Clean Dopamine – Part 2: Realization yes, Action no
Several days have passed now since I realized that I have a few addictions. But the first thing I noticed thereafter, was that I hardly did anything against it. Cheerful with this realization, I leaned back on my couch and continued to binge on the harmful stuff while watching videos. Remaining on this track, obviously will lead to nothing good, but where do I want to get and how do I get there?
Identify the addiction exactly
Before I’m going to start, I need to know what I have. OK, in the last part I already had the realization that it is addictions. But which ones exactly and what even is an addiction?
Some people say, “You can get addicted to anything” or “There are so many things available that could harm me. I don´t even have the time to find out what is good and what not”, and thus justify their consumption of things that are bad for them. I learned, however, that just one simple sentence alone, be it a lie or not, could make me go astray. Because of that, from now on, I will pay attention to not let such sentences manipulate me.
It is an addiction, if you act or consume although you harm yourself doing it. And often it is the case that you are aware of the harmful effect, yet consume or act to get a certain feeling of happiness. An addict often is in denial of the harmful effect or trivializes it. A reliable test for addiction is to refrain from a certain act or consumption for 24 hours. If you find this hard to do, or even have withdrawal symptoms, you are addicted.
When I put in a blackout day, completely eschewing modern technology (apart from preparing meals), I noticed very quickly that I don´t know what to do with my time. I wanted to follow my habit of watching at least one video on my favorite channels during breakfast. But on that day, I could not and I felt uncomfortable with just eating and looking out of the window or keeping myself busy else.
Of course, this is a sign for an addiction. But which one is it? Media addiction includes several kinds of addiction such as TV, computer, smartphone, video games, online, social media, and even porn addiction.
In my case, when I am eating, I need entertainment as well. So, during the meals I am watching internet videos or some series all the time and it is no rare occurrence that I watch more than just one episode. I do not have a TV subscription yet count it as TV addiction, as it basically is the same thing, just that I choose myself, what I´m watching and I´m not bound to certain times of day.
Privately, I don´t do social media platforms, as I consider those as the biggest waste of time in the modern age. I just have a widespread chat app on my smartphone which I use for two reasons. 1. When I get a woman’s number, I only get into the habit of regular contact if I text her instead of calling. 2. Many of my friends prefer using this one app to using email. Also, I turn my smartphone’s mobile internet/WLAN off often, as the constant vibrating and beeping gets on my nerves and I only would get distracted if I had to react to every sound. Sometimes, my smartphone reminds me of a Tamagotchi. Back then, people stared at that thing day and night and pushed buttons, just because it had made a beep. Having to be online all the time and to react to everything right away can´t be healthy for the human mind. You cannot relax and you stress yourself out. Unfortunately, though, people have arrived at the point where they demand this. One time, someone had started to worry about me, because I had not replied within a few minutes. So, I can say with certainty that I do not have the following addictions: smartphone, online, and social media addiction. As I hardly ever play video games, I do not have a video game addiction either.
But of course, there are also addictions that have nothing to do with electronics. Very common are alcohol, nicotine and caffeine addiction but as well diverse eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
For me, very evidently it is the consumption of sweets, especially chocolate. One bar of chocolate per evening, no problem for me, even if I already ate umpteen candy bars. At times, chips and other unhealthy foods even replaced whole meals. My issue, though, definitely, is sugar. The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends a maximum intake of 25g of sugar per day. Eating a single peanut chocolate candy bar is enough for that already. I exceed this by far. I always have large supplies of different candy bars, bars of chocolate, cookies, gummy bears, etc. in my cupboard, and I am grabbing so many sweets already in passing that I am over those 25g several times now and again. When I began to look up how much sugar the sweets actually contain and how much sugar you should consume per day, I got sick to my stomach.
But this is not the only reason to curb the consumption of sugar. I have to admit that I am fat and potentially am causing serious and maybe significant harm to my body with unhealthy food.
It is time for me to pull the emergency brake and finish off the TV and food addiction. In a radical way, at that, by going cold turkey and some hard punishment if I won´t stick it out.