Prasanna Natarajan

Break your hardest addictions effortlessly

The 30 day trial method doesn’t only help you develop new habits. It also might help you break your addictions.

This was a revelation to me when I tried it.

Now, my compulsions might not be as tough as yours. They’d shit their pants when they come across the heavyweights like alcohol, cigaratte and drugs. But I can only speak from my experience and maybe I’m so weak I feel even these lightweights could destroy my life if I let them to. In any case, I think you should try this method for yourself and see if it works.

At the time, my biggest timesuck was playing chess in the “chess.com” app. Don’t go away yet.

The fuckers have one of the best addictive apps in the world. You don’t even have to have a valid email to sign up. They’ll let you play without verifying the email. And that’s intentional. So many times I wrote to them to delete my account (and they did), and like an alcohol addict I’ll sign up again a few days later with a different email, realising one day that they don’t validate emails. They just want the world to get addicted to it. People have played over 2 ^ 31 games there it seems, and it broke their database once.

This was eating my life slowly and steadily. I’d play in toilet, in bed, as soon as I woke up, just before sleeping, wake up in the middle of the night to pee and play 5 games right in the bathroom. It was so much fun to see a winning tactical combination and see it unfold and make the enemy resign. And when it was my turn to lose, I clicked with vengence the “Re-match” button and played the same guy to win over him. Several times. On top of all this, I signed up for various youtube channels where they teach advance chess. My ranking went from 1200 to 1600. It’s no surprise considering the time I spent on learning the intricacies.

But I broke away from the habit easily when I tried the 30-day challenge method. I just told to myself that it’d be just 30 days of no chess, and then after that, gave myself permission to forget about the woes of my family and play till I go numb. I didn’t uninstall the app. It was in its usual place in the ipad. But somehow, once I made the commitment, the app lost its appeal to me. How in the world that could happen is beyond me. It just did. And likewise, I simply stopped visiting the chess.com or chessgames.com sites in the laptop during the trial.

I’ve since finished 2 trials for this chess thing and after each trial, I’m noticing a marked dispassion with the game. I allowed myself to play a lot of games after the trial. But I lost many games due to lack of practice, and that in turn led to lack of interest. But I think it’s still not enough. I’d do the challenge 3 or 4 more times, or at least until the upcoming world championship in November, and make sure that I wouldn’t be attracted to it ever again.

Another addiction I’m beating easily is mindless snacking, mostly sweets. I ate sweets with the intensity of a man who knows he’ll never be able to eat any food again. This caused me to make my weight go from the normal 74kg to the super fat 82kg. Suffice it to say that I used the same method and completed a no sugar trial recently. Of course, after it was over, I’d binge. But that’s not the point of the trial. The point is, I’m now able to say no to sweets or any unhealthy items easily. For instance, there was a welcome party to our team in the new office building and they cut a nice cake. I said no! And I’m drinking coffee like it’s a self-administered punishment, without sugar. But it’s fun to see me go from “Aargh, I live to eat” to “No thanks, I’ll pass”. I’m not bothered about health benefits I’d enjoy from this. All I can’t take my eye off, is my ability to say no to this with the cool of Neo in Matrix.

Another successful addiction breaking trial I did was: No timesuck sites like reddit, hacker news and twitter. And most important of all, youtube. I guess we all watch way too many YT videos per day. I especially like the comments there. If I listen to a song or watch a movie, it was my habit to head to YT, search for the song/scene and just read the comments. I was such a lowlife. Youtube is designed to make you watch it forever. It’s the Eye of Sauron that you must avoid staring at, at any cost. And not watching it for a month will make you realise just how much stuff (mostly useless) you are consuming.

Don’t trust me on this. I’d even argue from your side against me about this stuff because there could be confirmation bias involved. Just because an earlier trial on daily exercise worked well, it doesn’t mean it’d work for others. And the actual reason it worked might’ve been because I simply started caring about my life and push my energy to the things I want to see grown. It’s up to you to infer anything from this.

But let me tell you how you might feel once it works: Remember the 2nd Lord of the Rings movie, The Two Towers? The King Theoden will be under evil’s influence and he’d be so aged and depressing all the time. But in the end when the evil is chased out, he’ll brighten up and reverse-age instantly and will be all glee about how he got back his life.

That’s how you’ll feel too when you realise that you’ve killed your hardest addictions pretty easily and quickly.