Dopamine is released inside your brain upon receiving pleasure. It’s useful for experiencing joy when serving your family and loved ones while in communion with God, but it can become your slavemaster when pursued for the sake of pleasure alone. Below is a list of behaviors that people commonly pursue in order to feel transient pleasure via dopamine.
1. You drink coffee daily
Coffee is a beverage that elevates your mood and gives you a perceived burst of energy. If you do not like your current mood, and want to feel happier without having to commit a good deed, simply imbibe on this drug, and you will become a new version of yourself. Worse than the jittery side effects of caffeine is the physical dependency. Very soon, you will be compelled to drink every day, sometimes multiple cups a day. The master, the person who used his free will to drink the coffee beverage, is now the slave who has to drink just to feel normal.
Solution: Abstain from all caffeinated drinks. For hot beverages, only drink decaffeinated coffee or herbal and ginger teas.
2. You modify your behavior to be seen as sexually attractive by the opposite sex
A beautiful girl gave you eye contact. That feels good. Then she gave you her number. That feels even better. Then she allowed you to take her to bed. Paradise on earth! In order to accomplish these feelings as a man, you only need to hit the gym, get a cool haircut, dress well, have game, lie constantly about your intentions, and dedicate hundreds of hours per year towards transacting with the opposite sex for shallow ends while debasing your soul. If you embark on that path, women become the gatekeepers of your happiness, and you won’t be able to be happy without them.
The same applies to women. For them, the mere attention from a man—any man—is often good enough. They go through the daily ordeal of applying makeup to their face, a substance originally used by prostitutes to simulate their appearance during orgasm. They wear tight clothes that reveal their sexual assets. If men gave a woman attention, she feels good. If they didn’t, she feels bad, and she will go online in a rage to attack racist politicians or some other boogeyman hated by the media.
Solution: Maintain basic hygiene and don’t be overly concerned with your appearance. Instead of seeking validation from humans, seek out validation from God.
3. You post things on social media and compulsively check for reactions
You post a selfie on Instagram and keep refreshing the app to see how many likes or comments it gets. You post a hot take on Twitter and reload nonstop to enjoy all the comments coming in. Every new response to your photo, video, or text feels good, even if it’s negative. When your new piece of content garners few responses, you craft something else so additional dopamine can be released.
I have had major issues regulating my social media usage. I can post gibberish on Twitter right now and many responses will come in, releasing dopamine. I have made efforts to reduce my usage but it’s still tempting to continually check responses. It would be a blessing in disguise if Twitter or YouTube ban me.
Solution: Approach social media the same as postal mail, where you only check your mailbox once a day.
4. You masturbate or fornicate
Nothing releases more dopamine than an orgasm. Your entire body convulses in pleasure and after a brief respite, you hope to feel the same amount of pleasure again. It’s no surprise that most secular people are addicted to the sex act, and all sorts of industries have propped up to support it (porn, sex toys, contraception, prostitution, dating apps, etc.). Nonetheless, sexual gratification outside of marriage is a form of self-harm. Sex obsession turns your mind to mush, and soon your entire existence becomes about serving your genitals.
Solution: Chastity. You will need God’s help with this.
5. You drink alcohol to the point of intoxication
Alcohol feels good because it turns off your conscience and allows you to be whoever you want to be. You can be a tough guy, a Casanova, a celebrity, a Miss Universe. Alcohol suspends reality so that you can create a fantastical world where you are more confident, beautiful, or intelligent than you really are.
For a brief period, I was still drinking alcohol after receiving God’s grace, but noticed that it evaporated all my willpower to resist lust. If I was in a bar and had two drinks, I could not stop the lustful desire for the women around me. I concluded very early in my walk with Christ that alcohol is Satan’s elixir, and should be avoided.
Solution: If you can’t moderate your drinking, only full abstinence will suffice.
6. You anticipate eating rich or sweet foods
You’re having a long day at work and can’t wait for it to be over. You decide that you’ll treat yourself for dinner to a juicy burger and a big piece of chocolate cake. The anticipation of this meal is now your main way of getting through the day. What you’ve done is create a sham savior out of a meal.
Since foods that create pleasure tend not to be good for you, you will sacrifice your health and create a physical dependency, like with coffee or alcohol, to counterbalance the stress or pain of life. There is nothing wrong with eating tasty food in moderation, but you long ago crossed the line if you fantasize about food.
Solution: View food as nourishment, not sources of pleasure. The Orthodox fasting rule can help you with this.
7. You snack throughout the day
The presence of food in your mouth and the act of chewing feels good. You aim to extend this pleasure by essentially eating one continuous meal throughout the day as if you were a cow. I see this most commonly with women, who are quick to claim that “studies” show eating a dozen or so small meals a day is good for them, but a quick look at the research shows that this is junk science put out by women’s magazines peddling fad diets. On its face, it’s absurd to think that keeping your digestive system active for most of the day is correct.
Solution: If you’re an office worker who sits down all the time, eat two meals a day. If you’re a farmer or lumberjack, and need extra calories to perform your masculine work, eat three meals a day. No snacking.
8. You use online dating
Online dating could make sense if you use a site named CelibateOrthodoxChristianSingles.com, but Tinder? Bumble? OK Cupid? You end up spending more time on those sites engaging in the drama of seduction than connecting with your lifemate. You get attached to the act of receiving a match, texting someone, and coming up with witty responses (or put-downs). You may become a master of emojis, and you may occasionally fornicate, but you will remain single. Many people, especially women, use it as an alternate form of entertainment to receive fresh notifications that break up their day. It’s no surprise that they get addicted to the dating apps even when they don’t care to date.
