90 days

“I began to get very angry when something went wrong in a game.”

angry face

There I was, 12 years old feeling for the first time the amazing thrill of being able to play Mario on my brand new N64. It was amazing.

I woke up every morning at 4am to play a bit before school. Then came more games after Mario, and then even more. I began to get very angry when something went wrong in a game, and I remember growling in anger uncontrollably in front of the TV.

Middle school started, new games, new PC, new possibilities of gaming.

School became hell. I was bullied, ridiculed, and stalked during every recess. I ran away from school many times, and became good at manipulating adults into doing what I wanted, while fearing and hating people my age.

How could I endure years of that? How could anyone? Well, games.. Games gave me the release I craved, the peace of mind I needed, and a place to be myself. Or so I thought.

Watch: How to Overcome Escapism

I thought the worst was behind me

Age 26. All these years in isolation and fear eventually led to depression. I became dependent on games to give me the needed escape, justifying gaming as the only thing in life that makes me happy. I was wrong.

At age 28 I was done with my life, games were no longer giving me that peace of mind, and I lost the will to keep going, but somehow I endured, and oh boy was it worth it!

At age 31 I decided to give myself one more year of life, only one more year. It was a gift from myself to myself, no one else had power over that decision.

I willingly gave myself time to do anything and everything in order to find a way to be happy, and alive..

Therapy, psychiatrists, enlightenment, mindfulness. I did all of it. I improved, but not in any significant way. Then one Friday evening, I was playing a recently purchased game and was having a great time looking forward to a whole weekend gaming. I went to the bathroom, and looking down at the toilet, I had this crazy thought…

“If I ever wanted to quit gaming, this would be the hardest moment to do it”

toilet

This thought gave me the chills.

I felt excited. Then my mind released the well known storm of reasons why I wouldn’t be able to do it. My brain was on fire, I felt anxious, fearful, yet excited. Needless to say it was one of the most psychologically intense visits to the toilet in my life.

As I walked back to my room, my heart was pounding like crazy, I knew that this moment would define my life, my mind was at war! The most epic battle for the future of mankind!

I raised my index finger, and slowly pushed down on the button, holding it down for a moment and then.. Blackness. The battle ended. I disconnected the PC, put everything in boxes, and stored it in the attic. And that was that.

One Week Later

I started feeling strange, and I felt the need to play something! I needed an escape. So I went online and searched for a way to calm down, and that’s when I found Game Quiters and the 90 day detox challenge.

This was perfect, someone already figured out a way to quit gaming, and there is actually a community around it!

Awesome! So I did the 90 days, reporting in daily. It was hard, sometimes very hard, but when I needed it the most, Cam sent me a video of him talking about the exact feelings I was feeling right then, and It helped me a great deal to know, I am not alone, I am not the only one.

Watch: 200+ Free Videos on YouTube About Video Game Addiction

I was a sad little man before the 90 day detox. Now I have a life I want to live, and games don’t even come close to the emotions I get from living every day on the edge, constantly doing things I have never done before, taking roads I have never taken.

It still scares the shit out of me, but I enjoy the challenge. Like in all those games I played, the challenge was the thing that drove me to keep gaming. Now I challenge myself on everything in life, and I love it.

If you are gaming a lot, I challenge you to stop for 90 days. If you complete this challenge, your life will level up dramatically, not by magic, but by time and effort. You will get back a huge chunk of time, and energy that you spent gaming, use them well, and change is inevitable.

Fun Fact: From the research we have done with Dr. Daniel King from the University of Adelaide in Australia, members who quit gaming for 90 days found a 2x improvement to their overall well-being, evaluated across twelve different measures including Emotional and Physical Health, Relationships, Focus, Time Management, Appearance, and others.

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

“The thought of never playing games again scared me as much as the thought of never smoking again.”

amsterdam bike

Gaming was something I did everyday for years on end. I enjoyed it, but in the end it wasn’t a good thing for me. I’m 16 years old, and I’m from the Netherlands.

I first started playing games when I was about 5-6 years old. My parents gifted me a Nintendo DS Lite, a portable game console that just came out back then. I played various games on that thing but it wasn’t really anything special. I never got addicted to any of those games. Later I became very interested in strategy games. These kind of games got me addicted to gaming in general.

I did not have it easy in my relatively short life. I was lonely for many years and I had an abusive dad. I have been depressed for many years of my life and also suffer from anxiety.

When I left my dad and went to live with my mom full time I started to play games to cope with my depression and anxiety. They were the perfect escape from reality.

Watch: How to Overcome Escapism

It’s Better Than Doing Drugs, Right?

I first started noticing the negative impact pretty soon after I started to game a lot. I lost many friends, and I would want to play games when we were on family holidays, but I never put that much thought into it. After all, it’s better than doing drugs, right?

In 2015/2016 I played a game called ArmA 3. ArmA is a game where you have so called “Altis Life” servers. These servers have huge communities where you can play with many people and make many “friends”. At that point I completely abandoned the few friends I had in real life and only played games and talked to people online. I was getting more depressed and I started smoking as well. The only things I would do is play games and smoke cigarettes. Those things were the only things I loved doing.

