Why did I start doing Dopamine detox?
Recovering my dopamine sensitivity has been one of the most life-transforming things I have done so far. Let’s start by clarifying that doing a 24-hour dopamine fast is useless, so don’t even bother. If you’re serious about recovering your dopamine sensitivity, then you need to play the long-term game. So a couple of years ago, I was addicted to impulsive pleasure. Every single day, I was eating junk food, watching porn, playing video games, browsing social media, and the list goes on and on. Even though these things were fun, in the long run, they ended up controlling me, the more I used them, the less I was able to function without them. As the years went by, I hit rock bottom, my consumption of junk food led me to weigh 206 pounds, and 180.
I was not obese. But every time I saw myself in the mirror, my mind was raised with disgusting thoughts about myself. I was also constantly watching porn. through multiple years, there was not a single day that I went without it. I justified my compulsive use of it with the fact that every guy seemed to do this same thing. Unfortunately, this habit led me to be full of shame and to have very few intimate experiences with the women I liked. If this was not enough, I was drinking alcohol and smoking every weekend, they can go over squared the worst, it took me half a day to recover from them. As the years went by, it was evident that I needed to do something about these compulsive behaviors, I no longer felt in control of myself.
I felt as if some mysterious dark forces were controlling me, I felt like a puppet, I couldn’t walk near a beautiful girl because I would almost wrack my neck just to check her out, I couldn’t walk by a fast food restaurant because I would buy food and then feel terrible for eating it, I knew that if I kept satisfying my impulsive desires, my future would end up being very dark, I don’t want you to suffer aside from that. And that’s why I will share with you my journey of how I experienced all the benefits of removing the highest dopamine-producing substances to hopefully inspire and motivate you to take on your dopamine detox journey.
The first month:
My journey began by quitting the most harmful substances that I was addicted to. In my case, these were porn, alcohol, video games, junk food, social media, and cigarettes. The first week of my dopamine detox was very hard. I remembered not being able to focus at work. Every couple of minutes, I was constantly interrupted by thoughts like I want potato chips, or I would love to play Call of Duty.
This made focusing on my work so hard that even my boss noticed that my work was not as good as before. It was a constant battle between the work I needed to finish and the cravings my brain needed to satisfy. If that was not enough, I was also experiencing intense mood swings. In just a couple of minutes, I went from being happy to being irritated to the smallest things that caused me to go ballistic. Even someone clearing their throat next to me was enough to make me angry. I also remember feeling extremely nervous. If someone at work didn’t reply to my emails as fast as I wanted, I started to feel very anxious.
My patience was severely diminished. during that first week, I was plagued with brain fog because everything took my focus away from where it should have been. From cravings to emotional outbursts. It was very difficult to focus on the task at hand, a couple of days later, around days 15 to 30 the withdrawal effects start to change. One day, I remember being home alone, which was a big trigger for me to indulge in all the substances I had decided to quit. But this time, something very different happened.
I was sitting in the living room watching a movie and all this uncomfortable feeling started to bubble up. I clearly remembered three types of buildings. The first one was a shame. I felt bad about myself for having caused so much damage to my body and mind. junk food, alcohol, and cigarettes had poisoned my body. Born and social media had poisoned my mind. The second feeling was regret. I felt disappointed because this addiction had created a lot of problems that could have easily been avoided.
The third building was sadness. I didn’t want to feel this way forever. And I didn’t know if the damage could be repaired. I felt desperate because even though almost a month had passed, I still felt intense cravings and there were so many negative emotions that I started to feel overwhelmed. One day trying to find an explanation for these negative emotions, I discovered the concept of neuroplasticity. In short, neuroplasticity is the brain’s natural ability to change and adapt according to its environment and to the stimuli, it’s subjected to, for the brain changes and uncomfortable process. It’s just the way it is.
During the last month, I had completely altered the environment and stimuli my brain was used to because I had removed the substances it like the most. This blows neuroplasticity explained why I felt so many withdrawal effects and uncomfortable emotions. All of these effects were normal. It was the process my brain was undergoing to restore to normal. neuroplasticity helped me understand that I didn’t need to fear the withdrawal effects because they would pass once my brain went back to normal.
The second month:
Let’s move on to the second month of my dopamine detox journey. One day, I went to an Italian restaurant with my friends. for everyone. It was business as usual. But for me, something seemed very different. First, I remember feeling a deep sense of gratitude and joy for having the opportunity to enjoy a meal with my old friends. The food also tasted extremely delicious compared to the previous time I went to that restaurant. I also left more intensely and I felt more connected with my body.
The best way to describe this whole dinner was as if I felt full of joy. Also, during the second month, intense cravings start to fade away. This can be best described as if I finally broke free from the strings that made me feel like a puppet. Even though I still crave junk food, social media, and so on. These were minor cravings that could easily be ignored. One day I went to the gym at night. My usual routine was around one hour in Glen, but this time, I felt that I could go for more time, so I trained for 30 more minutes. This was unusual. But the thing is that I had the same experience every time I went to the gym. It was evident to me that in the second month, you get more energy and motivation to do your everyday activities.
I decided to take advantage of this energy to take care of my brain and repair it. I wanted to compensate for all the prying I did to my brain with so much dopamine during so many years. The way I did this was by practicing healthy hobbies like exercising, cooking, and playing board games with my friends and family. The last one was gratifying and made me feel at peace and full of joy.
90 days of dopamine detox:
Let’s move on to the third month of my dopamine detox journey. This is the time when the benefits stabilized and your experience of life changes. One time I was having breakfast with my family, I became aware of all the available delicious food. I felt happy just for being able to enjoy good food with my family. Seeing how my sister laughed at my jokes was very satisfying. Seeing how my dog back for food made me feel so fortunate to have him in my life. If you think about it, these things are everyday experiences that happened to most of us.
The problem is that when you’re addicted to impulsive pleasure, you become blind to them. On the other hand, when your dopamine sensitivity is healthy, you see everything in life in a different way. You feel more motivated to pursue your goals, You feel more connected to others, you feel more energized, You feel grateful for the small things in life and you experience more positive emotions in my case, sensitizing my brain again to dopamine has created a lasting sense of peace because I’m no longer desperately seeking impulsive pleasure. I feel complete because I need an external substance like porn, social media likes, or junk food to feel good. I also experienced more joy and happiness because everything in life feels better.
What did I learn in this journey?
There are three very important lessons that I learned from this experience and I want to share them with you. The first one is that impulsive pleasure can easily turn into a full-blown addiction which will then lead to suffering. The second one is that happiness should not be the main goal in life because it’s momentary it comes and goes. Instead, a better goal is peace and tranquility.
A better goal is to enjoy being the way you are without any external stimulation to feel happy with yourself. The third is that a dopamine detox is not something you do for one day. Countless self-help gurus say that during a 24-hour dopamine fast changes their life. It’s all nonsense. Just as an injured ankle won’t heal in 24 hours and an injured dopamine circuit won’t heal in the same amount of time.
A dopamine detox is more like a way of living. It’s about respecting yourself and your brain so you don’t pry it with dopamine because you’re addicted to impulsive pleasure. The easiest way to do a dopamine detox is to properly understand what drives compulsive behavior.