape from anyone or anything, but myself and my own thoughts.

I would play immersive and heavily story driven semi-believable fantasy rpg’s and mmo’s which I could set goals in, for e.g: “to obtain a level up before coming off” for about 12-16 hours a day. Often pulling all nighters.

Obviously on paper this is absolutely not good for my health at all, however I don’t regret it. I know that factually I wouldn’t be here writing this message now if it weren’t for gaming. As cheesy as it sounds it saved me from myself.

So skip ahead a few years of increased parental concern with my gaming, with which they’d wrongly link my bad temper and attitude to games because I would never tell them my actual reasons, for all they knew I gamed so much because I was obsessed, because I loved games for no reason really.

Truth be told a year before last I got in a really shitty state. I’ve always been one to be able to reason with myself, I’ve never self-harmed for the sole fact that I don’t believe in it. If I had reasoned with myself and come to the conclusion that actually nothing bad for anyone would happen if I ended my life, I would have done it.

Important: Thinking of Harming Yourself? Seek Help Immediately

I never confided in anyone, not even professionals, because I thought I was too much of a burden so I would deal with my own problems. I would either lie there for hours finding excuses for myself or if I felt it was getting too much, boot up the pc and play WoW.


You might argue that getting my head in a good book would be just as beneficial and immersive, however I’d disagree. With video games like WoW they’re not just a game, but an experience, a game so outlandish but with enough elements of realism and believability that you can fully sink yourself into it. You see, hear, and arguably feel everything.

In addition to all of that I could set personal goals to focus on before coming off each day, so it was perfect for me to escape to.

 At one point during my depression I did try to quit games, thinking that this would somehow benefit me. At first I recall it did, for perhaps a week or so, but quickly it was making me worse as I’d just have nothing to turn to. Things that I’d try to replace it with just couldn’t compete, so I quickly went back to gaming.

I Had Enough

I decided to no longer be stubborn, that evidently I couldn’t deal with my problems alone given it had just been getting progressively worse over the years (sometimes laying dormant, but would happily reveal its ugly head like some kinda twisted whack-a-mole), and so I sought out my universities therapist and through him, a friend, failed meds, and (again this will sound cheesy) some form of epiphany mid-last December I can honestly say that my problems feel like they’re behind me.

I’m a happy man most days (can’t be happy every day or else I’ll lose the inherently British art of being miserable), loving, caring, and both my friends and family have told me I’m different which I think is good.

I was still gaming as much as before, 12-16 hours a day, up until the 5th of January this year when I realized that actually as ironic as it is, what had helped me to stay sane and somewhat functional for all these years was now actually my big problem.

Must Read: How Quitting Video Games Saved José’s Life

Because I had become so used to games, it just felt natural from then on to keep playing them, even though my main big reason for playing them so much in the first place (to escape) was gone.

I’d made gaming a habit, and if you know anything about how habits work on a neurological level you’d know they’re factually impossible to completely remove and can only be overshadowed with a more compulsive habit.

I made it my goal to stop gaming because as soon as I realized it was now a problem, I became far less interested in gaming. I stopped gaming altogether without giving a thought to it for weeks. I then realized how empty my life was without it. I had absolutely nothing to fill my time with (besides university work), so my spare time was spent just zoning out really.

I did eventually start playing a game again which led to more games, but nothing like 12 hours, it’d be roughly 8 hours at max but more regularly 3-4 hours not even every day, still a massive improvement for someone like myself.

Where I Am Now

I’ve been looking for things to fill my time with. I’ve changed my diet, eating more regularly and extremely healthy foods rather than normal food (my old diet wasn’t bad, containing no junk food, but I saw room for improvement and increased the quantity).

I do some body-weight exercises at home, I read books, have a focused goal for my actual life now, and have plans for other past times too.

Generally I’m just in a completely better place. I don’t play WoW anymore, but will play the soundtrack and still have the game and hundreds of other games still installed, because I feel this way if I have them but don’t play them I’m not running away from the problem, I’m facing it head on. Listening to the tracks gives me nostalgia, but no longer the urge to play, just fond memories.

This story was submitted by a member of Game Quitters. Sharing your story is one of the best ways to encourage others to quit gaming too. If you care about this issue, SHARE this article to let others to know that life is so much better without gaming.

Watch: Should You Listen to Gaming Music?

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.

sunset clouds

“When I looked back at the 3 years I had spent since college I didn’t see a life well lived, or dreams pursued, I just saw an existence.”

Gaming is a shameful addiction. That is what I felt for a long time, and I know that many do as well. Like so many addicts I hid my problems from even my close friends, loved ones, and of course the weak justifications to myself.

Once you start to fight back against it all the negative emotions you have been trying to deal with come to the surface, and you have to face them, and that is no easy task. I want to tell you a little about my back story and how I was able to stop gaming, and the challenges I still face.

Like many people here I termed myself as having an addictive personality. That was my excuse for a while, but then I looked further back at the origins of where my gaming addiction came from, and diagnosing it’s pathology allowed me to understand it. To put a name to it. In the old mythologies often being able to speak the name of the force of malevolence allowed you power over them that you otherwise would not have.

Origins

Born in the early 90s my first games were all PC based. Early on I remember weekends being spent, not entirely but a good chunk, playing strategy games. I remember walking through BestBuy aisles back when they went three rows deep with PC games and feeling excited.

I didn’t know it then because I was young, and wouldn’t understand it until much later, but what I really wanted was escape. Escape from my family life. My mother remarried a step-father who yelled. He was never physically abusive, but I remember hiding every time they yelled at each other. It was traumatic.

I used to hide under the table in a fetal position when I was six until it was over. Nothing was ever explained to me, but even at the young age of eight I would be sought out as emotional support for my mother to help her cope, and being a good son I did what I could, but in those yelling episodes I wanted to be somewhere else very badly. These memories stuck themselves deep into my psyche.

Watch: How to Overcome Escapism

As I continued to grow up, with all the awkwardness and boredom of adolescence, gaming stayed with me a constant, consistent companion that I could turn to when I was bored and wanted an escape. I cannot now fathom the many lost weekends I had. All those great moments of youth, all those opportunities to mess up and try new things, understand the world better. I knew I lost those to gaming.

College

When college came around I resolved to stop gaming because I knew innately that my experience would not be the same if I continued. And so for a while I did. I didn’t return to the PC games I knew before, but I did have a bad stretch with chess and porn addiction my sophomore year. Come towards the end of senior year the addiction crept back in.

After graduation I moved back home to save money while I paid off loans. Being back in that old environment, and the stress of trying to find a job caused me to relapse, and this time harder. It was everyday until 1 or 2am, only to wake up around 11am or 12pm with most of the day gone and nothing accomplished. I eventually got a job, and then after that one, another came along for a span of 3 years.

I tried numerous times to quit gaming, but that coping mechanism, that escapism built deep inside me kept being triggered, causing me to come back further and further. Things really came to a head when living with a roommate that was never home. I started playing his PS4, and sometimes until 5 or 6am when I would have work at 8am that same day.

Getting 1 to 2 hours of sleep even 1 day a week made the entire week that much harder with everything that I had to do. I knew that I had to stop, but I wasn’t going to talk about it either because I was ashamed. It didn’t fit the mold of who people knew me to be. It seems silly now, because being courageous starts with being truthful with who you are, but true courage like that is not easy to manifest when it can change the way people see you.

90 Day Detox

Talking about it was a big and scary step, but I can tell you right now it is the first step. You are already having these conversations in your head, but you need to speak to someone, maybe someone close, maybe a professional, hell maybe even a stranger to begin with, but you need to speak it’s name. Addiction is a monster that steals life away from you.

Join: The Game Quitters Forum

It was a very slow process for me beginning close to 9 months ago, and the first step is talking about it and owning up to it. We live in a remarkable and beautiful world where there is endless beauty and opportunity, spending it watching colored pixels move is exactly as those who just watch their own shadow’s in Plato’s Cave allegory.

What really did it for me was that when I looked back at the 3 years I had spent since college I didn’t see a life well lived, or dreams pursued, I just saw an existence.

I knew there were things that I strongly wanted to accomplish, but all of my free time on the weekends was going towards gaming, towards watching passively colored pixels while I made a few clicks. It was so weak and ungrateful for the gift of life that I had been given. My health, my relationships, and my life were spiraling downhill.

The day after an all-night gaming session I would intentionally avoid my girlfriend because all I wanted to do was sleep, and I didn’t want her to see a shameful zombie – me.

Eventually I opened up to her about my addiction.

Owning up to it with her, my family, and God helped to further strengthen my now desperate feelings of needing to end this cycle. I could see where it was taking me. A life filled with regrets and resentment. A life on the sidelines, while I missed out on the greatest game there ever was or will be. I knew that wasn’t me. I wasn’t going to go quietly into that good night. The rage built up.

Soon feelings of “I need this to de-stress” became “I am better than this.” The biggest help in my recovery was initially talking about it and then substituting that bad habit of gaming with productive habits.

This is incredibly important: what drove you into gaming is going to take a long time to deal with, but in the meantime to make the situation better substitute one habit for another – a healthy habit.

In my case it was rock climbing, and reading. With both there were the same challenges of accomplishing something and an enjoyable journey to get there, so it fit right into the dopamine scheme. 90 days past and I still feel urges. But will power is a muscle and it cane be build upon and worked on. Cold showers can help here.

Watch: How to Improve Your Willpower

The difference between now and a few months ago is the clarity of mission and direction my life is now going towards. It’s something that others who have stopped can attest to. I am simply living a more fulfilling life filled with more human interaction, betterment, and adventure. I feel more confident than ever and happier with myself than ever before. I see my life trending upwards.

Don’t let ANYONE, especially not yourself tell you that a little bit is ok, or that you are just doing what makes you happy. It is the worst kind of trap. It is the lie told to Eve in the garden that everything will be ok. That there will be no consequences. THIS IS IT. This is the one life that you have, and the time you have now will be gone so very soon. If you take the easy way out you are missing out on joys and adventures 100X than whatever you can get from gaming.

At least that’s the decision I’ve made and I’m grateful for it. I hope you will too.

TLDR;

  • Gaming was a coping mechanism for escaping family reality
  • Came back around after college
  • Every relapse worse
  • Relapses started to affect life very negatively
  • Realized I was wasting my life away
  • Started talking about problem
  • Replaced gaming with reading and Rock Climbing
  • Lead more fulfilling life.
  • There are joys and life so much greater than gaming out there.

This story was submitted by a member of StopGaming. Sharing your story is one of the best ways to encourage others to quit gaming too. If you care about this issue, SHARE this article to let others to know that life is so much better without gaming.

Need help?

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

“I came to Japan with big dreams. Three years later I was stuck at home, with no friends, no job, playing 30 to 40 hours a week. I was depressed.”

Saturday, October the 15th, I completed three months without putting my hands on a single video game (console game, computer game, smartphone game, you name it).

Before I go further, I’d like to make it clear that I don’t have anything against video games. I don’t want to go in this merit, whether video games are good or bad – I’m not qualified for that.

What I want to share with this story is not a debate about video games, but my personal experience with them (and the thousands of others who suffer in silence).

Those who know me well enough know that I’ve always considered myself sort of addicted to video games. I’ve had the habit of playing since I was about 9, when I got my very first console. I was hooked, and since then, gaming had been a part of my life.

The truth is even though I called it an “addiction”, gaming had never brought me problems. I had good grades at school, and many friends with whom I shared different hobbies. I’ve had a band, graduated from college, got a job, learned how to dance, received a promotion, etc. My social life was relatively active, yet I’ve always found time to escape for a few hours on the weekend to play games.

It had been like this for many years. Gaming was just another part of my life.

Living Abroad

One day I decided I had enough of my hometown and tried my luck here in Kyoto, Japan. My plans were to study Japanese for a year in a language school and then, after getting a grasp of the language, find my place in the Japanese workforce as an engineer.

At that time, four years ago, it seemed like a good plan. I made friends from different countries. The classes took only 4 hours a day so I had a lot of free time, much more than what I’d like to have.

I had been to Japan before so I didn’t feel like exploring the city as much as I should. My friends also didn’t seem to be interested in sightseeing either.

I felt like I was in high school once again, when my only responsibility was to do my homework. After finishing it, I had the whole day available to do anything I wanted.

From all the endless possibilities that are available to us in the modern world, I decided that checking which games were hot at the moment was the best idea (ugh!). Fortunately (or more likely unfortunately), one of these games ran perfectly on my old laptop, a game called League of Legends.

When a Habit Becomes an Addiction

bad habits

After a few weeks I started seeing many of my fellow friends getting better grades than me. That didn’t matter much because I knew I only had to focus a little on my studies to be the best student of the school.

The problem was that I was too busy playing games to focus on anything else.

Meanwhile, I got two different part-time jobs that filled my then 24h/week I was allowed to work under a student visa. These jobs helped me ease the burden I had created of playing over four hours per day, every day.

This situation continued until the end of my classes. As my Japanese was still not good enough, I decided to study one more year by myself and then take the proficiency exam. But deep inside, I was happy as a boy after finishing his last school day. I wouldn’t have to go to school anymore – which means more time to game.

Some of my friends went back to their countries, others stayed at school for another year; all the other people I met in Japan lived in different cities. Home alone, working only a few days a week, I used basically all the time I had left to play and improve my skills in this new game, which was online and extremely competitive.

After another six months without any real life progress (I was getting better at the game), I decided to stop. I had to do something different, for my deadline was getting near and my goals still seemed very far away.

I got a different job, one that gave me the feeling of what it is like to be part of the Japanese society. I got married to my girlfriend, so the working limit I had on my visa was gone. I started working more hours, but I couldn’t stop playing video games.

All the time I was supposed to be studying was used to game more. One year after I had left school my Japanese level still wasn’t good enough to get approved in the exam.

The worse of it all, I didn’t acknowledge that gaming was a problem in my life. I thought addiction, real addiction, was something different, far away from my reality. No, not me. I’m not sick.

Eventually, and with a little bit of luck, I got the certificate of proficiency that I needed. I got approved in my first try on the exam. Six months after all my friends from school got it. Yet, I did it! And that made me go on without realizing the damage that gaming was doing to me.

Depression

Actually, I was only aware of it six months ago, when my work contract came to an end, and I was left with one part-time job, working twice a week.

Playing games was good – too good. It was immersive, challenging, social, stimulating. However, I felt devastated after turning off the computer. I was defeat itself. Millions of thoughts came through my head. I left my family and friends in my home country, quit a good job, and promising career.

I came to Japan with big dreams. Three years later I was stuck at home, with no friends, no job, playing 30 to 40 hours a week. I was depressed.

I didn’t know what to do. I tried to limit my gaming time. I tried playing less addictive games. But I couldn’t do anything but play. I changed from one game to another, always saying to myself “after I finish with this one, I’ll stop”. But whenever I finished a game, there was another cool game being released. There will always be.

Watch: There Will Always Be Another Game

The 90 Day Detox

After a lot of research on the internet, reading a lot of advice from people who had no idea what they were talking about… I discovered Game Quitters. Suddenly, I finally understood I had a problem with games. A problem that many other people shared.

I wasn’t all by myself anymore.

The gaming habit was strong, very strong, and I struggled another three months before asking for help from the community. But once I took that step, everything started to become clearer in my head.

When you show up and make a public commitment, you will do everything within your reach to keep your word. It was then that I committed to the 90 day detox and to re-evaluate my relationship with video games.

During those 90 days I learned a lot about my addiction and the reasons why I had kept playing video games. I used games to fill in the void I had in my life.

The Change

I had already left behind a huge part of me when I left my home country to come to Japan: my career as an engineer (only a few people know how hard it was for me to get that diploma). Now I was leaving behind another important part, a hobby I had since childhood.

I was losing my identity.

However, this change was more than necessary. I had to get in touch with my inner self and find out who I really was. I had to reach for my soul, begin to dream again and live my life with purpose – a life that I would be proud of living.

Watch: How Video Games Fulfill Your Need For Purpose

Of course, this was not something to be done within three months – to quit playing is only the beginning. It was only a single, but required step.

