Under 90

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Health Started to Suffer

mountains fog

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

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

This worked surprisingly well for a long time.

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

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

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

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

Both my mental and physical health began steadily declining.

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

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

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

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

One Day I Would Have to Say Farewell

goodbye friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s Only so Much You Can Take

man and woman holding hands

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Time to Level up in Real Life

level up in real life

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

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

I will get a Kindle and spend some time reading.

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

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

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

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

I am tired of being tired from gaming too much.

My 90 day challenge starts today.

Wish me luck.

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

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

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

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

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

Then I Got a Smartphone

lineage 2 revolution

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

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

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

Related: Video Game Addiction Test for Gamers

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

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

I Decided to Quit Lineage

man playing piano

Why did I want to quit gaming?

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

I feel like I’m in a prison cell.

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should You Quit Gaming?

thailand market

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

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

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

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

I Don’t Regret Gaming

friends in joshua tree

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Beginning of the End

netherlands

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

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

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

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

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

Then Puberty Happened

university guy

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

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

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

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

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

My Only Goal In Life

esports

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

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

Watch: Should You Pursue Pro Gaming?

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

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

I felt like a stranger in my own home.

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

I Moved Out

university guy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m pretty scared.

Is there anyone that can help me?

This article was submitted by a member of StopGaming.

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

guy fishing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you addicted to gaming? Take the quiz.

What Changed?

xbox controller art

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

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

Regret

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

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

Watch: Every Hour Counts

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

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

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

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

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

Need help?

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

“I finally realize that I have slowly ruined my wife’s life one [game] at a time over these 10 years.”

one more game

Every gamer knows this phrase. We’ve said it countless times. We’ve said it to our parents, friends, girlfriends, wives, and children. For those of you that don’t know the meaning, it’s an endless cycle. This phrase is uttered after every game when we know that it’s time for us to stop playing.

The truth is that we actually mean it when we say it. But if a game ends too quickly or we lose too badly, we believe that there is no way that we can end on that game. Regardless, It’s ‘harmless’. Why can’t I play one more game? What’s so important that you can’t wait 30 more minutes? I’ve thought this way my entire life until my son’s first spring break.

Spring Break

I woke up early and started gaming. He and I were the only people in the house so I could play until he woke up. I was in the middle of an intense game when he awoke. I told him that I would get him some breakfast as soon as I finished. Not long after, my group was done. I got up and made him some breakfast. He wanted to watch T.V. while he ate. I liked this idea because it would allow me to play more video games.

As soon as he is done eating and watching his show, he and I will play together all day. After he finished eating, he asked if he could go to his room and watch a few more videos. Of course! We will both be doing what we want and having fun. This trend continued until his bedtime. He starting crying and making me feel guilty because I told him that we would play all spring break. This was our boy’s week. I told my little man not to worry at all. We had four days left with just us.

Watch: THERE WILL ALWAYS BE “ANOTHER” GAME

The next day started different. He woke up very early and started playing by himself. I slept in because I stayed up way too late playing games. I made him breakfast and he went into his room to watch videos. I hopped on my computer and starting gaming until he was done. He didn’t come out of his room after he finished eating. He probably thought that I would just continue playing. He came out around lunch time. We definitely couldn’t play now. I had to feed him lunch.

After lunch, he needed to take a nap. I will play with him after that. He slept a long time. It was time for supper and a bath. He had to go to bed after that. I was really wanting to play with him today but I just couldn’t find an opportunity.

The next day was going to be different. We were going to play all day. I went into his room shortly after waking up to get the toys ready. His room was filthy. There was no way we could play in that mess. I told him to cleanup and then we would play. He stayed in his room all that day and all the next day not cleaning. It was his fault this time. I was trying to play with him and he wouldn’t clean his room. He finally cleaned it before going to bed on Thursday. Tomorrow was the last day of spring break and we were going to play all day.

Our Last Day

We woke up around 9am and ate breakfast. He wanted to watch a video so I played a game until he was done. We started playing and having fun. We were having a blast. We took a break to eat lunch. My wife called and told me that our baby girl was sick and I had to go get her. Well, playtime was over.

I spent the entire week telling myself that I wanted to play with him and we only played for 2 hours. In all honesty, I play with him all of the time so he didn’t see that week as a big deal. But for me, reality started to set in. I noticed that I was truly addicted to video games.

