Addicting yourself to something on purpose?

I have a pattern where I get addicted to almost anything for some reason.

Most of my life, this was programming. I was spending tons of hours on it, to the point of it harming myself (sleep, studies, socially… general ignorance of basic human maintenance tasks).

One day, I’ve decided that it’s bad for me, so I slowed down!
(it proved useful to me now, since it became my job – thanks addiction!)

The problem is that I always become addicted to something else and it clashes with my other intentions which gets pushed to the background (working on a given programming project, finishing this DIY craft project, reading a book).

Recently, I’ve been addicted to anime, which is one of the worst addictions I had. I only had to launch an app on my phone and could get transported to another dimension, which feels nice while you’re in it, but when you get outside and have lost 4 hours and feel super bad, it’s not cool.

Here are some weird addictions I had:

  • Reddit
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Wikipedia
  • Silly online games
  • Reading books
  • Generally, surfing online until I get trapped on a website?
  • Helping people out on a Discord server
  • Making YouTube videos
  • Watching TV

(I saved myself from TikTok because I knew myself well enough)

It looks like I only have one thing in my mind that I’ve decided that I’ll do in a default state.

I wonder if it’s possible to overwrite this default?
Right now I’m still on “anime” mode even though I uninstalled the app, and I naturally get redirected to “making music” because I have a guitar in my room. I literally crave for anime right now though :joy:

What if I started making my default state “working on project XYZ”?
Can I overwrite the default for, let’s say, one week?

Has anyone else else here has similar tendencies and has found techniques/solutions?

Maybe it relates a bit to Autistic Inertia


Hello guys,

I’ve made a lot of progress on this issue, mostly thanks to @malcolm’s post on partworks.

What’s partswork?

Here are some excerpts to understand what I’m about to say:

  1. What is even partswork? In short, it’s a model where you split yourself into multiple parts.

“Partswork” (usually “parts work” but it’s on its way to being one word like “cupboard”) is sort of a catch-all term for therapeutic or introspection approaches that involve orienting to yourself as having different parts, that have different desires, wants, needs, beliefs, experiences, perspectives, etc.

  1. How can it be used to solve internal conflicts? In short: dig into root causes and find innovative solutions to satisfy all constraints.

PCT says that in order to solve conflicts, the solution is to direct attention to a level or two above the level where the conflict is showing up, to a level where something more abstract is wanted that isn’t necessarily in conflict. For instance, a person who is late driving somewhere has two high-level goals (“friends not mad at me”, “don’t get a speeding ticket”) which each create a medium-level goal (“don’t be late”, “don’t speed”) which produces two conflicting speeds (“140km/h”, “100km/h”). Unless they deal with the conflict, at the low level they’ll end up either compromising, maybe at 120km/h, or they’ll oscillate. Given that they didn’t leave themselves enough time, they can’t achieve both of “don’t be late” and “don’t speed”. But one level further, it’s possible to achieve both “friends not mad at me” and “don’t get a speeding ticket”. They could call the friends to give them a heads-up. They could buy everyone dinner as an apology. Or they could outrun any cops, or talk their way out of a speeding ticket. Maybe. Some options are better than others! But you can’t even choose while each part is trying to get its own way while disregarding the other parts.

Sorry for the super-long copy-paste :slight_smile:

My own personal hell

I’ve been trying to apply partswork to myself for the past couple days. When I get stuck, I take a few minutes to jot down on a stick-note what’s going on in my mind’s parts.

I’ve done it 3 times, and every time, I get stuck on the same stuff… Which I summed up in this diagram:

On the back of the note, I write down the activities that I should do that would satisfy most of the constraints.

However, this process is quite consuming, mentally…

Let’s short-circuit it!

Now, I can easily detect when my mind gets stuck in this mode.

I usually start wandering around the house, saying to myself “I want to watch anime/ eat this stuff but I should really work”. (thankfully, there are fruits in the house and I have no weight problem, but I 1000% understand people who struggle with compulsive eating…)

So, what if I just picked a default action to do when I enter this mode? I believe that addiction might’ve been the wrong term to sum up my current problem. (in the past, I’ve been an addict to programming 100%, though :slight_smile:).

It’s more like a deadlock problem, which happens in computer software when the logic (my brains!) is not super well made and two programs are trying to use the same resource (my body!). The code is blocked and nothing can move, and time is wasted.

Key concept definition: what’s a default mode?

I call a default mode an automated response to a conflicting state. A conflicting state is when I get stuck with conflicting feelings like in the diagram above. I only observed the work X pleasure conflict, but I believe that I also got the plan work X plan to see friends conflict and tons of others I don’t really understand yet…

Ruminating on them won’t help unless I really take a few step backs.

Two possibilities:

  1. Either I get good at drawing the diagram in my head + finding a solution + being decisive about the solution that I pick
  2. Or I plan default actions that I apply when I “feel” that I got into a specific conflicting state

So that’s what a default mode is!

conflict default mode
work X eat chocolate endlessly prefer work until target hours or outcome has been reached
work X see friends prefer see friends unless work is lacking OR it’s going to be a bad event due to weather or other interferences

Planning my “default mode”

Due to deadline, tomorrow, my default mode will be “work on ScrapingBee until I’ve either finished the project or worked 3 hours for the company”

Here is another resolution that works quite well and that is in accordance with my goals: “making music on my computer” or “making music on my guitar”

Your thoughts?

@narthur, my fellow ADHD twin, does this situation happen to you?

@malcolm huge shoutout to you, your blog post and Complice for allowing me to fix this kind of stuff on my own

And everyone else reading this; your thoughts and hearts are much appreciated!


New developments!

Today at the beginning of the day, I was near “deadlock” mode, but I was leaning pretty heavily to the “watch anime” side. I’ve decided to do it with reason; there’s no need to fight if there is no deadlock (e.g. my mind’s metrics are saying that this is fine).

Later in the day, I was in the same state but slightly leaning towards working, so I did.

I did not really hit a deadlock this day yet. I’ve felt it, but very subtly and since I was a bit more aware of my feelings, I could make the right decisions. I’m super proud of myself!

Maybe all of this is sort of a clock between wake-sleep cycle but in the day; ultradian cycles. Maybe for me they have a weird length? I cannot say for sure. In any case, I enjoyed leasure activities as much as working since I was more committed to them.

a new model

  1. The mind presents possible choices with their “compatibility percentage” with the current state
  2. The self has to choose the best action. Sometimes it has to contradict feelings, but doing this multiple time will confuse the mind’s metrics and make it harder to work