Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari

Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari


One of my earliest memories is of trying to wake up
one of my relatives and not being able to. And I was just a little kid,
so I didn’t really understand why, but as I got older, I realized we had
drug addiction in my family, including later cocaine addiction. I’d been thinking about it a lot lately,
partly because it’s now exactly 100 years since drugs were first banned
in the United States and Britain, and we then imposed that
on the rest of the world. It’s a century since we made
this really fateful decision to take addicts and punish them
and make them suffer, because we believed that would deter them;
it would give them an incentive to stop. And a few years ago, I was looking at
some of the addicts in my life who I love, and trying to figure out
if there was some way to help them. And I realized there were loads
of incredibly basic questions I just didn’t know the answer to, like, what really causes addiction? Why do we carry on with this approach
that doesn’t seem to be working, and is there a better way out there
that we could try instead? So I read loads of stuff about it, and I couldn’t really find
the answers I was looking for, so I thought, okay, I’ll go and sit
with different people around the world who lived this and studied this and talk to them and see
if I could learn from them. And I didn’t realize I would end up
going over 30,000 miles at the start, but I ended up going and meeting
loads of different people, from a transgender crack dealer
in Brownsville, Brooklyn, to a scientist who spends a lot of time
feeding hallucinogens to mongooses to see if they like them — it turns out they do, but only
in very specific circumstances — to the only country that’s ever
decriminalized all drugs, from cannabis to crack, Portugal. And the thing I realized
that really blew my mind is, almost everything we think
we know about addiction is wrong, and if we start to absorb
the new evidence about addiction, I think we’re going to have to change
a lot more than our drug policies. But let’s start with what we think
we know, what I thought I knew. Let’s think about this middle row here. Imagine all of you, for 20 days now, went
off and used heroin three times a day. Some of you look a little more
enthusiastic than others at this prospect. (Laughter) Don’t worry,
it’s just a thought experiment. Imagine you did that, right? What would happen? Now, we have a story about what would
happen that we’ve been told for a century. We think, because there are
chemical hooks in heroin, as you took it for a while, your body would become
dependent on those hooks, you’d start to physically need them, and at the end of those 20 days,
you’d all be heroin addicts. Right? That’s what I thought. First thing that alerted me to the fact
that something’s not right with this story is when it was explained to me. If I step out of this TED Talk today
and I get hit by a car and I break my hip, I’ll be taken to hospital
and I’ll be given loads of diamorphine. Diamorphine is heroin. It’s actually much better heroin
than you’re going to buy on the streets, because the stuff you buy
from a drug dealer is contaminated. Actually, very little of it is heroin, whereas the stuff you get
from the doctor is medically pure. And you’ll be given it for quite
a long period of time. There are loads of people in this room, you may not realize it,
you’ve taken quite a lot of heroin. And anyone who is watching this
anywhere in the world, this is happening. And if what we believe
about addiction is right — those people are exposed
to all those chemical hooks — What should happen?
They should become addicts. This has been studied really carefully. It doesn’t happen; you will have noticed
if your grandmother had a hip replacement, she didn’t come out as a junkie.
(Laughter) And when I learned this,
it seemed so weird to me, so contrary to everything I’d been told,
everything I thought I knew, I just thought it couldn’t be right,
until I met a man called Bruce Alexander. He’s a professor
of psychology in Vancouver who carried out an incredible experiment I think really helps us
to understand this issue. Professor Alexander explained to me, the idea of addiction we’ve all
got in our heads, that story, comes partly from a series of experiments that were done earlier
in the 20th century. They’re really simple. You can do them tonight at home
if you feel a little sadistic. You get a rat and you put it in a cage,
and you give it two water bottles: One is just water, and the other is water
laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always
prefer the drug water and almost always
kill itself quite quickly. So there you go, right?
That’s how we think it works. In the ’70s, Professor Alexander comes
along and he looks at this experiment and he noticed something. He said ah, we’re putting
the rat in an empty cage. It’s got nothing to do
except use these drugs. Let’s try something different. So Professor Alexander built a cage
that he called “Rat Park,” which is basically heaven for rats. They’ve got loads of cheese,
they’ve got loads of colored balls, they’ve got loads of tunnels. Crucially, they’ve got loads of friends.
