Vices and dissociation

Why do people have vices? Drugs, gambling, sugar, etc. One reason is that their lives are too painful and this lets them avoid their pain for a little while. It lets them dissociate.

I’ve had this recently! Life has been painful and I’ve found myself saying “how can I dissociate for, say, an hour?” Often it’s Twitter or Slay the Spire. I’m quite aware that what I’m doing is as close to “killing time” as possible.

From the puritanical streak of the Ohio that I grew up in, you’d think I’d feel some shame about this, but I don’t really. This feels right. Dissociation is maybe what I need right now. Yes yes, roshi/lama/rinpoche, in some sense we’re trying to stay as close to the current moment as possible. But we also need to be kind to our current body/mind/ego.

(What’s wrong with vices? Mostly just that you can’t keep them up. The problem with heroin isn’t that it feels good; it’s that it costs so much to buy you that little bit of dissociation.)

If you find yourself searching for dissociation, you might get self-critical and say “nah, I’m going to Avoid Vices and go meditate instead.” Good luck! If that doesn’t work, but you’re still on a self-improvement train, maybe instead just try to improve your vices one step? Switch from booze to weed, switch from crummy video games to really good video games.

Try not to judge people whose vices are worse than yours.

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