What to Do If You Relapse and Start Gaming Again

It’s very common when you quit playing video games to experience a relapse at some point. It even happened to me. 11 months after I quit cold turkey I relapsed and played games 16 hours a day for five months straight.

So what do you do if you relapse and start gaming again? Press play:

Relapse doesn’t have to be a bad thing. That doesn’t mean it’s good or that you should just relapse on purpose (#duh), but it doesn’t mean you need to shame yourself for it either.

There’s a lot we can learn from our relapse experience to help us be more successful in the future.

For instance when I relapsed there were a few different factors that led to it. One of them was that at the time I was feeling a bit depressed, and I thought the solution was to move to a new city to get a change of scenery – which really I was just running away from my problems.

So I packed everything up and moved to Victoria, B.C. Within the first week of being in the new city I was overwhelmed not knowing anyone and I decided to start playing video games again.

But looking back I’m actually grateful for it because I learned a lot from it that I used to write my article on How to Quit Playing Video Games FOREVER and that I’m teaching you now.

There are four main reasons why we relapse:


  • We’re bored.



When you quit playing games it’s really important that you choose new activities, and for the first few days you tend to be good at doing that. But over time maybe you lack the consistency, so if you’re not being intentional with how you spend your time, you’ll end up relapsing.


  • We’re stressed.



This can also mean you are anxious. Now this can happen for a variety of reasons, but gaming has always been your escape so you end up relapsing.


  • We’re feeling good.



So you’ve quit gaming and you’re actually doing great! Now of course this is happening because you’re not playing games, but it’s easy to forget that. So you justify playing because obviously gaming didn’t have that big of a pull on you, it’s something you enjoy and you’re passionate about, so you end up playing.


  • We use it as a reward.



Traditionally we’ve used gaming as a way to reward ourselves for the various things we’ve done, and because we haven’t chosen a new way to reward ourselves, we end up going back to what we know, which is gaming.

So what do you do if you do happen to relapse?

When you find yourself in this situation there’s a framework I like to use and it’s actually about turning it into a game. It’s about beating your high score. And this comes in two ways:


  • # of days without games.



You want to create this score to be as big as possible, and you want to do it by tracking your days. To do this you can join us on StopGaming or use an app like Coach.me.

Seeing this number grow is incredible motivating. Make this score as big as possible.


  • # of relapse days.



You want to create this score to be as low as possible. So if you do happen to relapse, how quickly do you get yourself back on track. For me when I relapsed, it took five months before I quit again, so if I relapsed again in the future I’d want to make this score as low as possible.

Relapse happens and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but that doesn’t mean you should take relapse any less seriously. It just means you want to learn what you can from it and get back on track and focused on moving your life forward once again.

If you find yourself relapsing or you haven’t quit yet, make sure you grab a copy of Respawn and start today.

“Reading Respawn was the best decision I have made in my life, honestly.” – David

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