Confessions of an endorphin junkie
Dopamine and serotonin. Technically, the only two things you enjoy. They’re basically the “happy chemicals”, substances secreted by the human brain that make us feel pleasure.
As drugs go, they’re about as good as it gets; they’re on tap, they’re legal, they won’t give you lung cancer, and depending on what means you use to acquire them, they can be dirt cheap, or even free.
Of course, they’re also addictive as hell. And intentionally so; they’re our brain’s way of rewarding us for “correct” behaviour, like eating and having sex. (“Good boy, here’s your treat!”)
For a long time now, I’ve noticed I’m particularly susceptible to addiction. I’ve teetered on the brink of alcoholism among other things, and as I began deconstructing my thought processes, I realized that I was always looking for or counting down to my next “hit”, be it a cup of coffee, going out drinking, a new video game coming out, or even going on facebook.
It was always about the next glorious, orgasmic rush of dopamine or serotonin. The stretches of sobriety in between were almost painfully boring, spent frittering away the hours. In short, I was basically a law-abiding junkie. Even now that I’m aware of this, living life from one hit to the next is a tough habit to break. I have to remind myself to stop and make the most of the moment, instead of wishing time would hurry up so I can go home and indulge my latest addiction. To resist the urge to count down the days and hours until various milestones.
My brother calls it “wishing your life away”, and he’s right, because that’s the upshot: waking up one day to realize I’m 80 and I spent most of my life impatiently awaiting the next high.
It’s a bit like going surfing; sure, the thrill of catching a wave is awesome, but if that’s all you focus on, you’ll miss out on the simple pleasures of being gently rocked in the cradle of life.