Dealing with an addictive personality...

This forum is for those of you who are in the middle of or have successfuly beat the addiction. Whether your addiction was gaming, smoking, eating, etc. you are welcome to use this forum to help you get through it or share your story of how you got through it!

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Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby chibichan on Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:36 am

Hi everyone,

After posting in threads over a year old I realized I should probably just start my own. I'm new, and this is my story so far.

The fact I have an addictive personality is not news to me. I've known it since I was in high school, when I got "addicted" to anime and would consistently pull all-nighters to finish series and a torrent was always running on my computer. I also had a partial excuse that it helped me get in touch with my Japanese roots, since I had almost no exposure to asian culture growing up. With excellent bad timing, my boyfriend at the time bought me a six-month subscription to WoW so I could play with him. I had never played a game seriously before in my life, but after playing for a little bit with my bf and his friends, I discovered that if there was any game for me, this was it. After a while, I didn't bother trying to coordinate with my bf, having him "teaching" me all the time was getting annoying and I just wanted to explore on my own... So in addition to anime binges, I frequently spent long hours (and into the night) playing the game. I didn't get far, and I wasn't very good, but this didn't matter to me. It was more about escaping into a fun world of fantasy.

Unfortunately, all this was to the detriment of my schoolwork and it got to the point where my parents banned me from using the internet. Not good, a big red flag. Thinking back, I could easily say that my "obsessions" with fandoms and crushes that predated that were certainly expressions of the same behavioral mode, although until that point they hadn't kept me from keeping up with my responsibilities. Living with parents was not exactly the most fun times, but in retrospect, I am glad they were there at that time. If that had happened a year or two later in college, I would have been a goner for sure. Being banned from the internet (which was flaky anyway), my subscription expiring, troubles with my bf, and the activities of high school students en route to graduation pulled me away from my netherworld... living with parents who expect a certain amount of structure is not conducive to addictive and time-consuming habits.

Fast forward to college. My next major addiction: lust, love, unreasonable attraction... I'm not sure what to call it. I fell and fell hard for a guy I met during my first quarter. It was a very dysfunctional time for me, the lowest point of my self respect. I was addicted to his approval... I needed it, but he treated me like trash. It's a sad place for a girl to be, and my heart goes out to all the girls who have been in similar positions or worse. I did anything to get his attention and approval and made all sorts of excuses to waste time with him, again to the detriment of my other commitments. With the freedom to waste as much time as I wanted, I ended up dropping a class. The angst of my efforts being unreciprocated lasted for a year, during which, for a time, I relapsed and went back to him... but his hurtful behavior pushed me away at last. At least in the process of trying to get over him, I worked extra hard in school to make up for my poor performance.

The next year I made major improvements, falling in with a group of friends who were nearby and very open. I also found a new bf, who was loving and caring, albeit with his own troubles. I learned a lot about trust and being open and honest in my relationships that year, not just with my significant others, but with my friends. I also partied a lot that year, which might not have been so good later on...

Nothing gold can stay, and a good thing doesn't last forever. Things changed and we changed, and I moved one step closer to the real world by moving from the dorms to my apartment. My bf and I started having major problems, there were suspicions and philosophical arguments, I had roommate problems involving him being around too much, we broke up twice almost permanently... all my experience leading to more revelations about what a relationship consists of. (I am going somewhere with this... don't worry...)

The next year and a rocky new start to our relationship began the next fall. For all I knew, things were doomed between us. Another relationship between two of our friends had followed an even rockier path. And it was one of them, in October, who invited us along to our first big rave. We all liked to go out, have fun and dance... that was how we did things, so nothing seemed so extraordinary about this. But that night, and you probably know what I'm going to say next, three out of the four of us tried e for the first time. As many who have rolled before would say, the first time is amazing... the best way to describe it is overwhelming empathy, happiness and honest love for the people you care about. You can imagine what that did for our relationships. (In fact, e was used for couples counseling in the 50's or 60's! It's on wikipedia)

After the rave, everything seemed patched up. We stopped fighting, and started just appreciating each other more. The problem was, it didn't last. And it wasn't so long (a couple months) before I started thinking we were due for another rave... of course I know that doesn't solve anything. But it was just an excuse for me to have that overwhelming experience again. Luckily, I had vowed to myself no more than 4 times a year. Sadly or maybe it was better that way, our relationship did not make it to the next event, a small party. Suffice to say, I revisited the rave scene twice more, even when I really had to push it. It was the concerns voiced by highschool friends and reality imposed by my current bf, that made me realize I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I've since withheld, and I consider myself lucky because I know many people for whom it only got worse.

