Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari


One of my earliest memories is of trying to wake up
one of my relatives and not being able to. And I was just a little kid,
so I didn’t really understand why, but as I got older, I realized we had
drug addiction in my family, including later cocaine addiction. I’d been thinking about it a lot lately,
partly because it’s now exactly 100 years since drugs were first banned
in the United States and Britain, and we then imposed that
on the rest of the world. It’s a century since we made
this really fateful decision to take addicts and punish them
and make them suffer, because we believed that would deter them;
it would give them an incentive to stop. And a few years ago, I was looking at
some of the addicts in my life who I love, and trying to figure out
if there was some way to help them. And I realized there were loads
of incredibly basic questions I just didn’t know the answer to, like, what really causes addiction? Why do we carry on with this approach
that doesn’t seem to be working, and is there a better way out there
that we could try instead? So I read loads of stuff about it, and I couldn’t really find
the answers I was looking for, so I thought, okay, I’ll go and sit
with different people around the world who lived this and studied this and talk to them and see
if I could learn from them. And I didn’t realize I would end up
going over 30,000 miles at the start, but I ended up going and meeting
loads of different people, from a transgender crack dealer
in Brownsville, Brooklyn, to a scientist who spends a lot of time
feeding hallucinogens to mongooses to see if they like them — it turns out they do, but only
in very specific circumstances — to the only country that’s ever
decriminalized all drugs, from cannabis to crack, Portugal. And the thing I realized
that really blew my mind is, almost everything we think
we know about addiction is wrong, and if we start to absorb
the new evidence about addiction, I think we’re going to have to change
a lot more than our drug policies. But let’s start with what we think
we know, what I thought I knew. Let’s think about this middle row here. Imagine all of you, for 20 days now, went
off and used heroin three times a day. Some of you look a little more
enthusiastic than others at this prospect. (Laughter) Don’t worry,
it’s just a thought experiment. Imagine you did that, right? What would happen? Now, we have a story about what would
happen that we’ve been told for a century. We think, because there are
chemical hooks in heroin, as you took it for a while, your body would become
dependent on those hooks, you’d start to physically need them, and at the end of those 20 days,
you’d all be heroin addicts. Right? That’s what I thought. First thing that alerted me to the fact
that something’s not right with this story is when it was explained to me. If I step out of this TED Talk today
and I get hit by a car and I break my hip, I’ll be taken to hospital
and I’ll be given loads of diamorphine. Diamorphine is heroin. It’s actually much better heroin
than you’re going to buy on the streets, because the stuff you buy
from a drug dealer is contaminated. Actually, very little of it is heroin, whereas the stuff you get
from the doctor is medically pure. And you’ll be given it for quite
a long period of time. There are loads of people in this room, you may not realize it,
you’ve taken quite a lot of heroin. And anyone who is watching this
anywhere in the world, this is happening. And if what we believe
about addiction is right — those people are exposed
to all those chemical hooks — What should happen?
They should become addicts. This has been studied really carefully. It doesn’t happen; you will have noticed
if your grandmother had a hip replacement, she didn’t come out as a junkie.
(Laughter) And when I learned this,
it seemed so weird to me, so contrary to everything I’d been told,
everything I thought I knew, I just thought it couldn’t be right,
until I met a man called Bruce Alexander. He’s a professor
of psychology in Vancouver who carried out an incredible experiment I think really helps us
to understand this issue. Professor Alexander explained to me, the idea of addiction we’ve all
got in our heads, that story, comes partly from a series of experiments that were done earlier
in the 20th century. They’re really simple. You can do them tonight at home
if you feel a little sadistic. You get a rat and you put it in a cage,
and you give it two water bottles: One is just water, and the other is water
laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always
prefer the drug water and almost always
kill itself quite quickly. So there you go, right?
That’s how we think it works. In the ’70s, Professor Alexander comes
along and he looks at this experiment and he noticed something. He said ah, we’re putting
the rat in an empty cage. It’s got nothing to do
