Naval: If you drink alcohol or take some kind of drug regularly, try the following thought experiment.
What events do you most look forward to? I’ll bet they’re the ones where you get to drink or do drugs. You look forward to dinnertime, an upcoming party or bar-hopping with friends.
To see how artificial it is, resolve to abstain from drinking or doing drugs the next time you go out. Now ask yourself how much you’re looking forward to that event. You’ll find: not at all.
This creates a conundrum. These sources of artificial pleasure eventually will desensitize me, bring misery when they’re gone and lead to addiction. But if I give them up, I’ll also be miserable because I’ll no longer socialize with my friends. I won’t go out, and I won’t have fun.
Breaking addiction requires a new lifestyle
Breaking addiction is very hard, because you have to break the physical addiction and you also have to change your lifestyle. You have to switch to a lifestyle in which you can be happy without that substance.
If I drink to be social and do that enough, I’ll find myself hanging out with people I wouldn’t spend time with otherwise. When I’m sober, I can’t tolerate these people, the topics we discuss or the venues we visit. I can only do it drunk.
Addiction holds together fake relationships and fake activities
These fake relationships and fake activities are held together by alcohol. If I stop drinking, I have to replace my friends and find new things to do. This is difficult and socially unacceptable.
I realized a while ago that it’s a problem to look forward to weekends and holidays. First, it takes the joy out of the everyday, because you’re living in the future and suffering the rest of time. Second, you have accepted a way of life in which most of your time is spent suffering.