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HONORING MY MOTHER | What’s your online Dopamine dosage?

THIS had always been the usual Fridays back in the 90s. My waiter-friend Edu would call out to me the moment I walked through the door and ask, “What’s you poison?”. And if my arrival still fell within the happy hour period, I would try to catch up with the resto bar’s drink-all-you-can-for-a-hundred promo that usually ended around seven. At least, by twelve midnight, it guaranteed that I was happily drunk when I finally took the cab for home.

As you might have guessed, those were in them older days, when drifting and trying to forget still ruled the lonesome me. A long long time ago indeed, and before you stretch this further, it’s senti over.

However, who else doesn’t know that alcohol isn’t exactly the thing that makes one tipsy-happy, or feeling-great-y? Not by a long shot (pun intended). Like dope, it merely induced the brain to produce and excrete more dopamine, that pleasure neurotransmitter slash hormone which instantly makes one feel good and happy.

Alas, with the present-day quarantine and liquor ban in effect in this part of our covid-infested plantation, the availability of alcohol, save for the rubbing variety, had become so so hard to come by, that for most drinking peeps, the usual dopamine fix from beer and ESQ is just hard to get these days. But wait! Without our knowing it, we have been getting our dopamine fix all along, though not through the usual way, so it’s not saying you stock up on beer and spirits, bro.

Self-gratifying activities like watching or indulging in Tiktok, cat videos, or online gaming are dopamine triggers right there, even without the 40-peso cold beer, which is now banned anyway! Online is the new beeline, folks and you can even say that it’s the unseen pusher no one’s even suspected in our midst.

“Dopamine is the same chemical that we get when we smoke, when we drink, when we gamble…In other words, it’s highly highly addictive.” so says Simon Sinek. The fact that many would reach out to their cell phones first thing when they wake up is tell-tale sign that one needs a fix immediately.

As a family, we have talked about this at the table countless of times and laughed about the many online “addictions”, which through the years, we have come to accept, discard, then replace with new ones that came along. It is even so surprising even to note that the mere feeling of sending and then receiving a text message can translate into a tiny dose of dopamine in the system. We feel good ya, we count “likes” ya, in all, it affirms that we exist. Did you know that posting food pics, pet pics or even sharing pics of others, send out dopamine, and give our brains the self-gratification we need? So, if you’ve little else to do in your quarantine hours, make a list. What are the online activities that make you (starting from a scale of one to ten) make you high, happy or slitty-eyed good? Once you’ve reached 20, post it on the wall and take out beer from the fridge.

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