The Twinkie Dilemma 

Miserably Happy  |  Brannick Clinic of Natural MedicineOur book Miserably Happy: Infuse Your Life with Genuine Meaning, Purpose, Health and Happiness, captures the fact that virtually every thought we have and act upon to satisfy an unreasonable pursuit of pleasured-based happiness, moves us toward misery. Pursing desires (e.g., consumption of junk food, sugar, pornography, alcohol, smoking or drugs) in the hope of replacing the discomfort of acting reasonably and responsibly alienates us from our created capacity to be genuine and authentic. There is no such thing as a magic pill to create genuine happiness. Our ability to experience genuine happiness is our innate capacity to act reasonably and responsibly in the moment.
 
People often use substances like marijuana, cocaine and alcohol to feel the pleasure of intoxication while escaping uncomfortable, but reasonable and responsible actions. Pornography is used to feel the pleasure of sexual excitement even though it is often self-alienating and devoid of human intimacy. People eat junk food and sugar for the experience of pleasure and comfort—knowing how devastating it can be to our body-mind-spirit. We take pills to avoid physical or mental discomfort, so we might feel happy and comfortable. It goes on and on. The result of of these choices often ends with addiction or patterns leading to misery.
 
Diabetes, addiction to sugar, obesity, food addiction, alcoholism, addiction to illegal or legal drugs (e.g., prescribed pain medication), sex, addiction to pornography or promiscuous  behavior all began as the indiscriminate desire to seek pleasure-based happiness while masking or suppressing discomfort.
 
If we engage in these activities, we harm our body-mind-spirit. Given our choices define who we are, how do we feel after we engage in such addictive behaviors? Generally, our response is the feeling of remorse and unhappiness. We call our impulse to engage in such activities “eating the Twinkie.”
 
Frequently, activities  offering pleasure-based happiness become habitualized and lead to misery, illness and death. When people have chosen not to “eat the Twinkie,” they feel empowered, they feel good about themselves and they have a positive self image. This positively affects relationships with themselves and others. They move to feeling connected instead of feeling alienated. The demands of reasonable and responsible choices require us to sacrifice momentary experiences of pleasure and embrace the initial discomfort. The contrast in these choices is referred to as the “Twinkie dilemma”.
 
Symptoms of anger, sadness, anxiety, weight gain, back pain, headaches, etc., whether or not they are mental or physical, simply tell us we are out of balance and we need to change something in our life. We can not change if we take a pill that masks, suppresses or destroys our body-mind-spirit messaging. Masking the symptom is like shooting the messenger.
 
To truly feel genuine happiness is to live life—reasonably and responsibly—moment to moment. This results in no regrets and no self or social alienation. We look in the mirror and feel good about ourselves, which results in ever deepening relationships with ourselves, others and indeed, the entire universe of being.