Quitting Addiction

How to Stop Playing Video Games Now

Perhaps you’ve searched for the phrase, “how to stop playing video games” in Google and stumbled upon this post.

You started thinking if you need to close the tab and move on to the next article.

Before you do that, let me tell you this.

Today, I’m the Chief Executive Officer of SharpRocket, one of the leading digital marketing companies in Asia. I’m also a motivational speaker who conducts several trainings, workshops, and public seminars throughout my country, Philippines.

I may not be the PERFECT person to answer “how to stop playing video games” question but I’ve had almost all (if not all) the experiences in being an addicted geek to video games and eventually quitting it after 12 years.

You read it right.

12 LONG YEARS.

I’ve started playing video games when I was 7 years old. Just a typical kid who wants to free up his time by becoming a HERO or WINNER in a simple competition.

The first video game I played was “Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness”.

Before you have “League of Legends” (LOL) and World of Warcraft, Warcraft II was among the top games.

Here’s a screenshot of the game to help you imagine it.

warcraft 2

It’s a real-time strategy game that represents either the human inhabitants of Lordaeron (HUMAN) or its invading enemies (ORCS).

The goal of the game is to destroy your opponent by creating an army to attack all their races. The more strategic you are, the better.

From playing Warcraft games, I started playing more strategic video games like Starcraft, Battle Realms, and Command & Conquer: Generals.

I know, If you are a computer addict, these games are not enough to feed your playing desire.

I’ve also come across role playing online and multiplayer games (RPG) such as Tantra, Rose Online, RAN and Gunbound.

If you’re not spending money in exchange of credits and golds for games like Ragnarok, then you haven’t been into my situation back then.

Nonetheless, you want to quit NOW.

Most of the advice I’ve seen on the web either boils down to limiting your hours of playing video games or becoming fit and healthy.

Bad advice.

These things don’t pinpoint and solve the real problems most people experience — like those who couldn’t get out of the “video game zone”.

To limit your hours is to go back to your playing zone.

Trust me, if you only limit 2 or 3 hours from an 8 to 12 hours of non-stop gaming, you’ll see yourself go back to the same situation, and worse, even exceed the number of daily hours you’ve played.

Fake social system makes it easy for someone to revisit the momentum of playing. In particular, if you’re into multiplayer games or online games where you can engage thru chat your clan or party co-gamers.

Even if you don’t spend time playing the real game itself, you are exposed to “what you think” social environment is all about.

So when your classmates or friends tease you for not being a “social person,” you immediately defend yourself that you really are SOCIABLE because you think online video games is the REAL social world.

WRONG.

Social world in online games isn’t the same as what the REAL WORLD looks like.

How come you say that?

I know because I became an introvert for several years. What I thought of about the social world is not congruent to what I should be doing offline.

Second reason why I think people get into the game easily (and some couldn’t quit for a decade now) is the “FALSE ACHIEVEMENT” they receive on a regular basis.

Imagine if you win a battle game once, even if you’re just a newbie in that game. You start battling your other friends then win again.

After you win, you start competing with some “non-pro” gamers but are more advanced than you. Ten wins then move on to joining “offline video games competitions”.

You now call yourself, the “UNBEATABLE CHAMPION”.

That’s what you think you really are.

But the reality is, YOU ARE NOT.

Champions, winners, whatever you call them in the online/offline video games aren’t such in the REAL WORLD.

Your mother slaps you on your face because of your consistent “POOR GRADES” in school.

Your boss always get mad at you because of your “POOR WORK ETHICS OR PERFORMANCE” in office.

So on and so forth.

Five years ago, when I quit playing video games. I came to realize that I was getting behind of all the real battles in life. My classmates were getting excellent grades, being always recognized by professionals/teachers and have had a good social life with friends. They’ve got a bright future ahead of them.

But ONE THING that changes.

is how I see myself.

I wasn’t a loser. The moment I decided to quit – THAT DECISION was actually the start of winning.

If you feel you are like me before, let me tell you this.

You are not a loser.

You’ve reached this part of this article because you want to quit playing video games.

But before you take actions, you need to remind yourself that your future SELF awaits for you to change.

You can still do something about your addiction or your situation – to quit.

Don’t regret of all those weeks, months, years or decades you’ve wasted.

This is not the time to feel guilty about things. This is the time to change.

If you are ready for that, take these proven techniques.

Here are five ACTIONABLE and EFFECTIVE tips to help you stop playing video games.

1. FIND HOBBIES OR INTERESTS FOR RELAXATION AND FREE TIME

The truth is…

Moderation isn’t the best way to quit playing video games.

As I’ve said earlier, reducing your playing time to the least possible would only get you come back to your “video game zone” again.

One way to STOP playing video games is to find something that you’re really passionate about to do.

It could be a variety of things.

I’ll give you examples.

Playing guitar or piano.

playing guitar

Reading a book (something that can make you a better person – like self-help, leadership, management, etc..)

Sports.

Joining social groups.

social groups

You can go to Meetup.com and find any relevant interest groups.

Toastmasters group which is a membership organization for people who want to do public speaking or build more confidence through event exposure, is also something that might interest you.

And many more.

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ANY PASSION AT ALL?

This is one question you may have asked yourself.

The answer:

Visit a bookstore near you and go to each book section.