I started thinking that if I did that to him over the course of one week, how much have I done it to him over the past 3 years? Then a horrible feeling hit me like a ton of bricks. How many times have I done this to my wife?

Watch: EVERY HOUR COUNTS

Where My Problem Began

I can actually pinpoint the day it started. My wife and I were in college. We went to Best Buy to buy a computer. We also purchased World of Warcraft: the Burning Crusade. It was the best and most addicting game that I have ever played.

We only had one account and one computer so we had to share. It was awesome because she loved the game as much as I did. She wasn’t a gamer like me though so she didn’t feel the need to hit max level or grind dailies. She didn’t feel the need to find a guild and do endgame content. This was the main reason that we never fought over the computer. We had some great times talking about the game and made some great friends that played the game.

Eventually, she stopped caring about the game or I made her stop caring. I would allow her to go to bed alone while I raided with my friends. I would stay up late, sleep in, and look for any chance that I could to play the game. I had to plan nights and weekends around this game. It got so bad that I placed the computer in the living room near our T.V. so that I could pretend to watch whatever she was watching while I was farming stuff. This lasted for about 4 years.

After I graduated college, I got a career so it was time to stop this nonsense. I could no longer stay up late during the week so I quit playing World of Warcraft. Now, I could spend all of my time with my beautiful wife.

Our relationship was almost back to normal and then I found my next game: League of Legends. It was amazing and each game was only an average of 30 minutes long. It had the same issue though. I had to plan to play with my friends and I just couldn’t quit mid-game if she needed me. This slowly started to cause problems. We would start fighting. I would compromise or do whatever was needed so that I could get back to the game. Even when we went on dates, I would count the time until I could start playing.

I would text all of my friends a rough time to be on. I would get on immediately after we got home. I mean I just spent with her. What more did she want? My friends were waiting on me. We have our whole lives together and she wants to argue with me over some game time. This made no sense. We always worked through our issues though.

We Had a Baby

Then one day, we got the best news. We were having a baby. Time to grow up and take care of my wife for real and get ready for this baby. I waited on my wife hand and foot. I would get her anything she needed. I would rub her feet until she fell asleep. Then it was game time. I would stay up really late on weekends because it was the only time that I could play.

She was happy though because I was always there for her. She went to bed by herself for almost 5 years now so that wasn’t new. Me not playing all of the time during the day was more than she could have asked for. 9 months flew by. We were ready to be parents.

We did everything together. We were doing great at parenting. Then after I got accustomed to the baby’s routine, I figured out that I could get back on a gaming schedule. I could play League of Legends during the day and raid on World of Warcraft at night. It was perfect. I made a rule that my wife’s nap would be at the same time as the baby’s nap. She would take our son to the park or to a play place and send me Snapchats. It was great. They were both so happy and I was getting to do what I wanted. Being a parent and a husband wasn’t bad at all. Then one day, we received some great news yet again.

We were having a baby girl. It’s just like we always wanted: one boy and one girl. We were truly blessed. I knew my game time was over now and I was fine with that. My wife and son and I moved before we had the baby. We got our house setup and we were so ready. After she was born, we got the whole family in a good routine. They would all nap and I could play League of Legends during the day still.

We would have family time after they all woke up until they went to bed. Then I would hop on my computer and raid at night. It was all going according to plan. I was getting to be a loving father who played with his kids during the day. I was a great husband because I would help clean house and hang out with my wife during the day as well. The night was mine though. After everyone went to bed, I would do what I have been wanting to do. I was living the dream.

My wife and I would fight over the video games occasionally but I would always modify my playing to make her happy. I would still figure out a way to get my playtime while doing whatever she needed. I felt like the best husband and father in the world… until that spring break.

Years of Lost Time

Tomorrow is my 10 year wedding anniversary and I finally realize that I have slowly ruined my wife’s life one day at a time over these 10 years. Thinking about that makes me sick. We were high school sweethearts and she is my soulmate. She deserves so much better. I have deleted all games off my phone and stopped playing all games.

I will start playing again casually when it is time. I want to start going to bed with my wife and making my family feel special. I am blessed to have this second chance and I will not waste it.

I hope to help someone that was in my position. You don’t have to be a full blown addict to ruin someone else’s life. It can slowly happen one day at a time.

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

Recommended: Joe’s Story (One Year Without Gaming)

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“This cold, dark piece of plastic that I could hold in my hand had changed me into someone I did not know.”

dark

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

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

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

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

Self Harm over a Video Game?