I noticed that I was so alone all the time and that I played much more games than average. I started to realise I might have a problem. I looked up “gaming addiction” on YouTube, and found Cam’s TED Talk where he talks about his own experience.

I immediately realised that I had a problem, but it took me more than half a year to quit games altogether 1 1. Fun Fact: 84% of Game Quitters knew they had a gaming problem over 12 months ago. Source: King & Adair, 2017 × . I tried to moderate, but every time I started playing strategy games again my hours per week would skyrocket. The thought of never playing games again scared me as much as the thought of never smoking again.

I Decided To Quit

I was done with this addiction, and I did not have any urges to play games for weeks. I told my mom who supported me in my decision. I also told the only real remaining friend I had about the issues I’ve had over the last few years. He was supportive, but did not understand why I would want to quit games. They were one of the few things I loved after all.

Watch: How to Stay Friends With Your Gamer Friends

One of the few things I immediately noticed is how lonely I was. I downloaded Snapchat right around the time I quit, and saw people doing fun things, and I was not a part of any of it. I decided I needed to do something about this, and I immediately became more open and social. My best friend and I became closer, and I also started to become more liked.

I went to another European city for my summer vacation with my mom. It was the first time I enjoyed a vacation like that in years. I did not think about games at all. I just enjoyed the beautiful architecture, good food and all the happy people that I secretly envied for having such great lives.

I decided to quit smoking too. I never saw it as a problem, but I felt confident I could do it. It didn’t last unfortunately, but I have decreased the amount I smoke per day, and I do plan on doing another attempt soon. I don’t think I would have done this if I was still gaming. Funnily enough I would say both addictions are very similar.

Don’t get discouraged when you read people saying your gaming addiction isn’t real because it is not physically addictive.

Although that may be true, it still is very addictive and the withdrawal symptoms can be just as bad as the ones from smoking.

Positive Changes

I started to become more social, I met up with friends for the first time in years, I no longer think about games 24/7, I actually exercised for the first time in years, I addressed both the anxiety and depression by going to a therapist, and I enjoy things that are not games.

I’m probably forgetting a few things here and there to be honest but I can assure you that I hated myself 3 months ago and now I’m way more confident about myself.

Quitting gaming is a journey, and it is long from over. My life has improved overall, but I still have plenty of things to work on. My anxiety is still something I struggle with, but it is going so much better than before. My depression is practically gone at this point, although I still have some sad days. However, instead of hiding behind a PC playing games all day I try to do something about it now.

My dream is to have both quit gaming and smoking in a year, and have friends to hang out with. Maybe even a girlfriend, who knows? Either way, I’m certain I’ll be much happier than I was when I played games.

I would like to add 2 screenshots of games. Not sure if they can fit on the website but I can choose a few other more cinematic ones as well if you’d prefer that.

A screenshot of me and an online friend playing Stellaris. Me being the Authoritarian (think cyberpunk) Galactic Republic and him playing the Utopian Foxling Federation. Damn, do I miss this game sometimes, but I was so addicted to it.

A screenshot of me playing Cities Skylines trying to make some sort of Dubai. I hope I get to go to one of the Gulf states in the future and maybe even living there.

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

“I stopped looking at the detox as a path to give up gaming, but more of a personal development path. Giving up gaming was just a part of that.”

I’m Jared…

I did it! Pumped. I had a bit of a skip in my step today knowing today was the day.

Did I think I would make it this far? Not until I think I was in the mid 30s range. I relapsed initially on day 22, and had a similar struggle in the 20s again the second time around, but once I hit the 30s it was almost too easy from there.

There was a number of reasons that played into why I managed to stick it out:

1) My relapse.

When I embarked on the first attempt I did it with just one aim – to break the cycle of needing to game at the sacrifice of my study and my son. I didn’t really have any tools or ways that I was going to keep me on track.

I found out quite quickly that I could easily replace a time wasting activity with another time wasting activity. Before I knew it, I found myself with too much time and a whole lot of nothing to do (well, in hindsight I had study or chores to do, but my brain didn’t see it that way), and I relapsed.

I don’t think I initially felt the ramifications of my relapse or reflected too much on it until I was working through my habit tracker and came up to my journal entry task. Looking at my journal I just felt so hollow, like I had taken a big step backwards.

From there I learned that the underlying reason that I really wanted to quit was because I wanted to live life to the fullest. Since that realization, I have been knocking down productivity goal after productivity goal. The more things I can achieve the more I feel like I am living life, so I win. I think this was the best learning tool out of everything in the 90 days.

2) Meeting Cam in Vegas.

cam adair

It turned out to be the highlight of the trip, taking over the main reason I was there (bachelor party all the way from Sydney). The statistics in his talk were mind blowing, the other people at the function/meeting/shindig were really great and very curious about the whole thing. When they knew I was in the mid 40s of my detox at the time, they asked questions and told me to keep going.