They can have loads of sex. And they’ve got both the water bottles,
the normal water and the drugged water. But here’s the fascinating thing: In Rat Park, they don’t
like the drug water. They almost never use it. None of them ever use it compulsively. None of them ever overdose. You go from almost 100 percent overdose
when they’re isolated to zero percent overdose when they
have happy and connected lives. Now, when he first saw this,
Professor Alexander thought, maybe this is just a thing about rats,
they’re quite different to us. Maybe not as different as we’d like,
but, you know — But fortunately, there was
a human experiment into the exact same principle happening
at the exact same time. It was called the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, 20 percent of all American
troops were using loads of heroin, and if you look at the news
reports from the time, they were really worried, because
they thought, my God, we’re going to have hundreds of thousands of junkies
on the streets of the United States when the war ends; it made total sense. Now, those soldiers who were using
loads of heroin were followed home. The Archives of General Psychiatry
did a really detailed study, and what happened to them? It turns out they didn’t go to rehab.
They didn’t go into withdrawal. Ninety-five percent of them just stopped. Now, if you believe the story
about chemical hooks, that makes absolutely no sense,
but Professor Alexander began to think there might be a different
story about addiction. He said, what if addiction isn’t
about your chemical hooks? What if addiction is about your cage? What if addiction is an adaptation
to your environment? Looking at this, there was another professor
called Peter Cohen in the Netherlands who said, maybe we shouldn’t
even call it addiction. Maybe we should call it bonding. 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. And at first, I found this quite
a difficult thing to get my head around, but one way that helped me
to think about it is, I can see, I’ve got over by my seat
a bottle of water, right? I’m looking at lots of you, and lots
of you have bottles of water with you. Forget the drugs. Forget the drug war. Totally legally, all of those bottles
of water could be bottles of vodka, right? We could all be getting drunk —
I might after this — (Laughter) — but we’re not. Now, because you’ve been able to afford
the approximately gazillion pounds that it costs to get into a TED Talk,
I’m guessing you guys could afford to be drinking vodka
for the next six months. You wouldn’t end up homeless. You’re not going to do that,
and the reason you’re not going to do that is not because anyone’s stopping you. It’s because you’ve got
bonds and connections that you want to be present for. You’ve got work you love.
You’ve got people you love. You’ve got healthy relationships. And a core part of addiction, I came to think, and I believe
the evidence suggests, is about not being able to bear
to be present in your life. Now, this has really
significant implications. The most obvious implications
are for the War on Drugs. In Arizona, I went out
with a group of women who were made to wear t-shirts
saying, “I was a drug addict,” and go out on chain gangs and dig graves
while members of the public jeer at them, and when those women get out of prison,
they’re going to have criminal records that mean they’ll never work
in the legal economy again. Now, that’s a very extreme example,
obviously, in the case of the chain gang, but actually almost
everywhere in the world we treat addicts to some degree like that. We punish them. We shame them.
We give them criminal records. We put barriers between them reconnecting. There was a doctor in Canada,
Dr. Gabor Maté, an amazing man, who said to me, if you wanted to design
a system that would make addiction worse, you would design that system. Now, there’s a place that decided
to do the exact opposite, and I went there to see how it worked. In the year 2000, Portugal had
one of the worst drug problems in Europe. One percent of the population was addicted
to heroin, which is kind of mind-blowing, and every year, they tried
the American way more and more. They punished people and stigmatized them
and shamed them more, and every year, the problem got worse. And one day, the Prime Minister and
the leader of the opposition got together, and basically said, look, we can’t go on with a country where we’re having
ever more people becoming heroin addicts. Let’s set up a panel
of scientists and doctors to figure out what would
genuinely solve the problem. And they set up a panel led by
an amazing man called Dr. João Goulão, to look at all this new evidence, and they came back and they said, “Decriminalize all drugs
from cannabis to crack, but” — and this is the crucial next step — “take all the money we used to spend
on cutting addicts off, on disconnecting them, and spend it instead
on reconnecting them with society.” And that’s not really what we think of
as drug treatment in the United States and Britain. So they do do residential rehab, they do psychological therapy,
that does have some value. But the biggest thing they did
was the complete opposite of what we do: a massive program
of job creation for addicts, and microloans for addicts