Get some books from each shelf and identify which industry book captures your interest.

There should always be at least one.

It could be as strange and crazy as love and relationships or woodcarving.

It doesn’t matter.

What’s good is that you can find an interest where you can spend most of your free time with.

You can also go to your other friends, not your gaming peers, and see what they’re up to.

There is definitely something that bonds you with them.

Find that interest.

Spend time with your friends.

2. COMMIT YOURSELF

Quitting video games is entering into a relationship. You need to make a commitment.

I haven’t seen a person stop playing video games without committing himself not to do it.

However…

Commitment requires a lot of effort.

For example, when one of your gaming friends (party/clan friend) asks you about your current level of one of your heroes, can you resist not to respond to his/her message?

It could be as hard as it can be, but if you think of what your future self would be like if you stop playing video games, you’d have HUGE FUEL OF MOTIVATION to do the right thing now.

Would you want your future wife or kids to leave you for not attending to their needs?

It’s quite an exaggeration but there are computer addicts who’ve been through that — even to the point of divorcing their wives just to continue their gaming addiction.

Your 10,000 hours when you reached 21 and started gaming at a young age could be spent on something else.

A hobby that you identified in our first tip will make you physically fit, spiritually mature, intellectually good at, which by the way is important if you want to grow your career or be a more likeable person.

Would you want to win friends?

It’s easy to make a commitment but it’s hard to keep it.

However, if you have bullets in your hand to give you motivation as you resist yourself from playing and making sure you won’t get back to it again will definitely give you success in life.

Ask yourself, what is something that you’ll do today that your future self will thank you for?

3. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE

Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.

Sounds familiar?

You hear this all the time.

But what makes this very helpful is when you have the right people who’ve been through the same experiences.

The right people aren’t your gaming friends. They haven’t quit yet and even if they do, they are not the ideal people to surround yourself with.

WHERE CAN I FIND THEM?

When you were a newbie in a game, you sign up as a member in gaming forums/community sites.

You want to learn the basics and advanced tricks, cheats and tips on how to win and get ahead of the competition.

That’s the same thing you should do now that you want to quit.

Go to forums/community sites like “Reddit Stop Gaming”.

Post your current situation and your desire to quit.

People won’t judge you. They’ve been in the same situation and their intention is to help other people quit gaming as well.

Once you’ve posted a public update, you’ve already started to take a small step of quitting gaming and getting help from other people who did the same.

Also, the good thing with being active at stop gaming forums is that you can find a suitable accountability partner.

An accountability partner can help you keep your commitment to quit gaming in the long run.

It’s a no brainer. But if you do otherwise, you’ll find yourself going back to the same routine especially when temptation comes from your gaming friends.

4. WHEN YOU FEEL PAINED, MAD OR OTHER NEGATIVE FEELINGS, DEAL WITH THEM PROPERLY

I’ve found that the easiest way to escape reality is to go to your “what you know” or your default activity – to play video games.

If you’ve been bullied at school and you desire to beat others based on your own rules, you play.

If you’ve been hated/scolded by your boss at work and you want to manage that stress properly, you play.

If something negative happens in your family, you play.

Because that’s what you think is the most accessible, affordable and easiest method to escape the reality at least for a couple of hours.

That’s the reason I prodded you to find other hobbies. When you don’t know other hobbies aside from video games playing, you’ll always end up resorting to just “SINGLE” hobby.

There are many ways to deal with pain, stress and boredom.

Start by attending a social group.

“No man is an island”. You know this but read it again. “No man is an island”.

Most of the time, you can’t solve a personal problem by simply relying on your own abilities.

You need other people who’ve been through your situation or are more mature to give advice on how to deal with your personal issues.

Social group gives you the confidence to speak out what’s in your mind and what’s in your heart.

The more frequent you ask people, the easier it is for you to take away the pain and stress in your life.

Take some rest or vacation

You may be bombarded with a lot of challenges in life.

Playing video games shouldn’t be your default option when this happens.

Take a vacation.

Spend some time to stay away from your PC or laptop environment.

Find places where you can see the beauty of nature.

It’s not corny or just for fun, it helps free up your mind and relieve stress and pain.

Sit down and talk.

If a person is involved in your personal problem, i.e. a conflict with someone.

Don’t let the sun go down without talking to him personally.

You can’t solve a problem by spending your entire day playing video games.

Face the truth that you have someone who gets mad at you.

Schedule a dinner or meeting with that person.

Sit down and talk. Resolve the conflict as early as possible.

This way you don’t let that fire burns more trees.

It relieves that anger and pain in you. This works!

5. IF YOU’RE COMPETITIVE, FIND OTHER WAYS TO COMPETE.

The idea of competition is common to all video games.

You win. You lose.

When you lose, you want to play so you can win in another game.

When you won, find a more-challenging player to compete with, then win.

It’s all about competition.

Here’s the thing…

You can still use the same attitude of being competitive in other non-gaming activities.

Like sports…

You compete to win.

But your aim is to have a friendly, healthy competition.

If you’re that person who always want to say you’re the best in the world, find other non-gaming very competitive activities or hobbies.

About the author

Venchito Tampon

Venchito Tampon quits playing video games after 12 long years and now runs one of the leading digital agencies in Asia - SharpRocket. He is also a sought-after youth motivational speaker in the Philippines. Follow him at Twitter.

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