Having a very open and honest conversation with Cam after the presentation was good too. I found it easy to talk to him and a lot of the tools and things we talked about is what I had been researching in other areas, or similar to what my old psychologist was telling me on how to control my anxiety and how to basically be in the moment. That’s when I knew he was 110% legit, and ultimately what I was trying to achieve was completely legit and worthwhile.

I think at this point I really stopped looking at the detox as a path to give up gaming, but more of a personal development path, and giving up gaming was just a part of that. Side note – since the meeting in Vegas, I have not watching television at all. Not even streaming a show. Cam, and the support of this community, is changing lives; including mine.

Watch: Should You Watch Gaming Streams?

3) I am (still) capable of studying and producing tertiary-level writing.

I felt like the joy I used to have from studying back when I was in school or when I had left school was returning. I felt motivated to study again instead of feeling like it was a chore. The last time I felt like that was before I made my first WoW character.

I think this became the psuedo-feedback loop that substituted what gaming gave me, and my urges as a result became rarer and rarer. I began to study every day of 3+ hours, and even if I don’t pass the subject in the end (still waiting!!!) I am glad I did it and I definitely learnt a lot, especially about minimising distractions and flow states, which I have also used at work.

4) My son growing exponentially.

He has got more and more fun over the last 90 days, the last month in particular, and now he is not so much of a chore to be around. No more just a crying needing pooping blob, now he is full of life, laughter, adventurous and building his own personality.

Maybe part of this is I have noticed it more and more rather than seeing him as a distraction from multiplayer games, or maybe it’s a bit of column a, and a bit of column b.

Subsequently, a lot of the time I couldn’t be bothered sitting at my desk at all, let alone gaming, as I would rather be chasing him around the house or doing something for him, such as making him a little box car to be pushed around in, or gluing toys that he loves back together.

5) My massive anxiety attack

It made me realize that the reason I got so hooked on games in the last 3 years again after a massive stint away from playing them was to try and avoid or escape the anxiety symptoms I was experiencing when life had become too much. But it was just masking the issue, instead of dealing with it directly.

There was no point me spending all this money on a psychologist when I was not ready or not implementing the tools that he was giving me. I think the best thing that came out of my meetings with him was finally knowing what was wrong with me, rather than just thinking I was broken and irreparable. I got a lot of self awareness out of this as well, which has only grown since then, and is one of my best tools I have now to try and control my emotions, particularly at work.

Watch: How to Master Your Emotions with Dr. Neeta Bhushan

6) Reigniting old passions or hobbies.

For me, this was my fascination with electronics that I never fulfilled even back when I was still in school. In hindsight I should have tried to get into electronics for a career, I think I would of loved it immensely, but I would not have been able to do the cool and crazy things I have in the last decade.

I probably wouldn’t be on this personal development path either. I did have a bit of a crisis with what I was trying to achieve out of my fiddling around with electronics, my intention for the activity, but I have it in the correct frame now. As a result I have barely touched my electronics for a few weeks, but that’s ok, I have had other things that needed dealing with that I shouldn’t be trying to escape from.

Download: 60+ hobby ideas to replace gaming

7) Journaling.

It was a great way to get my mind untangled and set for the day, as I wrote it as soon as I woke up every day. To me it didn’t matter what I was talking about, or if anybody bothered to read it, it was for myself. I realized this in the low 20s or high 10s days, when I was thinking about giving it up as I was struggling to see the point. Again, it’s the intent piece.

I really think a journal is great for anyone’s personal development, it gets a lot of things off your brain that you might have otherwise been stressing about all day and impeding your productivity, because you couldn’t focus. I also loved reading other peoples journals and learning how they were managing with their situations, especially Tom2, Mettermrck, Mhyrion and ole Moe Smith.

Get Started: Create a journal on the forum

8) Running.

It helped that I had already started training for a marathon, but I used running as a way to “reset” if I was having strong urges, or I felt like I had a lot of free time with nothing to do (hello crazy brain again).

After Vegas, I have been using it as a tool to get into my flow state, and I have been religiously running at lunch time ever since. The reason I chose lunch time is because I always struggle to pay attention in the afternoons, tending to just stare out the window, or surfing Twitter on my phone.

By running at lunch time I was able to smash out another solid 3 hours of valuable work. I ran so religiously that when I was wiped out for weeks at a time due to sickness I think I was borderline depressed! Here’s to staying healthy and keeping my momentum into the marathon.

9) Accountability Partner.

Though he has been my accountability partner for only a portion of the path (so far!), it has been great to talk to someone else in an almost mirrored situation, even if the majority of it was not about gaming. It kept my mind busy and made me flashback to the great memories of having a penpal for about 9 years, even if this one is a Utah Jazz fan. One day we will have a beer in person mate.

Get Started: Find an accountability partner

So what have I learnt so far? So much yet so little. I still do not know what I do not know, but I do know that this is but the first step. I have so much unfinished business and so much personal development to go, that this day will just be a blip in the rear view mirror.

Ready to start your 90 day detox? Get started 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 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 1 1. Ann Gen Psychiatry: A cross-sectional analysis of video games and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in adolescents × 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 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