Managing Go Addiction - (serious)

it doesn’t matter which addiction it is - when an addiction is serious, the best you can do is to get professional help. This may also be the only thing which can really help


seriously: probably what @Strawberrycake said :slight_smile:

other thoughts: i like @Conrad_Melville s answer. additionally, i would suggest to make go a social experience, if at all possible. dont make go the thing you do when you are home and there is no obvious “better” choice (or an obvious “worse” choice i.e. studying). try to meet people irl. that way you might not have to quit, but instead you might get a new perspective.


I agree with Strawberrycake: ANY kind of addiction - whether it’s shopping, substance abuse, or playing go - is a response to inner pain or turmoil.

The person in question cannot take the pain and stress of dealing with what they’re dealing with, and so they retreat into other activites that give them that boost of edorphins, and allow them to escape that pain, even if the escape is brief.

Taking steps to limit addicitve behavior may be good and necessary, but until the person in question makes a determined effort to

  • face the root cause of the pain
  • acknowledge that it is a separate problem that must be dealt with
  • learn new coping skills to deal with it specifically
    any attempts to merely aleviate the symptoms of addictive behavior will only be a band-aid solution, since they won’t touch the underlying issues.

To anyone facing such difficult times, I say good luck, and please find support.



An addiction is not a response to inner pain or turmoil. An addiction is any formed habit where you experience a large dopamine spike in anticipation of a reward. Understanding what an addiction actually is, and then being mindful of the urges that your addiction produces and the processes behind them, is the most powerful way to manage them when they lead to undesirable results. Doing so allows you to reason out what is occurring in your body, and then break out of the urge by severing the stimulus from your automated response to it. There’s also the option of modifying your environment to avoid triggers, ie. if you need to get work done that doesn’t require the use of a computer or access to the internet, creating or moving to a space where you don’t have ready access to a computer and gaining access to a computer would require a significant investment of time and energy is a very effective way to decrease the willpower needed to reject your urges when they arise.

But let’s be clear; addiction is a natural function of the brain and actually an extremely useful and powerful tool, not the demon that everyone makes it out to be. The real problems occur because, due to technological advances, we now have easy access to a multitude of things that are extremely unhealthy for us: refined drugs, refined foods (especially sugars), refined alcohol, and unfettered access to novel stimuli (video games, social media, youtube videos, gambling, porn, etc.). As such, unlike, say, a century ago, we now need to be very mindful of ourselves and the products we consume, otherwise it’s very trivial for us to stumble into a pitfall and become obese/diabetic or destroy our liver or spend all of our time on unproductive activities, whereas before, during, say, the industrial era or modern era, we could entrust ourselves to the routines and drives our brain creates for us and spend all of our mental energies and willpower on pursuing new, constructive activities and habits.

If you’re really committed to breaking an addiction, it’s nice to know that it only takes about 1-2 weeks of mindfulness and abstinence to break it and significantly reduce the number and intensity of urges you experience, however once the addiction is initially formed, you will continue to experience urges intermittently for the rest of your life, depending on your exposure to environments or triggers associated with that addiction, or even sometimes just randomly. At that point, it’s just a matter of continued commitment, though, and understanding that a relapse is not a terrible thing, as long as you have the mindset that an addiction you’ve broken once can be broken again, and usually more easily the 2nd+ time around.


Professional help can you get in a zen center. If you see yourself better, you can manage your own problems. Seek the retraits 3 days. You are able to find your roor cause! Links for example: or

Okay, now seriously.
I’ve already missed a bunch of deadlines at work. What can I do to stop playing the game and get my productivity back?


Take a hammer and crash that computer

I have suffered from this before :pensive: The following works for me. Hopefully, some of this might help you :slightly_smiling_face:

  • Build Go playing time into your schedule and set yourself limits, e.g. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. is work time, no Go. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. is Go time, no work. If you do not leave adequate time for Go in your schedule, you will be too tempted to just play it anyway when you’re supposed to be doing something else.

  • Use Go playing as part of a self-reward system to motivate yourself to do your work or whatever else you need to do. For example, “If I can concentrate on work and get stuff done for 30 minutes straight without distraction, then I can play a few moves in my correspondence games or solve some tsumego for 5 minutes”. This is especially effective when combined with the general productivity management method “the pomodoro technique”.

  • Do your work on one screen (or set of screens) and your Go playing on a different screen (or set), and put up a blocking reminder to not get distracted on the Go screen. For example, I have a Linux operating system that has different “workspaces” - virtual screens that you can switch between. I keep my work on one workspace and all my distractions (email, music, Go, etc.) in a separate workspace. Then I cover up all the apps in the distraction workspace with this picture:

    Then, if I get tempted by distraction and switch to that work space, grumpy cat says “NOPE!” Alternatively, you could have, say, work on your computer and Go on your smart phone with a post-it note on the phone saying “No Go for you, slacker!” or similar.