to set up small businesses. So say you used to be a mechanic. When you’re ready, they’ll go
to a garage, and they’ll say, if you employ this guy for a year,
we’ll pay half his wages. The goal was to make sure
that every addict in Portugal had something to get out
of bed for in the morning. And when I went and met the addicts
in Portugal, what they said is,
as they rediscovered purpose, they rediscovered bonds
and relationships with the wider society. It’ll be 15 years this year
since that experiment began, and the results are in: injecting drug use is down in Portugal, according to the British
Journal of Criminology, by 50 percent, five-zero percent. Overdose is massively down,
HIV is massively down among addicts. Addiction in every study
is significantly down. One of the ways you know it’s worked
so well is that almost nobody in Portugal wants to go back to the old system. Now, that’s the political implications. I actually think there’s a layer
of implications to all this research below that. We live in a culture where people
feel really increasingly vulnerable to all sorts of addictions,
whether it’s to their smartphones or to shopping or to eating. Before these talks began —
you guys know this — we were told we weren’t allowed
to have our smartphones on, and I have to say, a lot of you
looked an awful lot like addicts who were told their dealer
was going to be unavailable for the next couple of hours. (Laughter) A lot of us feel like that,
and it might sound weird to say, I’ve been talking about how disconnection
is a major driver of addiction and weird to say it’s growing, because you think we’re the most connected
society that’s ever been, surely. But I increasingly began to think
that the connections we have or think we have, are like a kind
of parody of human connection. If you have a crisis in your life,
you’ll notice something. It won’t be your Twitter followers
who come to sit with you. It won’t be your Facebook friends
who help you turn it round. It’ll be your flesh and blood friends
who you have deep and nuanced and textured, face-to-face
relationships with, and there’s a study I learned about from
Bill McKibben, the environmental writer, that I think tells us a lot about this. It looked at the number of close friends
the average American believes they can call on in a crisis. That number has been declining
steadily since the 1950s. The amount of floor space
an individual has in their home has been steadily increasing, and I think that’s like a metaphor for the choice we’ve made as a culture. We’ve traded floorspace for friends,
we’ve traded stuff for connections, and the result is we are one of the
loneliest societies there has ever been. And Bruce Alexander, the guy who did
the Rat Park experiment, says, we talk all the time in addiction
about individual recovery, and it’s right to talk about that, but we need to talk much more
about social recovery. Something’s gone wrong with us,
not just with individuals but as a group, and we’ve created a society where,
for a lot of us, life looks a whole lot more
like that isolated cage and a whole lot less like Rat Park. If I’m honest, this isn’t
why I went into it. I didn’t go in to the discover
the political stuff, the social stuff. I wanted to know how to help
the people I love. And when I came back from this
long journey and I’d learned all this, I looked at the addicts in my life, and if you’re really candid,
it’s hard loving an addict, and there’s going to be lots of people
who know in this room. You are angry a lot of the time, and I think one of the reasons
why this debate is so charged is because it runs through the heart
of each of us, right? Everyone has a bit of them
that looks at an addict and thinks, I wish someone would just stop you. And the kind of scripts we’re told for how
to deal with the addicts in our lives is typified by, I think, the reality show “Intervention,”
if you guys have ever seen it. I think everything in our lives
is defined by reality TV, but that’s another TED Talk. If you’ve ever seen
the show “Intervention,” it’s a pretty simple premise. Get an addict, all the people
in their life, gather them together, confront them with what they’re doing,
and they say, if you don’t shape up, we’re going to cut you off. So what they do is they take
the connection to the addict, and they threaten it,
they make it contingent on the addict behaving the way they want. And I began to think, I began to see
why that approach doesn’t work, and I began to think that’s almost like
the importing of the logic of the Drug War into our private lives. So I was thinking,
how could I be Portuguese? And what I’ve tried to do now,
and I can’t tell you I do it consistently and I can’t tell you it’s easy, is to say to the addicts in my life that I want to deepen
the connection with them, to say to them, I love you
whether you’re using or you’re not. I love you, whatever state you’re in, and if you need me,
I’ll come and sit with you because I love you and I don’t
want you to be alone or to feel alone. And I think the core of that message — you’re not alone, we love you — has to be at every level
of how we respond to addicts, socially, politically and individually. For 100 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. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari

