hey. I don't really write here much, but, well, here goes. I've been a day dreamer all my life. since as long as I can remember, this was a conscious habit of mine. As a child I didn't think there was anything wrong with that - because we all know that everyone day dreams, right? And I've developed a very vivid imagination - which personally I think is one of the most important traits a person can have. For a while I managed to keep a  healthy equilibrium between dreaming and living.  the problem is, that as I got older, and as things got more complicated, as they do, the made up world started looking much more attractive than the real world. I got better and better at day dreaming- and much worse at real life. I'm one of those people who had the best possible start in life- great family, good education. I could, theoretically, do whatever I want. But I started spending more and more time in my head. At first I didn't realize where things were going. I would seat down to study, for example, than slip into a dream and realize I've been out for two hours. And it got worse as I got older. by now, this habit has grown into an addiction, and, fittingly for an addict, my life is a sorry mess.

  The tragic thing is that I'm pretty realistic in my dreams. I sometimes see posts  here asking- "what are you like in your dreams", or "what do you dream about?", me- I dream about things that are right up my alley, and I'm not that different in my dreams. These are stuff I could actually be doing in real life- or at least, I could try, if  I would only get off my ass, excuse my french. I don't know why I day dream so much. Maybe it's fear of failure,  maybe it's laziness, maybe it's just because I'm so damn good at it. But what I don't believe is that this is some kind of a cognitive disorder, like ADD or something. well, maybe it is for some people, but not for me. Me- I took a decision, even if it was an unconscious one.  Somewhere along the road, I thought- "hey, this life thing is tough work, I'm just going to  switch on the giant screen inside my head and seat back and relax". 

  I'm not calling all you people lazy and unwilling to give it a go in the real world- I'm just saying that I am. I could sugar coat it with tales about a tough childhood or tough parents, but I don't want to lie to you, and more than that- I don't want to lie to myself. The simple truth is that I do this because it feels good, and I'm ruining my life. This is what addiction is. 

  There are support groups for almost every kind of addiction, but I believe there are non for day dreaming addicts. I also can't go to a therapist with this problem or tell a friend about it because I don't think I'd be taken seriously. All I have is this place. According to the 12 steps program admission of the problem is the first step. so- my name is Marla (well, it's not really, but you get the point), and I'm an addict. And I don't want to do this anymore. 

  I have  tendency to break pacts I make with myself, so this is why I'm writing this here. This is the end of my career as a compulsive day dreamer. I'm not exactly sure how to go about this, but I hereby announce the beginning of my rehab. If anybody's actually reached the end of this long  post, advice from fellow addicts (or compulsive day dreamers, or whatever word you're comfortable with) who actually managed to quit this would be welcome. If not, thanks just for reading. 

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Cordellia has a number of things you can try,  listed on the right side of the discussion forum.  They seem to pretty much sum up what people have tried & found helpful to any extent.  Like any addiction, it is very hard to give up.  Even more than most because, as latest study pointed out, ours' started at such a young age when are brains were more vulnerable.  Most people addicted to drugs or alcohol start much later.  

What an interesting observation - those core issues that we have to deal with - if we even want to, of course - are more likely to be issues from a very early age, pre-teen.   Am going to my group therapy tomorrow tonight, which discusses all things we over-do, and will bring this up.

Like you (& most of us) my fantasizing started so young, it would be difficult to go back there.  Unlike you, I had a very happy, uneventful childhood.  But I believe that I still got very hooked on being able to administer at will those good endorphins, through lots of sugar & occasional binge eating - I was generally thin so it didn't "show up" until later, but I still battle eating issues - and fantasizing.  I got used to living in sort of a perpetual high state.  No wonder everyone has always described me as happy!  Later I added smoking & marijuana, but was able (albeit painfully) to kick those habits.  I now have emphysema as a result.  But eating & fantasizing are the hardest & I DO think it is because they are so early.  And maybe helped me deal with issues that every kid has - I just don't remember.  I am usually great looking in DD's from around early teens.  Pre-teen DD's were, like yours, often to do with a favorite TV show.  I don't know - I will have to think about this further.  My therapist in group therapy has also recommended just being quiet & letting feelings bubble up & see what you have.  I haven't probably given this enough real effort.  One exercise with eating is to sit at a table by yourself with no distractions - no reading, TV - & for us no DD's - and eat something planned just focusing on food.  It was very difficult and I couldn't wait to finish the food.  I'm sure similar factors are at work.

I would like to - I guess - find out if there is something behind the DD's & certainly the eating.  But I do not want to give up the DD'ing as I love it & feel that it has added to my life much more than it has subtracted, although subtracted it surely has.

Have you ever read Gary Zukav's "The Seat of the Soul" ?  He is one of my favorite writers on addiction.  He says with every great addiction you are able to overcome, comes a great sacrifice.  I believe this.  When I gave up smoking, I lost my ability to enjoy reading.  I used to read about 2 books a week; now I read every once in a while & often can't finish the book I started.  (Except for 50 Shades of Grey - some how I read right thru that.)  When I gave up getting high, I gave up music - I could no longer just sit & listen to & savor music.  Now it is only music AND something - sort of as background.  I don't know what I would give up for eating - probably some close friends whose relationship is focused on eating out.  Whatever I would give up for DD'ing would be too much.

Hey Roxanne,

I hope all is good with you.

I agree that addictions formed in early childhood are extremely difficult to overcome. Patterns of behavior that have fed reward circuits through all aspects of a person's formative years are entrenched in that person's self image.