  • Make sure that playing Go on a device is not impacting your sleep and, thus, your productivity the next day. Set a bedtime and stick to it. Stop playing Go on a device (board and stones is fine) a good while before that, say one hour, because the light interferes with your sleep. Consider installing a blue light filter app and turning it on during the evening (or using the phone’s built in blue light filter settings if available) as blue light interferes with your sleep more than red light. If you really need some Go in bed before you go to sleep, read a Go book rather than playing on your phone.

Hope that helps. Of course, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, but, like I say, the above works for me at least :slightly_smiling_face:


It has become close to an addiction for me so I’ve had to limit myself to evening games, I’d find myself playing games walking home nearly colliding with street signs :busstop::boom: :dizzy_face:

I think maybe something like a undoable vacation button which stops the account from playing whilst in vacation ?

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Imagine that a person is quite seriously addicted to this game and they know it, but playing it is what they want most, what makes them happy and even if they know they should stop it they don’t really want to stop, they don’t have enough willpower/motivation (that’s how an addiction works).
They underestimate the negative impact that spending most of their time on this game has on their life.
They have tried several time to reduce their time/games, but they failed. They failed because they didn’t really want it, but that’s the problem, they think they don’t have the strenght to change what thet want nor to deviate their dysfunctional actions in something more productive.

How could this person find enough motivation to apply healthy tips (like the ones posted before) or to do something else to recover from their addiction before that their life is completely ruined?
If you were a friend of this person, what would you say or do to help them?
I know it’s almost impossible to help someone that doesn’t want to be helped, but maybe you have some good tips.


If I could add something, is that any type of behavior that isn’t really good for us (like addictions) end up sooner or later causing sadness, pain or harm to someone we care for.

So, if I start missing movie nights and dinners with friends and family, or forgetting to call them when they’re sick, or postponing shopping for an elderly member were something that happened, I would like to hope it would show me that my hobby isn’t balanced any more.

I believe that within us should be our criteria, but others are usually our anchors.


There are browser addons where you can specify websites and times when you are not allowed to access these websites. For example, if you put OGS on that list and try to access it during worktime, you would see a banner instead that the site is blocked.
However, this obviously only works if you are able to set and keep the addon settings accordingly.
If the addiction is too strong for that, then I guess it would be better to look for a therapist or a self-help group (even if they won’t know what Go is, but as long as they are familiar with similar problems, they should be able to help).


Just had another thought on this – I stumbled over some quotes from this article today: Laziness Does Not Exist. Psychological research is clear: when… | by Devon Price | Human Parts , and now I’m wondering if maybe you have more of a problem with your work than with Go.

For decades, psychological research has been able to explain procrastination as a functioning problem, not a consequence of laziness. When a person fails to begin a project that they care about, it’s typically due to either a) anxiety about their attempts not being “good enough” or b) confusion about what the first steps of the task are. Not laziness. In fact, procrastination is more likely when the task is meaningful and the individual cares about doing it well.

When you’re paralyzed with fear of failure, or you don’t even know how to begin a massive, complicated undertaking, it’s damn hard to get shit done. It has nothing to do with desire, motivation, or moral upstandingness.

The solution, instead, is to look for what is holding the procrastinator back. If anxiety is the major barrier, the procrastinator actually needs to walk away from the computer/book/word document and engage in a relaxing activity. Being branded “lazy” by other people is likely to lead to the exact opposite behavior.

And there is another possible reason:

Often, though, the barrier is that procrastinators have executive functioning challenges — they struggle to divide a large responsibility into a series of discrete, specific, and ordered tasks.

What do you think, @onalaniglerhold , does anything of this make sense to you?


It makes total sense to me! :flushed:


And for me too, thanks for your answers. The above is a very interesting theory. I need to reconsider my worldview

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I had a thought about this topic:
Part of the addiction might be the pleasure of winning in Go. So if you notice you mainly play against weaker players, and have a relatively high winning percentage, maybe this could be a factor.

90% of the time I initiate the games I play (because I like specific time settings), and over time I notice that around 65% of the people who accept the challenge are stronger players.
Now, playing against weaker players, you likely learn less, but you win more often, which gives instantenous pleasure for most, I suppose,
Whereas playing against stronger players you could learn more but win less.

And my thesis is that striving for the pleasure from winning is more behavior in the line of an addiction, whereas actual interest and joy from the game itself would make more sense and would also encourage more moderate playing.


I think I have to resurrect this topic :grimacing:

In your opinion, where is the difference between a passion and an addiction?

Can playing 38 games a day for the last year and 49 for the last month (including everything, of course) be considered “healthy”? (don’t be afraid to offend me!)

I’m afraid I’ve lost control and that it’s going to get “worse”, but at the same time I can’t really believe it…


Is there something you neglect or “neglect” for all those games? That would be my starting point.


How many years have you been playing that much? Do you feel enough satisfaction when you play? Have you had this kind of passion/addiction for other activities, and for how many years?


I believe the standard clinical answer is when it begins to interfere with living a normal life (i.e., earning a living, paying your bills, meeting personal obligations, etc.), but I am not a doctor.