Dopamine dependency is crippling you.
You may already be aware that cheap pleasure and fast rewards has done long-term damage to your brain.
You may already notice that your abilities to focus, feel present, or feel as happy naturally as you once did is severely limited.
You may be curious what dopamine dependence is, which is why you clicked on this article.
Well, if the previous sentence resonated with you….
If you do find that life just seems all around dull, or maybe can’t seem to look forward to anything other than getting home and jerking off/smoking weed/ having a drink….
You have a dopamine dependency issue.
It might be consulation to you that.... most people do.
Most people have artificial pleasures they more or less rely on in order to function.
They’re simply not aware of it.
The point of this article is to give YOU an ADVANTAGE in building the life of your dreams.
You have already experienced the awakening of your awareness...
And if you believe that's not the case, we'll have you fully believing by the end of this article.We're going to help you identify the artificial pleasure you're addicted to, and release from it so you can live a life where you have 100% control over how you think/feel/and act.
Now you may already be well aware of dopamine dependency, and you may have spent significant periods of time working on dismantling your addicitons or unconscious habits.
If that's the case then GOOD FOR YOU!!!! The systems and strategies we're going to talk about will serve you powerfully.
Dopamine dependency, also sometimes referred to as dopamine addiction, could be defined as a hijacking of the brain's reward system. One who has a dopamine addiction is essentially prevented from pursuing long-term success or appreciating current experiences.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the reward and pleasure centers of the brain. It reinforces behaviors that make us feel good, whether they're really "good" behaviors or not.
If we want to beat dopamine addiciton, we need to master the way our brain expriences accomplishment.
The term "dopamine dependency" refers to a situation where a person has become accustomed to high levels of dopamine release in response to certain behaviors or stimuli. The person will seek out these behaviors or stimuli more frequently or in greater quantities to achieve the same level of satisfaction or pleasure. This behaviour will become a priority, often causing important areas of a persons life (think relationships or their career) to be neglected in a way that seems unexplainable to the outside world.
All of this sounds extreme if you haven't been through it, and it sounds like experiences that would only happen to people with major alcohol or narcotic abuse issues. In fact, even the common screen or social media addiction can lead a person to lose touch with the best potential version of themselves.
Before we go any further, I'd like to add a disclaimer: Addiction involves a complex interplay of various brain chemicals and factors beyond just dopamine.
Dopamine plays a critical role, but it's not the sole factor in addiction or compulsive behaviors. While I would suggest seeking a professional in your particular field of addiction if you believe your illness is indeed an illness and is more severe than you believe you're cabable of dealing with yourself.
NIH Reference article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2948245/
No matter who you are, I hope this article gives you the tools you need to dismantle this thing and live the life of your dreams.
The first step is awareness.
Dr. Jud Brewer did a podcast with Rich Roll in which they discuss methods for overcoming addiction. Brewer explains that in his practice for helping addicts overcome their addiction to cigarettes...
What we're doing in this step is simple: observe.
Watch yourself go through the routine.
- What are you thinking?
- How does your body feel?
In the short term, you may notice usually ill-considered physical pain.
You may notice complacency from people you love or you may have to come to terms with the inner-voices pleading with you to stop.
Over the long term, a forced-awarness will make mindless indulgence more painful than pleasurable...
And combined with following measures we'll discuss, you will defeat your dependence on your particular vices all together.
(Reference article: The 12 Steps of Addicts Anonymous. Understanding these 12 steps is an epic step toward full-fledged recovery).
Overcoming Dopamine Addiction.
We're going to rank the solutions to dopamine dependency by intensity and efficacy.
This ranking will relate "difficulty" more with how far along in the process of self-betterment it's going to be required.
For example, something like cold showering is a short-term solution which will hold some long-term benefits if it's done consistently, however will not in and of itself beat a serious addiction.
Something like explaining the shame and guilt to a family member may be an integral step to overcoming your addiciton, but without fully accepting yourself as an addict or someone struggling... this may feel like an exesssive shock to your ego.
So we’ve acknowledged that we have specific habits that are holding us back.
We have started to increase our “mindfulness “ or conscious awareness, and specifically regarding our habits.
