Chasing Dopamine {Living Life Alcohol Free}


I find life mundane and boring. Repetitive. Without alcohol.

Since I’ve stopped drinking, I have found myself chasing dopamine. Dopamine gives your brain feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation. Alcohol used to be that dopamine hit I needed when I was sad, bored, or an array of other not-so-fun emotions.

While I attend 12-step meetings and am active in my sobriety, I still have times when I crave dopamine and it shows up through the choices that I make. For example, I might eat too much cake, drink too much soda, shop online for things I don’t need, or even get a tattoo just for the rush.

With an addictive personality like mine, I have to be very careful to not overdo things.


I tend to go zero to 60 very quickly, and a lot of times, I can’t stop myself from doing whatever it is I am doing. I’ll just have one more donut (after having five). I’ll just have one more soda (after having eight). I’ll just make that purchase (even though I can’t afford it). And the list goes on…

This also affects the way I make changes. I make them fast and furious because of the rush I get from doing or having something new. This has led to me getting into bad relationships quickly or not thinking through decisions affecting my children.

My 12-step program has told me that I am constantly chasing dopamine to replace the rush I felt from drinking.

How do I live like this? Their solution is helping others, reading the Big Book, getting a sponsor, and of course, obtaining and maintaining a relationship with a higher power. I can’t look to other things, people, or situations to make me happy, I’ve got to look inside myself to find the happiness within. And as an alcoholic, I cannot do that without my 12-step support system.

If you struggle with chasing dopamine or even if you’re struggling to stay sober from a substance, know that you are not alone. You don’t have to do it alone. There are 12-step meetings all over the city and people who understand what you’re going through. Also, seeking a higher power can help curb cravings for whatever it is you desire. Whatever it is for you, keep your head up and seek help if needed.


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