  1. America punishes their diabetics by making their insulin cost too much-its working-they are now skipping doses. GREAT JOB BIG PHARMA

  2. I know he didn't really go out of his way to say that chemical addiction isn't a thing, but I did want to say that is definitely IS a reality. My father has been drinking for 50 years but only in the last 15 has it gotten much worse. It's to the point now where he gets extreme withdrawals if he doesnt drink within a week or so. He has stated and shown how much he hates the stuff but its the only way he can get any sleep, pain relief and general relief.

    Though, as someone below said, following this guy's advice is 100 times better than the alternative.

  3. Beware readers of the comment section..
    You may develop rsi hitting the like button of all the awesome comments people have.
    Humanity restored.

    even if for just one day 🙂

  4. Almost quit watching when he started to talk about rat park because it is in every addiction video nowadays. Glad that I didn't, great talk and great message at the end!

  5. My father is addicted to alcohol among other things maybe not yet diagnosed. Uncharacteristically, the drama of who is or isn't making connections is exactly why such a comprehensive leap in judgment requires time, safety, and security to exercise clear thinking, for example to observe what decisons are being made. We need help from Persephone!

  6. This is a brilliant talk and so true, I know, I was addicted to heroin, but not for 19 years now. I am still lonely and disconnected but I’ve come to except that I’m not accepted in my family and I have no friends but I want to know me and become who I should be, I realised I’m someone and I deserved to make the best of my life.

  7. I mean, the two points ( the one which he says is false) ( The one he says is right ) connect. They get addicted because of the local environment but the chemical hooks that cause you to depend on it. If there wasn't chemical hooks why do people experience physical trauma starting when you stop taking said substance. The body thinks that it need the substance to survive. It is the body's way of saying that something is wrong. That is addiction

  8. I didn't know there were so many addicts out there. I guess I'm just really lucky. Glad awareness was brought to me stay strong guys

  9. Pray for our sons and daughters that are growing up in this virtual world filled w doctors pushing drugs for a profit. love your children unconditionally, listen to them. Show them they way. God help us all in this upside down world. Prayers of A Mom.

  10. Without the warmth of human interaction and connection – chemical indused warmth becomes better than nothing. I'm grateful the healing truth of this information is making the undeniable inroads for greater peace to be established permanently in our society.

  11. Yes, the evidence about drugs – what works, what doesn't – is conclusive. So let's do what we've always done and get what we always got :-(. You know it makes sense!

  12. The power of kindess,, just try it makes wonder. Very human speech and supported with science. Beautifullllllll

  13. Really they just came home from Vietnam and quit using heroin.? They didn't get dope sick huh? No withdrawals? Liar. Your statistics are also incorrect. Take it from an old addict… Loneliness has nothing to do with me using drugs… I use drugs because I like them… Over time I've learned to control my use of drugs my vices… you want to connect with people? Sure sure sure, especially addicts or so-called recovering addicts… They sit around and talk about themselves… And because their addicys I wouldn't suggest you trust them LOL I don't use drugs because I'm lonely .. I use drugs because people get on my f**** nerves… Mostly I use drugs because I like to change the way I feel… I like to get high… Here's my advice stay the f*** away from the opiates… Furthermore stay away from f**** recovery programs… They will just make your life miserable and worse… Sorry this guy's full of s***

  14. lord saved me from the devils playground.. im only 17, i know i have a life time of temptation & struggles but i also know ill be okay, trial & error. i got this, i may stumble & make some poor choices but I know there will be more better nights than bad. I am loved, i am safe, i am strong, i got this. we all do, God bless everyone, you got this.

  15. if thats true then we would hav a high, High percentage of people on those "programs" .. it wouldnt fiduciarily work .. nice theory, not too much Data to back it .. I know this wont be popular after your persuasive speech, but its realistic .. and Accurate .

  16. over 6 million views and 150 K likes here- there are a lot of addicts and people dealing with addiction related issues. Why is addiction so taboo to talk about in the open?

  17. I have actually been off heroin now for 10+ years now. Also used crack cocaine too. But kicked it all. The thing is I am still on a Methadone program, was on 125ml & got that down to 60ml. I think its just keeping me going, so I don't turn back to the smack again. I also am subscribed 12 Valium a day & a 45mlg Mirtarzapine at nite. I do smoke weed, but its better than crack & smack. So I would say if you are ready to quit any addiction, you have to want it first. Then the rest is just doing what makes you happy. You also have to leave old "Friends" that are useing too. Then you have a good chance at getting clean. Be safe out there peoples. ✌

  18. IF I CHANGE THE WAY I LOOK AT THINGS, THE THINGS I LOOK AT CHANGE. KEEP MOVING FORWARD MY FELLOW RECOVERING ADDICTS!!!!!

  19. Good talk, but it's not helpful to call people addicts and junkies. Person first language is better as it recognises that the person is more than their addiction.