When I really like something, I tend to overindulge without constraints. The same goes for my most recent relationship. I was attracted to him more completely (and more sanely) than I'd ever been attracted to anyone before. In retrospect, I might have moved too fast. After several months, and partially due to a horrible roommate situation, I essentially moved in with him... Don't get me wrong, everything has been and still is great. But I can't help but worry it's the same mechanism at work and I'm worried from previous experiences about indulging so freely. I don't want to overthink things, but if I can see a problem before it hits, all the better to prevent it.

I know my personality. It's hard sometimes to keep from going down that path of overindulgence. There are many things I can do casually that pose problems for others (for example drinking is not a problem), but certain things I cannot. My aim is to conduct all my recreational activities on that level. Thus certain rules must be kept to keep myself out of harms way - no hardcore habit-forming drugs, no long-term subscriptions to addictive consumer products like WoW. Some knowledge has just come with experience though, like being smarter about who I will devote time and energy to. Looking back on it all, I'm glad to have made it through and learned from it all.

Currently, I'm dealing with a procrastination problem. I often put things off until the very last minute, even when I reserve extra time for a specific task. During that time, I usually do meaningless things like surfing the net or watching TV shows and all the while I'm constantly stressed about deadlines and stressed about my future. My favorite site, wikipedia, tells me I'm an afraid-tense procrastinator. I'd like to get things done, and I'm always worried about it - but I just can't bring myself to do it punctually and efficiently! The fact that I typed all this at 5 in the morning is evidence of the magnitude of my problem. Any advice or stories of how you've overcome?

I just needed a place to vent all that. I sometimes feel like not many of my friends (and especially not my family - I've never told them thank goodness!) understand all the aspects of my addictive history and nature. But at least I know they all mean well and care. I'm extremely grateful for their support and the current support of my loving bf.

I'm open to discussion about any of these topics you might want to talk about, especially if you've been in similar situations. I definitely don't know much, and I have a long way to go, but I hope my story can be useful to someone in some way and yours to me. Thanks for reading!

:grouphug
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby Psykiblue on Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:09 am

Honestly after reading your post I would suggest that if you are having so many issues I guess keeping things in check perhaps that you look into therapy. It really can sometimes save your life.

Honestly, don't use wikipedia as a source of anything, any random person can edit any kind of information they wish to on that site making it true or fiction.

Also, most drugs are habit forming, and doing e? Its just ridiculously not smart, considering that it kills peoples at a faster rate sometimes then heroin and cocaine addictions. Why you ask? Because in a general sense it puts holes in your brain, so I hope that you take your 4 times a year thing and make no times a year but you'll do what ever it is that you want regardless of whatever has come before or at least that's the impression I get from what I'm reading. Also damage done from e? Is not repairable, it can NEVER be fixed.

What is it that you are looking for? You seem to bounce from thing to thing, person to person trying to maybe be happy? But happiness is not something that comes from others, it comes from yourself. You need to figure out who you are and I don't believe you need drugs for that or a bf. Happiness is a journey not a destination.

Get help, get some therapy, start talking it out with friends, do you have anyone that you trust that you can talk to? What does your new bf think of everything? Have you told him any of it?

Seriously, most universities/colleges offer counseling services so I don't think that would be a big issue for you. I cannot stress enough how important I think it is that you talk to a counselor.
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby chibichan on Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:54 am

Thanks for your advice, Psykiblue.

I understand that wikipedia is open to anyone to edit... so I always take things there with a grain of salt. But sometimes it's as good a place as any online to get some quick info.

I actually have seen a therapist already. It didn't really help much since she mostly just listened, and didn't say anything I hadn't gone over with my friends before. Maybe I should try a different therapist though. My bf actually suggested it initially, so yes, I have discussed a lot with him. I've actually also talked to all my close friends about everything already, as everything was happening. As I stated earlier, many understand only one aspect or another, so sometimes it's hard for us to relate to each other. Since we're all young and clueless about a lot of things, we don't get the benefit of experience when looking for answers. That's partially why I posted here. I also thought people here might understand the types of situations I've been through from first hand experience and have some advice. I'm assuming you haven't been in my situations, which is good for you.

