View Full Version : Joy in Procrastination = psychological addiction?

03-15-08, 10:06 PM
Does the following feel familiar to anyone? I get a secret smirking kind of joy out of procrastinating. A little imp sitting on my shoulder whispering “go ahead, do something else, the world won’t end”. Of course the creature on my other shoulder is whispering “you said you’d do it, you want to have done it, you’re good at it, you like it, you’re letting other people and yourself down by not doing it”. These days the imp has been winning (and it's bad news, the salaries of people I supervise are on the line). The little joyous feeling is puzzling – it’s like each day that passes without getting this task done is a private victory of some sort.

This isn’t the AD(H)D part. I’m faithful to my Adderall. It has made a huge change -- now I can get things done. I may not be very good at choosing what I do, but at least I don’t sit all day “almost starting” half a dozen unrelated things simultaneously. This is something different -- there is a part of me that revels in the procrastination, in being bad, in doing the wrong thing. There was a similar feeling when I was getting towards the end of my drinking career. I used to think that was just chemical euphoria from the alcohol, but now I wonder if it’s not something else. A non-chemical part of addiction -- psychological addiction, I guess.

This came into focus for me recently because I was talking to an ex-bulimic friend about the emotions involved in binging and she described something very much like the same secret joy I get from not doing what I ought, and that I used to get from drinking when it was way beyond fun. (She called it "compulsion", but it sure sounded familiar.) So that’s three very different situations, and two different people, and a common thread of secret glee when involved in self-destructive (or at least self-harming) behavior.

Does anybody else recognize this in themselves? If so, what is it? What do you do about it?


Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting that AD(H)D is not real; is purely psychological/behavioral; is not neurological in origin; etc.. The way I respond to my meds, and to forgetting them, makes it very clear to me that the majority of my ADD is rooted in neurology, not psychology. Nor am I suggesting that addictions aren’t real. Nor am I suggesting that eating disorders aren’t real. This post is about a facet of the whole thing that is new to me and that is nuanced beyond the capabilities of my docs. But within these forums lie wisdom, understanding, and knowledge which are keen and vast….

03-15-08, 11:48 PM
Chortling in the closet ( %3D2%26hl%3Den)

03-17-08, 06:27 PM
Hmmmmm, not me. I get stressed by procrastinating, though I do it plenty. I wonder if maybe that's what I'm addicted to, feeling under the gun. I hate it though. :(

03-26-08, 03:51 PM
I am totally deadline driven. I seem to thrive on seeing exactly how far I can push the line on a deadline and still get something done. In my head, I really wish I could just do something when I know it needs to be done instead of waiting until the last minute. But I don't - I think because the pressure of running up against a deadline is a kind of stimulation that my ADD brain craves.

So, yes, I do feel like I have the little devil and angel on my shoulders fighting with each other. One says, "You should do this now so you can forget about it and be done with it." The other says, "Well, before you start that, you could do a little bit of this and a little bit of that first. Then we'll get started...." I think this is why I spend my whole life 8 minutes late - I always think I can fit in one more thing before I have to get someplace at a predescribed time. I mean, who wants to sit around waiting for something if I get there early?!

03-28-08, 01:31 AM
Sorry gang - I got this all wrong. I brought this general theme up as a topic for discussion in an AA meeting. They immediately, and unanimously, turned it towards a discussion of early recognition of potential relapse. In short, it's not about generalities and shared experience -- it's about me starting to wig out. I'm grateful to them. This thread was misconceived.