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Addictions - Did we miss out anything by not doing them?

I haven't written this, but I think everybody should read this. Please go through this post in It was a question posted by someone on the big three vices "smoking", "drinking alcohol" and "doing drugs", whether if somebody do not indulge in these three things, will he/she misses out something in life or not. Another Quora member, Jesper Renck, gave an answer which was spot on and really empowering to read (Link). For those who don't have a Quora account, I am re-posting what he had written there with that wonderful picture from Matrix,

The question was,

What is someone missing out on if they don't drink, smoke, or do drugs?

Jesper Renck's answer:

" I’m assuming that you have just become a teenager and been offered drugs for the first time. Previously you were just a child and thought you understood the world. However now you are no longer sure.

First some background: inside your head you have a brain. The complete function is not fully understood but it is known that the parts: the sensory system, the central brain and the control system can be tampered with using substances which influences their function. These substances will influence your perception of the outside world, your thought process and the signals which determines your behavior.  

Alcohol will make you entertaining and the center of attention at social gatherings. Cocaine will make you feel like the boss. Marijuana will turn you into the minister of good ideas. However the experience is delusional and only inside your head. Other people around you will probably not agree with your perception of the situation.

So, to rephrase your question: If I want to experience the most of life while I’m here. Which path should I take? 


The blue pill represents waking up in your bed every morning with a clear head, and endless possibilities, but it will be up to you to explore the world and find those ideas that make sense to you. Some of them are easily accessible others will require detailed planning and tremendous effort before they bear fruit. The red pill is the backdoor-key to the same wonderland, however it will only exist in your own head and everything will be gone when you wake up, leaving you with a sensation of confusion and disconnectedness with the outside world.

It is your choice."

Another wonderful answer from  Stefan King, this guy seems pretty much experienced in the things we are talking about, check out his answer below,
" Before the complete answer, a warning about alcohol: I am lucky. I seem to not be genetically predisposed toward drug and alcohol abuse, and I know enough psychology to watch for the right alarm signs. It also helps when conditioning yourself out of a bad habit. Some addictions, especially alcoholism, have a large genetic factor. Everyone who has the first drink is taking a huge gamble that he or she doesn't have alcoholism genes. If you have become socially well-adjusted without touching alcohol, don't start now. If you lose that bet, your life will be destroyed by the disease and you will die poor and alone.

I've seen both sides of the drugs and alcohol fence, and I see clearly what is missing on either side. 

 Short version:

  • You don't miss anything by not smoking.
  • By not drinking, you miss out on a lot of 'amazing nights with friends'. But you keep a clear mind that can get more done.
  • By not doing drugs, you miss out on super-exciting experiences and intense feelings of pleasure. But you don't face the risk of bad trips and addiction.
  • Smoked regularly for 12 years.
  • Drank around 3 to 10 glasses a week, with rare excesses toward 15 glasses a night.
  • Smoked or ate weed regularly, and used various hallucigenic drugs, and I've done cocaine twice.
Three  years ago I quit smoking when my third serious attempt to quit was successful. I have smoked weed a few times since then, for a specific reason I will elaborate on below. I took a 6-month break from drinking in 2008 while writing my thesis, and continued after that. Now I'm thinking about quitting alcohol permanently. And I no longer care for hallucinogenics or hard drugs. Except that I want to have at least one more time, and I wouldn't say no to LSD if someone offered it under the right circumstances. 

The Pleasures

A note on dosage: for most substances, there is a sweet spot where you get the rush you are after. Too little and nothing happens, too much and very bad things may happen. Unfortunately, you can only find this sweet spot by trial and error.

Cigarettes are strange because they have little psycho-active effect, while being extremely addictive. They are only 'good' for connecting with smokers, or to tell yourself an addictive story about 'a relaxing moment for yourself.' Tobacco companies have used ads with movie stars and cowboys to condition teenagers that smoking is cool. That is the reason for starting. Afterwards, the nicotine addiction settles and your body 'needs' cigarettes to feel normal and relaxed.

Alcohol brings a bit of fun from the next day over to the here and now, one glass at a time. You are gambling that you will get out net ahead. People are more fun to be around, you are more social, you cement friendships. 'Amazing nights' become a realistic possibility. You feel the goodness of life in the present, in a relaxing haze. Chances of getting laid go up. While drinking alone, your creative juices might start flowing. And some people with stressful lives 'need' alcohol to unwind. That is not a rationalization; it works. 

Weed also puts you in the present, but with greater force and certainty, by knocking out any clear thought. At first you might believe your are having profound observations of life, but that is an illusion. The more reliable effect of weed is sensory. You feel more: food and sex are a lot better when stoned. 

Hallucinogenics give you the physical certainty that your brain renders reality through arbitrary lenses. Yes, you already know that the senses process the world and the brain turns it into behavior, but that's all theory until you eat shrooms or some other reality-knocker. Contrary to weed, hallucinations can include profound insight into your own mind. They call it 'a trip' for a reason; you're going far out and will not be back for a while. A good thing about hallucinogenics is that they are not addictive in the chemical sense. You could only talk yourself into needing them.

Cocaine makes you feel like a boss and very awake, guaranteed. Great for doing more or sleeping less than you should. If the real and sustainable versions of confidence and strength elude you, it could become an expensive addiction. 

The Perks of Sobriety

If you quit alcohol you get your brain back. Learning and mental clarity happen when your mind organizes new knowledge and perceptions efficiently. Alcohol messes with your REM sleep, a critical phase for organizing long-term memory. After the slight fog of the regular drinker is lifted, there is a solid foundation for building momentum in learning and observation. If you are working on a project, progress is sure and steady, not a sad line of fits and starts. Personally, I get a lot more done as a teetotaler.

Maybe it is time for me to quit drinking permanently. Over the course of a lifetime, I will get a lot more done. But then again, a certain kind of 'amazing nights' with friends will no longer happen. I haven't sorted my priorities yet.

Abstaining from weed is easy because that is the social default (for most people). Only those with large personal problems might be tempted into using weed habitually to forget themselves. For me, the only reason to use weed is because it makes the sex so good."

My personal pick is Mr. Renck's answer which is rational. Stephen King has not sorted out his priority yet and that is clear in his answer.  After reading King's answer, it seems clearly exciting and tempting to try all the addictives out, but that will just become a start and you can finally get addicted. So choose wisely. My personal opinion, better not to try any of these and live an ordinary but mindful life!!!


  1. Hey there,
    The prohibitions regarding use are of drugs and alcohol are well-advised in my opinion. Better not to start than to end up somewhere you don't want to be...Thanks for bringing together your and other's thinking on this.


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