What if everything we’ve thought about addiction is invalid. Check out this video in which Johann Hart studies addiction and concludes that we’ve got it wrong. He cites a fascinating study where researchers put two water bottles in a rat’s cage, one with plain water and the other heroin-laced. The rats quickly drink themselves into junkies. Then the researchers ask if perhaps the stark, lonely cage itself contributes to the rats’ addictive tendencies, and create instead a rat playground, complete with bits of cheese, colored balls, and lots of other rats. This time around the rats almost never drink the heroin water.
Or consider the social experiment in Portugal, the only country to make all drugs legal. They put all the money that used to go to punishing addicts into connecting back into society and giving them meaningful work. The addiction rates plummeted by 50%.
One observer says that maybe we shouldn’t call it 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.