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Game Addiction: The ULTIMATE Course
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Hey! Founder of The Ultimate Video Game Addiction Course , I've coached people through it, and about a decade ago I wracked up several thousand hours myself.
It's a really difficult issue to experience and the fact that you can face it and start to solve it is a huge step. Kudos to you.
Yes it's possible to play in moderation - I play poker and chess with friends. That said, I do my best to cut off anything if I see the warning signs of slipping back into bad habits.
Be VERY careful about watching games online - it's usually a powerful trigger.
For a few tactical pieces of advice for anyone who isn't "clean" yet:
- Changing the wiring in your brain takes time. Do your best to build new habits away from gaming each day, but know that it's unlikely to happen all at once.
- Take note of triggers (people, times of day, locations) and do what you can to remove them from your environment.
- Remove access as much as you can. If you can't do it all at once, set yourself smaller (regular) goals like being off of games for 30 mins, or for 4 hours, or for 1 day once per week. Eventually I did 1 year without a smartphone or a computer that could play games, and it really helped reset.
- You need to replace friends and activities you had with new ones outside of gaming. This takes a fair amount of work and time, but it's worth it. Self-improvement is a great area to focus on as it can give you the same sense of progression as games, and you'll meet great people. I also recommend team sports.
- Have a long hard look at anything that could be causing this escapism - it could be big and obvious, it could be subtle like a nagging stress from work, a mild existential anxiety, or one of a million other things. Journalling helps uncover this sort of thing.
- Embrace boredom. After the initial discomfort, you'll realise the boredom is not the worst thing in the world.