A personal evaluation of addiction

I’m not especially fond of addiction. I try to keep my life as much as I can under my control. Throughout my experiences I tested my cognitive abilities and physical abilities every day. It seemed though that no addiction had any meaningful impact on my abilities and functioning. I’ve held high paid positions being considered a very skilful and well-performing asset. I have consistently scored among the top 99% in both IQ, math and language tests. I do have some personal subjective reflections on my abilities, but those I’ll describe in detail below. Alcohol is not on the list below because I simply consider it to damaging too play around with.

Addiction and impact

Sugar

When I eat candy or drink sodas I get a very immediate need for more. If I keep consuming it for longer periods it leaves me feeling tired and bad-tempered when I don't get it. If I eat 100 grammes of candy and drink one can of soda every day for a week the addiction becomes very tangible. It feels like the longer the period of habituation to the use, the longer the addiction lasts. For me it took me six days to get back to not having a craving for the sweets. I didn’t break my streak.

The impact on my daily life was profound. My body felt bloated and I just felt a bit sick. My mood would swing up and down and I didn’t feel psychologically balanced. I would say that my social life suffered from this, in that I would act less consistent and edgy.

My thoughts on sugar is that it should be kept off the shelves, and especially removed from children. Obviously our bodies need energy, and it’s used for cooking. But I think the candy type sugar should just plainly be avoided. To me it is an addictive poison, nothing else.

Nicotine

After smoking a cigarette my need for another becomes apparent after around an hour. The craving can become almost unbearable, and I’m unsure whether the immediate craving when I smell cigarette smoke will ever fully die away. I consider it extremely addictive, and while I have only barely scratched addiction I don’t dare to go any further. I consider the time to get out of nicotine addiction to be longer than I’m willing to experiment with.

The impact on my life is weird. Smoking is a social habit, so smoking with others is socially enabling, but I also felt that the unease and edginess would hold me back from having longer calm conversations with people. I would feel it was hard to bear a social pressure, without clearing my head with nicotine. Nicotine makes everything feel likes it’s ok, even when it’s not. This I consider to be extremely dangerous in terms of social interaction.

I see no reason nicotine should even be legal. It’s an insanely powerful drug, and it’s been improved heavily over the years. My recommendation is that you don’t even try it.

Masturbation

Once done leaves me with a feeling of not having any will to do it again (unlike sex which feels the opposite). My need to do it again rises quickly, and after about an hour it can become very physically expressed. If I do it systematically for three times a day for a week, and then stop it becomes almost unbearable, to a point where I break many times even though I’m trying to understand and see the addiction for what it is. Getting out of addiction took me six months, this just after doing it three times a day for a week. I could maybe do it in two, but I feel back into the habit and broke my streak. Once free of the addiction there is still a will to sex.

This had the greatest impact on my social life. Mainly because I didn’t take my own sexuality seriously. I sort of knew that I could just handle it myself, so meeting others sexually could now be considered a bit of a “better version of masturbation”, something akin to going out to eat instead of eating at home. I think this lessened my appreciation of sex in general immensely and so caused me to enjoy less of it, and less frequently. I also feel like I lost an edge or a “pride” in myself when being addicted to masturbation. I felt like I wasn’t the master of my own sexuality, but rather its slave. I mostly see the change coming out on the other side, and seeing myself in this light.

My thoughts are that it is very much up to the individual. I have a bit of a gender-bias here and I think men should be more holding back in order to not fall into an addiction pattern. If you can manage doing it once a week, this is probably even healthy, but I think it would be smarter to just enjoy good sex a few times a week instead (but I understand this is not an option for everyone).

Porn

This is a sort of gateway drug to masturbation I believe, for most they are almost synonymous. I believe the tug at simply “watching sex” comes from the feedback from masturbation. After a while the sensation of orgasm becomes linked to visually looking at images or videos. Also I believe there is a case of overstimulation. My addiction to porn was as strong as that to masturbation, but only in the sense that the porn addiction builds on that of masturbation. Porn sort of kicks masturbation into another gear and makes it much more powerful and addictive.

The impact of this is strange, because it forces you to go and hide with porn. A lot of indirect shame is still around porn. And maybe for good reasons. Porn is generally a pretty abusive industry, and while some are probably happy merry porn stars I think my general use of porn wasn’t very discerning. Most probably didn’t really like what they were doing to please my personal need. There is a very direct shame linked to that, and it just feels weird to be yanking at my penis to some eastern europeans looking pretty weird and unnatural. It made me forget how important touch is in sex. So yeah, having to go hide in your room or wait till your alone had a huge impact socially and generally on my efficiency at getting all my stuff done.

My thoughts are that you should not begin. Don’t even try it. Chances are that you already have though, well then just try and see if you can stop. If you can’t, then you can make up your mind about how you feel about that. And please have a thought about the industry you’re supporting.

Marijuana

Light psychological addiction in the sense that I would find myself doing it again because I wanted to. After fourteen days of daily use (two times a day) I was able to stop for half a year without trouble. Around two days after stopping I felt grumpy, but that only lasted for a day. If anything stopping felt artificial because I didn’t consider it addictive, but I had to prove my point. I don’t consider marijuana especially addictive.

There is a social stigma around marijuana, so that occasionally hit me. But there is also a certain social “in-club” around marijuana. I found that many of the most well-performing, socially and cognitively intelligent people I knew wasn’t averse to smoking marijuana. The impact on my life was generally positive, giving some pretty intense sensual experiences. I’ve taken care never to smoke marijuana to “solve problems” as this may be a pitfall. I’ve generally felt that it has improved upon some experiences and sometimes detracted from others.

My thoughts are that you should not do it if you think it’ll help you. Marijuana should be seen a recreational (or medicinal in the non-euphoric way). If the euphoria of marijuana is used to escape daily life and problems I think it may turn into a problem. With that said I don’t think it’s likely to become a serious problem. I would suggest young people wait till their at least 25 to try it, and try it with someone you know well. I would also seriously recommend the experience of growing it yourself.

Mushrooms

I felt no addiction at all. While it is a profound experience, I’m baffled as to why anyone would consider it addictive. I’ve done it twice, and this alone sends a message. I simply didn’t feel like doing it again immediately and to do it I would need to feel personally inclined to. I would consider it a drug almost impossible to get addicted to.

The impact on my life has been fairly radical. It has lead to seeing the world in a slightly different light, and I consider myself a happier and more caring person as a result of this. I don’t think anyone will have the same experience, and you shouldn’t take my word for it. It is however the one thing I would recommend the most, not that I think everyone should bumble around on mushrooms all the time, but I think that it is good to try it just once in your life.

My thoughts are that mushrooms are not for everyone. Only try it if you have the ability to “feel good at will”, the better you are at feeling good - and see this as an “wilful act” the better mushrooms will be. If you’re scared that you’ll be hallucinating about big spiders crawling over you then I think that’s more of a superstition than something based on fact. If you are a person who can get trapped in a psychological downward spiral and not able to break it yourself - do NOT try mushrooms. This would lead to a very bad and inescapable experience. Also, try it the first time with someone you know and trust.