Got this idea from Julien Pineau (strongfit) no fix November. Where the challenge was to avoid stimulants, coffee, sugar, and carbs. I took it one step beyond with my rules: I started on the 22 October and finished right about now. 4 weeks without a single slip up from the below-mentioned checkpoints.
These are the most common dependencies, fixes, crutches, escapism, dopamine triggers/behaviors.
1. No coffee/ no stimulants
2. No carbs/sugar
3. No warm showers/saunas (IR is an exception)
4. No sexual release/porn
5. No drugs/alcohol
6. Minimal SoME
For the media addicts:
7. No TV
8. No gaming
A little back story; going carnivore I only had a little honey and some berries. Coffee once or twice a day, using sauna every day, I didn't watch porn or masturbate anyway and like to advocate for energy retention (seed retention) for purposes to require their own blog entry/post, I don't do drugs and barely drink, no time to game, and dialed back my SoMe use drastically even before starting.
Now for anyone else: Undoing years of dopamine receptor adaptation doesn't happen in a weekend or even a week. You would just bounce back to the balance of its set point. Abstaining a weekend or day doesn't do anything, except for show you the clarity of your dependency. Which would, of course, give you some very important information and red flags.
By definition, the short fasts sound the same, but because of the setpoint and baseline do not have the same effect as you oscillate over that baseline instead of moving it with a proper timeline for dopamine fast. Which is the point and intention: to scrub, re-balance, resensitize and thus drop the baseline and set-point od the dopamine receptors and those of the other receptors in reward centers of the gut and the brain.
The big caveat is that I don't think my extended dopamine fast is for beginners or people just starting. Because of the withdrawal, cravings, weak will, and generally low discipline.
Who is this for those who are more experienced with breaking their dependencies and are looking for a challenge or anyone who needs a proper reset. Which is the way I will treat it. I have in mind to do this around the same time each year as a way to reset my dopamine baseline.
Extension of the protocol and overarching Intention:
The ability to turn ON without stimulants. As written in my Instagram:
We use crutches for our happiness, energy, drive. To blunt or stimulate, To up-regulate and to down-regulate. We collectively have tossed aside our ability to autoregulate our own states, our energy, our drive, our moods, our happiness, our behavior, and our awareness. We essentially have destroyed our own ability to turn on (sympathetic) and turn off (parasympathetic).
Next to that our behavior is 100% influenced by our interaction with our environment, our nutrition, whatever we come in contact with really. This means that you are not holding the reins on your own behavior and these stimulants not only trigger other things but blind you to the feedback of your body about the dependencies and about what comes next. How is coffee, carbs or sugar a trigger? Ever catch yourself having ONE cookie, candy, coffee, energy drink, alcoholic drink, or dessert that without you realizing turned into MANY? Or maybe you did realize what was happening as you caught it but rationalized it: but I train so hard, but I work so hard, but I deserve this, I can stop whenever I want to, I'll start again on Monday, I'm 90% clean anyway. It's not about what you are doing and eating as much as you lost control. You are no longer pulling the strings, something else is, leading you to rationalize your lack of control and this “hostile” take over.
BEHAVIOR: IS IT YOU?
This is the point I'm making, we think our behavior is only directed by the cognitive mind. Prepare to get that illusion shattered, it's not. Behavior is influenced by ALL parameters from our environment: brain and gut reward centers, parasites, bacteria, fungi, molds, light, lack of sleep, stress, inflammation, hydration levels, mineral and vitamin balance, blood glucose levels, hormonal levels/ratios. The problem is that we rationalize this behavior of ONE to MANY away, sweeping our weakness under the rug. Whatever IS in control is now blinding you to the severity of the situation. Yes, your body will recover, given time and space to heal. It's the control and the changes to the neuroanatomy and psyche that disturb me in addictive behavior and dependencies and how awareness is altered. If nutrition and environment, whether internal or external, is blinding us to our dependencies and altering awareness, what else is it blinding us to? And what else is it altering in awareness? What is really me? How do I really behave?
These last few months have been a very turbulent period for me. This dopamine fast allowed me to get to know myself better without blunting the experience, needing to stimulate or having a dependency to fall back on. I had no crutch, no fix, nothing taking control, no cheap thrills and quick hits. I decided I wanted to learn how to fully autoregulate (self regulate). And most of all: I didn't want to have blinders covering my weaknesses and shortcomings from me. I wanted to be fully aware of all the things I was feeling even when the majority of the days this period from July to the end of November sucked phenomenally. When we're having a hard time, experiencing major contrast going from the best time of my life Jan-June to some of the worst months I've had here Jul-Nov, it would've been easy to fall back on things that would lift the burden. Things that make it easy, things that take the edge, things that make you escape reality. Alongside it, we take away the lesson and purity of the experience. Although I suffered, endured and persevered through the hardship, it has provided me with insights, signs, and guideposts that give me clarification where my behavior comes from. I didn't want to flee, escape or cover the feelings, thoughts, emotions, awareness and states I was experiencing. This dopamine fast happening in the period it happened in also gave me the means to break cycles of behavior that were now accessible to be addressed without any dependencies blinding me to what behaviors needed changing.
That's the last key and most important take away from all this. If you never break the cycles, the will keep rolling on, the same lessons, obstacles, hang-ups, and struggles will keep cycling back into your life. Breaking the cycles of behavior takes a sacred space, a space unpolluted by your dependencies and fixes, a space free weakness and shortcuts, a space away from crutches and escapism. You will never know who you are and what you are capable of without creating a contrast. And you will never know the potency that these dependencies hold, what they trigger and domino inside of you if you don't experiment with distance and fasting from them. Break your cycles, find freedom through discipline, experience a new awareness and acquire new insights.
Share your thoughts and experiences below. Sim