The thing about a lot of American college students, is that they get stuck in their little bubbles... and for roughly 4 years many live their life by the "work hard, play hard" ethic. The "fast life" (I live in a big big city) is part of that. We know how the drugs affect our body... the problem is that a lot of people don't care when they first start / can't stop when they do. The mentality is that we are only young once... and I'm sure there are all sorts of problems underlying the typical American college student lifestyle. I honestly wonder sometimes, how people even make it through this stage of life - the kinds of risks we take. Some don't. I'm not a stranger to that either. I'm sure you've probably seen a lot of that too. I can't help but be influenced by that... there are a lot more things going on in my head and life that I didn't mention here. Like I said though, I have talked about them, many times with many many people. Maybe I'm just missing something clear and simple, but in that case, please enlighten me. But don't worry, I guess I may not have stated it very clearly, but it was due to the influences of old friends who cared that I decided to stop going down the habitual path of drug use. Many of my other good friends have not made that choice however.

As for what I am looking for. I can only tell you that I want to experience life to the fullest, and want to look back with no regrets. Of course I want to be happy, like everyone else... I try to find that by building meaningful relationships with the people I care about: family and friends. Like I said, I don't know much, but saying that "happiness is not something that comes from others, it comes from yourself. You need to figure out who you are and I don't believe you need drugs for that or a bf. Happiness is a journey not a destination." Is easier said than done. If you feel comfortable sharing, how did you find that happiness?
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby Psykiblue on Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:13 am

How did I find happiness?

I stopped looking for it and looked at what was in my life that was making me happy and concentrated on those things. I decided to actively pursue things that gave me joy and stopped worrying about what everyone else thought.

Happiness is only something that comes from ourselves, it is not found in the next best thing, a video game or someone else. We are responsible for our own actions not anyone else.

People are so busy looking for the next best thing that they sometimes forget what's right in front of them.

Also, using drugs every day or just recreational can still kill you. E, doesn't need weeks worth of use, you could have died the first time you tried it. That's not living life to the fullest, that's being reckless.

I can understand living and wanting to enjoy life, I cannot understand why a person would want to take drugs to feel 'alive'. sorry I can do that much better with nothing blinding me.

Your experience with E? Was an illusion its not real. You felt it sure, but it was because of a foreign toxin in your body not because it came from any place that was real.

Don't you want to experience life naturally? Without that kind of stuff?
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby chibichan on Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:48 am

Psykiblue wrote:I stopped looking for it and looked at what was in my life that was making me happy and concentrated on those things. I decided to actively pursue things that gave me joy and stopped worrying about what everyone else thought.


Then I would say I'm happy overall these days because of those reasons. My relationships with family and friends, the people in my life give me joy... but is that what you were referring to when you said that happiness is not found in someone else? I guess the key is that the happiness was there first, and the rest came naturally. I don't have to go looking for anything.

I think I have a more cynical view on life in general... what is real? I'm not so quick to judge. The effect of an amphetamine that blocks the reuptake of serotonin in synapses? Playing a virtual massively multiplayer online role-playing game? The relationship you had with someone who never cared about you to begin with? You might also ask why people become addicted thrill-seekers and even why some people cut themselves... I think it's a somewhat similar answer. I understand what you're saying though... it's not natural to be that happy about anything. And I agree, I would much rather be just as happy because of something wonderful in my life.

You mentioned what I was getting at before. How so many college students live young and recklessly, because there's a great big world out there we want to experience. I honestly think the same thing about motorcycles sometimes (I'm afraid my friends will get in an accident every time they ride, and in fact they have had minor ones)... but to each their own. A lot of young people live in a bubble, I'm not really excluding myself because I'm probably one of them. I know many people who, despite the risks involved, still choose to party, go crazy and try all sorts of new things... I don't know if they don't care what happens, or they just choose to ignore the possibilities, but I would guess there's a feeling of invincibility involved. Considering I listened to the interventions of my friends, I think I'm on the much more moderate end of the scale...

Also, I'm less concerned with drugs (that's pretty much behind me) and more concerned with procrastination and whether I can anticipate any problems I could cause in my current relationship.
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby Psykiblue on Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:23 pm

A drug is a drug, the illusion that it creates isn't 'real' by any means. Could you achieve that state naturally? I'm thinking no.

As for the college experience, i'll be honest most people I know who go to university go for the degree and because they want to be there, in my experience the people who drink their way through school or party or whatever either fail out or get marks that are so low no one will hire them whenever they do graduate.

For me, schools way to expensive to waste on partying. I also most people I know its just not in their nature, they prefer coffee and movies to partying and trying/experimenting with new things.

