tl;dr: Is it possible to regain access to my recently disabled account with my recovery email address only?
Once again Gmail locked me out from my account on the merit that they detected 'unusual activity'. Since I failed to get information last time on what this 'unusual' activity might exactly be in my case at hand, I'm reluctant to give my phone number again1 for no identifiable apparent reason (other than the speculative possibility that Google may want to be updated on my phone number by scaring me).
However there doesn't seem to be any option that actually works2. I describe what I've explored here. After some time, my personal opinion that this UI is a crafted dark pattern, and I don't know whether the recovery email way even works. Is it possible to reactivate with my recovery email address only?
The web page that requests for my number says,
To immediately restore access to your account, which suggests that perhaps there is an other way to restore access to my account; however if there is, it is very-very far from obvious, as the page doesn't list any options that doesn't involve my phone:
The page leads to https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/181513?hl=en that links to the forgot password page, currently: https://www.google.com/accounts/ForgotPasswd?fpOnly=1
However if I follow the link they ask whether I've forgot my username, my password, or other. "Other" is what applies what leads me to this page:
I have a recovery email address set and I can't understand why cannot I use it. On their help pages they insist that I will be able to recover my account with my recovery email address, for example here:
The only way I managed to get to a place where I can even give my recovery email for recovery is if I tell the form that I don't remember my username. But even then, it simply doesn't work: I enter my recovery address and a captcha, but google keeps telling me that I "may have added this [...] when [I] signed up", guess this may have something to do with that my recovery address is also a gmail address (was not a very wise idea, it seems, eh?).
At first I've thought that I mistyped the capcha, but after doing more than ten recognition cycle still didn't get through. I'm sure I got the captcha right more than once.
I didn't explore all the options though. For example the first recommendation is to reset my password from a device I recently used to sign in, with options 'continue' and 'cancel'. I didn't use a device other than this computer recently to sign in so I've clicked 'cancel', I wonder what they mean by 'device' and what would happen if I clicked 'continue'.
Well, I don't really want to reset my password anyway, I just want my account re-enabled. But if it takes to reset my password, I may do it. However, I can't see why should I add my phone number, when I have a recovery email set. The help clearly suggests that a recovery email provides me enough security to recover my account. But this doesn't seem to be the case. Also the page that requests my phone number says that it needs it in order to 'immediately' restore my account, suggesting that there are perhaps ways to 'not immediately but eventually' restore my account.
What to do to recover access to my account without providing my phone number? Is it even possible?
(1): I've already gave my phone address twice. You see, my phone number is not exactly a secret. On the other hand, I can't see why should I provide it when I also have a recovery email address set. I think Google demands too much and I don't like it because they don't play honest: the way they formulate their help text suggests that I can recover my account with a recovery address set.
(2): The non-phone options are already well hidden, although they're visible enough for plausible deniability for a claim such us 'they are not providing alternate options'.