Solution: Say no to dating apps unless they are explicitly designed to help you secure a lifelong partner.
9. The first thing you do when you wake up is check your phone
What a treat to wake up and have a text message from your sex partner, or a new match on your favorite app Grindr. With crust still in your eyes, you feel an immediate shot of dopamine that is analogous to a first sip of coffee. It’s becoming common for people to place their smartphone on their bed and allow notifications to wake them up. The smartphone was once the tool to connect you to your lover, but now it is the lover. Chad cannot compete with Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook.
Solution: Turn off your phone when you go to bed and only turn it on after you complete your morning prayer and Bible study. If someone you know has an emergency during that time, they can call 911 (unless they live in Minneapolis or Chicago).
10. You love international travel
I would place international travel right underneath sex when it comes to the intensity of dopamine release, and since travel can aid in actual sex, it’s no surprise that they go hand in hand. I heard of one man who was so addicted to both that he would travel to a foreign country, spend all his time there trying to fornicate with women, and then write a sex guide about it so other men can do the same. What a dummy.
You’ve probably noticed that the act of travel has become normalized to the point where something is wrong with you if you dislike it. Ask someone what their hobbies are and they will always include “travel” in their response. It’s a normie activity because it’s an easy and reliable way to release dopamine.
Solution: Embrace your place of birth and remain there. Chances are you’ve already traveled more than most humans who have ever lived. If you really need to go somewhere, visit a national park and let the mountain air invigorate you.
11. You root for a false tribe
You love the Dallas Cowboys. When they win a game, you feel a burst of pleasure. When they lose a game, you feel sad and have to seek out pleasure in other ways. You love Donald Trump. When he sticks it to the media, you feel pleasure, but when he is attacked by the Democrats, you feel angry. You love your anti-white revolutionary identity. When there is an outrage that cancels a “nazi,” you feel good. When you notice that truth still persists in the world, you feel sad. It’s a simple matter to establish an unhealthy relationship with a secular sports team, corporation, politician, brand, or identity so that you can feel good when your tribe does well and bad when it doesn’t.
Solution: Don’t look to corporate groups or worldly identities for happiness.
12. You are first in line to buy new gadgets
For many decades, two-blade razors were enough for a man’s face. And then three blades came out, and then four, and then five. Five blades will save you! We’re now seeing the same with technology. Two cameras on your phone are not enough. Now there are three, four, five cameras, and smartphones that fold! Phones packed with more pixels than the human eye can even perceive! And people line up to buy these products, thinking they are just one gadget away from material salvation. The purchase will give them a big dopamine boost, yet soon their life will return to where it was, but now with more dependency on the gadget.
Solution: Technology is harmful if it’s distracting you from God. Aim to use it as a tool to serve Him.
13. You fantasize about the future
The present is boring, hard, and uncomfortable. It would feel good to hump my pillow in bed while fantasizing about sex. It feels good to imagine if I had more money to live in the coolest part of town. It feels good if I went to a party and everyone wanted to talk with me. All fantasies come to an end and then you have to face life as you are, no better than before your invented delusions. All pleasure fantasies that are oriented towards the future are harmful because they forsake the present, a time of action and submission to God’s will.
Solution: Stop fantasizing about scenarios that yield pleasure.
14. You crave compliments and recognition for your worldly accomplishments
I banged a hot girl—compliment me! I got a new job that pays a lot of money—compliment me! I just broke my personal deadlift record—compliment me! I went on an all-expenses-paid journey to Dubai thanks to a generous benefactor—compliment me! My content went viral and now I’m some kind of famous—compliment me! When you receive a compliment, dopamine is released and you feel good. If you get attached to this pathway, you live entirely for others in the hopes they compliment you, and when people no longer want to do so, you become like a desperate drug addict who will do anything for just one more hit.
Solution: Seek out only the “compliments” of God through his loving grace, not the meaningless praise from worldly people who don’t have any stake in your salvation.
15. You like putting other people down
When you’re of the world, you also compete for things of the world. Every single interaction, conversation, and transaction is its own competition. Either you are winning all of these competitions, which makes you feel pleasure, or you are losing. A worldly person can only take so many losses before it bruises their ego, so they must imagine themselves as the winner in everything. I’m more attractive, I’m smarter, I’m a better deal-maker, I make more money, I’m more crafty, I make better memes, I’m more conservative, I’m more authentic, I’m more cultured, I’m a better parent, and though I’m not stronger than that guy, I get laid more than him so in the end I’m still better. Every day becomes an exercise in maximizing the number of times you can say “I’m better than this person,” all for a little dopamine.
Solution: The only competition to be won is your salvation. The worldly possessions or powers of anyone you encounter are their business. A Christian life will be helpful in reducing your pride and not judging others on inconsequential matters.
I’ve done everything on this list for sustained periods of time except being first in line to buy new gadgets. I was a man fully addicted to the world, and I would structure my days solely for the release of dopamine. With God’s help, that is coming to an end. I still struggle with some things, such as my social media usage and anticipating pleasure from food, particularly baked goods, but I can say that I’m less of a dopamine addict today than I was yesterday.
Understand that if God is not in your life, you are not godless as you may think. Your god is one of pleasure, and that pleasure is biologically controlled by dopamine, a chemical God created for us to feel the pleasure of spending time with our families, of participating in the Divine Liturgy, of breaking a long fast, of helping the poor and the sick, and of enjoying fellowship with Christians in our community. Ultimately, it’s for you to decide whether the chemical is used for good or evil.