except use these drugs. Let’s try something different. So Professor Alexander built a cage
that he called “Rat Park,” which is basically heaven for rats. They’ve got loads of cheese,
they’ve got loads of colored balls, they’ve got loads of tunnels. Crucially, they’ve got loads of friends.
They can have loads of sex. And they’ve got both the water bottles,
the normal water and the drugged water. But here’s the fascinating thing: In Rat Park, they don’t
like the drug water. They almost never use it. None of them ever use it compulsively. None of them ever overdose. You go from almost 100 percent overdose
when they’re isolated to zero percent overdose when they
have happy and connected lives. Now, when he first saw this,
Professor Alexander thought, maybe this is just a thing about rats,
they’re quite different to us. Maybe not as different as we’d like,
but, you know — But fortunately, there was
a human experiment into the exact same principle happening
at the exact same time. It was called the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, 20 percent of all American
troops were using loads of heroin, and if you look at the news
reports from the time, they were really worried, because
they thought, my God, we’re going to have hundreds of thousands of junkies
on the streets of the United States when the war ends; it made total sense. Now, those soldiers who were using
loads of heroin were followed home. The Archives of General Psychiatry
did a really detailed study, and what happened to them? It turns out they didn’t go to rehab.
They didn’t go into withdrawal. Ninety-five percent of them just stopped. Now, if you believe the story
about chemical hooks, that makes absolutely no sense,
but Professor Alexander began to think there might be a different
story about addiction. He said, what if addiction isn’t
about your chemical hooks? What if addiction is about your cage? What if addiction is an adaptation
to your environment? Looking at this, there was another professor
called Peter Cohen in the Netherlands who said, maybe we shouldn’t
even call it addiction. Maybe we should call it bonding. Human beings have a natural
and innate need to bond, and when we’re happy and healthy,
we’ll bond and connect with each other, but if you can’t do that, because you’re traumatized or isolated
or beaten down by life, you will bond with something
that will give you some sense of relief. Now, that might be gambling,
that might be pornography, that might be cocaine,
that might be cannabis, but you will bond and connect
with something because that’s our nature. That’s what we want as human beings. And at first, I found this quite
a difficult thing to get my head around, but one way that helped me
to think about it is, I can see, I’ve got over by my seat
a bottle of water, right? I’m looking at lots of you, and lots
of you have bottles of water with you. Forget the drugs. Forget the drug war. Totally legally, all of those bottles
of water could be bottles of vodka, right? We could all be getting drunk —
I might after this — (Laughter) — but we’re not. Now, because you’ve been able to afford
the approximately gazillion pounds that it costs to get into a TED Talk,
I’m guessing you guys could afford to be drinking vodka
for the next six months. You wouldn’t end up homeless. You’re not going to do that,
and the reason you’re not going to do that is not because anyone’s stopping you. It’s because you’ve got
bonds and connections that you want to be present for. You’ve got work you love.
You’ve got people you love. You’ve got healthy relationships. And a core part of addiction, I came to think, and I believe
the evidence suggests, is about not being able to bear
to be present in your life. Now, this has really
significant implications. The most obvious implications
are for the War on Drugs. In Arizona, I went out
with a group of women who were made to wear t-shirts
saying, “I was a drug addict,” and go out on chain gangs and dig graves
while members of the public jeer at them, and when those women get out of prison,
they’re going to have criminal records that mean they’ll never work
in the legal economy again. Now, that’s a very extreme example,
obviously, in the case of the chain gang, but actually almost
everywhere in the world we treat addicts to some degree like that. We punish them. We shame them.
We give them criminal records. We put barriers between them reconnecting. There was a doctor in Canada,
Dr. Gabor Maté, an amazing man, who said to me, if you wanted to design
a system that would make addiction worse, you would design that system. Now, there’s a place that decided
to do the exact opposite, and I went there to see how it worked. In the year 2000, Portugal had
one of the worst drug problems in Europe. One percent of the population was addicted
to heroin, which is kind of mind-blowing, and every year, they tried
the American way more and more. They punished people and stigmatized them