In the last three months, a lot has changed:

  • I started exercising again and built better eating habits. I exercise six days a week. I am more selective of what I’m eating. I went from 55kg to 60kg (I’m 178cm tall) and feel a lot better about my looks and health.
  • I read about 10 books, twice as much as what I had read last year. This was due to a major mindset shift so I could overcome my problem and move forward day after day.
  • I bought myself a guitar (with money that I would have probably spent on games) and played my first guitar solo. I had been playing guitar for many years, yet, had never been able to play a solo.
  • I started writing. It started with journaling, then I wrote a few short stories with some friends. This is a new experience to me, and it is something that I never thought I’d be doing before.
  • I study every day. Not only Japanese, but I realize now that I need a different skill set if I’m going to start something new.
  • I learned how to cook. Instead of buying take away food every day I often prepare my own food and I cook for my wife twice a week.
  • The exposure to new (and old) experiences opened my eyes to different perspectives. Today I have a better idea of the things I want for my life.
  • I understood that feeling good and being happy are two very different things. And that the more frightening thing is the leap you have been planning to make, the bigger choice is the need to make it.

Watch: Are You Having Fun, or Are You Happy?

Final Thoughts

The message I’d like to leave is: my problem was with video games, but you can change video games to a different word and you’ll have a bunch of people who suffer in silence because of a compulsive behaviour that took them over, and keeps them from living a fulfilling life.

Porn, Netflix, alcohol, social networks, TV, YouTube… any of these things can change from a healthy habit to a vice that overcomes you, and drains all of your time without mercy. I can see clearly now the role I was playing in the entertainment industry. I was a consumer.

The world has evolved, and so has our problems.

Maybe there is someone you know that might be alone, in pain, suffering from an abusive habit that keeps her from living a life worth living. If that person is you, reach out. Don’t wait one year like I did. We are stronger together.

The article above was written and published in October, 2016, on Medium in Portuguese with minor edits. Except for one week that I played Action Quake 2 online with my brother (pure nostalgia) for a couple of hours in May 2017, I’m still game free.

I have fond memories of video games, but the thought of playing them again seems so silly to me now. I can easily think of dozens of things I would rather be doing with my time. I want to be a published writer. I want to own a profitable business. I want to teach. I want to learn. I want to make an impact in this world. Gaming just doesn’t fit those goals.

Inspire others:

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Need help?

If you are reading this and you are 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 cold, dark piece of plastic that I could hold in my hand had changed me into someone I did not know.”

Life outside the game was at an all-time worst. I was out of shape, I didn’t have friends, and when I wasn’t failing tests or sleeping in class, I was faking sick and skipping school.

My room was a mess. It didn’t matter. An empty pizza box was on the floor. I didn’t care. My homework wasn’t done. I could do that later. I was focused on the game and I had no worries. Besides losing, that is.

I had thrown controllers before and gotten very angry over gaming, but this time was something completely different.

I felt a jolt of frustration and punched the wall. The pain went straight to my injured elbow and I clutched it to my chest, trying not to cry out and wake up my family.

Self Harm over a Video Game?

It sounds ridiculous, but considering that I had elbow injuries in the past, that was pretty low. I checked the time and it was 3am. Oh well, I could do my homework after just one more game. Yeah, just one more game. It couldn’t hurt.

I played a few more games and checked the clock again. 4:30am on the dot.

I came to the decision that I was too sick to go to school. I was sick, and I couldn’t accept that school was actually the cure. I trudged up the stairs, gasping for air, feeling like I had just climbed a mountain. I woke my mom, and shamelessly told her I had a terrible cold. She’ll let me stay home, I thought to myself foolishly.

Deep down, I knew she probably didn’t believe me, but was hoping she would let me stay home to use the day to get adequate sleep. But instead I got a single word: “No.” I wanted to argue. I wanted to argue badly. But I felt something deep down that told me not to.

I marched downstairs, almost tripping in the dark. I picked up the controller. I stood there and stared at the controller. This cold, dark piece of plastic that I could hold in my hand had changed me into someone I did not know.

I Dropped the Controller.

A single thud in the darkness. I snapped the lights on and looked at my reflection from the screen. My eyes had dark circles under them and my skin had lost some of its brown coloring. I saw mediocrity. I did not want to be this person for the rest of my life.

I pulled out every single wire. I put every game in a box before I could think twice. The moment the box left my hand, I felt free from the self destructive merry-go-round that I had been riding for nearly a month.

I would have to suffer through school the next day. It didn’t matter. I felt a new courage to stand up to the bullies. I spent money on those video games. I didn’t care. My elbow felt like it was being repeatedly stabbed. I could live with it.

Sitting in the dark at 5am, ready to get up for school in one hour, I was excited. I did not need to look at myself to know I was a completely different person than I had been 15 minutes ago, and it was all thanks to me.

My new mindset led to action over the next few months, and although my elbow did not get better (gaming led to increased elbow pain), I took the time I had been putting into video games and got the best grades of my life, started a business, and learned yoga.

I had realized something very important: I did not want to accept living an average life and it was up to me, and no others, to make that happen. Video games were one thing that I needed to let go to become my vision of my best self.

This story was submitted by a member of the Game Quitters community. Want to inspire others? Submit yours here.

“What should I try first, quit gaming or killing myself?”

Since I was very little everyone noticed I was really smart. Calling oneself smart right from the beginning usually raises some eyebrows. In my case, it wasn’t a blessing to brag about, or a one-way ticket to instant success. It felt like a curse for most of my life.

Much later I found out there are common issues that come in-hand with unchecked intelligence: overthinking, procrastination, depression, increased school failure rate…

It’s not so cool to just have neurons and not the first idea of how to use them or why, as it wouldn’t be so cool to be stranded in an island with a million dollars. If you feel like this too, I get it. You’re not alone.

I talked “weird”, I acted “weird”, I was “socially unfit” according to some teachers and doctors. Then I was bullied.

At Home Things Were A Mess

My father drank too much, my mother worked too much, my grandma doted me too much. Everything in my early life happened in excess. It’s an excess to talk fluently about politics at 5, being dropped from a car and left behind in a parking lot at 7, or still spoon-fed and dressed, like a French king, at 10. Though I regret nothing. Even if I could.

I will never say I was “bound to”, or somehow destined to game too much. But I also recognize a universal truth: people like to feel good. When things are tough, we like to break away, find our personal safe spot and get our much needed dose of dopamine and comfort. Nothing wrong with that: pleasure, satisfaction, relaxation, and enjoyment are all main drivers of the human experience. They are what make us do new things, or keep going at the old ones.

Most times. Dopamine and comfort can also lead to escapism and stagnation. I came to know both too well.

Watch: How to Overcome Escapism

Everything about video games was positive at first. My cousin and uncle introduced me to the world, family members that I trusted, fellow men to look up to. My gig was PC turn-based strategy, mainly the Total War Saga and Paradox. I could forget my problems and feed my ego with an endless (and repetitive) stream of megalomaniac fantasies.

I was still a child so I wasn’t allowed to meet people online. I guess this makes my story a bit different from the average gamer. Instead I could go to my uncle’s place every summer and show him my improvements, fairly good for a kid but still meaningless considering I was playing against a dumb machine. That’s the reason why if someone asks, I’ll usually say: “I wasn’t even good at them”.

This isolation actually helped me a lot when I quit many years later: thankfully no social interaction also meant no gaming friends to say goodbye to, no habit of playing free-to-play MMOs, and so forth. I ended up buying all my games (that means making my mother buy, with lies and sometimes threats) for pride and achievements, and the economic barrier set by getting rid of them always kept me from returning when everything else failed.

Things Got Out of Control Fast

From 8 years old onwards the only activity I can mostly remember was video games. The same two or three games, again and again. Like a literal drug I’d take to numb myself.

I had a serious case of unattended existentialism and the first thing I noticed when I stopped playing was how little the games were the actual problem and how deep I was trapped inside a pit of never-ending despair. That realization was yet to come.

Meanwhile, I dropped high school, all my relationships were toxic, and I had nothing to wake up for in the mornings. In fact I didn’t. I entered a gaming-passing out-gaming cycle. 8 hours a day. Then 12. Then 16. Every day.

For me, quitting was a quest for meaning in its purest form. To keep playing meant not asking the real questions, to hide from the most basic layers of reality. Scared to live, I was dead.

seville

When I was 19 I felt I had enough and fled from home.

I was then reading The Element (Not The Secret, mind you) and my head formed the crazy idea that if I went and stood in front of the right places, like the book implied, something would happen, decidedly relevant and inspiring. A life-turn.

It did. I reached Seville and while vagabonding I stumbled upon the Dramatic Arts School. I had discovered theatre at 16 and loved it, so there was not a single doubt. It was a hell of an adventure, if you want the crazy details you can read them here.

In summary: in only two months, I transitioned from socially awkward high-school dropout, to college student living semi-independently with two amazing girls, lots of new friends and a bright future to look forward.

And Then, Video Games

Not simply video games, to be fair. Again, games were just a symptom; the pretext, the mind-numbing drug. In the end I was terrified to take responsibility and choosing to be, not simply to exist, with all its consequences and metaphysical fright. There are incredible things in this world, things worth every challenge they can throw at you to get them. However I would not allow myself to accept that yes, I wanted those things.

Yes, I could fail. Yes, it could happen to achieve everything I wished for and then become bored or disappointed. And yes, I would eventually die and “lose” everything I fought for. I wouldn’t come to terms with life as something fluid, changing, relatively ephemeral, supposed to be that way and therefore not a bad thing in the slightest (after all, it’s not like there are alternatives to compare, outside a game, I mean).

But no, I wouldn’t concede. It had to make sense the way I wanted, I wanted to control everything so bad. It wasn’t to be, so I gave up on everything else.

bed

Well, that and I was also really clumsy at organizing myself. How could I not be? My grandma was bringing breakfast to my room until not so long ago, after the detox.

The worst mistake of my life was not taking the initiative to learn to be self-reliant, head-on, without laziness, without excuses. Do not be like past me. Think by yourselves, experience all by yourselves, take action in your own terms.

We’re nothing but slaves of those we depend on, no matter how kind or well-intentioned our masters are. For a grown-up, this should be unacceptable.

It really got crazy back then. I would wake up late, skip classes, steal a bit of breakfast from my flatmates, play video games, feel terrible (and nauseous), skip shower and meals (I wasn’t doing groceries and didn’t have the strength to raise my arms); then spend the night at the PC again.

I was ashamed to be seen (and smelled) in that state so I went out of my room less and less. I became a shut-in and the only thing I did was gaming.

Until there was a time I spent a night in Psychiatric Ward after having my first serious suicide thoughts, become scared shitless and go to the hospital on my own accord.

I should have nightmares about that night, there was literal screaming, metallic rattling and all you can imagine from that kind of place, exaggerated as it may sound. I was so “out” in that moment that I didn’t care, I could only think about “Some wacko please come kill me and spare me the job”.

After months of that lifestyle, I couldn’t hold on anymore and returned to my hometown, to my previous NEET state. I gave up on everything that minimally mattered to me. I was completely crushed, devastated. The suicide thoughts came back. I had one last option to try before truly considering committing to the end. Everything converged into one single question.

“What should I try first, quit gaming or killing myself?”

Quitting games or quitting my life. I can’t be happier to be writing this.
I googled my struggles, as Cam also did and brilliantly joked about in his TED talk. This time, instead of a disappointment a certain video came up.

I remember my first impression was: “Man, this Cam guy is not your average Tony Robbins (super alpha attitude and over the top delivery, you know?). I can relate to this, this guy knows 100% what I’m going through”. I followed the links, reached the forum and bam, I was in. [Disclaimer: Tony Robbins is awesome, I just felt his mindset was beyond this Universe back then. Now, only a few galaxies away.]

The first months were madness. 16 hours a day of existentialism, death anxiety, depression, panic attacks, withdrawal symptoms and nothing to do. Nightmares, hand shaking and body spasms, cold sweating, mild fever, nausea… And let’s not begin with what was going on in my mind.

It felt like quitting cocaine cold turkey. It took me 9 months going back and forth until I made a real commitment and got rid of Steam on July 28th, 2016.

Game Quitters

Credit: Rokia Kalouache

Since I quit, I could travel to 5 countries in 3 continents, meet new friends and find my first love (with a rainbow twist!).

In terms of my future, I’m in the process of joining the Spanish Armed Forces, and then I’m looking forward to my university studies. I’ve always loved politics: coming out from the closet of my feelings was way easier than the closet of my aspirations.

I kinda hate quotes and mentions, they make you look like a smartass. But then there’s Victor Frankl and his thesis about “finding a meaning for your own suffering”. All the symptoms, all the issues went away as fast as they arrived. A few of them, the milder ones, still come and go much less frequently and weaker; they may be occasional visitors for the rest of my life. But I’m not afraid anymore. Everything passes, given enough time.

Our only job as conscious beings, our only absolute free choice, is to never give up. Ever.

Quitting games is not easy. Living in general isn’t. You must find a meaning, not only for the things you enjoy or desire, but for your struggles, your fears, your doubts.

It’s ok to feel life is going to come down on you, it’s ok to feel you’re about to hit the ground so hard while you take on the whole world if needed be. That’s what I didn’t understand. That’s how I noticed games were not the problem when I finally quit them.

It’s not about being consistently overjoyed. That is humanly unsustainable, at least the way I conceived it. It’s about always being mindful and one thousand per cent focused on your purpose. The residue of this purpose, if genuine, is happiness.

cam and jose game quitters

This story was submitted by a member of the Game Quitters community. Want to inspire others? Share your story here.

“The existential crisis I had postponed since I was 17 finally caught on. I was 24 now, what the heck was I doing with my life?”

When I was 4 or 5 years old, a friend of mine got a Nintento Entertainment System. That was in 1991 or so. We played Mario 1, 2, and 3. Me, as forever-player-2, was Luigi.

It was amazing! The sheer fun of this simple adventure on the TV, amazing. I sucked, because I couldn’t play all day like my buddy. But it was even amazing to just watch him play.

I was hooked.

Years later, I remember playing Heroes of Might and Magic II with my brothers. We could play for hours and hours. We poorly understood English and the game, but through trial and error, we found out how the game worked, and we learned a new language while doing it. (Thank you gaming.)

Our parents would urge us to go outside. Get some sun, make some friends, move your body! “Naaaah” Because what could compete with this fantasy world? With this compelling narrative? And these amazing graphics?

My gaming habits sticked, of course. It had become second nature. I didn’t have any trouble at school really. But once I was in university, it became a problem – I started using it as a drug.

When in the real world my life wasn’t going that well – I would flee to gaming. Need to study hard? Rejected, or dumped? Months of gaming is the cure! Just numb myself a bit with a long session of RPGs and strategy games.

Not only was gaming an escape for me, but anime and porn as well. Some other easy dopamine injections. My old roommates still can’t believe I finished 600+ episodes of One Piece in a few weeks. It all seems harmless at first, but your ‘life energy’ is slowly sucked out. I became more a hull of a person than a full rounded character. But it didn’t matter,… because I mainly interacted online.

My computer was just this instant satisfaction dispenser. Although it was more numbing than real enjoyment.

The apex of my compulsive gaming was Skyrim! It was incredible! I don’t know how many hours I spent in that fantasy world. It didn’t matter what my buddies where doing, if I had exams or not, or whether it was 30 degrees outside. 
*(Celcius mind you ;), so around 86 Fahrenheit).

No matter what, I was going to be an orc mage warrior, and I was going to kill dragons!

This went on for months. Until I realized I wasn’t that happy. I hadn’t been for a long while.

The existential crisis I had postponed since I was 17 finally caught on. Like a tidal wave of realism and pain gulfing over the fragile ego I had left. I was 24 now, what the heck was I doing with my life? Where was I going? Was I just going to sit inside for the rest of my life – gaming, jacking off, sleeping and repeating? What about my graduation that was long due? What about all the experiences life had to offer? What about girls?

Suffice to say, I became quite depressed.

In the past if I felt a bit depressed I would hop on my digital steed and drive off to kill some undead. But that wouldn’t work anymore.

It had to stop. I don’t remember how I exactly did it. But slowly yet surely, during the next months, I drastically reduced the amount of gaming and binge watching. I started reading constructive blogs and books. Classics like “How to Make Friends and Influence People’ and blogs like NerdFitness. (I don’t think Game Quitters was around in 2011 :).) My entire mindset had to change.

So I immersed myself in positive reading, even if I didn’t feel like it. I went out and started socializing, even if I felt like hiding under the covers. And I worked out, even if I felt like lethargically lying on the couch. It was a slow and painful grind. With lots of small relapses, setbacks, but also small victories.