I agree that a person dealing with MD as an addiction will have to approach it in a manner similar to the treatment of an eating disorder or sex addiction.

It is always odd to me to hear people say they don't want to give up their daydreams. Everyone daydreams. Not everyone cultivates and cherishes their daydreams as though they are relationships. I have heard people say they lost the ability to daydream. I don't believe it. I believe their brain may have made other things a priority. Their daydreams may be about other things. I believe the person may have gotten out of the routine, but I don't believe any person has stopped daydreaming in all it's forms. 

Daydreaming is natural and many scientist, who have studied daydreams, believe daydreaming may be the default state of the human brain. 

Regarding Gary Zukav's comment, "with every great addiction you are able to overcome, comes a great sacrifice."

A person can choose to view it that way. But, that is not universally true. People's addictions often provide companionship or help them cope with loneliness. A person can feel nostalgic and have an emotional attachment to that time of their life. They associate certain behaviors with their addiction. That doesn't mean they have to stop those things. If they do so, they do so by choice. A person will experience a feeling of sadness, loss, nostalgia with ANY change in their life.

Abusive people use that to manipulate the other person who is being abused in a relationship. To keep them trapped.  When a person leaves a job that they hate, a job that is not right for them, they will experience feelings of doubt and nostalgia.  Even when a movie ends, people may experience sadness. It is foolish to hold onto that sadness.

People experience feelings of depression when something important or significant comes to an end. But, that person has to move on. Too many times, people carry their addictions with them for the rest of their life even though they are not active addictions. They should bury the addiction and let it be. Stop digging it up and singing it lullabies as you gently rock in a rocking chair. What it was is gone. If a person doesn't let go of that emotional attachment they have to their addiction, if they continue to glamorize and idealize it and that time of their life, they are just that much closer to falling victim to the addiction all over again. 

all these observations are very interesting, but sometimes, you can overcome addictions just by being sick enough of them. I wrote this post about six months ago. and I'm not a compulsive daydreamer any more. all the best

Roger, I always so enjoy your insights.  I think Zukav is saying something similar.  When I first read his book, I was very impressed with segment on addictions.  He is optimistic & encouraging in terms of giving them up.  But did make that comment that the greater the intensity of the addiction, the more likely you would end up sacrificing something - often a relationship.  Our addictions often become intimately involved with something or someone.  I read this after giving up both smoking & marijuana.  I had already noticed that both came at a price: for one, it was reading - I had reading so associated in my mind with lighting up - and music, which I had so associated with getting high.  Both reading & music were tremendous interests of mine, but 12 years later, I still can not simply enjoy either.  I really enjoy eating out with friends - none of whom worry much about healthy eating, unfortunately.  I have cut down on number of times I eat out with them, have suggested eating at healthier places & even suggested we try doing other things.  They resent my trying to force them into healthy eating and so I am left with giving up old friends (at least the intensity of the relationship).  Right now I go out with them about once or twice a week, which is enough to keep relationship alive, but I also end up eating unhealthfully almost every time.  It's just not much fun having no drinks and food that isn't all that good - restaurants have not come around to doing much better than broiled chicken & asparagus & I can do much better than that at home.  Anyway, that is my thought for the day.  Nice to talk with you again.

Always good to hear from you, Roxanne.

Did you ever start that regular online meeting that you once mentioned?

I have run several groups on-line.  Nothing right now, as I am totally involved in politics.

Anything new going on with you?

I did once, i made myself stop. I went back to it though because i didn't actually want to stop, but it was getting a bit scary and i wanted to know that if i needed to,  i could. I also have a few other strange addictions that i'd rather not talk about, and im almost always challenging myself to stop one or the other but i always go back to it because im just so depressed without it.

Congratulations, Marla. That's awesome. But beware~you've opened the door for more hairsplitting over definitions :)

I wouldn't say something's an addiction if you eventually get sick of it and quit~I'd say that's a bad habit. Bad habits can be tough to break but.... For me, addiction is when you get sick of a habit and keep going for years anyway. In the early 1990s, I was so sick of compulsive fantasizing that I could almost feel my body filling with poison. Nevertheless, I couldn't stop. I tried. I threw every tool I had at the problem (and my tools included the twelve steps), but I failed. 

If you haven't hit that wall, I'm glad.

I'm only bothering you with my problems because I think drawing distinctions can increase our understanding of what some~perhaps not all~of us are dealing with. In twelve step programs, people badmouth intellectual understanding because it's not enough. Addicts tend to think that if we could just figure our problems out, we could get a grip on them. Then, when we gain a bunch of knowledge and we're still powerless over our addiction, we get bummed out and sometimes fall into despair.

I had the opposite problem with compulsive fantasizing. I had a program that was powerful enough to counter addiction, but I lacked the intellectual understanding to apply it. Since joining this site and lurking on some others, I've had an easier time surrendering and applying the twelve steps to my fantasies because I now see where my choices lie. Reading about other people's experiences has helped me see the lines around things, so "figuring the problem out" has been useful to a point.

Still, my experiences confirm the twelve-step motto that knowledge is not enough. I have also surrendered my addiction to a higher power, and I've been helped in ways I don't understand and can't control. Addiction is a nasty piece of work. I don't believe there is an intellectual road out of it. 

marla said:

all these observations are very interesting, but sometimes, you can overcome addictions just by being sick enough of them. I wrote this post about six months ago. and I'm not a compulsive daydreamer any more. all the best


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