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

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

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

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

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

I Dropped the Controller.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She Was Cheating On Me

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

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

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

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

My Turning Point

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

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

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

I Said Goodbye, Or Did I?

After reading these stories I realized my life was spiraling down, and I would lose everything, including my job and my house if I continued to put gaming #1. I went online and said goodbye to my guild mates.

I gave away all of my stuff. Then I deleted my character. My hands were shaking. I couldn’t digest throwing away countless hours, and 4k…

I realized it was all for nothing.

Well not for nothing. I did have fun, but it was all fake and gone now.

That all happened a year ago.

Today I realized I still game a lot.

After quitting cold turkey, I started playing one game of league on the weekends. When Worlds came I was so hyped up that I started playing. I play almost everyday. I am constantly seeking that new OP champion, or watching some VOD of a Pro League player like bjergsen.

Yesterday I had a moment where I realized that I had slipped of the path I wanted for myself. I haven’t worked out for over two months now. I eat unhealthy foods, and smoke cigarettes.

This change back to an unhealthy lifestyle, and constant gaming stems from the fact that I am once again not happy with my current relationship. I don’t want to deal with it, so I dull my mind once again.

Just had my first day without gaming, and honestly I feel free as a bird. I went to the gym, and haven’t felt so alive in a long, long time.

My point is: recognizing you have a problem is the first step and a huge victory. Be sure to be proud of yourself for doing so. Chances are you might catch yourself playing again… don’t get frustrated, just try to understand why and think of ways to help yourself to quit once again.

Because deep down you know you want to.

Good luck fellow Game Quitters.

Written by a valued member of our community. If you want to inspire others, share your story here.

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

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

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

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

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

He Wanted Us to Game Together

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

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

Watch: Should You Watch Gaming Streams?

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

I was always second to his computer and virtual friends.

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

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

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

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

Eventually I said it’s the computer or me.

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

He Lived in a Virtual Life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Am Now Married. Joe Lives with His Parents

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I would pretend that I was sleeping for an hour or two to use the device which I had hidden under my bed.”

new york city

I’m a freshman in college. I’m from a city in the northeast, and I’ve also lived abroad for four years. I love sports, dancing, and plays. This is my fourth day on the Respawn Program.

I suppose my first interaction with video games was in the beginning of 1st grade. I walked into the school lobby and noticed clusters of students standing around something. They seemed so animated on the wooden benches.

I walked over and saw a lizard with a fiery tail attack a small bird. The screen was about the size of a playing card, but nobody seemed to mind. The device was a show for us, my friends at the controls. Over the next few days, I saw more and more people come to school with the devices. I later learned that it was called the Nintendo Gameboy Advanced (GBA). Conversations in the classroom began to revolve around these devices and the games that were played on them.

I Didn’t Want to Be Left Out

As a fan of card games like Yu-Gi-Oh and the actual Pokemon card game, I loved strategy and challenge. However, I could never find kids at school to play trading card games with. I have to give credit to my dad for the countless hours he played with me using the decks I created for him. Since beating him was easy, I’d let the game go on even when his life points dwindled. I wanted to extend the competitive moment, to savor my victory, and to enjoy the game.

Video games seemed like the perfect platform for me, mentally and socially. I knew how to dedicate myself to the game, yet my parents wouldn’t relent and buy me a device. It wasn’t until 2nd grade when I told my teacher that I felt left out of social activities that my parents relented and got me a cobalt-shaded GBA. However, I didn’t play the games obsessively, I just wanted to understand the experience. I wanted to be a part of a world I didn’t quite understand.

bored kid

If I was bored in between soccer or little league baseball practice, I’d play Advance Wars or Super Mario III. The games were fun but I didn’t always feel driven to play because I was surrounded by a loving family and friends.

I also had sports to take my competitive instincts out on. I wasn’t attracted to massive online games initially because my parents filled my head with stories of pedophiles and thieves on Club Penguin, a massive online game with customizable penguins.

In the summer before 3rd grade, I had my first real experience surrounding gaming. I had just received a Nintendo DS and Pokemon Diamond/Pearl had arrived. On the way to a day-camp, somebody issued the challenge that we all reset whatever progress we had in Pokemon and have a race to beat the Elite Four, the final challenge of the game.

