90 days

“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.

“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?

stefan-profile-2

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.

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

photo-1460893330858-0c301e67cacf

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.

fullsizerender

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.

photo-1455368109333-ebc686ad6c58

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.

photo-1470920456752-d50214d7ed59

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.