WHY is Carnival so addictive?

Recently I read an article by global carnivalist and saw a line that grabbed my attention.

“Carnival is addictive.”

To give some perspective —

Psychological dependence is a form of dependence that involves emotional–motivational withdrawal symptoms (e.g., a state of unease or dissatisfaction, a reduced capacity to experience pleasure, or anxiety) upon cessation of exposure to a stimulus.

My WhatsApp group and I have discussed this fact for years but it still rings true to this day. For many of us carnival is a serious and significant part of our lives.

Like a drug, we start with just a taste (one carnival). We then perfect the use of that one taste until it is not enough. That’s when shit gets real and we move on to the big leagues. Carnival hopping!

Soon enough you can find yourself putting off other trips, delaying self improvement and other educational opportunities, denying yourselves simple pleasures of life in order to make financial space to feed your carnival habit.

It made me think…..why is carnival so addictive for me?

Carnival fills many different needs.

For some it’s simply a time to have fun with friends and enjoy some soca music. Not a big deal to miss one or two years.

For me:

It is a powerful source of personal affirmation. It’s a time when i can put my best body forward at an age where I can see it slowly slipping away!

It can also be a time where I can safely release my inhibitions and become an alternate version of myself. Allowing myself freedoms that I wouldn’t dream of otherwise. At carnival I’m loud, assertive and boisterous while in real life I’m quiet, shy and mild mannered.

It can be a time for putting the real world (responsibilities, expectations, bills) behind you to live in a parallel universe filled with like minded friends, beautiful happy people, dotted with fetes, intoxication and wining waistlines.

These are POWERFUL positive reinforcements and it becomes difficult to find replacements anywhere close to as potent.


This in itself isn’t a problem. The problem comes when you find yourself requiring these carnival affirmations in order to avoid feelings of dissatisfaction or that you are not “living your best life”.

I think carnival can serve as a great (amazing) reward for hard work in many aspects of life but it should be thought of as an enjoyable exception and should not be so important as to be the only affirmation in your life.

Other important affirmations should come from your careers, relationships, friends, and other challenges you set for yourself in life.


Make sure to strike that balance!

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