With nearly three hours of bus ride per day, nine kids including myself played constantly to win. There wasn’t even a distinct award for winning. As I took my penguin type Pokemon and beat the Elite Four after the sixth attempt, I nearly threw my DS as I yelled “DONE!” Every kid stopped playing, looked at me, smiled, one congratulated me, and then continued playing. If I wasn’t so euphoric about beating the level, I should have noticed that my hard-won victory was so hollow.

My Father Moved Abroad

That January, my parents told me that my father was moving abroad for a year, then we’d join him. According to my mom, I took it pretty well. Before Dad left, he gave me a game called Big Bang Board Games. We played chess, checkers, connect-four, and backgammon online together while talking through Skype. I’d sit on our grey couch in the living room while propping my feet on the ottoman with the screen open.

Eventually, one of us suggested Disney’s Toontown Online, a MMORPG, with cupcakes and pies as weapons. I took the player tag AstrixAndObelisk127 after my favorite comic. Since, I didn’t have a full-time job (duh), I played more than my dad. When we played together, I felt happy and in control teaching my Dad how to beat the evil cogs, oblivious that the cogs represented businessmen and bankers.

Video games weren’t bad or even a distraction, they were a way to connect to my father nearly seven thousand miles away. Isn’t that great?

Then, I moved abroad. I attended an international school. In the north-east, I attended an all-boys school and wasn’t used to hanging around girls. Also, I was bullied by other kids in my expat school. When I did make friends, they could always leave later that year. There was no sense of permanence in my friendships. Despite the lack of social activity, it was in 4th grade that I found the sport I would play into college, squash.

I Started Playing Squash

Squash was fun for me because it was completely independent from school, and I had a great coach. However, on the hour bus rides to and from school, I still played with my DS. Despite playing some video games, I began to push my efforts into my studies. After seeing gradual improvement in the academic and sports fields, I moved away from video games. Nevertheless, a different problem appeared, YouTube.

kid playing squash

I used YouTube as a method to stream anime and other cartoons online. I know that anime and certain cartoons aren’t video games, and I’m not recommending that people also shy away from those environments. However, I quickly developed a problem watching YouTube either in the night or while I was supposed to be working. Thus, I lost my iTouch and computer privileges, sometimes for months.

After receiving the devices back, I would still watch YouTube videos or play flash games on easily accessible sites like Miniclip or Armor games. I enjoyed flash strategy games like Time Wars or shooters like Raze, Sierra 7, or especially The Last Stand: Union City.

I enjoyed The Last Stand: Union City in particular because of its complexity. The idea of having to regulate food, sleep, supplies, weapons, and ammo in a zombie-fighting game was fascinating to me. The multitude of statistics and the rapid improvement of my character seemed so cool. Over the next six years, I would return to the game many times. In the future, Armor games served as a launching pad into deeper video game addictions.

I Suddenly Moved Back to the Northeast

Unexpectedly, I found out that I would be looking for schools to finish out the seventh grade. While I was accepted into two respectable schools, the K-12 school, I had attended before leaving the foreign country would not let me in despite my circumstances.

My mother and I were living in a micro apartment nearby said school for accessibility. My mom took the couch-bed and gave me the bedroom, so I could get a proper night’s sleep. I had an interview with my old school again and could finish out the rest of the 7th grade school year with one exception. I would need to take the standardized ISEE exam at the end of the year.

The realization that what I had taken for granted could be revoked along with the sudden displacement, compelled me to forget gaming and work.

From 7th to the beginning 8th grade, I worked hard, passing the entrance exam and learning a school year’s worth of information in three months. When I heard kids talking about the latest Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed game, I ignored or scoffed at the idea of playing such games. That August, I even played in my first national squash tournament.

In high school, I struck a bizarre balance between my outward success and a gnawing addiction, which haphazardly came to the surface occasionally. I was a respected student with a 3.9 out of 4 GPA and beloved by some of the harshest humanities teachers in the school. I rose in the ranks of my school’s clubs and became president of a very elite club. I was considered a top national squash player. I was awarded a national prize for an essay I wrote. I then won an international prize.

I wasn’t normal, and I thought these results showed that being not normal was great. However, high school also had a different side.

Electronics and Video Games Plagued My High School Years

smartphone

I didn’t have a smart phone, or any form of social media until January of my senior year. Out of my small graduating class, until that moment, only three other kids didn’t have smartphones, but only because they had broken theirs. At night, I vamped, or stayed up late, playing iPad games.

