From mid-July to mid-October, I became addicted—to the Presidential election. By October 20, I was looking at the FiveThirtyEight blog at least four times a day, and was constantly checking Google News and other websites. This was a classic addiction—after three or four searches each time, I stopped because my marginal utility was diminishing. But after another hour without my “fix,” I had to search again and got tremendous pleasure from that first search. The addiction was interfering with my work.
The theory of rational addiction suggested a solution—go cold turkey. So I vowed not to look at the FiveThirtyEight blog—and I’ve now been “clean” for 6 days. To mitigate my withdrawal symptoms, watching the NLCS and the World Series has served as my methadone. Watching baseball for me has the virtue that it’s self-contained—I’ve not developed any addiction and only watch the games. And if I can stay clean through Nov. 6, my problem will be solved!