Also personally for me I see self injury and trying E as two completely different things, self injury isn't about death and suicide and possibility of,its more about emotional release, i've never known anyone to say E gives them an emotional release, but I could be wrong, I've never taken it and I don't intend to. I'm not curious enough to risk my brain or my life with drugs. I will never be that curious.

I think that if you want to keep your life on track then you need to work on doing so, and as for therapy, sometimes you have to go to 10 therapists to find the right one, it sucks but I had to go through 3 before I found the one who could help and felt like I related to. Its all about a process of elimination.
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby Karmons on Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:44 am

Hello chibichan,

Wellcome to the forum. I think you have done a very wise thing posting about yourself, your problems and your way of life. Therapy, like all kinds of professional help depends of the proffesional you find, it may help or not. But for most of us this forum is helping. :)

Excuse me if I feel we have things in common, I mean you and my past me. I have felt touched by your story somehow. Before starting to tell you what I think, I want to say that "my past me" is no way worse than my "present me" and I dont feel wiser, in possesion of the truth or superior in any way to you and the way you do things. Its just a person to person talk.

Addictive personality and Procrastination:

You do have addictive presonality and have procrastination behavour from the very point you do justify it. I will elaborate. From my perspective, people want to be free but have what I call "chains". A chain could be being addictive to WOW, or having fear to dogs, or being shy. A shy person would like to be more extrovertive but... man..., that cant be done because they are shy. If they believe they are shy, they will become shy, like they had a chain, because they have justify that state in their brains and have stopped to figth against that thing they dislike of them.

There is a very big difference from having had some addictive behavours with things addictive by nature (Games designed to be addictive, love and drugs produce chemical addictive substances in your brain that gives you pleasure) and having an addictive personality. The difference is you. When you think in yourself as having had addictive behavours you believe in your freedom to change that route you dont like and take a diferent path. When you think in yourself as having an addictive personality, man, nothing can be done. You just justified a big chain and are changing your life to go ahead with a chain instead of changing your life to get rid of that chain.

Same happens with procrastination, that you have not been able to time things and have been very nervous by dead lines before doesnt means that you have to be allways like that. You will choose that, it is in your hand. You are free to change that.

You have to believe in yourself way more than you believe in your fears and limitations.

Is easier said than done. If you feel comfortable sharing, how did you find that happiness?

I will tell you that I was a very shy kid, I found very difficult dancing (wich I still find difficult because some important people laughed at me at some point of my life, and a creature called fear became part of my life from that point), or talking to girls. I could not know when my opinion about people was about to hurt them, I readed more that all my class (plus the teacher) together and spend a lot of time in imaginary realms. At that time they were roleplaying games instead of video games, but the addictive mechanism works the same, it just need more inmersive cualities, and I have loads of that. I was ok with that life.

I decided that being not popular was an automatic mechanism to find which friends was "true friends" and which was not. I decided that as long as my studies where ok I could get inmersed in fantasy worlds all I wanted (In fact my parents decided that and I found ok that limitation to my inmersion ok, I got very high puntuations in my exams with little efford). I also decided that as popular people took drugs and I had already decided that being not popular (wich i could not be, because I was shy) was better for me, I would not take drugs. So I also decided that taking drugs was stupid(playing role games was not) and felt superior to those people who took drugs to feel "cool", that was a great and easy decision to me. Superiority feelings decisions do greats to our egos and that was no exception. That mixed to my superior grades made wonders to my ego, so I didnt got very worried about being shy, my dancing fears, getting out of the real world a lot or using my money to buy miniatures. I was happy.

Now my life is quite different, I have a lot of friends. Many of them take drugs and I have managed to respect their decission and their way of life. I managed to dance when I wanted to and I am in a higer position than my fear, I still have to go to dancing classes to get rid of him thougth. I must prove myself I can dance as good as anybody else. I am a lot of more time in the real world, with real people. Wich world is real you ask? That reminds me to gosth in the shell (yes, I also devour anime ) argument : All reality is information in our brains, it doesnt matter if it comes from dreams, imagination or real people. Try to stop eating in dreams, in games and in your "so called real live". The one you die in, that is the reallity, the others ones may become reallity just by your brain power.
So I am a very different person now, and I am also happy.

So which is the difference? I decided then some things so I carried a certain life and I decide now other things so I carry another life. Why is one way of happines better than other?

