Carrot or Stick?


I often think about the ‘carrot or stick’ schools of learning. Do you learn new habits best when you are rewarded for getting things right (2 days Diet Coke free = get a good coffee somewhere) or when you are taught a lesson with a punishment of some sort (Diet coke again – no coffee for 2 days)? I ponder both sides of this coin a lot.

I also spend a lot of time on the internet reading. Sometimes it’s intelligent stuff, sometimes it’s just drivel that I find while randomly clicking my way around the webiverse.

The other night I found myself on an internet weight-loss forum and someone posted in a thread about their use of the anti-addiction drug Antabuse.

So of course I googled it. Essentially Antabuse is taken daily and creates a violent and very real allergy-like reaction whenever the patient has even a small amount of alcohol and to some types of drugs too. Even though the medication is taken daily, the effect remains in the patient’s system for up to 14 days so even if you had the fore-sight to think that you might like to change your mind and drink/get high again – you have to chill out for 14 days or get super duper sick. That’s a lot of time to think about why you gave it up in the first place and re-think your decision to go back.

I thought it was pretty cool. It’s a pretty big stick.

For the person writing in that forum, that’s what worked for them. More than getting a ‘chip’ at AA or a treat for staying sober for xx months. The real fear of “instantly  turning into a shaking, vomiting hot-mess”  was the motivator that worked.

As I do, I started wondering that should a similar drug exist for overeating exist (it doesn’t, I googled)  would I do it? Would you?


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