Phenomenally successful YouTuber Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg published a different sort of video on Wednesday, in which he discussed his experience quitting his addiction to alcohol and then nicotine. He made the video in hopes that he could help others who are struggling with addiction.
In the relatively casual video, PewDiePie opened up about addiction first to alcohol and then to nicotine. He shared how his study of philosophies like Stoicism, Buddism, Nietzsche, and other philosophy helped him question his reliance on these addictive substances and garner fortitude to quit.
"Me alone, and a bottle, that is not a good combination," the YouTuber explained. "I used to drink Whiskey every single day, and I realized I was getting addicted when I tried to cut down on it and just how difficult that was. This was back in late 2017 early 2018, I thought 'I enjoy drinking' but it was also a time when I started to care about my health, and I thought if I want to live a healthy life I should probably cut down on it. For any sane person, that is easy to do. For someone really getting into it, that was very difficult to do."
He continued, "that is when I realized maybe I have a problem. So I quit drinking for a few months, because I thought I need to show I am the one in control. I had just read a book on Buddhism that was all about self-control. I wanted to prove I could quit drinking."
He goes on to explain that his temporary quitting of drinking ended up just becoming an excuse for why he could keep on drinking since he had demonstrated "self-control."
"What my brain said to me was, you quit drinking before, you have shown you are in control. Everyone drinks, this is not a problem for you, so you can drink Whiskey again," he said. "In retrospect I realize, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety at the time. Drinking to escape emotions is a recipe for disaster. . . I had trained my brain into thinking something bad is coming."
PewDiePie said that at this time, imaging a life without drinking felt really bleak to him. He said, "It's never gotten bad, or out of control. . . But I just want to recognize what it was. When I stopped drinking this time, it was rough. I had withdraws from it, it took me a long time to be able to sleep properly again, but I did manage it. I was done, and I haven't touched it since."
However, PewDiePie was still embarrassed to talk about his quitting drinking because he had replaced his addiction to drinking with an addiction to nicotine patches.
"Quitting [nicotine] was really hard, because I had to come to terms with the fact that I would have nothing," he explained. "It kind of felt like losing a friend. Something you used to rely on won't be there. But I was beyond fed up, and I would just have to deal with it."
He explained that had he used stoicism as his voice of reason, because stoicism allows for vices like drinking, but he eventually realized he was just making excuses. PewDiePie argued that Buddism had it right all along, saying that "craving is suffering, so you will always suffer until you uproot your cravings."
Now PewDiePie doesn't use nicotine or alcohol, but he did acknowledge that he feels addicted to YouTube, which has led to an unhealthy relationship to YouTube that he is also working on addressing.
"I am hoping talking about these things might lead people to open their eyes about their own actions," he concluded. "It's a tough thing to admit. going through this experience I am so humbled to people who deal with other forms of addiction. I didn't see it this way before. People that deal with being overweight or drug addiction, obviously it's not all the same, but I understand the mentality, which I didn't have an empathy for the same way [before]."
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.