What really causes a person to become addicted to drugs or alcohol? Is the chemical strong enough to cause people to continuously crave more? If that were the case, how is it that many medical drug users do not become addicts? What is really driving the war on drugs? Have we been believing something for so long that is flawed in its essence? In an increasingly popular TED Talk, Johann Hari famously concludes that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is human connection.
The opposite of addiction is connection
When the addict finds that they are not alone and no longer have to fight their dependence on their own, their lives become open to a world of possibilities. Most importantly, the addict is encouraged by the support that they receive from others that are also in recovery. They are experiencing the personal connection that gives them the necessary support and accountability essential to growing in their recovery. No longer does addiction have to be linked in an unbreakable chain.
Johann Hari, the author of Chasing the Scream – The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, states in an article on the Huffington Post: “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.”
The theory is that one of the substantial causes of becoming addicted to a particular activity is the lack of human bonds. Some people feel like they need to compensate with other factors such as alcohol heavy drinking or other activities in which they feel better and seem to be filling the gap. In a certain sense, they are creating their own adult version of a pacifier.
Hari explains in one of his well-known TED-talks: “Human beings have a natural and innate need to bond. And when we’re happy and healthy we’ll bond and connect with each other. But if you can’t do that — because you’re traumatized or isolated or beaten down by life — you will bond with something that will give you some sense of relief. Now that might be gambling, that might be pornography, that might be cocaine, that might be cannabis, but you will bond and connect with something because that’s our nature, that’s what we want as human beings.”
So, addiction can essentially be defined as a sort of bonding and bandage for a need of closeness. Of course, when an addiction starts controlling you and taking over your life it causes more emotional damage than good.
Hari states: “For a hundred years now we’ve been singing war songs about addicts. I think all along we should have been singing love songs to them. Because the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.”
The next time you’ll encounter a person with an addiction, try to empathize before you judge. After all, the root of their problem is the lack of connection and closeness.
What really causes addiction?
What really caused addiction – to everything from cocaine to smart-phones? And how can we overcome it? Johann Hari has seen our current methods fail firsthand, as he has watched loved ones struggle to manage their addictions. He started to wonder why we treat addicts the way we do — and if there might be a better way. As he shares in this deeply personal talk, his questions took him around the world, and unearthed some surprising and hopeful ways of thinking about an age-old problem.
Most people are familiar with the difficulties that result from active addiction. Whether it is from first-hand experience or watching a loved one destroy their lives, it is widespread for people to witness first-hand how drugs/ alcohol lead a person down roads that are better left untraveled. It may not be immediately clear what causes a person to decide to cause such harm to themselves and others. Addiction is fraught with disappointment, disillusionment, and destruction. Many times, the addict is the last to find out that they have a problem. Denial is a trademark of active addiction. The addict will look for every reason other than their drug use to explain why they have lost everything.
Many times, people come into recovery and are unable to identify what led to their using. It is common to hear phrases such as “I was bored” or “I just wanted to have fun.” Many times, the addiction started at a time in their life when they were still too young to understand the gravity of their decisions. It will often take many years before the addict can identify the reasons that led to their use. Most addicts eventually admit that they just wanted to feel accepted and understood when they first started to use drugs.
How Does The Detox Center of Los Angeles Can Help
Living with pain isn’t easy. If you live with pain, you may already be all too familiar with the profound effect it can have on your quality of life. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
The Detox Center of Los Angeles is a 24/7 residential and outpatient rehab center in California. We have state-of-the-art facilities, proven detox medication, holistic therapies, and a staff with over four decades of inexperience in drug and alcohol detox Los Angeles. Our main priority is to provide medical safety, nourishment, and comfort to our patients during their detox and treatment. Contact Us Today!