Well, the very very big difference is that many of my past decision where managed by my fears and assumed limitations (chains) and now I try those decisions to be managed by my ilussions.

So that is the difference. Why did I say then that I didnt felt superior to that kid I was?

That kid did all he could with the tools he had in that time. I have grown, learnt. I dont have to continue a path just to prove I was ok, I can acept my mistakes because I have excused my past "me". I understand him, excuse him, and accept his limitations. Now him and me have a lot of life in front of us, Im 28. Who cares about being young just once in the life. I will be 28 just once in the life too. There are many things to be done. The world is full of posibilities. (Like the end scene of gost in the shell)

:)
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby chibichan on Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:50 pm

Psykiblue, I agree. The effect of most psychoactive drugs are not things you can achieve naturally, with your own brainpower. I guess I just personally don't see anything wrong with that... Like Karmons, I have many friends across the spectrum on this issue, some who have never even touched alcohol, some who have done everything under the sun... and as long as they have control of their lives, I respect their choices even if it's not for me.

Addiction on the other hand, is definitely a problem. This might sound odd, but I had a friend who would consistently drink 3-5 cups of coffee plus an energy drink or two a day. He realized it was a bit much, and quit drinking them as much. Not surprisingly he had some withdrawal symptoms like feeling exhausted and cold/sweaty... but he stuck by his guns and now he doesn't need to drink coffee every morning. My good friends and I tell each other when we think one of us is drinking too much, smoking too much, etc. or doing it for the wrong reasons and I'm glad for that. Otherwise, margarita mondays, some bud or hookah once in a while, a crazy night here and there... doesn't really matter.

FYI, the effect of a psychoactive drug depends on the person, their mood, the environment, the purity, dose and preparation of the drug itself... a lot of factors come into play... There are many different end results and many more reasons why someone might take them. For me, taking e WAS about emotional release. I had trouble accepting and expressing happiness and love... and e broke those walls for me, allowed me to love freely and openly those people I cared about most. Sometimes, even though the immediate illusions created by the drug aren't real, you can make some very real revelations while on them. Many cultures have traditionally used psychoactive drugs for this purpose, even in the US during the 1960's and 70's, LSD was used as a way to explore the mind... to what effect I couldn't tell you personally, but it helped the Beatles make some good music. I think the movie Across the Universe sums up my attitude about this well.

I know cutting isn't about suicide and injury. In highschool, one of my best friends was sent to a treatment center after multiple attempts at suicide. But before that, she cut. Knowing now what had been on her mind, I know it was for emotional release. At the time, however, it was a rude awakening to how much I didn't know how to reach out to others and how much even my best friends could keep behind closed doors. I beat myself up over endless questions about what she was going through and why I hadn't been there for her. I know now that someone has to let you in before you can try to help, but sometimes you have to be active in making sure everything is okay and seek that opening out yourself if you really care about someone. I had never been that close to anyone, and no one had ever inquired about my emotional state (my parents weren't the touchy-feely type, i had no brothers or sisters, no cousins my age) nor required me to do so in return... so I had to learn from square one. It was awkward at first, but I've learned more and more over the years, and now I've been able to talk to my friend about things that happened, that I missed, when we were growing up.

Regarding college and partying... I definitely agree that college is far too expensive to waste on excessive partying. Amazingly enough though, I know some people who can manage both and have gone on to get great starting positions at companies. Sadly, that's probably not the majority. I'm not lying or exaggerating when I say that many college students at my school (probably over 3/4 the people I know) spend a lot of time (especially straight out of high school) partying. I'm also not saying that it helps them get a job. It definitely doesn't, unless any improvement in people skills and charisma outweighs the time lost not studying. But that's just the college scene I see on a regular basis. Now most people I know mellow out after their first year or two, and only party every few weeks or so. On a side note, one of my best friend's brother failed most of his first year classes because he spend all of his time playing world of warcraft, partying and getting busy. His parents pulled him out of his expensive university and sent him to community college until he can get his grades back up.

I will take your advice on actively trying to keep my life on track. If I have pressing problems at least I've already established the precedent of seeing a therapist, so I will return there if need be. Maybe I will also try another (maybe more in touch with my generation) therapist... I hope my other one won't be offended.
Last edited by chibichan on Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby chibichan on Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:51 pm

Thank you, Karmons, for your understanding post. It was helpful and sincere and I really appreciate it.

