Thank you Grey Rock. That was really well written. I will take it into consideration.
So here I am again back starting over. But, I realized something today that terrifies more than anything before. I have been doing a lot of reading about addiction and I realize that whether I want to admit it or not…the YouTubers I follow have become my friends. King Gryph, Gore and Perkins, Troydan, Miniminter, Sidemen, and so on…they have replaced friends in my life. And they are the worst friends anyone could ever have. In addiction they all say that the hardest thing is to make new friends and stay away from the old ones. There is something about these friends I like of course. They are readily available. They are funny. They aren’t complicated. They are easy. But, they also are endless and take hours of my life away. I need to get to a new group of friends. In this post I am saying goodbye. Goodbye King Gryph. Good bye Gore and Perkins. Goodbye Minimentor and Sidemen. Goodbye Troydan. We don’t make sense together anymore. It made sense in the beginning, but not anymore. I need real physical people.
This is also something I realized and it’s so true, and it’s good that you are changing that habit too.
It’s another thing making online so addicting - the fake feeling of connection.
Friends, as you said, are complicated - they have emotions, they have a life of their own, they may not always have time, they may prefer peope over you - but YouTubers and other social media personas are different. They are friendship light™ on demand.
Usually, friends tell us a lot about their day, about their goals, about what they plan to do on the weekend, we find out about their work… and those vlogs of YouTubers do the same thing, just that they don’t know us. They smile, looking as if we are familiar to them, tell us how much they appreciate us, seemingly treating us equally or like a best friend, and then tell us so much about themselves. There’s a reason we prop those videos up in front of us when we feel the loneliest; in bed to fall asleep, on the dinner table when we eat alone, while doing chores… they treat us like friends, but they don’t even know we specifically exist. It’s such a one-way street, we can never tell them anything but we know so much about them.
And the worst is, for most of these people, that whole thing is just an act. They deliberately put on a relatable, funny, nice persona so you like them, connect with them, and want to know more about them and want to watch every little video about every little fart they make. For me, these people fake connection and a sense of friendship for money and clicks. We never see their bad sides, except in a scandal or when they cry for clicks as well. Real people, real friends are normal human beings with the entire range of emotions and that is what makes real friendship so good and wholesome. Putting a stop to ourselves selling our loneliness online is a good step. We are just making people rich who earn a living on our misery. No one can tell me YouTubers don’t know and deliberately use that.
Yeah so I don’t know if swearing is allowed on this forum but HOLY FUCK. Anthymn that is so spot on. I never thought of it so completely. THat is brilliant.
This week I have spent a lot of time listening to recovery podcasts and the lightbulb finally went off for me. One thing that I will forever struggle with is the God thing that constantly gets mentioned in all of these recovery podcasts. These podcasters/12 steppers constantly mention surrendering to God and a higher power as their way to recovery. And I always got stuck on that, but finally I figured it out! The important word in the sentence isn’t God, it is surrender. To recover requires 100% surrendering to the process and handing it over to the process. And I know this works.
See, back in high school I ran all four years. I never questioned why we practiced 6 days a week. I just did what I was told. And then once my life hit some rocky parts I stopped running. I got back into it midway through my freshman year of college and just started running. I signed up for a half marathon and people looked at me like I was crazy. 13.1 miles? How was I going to train for that? What in the world was I thinking? But, I knew that there was a process to being prepared to run 13.1 miles and so I followed that process. I never questioned it on the days where I had to run 15 miles. I just knew that my life would be better for it. I ran my half marathon and then after that half marathon my life went down hill for the past 5 years. So here I am yet again realizing that I have to surrender to the process. Yes, running 13.1 miles takes time, and can be painful, and requires sacrifice. But, not being addicted to this phone or this computer takes time and commitment and a giant surrender to trust the process no matter what. No matter how odd it feels or how icky it feels I need to trust the process. I need to surrender to the process.
Slow start to my morning so far. I need to pick it up. I am being lazy and watching TV this morning and I know that can lead to a lot of surfing. I tried meditating right when I got up, but I did not sleep well last night. I need to go hit the gym. I have to surrender to the process.
Three days down. I keep listening to to podcasts and working on getting sober. Today my big goal is to understand that the internet is something that I have loved and used to getaway, but I have to let go of it for that purpose. And that is scary. But, I have to do it.
Four days down. Guys, I had a moment yesterday that was awesome. My wife came home after me being home from work and was like, “Have you been watching videos?” and I could honestly say, “No, no I was not.” And it was because there was this moment where all of my mindfulness work and meditation kept me present and stopped me from going to the phone in times of stress. So pumped.
Such a great milestone, congratulations!
Six good days and then a relapse. And I know exactly why it happened!!! I was looking for social connection. I woke up with a million stressful thoughts about work in my head and my wife was asleep and I was lone and it was 630 in the morning and I said, “I’lll just watch the baseball highlights.” And you know what I found out? The first video you watch for the wrong reason is the same as the 36th you watch for the wrong reason. And that will never change. The internet is not the problem. My reason for wanting to watch YouTube videos or ESPN videos is the problem.
