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Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari - Part Three

Jun 25

They will always make sure that every time when something's out before the morning, and when I went and met the addicts in Portugal, it's fascinating 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 in injecting drug use is down in Portugal audited according to the British Journal of criminology by 50% Five 0% overdoses. 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 kind of political implications it is a layer of implications for this research below that, you know, 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, you know before these talks began, you guys know this, but 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 being told their dealer was gonna be unavailable for the next couple of hours.

And yeah, a lot of us feel that and it might sound weird to say, oh, you know, I've been talking about disconnection is a major driver of addiction, but which states growth because you think, well, we're the most connected society that's ever been surely. But I increasingly began to think that the connection we have the connections we have, we think we have a like a kind of parody of human connection. If you have a crisis, like you'll notice something. They won't be your Twitter followers who come to sit with you.

They won't be friends you haven't been around. It'll be your flesh, friends who have deep and nuanced and textured face to face relationships with and I think there's a study I learned about from Bill McKibben, the environmental writer, tells us a lot about this. There's he 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, right? We've traded for space for friends, we've traded stuff, the connections, and the result is that we are one of the loneliest societies there has ever been. And Bruce Alexander did the Rat Pack experiments talk all the time and it gets 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 as 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 of crap. If I'm honest, this isn't into it, right? I didn't go into 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 look to the next in my life and if you know if you've really candid it's hard loving Maddie and there's gonna be lots of people who know in this room, you're 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. It looks at an addict and things I wish someone would just stalk you. And the kind of script we're told to have to deal with the addicts in our lives is typified by, I think by the reality show intervention. If you guys haven't seen, I think everything in our lives is to play by reality TV, but that's another that's another TED Talk. Show premise, get an addict or people in their life together and say if you don't show up to confront them with what they're doing, and they say if you don't show up, we're going to cut you off. Right? It's 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 to think and to see why that approach doesn't work.

And I began to think that almost that's like the importing of the logic of the drug war into our private lives. So I was thinking, how can I get this right? And what I tried to do now and I can't tell you, I do it consistently, and I can't tell you it's easy. Just the life that I wanted, and 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 and I don't want you 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 intimate. For 100 years now. We've been singing songs about addict. I think all we could have been singing love songs to them. Because the opposite of addiction is not surprising. The opposite direction. Thank you and good luck - Get Directions Link 

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