You are definitely right about needing to change my attitude about myself. I guess I was in a similar rut before in my life, about being satisfied and "happy" with the way my life was. I thought, and I guess to some extent still, that I was a cynic by nature and would always find difficulty accepting my blessings in life. I was always very good at pointing out flaws to myself and not believing in even the most direct things, like the phrase "I love you." I realize now that it was my fears and "chains" that made me a cynic - because I was afraid of being let down, of getting ahead of myself, of developing expectations (of myself, others and the world) that would never be met, because I'd been there before and it hurt. The assumed limitation was that I was incapable of feeling true happiness. In retrospect though, it just kept me from developing normal relationships with people and myself.

These days I am in a better place. I'm not sure whether I changed my attitude, or I just found myself in a situation that naturally made me happier. But I'm trying to learn to accept things as they are, and not agonize over what might become of things and what could have been. That is, to try my best, accept what happens and let it be. I really need to work on not agonizing over things that are in the past, because that just lets them come back and get me again. I will definitely try to stop categorizing myself with negative and destructive labels, and stop listening to others who would do the same.

This is a quote I think I should try to keep in mind...

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby ethan on Sun Nov 02, 2008 2:16 am

a few comments/questions to add to the discussion:

your "i'm up at 5am writing this" point was very familiar to me. what has been most helpful to me: don't go to bed. go for a run in the morning. shower. make a todo list (see below). stay moving and active. then collapse EARLY that evening (into the arms of your bf?? ;) ) and have a good night's sleep. it's never too late to do that after having a horrible day staying up all night into the wee hours of the morning reading crap on the internet. ask someone who you love and trust (like your bf) to kick you off the computer if they find you like that. don't fall into the trap/bottomless pit of self hatred or self-pity.

do you have any spiritual leanings/a particular faith? it can be something powerful to lean on, especially to overcome anxiety and find the inner peace and strength to make progress even in the littlest bit (because a little progress is better than no progress or negative progress, right?). meditation can also be a powerful tool when practiced in earnest. this is coming from someone who is secular and rather non-spiritual and thus has a hard time meditating :look ...although i admit it is something that i could benefit from.

much of the time my procrastination comes from seeing "too much" on my plate to grasp and handle, and feeling overwhelmed, and wanting to shrink from it. making task lists has helped immensely -- and i mean TASK lists. that is, you can do exactly what is written. for instance, it is the difference between a) "write e-mails" and b) "respond to john re: job offer" "a" is bad bad bad. "b" is a good task. write it down on the list. then do it and cross it off the list. i used to not value "everyday tasks" (laundry, showers, morning run, b-fast, etc) but they take time and are just as important. break down your goals into objectives into tasks that are IMMEDIATELY actionable. "write paper" is not a task. "pull citations on the topic of personality and the psychology of addiction for use in paper" is more of a task.

finally, if you do have an addictive personality, you can leverage it as a strength in certain respects. for example, staying up till 3am notating a music composition is a very different type of intensity than staying up till 3am surfing the net or playing video games. channeling excitement and intensity into things that i already enjoy, and/or that make me proud has often made "the day after" much better for me. i have something to show for it. i'm sure you have productive interests. much of it for me is the task list + developing that "delayed gratification" thingy.

now, if you'll excuse me...i need to get back to my task list :)

best of luck
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby chibichan on Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:48 pm

ah, such useful advice. Thank you, ethan. It's been a while.

I do need to work on tasklists. I had one going for a while after reading your post, but unfortunately constantly updating it proved to be something worthy of the tasklist itself.

Right now is one of those times I feel overwhelmed and tend to want to retreat. This month I have interviews every other weekend for my post-graduate education, interspersed with research, applications for internships abroad and not to mention classes and exams that deserve much more of my time. Last year was stressful enough with applications and standardized tests, but I tend to get more stressed and anxious than the usual person. I feel so relieved when I can just come home, cook, watch something with my boyfriend and just not have to think about everything hanging over my head at this point in life. I tried to decompress over winter break at my parents' by reading a lot and, maybe unfortunately, playing on a trial account of world of warcraft to keep in touch and do something fun/relaxing with my bf over that time without running up my phone bill.

Am I stupid for starting to play WoW again? I think I know at least one person on this forum who thinks so.