  20. "our grandma's don't come out of treatment as junkies!" Everyone laughs… Uhh, yes, they do. The doctor continues prescribing them narcotics at an ever decreasing amount. Tapering is effective..

    Next faulty point he made was "%95 of these Vietnam soldiers just came home and stopped. No chemical hook!" Yeah, they stopped after experiencing excruciating withdrawal, usually because access was cut off. This is completely possible for all opioid addicts, but not ideal at all.

  21. We can overcome addiction. The answer is searching for the TRUE GOD and HIS WORDS." I have one sister and two brother who are addicts. One is addicted of opium and marijuana. The other is drug injection and over taking of drugs. The last one is cocaine and one box of cigarette smoking in a day.My sister died after 10 years addiction.She was REHAB but not overcome. The other trying to finish college-overcome a little but 99% in mental quotient. The last is we let him to be a priest by schooling at seminary…there he read WORDS OF GOD and healed.

  22. I was an IV heroin and cocaine user for 15 years. When I got out of prison I met my son for the first time, he was 6months old. That connection saved my life. I’m not gonna lie I didn’t do a complete 180 it took time. But now my son is 9 years old, I have full custody of him because sadly his mom didn’t stop using heroin. I’m 33 years old and have been sober for the last 5 years. I love my boy more then anything in this world and without him I don’t know where I’d be. #connections.

  23. Great talk Johann, and perspective on addiction. I showed this to a group of residents in a detox unit where I work and they were inspired by it. As am I. With respect Johann, I'd like to offer a little feedback if you don't mind? It is the use of the word Junkie in your talk. Some of the residents felt a bit disappointed by its use, even though they really appreciated your message, and know that it wasn't intended to be that. I know that you will take the feedback i the spirit it is offered, and look forward to exploring more of your work. Thank you
    PS – I am going to continue to use this video in future group sessions.

  24. I'm a recovering addict. This is absolute Truth, and should be incorporated into society immediately. The connections through AA and the loving people that I met there are my family now.

  25. The Hubris in that statement to generalize all Addiction in one is the most ignorant and disgusting thing I've ever heard

  26. My family scapegoats me for wanting an actual connection with them. Their lack of depth, honesty and actual closeness hurts. They did this before I used no wonder smack is like a loving hug.

  27. so, does this concept apply to homelessness that are drug addicts? Because this kind of concept makes sense and it seems like something that would work with gradual time.

  28. Hello all, I am a psych and addictions nurse. For ten years. I actually have the cure for addiction. I have the science to back it up. However no one will listen. NO ONE WILL LISTEN.

  29. What if the addict doesn't want a friend? This is partly a 2 way street, I can do everything except stop them from using, but what if they continue to use even with my help? I feel like connection has to be "accepted" by both parties, otherwise you are basically an enabler. So, where do we draw the line that my work is not helping?

  30. BULLSHIT , IN ANY HOSPITAL UNLESS IN RARE 'END OF LIFE CASES' ,( LIKE A TERMINAL ADDICTION WHERE YOU WOULD NEED THEM AS LONG AS ALIVE) THEN YOU WOULD BECOME HOOKED…… THE PAIN KILLERS GIVEN ARE NOT AFTER THE FIRST CRITICAL MOMENTS WOULD BE MORPHINE ( MORPHINE IS NOT WHERE NEAR LIKE HEROIN ) IMAGINE ROBINSONS DILUTE JUICE , THE WHOLE BOTTLE BEING HEROIN , WHEN YOU TAKE THIS AND DILUTE IN A CUP AND PUT WATER WITH IT BECOMES MORPHINE ( ALL ACTUAL BECOMES MORPHINE IN THE BODY ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BnZKiJqzew

  31. THEY WAS LOADS IF NAM SOLDIERS THAT BECAME HOOKED WHEN THE WAR STOPPED , COCAINE IS NOT PHYSICALLY ADDICTIVE IS PSYCHOLOGICALLY……… i THINK YOUR A EX GUY WHO LIKE COKE AND DRINK AND NOT GETTING PHYSICALLY ADDICTED TO IT , OPIATES WHERE YOU CANT GET OUT OF BED IF YOU DONT HAVE THEM IS DIFFERENT….. ITS DANGEROUS TO SAY YOU WONT WITHDRAW FROM OPIATES DRUGS THROUGH SHEER MIND OVER MATTER

  32. After 5 yrs of dealing with a drug addict how do you not give up? They lie steal and are just mean to the point you are afraid to confront them. Thousands of dollars on rehab and bail money and sober living and they still treat you like crap and still steal from you forge checks.. they have clean clothes hot food and water and a roof over their head newest phones and a car to drive. When does the free ride end?? They had nothing but love but now it is turning into hate. People can only take so much from an addict. Nobody really wants to give up on them but sometimes for they own sanity and health they need to.
    Someone please tell me how to get past the current stage of hate or strong dislike.
    Yes I do love him and tell him all the time, but he doesn’t hear it. All he hears is what he wants only the negative things that are said. So please tell me how to get through to an addict.

