What if everything we’ve thought about addiction is wrong?
In the following video, author Johann Hart challenges our common beliefs about addiction, concluding that we’ve got it all wrong.
Hart cites a fascinating study wherein researchers put two water bottles into rat’s cage: one with plain water and the other heroin-laced. The rats quickly drink much of the water and become addicted to the heroin. Subsequently, the researchers wonder if perhaps the stark and lonely cage itself contributes to the rats’ addictive tendencies. To test their hypothesis, they create a rat playground, complete with bits of cheese, colored balls, and lots of other rats to contrast with the stark cage. They place the same heroin-laced water next to plain water. This time around, the rats almost never drink the heroin water.
Or consider the following social experiment in Portugal: the only country that has made all drugs legal. They put all of the money that used to go to punishing addicts into building community in society and giving people meaningful work. The addiction rates plummeted by 50%.
One observer suggests that maybe we shouldn’t call this phenomenon addiction, but rather bonding. It just so happens that in the absence of healthy bonds, we bond with inanimate things that mimic the brain chemistry of relationships. Therefore the best preventative for addiction to drugs is “addiction” to healthy, loving relationships.
What if the opposite of addiction is not sobriety but connection?
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