Dopamine Dialogues: Sad Confessions of an Unhappy, Unhealthy, Unrepentant Meat Addict

August 5, 2014

From:    Samuel
Date:    Sun, July 27, 2014 9:22 am
To:    Charles@DopamineProject.org

Mr. Lyell,

I commend you for continuing doing what you’re doing or trying to do. Especially after reading how you’ve figured out why you’re wasting your time.

I’m writing to find out why you haven’t mentioned meat addiction. Are you afraid of repercussions? What gives dude?

You have to know that meat is addictive and unhealthy. It’s no secret meat production is causing catastrophic environmental damage, from greenhouse gases to the stench of toxins wafting from shitloads of manure.

I used to kid about being addicted to meat. Turns out the joke is on me.

Thanks to my addiction I’m morbidly obese, cholesterol is through the roof despite the statins destroying my liver. I’m also diabetic and so disgusted with myself I hate mirrors.

With the help of your site I finally understand why I consider myself a decent guy yet don’t give a rat’s ass about animals suffering or how sickies like me are driving up everyone’s health care costs. As you might put it, I’m an addict who only cares about one thing — triggering dopamine.

The thought of a juicy hamburger brings a smile to my face. The site of pulled pork makes me weak in my recently replaced because of excessive weight knees. The smell of bacon sends me into a frenzy.

The withdrawal from trying to cut back on eating meat was so distressing that I gave up giving up meat years ago.

To be honest even after learning that it’s not the meat it’s the dopamine I crave nothing has changed.

Which brings me back to why I agree with you about you wasting your time.

Even if you help millions understand they’re really climbing mountains, chasing degrees, driving gas guzzlers, and eating meat to trigger the same joy juice that makes junkies behave so irrationally IT WON’T MATTER! The concept is too far out of left field for most to understand. Instead of changing, the few who think they get it will just trigger dopamine by flaunting how honest they are about their addictions.

I’m not sure for how long but I’m living proof that it really is all about the dopamine and nothing else matters.

Back to my question. How come you haven’t written about meat addiction. What’s the matter? Do you need bigger meatballs?

Curious Sam

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From:    Charles
Date:    Sun, August 2, 2014 1:42 am
To:    Sam

Thank you for your mooving Email. For the record, I don’t have a beef with your attempts to rib me about my being a cowardly chicken for ducking a topic as dopamine repellent as meat addiction. Still, since I have a steak in raising dopamine awareness by persueding scientists to think outside the corral, I guess this is a prime time to milk the topic. And that’s no bull.

I happen to be a meat addict too. The more unhealthy the meat (salami, pastrami, pepperoni, sausage, and meatballs) the more dopamine appealing, the more irresistible.

I’m not trying to get anyone to give up addictions. I don’t think it’s possible. My goal is to encourage people to be honest about addictions, then question whether they want to continue wasting their short lives away chasing the dopamine squirts in their brains that make them miserable.

Anyway, my being a meat addict isn’t why I’ve avoided the topic. The problem/challenge is that meat addiction is more than just one of the most common and destructive of all addictions.

For reasons too complicated to address in this post, meat addicts tend to get much more offended, defensive, and offensive about being called addicts than any other group. Unlike drug, food, sex, safety, power, acceptance, esteem, money, and even religion addicts who simply ignore, shrug off, or dismiss my explanations, some meat addicts go on the attack.

Then there are the meat pushers who happen to be among the most aggressive of all dopamine dealers. Did you know Oprah Winfrey was sued for discussing mad cow disease on her show? Or that she won’t discuss the lawsuit and refuses to rebroadcast the program?

Meat is a popular addiction that’s been around so long it’s considered normal. Expectations of eating meat trigger lots of dopamine because meat titillates tastes buds that evolved to reward primitives for finding life-sustaining sweets, salts, and fats that helped them survive lean times. Now that we’re potentially rational enough to understand how moderate quantities of life-sustaining fuels have turned into addictive poisons, it’s too late for too many.

Meat is difficult to give up because it’s a sanctioned addiction and we’re talking about the same dopamine triggered by expectations of shooting heroin. Same neurotransmitter, same self-deceptions, same denials, same indifference to the suffering caused by the addictions. Dopamine is the reason meat addicts are no more interested in giving up their drug of choice than junkies are.

I’ve avoided writing about meat addiction because everything can be explained in terms of protecting and triggering dopamine flow. Hearing that meat is an addiction threatens dopamine flow by threatening esteem and exacerbating fears of meat deprivation. To complicate matters, powerful meat addicts control the definitions of legalities, moralities, and addictions.

Put it all together and you end up with a Sisyphean challenge with little upside and tremendous downside potential. In a nutshell, too many meat addicts go nuts when challenged and there’s nothing punny about that.

I hope my answer meats your expectations.

Sincerely,

Charles

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