Your Drug of Choice

Written by: Jorinde Berben
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Everyone has a drug of choice. Everyone. Yes, you too. And, oh hell yes, me third.

What do drugs do? I’m not a medical doctor, but I’ve come to understand that they are foremost a way to avoid bad feelings. Using drugs is an escape route from feeling crappy and toward feeling good (three hurrays for dopamine) and thus drugs are the RESULT of a problem, not merely a problem in themselves.

What we use as a drug differs wildly from person to person. We usually think of chemical hard drugs such as cocaine or heroine, or might think of alcohol, nicotine or caffeine. These all have direct effects on our brain.

But most of us are also only too aware of the addictions we might have to our smartphones, games, food, social media, etc. The effects on the brain or very similar to the chemical stuff. I’m very partial to Youtube and sometimes Netflix, myself. And if there’s an open bag of potato chips in the house, it won’t make it ’till the next day.

How do you find out what your drug of choice is?
Well, it’s often something you do without planning to. And you often spend more time doing it than you wish.
Still no clue?
Try to imagine a friend just told you that what you did yesterday was really hurtful and that she’s coming over to your house tonight to talk it over. You feel uneasy about this, unsure about what’s going to happen, a little stressed for sure. What’s the activity you’d pick before she gets to your place to growl in your general direction?
Would you pour that glass of wine? Watch a video for distraction? Check instagram to see if other people still like you?

Why would you want to know this about yourself? Is it that bad that we have something to cheer us up when we feel bad?
No, of course not. I don’t advocate misery for all, but… we often engage in these behaviours without realising it. We do it, without consciously being aware of why we feel bad, what we are running away from. And there’s a lot of useful information to be had there.

I’ve struggled with intimacy for a long time, and when people get too close to me, I often find myself withdrawing and wasting entire days on bingewatching shows. Moreover, those feelings of uneasiness don’t just disappear either. They just go a little deeper in your psyche and mix with all the other anger, sadness, fear that’s there until they join forces and attack when it’s least convenient for you.

So, next time you do that thing you do…. try to ask yourself: What feeling am I running away from here? Why am I feeling it? Can I allow myself to go through it just in this moment?
And perhaps that drug will have lost it’s hold for just a moment.

The video below is an interesting view on how dopamine-high activities screw up our brains. There’s no irony whatsoever to be found in the fact that this happens to be my drug of choice as well.

10 thoughts on “Your Drug of Choice

  1. I LOVE this post. I have plenty of high-dopamine addictions, including games and sweets. To a certain extent I already apply the strategy explained to reward chores and work with time for games at night, but I love the idea of detox days.


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