  33. You'd think something like would be commonsense by now. How many more decades before the powers that be realize this. I've been openly fighting for complete legalization since I was in high school and very few people are willing to understand. I use the smartphone as an example all the time.

    I ask people when do you choose to put down your phone? And they almost ALL reply the exact same
    "When I'm with my family"
    "When I'm out with my friends"
    "When I'm out doing something"
    And I reply with EXACTLY. you have no problem saying I'm addicted to my phone. Yet are not willing to notice what relieves that addiction and it is real attention. When someone is really listening to you, when someone is really paying attention to you. Nobody grows up wanting to be an outlier wanting to be disconnected from other people. It's simply impossible. Humans can literally die without significant connection with other people and unfortunately life can get to the point where it is just the other person you do drugs with because nobody else wants to see you and this type of behavior needs to change.

  34. It’s incredibly sad, and an eye opener to see that these entitled people are just starting to figure out after hundreds of thousands of years of why we use drugs.

    And he only got it half right.

    I wonder if he even realized that he explained the reason why for the whole US school shooting epidemic in his talk?

    We are so drastically compartmentalized and detached from just more than social bonds.

    I have zero hope for this world.

  35. I’ve learned no matter the love, support or money given to help an addict- the result was the same and it actually almost ruined my love of life and my marriage. (Step daughter)

    We realized we couldn’t really help but just accept – she had to help herself . Love can only be accepted when a person believes they deserve it or accept it. Addiction and alcoholism are just a symptom of a way bigger problem that’s above my pay grade to understand and most people I know (even the pros). Blessings on everyone’s journey- we all do our best.

  36. After over 2 decades of trying to help my "brother" overcome addiction I finally had to walk away. He stole from me, my kids, almost caused my husband and I to divorce and constantly lied to me. I loved him with all of my heart. He was clean almost a decade when he started using again. My grandson got a hold of his used needle (he had hep C) and I had to ban him from my home. I remained a moral support but could no longer fully support him. He only worked for drug money. He was in his early 30s. He died 4 months after getting cut off of suboxone. I did my best

  37. Wow, I'm blown away. Your talk cuts to the heart of the problem. The substance is interchangeable and required if the discontentment and disconnect continue. A great wake up call, personally and as a society. Thanks Johann for presenting your insights to us.

  38. Finally…. I've been saying this for years… I've done every drug I could very my hands on to experience what they were all about.. for the most part i enjoyed all of them for years , and when I moved on in life it wasn't even difficult to stop. I doubt believe in the word (or definition ) of addiction . I've known many people who let drugs take them down. It was always the same reasons ( a mental loneliness or disconnection of some form or another ) I agree with everything that this man said

  39. Maybe there is a modicum of truth in this….but….the rest….baloney….there are so many addicts who have loving family and friends and cannot get off it. Nothing that is done, no amount of caring can do it. Stop making those who love and care for addicts "enough" Chemically being taken over by that crap is a fact. Otherwise detox would not be so hard. Baloney and dangerous.

  40. I'm a recovering addict and I agree completly with his theory. I started using drugs and drinking when I was only 14 years old. I felt lonely and inadequate. I'm 20 years old now and have been sober for 6 months. If my family and friends gave up on me, I would have been doing drugs until now. I only have gratitude for them, God, NA, for teaching me the value of true connections and intimacy. If you are a drug addict, you should know that you are not alone.

  41. I've started to become addicted to various drugs recently, and after sitting back and looking at my life I realized Exactly what this guy is saying. I didn't want to be in my sober life, so I have begun improving my life and surroundings so I can enjoy being sober and don't rely on doing drugs to be happy. In the end I want to be able to enjoy the fun water bottle, but also enjoy the plain water bottle.

