The Real Cause of Addiction (Part 3)
The Real Cause of Addiction is a Dis-Ease about Loneliness. It’s not about changing our minds. It’s about changing our hearts!
Here’s one example of an experiment that is happening all around you, and may well happen to you one day. If you get run over today and you break your hip, you will probably be given diamorphine, the medical name for heroin. In the hospital around you, there will be plenty of people also given heroin for long periods, for pain relief. The heroin you will get from the doctor will have a much higher purity and potency than the heroin being used by street-addicts, who have to buy from criminals who adulterate it. So if the old theory of addiction is right — it’s the drugs that cause it; they make your body need them — then it’s obvious what should happen. Loads of people should leave the hospital and try to score smack on the streets to meet their habit.
Dr. Gabor Mate’s Theory on Addiction
Also Dr. Gabor Mate talks about addiction being a disease dealing with lack of “bonding” with each other. It’s a disease of loneliness. And I would be willing to be one of those people to say “yes this is so true.”
If you believe in Professor Alexander’s theory – the street addict is like the rats in the first cage – isolated, alone, with only one source to turn to. However, the medical patient is like the rats in the second cage – she/he is going home to a life surrounded by the people he/she loves.
Basically, the drug is the same but the environment is different.
Professor Peter Cohen explains this theory that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. In other words, if we cannot connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find – the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe.
I say let’s stop talking about addiction altogether and instead let’s call it bonding. Basically someone addicted to heroin is addicted because he/she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else. Yes, self love is important and there is this other phenomenon out there that says we are unable to love anyone else, unless we love ourselves first. I do not believe in this. I believe love of self and others come from loving each other.
The opposite of being clean or being sober is “human connection.”
Okay so what does this say about gambling then? I believe you can become addicted to gambling but nobody thinks you inject a pack of cards into your veins. Therefore, it is not about chemical hooks!
Human beings are bonding animals. We need to connect and love. The wisest sentence of the twentieth century was E.M. Forster’s — “only connect.” But we have created an environment and a culture that cut us off from connection, or offer only the parody of it offered by the Internet. The rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live — constantly directing our gaze towards the next shiny object we should buy, rather than the human beings all around us.
I recall watching reality shows such as Intervention. The show portrayed a message that tell the addict to shape up, or cut them off. Their message is that an addiction who won’t stop should be shunned.
The writer George Monbiot has called this “the age of loneliness.” We have created human societies where it is easier for people to become cut off from all human connections than ever before.
It’s not about changing our minds. It’s about changing our hearts!
Here is a youtube about Dr. Gabor Mate’s theory.
And here is an article about loneliness in Vancouver.