Especially my self esteem and social skills had suffered these past years. Step by step relearning how to normally interact with people was awkward and painful to say the least. But with practice it did come back. It’s even intuitive by now!

In the end I grew stronger! I got fit, met girls, made new friends and worked hard on my studies. My personality, that had withered in my screen lit room, was slowly reviving. I even started achieving some amazing things. Running half a marathon, rowing a 100k race, solo traveling in Asia for 6 months, hooking up with the hottest Venezuelan girl ever, and much more.

But more importantly – I became way more confident and self reliant. Now I have a set of values and goals I work hard for. I don’t hate myself anymore – I really like me actually :)! And that is a really nice way to live.

Is life easy now? F*ck no! Do I still feel the need to flee reality? Yes, and I do create a healthy mental distance sometimes. But I do tackle my problems now. No more evading of hard truths or emotions, but facing them head on.

And that is what is important. It is your life. You have just a few decades in total. Fight and work hard for what you find important. Always get yourself to the next level! There is so much more out there. But you do need to let go of some artificial worlds!

Timon ??

This story was submitted by a member of our community. Want to inspire others with yours? Submit your story here.

“I was unhappy in my relationship, and was avoiding this by dulling my mind with gaming. Then I discovered she was cheating on me.”

I was never a video gamer. I used to just play Trading Card Games like Yugioh with friends. I just wanted to hang out.

I used to workout, but then I moved in with my girlfriend, and was working full-time. That left me feeling drained at night, so I didn’t feel like working out, but I did want a reward.

My friends all moved on from Trading Card Games, and started gaming instead. I started with Hearthstone, discovered Diablo 3, Heroes of the Storm, and League of Legends. My brain got hooked immediately to the competitiveness, and sense of purpose I got out of it.

What I didn’t know at the time is that I was unhappy in my relationship, and was avoiding this by dulling my mind with gaming. I loved this girl, but didn’t want to be there and I wasn’t when I was gaming.

She Was Cheating On Me

We broke up, and I hit a new low. Quickly I searched for a new game to indulge in, and found my first MMO, Blade and Soul. Every day I would work from 8am until 4pm, and play this game from 5pm to 2am at night.

I spent $4,000 on this game in three months through micro-payments.

I rationalized this by saying to myself this is my money. I am entitled to do what I like, and if that’s gaming, so what? Everybody has hobbies.

I was in a hardcore guild. We were gunning for the #1 spot on the server. Honestly, being in a guild where everyone else would play 8 hours a day made it seem normal. “All the guildies are doing it, so there’s nothing wrong with me, right?”

My Turning Point

My best friend came to see me in the Netherlands from London. He made quite some effort to see me, and wanted to hang for two days. I told him I could only hang for one day.

I said this because I couldnt bring myself to miss daily missions two days in a row. When I met my friend I broke down, and explained why I cancelled the first hangout, and only did one instead – including all the stuff I’ve been avoiding emotionally.

Lucky for me it turns out my best friend went through the same process in highschool, and quickly recognized an addiction. He told me to Google MMO addiction, and that I would be able to see my story written by strangers from around the world.

I Said Goodbye, Or Did I?

After reading these stories I realized my life was spiraling down, and I would lose everything, including my job and my house if I continued to put gaming #1. I went online and said goodbye to my guild mates.

I gave away all of my stuff. Then I deleted my character. My hands were shaking. I couldn’t digest throwing away countless hours, and 4k…

I realized it was all for nothing.

Well not for nothing. I did have fun, but it was all fake and gone now.

That all happened a year ago.

Today I realized I still game a lot.

After quitting cold turkey, I started playing one game of league on the weekends. When Worlds came I was so hyped up that I started playing. I play almost everyday. I am constantly seeking that new OP champion, or watching some VOD of a Pro League player like bjergsen.

Yesterday I had a moment where I realized that I had slipped of the path I wanted for myself. I haven’t worked out for over two months now. I eat unhealthy foods, and smoke cigarettes.

This change back to an unhealthy lifestyle, and constant gaming stems from the fact that I am once again not happy with my current relationship. I don’t want to deal with it, so I dull my mind once again.

Just had my first day without gaming, and honestly I feel free as a bird. I went to the gym, and haven’t felt so alive in a long, long time.

My point is: recognizing you have a problem is the first step and a huge victory. Be sure to be proud of yourself for doing so. Chances are you might catch yourself playing again… don’t get frustrated, just try to understand why and think of ways to help yourself to quit once again.

Because deep down you know you want to.

Good luck fellow Game Quitters.

Written by a valued member of our community. If you want to inspire others, share your story here.

“Trust me, a double backflip is cooler and more stimulating than getting an epic mount.”

It all started at around 11 years old, when I fell in love with some medieval strategy games staying at a friend’s house for a weekend. I convinced my dad to buy me one and I started playing on his computer.

Before going on with the story let me throw in a little of my childhood background: My parents are from Spain and by the time I was born they were living in Austria due to professional reasons.

By the time I was 7 we all moved back to Spain (first time for me) and they put me in a Spanish-Swiss school so I could keep learning German. I remember going to class for the first time a few days or weeks after everybody else had started plus I joined that school on the 2nd year of elementary school so it was a bit complicated to fit in due to pre-made groups and friendships, yes I was a shy bastard.

Luckily after a while I managed to fit in and feel normal. Back then, I just wanted to be one more of the class, be unnoticed, it would piss me off if you didn’t consider me normal. Nowadays it’s all the opposite. As an example, 2 years ago I was having a philosophical conversation with my 10 year old cousin and I asked her to define ‘normal’, she said to me: “everything that you do not do”. I’m so proud of this…

Age: 12

When I was starting to play computer games my parents put me in another school because they couldn’t afford that private Swiss school anymore (quality education is expensive a.f.) I went from a multilingual school where everybody spoke at least 2 or 3 languages to a regular school where people just spoke the local language. This shouldn’t be a problem, right?

Well, the fact that I spoke more languages plus the fact that I had lived so many years abroad made me a weirdo. If I had known how narrow minded people can be, especially children, I would have kept all of that to myself. Also in that school there were pre-made groups and friendships from the previous years.

(Notice that I share in depth detail about childhood, schools and stuff because I believe it has a strong connection with the fact that I started using games as an escape.)

Video Game World

Once again I struggled to fit in, much more than in elementary school and I slowly sunk into the video game world. Before the age of 14 I was gaming with my dad’s or mom’s computer so it was pretty limited. But at the age of 14 my dad bought me my first pc which I kept in my own room. And if you’re reading this, you probably know what follows: massive increase in gaming time, up to 2 or 3 hours a day, which will still increase later in the story.

Not Gerard

I was playing basketball in local teams at the time of high school. But with time, the video games took over. It was the only thing that made me feel good, it was stimulating, rewarding, exciting, it made me feel proud of myself because I was good at it, better than I was in basketball, school grades, and social life.

The whole thing became a vicious circle. As I kept gaming more and more, my social skills got worse. Low social skills = bad time at school; bad time at school = let’s get home quick and play games… I was playing several rpgs, fps, online fps, online rpgs and mmorpgs, but the one that really made me an addict was WoW (World of Warcraft) at the age of 16.

Highschool-wise I was on the worst stage, my few good friends had become very unfriendly, grades were bad and I had to quit basketball as I didn’t enjoy my teammates anymore, I wasn’t progressing either and I needed more time to study.

I switched school again for the 2 pre-university years and it was socially better but I still was at the climax of the WoW addiction. I noticed it being a problem as I sometimes would have 30 minutes for the breakfast break and I would sneak home (5 minutes away) to play for 15 minutes before going back to class.

At that time (age 17) I would play 3-4 daily hours and during vacation periods I counted up to 7 daily hours. My mom always told me not to spend so many hours with the computer but I wouldn’t listen, I was an addict. She was aware of this and she wanted to fix it.

Back to Austria

She sent me back to Austria (me being still 17) to a monthly German course in the University of Vienna. I hated her for that ‘punishment’ as I knew I couldn’t be playing for so long but guess what: 8 years have gone by and I still remember that experience as one of the top things I’ve done in my life.

It was socially very intense, I met people from all around the world, I made tons of new and awesome friends, I improved my German, I got back memories from my childhood in Austria, I got drunk for the first time(s) and I got myself a girlfriend. She was also in this monthly German course and as we finished we coincidentally found out that we were both flying back to Spain in the same flight and she wasn’t even from my area (how cool was that!?)

Once I was back home I was just a changed young man. I didn’t quit gaming yet, but I was playing less and I started having more interest in other things. I slowly switched to watching freestyle skiing and other adventure sports videos on youtube probably because it was stimulating enough to keep me off the games. I always liked skiing and thanks to youtube it became one of my hobbies.

When I started college I moved to my dad’s house and I was pretty much not playing anymore, I don’t remember quitting one day, I just remember progressively slowing down on it, as I was 18 already and I was ashamed of gaming. To me video games were for nerdy kids, and I didn’t want to be that, I wanted to be a freestyle skier and a lady’s man, ready for a successful college life.

The Next Chapter

Before I realized I wasn’t playing at all, just watching tons of extreme sports youtube videos and hanging out with college friends (still 18). Then I discovered Gopro back in 2009, I loved that unique footage you could get while skiing. In 2010 I bought myself one and the first time I put some gopro footage on an editing software and started playing around with the music and the transitions and so on, it blew my mind.

I quickly learned everything about video editing through youtube tutorials and I started to make my own videos, winning some local video contests and thus upgrading my Gopro to the Gopro Hero 2. I even got several freelance jobs as a video editor. Here’s the youtube channel where I uploaded all those epic video edits.

At that time I didn’t even remember about gaming, you told me something about a video game, I’d call you a nerd and I’d tell you to grow up, I was totally over it. And so it remained for all the upcoming college years.

I traveled a lot, I did internships in Austria, Spain and France, I worked in plenty of hotels, restaurants and trade shows and I even did a 5 month long ‘Erasmus’ in France (which is the European university study abroad program). That was a blast, couldn’t recommend it more to future students, you learn, you have a lot of fun and you meet tons of cool people from all over the world, without mentioning the intense ‘bam bam in the ham’.

The whole college experience allowed me to improve my English and to learn French, which led me to fluently speak 5 languages. This opened a lot of professional doors like the one from a scuba diving school in a big touristic resort here in Spain which needed someone who spoke German and French (a part from the local languages) so they hired me.

They taught me how to dive, then they taught me how to guide customers under water and finally they financed my instructor course in a specialized school so that I could also teach the diving thing in that school where they hired me. Within 2 seasons I was the manager of the diving school, coolest job I’ve ever had.

All success so far, even parallel to the end of my college period and the diving job, I started another youtube channel with a big friend of mine.

This whole experience has also been lifechanging. (63k subs at the time) This channel is about hidden camera pranks. We both love comedy, we love to make people laugh, and we love the hidden camera concept, so that is my current job as I write this: film, edit and act in this hidden camera pranks just to make people laugh.

As a kid I always loved “Just for Laughs”. We don’t stage pranks and we try to be as original and as respectful as possible with the victims or strangers that appear in our videos. So far it’s going well, we don’t have much traffic on youtube yet but we have some national TV networks hiring us to do videos for them. Youtube ad revenue is currently below 150 monthly euros, let’s cross our fingers and work hard so we can make a salary out of our elaborated videos.

The Relapse:

As said earlier, all success so far, but… on my last season as a scuba diving instructor I crashed on my motorbike on the road overtaking a car (my fault, lack of experience). Lesser injury, just a broken collar bone and a couple scratches, bad consequences: I had to quit my beloved job for 1 month to recover from the injury. That was a trauma, the last thing I needed in life.

Even if 1 month was not that long, it was in July, pretty much the most important month in the 5 month long diving season. I was pissed and felt guilty, my boss was pissed because he had lost the most important employee in the most critical month of the season. I was ashamed because a lot of people told me before not to ride a bike because of its danger, although it was the only way to get to work because you could not park a car where I lived unless you were rich.

Long story short, I got surgery, I recovered well and in 4 weeks I was back in my beloved diving school in the middle of the resort. What made me relapse were those 4 weeks of recovery.

I was staying at my dad’s place, laying in the sofa or in the bed all day with my computer watching gameplays of games I used to play 10 years earlier. A friend of mine told me he had a gamecode for WoW and that he wouldn’t use it, he sent it to me and I redeemed it. I felt the need to play to kill the time. It was way too boring going from that super exciting life to being injured in the sofa for so long.

I started playing and I had a blast, I enjoyed the game, felt bad in the inside, but at least I wasn’t bored at home anymore thinking of how big of a mistake it was to overtake that car. During those 2 weeks I played as hardcore as I had never played, up to 12 hours a day averaging 8 daily hours.

When I went back to the job everything was fine, just the boss seemed a bit pissed about me crashing but at least I was happy to be back. Once the season was over, he cut my salary here and there for various absurd reasons and then I went back to my hometown.

By that time I was having a rough time with my gf, the diving season didn’t end very pleasantly either, my youtube channel was not growing as wished and I didn’t have a secure job nor income.

So what did I do? I played again to escape all those worries (age 24). I did feel in control, and I was. Maybe I played 3 hours a day while I was doing many other things in life. Also as I had experienced so many things in life I knew I would never go back to where I was in high school.

That lasted for 2 months. Then things got back to normal and I realized I still have this thing in my brain, that urges me to play when things go south or when life is not stimulating enough. And I know it’s in my brain from when I was 15-17 which was the period where I used gaming mostly as an escape. It’s probably gonna stay there forever, I don’t know. Luckily I don’t have a normal lifestyle and I’m extremely outgoing thanks to the hidden camera thing, this helps me to stay social, and if you are social and you interact with a lot of people, games will simply not attract you.

Right now I focus on my youtube channel with my business partner and in trampolining which is the sport I’m in love with right now. I’ve been training it for 3 years and trust me, a double backflip is cooler and more stimulating than getting an epic mount.

What can we learn from my case?

It’s awesome to quit gaming and it’s also good to tell yourself you can play again in the future, but let it be in 15 years. By the time you play you will probably have fun, or not, but the addicting component won’t affect you as badly as if you’ve never quit for so many years in a row.

My tips for others? You need shocking experiences to alter your consciousness and be more aware of what’s going on in your real life.

For example go get a job abroad for a few months, preferably somewhere where you don’t know the language, if you’re a couch potato and/or are stuck in a certain phase of life, then this will do you good.

Also if you look for hobbies or things to do instead, look for stimulating things, action sports usually work. Skiing worked for me, but you can try surf, skate, paragliding, parkour, tricking, freerunning, skydiving, base jumping, wake board, slackline, bmx, dh biking, trampolining, etc.

Cheers,
Gerard

“Then I made my first kill, and snap, there it was, the kind of game I had needed all along.”

Today marks day ninety since I last played a video game, and it’s an enormous thanks to you I was able to do it and turn my life around.

I don’t know whether or not you get these a lot, but still I wanted to share my journey with you as a way of thanks, and because I feel I need to do this for myself too. Why? Because it’s hard, it’s out of my comfort zone and I feel totally open and vulnerable.

Excellent. I’m still not okay, but I’m getting better. Every hard day is a step to the right direction, as are the good days. I’m out of the woods, but now at the foot of a mountain. Good thing is: the day is clearing and I’m beginning to see the top.

My gaming got out of hand

I don’t wanna bore you with the whole story. Don’t wanna bore myself either. Let’s just say that I had gamed a lot before this point–MMOs and RPGs being my games of choice–but it was still pretty casual and mostly a way to avoid boredom. Then League of Legends came into the picture.

MOBA? Had never heard of it. I figured it was some sort of MMO. Nope. My first impression of League of Legends was sort of ‘meh’ as I really had no idea what I was supposed to do and got butchered by the opponent again and again.

Then I made my first kill, and snap, there it was, the kind of game I had needed all along. It was easy enough to get into, but hard to master with limitless potential to grow. It was mentally engaging, strategically and technically complex and, oh, so rewarding.

Little else mattered anymore; I was hooked.

The next three years went with all my energy put into getting better and climbing that ranked ladder. Even music, which had been the biggest part of my life for ten years, faded into the background. Never in my life had I put such an effort into anything–this is the most valuable thing I consider learning from that time: I was incredibly hard working and motivated.