I stayed up to an average of three am to five am. Thus, I felt barely lucid in class at times and took naps every day. When I was caught by my parents, they removed my iPad privileges as well. It got to the point where as a junior and senior in high school, my mother or father would sit in a bean bag next to my bed until I fell asleep.

Even then, I would pretend that I was sleeping for an hour or two to use the device which I had hidden under my bed.

However, since I had the support of my parents and during the day, I worked during the day and vamped during the night. I was under constant watch to prevent me from doing anything stupid. When I got into my top ten college in May, I felt extremely happy. I quickly made many friends nearby who also were going to said college.

Over the summer, I decided to take part in a twelve-week long web development intensive program. The program also included nearly seven hours of computer science per day. I was working with adults who were trying to either turn their current careers around or receive CS degrees within twelve weeks.

It was very interesting figuring out how people had either lost a lot of their livelihood due to being distracted by games or by other means. As an eighteen-year old about to head to college, I was treated as the kid of the group. While I completed all the assignments, I also discovered two websites which allowed me to read an infinite number of comics.

Comics have always been an important aspect of my life. Comics were inspiration, entire worlds, and places to find safety and narrative. I rationalized my reading of comic books because they gave context to the rising media world around me. Also, they weren’t video games. However, when I was spending an equal amount of time reading comic books as working, I should have seen the problem clearly.

My productivity levels shifted depending on Wednesday – the day when new comics were released. When I asked myself why I did this, I thought that I deserved a break for working and that comics and video games provided a heroic narrative. However, comics and video games stopped being a break because they became the majority rather than the minority of what I did. They made me feel out of control and weak, which was exactly the opposite of what I wanted.

Going to College

college life

When I initially got to college, I talked to tons of people and made new friends. However, I was still watching YouTube videos, especially Let’s Play videos. One day, after watching a Markiplier video on The Last Stand, I thought it would be fun to play. I noticed that they had added two new levels of difficulty: hardcore, or permadeath; and head shot only mode, self-explanatory.

Earlier in the day, I had been ignored by two of my friends. I thought it would be a fun challenge after my classes appeared to be relatively easy. I played for about 6 hours before I lost all my progress on the character by dying once. As other gamers might understand, it was a Dark Souls level predicament.

The next day and the next, I played to beat the achievement. After three days of playing, and missing a squash practice, I beat the game. Only to realize I had forgotten to turn on hardcore mode. I decided to try something else.

In high school, I had downloaded but never gotten to try out Steam. I re-downloaded Steam and played Team Fortress 2 (TF2) a multiplayer game, which I had seen played by a YouTuber named Muselk. For three weeks, alternating between TF2 and Modern Warfare 3, I played nearly 5-7 hours a day. I even bought SuperHot a newer game. I became more reclusive, I stopped eating breakfast and overeating dinner. I still attended classes, but I didn’t complete any assignments on time.

When my mother tried to Facetime me, I was loud, rude, tried to get off the phone, and even blamed her for my lack of productivity. I was incredibly depressed and gained weight as well. By the time I realized how far I had fallen, there were only three weeks of classes left.

I Told My Parents That I Needed Help

I told them the truth of what I was doing even though I was really embarrassed because I thought they would get mad. They didn’t get mad; my parents just wanted to know what had been possessing me during college and why I had done those things. I wanted to know why I had done those things, too.

My mother flew to the school and for two weeks worked with me through my finals. I still got pretty bad grades, but I didn’t flunk out. I deleted all of the video games off my computer and iPhone. YouTube and comics acted as conduits into that world, so I stopped visiting those sites as well.

I began meditating using Headspace after seeing an ad. I realized that if I truly wanted to be rid of video games, I needed to end fantasy and learn how to interact with the world even when it’s uncomfortable, embarrassing, abusive, and non-validating. Ultimately, life is based around one’s tangible relationships and one’s ability to cope with the difficulties of life. Instead of going to a virtual world, I am learning how to stay with that occasional feeling of disappointment or anger and process it.

Instead of listening to Let’s Play videos, I’m watching movies and going to museums with friends, and I’m doing my work. Instead of looking for video game achievements, I’m planning out my next semester in college. It’s way better, but I’m still fighting curiosity for gaming culture and reorienting my wacked up fantasy oriented brain to reality. I’ll be fighting my addiction, not zombies.

My name is Luxo, and I’m a recovering video game addict. I look forward to reading your stories as well and getting to know you in the future. Look to see my journal, and I’ll be sure to be reading yours’ too. Thank you.