I am an addict [And so are you]

Preliminary reading: Expecting Unhappiness

While I was doing my Venn Diagrams for my article about expectations, I did a set on addiction. At some point, I realized that I’ve always been an addict. 

Addict (noun) – someone that looks forward to something with expectation. That would make the opposite of addiction being fully present. Habit becomes addiction when hope becomes expectation.

I’ve been addicted to

  • fitness
  • caffeine
  • learning
  • sex
  • porn
  • food
  • social media
  • writing
  • gambling
  • fear
  • work
  • money

The tricky part is that most of these things by themselves are not inherently bad. They become bad when I start thinking about them instead of the present moment. Eating a hamburger isn’t bad, but if I’m thinking about eating hamburgers all day, I have issues.

Working out isn’t a bad thing, but thinking that my reality or happiness depends on my workouts is.

Caffeine is not a bad thing, but thinking that I need it to be myself is.

IMG_6166
If you decide you need something to be happy, you’re right.

Once you start trying incorporate things that can never be a part of you into your character, you begin to need them. To expect them. And when your reality doesn’t include them, you think about the next time that you could have a reality that could. You make plans to achieve that as soon as possible. This mindset is what an addict is. It’s not a chemical need for a drug, it’s the refusal to accept the present moment as being enough. Or refusal to accept yourself in that present moment in your current state. And when the present moment is not enough, you decide what you think would make it enough.

The chemical need comes from perceived mental want. [For more, read the Conservation of Dopamine] When your reality requires a drug, any reality without that drug increases stress. You’re basically comparing who you are right now to who you think you should be. Whether that be working out, writing, eating, or doing drugs, etc.

Suicidal thoughts come when your reality can no longer meet your expectations. Not only that, but you can’t foresee any future realities that meet your expectations. You have no hope. And the opposite of hope is despair.

  • Hope (noun) – belief that there is a chance of a future where your reality is better than now.
  • Actual needs- food, water, shelter, human contact, air, sleep
  • Perceived needs- anything else

Chances are great that you’ve never even been close to needing food or water. The human body can go days without water and over a month without food. People have lived long and healthy lives without working out. Coffee may help you function, but you do not need it to survive.

When we mentally categorize things as needs that are not needs, they become needs. Not because we actually need them, but because when we think we need them to function, we think we’re incomplete without them. We expect them, and thus our reality is incomplete without them.

Another interesting perspective on this is time: Because time does not exist in the brain, there is not a set amount of caffeine, sex, or working out that makes it an addiction. It’s the mindset. For example, if you’re addicted to food and working out, an outsider may not even know anything is wrong with you. Someone would just think you have a fast metabolism because of all the working out that you did.

Remember, we already made the spectacular claim that there is only one brain disease. That gives us the freedom to make some other observations about these addictions.

Addictions are highly correlated with ADD, ADHD, OCD, and many other mental health issues. Now our big leap of logic becomes more of a short step. Let’s define these with our new definition of addiction:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder: looking forward to the next thing
  • Obsession Compulsive Disorder: looking forward to [relative] perfection
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: looking forward to a reality that excludes a past event
  • Anxiety: looking forward to the next potential negative reality
  • Depression: looking forward to despair

So what about the medications that resolve these issues? We’ve discussed it several times in Don’t Trust Your Psychiatrist and Void Avoidance. But the short answer is really at very least, psychiatry has no idea how their drugs work. At worst, they only mask underlying issues. With our brain model, we believe that you have the ability to be happy if you’ve been happy before. With that in mind, and the fact that time doesn’t exist in the brain, the permanent addition of psychiatric drugs is terrifying. It would literally prevent you from becoming who you were designed to be. It would stop you from facing your fears, overcoming your demons, and telling your true story.

Sources:

  1. https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
  2. https://www.dualdiagnosis.org/mental-health-and-addiction/the-connection/