Anyone who has played League, or any similar game, knows how nauseatingly toxic it can be. In the end I think that was what did it for me. That, and the stress of staying on the ranked ladder was finally enough for me.

But to quit–how could I when nothing else mattered to me anymore? Gaming was my identity. I just needed another game. I found Path of Exile, a non-competitive online action-RPG, and it was perfect. From it I got the dopamine my brain craved, it was immediately engaging with tons of things to learn and an awesome community.

I invested yet another year or so into it, but annoying, nagging thoughts lurked in the back of my head, ‘Is this it?’ Sure. ‘I’m gonna just game for the rest of my life?’ Yes, why not, as nothing else interests me anyway? ‘Is this the life I’m satisfied having ten, twenty, forty years from now?’ Well–

‘Am I happy?’ …

Of course I wasn’t. I was five years into depression, my diet was awful, I didn’t exercise and rarely went out, all the while wondering why don’t I have energy like everyone else? Where’s my motivation? I wonder.

90 Day Detox

After searching the internet for help and finding Game Quitters’ channel on YouTube, I made the decision to do the ninety days without games–even if I’d just go back into gaming afterwards, I needed to see if there was something else to life after all.

In that time I struggled and fought the gamer in me, who occasionally would sneak up and remind me of the good times I had with games, especially on the tough days, conveniently forgetting to mention the bad. I spent time in music again, my newly found passion for writing fantasy and science fiction, reading a ton and developing myself through YouTube and various other channels.

I took up and tried new things, such as exercising, meditation and cold showers, every new and positive habit leading up to a thought ‘Okay, what can I do next to feel even better?’. I took small steps at a time, and slowly began to see why I was walking. I could now look back and see the darkness I had left behind, see the rise in what I call my ‘default happiness’.

Life, as I realized, is not about constant bliss. There are ups and downs like a wave, but the average value the wave surrounds can be raised. The downs are there to give contrast for the ups. No light without dark, nothing is high if something isn’t low.

I like the analogy regarding life I heard from Dr. Jordan Peterson, a Canadian professor with a lot of great content on YouTube,

You might compare the difference between elevator music and a Beethoven symphony. It’s not that the symphony is in any sense happier than the Muzak–in fact, quite the contrary–but it’s deeper and more profound and richer and incorporates more and justifies itself more, and that’s the right metaphor for life; not happiness, but depth and differentiated quality and profundity, to match the profundity of the necessity of suffering.

So, I have no regrets for the time I initially thought ‘wasted’, because it was a road that gave me contrast to appreciate where I am now and the places I’m heading toward.

I’m eternally grateful for you and all the work you do with Game Quitters, and I wanted to express just how utterly, truly essential it was to have you pull me from that pit and encourage me as I learned to take my own steps. To me, Cam, you are nothing short of a Hero.

If our paths ever cross, I’m gonna give you a hug. All the best.
– Otto

If you are ready to quit playing video games, start your 90 day detox by clicking here.

“I decided to quit playing video games when I realized what I want in life wasn’t going to happen if I continued wasting my time.”

red backpack

It has been 444 days since I last played a video game. For those who like numbers, that’s 10,656 hours. When I was playing video games I was spending 8 hours a day on average. That’s over 3,100 Hours! Wow!

Since I’ve quit, I’ve invested those 3,100 hours wisely to invest in myself, my relationships, health, passions, and I have never been happier!

I decided to quit playing video games when I realized what I want in life wasn’t going to happen if I continued wasting my time. After years of missing out on opportunities, enough was enough. Lots of really bad things happened during my early-to-mid 20s, and each painful time I would rely on video gaming to “relieve” myself. Deep down I knew I was just distracting myself.

I was aware that I was denying myself of my dreams.

Because I turned to gaming every time negative emotions came up, I didn’t have the skills to tackle the emotions. The stress compounded so much over time that it felt overwhelming, thus the cycle was set.

Watch: How to Overcome Escapism

I was depressed, powerless, and inexpressive. I wanted to feel alive when at the time I could see no way out. The worst was realizing I would never get any of that time back. It’s like your bank telling you had $100,000 in your account (Okay, more like $100 but hey one day!) then finding out it’s only worth $10 because you wasted your time to act.

Change started after I read the book called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. I learned about keystone habits, and how much it would ripple into other habits. The book sparked ideas, so I decided to set an official date for when I would quit. Chances are if you’re reading this then you are ready for the message Charles has to give you.

Playing one of my last matches of CSGO…

I had switched to my deagle, and decided to reload. At this moment myself and an enemy terrorist bumped into each other. They were also reloading.

My heart was racing, I felt the rush of adrenaline and the magazines were loaded. At the last possible second we both fired and I landed my final headshot. Immediately I felt the rush of dopamine flood my system, with virtual messages saying “you are the winner”. It felt good, it felt rewarding, I felt accomplishment, yet I knew I was deceiving myself.

Seconds later my alarm went off to signify the one of the most important decisions of my life. I fought the temptation to keep playing, especially after that game winning play, yet I decided it was time and pulled the plug. (And admittedly I couldn’t of asked for a better way to go out!). I am thankful for the memories video games had provided me, however moving on from something that was destructive for me has paid me more than any video game could provide.

Watch: How to Deal with Gaming Nostalgia

The Impact of This Decision

Gauntlet Records

From this moment on I would have to face challenges head on. It meant no more distractions, no more excuses, and no more running from my problems.

I took responsibility to face my challenges directly head on no matter what it took. Just like forging a sword, it must get thrown into the fire and smacked around a bunch before it can come out strong.

After the first week of intense cravings, it gradually got easier and easier to fill my time with activities that I would genuinely enjoy.

I found healthier ways to gain the sense of accomplishment that video games were providing for me. My willpower has increased significantly as quitting video games also help me quit other bad habits and develop my discipline.

I’ve also started to favor long term rewards and delayed gratification instead of instant quick fixes to things. I’ve read more books, with a total of 12 this year which has been more than I’ve read in my entire life up until this point.

The biggest payoff is I finally reconnected with my passion of writing music. A dream I thought wasn’t possible to pursue. With my new found skills, I was able to build a studio and start up my own independent electronica record label called “Gauntlet Records”. Quitting video games was a huge step in making this happen.

Never underestimate the value of your time and what you do with it. Every moment counts!

“My desire to be smart, successful financially, and have a meaningful marriage was more important than playing a video game.”

freedom

750 days ago, I made a choice.

My gaming was out of control. I don’t really need to explain it, because most of you know what it’s like to grind daily, and have an obsession with whatever the game you are playing. Let me tell you about how I stopped gaming and started living!

The Beginning

It didn’t come easy at first. I started at the age of 4 playing on the NES with my Dad in 1985. My mind was always wired to think about gaming.

In the first few weeks of these 750 days, I would dream about playing. Gaming songs would get stuck in my head. It definitely didn’t help when gaming friends were asking me to play.

I cut everything out that related to gaming (yes, even the streams!). I picked up cooking as a hobby to keep myself from gaming in the evenings… the rewards are delicious!

Free Download: 60+ Hobby Ideas to replace gaming

The Other Grind

In April 2015, I got married. In October 2015, I got laid off.

I worked in the energy industry for a decade, and was very good at what I did (operations, legal, land, and consulting work). Industry layoffs were rampant, and I wanted to get into something with stability.

programming

I chose to immerse myself in all things programming. It’s really tough to change careers, and getting that first foot in the door is always the hardest part. I was really good at getting to the final interview, but couldn’t get past the “you don’t have X amount of years of experience.”

Every single day, I kept mashing my keyboard. Python, R, SQL, Typescript/Javascript, HTML, CSS… onto Machine Learning, DevOps, into Django, into Angular, React, Redux. I didn’t stop.

People kept telling me that I should just take 3-4 minimum wage jobs, and quit trying so hard to do something I have no experience in. Let’s just say that I made a choice to ignore those voices, and kept building up skills.

The Present

I eventually got fed up with the job search. The last night of my “corporate search” ended while watching Office Space with my wife. I decided that I was going to be my own boss.

It’s taken time to build up a client base, but I’m now building full stack web apps where I can leverage my past work experiences, and blend them with new skills. April has been the largest grossing month of my career. I do eventually want to delve into data science, biostats and medical research… but that’ll wait for just a little bit! (see below)

The Future

My wife is now 5 months pregnant, and I’m grateful that I can focus on being a grandson, son, dad, husband, friend, and developer.

These 2+ years have been the most difficult, yet rewarding experience that I’ve ever had. I could have used many excuses to go back into 24/7 gaming mode. I lost my job, and my savings ran dry after six months of a job search.

Financial troubles can be an absolute disaster to any marriage, new or established. My wife and I put in the work to communicate better, and being in the present is what made that happen. If I would have gamed, my marriage would have been over. If I would have gamed, I also wouldn’t have the programming skills that I had today.

Everyday you will be given a new choice. Life is too funny, complicated, and beautiful to do anything that you deem to be a waste. The choice is yours. What do you want?

If you found yourself 60 pounds overweight, your grades dropping, and you had no confidence… what would you do? The idea of body transformation probably sounds like a pipe dream.

Would you continue to escape into video games?

Nicholas Bayerle

Or, would you make a decision that could change the course of your life forever?

That’s the exact situation Nicholas Bayerle found himself in.

After his dream of being a professional Motocross rider came to an end, he found himself 60 pounds overweight, grades dropping, and no sense of confidence.

In fact, as you will learn in his story, it got to the point where he was so embarrassed of himself that he was wearing multiple sweatshirts to try and cover up his weight.

From Skinny to Buff – How Fitness Changed my Life

Today Nicholas has a 6-pack for the first time, he’s been married to a (his words) “super hot chick” for the past five years, and his business takes home multiple 6-figures. What changed? He quit gaming.

Watch: Why I Quit Gaming: Nicholas Bayerle

Nicholas and I go in-depth not only into his story, but also how he’s managed to get to where he is today.

One of the biggest changes he made was learning to master his health, which he believes (and I agree), acts as a foundation for the rest of his life.

By mastering his health – an area that we ALL have control over – it has allowed him to apply the same discipline into other areas of his life, like relationships and business.

 

What to Do After Quitting Gaming

 

With Game Quitters there’s a lot of talk about what to do after you quit gaming.

For each of you, that will be something different. Maybe you want to focus on improving your social skills. Maybe you want a boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe you want to travel and start your own business.

But no matter what area you are interested in, your health is going to have an impact. Because it’s not so much about your health, as much as it is about your energy and confidence.

To be forthright, as Game Quitters continues to grow I will continue to focus on being the BEST in the world at helping you quit gaming.

But helping you quit gaming and then leaving you to fend for yourself seems like a disservice. I’m committed to doing more to help you succeed far beyond just quitting gaming.

So I’m committed to sharing with you other experts who are the masters at their craft in other fields, whether it’s in health, productivity, relationships, dating, business, or any other area I get emails about, to support you in achieving your highest potential.

Nicholas is one of those, and the fact that he’s overcome his own video game addiction is a cherry on top.

I hope you enjoy the interview with him today, and if you’re interested in a Game Quitters program to master your health, then take action now. Don’t regret your decision not to act, and never understand what life can really be like if you take back control.

“I realized that I am just wasting my time.”

When I was a kid, I had very bad relationships with my family. They were always shouting at each other, being very insecure and unstable (even now). I was a good kid. Very calm and patient, but my character pissed them off.

“Why isn’t he involved in our useless drama?”, “Why is he so calm?”

So they did their best to involve me in their foolish drama. As a kid, I didn’t understand what is right, and what is wrong, so I did the same as they did, arguing about pointless things, crying, and fighting.

School was good at the beginning, but I became friends with some bad guys. Being a good guy, I paid for that soon, and was bullied. Luckily, I transferred, but this is when I began to escape from society in video games.

I Couldn’t Find a Job

I had no girlfriend. I was just gaming. My gaming friends always supported me, and were my best friends. All I wanted was money.

My favorite game is League of Legends. I’m good at it, but the owner of this game (RIOT company) sold Riot Games to the Chinese company Tencent. They created a League of Legends tournament called LCS. Before they sold the company to Tencent, American, European, and Russian teams were always winning it.

But things changed. Now, only Chinese, and Korean teams are winning it. Strange, right? After that, they changed the game to look good in LCS, but they didn’t care about the League of Legends community. That was the limit of my patience.

League of Legends was not the only game that ended like that. Almost the same thing happened to World of Warcraft when they received a lot of money from gamers all over the world, and started to create bad gaming content. They stopped caring about their community.

I Decided to Quit

It wasn’t easy to do, and I had a lot of problems. I’m still living with my parents who are still doing their best to drag me down, and argue over foolish things.

I realized that I’m just wasting my time. As a good League of Legends gamer, my confidence is pretty high. That allows me to understand that I’d better stop playing games, and do something more interesting. Go to the street, even alone. Don’t sit at home. Do some routine every day.

For me, it’s cleaning my flat. So I wake up, clean everything I can, make myself look good, wear some nice shoes, and clothes, and go outside.

When you go outside, look at other people and compare them to yourself. “Look at this guy playing PSP! He wastes so much time!” “Look at his shoes, look at his hair. He doesn’t want to live in the real world so he chose to waste his time!” “Look at this girl! She talks so much trash about some other girl to her friend.” “Look at this old guy with a sad face! He is refusing to change, so he is suffering!”

They all refuse to change. Sad, but true. Human nature is such a thing that we want to get everything while doing nothing. When we get nothing doing nothing, we suffer and blame everyone around us.

The final thing is: Don’t disrespect them. Don’t feel pity for them, just try to show everyone that life is not for wasting your time and opportunities!

So, I haven’t played games for 3 months already. I’m feeling really cool! Thanks to Cam, and all of you guys.

“Why don’t you help me?” he asks, tears pouring down his face. “How can you see me this way and not be trying to help me?”

It’s January, 2009. I’m sitting at the desk in my older son’s bedroom, putting finishing touches on a memoir about the fleeting beauty of ordinary life — a book I began in an attempt to hold on, just a little longer, to my two children as I want to remember them in these years right before they grow up and leave home: tousle-haired, always hungry, generally happy, busy, and still (blessedly) around.

I’ve been writing The Gift of an Ordinary Day while living it for a while now, living it with a bittersweet awareness of just how good life is when we are fully present to its small mysteries and miracles. Despite the inevitable complexities of parenting adolescents, for the most part our family life seems rich and satisfying. And this winter, the end of the writing is in sight at last. I have only to complete a brief, upbeat afterword — a glimpse of Henry midway through his freshman year of college and a trip I’ve just taken to visit him — and the book will be done.

However, even as I’m revising these final pages, the plot of our family story is taking a new, darker turn. The irony is not lost on me. I’ve just spent the better part of a year celebrating and honoring our family’s life together and now, it seems, our family is falling apart. And I have no idea what to do about it.

One gray winter afternoon, I email my editor that I’ve finished, attach the final pages of my manuscript, and hit the “send” button. I bundle up and go outside for a walk, to clear my head.

And then I return to my computer and Google the words “video game addiction.” There isn’t much to be found. I read an article about video games and ADHD, which states the obvious: excessive video game playing, it suggests, is directly related to increased hyperactivity and inability to focus in school.

I also read about a study on brain-imaging and video games in which PET scans are taken while a group of people play video games. The researchers note that the basal ganglia (where dopamine is produced in the brain) are much more active when the video games are being played than at rest. (Both cocaine and Ritalin work in this part of the brain as well.) Cocaine has a powerful, immediate effect that stimulates an enormous release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The pleasure this brings rapidly fades, leaving the addict wanting more. Similarly, video games bring immediate pleasure and focus by increasing dopamine release. The problem, according to the researchers, is that the more dopamine is released, the less neurotransmitter is available later on to do schoolwork, homework, chores, and so on.

Read: Why You Need to Quit Gaming for 90 Days

The study concludes, “Adolescents who play more than one hour of video games a day have more, and more intense, symptoms of ADHD or inattention than those who do not. Given the possible negative effects these conditions may have on scholastic performance, the added consequences of more time spent on video games may also place these individuals at increased risk for problems in school, college, and future work environments.”

Nothing here surprises me. But my search for help doesn’t turn up much more. And I’m still at a loss. A year ago our son Jack was an engaged, active high school student. He was writing papers, playing guitar, creating a movie-review blog with a friend, running track in the fall, playing basketball all winter and tennis in the spring. He was happy and busy and growing. He was doing well. But along the way his fascination with video games has been slowly but steadily turning into something else.

