In the TED Talk (below) by Johann Hari, he challenges us with hard evidence and personal experience, that how we have viewed and dealt with addiction over the last 100 years has been wrong. He suggests that everything we have been taught and everything we feel we know about addiction has been formed around a misconception of the core problem.
Hari is justified in his revelation not only because of his sincere desire to help his own family members who were addicts, but because of his lengthy research which took him around the world interviewing doctors, psychologists, and addicts. From a well-researched synopsis that how we have been treating addicts for the past millennium has never been effective, to recent studies by professor/psychologist Bruce Alexander, and a human experiment in Portugal, provide evidence that there is a better way. Hari discovered that addicts need love and healthy relationships, not legislation and isolation.
Johann Hari states, “for a hundred years now we have been singing war songs over addicts when we should have been singing love songs to them” and “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety – the opposite of addiction is connection”.
Don’t miss Hari’s observations of professor Bruce Alexander’s study on the “single rat” in a cage with two water bottles – one laced with heroin versus “rat park” with the same two bottles. This study will both shock you and challenge your thoughts on addiction and how to help those trapped in it.
What’s beautiful to us here at Whitestone is that at the end of Johann Hari’s Ted Talk, he speaks to the very heart of our ministry – addicts and ex-offenders need to be loved and to know they are not alone.