I think my "problem", and the original topic of this post, is that whenever I like something - whatever it is, from movies, to books, to games, to anime, to my pet bettas, to classwork, to research, to answering questions, to reading about others' experiences online, to having an anal collection of colored pens, to the party scene - I get into it a little too much. You're definitely right, ethan, that the focus and drive can be used for good (such as obsessive research into job opportunities abroad). On the other hand, I can't avoid everything non-utilitarian that gives me pleasure in life. Obviously, key here is moderation. Maybe a blackberry with a schedule alarm... My current bad behavior is being chronically late! This is really unacceptable in the real world. Task / time management needs to be tatooed on my forearm.

My poor bf. Sometimes he's exactly like me, staying up all night (only on weekends though) obsessing about something, be it spec-ing out computers, car engines, WoW or whathaveyou. During the week though, he goes to sleep/gets up early for work so our schedules are misaligned and he's usually asleep when I'm wasting time! Except for when we play WoW together - I find it interesting that he's very competitive about money making and leveling, whereas I'm more interested in opening my map and questing. There's an interesting article about the research potential of virtual worlds that was published in science magazine: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/317/5837/472

Things that I like, I usually try to recruit others into. That can be a good and bad thing - but everyone is free to do as they wish. Half of my friends might give it a shot, the others are too set in their ways (that's how I see it anyway ~__^). I've done this for yoga, for world of warcraft, for scientific research, for the value of social networking in the job world, for movies, books and mangas, music, raves, karaoke, hot pot, kbbq, sundubu, and the list goes on. Many of these things I was recruited into myself and are just one of the many reasons I place great value on my relationships with other people, which have brought a lot of joy, meaning and opportunities into my life. I guess it's debatable whether introducing a friend to WoW is advisable or not... it's fun, especially with people you know (I've heard of families who play to keep in touch) but as we all know, it can be very addictive. Puzzling... I'm sure my mother had only good intentions when she "forced" me to read the LOTR books. A friend and I became subsequently obsessed when the movies were released, to a degree now associated with Twilight (btw, a horrible example to young women IMO)... we almost fainted when we unexpectedly ran into Elijah Wood at a Gogol Bordello concert. In any case, I've had the most enjoyable times pursuing a shared "obsession" / interest with a good friend or roommate...

Oh yes, and in terms of spiritual leanings, ethan... I have never belonged to a particular religion or faith. But this quarter I did start a beginner yoga class, and it has proven to be IMMENSELY helpful in getting over a bad day. Being guided to focus solely on the body and achieving the correct positions pushes all the bad thoughts and stresses out of my mind. It truly is meditative and releasing. I personally like it better than running for meditation, because I feel that running lends itself to a kind of numbness or trance, whereas yoga is a focused sort of meditation. Just a thought. I do think it is something I should continue for the rest of my life, however. I recommend it to everyone ;)
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby Neglected on Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:45 am

Hello Chibi,

I was wondering if you could do me/us a favor? The link to the article works, but you have to be a member and pay to see the whole article.

Could you possibly post it on here for us to read if you have access to the full article?

Thanks
Neg ^^
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby ethan on Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:04 am

tried: "The extension pdf is not allowed."

tried renaming it, and it didn't work :grumble

suggestions?
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby chibichan on Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:24 pm

Hey. If there's a way I can upload a PDF file or send it directly to you I can - just let me know.

I'm going to start a new thread for this article in media room, since it seems more appropriate there (See list below for link to thread). I got it off a PubMed search that turned up some other articles you might be interested in. Unfortunately some (like #1) have only PDF versions. IF an admin would like to post the PDF on the website, just let me know and I can send the file directly by email.

Pubmed - keywords "world of warcraft":

1: Problematic usage among highly-engaged players of massively multiplayer online role playing games.
Peters CS, Malesky LA.
Cyberpsychol Behav. 2008 Aug;11(4):481-4.
PMID: 18721098

2: The Gonzo Scientist. Slaying monsters for science.
Bohannon J.
Science. 2008 Jun 20;320(5883):1592.
PMID: 18566270

3: Player guild dynamics and evolution in massively multiplayer online games.
Chen CH, Sun CT, Hsieh J.
Cyberpsychol Behav. 2008 Jun;11(3):293-301.
PMID: 18537499

4: The ideal elf: identity exploration in World of Warcraft.
Bessière K, Seay AF, Kiesler S.
Cyberpsychol Behav. 2007 Aug;10(4):530-5.
PMID: 17711361

5: The scientific research potential of virtual worlds.
Bainbridge WS.
Science. 2007 Jul 27;317(5837):472-6.
PMID: 17656715
Read now on GamerWidow
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby Djorn on Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:00 pm

Hello

I don't really know where I'm going with this post. Your posts reminds me a lot of me.

It used to be a complete mess in my brain, but now it's peaceful. When I finally realised what was tormenting me it was amazingly simple, I searched high and low for the most complex reasons as I failed to accept what it was, I failed to accept that was me. The thing was, I always kind of knew it, I just wasn't ready to face the pain of admitting. I didn't want it to be that, I wanted desperately for it to be something else, anything else.

I was scared to chase what I really aspired to be, in case I failed, so i sabotaged myself. I constantly kept my brain occupied my brain so that I never had to face my emotions, I distracted myself from the face I was feeling sad, lonely, whatever. WoW was another distraction. I tried to conciously control myself and form myself into who I wanted to be, because I didn't like who I was. Becoming obsessed with certain things was an attempt to form my personality or the perception I wanted others to have of me.

I am now free of these things, mainly just by admitting them to myself, accepting them, feeling sad when I needed too and writing all my problems, feelings and thoughts down on paper.

Ba, I dunno.. just keep writing here. Don't think about what you're feeling too much, don't analyse yourself in depth, that comes later. Just write it, admit it out loud.
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby phnxzlil1 on Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:41 pm

Well this was certainly a highly charged original post as well as the many replies. I can't say that I know all that much about addictive personalities as I don't have one, or at least I've never been diagnosed as having one, however, I do have some serious issues with having deadlines and not getting things done efficently. I think this comes from the fact that I am an full time college student, I work and I feel that focusing on these two important tasks will take away from the family and friends that I should put before myself so I tend to stuff these tasks to the back of my mind and allow them to stew there as I worry about them and try to focus my friends and family in the forefront of my world.

I was very interested in the articles that were unable to be brought up b/c they were pdf etc. I'm going to look into that a little farther, I knew that the MMORPGs were a source of study, but I didn't really know that it tended to be that in depth. Maybe those are something I need to post on the blog I write as well...hmmm not a half bad idea.

Martina
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Re: Dealing with an addictive personality...

Postby chibichan on Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:38 pm

This article might be interesting. I think everyone on these forums knows that there is a large genetic component to behavior. Dealing with behavioral disorders without the help of medication or professional help can be very difficult. I have no doubt that many people I know (especially men) have self-medicated as a way of dealing with their problems... here is one psychological study relating a novelty seeking personality trait to a genetic polymorphism.

Letter
Nature Genetics 12, 78 - 80 (1996)
doi:10.1038/ng0196-78
http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v12/n1/abs/ng0196-78.html


Dopamine D4 receptor (D4DR) exon III polymorphism associated with the human personality trait of Novelty Seeking

Richard P. Ebstein1, 3, 4, Olga Novick2, Roberto Umansky2, Beatrice Priel2, Yamima Osher2, Darren Blaine1, Estelle R. Bennett1, Lubov Nemanov1, Miri Katz1 & Robert H. Belmaker2

1Research Laboratory, S. Herzog Memorial Hospital, P.O.Box 35300, Jerusalem 91351, Israel.
2Beersheva Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P.O.Box 4600, Beersheva, Israel.
3Laboratory Director, S. Herzog Memorial Hospital, P.O.Box 35300, Jerusalem 91351, Israel.
4Correspondence should be addressed to R.P.E.


Human personality traits which can be reliably measured by any of a number of rating scales, show a considerable heritable component1,2. The tridimensional personality questionnaire (TPQ) is one such instrument and was designed by Cloninger to measure four distinct domains of temperament — Novelty Seeking, Harm Avoidance, Reward Dependence and Persistence — that are hypothesized to be based on distinct neurochemical and genetic substrates. Cloninger proposed that individual variations in the Novelty Seeking trait are mediated by genetic variability in dopamine transmission2. Individuals who score higher than average on the TPQ Novelty Seeking scale are characterized as impulsive, exploratory, fickle, excitable, quick-tempered and extravagant, whereas those who score lower than average tend to be reflective, rigid, loyal, stoic, slow-tempered and frugal. We now show that higher than average Novelty Seeking test scores in a group of 124 unrelated Israeli subjects are significantly associated with a particular exonic polymorphism, the 7 repeat allele in the locus for the D4 dopamine receptor gene (D4DR). The association of high Novelty Seeking and the 7-repeat allele was independent of ethnicity, sex or age of the subjects. This work, together with the accompanying confirmations in this issue3, provides the first replicated association between a specific genetic locus involved in neuro-transmission and a normal personality trait.
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