If there’s one thing I do know at this moment, Jack is not only at risk, he’s already in trouble. What’s more, nothing my husband and I have done over these last few months to try to help him control or moderate his gaming has made one bit of difference.

There are no more sports for him; he could care less. No extracurricular activities. No interest in anything except the figures on the screen and the controller in his hand. When asked about homework, he lies. When asked to stop playing, he gets furious, belligerent. He won’t stop, he insists, and nothing we do or say can make him. When we take his Xbox away, he falls apart, trashes his room, shouts, threatens us, and then, worse, threatens himself.

Meanwhile his grades go from A’s and B’s to D’s. Despite our attempts to reach our son and to reclaim some semblance of our old family life, he will have nothing to do with us. The real world, he insists, no longer holds any attraction for him. School doesn’t matter.

Nothing matters, except getting better at Halo.

He stays up till three, sleeps till noon, rarely goes outside unless forced to. The funny, sensitive, ambitious teenaged boy who used to inhabit this familiar, beloved 6-foot-tall body is gone. In his place, there’s a person I no longer recognize. While I’m upstairs reading about the effects of video games on my sixteen-year-old son’s brain, he is behind a closed door in the basement, gaming his young life away. For the first time, I feel at once scared of him and scared for him.

One day he admits to me, “I can’t even read one page of a book anymore. My mind just won’t do it, even if I try.”

Another afternoon, after an argument that has shaken us all, he comes to find me. “Why don’t you help me?” he asks, tears pouring down his face. “How can you see me this way and not be trying to help me?”

what is addiction?

This was a long time ago now. But, even today, the memories are painful to revisit. They all came rushing back, however, as I read an op-ed piece in last Sunday’s New York Times entitled, as if the matter has been settled once and for all, “Video Games Are Not Addictive.”

Well, Christopher Ferguson and Patrick Markey, I beg to differ. I can assure you, my son Jack would differ, too.

“Is video game addiction a real thing?” the two of you ask at the outset.

Yes, guys, it most definitely is.

Before we go further though, it might help for us to agree on a useful definition of addiction.

I made quite a few calls to therapists as our son slipped further into his online world. Most weren’t taking new patients. Others dismissed my concerns. One asked Jack some questions from a book, diagnosed ADHD, and wrote him a prescription. The first day he took the medication, he came home from school and sat at the kitchen table with his calculus textbook open before him for a couple of hours, carefully, happily working his way through complicated math problems, certain that all of his own problems had been resolved by this miraculous new drug. The next day, back in the basement, he discovered that amphetamines enhanced his gaming prowess. Two weeks later, several pounds thinner, gaunt from lack of sleep and still gaming, he had to acknowledge that Vivance wasn’t the answer after all.

Eventually, on the advice of a friend, I found my way to Victor. He wasn’t taking new patients, he explained over the phone. He was kind, though, and I think he could tell I was desperate. He didn’t hang up. Instead, Victor asked me to tell him what was going on. I poured out the whole story. Finally I asked: Do you think my son is addicted to video games? “I do,” he said quietly. “And I think you are right to be very concerned.”

Victor made room for us. And in our first meeting with him he offered his own definition of addiction: Any compulsive behavior that is creating mounting negative consequences in a person’s life, but which the person continues to indulge in, even despite those increasingly painful and destructive consequences.

That was it. So simple, and yet so profoundly workable. Before we left his office, Victor gave my husband and me something else to ponder.

“It might be helpful,” he suggested, “if you can think of the addiction as being separate from your son. It’s an entity; it’s not him. This entity has entered his body and is fighting viciously for control. It’s extremely powerful, and it will stop at nothing to win. But it is not Jack. Jack is still in there, even though you can’t see him right now. Try to remember that.”

And then he offered a warning, which he delivered without an ounce of judgment. “It sounds to me,” he said, “as if your son has what I call the ‘hot wire,’ which is another way of saying he’s predisposed to addiction. This may well be just the beginning of a very long battle, for all of you, but especially for Jack. And you should know, video games probably aren’t going to be satisfying to him on their own for very long. He’s going to want a more powerful drug.”

Difficult as all this was to take in, it also made perfect sense. My husband and I weren’t crazy. Our son was in the grip of something that, for the moment, was far more powerful than he was. We couldn’t fix it, but we could learn more about what he was up against. We could make sure he knew we were on his side. We could get help, for him and for us.

Victor’s words that day proved prophetic. Jack’s path to adulthood has not been easy. But I can write this part of his story, with his permission, because today he is a sober young man of 24 who believes that an important part of recovery is a willingness to share one’s own story in service to others who are on the path.

I think what disturbed me most about that article in the Times last week was how dismissive the two authors are of the very real struggles of those who have what Victor calls the “hot wire” for addiction. At this moment there are thousands of families who are living out some variation of our son’s high school story. These families are not helped by pronouncements such as, “Playing video games is not addictive in any meaningful sense. It is normal behavior that, while perhaps in many cases a waste of time, is not damaging or disruptive of lives in the way drug or alcohol use can be.”

One might as well say the same of sex, gambling, dieting, using pornography, shopping, or eating – all of which fall under the rubric of “normal” behaviors that, when they become addictive, do indeed disrupt and damage lives, sometimes irreparably. Just the way video games do.

The other day, I asked Jack for his thoughts on the matter. As a veteran now of many twelve-step meetings and as a mentor to troubled adolescents, he’s heard a wide range of stories of addiction and recovery. While it may be tempting to label “real” addiction as chemical in nature, and to make less of addictions for which withdrawal doesn’t involve some kind of intense physical symptoms, he feels this is a huge mistake. It disregards the intense mental and emotional struggle endured by every person in recovery – whether from drugs and alcohol or from behaviors that are out of control and that are indeed ruining lives.

What’s more helpful is to acknowledge that there are individuals who can abuse both drugs and alcohol without becoming addicted. There are plenty of young people who can play video games at the expense of their school work and social lives, and yet still decide one day to just get up off the couch and go do something different with their time. There are those who manage to put in hours in front of a screen while still maintaining good grades and friendships and extracurricular interests. And there are those who are simply wired differently.

Jack has been sober from drugs and alcohol for a year and a half. And yet, around Christmas time, I sensed that something in his life was amiss. A few weeks later, late one night, I saw that his green light was on on Facebook, and I sent him a message, “How are things?”

“I’m trying to get my life under control,” he typed back. When I asked him what he meant, he replied that he’d just removed all his video games from his computer and his phone, having finally decided that even now, after years of attempting “moderation,” he had to face the hard truth.

Much as he loves playing video games, much as he’d hoped he could allow them to always occupy one small part of his otherwise rich and full life, the power they have over his mind is simply too intense to fight against. He could keep kidding himself, and keep playing DOTA, or he could, once again, take a good honest look at reality.

Jack told me he’d Googled “How to Quit Playing Video Games.” The first things that came up, he said, were pretty lame: articles about playing in moderation, with clueless tips such as “limit your screen time” and then “call a friend to hang out.” No help there. But things have changed a bit since 2009. Further down, he found what he was looking for: some tough talk by someone who had been there, a former gaming addict willing to say the words no passionate, competitive gamer really wants to hear:

“You can’t limit your time; you can’t use it as a reward. You must quit cold turkey, 110%. You must make that decision. You must make the decision not to touch them at all ever again. I’m not talking about making this decision like you make other decisions, which you aren’t really serious about. I mean, you seriously have to mean it.”

They say that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Cam Adair’s story of addiction and recovery from video games was the impetus Jack needed to make this change in his own life. It was not lost on him that his first addiction, video games, has also proven to be the most complicated and persistent, and for that reason the most difficult of all to finally confront.

Fortunately, he discovered that he is far from alone. Cam Adair’s GameQuitter’s site is full of stories like Jack’s and Cam’s. Equally important, this online forum provides both the support and guidance every recovering addict needs to begin to shape a life of both abstinence and freedom, a life built around new routines and healthy habits.

It’s been three months. So far so good.

Is video game addiction a real thing? Here’s where the authors of the New York Times article went wrong: They went to a couple of researchers for their answer. What they failed to do was ask an addict.

This article originally appeared on katrinakenison.com. Reposted with permission.

Lost Your Child to Gaming?

I understand how you feel, because I was addicted to playing video games. In fact, I dropped out of high school, never went to college, and even wrote a suicide note. That is until I learned “why” I was so drawn to games. Today I’ve been game-free for seven years, and I’m finally reaching my full potential! Now I want to help your child do the same.

That’s why I’ve created Reclaim. I’ve taken my years of experience, and thousands of hours studying this subject, and distilled it to exactly what you need to know to help your child overcome their video game addiction.

Cam’s book Reclaim is brilliant and is highly needed. We strongly recommend Reclaim to parents seeking help and solutions for their kids struggling with digital media overuse. – Andrew Doan, MD, PhD (author, speaker, and neuroscientist) and Julie Doan, RN (author, speaker, and life coach)

LEARN MORE

“I was ready, and prepared to hit anything to release the anger of losing.”

I was quite young when I first held the controller of a PS1 in my hand, before then, it was the handheld gameboy. I played games for the action, the quick pace, and competing against others in the game lobby.

There was a distinctive feeling of pride, and some sort of power, perhaps social, or mental through winning. Losing however was a different matter, it could send me raging, and vandalizing my walls.

In particular I shred some skin off of my knuckles, I was ready, and prepared to hit anything to release the anger of losing. Being part of the losing team in a video game hurt my pride, and made me feel like I’ve amounted to nothing.

I refused to make friends. I was a shy person and I wanted some friends – but not friends of which you had to meet face to face.

I Was Embarrassed with Myself

From the way I used to look, to how I used to act. Gaming allowed me to connect me to others, but it only served to keep me in this vicious cycle that never ends. I preferred gaming as a social platform, and therefore my real social skills suffered from not enough exposure.

I also felt my decisions were never truly independent, and that I was being second-guessed, and taken as a joke socially. This made me turn to gaming, in particular to a game called ‘Mass Effect’.

It resonated well for my social needs even though I knew it was all scripted and programmed and none of it is real, it still satisfied that need in me. Because that need is being filled, what’s the point of going outside?

I started to clutch onto strawman and some sort of ad ignorant arguments when people claimed I had a problem, “Quit gaming? If I do that, I’ll just go and end up doing drugs!”

Apart from my social life, what suffered? My health. My teeth are very badly damaged from extremely poor care, and lack of care. I’ve traded lots of social opportunities, and my teenage years for something that’s programmed… not even real.

I Decided to Quit

I just turned 19 years old, and there was a burning passion in me to rid myself of gaming when I decided to take an unbiased approach, and see how gaming had affected me. I saw how many experiences I’ve traded for absolutely nothing in return.

When I decided to quit I thought it would be easy. I uninstalled my games, and logged out of Steam, and smiled. But only the next day I was back at it gaming, and justifying myself. I always said it would be my last game, and it never was.

When I looked for support to quit gaming I came across Cam, and I thought to myself, “this is it!” and it was one pathway to begin my 90 day detox.

The Benefits of Quitting Games

The benefits I have experienced from quitting gaming were that of paying more attention to my general health. I began working toward goals to LIVE the life I want, and not PRETEND to live the life I would like.

I personally believe life isn’t about letting your heart, or feelings to take control. I’ve seen people argue “it’s my passion!” or “I love gaming why would I want to quit?” the former tends to lean more towards being addicted.

If you like something you can earn the same amount of happiness in moderation. When you need to increase beyond that moderation, you have a problem. I have a problem, and I’m taking care of it in a way where it benefits me, not the other way around.

If you’re addicted to video games, what should you do? QUIT. It’s most likely pushing you in the direction you would not wish to be in.

“For the first time in my life I feel as if I have purpose, and I am not alone in the world.”

gabriel barletta

I hit 90 days of no video games. This marked a period of 3 months into my self development that kicked off around November 2016.

It’s been one bumpy ride, but it’s also been the most significant portion of my life as a person. Why quit gaming for 90 days, though? Why turn my life in a completely new direction?

As a kid I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My mum was the one who worked. I didn’t spend much time with her, but she was a good person. Instead I was treated to hanging around with my dad who was a complete loser. I don’t think he is a bad person, but he wasn’t able to be a father. This had a severe impact on me psychologically.

I would take to the world of fantasy and imagination; a place where I could feel emotion in a safe controlled manner; where I could be happy, or do anything without anyone interfering. At school I was always a bit of a pussy. I had no problem making friends, but soon things changed.

Secondary School

I was filtered out into the nerdy group, of course. This is when my video game addiction started to bud. I started getting into all sorts of games. I would spend the majority of my free time just sitting around playing them. I have always been a dreamer. I had hobbies, but I was too weak to take responsibility, so I let them fade away.

blur

This is also about the time that my brother died. I coped with it by convincing myself that I didn’t care. I had mastered hiding my emotions from others and suppressing any affection. My dad sorted that out for me.

My early teens are just a blur. I started getting into heavier music around that time to help me feel stronger. I also got heavily into porn which also fucked me up. All I was really excited about was going from game to game. I thought about girls, sure, but I was too afraid to talk to them. I had a fear of the world, and I would retreat to my shell at any given moment.

At 16 years of age it all kicked off with me watching this video on YouTube about how porn is bad for you on some conservative channel. I immediately started looking into it, and decided to quit. This led me down a rabbit hole, and soon video games was the next target.

I remember sitting at my computer desk, and staring at the wall completely dumbstruck. Was I really destroying myself all these years? I then found Game Quitters, and the journey began.

I started picking up the pieces of the bombshell. I erased my entire Steam library, dumped all my pc gamer mags, and removed anything to do with games from my PC. I also deleted all my porn.

The first couple of months were the hardest. I had never been so depressed in my life. But I kept at it no matter what. I started climbing, doing art more, reading, learning German, and writing down notes for a book.

Getting My Shit Together

Things got better though. I had grown so much as a person. My view of life had completely changed. I was beginning to understand things that I never bothered to look at earlier on.

One day I looked in the mirror and thought: “you’re becoming a man now.” I started getting into fitness a lot more. I meditated a lot too. I also started getting into other types of music. At the age of 17, after casting off a lot of my childhood ignorance, I had learned a lot.

What I’ve Learned So Far:

Always stay grounded. Life is full of ups and downs. You must never be caught up by emotions in victory, or defeat, and maintain the path of reason. The universe is chaotic in nature.

The purpose of life is to feel a sense of purpose. If you were to try and rationalize a purpose to life you would become engulfed by nihilism. Humans are emotional beings, and our emotional needs must be met as these reinforce our will to live.

Pick something and do it. Ever started a new hobby and just given up because you weren’t enjoying it anymore? I had that all the time, but then I found out I just had to pick something and do the thing.

Do the thing. This is my motto now. Forcing yourself to do something consistently is important – even if you don’t feel like it. It’s important to commit to something on a daily basis, or you will sink into bad habits.

The body, mind and soul are all real things and they are all linked. At first I thought this was some retarded spiritual hippy meme, but it’s actually real. The soul is the body of emotion and it’s what separates us from machines. Your soul can lead you all sorts of dumb places though; and so can your mind. So the two have to really work together, and you have to listen to your innermost desire, but fend off petty desires.

Pushing yourself physically also makes you more determined. It is important to take care of your body by eating healthy and getting exercise so you wont feel depressed and have poor cognitive functions. Bioenergetics and meditation are great too. The mind is a muscle and meditation trains it.

Life is a video game, and it’s really, really fun. Sometimes I feel like I am missing out on video games. But the reality is I am missing tons, and tons of shit in the real world. The ultimate question is – do you value the world of reality… or virtual reality to the same extent?

Take opportunities to do shit whenever you can. If it turns out bad then you know. Can’t bash it ’till you try it.

A man spends his whole life learning. I haven’t magically become my dream self yet. In fact, the dream self is a false ideal. When you climb a mountain do you stare at the summit, and flop your arms and legs about aimlessly? No. You get your head down, and fucking climb. It’s important to have vision, but it’s more important to focus on the struggle.

Your ego is an important social tool, but don’t let it consume you! You have to be open, and serious with people to reach a deeper level of understanding with them.

My path is my own, and is no greater than the next man’s. As I said before: the purpose of life is to feel a sense of purpose. So my way of doing things is just my way of doing things, and I shouldn’t force that on other people.

I am a lot more accepting of other people’s beliefs now, but I can’t help but let my ego take hold sometimes. Just because I am saying shit here about how I do things doesn’t make it the handbook to life. Everyone has to find their own way. There is a Chinese proverb:

What I hear; I forget. What I see; I remember. What I do; I understand.

Even though I have said these are all lessons I have learned; I still need to improve myself massively, and that is a good thing. What is bad is not having the vision.

I never thought I was really an addict. I was able to slide into my detox without any cravings. Video games were just the stabilizers I persisted to keep on me. They were part of my childhood chapter in life. It’s time to turn a new page though.

Game Quitters has changed my life, and still is. I met extraordinary people. For the first time in my life I feel as if I have purpose, and I am not alone in the world. Some people on this site are like the uncle I never had. I am truly grateful to be exposed to such a community at such a young age. It has really bolstered my development to be immersed in an environment populated by so many awesome people.

A while ago I committed to the 1,000 days challenge with a small group of fellow Game Quitters. That’s almost 3 years of changing my life. I will be 19 when I finish. If you are a young gamer, and you are unhappy with your life (or know one), please do not hesitate to join us here on the forums.

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.

“The lies allowed me to continue with the bad behaviour. Play games all day, lie about shit I needed to take care of, repeat.”

Sjoti

Growing up, school was easy for me. I got well above-average grades without much effort.

Gaming was an integral part of my life, I’d play on my Gameboy all day and later I moved to playing purely on PC. I’d combine playing with paying attention in school and that worked until I was about 16 years old.

I had to choose my major and continue in that, but in higher education, I noticed that I had to put in the effort. What the schools would give me was not enough to succeed, so my methods didn’t work at all.

I didn’t notice how bad my behaviour was.

I’d game all day, sometimes go to school, notice that I wasn’t going to make the cut, so to escape I’d game, and game, and game.

Instead of changing things up I just continued, because the world of games was all I knew and everything else was boring, not as exciting and just couldn’t hold my attention.

Watch: What If Gaming Is The Only Thing You’re Good At?

Competitive Games Made It Worse

I’d play to be the best, and try to join a more competitive scene… which sucked up even more time and attention.

I slowly started to notice a pattern where I ran away from anything as soon as I had to act like a responsible human being and take action. No matter how small the thing I needed to do was, whenever I had to take action I just felt like there was this sort of barrier that I couldn’t get through.

This caused me to not take action in just about anything, and this started to penetrate my social life as well.

I turned to lying after some time to avoid dealing with people.

It felt like the lies allowed me to continue with the bad behaviour. Play games all day, lie about shit I needed to take care of, repeat.

It took me too long to realise it pushes people away. People don’t want to deal with someone who points fingers all day. Someone who acts irresponsible and never takes responsibility for their actions. Someone you can’t rely on. All traits of a despicable person when I look back.

It gets comfortable, never having to deal with anything. And man, practice makes perfect, so constructing lies got easier and easier.

This got to the point where I’d photoshop a report card so I could avoid disappointing others and fake success.

Gaming allowed all of this.

It allowed me to keep up this lie and avoid thinking about it. Gaming just let’s me avoid feeling bad and often a motivation for lying would be having more game time. It was a vicious cycle that just built upon negative things and caused even more negative things.

6-14 hours a day of game time at a time.

I took a wrong approach. I was trying to look for the reason behind the barrier and I couldn’t find it, so the barrier stuck around.

I Needed to Stop Lying

That helped me a ton. My social life slowly got better, however, I still kept fucking up my education. This should’ve been the first realisation that I needed to take action, instead of just thinking about it.

Five years later, a year back from when I’m writing this, I started talking to others more. I started to listen more. People said to me that my gaming habits were unhealthy, that maybe quitting might be the right thing to do.

I tried moderation, failed horribly, and I got so so sick of myself and my own behaviour that I decided that a change was long overdue.

I’m 21 at This Point.

20th of June 2016. I quit smoking and gaming on that day. I’ve changed so much for the better.

I’m getting compliments from people around me, setbacks now motivate me. I’ve learned that life can hit me in the face and I can still continue.

I’m no longer a zombie. I am now honest towards others.

I must admit, over the last 7 months there have been some difficult times. I’ve had days where I fell back into the old behaviour of avoiding everything. I’ve learned that if I can remove two huge addictions in my life on the same day and keep at it for 7 months (and counting), then I can basically eliminate any other bad behaviour and keep the good stuff around.

This is one of the major reasons this has been such a huge success for me. Eliminating the bad forces me to deal with myself, which in turn allows me to think and deal with bad habits.

Confronting myself and being honest with myself allows me to be a better person.

This all turned the second half of 2016 in a year where I deal with being responsible. Being responsible towards both myself and others is now something I take pride in. I no longer point fingers and blame others for my own mistakes. I confront myself with that head-on and I learn from that experience.

I’ve been growing since day 0 and I’m still growing on day 222 and I do not plan on stopping. Part of my growth can be attributed to this community. Thank you, Cam and everyone else, especially everyone in the Discord Chat!

“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

“I would pretend that I was sleeping for an hour or two to use the device which I had hidden under my bed.”

new york city

I’m a freshman in college. I’m from a city in the northeast, and I’ve also lived abroad for four years. I love sports, dancing, and plays. This is my fourth day on the Respawn Program.

I suppose my first interaction with video games was in the beginning of 1st grade. I walked into the school lobby and noticed clusters of students standing around something. They seemed so animated on the wooden benches.

I walked over and saw a lizard with a fiery tail attack a small bird. The screen was about the size of a playing card, but nobody seemed to mind. The device was a show for us, my friends at the controls. Over the next few days, I saw more and more people come to school with the devices. I later learned that it was called the Nintendo Gameboy Advanced (GBA). Conversations in the classroom began to revolve around these devices and the games that were played on them.

I Didn’t Want to Be Left Out

As a fan of card games like Yu-Gi-Oh and the actual Pokemon card game, I loved strategy and challenge. However, I could never find kids at school to play trading card games with. I have to give credit to my dad for the countless hours he played with me using the decks I created for him. Since beating him was easy, I’d let the game go on even when his life points dwindled. I wanted to extend the competitive moment, to savor my victory, and to enjoy the game.

Video games seemed like the perfect platform for me, mentally and socially. I knew how to dedicate myself to the game, yet my parents wouldn’t relent and buy me a device. It wasn’t until 2nd grade when I told my teacher that I felt left out of social activities that my parents relented and got me a cobalt-shaded GBA. However, I didn’t play the games obsessively, I just wanted to understand the experience. I wanted to be a part of a world I didn’t quite understand.

bored kid

If I was bored in between soccer or little league baseball practice, I’d play Advance Wars or Super Mario III. The games were fun but I didn’t always feel driven to play because I was surrounded by a loving family and friends.

I also had sports to take my competitive instincts out on. I wasn’t attracted to massive online games initially because my parents filled my head with stories of pedophiles and thieves on Club Penguin, a massive online game with customizable penguins.

In the summer before 3rd grade, I had my first real experience surrounding gaming. I had just received a Nintendo DS and Pokemon Diamond/Pearl had arrived. On the way to a day-camp, somebody issued the challenge that we all reset whatever progress we had in Pokemon and have a race to beat the Elite Four, the final challenge of the game.

With nearly three hours of bus ride per day, nine kids including myself played constantly to win. There wasn’t even a distinct award for winning. As I took my penguin type Pokemon and beat the Elite Four after the sixth attempt, I nearly threw my DS as I yelled “DONE!” Every kid stopped playing, looked at me, smiled, one congratulated me, and then continued playing. If I wasn’t so euphoric about beating the level, I should have noticed that my hard-won victory was so hollow.

My Father Moved Abroad

That January, my parents told me that my father was moving abroad for a year, then we’d join him. According to my mom, I took it pretty well. Before Dad left, he gave me a game called Big Bang Board Games. We played chess, checkers, connect-four, and backgammon online together while talking through Skype. I’d sit on our grey couch in the living room while propping my feet on the ottoman with the screen open.

Eventually, one of us suggested Disney’s Toontown Online, a MMORPG, with cupcakes and pies as weapons. I took the player tag AstrixAndObelisk127 after my favorite comic. Since, I didn’t have a full-time job (duh), I played more than my dad. When we played together, I felt happy and in control teaching my Dad how to beat the evil cogs, oblivious that the cogs represented businessmen and bankers.

Video games weren’t bad or even a distraction, they were a way to connect to my father nearly seven thousand miles away. Isn’t that great?

Then, I moved abroad. I attended an international school. In the north-east, I attended an all-boys school and wasn’t used to hanging around girls. Also, I was bullied by other kids in my expat school. When I did make friends, they could always leave later that year. There was no sense of permanence in my friendships. Despite the lack of social activity, it was in 4th grade that I found the sport I would play into college, squash.

I Started Playing Squash

Squash was fun for me because it was completely independent from school, and I had a great coach. However, on the hour bus rides to and from school, I still played with my DS. Despite playing some video games, I began to push my efforts into my studies. After seeing gradual improvement in the academic and sports fields, I moved away from video games. Nevertheless, a different problem appeared, YouTube.

kid playing squash

I used YouTube as a method to stream anime and other cartoons online. I know that anime and certain cartoons aren’t video games, and I’m not recommending that people also shy away from those environments. However, I quickly developed a problem watching YouTube either in the night or while I was supposed to be working. Thus, I lost my iTouch and computer privileges, sometimes for months.

After receiving the devices back, I would still watch YouTube videos or play flash games on easily accessible sites like Miniclip or Armor games. I enjoyed flash strategy games like Time Wars or shooters like Raze, Sierra 7, or especially The Last Stand: Union City.

I enjoyed The Last Stand: Union City in particular because of its complexity. The idea of having to regulate food, sleep, supplies, weapons, and ammo in a zombie-fighting game was fascinating to me. The multitude of statistics and the rapid improvement of my character seemed so cool. Over the next six years, I would return to the game many times. In the future, Armor games served as a launching pad into deeper video game addictions.

I Suddenly Moved Back to the Northeast

Unexpectedly, I found out that I would be looking for schools to finish out the seventh grade. While I was accepted into two respectable schools, the K-12 school, I had attended before leaving the foreign country would not let me in despite my circumstances.

My mother and I were living in a micro apartment nearby said school for accessibility. My mom took the couch-bed and gave me the bedroom, so I could get a proper night’s sleep. I had an interview with my old school again and could finish out the rest of the 7th grade school year with one exception. I would need to take the standardized ISEE exam at the end of the year.

The realization that what I had taken for granted could be revoked along with the sudden displacement, compelled me to forget gaming and work.

From 7th to the beginning 8th grade, I worked hard, passing the entrance exam and learning a school year’s worth of information in three months. When I heard kids talking about the latest Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed game, I ignored or scoffed at the idea of playing such games. That August, I even played in my first national squash tournament.

In high school, I struck a bizarre balance between my outward success and a gnawing addiction, which haphazardly came to the surface occasionally. I was a respected student with a 3.9 out of 4 GPA and beloved by some of the harshest humanities teachers in the school. I rose in the ranks of my school’s clubs and became president of a very elite club. I was considered a top national squash player. I was awarded a national prize for an essay I wrote. I then won an international prize.

I wasn’t normal, and I thought these results showed that being not normal was great. However, high school also had a different side.

Electronics and Video Games Plagued My High School Years

smartphone

I didn’t have a smart phone, or any form of social media until January of my senior year. Out of my small graduating class, until that moment, only three other kids didn’t have smartphones, but only because they had broken theirs. At night, I vamped, or stayed up late, playing iPad games.

I stayed up to an average of three am to five am. Thus, I felt barely lucid in class at times and took naps every day. When I was caught by my parents, they removed my iPad privileges as well. It got to the point where as a junior and senior in high school, my mother or father would sit in a bean bag next to my bed until I fell asleep.

Even then, I would pretend that I was sleeping for an hour or two to use the device which I had hidden under my bed.

However, since I had the support of my parents and during the day, I worked during the day and vamped during the night. I was under constant watch to prevent me from doing anything stupid. When I got into my top ten college in May, I felt extremely happy. I quickly made many friends nearby who also were going to said college.

Over the summer, I decided to take part in a twelve-week long web development intensive program. The program also included nearly seven hours of computer science per day. I was working with adults who were trying to either turn their current careers around or receive CS degrees within twelve weeks.

It was very interesting figuring out how people had either lost a lot of their livelihood due to being distracted by games or by other means. As an eighteen-year old about to head to college, I was treated as the kid of the group. While I completed all the assignments, I also discovered two websites which allowed me to read an infinite number of comics.

Comics have always been an important aspect of my life. Comics were inspiration, entire worlds, and places to find safety and narrative. I rationalized my reading of comic books because they gave context to the rising media world around me. Also, they weren’t video games. However, when I was spending an equal amount of time reading comic books as working, I should have seen the problem clearly.

My productivity levels shifted depending on Wednesday – the day when new comics were released. When I asked myself why I did this, I thought that I deserved a break for working and that comics and video games provided a heroic narrative. However, comics and video games stopped being a break because they became the majority rather than the minority of what I did. They made me feel out of control and weak, which was exactly the opposite of what I wanted.

Going to College

college life

When I initially got to college, I talked to tons of people and made new friends. However, I was still watching YouTube videos, especially Let’s Play videos. One day, after watching a Markiplier video on The Last Stand, I thought it would be fun to play. I noticed that they had added two new levels of difficulty: hardcore, or permadeath; and head shot only mode, self-explanatory.

Earlier in the day, I had been ignored by two of my friends. I thought it would be a fun challenge after my classes appeared to be relatively easy. I played for about 6 hours before I lost all my progress on the character by dying once. As other gamers might understand, it was a Dark Souls level predicament.

The next day and the next, I played to beat the achievement. After three days of playing, and missing a squash practice, I beat the game. Only to realize I had forgotten to turn on hardcore mode. I decided to try something else.

In high school, I had downloaded but never gotten to try out Steam. I re-downloaded Steam and played Team Fortress 2 (TF2) a multiplayer game, which I had seen played by a YouTuber named Muselk. For three weeks, alternating between TF2 and Modern Warfare 3, I played nearly 5-7 hours a day. I even bought SuperHot a newer game. I became more reclusive, I stopped eating breakfast and overeating dinner. I still attended classes, but I didn’t complete any assignments on time.

When my mother tried to Facetime me, I was loud, rude, tried to get off the phone, and even blamed her for my lack of productivity. I was incredibly depressed and gained weight as well. By the time I realized how far I had fallen, there were only three weeks of classes left.

I Told My Parents That I Needed Help

I told them the truth of what I was doing even though I was really embarrassed because I thought they would get mad. They didn’t get mad; my parents just wanted to know what had been possessing me during college and why I had done those things. I wanted to know why I had done those things, too.

My mother flew to the school and for two weeks worked with me through my finals. I still got pretty bad grades, but I didn’t flunk out. I deleted all of the video games off my computer and iPhone. YouTube and comics acted as conduits into that world, so I stopped visiting those sites as well.

I began meditating using Headspace after seeing an ad. I realized that if I truly wanted to be rid of video games, I needed to end fantasy and learn how to interact with the world even when it’s uncomfortable, embarrassing, abusive, and non-validating. Ultimately, life is based around one’s tangible relationships and one’s ability to cope with the difficulties of life. Instead of going to a virtual world, I am learning how to stay with that occasional feeling of disappointment or anger and process it.

Instead of listening to Let’s Play videos, I’m watching movies and going to museums with friends, and I’m doing my work. Instead of looking for video game achievements, I’m planning out my next semester in college. It’s way better, but I’m still fighting curiosity for gaming culture and reorienting my wacked up fantasy oriented brain to reality. I’ll be fighting my addiction, not zombies.

My name is Luxo, and I’m a recovering video game addict. I look forward to reading your stories as well and getting to know you in the future. Look to see my journal, and I’ll be sure to be reading yours’ too. Thank you.

“Immersing myself in the World of Warcraft gave me a brief moment of happiness, something I did not have at high school..”

arvind

I started playing games when I was four years old.

The first console I had was the Super Nintendo. I started to play games such as Super Mario and Donkey Kong. A year later I received the Gameboy Color with Pokémon Yellow.

I was hooked and played the game almost every day.