>Now, we need to understand what this timeline is going to look like.
There are infinite ways to do this. I’m going to present this as a sort of “working your way up” method, however we’ve all heard of the cold-turkey-fully-fledged transformation that a person can experience over night. With enough will power(or enough trauma, which tends to be the only catalyst that actually works for this method), it is possible.
However waiting until your life is in shambles isn’t ideal, nor is it necessary.
The first stage of commitment will usually look like a commitment to compartmentalization of your "bad" habits.
If you know your morning social media scrolling is harming your mood, and that's one of your most obvios drawbacks or pains from the bad habit.... you simply make the commitment to stop scrolling in the morning.
If you know you're almost certainly going to drink a few beers before you go to sleep.... and it's leading to a general sense of grogginess.... you make the commitment to just have one beer, or stop drinking late at night all together.
One of these is certainly harder than the other.
You have more willpower at the beginning of the day when your potential energy is at it's highest. Quitting your evening beer will be harder because at the end of the day... you just don't have as much energy. It's also a chemical compound with a much higher addiction potential.
Still, the example stands. You compartmentalize. You cut back.
We're just doing damage control here. This way you can still let yourself partake in your vices. The 1st step of AA being "admit you have a problem" doesn't have to fully do battle with your ego.
Still, this isn't easy. You will have to realize that any step made without a genuine commitment isn't going to payoff any more than lip-service.
The next stage of action is substitution.
Your brain will not allow you to NOT fill the space.... and so consious forward thinking is going to be integral.
- Who do you want to be?
- What is that version of you doing in the time that the current version of you is mindlessly indulging?
Side Note- A great mentor(who I hope to one-day know personally :) Dan Koe claims that in order to know where you want to go... you have to know exactly where you DON'T want to go. This could be refered to as an anti-vision.
Ask yourself- What would be the absolute WORST CASE scenario that could happen to me in the next 6 to 9 months? What am I doing in my life right now that's contributing to that worst-case?
We're going to find that the best version of ourselves is living differently in almost every way. From the notorious morning and evening routine adjustment, down to the basic interactions with our loved one's and house-mates.
Start in accordance with your new-found passion for transformation, and build a schedule. You may follow the ideal-schedule the first time, you may not!
But, if you make a schedule for the day that would be deeply fulfilling, you're much more likely to gravitate toward it anyway. This is why lifestyle design can be so powerful right out of the gate for some people.
Most of us aren't used to being clear with what we want. Addiciton is often a symptom of powerlessness. We find escape in areas where we have know we can give ourselves unlimited comfort.
When we allow ourselves to be unburdened by percieved limitation... totally confident in what we want....
Life can transform in a heartbeat.
One of the best journaling practices you can invest in is imaginal scripting. Save your preconceptions for a convesation about the nature of reality.
Right now, we're just practicing giving ourselves permission. I've said it already in this article.
Just schedule out your day as though you're no longer addicted to cheap dopamine. Now you workout the way you want to. You're focused working on your passion projects, just the way you want to. You don't fudge around and bullshit your spouse... you plan dates and make time for them, the way you WANT TO.
You make time on the calendar as though it's going to happen. When your commitment is consistent, IT IS happening.
Limiting exposure is usually going to be a critical in overcoming dopamine addiction, especially when the addiction is linked to specific activities or environments that trigger your automatic-need response.
Over time, you will weaken the neural pathways associated with the addiction, making it easier to resist urges.
Stress management will be even more of a necessity. A high-energy positive attitude lends almost complete control over one's mood/responses. Without addressing the common root causes of dopamine-seeking, high levels of stress will push individuals towards quick dopamine-driven behaviors like clockwork.
To counter this, effective stress management is crucial.
You could look at this almost as a call to shadow work. In the short term, you're managing your stress by giving yourself permission to exist and engaging in healthy daily habits.
In the long term, you're dismantling your trauma-induced triggers and seeking forgiveness from everyone you've failed because of your addiction.
Sounds like another deep dive, huh? If you'd like to learn about the intricacies of shadow work, drop a comment or consider scheduling a session with one of our coaches(totally free).
Check out the video version of this article: