I’m not a huge supporter of the 12-step model to help with addiction. I know it helps some people, but it doesn’t seem to address the root of the problems, and I find the need for a “higher power” to be problematic. That being said, a variation of the first step has some value: admitting that there is a problem.
Being on the bike ride has highlighted some of the addictions that I have in my life. When you are outside of a normal, stable life you start to crave some of the addictions. For me, the two primary addictions appear to be the internet and beer. I am not an alcoholic, I don’t get drunk, but I do drink beer regularly enough that I miss it and find it hard to concentrate on work if I am not drinking. I’ve started substituting tea for beer while working and that helps a bit, I think it is more of an oral fixation than anything else.
As for the internet, that addiction is causing me some problems. I find it hard to sleep at night if I don’t watch Netflix first, but opening up a computer to watch a show (and the inevitable rabbit hole that is Facebook) makes it more difficult for me to sleep. It becomes this vicious cycle where I need to watch something mindless like The Office to sleep but using my computer makes sleep difficult. Next thing I know it is 3am and moments of my life have wasted away.
The bike ride helps somewhat, I am usually pretty physically tired by the end of the day. The limited amount of electricity available to me (not to mention limited data on my phone) means that I’m not dicking around online before bed. Instead, when the sun sets I lay down and drift to sleep. I do experience cravings from time to time, like a compulsion to refresh my Facebook browser or surf political sites.
To be honest, I’m not sure what to do to stop this. I think recognizing the problem does help though. Research into drug addiction points to having a purpose in life as a key to breaking the addiction. The actual drug has very little hold on the body and mind, even for heavy drugs like nicotine and heroin. The key is to find a social community and life purpose that replaces the drug. In short, you find an addiction that makes your life better instead of worse.
My need for beer while working and the internet is a pretty weak addiction. I’m not going to lose my job, my partnership, or my life because of them. But, eliminating this addiction and freeing myself from an outside force would make my life better. I just don’t know how exactly to do that yet.