I liked gaming because it gives me the opportunity to escape reality. In my first years of high school I got bullied a lot. People were calling me names because I was overweight and said some nasty things behind my back.

I started to isolate myself from others. I was pretty much alone and gaming gave me the opportunity to escape the shitty reality I was stuck in.

Playing a FPS or immersing myself in the World of Warcraft gave me a brief moment of “happiness”, something I did not have at high school.

At the age of 20 I noticed gaming became a problem for me personally. Instead of focusing on my goals and being productive, I was too busy chasing fake achievements in a virtual world that doesn’t exist.

Without noticing it I did spend playing a game for 6-8 hours a day. I gained weight, isolated myself even further and became almost a shut-in.

The true realization when I knew I had to quit playing games was when I saw my time I had spent playing them.

6,000 hours in total. I played for 6,000 f*cking hours.

Think about it. That is basically 250 days. I could do so much better things at that time, for example learning a new language, learning a new skill, or travelling abroad. Yet, I was stuck behind my screen leveling my fictional character instead of myself.

Need ideas to replace gaming? Download 60+ New Hobby Ideas.

I Was Damaging My Relationships

My parents are the greatest people I could wish for. But instead of spending quality time with them I did spend my time behind a screen leveling up my character in a MMORPG game and obtaining the best gear that was available in the game.

I was also a socially awkward person when it came to communicating. I was a terrible communicator. Really bad. Like extremely-nervously-terribly bad. Isolating myself gave me no opportunity to improve it.

At the beginning of the year 2016 I decided it was a good time to quit playing games and focusing on my goals.

I was searching on the web for support groups and organizations that perhaps could help me to combat my gaming addiction. It was a bit difficult, because there were a very few organizations that were specialized in helping people who were addicted to playing video games.

One day I discovered this video of a TEDx talk of a guy (Cam) explaining game addiction and sharing his story. His story was very similar compared to mine. I was socially awkward, played video games every day for 6-8 hours, and there were even times I wanted to commit suicide. I knew I had to contact him to get help.

I Started with the 90 Day Detox

It was difficult at first. Playing video games was pretty much the only thing I knew. But I told myself I had to move forward, and after a while I managed to finish the 90 days detox without relapsing.

arvind

There were a lot of benefits I have gotten from quitting gaming. I started to prioritize my goals that I wanted to achieve.

I decided it was time to lose weight. I started to go to the gym and decided to do lifting 3-5 days a week.

I also started to eat more healthy and counting my calories. I managed to lose more than 25kg (55lbs.) and gained more muscle. I am not at my end-goal yet, but I am confident I will reach that goal sometime in 2017.

Currently, I am also heavily involved in learning how to program and 3D modelling. My ultimate goal is to work in the VR/AR sector. I believe these developments can be beneficial and successful in other industries besides the gaming industry.

Quitting gaming gave me the opportunity for personal development, and doing the things I love, such as 3D modelling, travelling and spending quality time with my family.

I’d Like to Leave You with This…

Gaming itself was not the problem. It was me. I was simply unable to play them in moderation, and played it so much it negatively affected my life.

Looking back I am glad I took that decision to quit gaming. It was perhaps the best decision I took in my life to improve myself.

If anyone is in a similar spot I was years ago, I highly suggest you to try out the 90 days detox. It is tough at first, and there are moments you could relapse. But don’t kick yourself if you relapse. You fail and you get back up. Keep on moving forward, and do not let others tell you that you are never able to achieve your goal. It is possible.

Difficult, tough, frustrated, but possible. Don’t rely on motivation. Build discipline to reach your goal. Good luck on your journey.

Want extra support to quit playing video games? Grab a copy of Respawn.

“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

ovwxjeq8ofk-darius-anton

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.”

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:

I didn’t see a problem with it, since I was telling myself I got nothing better to do and I deserved it.

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The end of exams was a critical time last year. I worked for my grades, and I ached for some time off, for a reward. I had no real plans for summer – a big mistake – only general directions, and I found myself with a lot of spare time.

Overwatch Came Out.

So I started playing, and had a blast for a couple weeks. Everyone was new, I had time and no obligations, things couldn’t be better.

I went to the gym, read a little, hung out with my friends, and played Overwatch for a couple hours every day throughout June.

I wasn’t structuring my time, and slipped into a routine where I went to bed at four in the morning after grinding a couple levels each day. I also stopped meditating, since the first thing I did after waking up was turning on the computer. Mistake!

Shit Hit the Fan.

At the beginning of July I went back home to Slovakia. Since I was living with my mom, I didn’t have to shop for myself; didn’t have to do the dishes as often, or wash my clothes.

The environment was not constructive to growth, and I’m not saying that as an excuse but as an observation, since the environment is a huge variable when it comes to success or relapse.

With a more relaxed state of affairs and “no library” where I could go to learn, I started playing a lot. It was warm outside so I hung out with my friends, and then went home and played, as it gave me a sense of progress, which replaced the progress I got from the gym and my studies.

I felt like a child. I felt powerless and demotivated from the lack of exciting things to do in the summer. I didn’t allow myself to feel those emotions. Instead, I escaped from them by playing video games.

The worst thing was, it wasn’t even very rewarding anymore.

I was in a negative spiral where playing games sapped my motivation to do anything else, and since I didn’t do anything else, I played games, which sapped even more, and around the circle we go.

This is a scary and frustrating situation to be in, and I’m sure a lot of you can relate. I felt stuck and powerless in the cycle.

Thankfully, I Had a Couple of Things Help Me.

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One thing was my love for cycling, which I do every summer, since it’s the only time I can really go for long bike rides. Every time I went on a bike ride I felt great and alive, and it helped to wean my brain off the dopamine rewards a little bit.

Slovakia has a lot of cool places accessible by bike, and thankfully I also had friends to go with me, so we could go on longer trips.

Another thing I had going for me was a former classmate I was attracted to. She was very responsive to my advances and we quickly went out for a couple of dates. This forced me to step up my game and take care of myself.

Also, being out on a date means not being in front of a screen. If could go back in time, I’d ask her out sooner, but it’s easy to say that in hindsight haha.

As August came, I grew progressively more fed up with my relapse and really started my crawl back.

I decided to start a programming project, so that I had something to look back to at the end of the summer, as well as something to work towards. This project, my friends, my bike, and this girl were what ultimately helped me break the spell of games, because I was biking in the morning, coding around midday, and out with someone in the afternoon.

The project was a great idea because I was learning, I had goals to work towards, and I was rewarded with increased mastery and working code.

At the end of it, I was ready to quit again, determined to make this year the best I’ve ever had. So I left for uni once again, met a lot of new people, uninstalled games and started meditating and reading again.

As things are right now, I’m not 100% game-free, but I’m learning daily, and I feel much more capable than I did a month ago. I also don’t have as much free time to play, which definitely helps.

My Advice To You

If I had to choose a few things to highlight, I’d say it’s really important to be in the right environment. This can be hard to change, but I think it’s something to be aware of and work towards improving.

Another thing is the importance of structuring your time. When you have nothing better to do, it’s easy to start playing, and it can be a downward spiral which can feel impossible to break.

Finally, it’s easier to prevent than to cure. It’s easy to fight your urges to play when you’re on a bike two hours from your computer. It’s also easy to not think about games when you’re out with someone that you like and that likes you.

Those three factors – different environment, structuring my time and having a blast with people I like – helped me stop the relapse.

Hopefully this post helps you to make some changes in your life.

Good luck, and thanks for reading 🙂

This post originally appeared on the Game Quitters Forum. It has been edited slightly for grammar and formatting.

Cam’s Story

“I dropped out of high school, twice.”

Cam Adair

My name is Cam and by the age of 21 I had been addicted to playing video games for over ten years.

This addiction affected many areas of my life, including being a major influence in my decision to drop out of high school not once, but twice. I never graduated, never went to college, and struggled with depression for many years.

I want to be very clear, I don’t blame video games for why this happened, nor do I think video games were the problem.

I’m not here to vilify gaming, tell you that it’s bad or debate with you about whether you or not you should play; because I don’t believe gaming is bad and if someone wants to play then I would encourage them to go ahead and play.

What I do want to share with you is about my experience playing video games and how the decision to move on from them has taught me more about living a meaningful life than anything I’ve done before, and how over the last five years my journey has led me to founding Game Quitters, the largest support community for people who struggle to overcome a video game addiction. Today Game Quitters has members in over 60 countries around the world.

Growing up

I was a fairly normal Canadian kid. I went to school, I played hockey and then I would go home and play video games. I was happy, I felt smart, and I had friends.

My nickname was even “Smiley.”

That all changed in the 8th grade when I began to experience intense bullying. For example, the fun game to play for kids in the 9th grade was “Can we put Cam in a garbage can?”

Every day during lunch hour kids would chase me around the school, trying to put me in a garbage can. I would kick and scream and squirm and do everything in my power to avoid this happening, because otherwise I would be humiliated.

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Life on my hockey teams wasn’t much better, and after a game in Red Deer, Alberta we all got on the team bus to head back home, and for an entire hour I laid at the back of the team bus in fetal position being spit on.

To be honest, sharing about these situations now feels very odd and bizarre to me. They seem like a different life. But they are true and they are experiences I went through, amongst many others.

What these experiences did was cause me to isolate myself away. I didn’t really enjoy going to school much anymore and hockey wasn’t any better. The less I went to school and the less I went to hockey, the more I played video games. They were a place for me to escape to, a place I had more control over my experience.

I didn’t have to worry about kids bullying me online because if they did I could just block them, move to a different server or play a different game. Eventually I dropped out of high school, and retired from hockey, the game I loved more than anything else.

For the next year and a half I was depressed, living in my parents basement, playing video games up to 16 hours a day. My parents would get on my case that if I wasn’t going to school then I had to get a job, so I worked the odd job here and there, but I would rarely last over a month before I quit.

I Pretended to Have Jobs

Every morning my dad would drop me off at a restaurant where I was a prep cook. As soon as he drove off I would walk across the street, and catch the bus back home. I would sneak in through my window and go to sleep — I had been up all night playing video games.

A few weeks later my parents would wonder where my paycheck was, so I would make up an excuse that I quit, or I got fired, or whatever else I could confuse them with. Then I would “get” “another” “job,” rinse and repeat. After doing this a few times my parents just gave up and left me to figure things out.

Looking back I’m embarrassed by this behavior, but I was doing anything I could to play video games. They were a way for me to check out and escape from my situation.

When I was gaming I didn’t have to think about how bad my life had gotten, and how depressed I was.

Unfortunately, although I could escape from dealing with it, games didn’t fix the problem, and things only continued to get worse, until one night when I wrote a suicide note.

Thankfully I didn’t go through with it because I’m writing this to you right now, but what that night did make me realize was that I needed to get professional support. I no longer felt safe with myself. So I asked my dad if he could help me and I started to see a counsellor.

My Counsellor Made Me a Deal

He said I either had to get (and keep) a job, or I had to go on anti-depressants. I’m not sure why, but if there was anything I was certain of at that time in my life, it was that I did not want to go on anti-depressants.

I’m not specifically against them or anything, but I just knew they were not something I wanted for myself. So I got a job.

What the job gave me was stability and with stability I felt inspired that I had a second chance. My life had gotten completely out of control, but this was an opportunity for a fresh start. And I could make this new life anything I wanted it to be. I wanted to see what I could do with it.

I didn’t have very many goals at the time, but one of the goals I did have was to learn more about social skills and how to make friends.

With all the bullying I went through growing up I never really understood why it seemed like 50% of people liked me, and 50% didn’t. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that’s just something called life, but at the time I wanted to feel more in control of my social experience.

So I figured if I was going to improve my social skills, I had to start going out to meet people. I didn’t really know anything else I could do, so I committed to going out every single night to nightclubs. I would be there to learn so I wouldn’t drink alcohol, and I would carry a journal to write down the lessons I was learning. Eventually I started to post these lessons on a blog.

But I knew if I was really going to do this, then I couldn’t play video games, because I would avoid going out, and just stay in to game.

So I quit cold turkey and for two years I didn’t touch a game. To succeed, I was just never home. I would work from 7am to 4pm, come home, nap, shower, get dressed, eat and go out.

But Then I Relapsed

I had just moved to Victoria, B.C. because I was feeling depressed again, and felt like I needed a change of scenery. Looking back I was just running away from my problems, and instead of using video games to escape I moved to a new city.

I had just moved in with new roommates, and one of them was a professional poker player named Ben. My first night at the house Ben and I started talking about our past gaming histories, and we realized we used to play the same game — Starcraft. Ben said he was going to go to the store and buy it for us to play.

I told him I had quit, and really didn’t want to play video games anymore. He just laughed it off. Later that night I was sitting at my desk working on my blog when he came home with a big grin on his face and put the game in front of me.

“Just one game,” he said.

I sighed, and agreed to play. Over the next 30 minutes he absolutely destroyed me.

Humiliated in defeat, I committed to doing everything possible to improve so he could never beat me like that again, and for the next 5 months I played 16 hours a day, and did nothing else but game.

I stopped working, never went out to meet new people, and barely even left the house. I would eat, sleep and game. Every single day.

About one month later my two roommates left on a three week trip. I remember being so excited to have the house to myself, where I could just game all day without anybody knowing, or having to feel a single ounce of guilt anytime my roommate, James, would invite me to go on adventures.

Around this time I realized my gaming was out of control, and I needed to quit again, but I decided to do it at the end of my 5 month stay in Victoria to give myself the closure I was looking for. This isn’t something I recommend to others because it’s a slippery slope, but I do recognize that for me, this helped.

I Quit Once Again

I took time to reflect on why I was so drawn back to games, even after I had quit successfully for two years. How did I go from not gaming for two years to playing 16 hours a day, again, overnight?

What I discovered was that there were four main reasons why I played. It wasn’t just because games were fun, but because of these specific reasons:

1. Temporary Escape

With games I could escape. When I was feeling stressed out or needed a break from the day, I could just game and forget about the situation. And I certainly didn’t have to deal with my depression or anxiety.

2. Social Connection

Gaming is a community, and it’s how you interact with a lot, if not all, of your friends. It’s where you feel welcome and safe. It’s where you feel accepted.

In our society we stigmatize gamers as being nerds, loners and losers. We say they are lazy and they are wasting their potential, so they don’t feel accepted outside of games, and because they feel this way, their online gaming communities are a place where they all have a special bond. It’s them against the world.

Also because I was playing with friends, I didn’t feel like I missed out on being social by staying in on a Friday night, because I was being social — I was gaming with my friends.

A lot of parents believe the relationships you have with your gamer friends are not real relationships — and this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Last year I traveled to Singapore and for the past seven years I’ve been interacting with a fellow blogger online named Alden Tan. We spent the week together hanging out and having a great time. We still stay in-touch today. The relationships gamers have online are real and meaningful relationships.

3. Constant Measurable Growth

Games give you a feedback loop. You get to see growth and progress, and it happens immediately through instant gratification.

Today I DJ, and I surf, and both of these fulfill the same need for constant measurable growth, but it’s much harder to see my progress. I don’t have a scoreboard, a badge or a new level to achieve; I just fall on my face less.

4. Challenge (Sense of Purpose)

Games give you a sense of purpose, a mission and a goal to work towards. And they are specifically designed this way. It’s part of the invisible game design. You always know what the next thing is that you need to do. You have to beat this boss, get this weapon, achieve this level. If you don’t have a sense of purpose outside of games, they will provide it for you.

These four needs are all human needs we have and there’s nothing wrong with them.

We all need a break from stress. We all need to feel social connection. We all want to grow, to be challenged and to have a sense of purpose. The power comes in understanding what these needs are, and then being intentional to choose how we fulfill them.

For example, if you were going to stop playing video games, you would need to fulfill these needs in alternative activities — otherwise you will continue to be drawn back to games, just like I was.

Gaming is just an activity. You don’t game just because you “love video games,” or because games are fun; your drive to game comes from your desire to fulfill these needs.

After I learned these reasons I figured if I struggled to quit playing video games than surely there were many others out there in the world who struggled as well, so I looked online to see what the current advice was about how to quit playing video games, and let’s just say I became pissed off.

Imagine identifying that you have a problem, a real problem, and you feel inspired enough to search for an answer.