So I decided to make a change after yesterday. I got up and I realized that I used to have 5 groups of people I hung out with that were a part of my social life. I had: writers, runners, runescape friends, family, general sports fans, and close friends. And over time those have all fallen off and been replaced. Now it is down to my wife and the four-six youtube celebrities I really follow hardcore. I realized how unsustainable that is. So I said fuck it. I joined a writing group that meets once a month. And I joined a running club that meets multiple times a week. I am going to connect with others. I don’t care what it takes. I am going to change my social circle.
Day 1 was a success. Had to catch myself a few times. It is about isolation, being present, and wanting this. I feel like this morning I woke up and just assumed, “I got this.” That is dangerous. I need to want it throughout the day.
Also, I need to want this for the sake of my relationship. I wrote my wife a letter yesterday that was detailing how we have been together eight years and I have noticed some patterns. I noticed how communication has broken down, intimacy has been lost, and the relationship is not what it once was. And that is not her fault, but instead the fact that I have tried to make my social circle out YouTube celebrities. And that is bullshit because there was so much other shit I could have looked forward to in those days.
Today here is what I am looking forward to:
- Running my basketball group at work
- Running a fun group
- Eating lunch with colleagues
- Coming home to see my wife
- Reading a book
- Only being three days from my vacation!
Oi. So this morning I started down the bad path. And I stopped myself because I said no these people cannot help me. I do not know them. I don’t have real human connections with them. I went and did some writing instead and that is good, but something was just nagging at me. I went back to YouTube and I looked at the rows and rows of videos. I saw all of the faces and I realized something. I don’t know James Corden. I don’t know Troydan. I don’t know Gore and Perkins. I don’t know Trevor Noah. I don’t know Stephen Colbert. I don’t know the cast of Hamilton! And that is really ok in most situations. I don’t need to know them to consume their content for entertainment or educational purposes. But, if I am going to use them because I am stressed or lonely well then I better know them and have a real connection to them. I better feel like I know them inside and out. And I don’t. So I cannot use them for that. I cannot use them to escape. I need to use real people and real life events. Plain and simple.
I really fell off the map here. I think I need to come back and I need some support. Man, I just feel like I don’t have the ambition to change. I don’t have that gift of desperation, but I need to change because this just sucks. I know the pattern. I have learned more and more throughout the failures. I know that I have these moments where I get in my own head and I am so frigan anxious and then out of nowhere boom. I feel the sensations in my body. I feel the deep inhale breath, the heaviness in my shoulders, the restlessness in my hands and feet and the tightness in my jaw.
My body has a response. It tells me that I need to eat something or go curl up into a ball and sit on my phone so as to not feel.
I went 12 days with no relapses because I got real mindful and real present. I just have not gotten back to that place. Tomorrow morning I am deep diving and doing a 30 minute meditation followed by a big workout. I need to center my body. I also need to reach out and write here daily like I was before.
Don’t give up. Keep going. I just know how you feel, it really hit home with me. Let us know how you do.
You have no ambition to change? That’s a lie. You are here, on this forum; a forum that, at the end of the day, is about change. Being here and posting this journal entry, shows that there’s something in your brain that wants you to change. You’re just not aware of it all the time. Nobody is. I mean, if all of us were aware of it all the time, changing would be easy. But we’re not. Change is difficult.
I know these thoughts. You think “everything is fine, you got this!” and then all of a sudden, you get other thoughts. “You had so much fun. Playing video games 24/7. Being on Discord all the time. YouTube. I had a good time!” Fight these thoughts with all you got. Remember: If you really enjoyed your time on the internet, you wouldn’t have had the desire to change, right?
This is what you wrote in your first entry in this journal. Remember how you felt when you wrote it. Don’t let your brain trick you into thinking you had a great time on the internet.
12 days without a relapse is awesome! And now: do it again. If you manage more than 12 days this time, you have a reason to really congratulate yourself! If you don’t get to 12 days, don’t worry about it. Just try again.
That’s the most important thing in all of this: Try again. Don’t just get sad and give up if you fail. Try again. Relapsing is part of it. You’re trying to change behavior and habits that you followed for years (I assume). Don’t expect it to be easy. Just try again after failing.
Besides that, I can only repeat what horatio said:
Keep us updated on how you do
I kept my word this morning. I got up, did a 30 minute meditation and just really let my mind clear out. I then did a full workout and now I am checking in here. I also adopted Grey Rocks method of no tech in my first hour up. I feel like that helped me center my brain.
I am going to work and I know the cycle that will end up happening if I relapse: Thoughts, followed by behavioral response, followed by avoidance. I know that when I stay mindful the thoughts never turn into a behavioral response. It is that simple. I have to fight. You guys are right.
Also, I am going to start a goals counter:
Consecutive days without compulsive internet use: 0
Last relapse date: 8/28/18
You have a point there. I’ll remember that today.
So I know my pattern and it’s cause. I had 3 really good hours at work and then fell apart.
If I can conquer that I can conquer my addiction
Off to a good start this morning. Following the rules of not going on my phone for that first hour. I am working on staying focused. I also am not using YouTube at work for music today. Just checking in.
Struggling so hard right now at work. I cant stay focused.