    And I honestly can't wait for my new life. Good vibes to all of you, and good luck to anyone making this journey as well

  42. This also applies to those of us who struggle with obesity. I'm not a foodie, I dont get excited over a lovely meal. I'm not fat because I overeat. I am fat because I have used chocolate and sweets as a pick-me-up since I was a child to counter the way I felt about myself due to child sexual abuse. Eventually that resulted in a personality disorder – which has resulted in further life frackery. Life is hard enough, now I have to deal with complete strangers who feel it is their right to come up to me and tell me I need to lose weight, or that I'm disgusting and many other painful things. All this does is make me want to go hide in a hole somewhere, stuff my face with more chocolate and never come out again. It's time for compassion and the fat shaming to stop.

  43. That’s so true I had an injury that required a 4 week hospitalization and lots of morphine. At the end I didn’t have any issues discontinuing the pain meds at all.

  44. Apparently the way you use heroin is the reason for the addiction as it shoots up into the brain very quicly…injection in blood stream…snorting… dear TED

  45. This is crap… I do not care about studies… He didn’t ask me!!! Shaming works!!! I did cocain for 7 years!!! I have now been clean for 7 years!!! I lost ALL of my friends. ALL of them!!! I have gotten rid of all my vices save smoking tobacco. My family distanced himself from me. My social groups kicked me out. And I was doing a gram every other day for 7 fucking years. I did not want to get killed or go to jail!!! Scaring people works… you keep it illegal and now they want to legalize it. I quit cold turkey. I removed all of the friends in my life. I have not had a friend in 7 years.

  46. Following the path of least resistance is human nature,we adopt 'tools' to make 'things' easier. Drugs are such a tool. I love the rat park analogy…. deals with connection…. it's all about connection.🌴

  47. The rats were traumatized from sexual abuse, loss of loved ones etc etc. The rats didn't suffer from mental illnesses like schizophrenia and depression. The rats didn't get locked into a justice system that at times seems impossible to get out of.

  48. This certainly holds true for me. Drugs obviously are psychologically and in some cases physically addictive, but my drinking was partly a result of total and complete misery. Then, the addiction really takes hold and you spiral out of control, because the drugs are making you more miserable, and all you have left are the drugs, so you use more, and so on. When I was at my worst, I was totally isolated. I'd alienated my friends and family, I wouldn't leave my house except to go buy liquor and go to work, but at work I wasn't mentally present and barely functional. Now, 5 years later, I don't have time for all the things I want to do, and my desire to drink has evaporated over that time. It's when I get bored, sad, lonely, those are the moments that turning back to the bottle becomes most attractive.

    Every person in recovery, and every therapist will tell you that getting sober is only part of the battle, the rest is figuring out what made you turn to the drugs in the first place. You have to address those underlying issues or you'll end up going right back when things go wrong. Actually confronting those things is really scary, and drugs also help you avoid doing so. "Not wanting to be present" is a good way to put it. Or, wanting the present to be different than it is. Drugs are very good at those things, but they're only a veneer, and that fades away with the intoxication, so you have to do it again, and that cycle will never end if you don't force it to.

  49. Legalizing drugs doesn’t work…..executing drug dealers works incredibly well. No one has the right to devastate their communities and to profit from the suffering of countless lives. “It’s voluntary blah blah blah”, I don’t care.

  50. This is definitely one part of the equation. Addiction is a very complicated illness. It is true that when I finally made the decision to get a job, work on my negative behavior patterns and rejoin society, my life took off and is now better than its ever been. I have not wanted to use since. However, there were many factors that had to come together at the perfect time for my present lifestyle. I would love to spend the rest of my life studying this mind blowing disorder and one day discover the “magic formula”, but I actually think it’s different for everyone.

  51. If bonds cured addicts then why don’t they stop because of their children? That is the strongest bond ever. How could a woman carry a child for nine months and care for it when it’s born then if they get hooked on drugs they will always abandon that child?

  52. i experienced this on a small scale with smoking my weed. my family tries to fabricate humiliating situations to ''get'' me and make me feel guilty and upset, so i just go and smoke even more weed because im so upset

  53. knowing all of this makes reality hurt much more, when you see police fucking with people on the street, you know for a solid fact that they are making everything worse

  54. My Twitter friends are the only people who've ever been there when I was spiralling in depression. Few or no one in real life. Maybe this is why we need our smartphones so much – it's how we make real friends.

    **Granted, I'm in the Mental Health community on Twitter, and we're usually very close-knit and supportive.

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