You don’t really know where to turn. You know your family won’t empathize, and will instead take the opportunity to shame you for playing in the first place: “told you so!” and you certainly can’t bring it up with your friends, they all play and will wonder why you’re making such a big deal about it.

You Don’t Have Anybody Else.

So you go where you know you can find an answer: Google, and with a subtle rush of hope you type “How to quit playing video games” and hit enter. If anybody knows how to quit, your friend Google will!

Instead of getting practical advice that can help, you get advice like, to study more — when the whole reason you’re playing video games is to avoid studying — or, to hang out with your friends — when all of your friends play.

Is there anything more frustrating than being courageous enough to admit you have a problem (and need help), and then assertive enough to actually search for an answer… only to get one you know is shit?

What I do know is that this process is discouraging, and the consequence of it is that people who were originally open to seeking help are now just like “fuck it, I’ll just continue to play video games.”

These gamers didn’t need a “typical adult” to pretend to have the advice they were looking for, they needed a fellow gamer who had been through the same experience, who understood it and could speak their language.

So I felt called to share what I had learned through my journey as a hardcore gamer who struggled with the same question, and what helped me recover from my addiction, and into a new chapter in my life.

In May of 2011, I published my story and what I had learned in a blog post online titled How to Quit Playing Video Games FOREVER and the article (more of a rant) went viral and instantly became the go-to resource online for those in the gaming community looking to quit.

Every day I woke up to new comments.

And these weren’t comments just saying “thank you”, they were thousand word essays of fellow gamers sharing their life story. It was an outlet for them to finally speak up about their experience, and today there are almost 1,600 of them.

And they were young. I received comments from gamers as young as 10, 11, 12 years old, young teenagers opening up and being vulnerable. I also got comments from other demographics as well, including wives of husbands who were neglecting their families for these games, concerned parents, and everything in between; but it was this group of young teenagers that really stood out to me.

Imagine being 12 years old and you’re self-aware enough to recognize that you might have a problem.

So you search for the answer in Google, and read an article that is six pages long. Then you go through the comments — many of which are over 1,000 words — and you’re courageous enough to leave your own.

At school your teacher struggles to get you to write three paragraphs for an essay about something you don’t care about, but here you are writing multiple pages about how you struggle to quit playing video games.

And then you’re assertive enough to click “Contact” in the menu bar, and email the author to ask for additional help. And you’re 12 years old.

So between the quantity of comments, the quality of them and the ages, I knew there was a real problem here, and it wasn’t a problem only I dealt with.

Two years later, in September 2013, the article turned into a TEDx talk, which today has over 125,000 views, and over 1,000 comments.

With an incredible response to the TEDx talk I realized I needed to do more. Sure, I could answer all the comments and emails I received on a daily basis, which I did, but in almost 3+ years since my article came out there were still very few resources outside of mine available.

You Deserved Better

You deserved the best tools and resources to support you to overcome this problem, and instead of waiting for someone else to solve it I would take matters into my own hands.

In January of 2015, I launched Game Quitters and it’s been an incredible ride ever since.

Today we have members in over 60 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Singapore, South Africa, Russia, China, Japan, India, Morocco, Poland, Indonesia, Finland, Germany, the U.K., New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Tunisia, South Korea, Israel, and the Netherlands, amongst others. Our members represent all six habitable continents.

We have a YouTube channel with over 90 videos and over 150,000 views. We have over 5,000 members, a community forum with over 14,000 journal entries in the past year alone —  where members share their journey and interact with others — and over 80 new posts on average each day.

We have an online program to help you quit playing video games called Respawn.

We have 20,000+ unique visitors to the StopGaming community on reddit every month — with growth doubling over the last six months. Our community is growing rapidly, but…

We’re Only Scratching the Surface

Research from 2009 suggests that in the U.S. alone, 8.5% of youth show diagnosable signs of pathological gaming 2 2. “8.5 percent of U.S. youth addicted to video games, study finds,” Iowa State University, 2009. Retrieved from: https://www.engadget.com/2009/04/20/8-5-percent-of-u-s-youth-addicted-to-video-games-study-finds/ × . That can be as many as a few million youth.

If you add in countries like China, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Australia, and European countries such as Finland, France, Germany 3 3. “Half of Germany's adult population plays videogames,” Newzoo, 2011. Retrieved from: https://www.destructoid.com/half-of-germany-s-adult-population-plays-videogames-208505.phtml × , and Poland, I estimate there are at least between 10 and 50 million video game addicts in the world right now, many of whom struggle in silence.

This issue is much bigger than me and I’m only one of millions who struggle with compulsive gaming or a video game addiction. You can read the stories of others in our Case Studies section.

There is also a need for research and that is why we have partnered with Dr. Daniel King from the University of Adelaide in Australia to run a scientific study on our 90 day abstinence protocol – the “90 Day Detox” – a first of its kind in the academic literature.

Imagine a world where if you’re a gamer who struggles with a video game addiction, you are able to find a support community who you resonate with, where you feel welcome and safe, where you feel understood.

Where you get to learn and be educated on why the problem happens, and exactly how to recover from it. And for this recovery to not just be about surviving without games, but thriving and living a meaningful life.

That’s the world I imagine; that is my dream, and our mission is to positively impact at least 10 million video game addicts in the next three years.

Today I am not only a recovering video game addict, but the leading expert and pioneer of the video game addiction field.

I speak regularly at international addiction conferences, and on college campuses. Recently I have been signed by CAMPUSPEAK, a higher education speaking agency.

My work has been featured in two TEDx talks, and in major media outlets such as VICE, FOX, CW, The Huffington Post, TV Asia, and the Gavin McInnes Show.

In my spare time I enjoy traveling (22 countries to date), DJing, and surfing. I currently live in beautiful San Diego, California.

“I seriously didn’t think it was possible to be addicted to video games.”

photo-1428591850870-56971c19c3d9

Matt began gaming in 1989 and gamed consistently until he left university with a Sociology degree, having initially studied architecture.

A vicious cycle of depression and addiction to games such as Warcraft 3 and Halo 2 caused the end of Matt’s relationship with his girlfriend at the time. Gaming was not only taking all his time, but also his attention.

He would sometimes not even answer her phone calls in order to continue playing games. They seldom went anywhere together.

Real Life Got In The Way of Gaming

After leaving university and beginning a career as a counseller for autistic children, he found a much healthier balance with video games and even quit for a few years. This was partially due to just not having the time or money to game, or buy a laptop capable of gaming.

All that changed when an old friend bought him one as a gift, and this signaled his return to gaming heavily. The new laptop opened the doors once again to online gaming, which Matt always had more trouble controlling.

Switching jobs and being unemployed left Matt with a lot of time on his hands, and he ended up spending most of it playing Starcraft 2. The online competitive environment and reward systems made the game very addictive.

Preparing for grad school to study landscape architecture left Matt with a choice, how much more time was he going to waste gaming?

Matt had always been able to control gaming just enough to do okay in school throughout his life, but even in this “moderated” state gaming still took up almost all of his non-study time, leaving him with no time to pursue other more productive or healthy hobbies or activities.

Gaming Is a Full-Time Job

During his time being unemployed, and afterwards during semester breaks, Matt found himself playing Fallout for 40-60 hours a week. It became a full-time job, one that doesn’t pay very well.

Living with his old friend while studying at grad school had also made it more difficult to get away from games, because his group of friends expected him to join them.

To combat this, Matt tried an innovative tactic to moderate his gaming: giving his best friend’s girlfriend parental control over his gaming, and thereby limiting his time to 10 hours per week.

Although he had some success with this because of the embarrassment associated with asking his friend’s partner for more game time, and also being left out of friend’s activities due to being out of hours, it didn’t resolve the problem entirely.

Matt often found himself playing his 10 hours in just 2 days, and realised he still had a problem just like before; he began to seek out counselling and therapy as well as the StopGaming community on Reddit to help him quit.

After trying to moderate for the first few months after again recognising the negative impact gaming was having on his life, Matt finally decided to quit cold turkey. Like many others who have successfully quit he now sees it as a necessity to anybody who wants to kick the habit.

“Swallow your pride, ask for help and seek advice. Create a plan and execute it. If you “fail”, dust yourself off and keep trying.”

At first Matt faced problems with wasting time on the internet, particularly Reddit and Amazon Prime. He shared some tips for reducing lost internet time here.

I just found the Chrome extension Stay Focused. It is a time limiting extension that in my opinion is pretty well done. All you do is select a time allotment and add the websites that you think lead to procrastination etc. and it’ll block the websites after you reach your daily/weekly time limit.

As well as this, he recommends having a written to-do list, preferably that you can carry around with you, and to also reflect of the games of which you have had control issues with. By doing this, you can better understand why you were gaming, and also what hobbies you may pursue to replace video games.

Resource: Need ideas to replace gaming? Download 60+ New Hobby Ideas.

For example, for those who have had issues with RPGs like Matt, you may like the sense of pride that comes from growing the number of days on your “game-free” badge on Reddit, or the measurable physical effects of working out.

For Matt, as well as keeping fit, his main hobbies since quitting have included going out more with his friends, making sure he studies well for his grad course, and gardening.

Although quitting gaming is just one step along the road to a better quality life, Matt does see himself as being more capable of facing new challenges now than ever before, and he feels a greater sense of control in his life.

Photoshop and CAD skills gained over the years have helped him to secure a summer internship that will help him to keep off of games over the break, and all of us at Game Quitters wish him the best for the future!

This is a guest post by Ben Brewer from Instinctual Introvert.

benbrewerIn 2010 I played Starcraft 2 professionally. For two years I flew around the U.S. and competed against the best in the world.

In the last tournament of my career — Intel Extreme Masters in New York City — I got my best result to date. I beat a top-3 player in the world*, a Korean named DongRaeGu*, and finished 4th place in the tournament, winning $1,200.

What a ride it was — that tournament, and my professional gaming career as a whole.

Yet, at the end of those two years, something in my life was still amiss.

Ten Years of Addiction

My entire life I always had a game to turn to: Warcraft, Call of Duty, Dota, Starcraft. These games were my safety net; my home-away-from-home. And for ten years I was massively addicted.

Games were more than just a place to pass the time. They were life. And thus, everything that didn’t involve gaming got pushed to the back burner.

That’s why I had terrible social skills, few real-life friends and poor grades in school.

Feeling Out of Place

I was naturally reserved growing up. Making friends was not my forte. However, I still had a few friends in my early years who I clicked with.

But after I turned 11 — everything changed.

Two things happened: My parents home-schooled me; and I discovered the universe of online gaming.

This was wonderful (or not so wonderful) for a shy kid like me. Rather than push through the discomfort of making friends — I could simply play with a buddy online.

It was the easy way out.

But years later when it came time to get a job and attend college, all those neglected years came back to haunt me.

Turning My Life Around

Ultimately I discovered that video games — while fun — had no place in my life.

In my third year of college, I was giving a presentation and I bombed it.

If I could have disappeared right then and there — I would have. It was the lowest point of my life.

Yet as I walked out of the classroom that day, I vowed to turn things around. The first line of order, I knew, was to quit video games. The second was diving into self-development and learning how to socialize without making an utter fool of myself.

matrix

The Return

Things were on the upswing for a year after quitting. I saw measurable improvement in my life.

But, just when I thought I’d gotten past my biggest vice for good — I got the uncontrollable urge to go back and play. Just a little, I thought. And this time it won’t get out of control.

You can guess what happened next: Binge.

The Triggers

Video games had caused destruction in my life — that was clear. So why couldn’t I resist the urge to play, yet again?

The answer, I found, lies within the mind. When you repeat the same habits over and over — it wraps neural circuits in your brain with insulation called myelin.

The thing with myelin is that it wraps — but it never unwraps. No matter how far you run, your mind will always have that connection.

That’s why having a game plan is critical. You must be aware of the triggers that make the addiction rear its head — or, as I learned, you’re doomed.

First Trigger: One Hour

The ways in which we try to outsmart ourselves. I’ll play for just one hour. I’ll keep it under control.

Three days in? Ah what the hell, another half hour won’t hurt.

But every decision is easier made the second time. And that one slip turns into a full-fledged slide. One hour turns into two, turns into three, turns into five.

Second Trigger: Streams

You’re only watching someone else play. What’s the harm?

Yet a seed of possibility is planted. And every time you watch a stream you water that seed. And before you know it — the seed has sprouted and overtaken your mind.

Bottom line? If you were as addicted as I was, the last place you want your focus to be is games, in any shape or form.

Watch: Should You Watch Gaming Streams?

Third Trigger: Depression

The down days are inevitable. You will have them. Everyone has them.

These times are especially critical. Why? Because your brain only wants “what’s best” for you. It wants to be happy — while damning anything that gets in the way.

And video games for you and me? They’re the comfort zone; our good friend that has always been there to lift our spirits up.

But it’s a trapdoor. And that trapdoor leads to one place only.

Fourth Trigger: Friends

Perhaps you’re like me, you had a hard time making friends, and video games just so happened to be perfect. A place you could make friends with ease.

Yet now that you’ve quit, you’ve had to leave them behind. So what do you say when one of those friends calls you, out of the blue, and paints a vivid picture of what it could be like, to once again, relive the glory days?

That’s where the line must be drawn. Will you do what’s best for your friend? Or what’s best for you?

At the end of the day, this is your life, and you’ve only got one ticket.

Watch: How to Stay Friends With Your Gamer Friends

Filling the Gaps

Here’s the thing: Avoiding the triggers above is easier said than done. If you truly want to quit forever — you must take it a step further.

How so?

For me, video games were meeting needs in my life; needs that weren’t being met in real life. If I wanted a chance at quitting, I had to find a way to meet these needs.

Instant Gratification

Video games offer a quick-fix solution. No matter how bad a day you’ve had, video games are still there to release the pressure valve. You can simply immerse yourself in a reality where your problems don’t exist.

How I got past it

I reframed how I look at life. I’ve fallen in love with the process of working towards something bigger.

I’ve got a vision in my head of what my ideal life looks like. Nothing beats the feeling of chipping away a few more pieces, every day, and seeing my hard work pay off.

No, not even video games.

Purpose

Everyone has a desire to feel their life is meaningful and amounting to something more.

With video games, you get that in the form of measurable progress—winning gear upgrades, earning new titles, climbing the ranks.

How I got past it

In this case, envisioning the future was crucial. What do I want my life to look like in 10 years? Will I be happier playing games? Or will I have wished I would have taken action to create a better life?

The choice was clear. And the next step, then, was figuring out what hobbies would make my life feel meaningful — so I wouldn’t have to turn to video games to feel my life had meaning.

For me that meant lifting weights, reading more books, and learning the guitar—all things that I can “level up” in, and that give me something to continually aim for.

Check out Cam’s 60+ New Hobby Ideas — great replacements for video games.

Social Connection

Quitting games cold turkey means one thing: All your relationships online just got severed.

Only one problem with that. If you’re like me — you didn’t have many real-life friends to fall back on.

How I got past it

I had to make myself uncomfortable. That meant stepping outside my comfort zone and getting past my fear of socializing.

It was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life… but it had to be done.

Humans are social creatures. If you don’t find a way to get that need met, it’s simply a matter of time until you turn back to gaming to get your fix.

kids skateboarding

Competition

Being able to compete with anyone, at any time? My dream scenario.

I’m very competitive by nature and nothing spikes the feel-good chemicals more than dominating an opponent online.

How I got past it

What could possibly be more fun than beating someone?

In all actuality, I’ve found a competition that’s much more fun. And it’s the competition with yourself, and taking your life to the next level every day and every year.

Being able to look back to a year ago in sheer amazement at how far you’ve come.

Quitting Games — The Turning Point

For me it has all been worth it. Sure, there’s been growing pains from quitting. And the change has been gradual. I didn’t just stop playing and… POOF… things were amazing. I’ve been on this journey for quite some time. But each year, it only gets better.

And now, because I don’t waste countless hours on games, I can funnel that time into:

  • Building relationships
  • Learning the guitar
  • Building a business
  • Traveling to cool places in the world

… and much much more.

Games are simply an afterthought now, what with the kick-ass journey I’ve embarked upon.

How about you guys at Game Quitters? What hobbies have you picked up to steer clear from video games? Share yours in the comments below.

If you are still playing games but you want to quit right now, check out Respawn.

Ben Brewer is the author of instinctualintrovert.com — a blog for introverts, to show that overcoming fear and anxiety is possible.

* Trigger warnings: