Most of us have a fair idea about what addiction is and sometimes also about what caused it. Now, all of that kept aside, Dr. Johann Harri recently gave a TedTalk that changes perceptions about addiction. Titled “Everything you know about Addiction is wrong,” it ends with the message that the opposite of addiction is not gaining sobriety but connection.
A study, A General Theory of Love, talks about how babies who grow up in loving and emotionally secure environments develop a stronger resilience as they grow up, and kids who do not get the same kind of security, on the other hand, succumb to the trauma. Addiction specialists worldwide talk about how most patients they deal with have a ton of unresolved trauma. The lack of nurturing causes drug dependence and an array of similar problems. They do not develop a good defense system in emotional turbulences and hence fall back upon drugs and alcohol.
Trauma does not let us connect
When we grow up in a traumatic environment, a lot of the development that we are all supposed to go through is hindered. Trauma during childhood instills a belief that the world is unsafe and people cannot be trusted in general. There is an idea in our senses that we will be faced with trauma again if we make the wrong decisions and start trusting people, so it can be said that trauma is one of the main reasons we cannot develop genuine connections with other people. When this happens, we fall back upon drugs and alcohol because that becomes our default defense mechanism.
Socialising can stop addiction
Now that we have discussed what causes addiction and how it does not let us form connections let us discuss how to help these situations. What helps when we grow up in an environment that is not exceptionally loving and caring is engaging in active socializing and trying to make connections that would lead to forming an environment that we did not have as children, and that would help with the dependence on drugs. Proof of this can be found in Portugal, where addiction has drastically decreased as more people have socialized systematically.
The first step to being happy is letting go of the pain. One has to bog down and find the root of the unhappiness and the addiction. This cannot be done by anyone else but ourselves; once we have done this, we must find support from other people. Help is always available, but we have to ask for it, and even though getting to a point where you have the strength to ask for help is a task in itself, you must do it because, without that, there can be no progress. This internal journey has to be led by us on our own.
Okay, let us discuss something basic- love. Our parents love us in an attempt to make us love ourselves, but sometimes things don’t go so smoothly. The key here is to develop a sense of self-worth, and this self-worth comes when we feel loved and valued by others. The goal is to make up for the lack of approval and validation and find people who will make us feel better about ourselves and help us leave our traumas behind.