and shamed them more, and every year, the problem got worse. And one day, the Prime Minister and
the leader of the opposition got together, and basically said, look, we can’t go on with a country where we’re having
ever more people becoming heroin addicts. Let’s set up a panel
of scientists and doctors to figure out what would
genuinely solve the problem. And they set up a panel led by
an amazing man called Dr. João Goulão, to look at all this new evidence, and they came back and they said, “Decriminalize all drugs
from cannabis to crack, but” — and this is the crucial next step — “take all the money we used to spend
on cutting addicts off, on disconnecting them, and spend it instead
on reconnecting them with society.” And that’s not really what we think of
as drug treatment in the United States and Britain. So they do do residential rehab, they do psychological therapy,
that does have some value. But the biggest thing they did
was the complete opposite of what we do: a massive program
of job creation for addicts, and microloans for addicts
to set up small businesses. So say you used to be a mechanic. When you’re ready, they’ll go
to a garage, and they’ll say, if you employ this guy for a year,
we’ll pay half his wages. The goal was to make sure
that every addict in Portugal had something to get out
of bed for in the morning. And when I went and met the addicts
in Portugal, 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 are in: injecting drug use is down in Portugal, according to the British
Journal of Criminology, by 50 percent, five-zero percent. Overdose is massively down,
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 political implications. I actually think there’s a layer
of implications to all this research below that. 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. Before these talks began —
you guys know this — 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 told their dealer
was going to be unavailable for the next couple of hours. (Laughter) A lot of us feel like that,
and it might sound weird to say, I’ve been talking about how disconnection
is a major driver of addiction and weird to say it’s growing, because you think we’re the most connected
society that’s ever been, surely. But I increasingly began to think
that the connections we have or think we have, are like a kind
of parody of human connection. If you have a crisis in your life,
you’ll notice something. It won’t be your Twitter followers
who come to sit with you. It won’t be your Facebook friends
who help you turn it round. It’ll be your flesh and blood friends
who you have deep and nuanced and textured, face-to-face
relationships with, and there’s a study I learned about from
Bill McKibben, the environmental writer, that I think tells us a lot about this. It 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. We’ve traded floorspace for friends,
we’ve traded stuff for connections, and the result is we are one of the
loneliest societies there has ever been. And Bruce Alexander, the guy who did
the Rat Park experiment, says, we talk all the time in addiction
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 with 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 less like Rat Park. If I’m honest, this isn’t
why I went into it. I didn’t go in to the 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 looked at the addicts in my life, and if you’re really candid,
it’s hard loving an addict, and there’s going to be lots of people
who know in this room. You are 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
that looks at an addict and thinks, I wish someone would just stop you. And the kind of scripts we’re told for how
to deal with the addicts in our lives is typified by, I think, the reality show “Intervention,”
if you guys have ever seen it. I think everything in our lives
is defined by reality TV, but that’s another TED Talk. If you’ve ever seen
the show “Intervention,” it’s a pretty simple premise. Get an addict, all the people
in their life, gather them together, confront them with what they’re doing,
and they say, if you don’t shape up, we’re going to cut you off. So 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. And I began to think, I began to see
why that approach doesn’t work, and I began to think that’s almost like
the importing of the logic of the Drug War into our private lives. So I was thinking,
how could I be Portuguese? And what I’ve tried to do now,
and I can’t tell you I do it consistently and I can’t tell you it’s easy, is to say to the addicts in my life that I want to deepen
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 you and I don’t
want you to be alone or 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 individually. For 100 years now, we’ve been singing
war songs about addicts. I think all along we should have been
singing love songs to them, because the opposite of addiction
is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. Thank you. (Applause)

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. OMG .this is mind blowing reality!! Both my brothers are buried in cedar Grove Dorchester ma. I may be there next!! Why. You know what,we Jimmy, Jackie,dad all were born in Dorchester!! I lost EVERYTHING!! BUT you are., Making me cry.. it is love!!
    Thank you for your amazing.amazing diLog.!!
    God bless YOU
    JACKIE Jimmy,and John passed from addiction. OMG. Isolation. Lonely.. separation.
    Suicides.., WOW.
    I hope we can fix this Horrific epidemic. God

  2. legalize cocaine ans fentanyl the entire market is never going away, the demand so separate alkaloids that make you sick and keep the domamine ; why should howard schultz get all the money?

  3. Crying my eyes out after watching this, if only more people realised or even entertained these ideas. Alot of respect for this speaker and all who worked with him

  4. Opiates gave me the warmth, love and compassion that I yearned for in isolation, but didn't have. Finding friends is of the utmost importance, because those newly found friends essentially replaced the love and kindness that I experienced with opioids when I was utterly alone.

  5. To some extent I agree but he did leave 1 very very importantlart out. You have to want to get better to get that connection back.

  6. The U.S. govt wants a certain percentage of people on drugs. If you can't see that as a society or an individual I truly feel sorry for you.

  7. So much appreciation to anyone that researchers addiction, unfortunately some of the conclusions in the video and in his book support his own agenda as a disruptor, are simplistic and stray from his aid. The Vietnam experiment is real. Only five to ten percent of the population will become become addicted to a substance, he is right about that, but that was as true in Vietnam as it is in any comfortable and loving modern home. Connection is a major factor in addiction, as is our environment, but some of these conclusions disregard addiction science, which has no simple conclusion, but is multi-faceted and as individual, as the addicted. An addiction disorder is real and heroin withdrawal is real too. Its not like having a flu, like he claims in his book. Its not lethal, but its physical and psychological torture that lasts about three days, its excruciating and cannot be explained in words. I know I've actually experienced it.

  8. People always blame the drugs. Addiction is so much more than just drugs. It's a product of our cruel society. How we treat others and things like that. It's way easier to blame the drugs for the problems that we humans are producing…

  9. Yea, well he's obviously never had an addict continually lie, steal and throw every good thing you do for them right back in your face. Addiction is a very individual thing. No two are the same. But, everyone that I know do the people that love them just like that. I've seen addicts steal from their own sick mother. Then cry like babies about how bad their lives are. But here's the thing. I was a prison guard and these same addicts come to jail and are fine for years and CHOOSE to go right back on drugs as soon as they get out. Addiction is a choice.

  10. Honestly there are some things I don't agree with on this video. You can physiologically become dependant on opiates that the hospital gives you. Of course not everyone will but due to the chemical and how your brain starts to condition itself not having that opiate will throw you into withdrawal whether you've become addicted or not… Obviously disconnect is a huge part. But even with people that have kids, that have a purpose can still get addicted. Not too fond of this TED talk he did have some valid points however. I've been sober from heroin since Aug 27th 2014..

  11. Thank you this. I definitely think that there’s a lot to this. Especially about not shaming people into seclusion and life history and environment. BUT, I’ve known plenty of people who had all those connections and withdrew from all those things of their own free will over time.. but I certainly agree that the stigma put on addicts needs to change..if everyone had this guys attitude, and treatment was free.. I know… I Know the numbers would be overwhelming.. people would seek help a lot sooner.. ✌🏻🦋

  12. Overly optimistic and not rooted in society. Non of his hyperbole would stand up to examination. Hari needs a deep dive on attachment which undoubtedly fuels his predominantly one dimensional view

  13. I'm addicted to Crystal meth, life is so lonely and the only people that try to talk to me or show me love also use. I'd rather be in a coffin then smoke another bowl.

  14. People take drug's to block things out what's happened that's to painful to remember I know cause I am addicted to drugs and can't stop only stop me when I die

  15. This is the best video I’ve ever watched about so called addiction. …
    Addiction is a maladaptive way to get your biological needs for connection met when the normal adaptive sources of connection are not available.

  16. Making it illegal was not an incentive to make them stop…its an incentive to not make them start…not just stop…it easy to sit with an addict for a couple minutes possibly…its another thing to be around them all the time…make an addict land…like Disney land…see if it works…

  17. Wow…very touching. I have a niece on drugs and I've been trying to find a way to connect with her, now i know. I'm going to find her and let her know she's loved and that i need her to change😢 thanks for this video i really needed to hear this.

  18. He started this with, "I wanted to help my loved ones that were addicted"

    He laughed and talked but the frustration and pain can definitely be seen.

    Thank you for being curious and feeding my curiosity and you're spot on.

    Keep this up!

  19. Some people do get hooked on pain medication though he’s wrong. And having medication in hospital for a short period doesn’t give you the same withdrawals as a heavy long term user. I understand what he’s saying about the rat park but actually some drugs are physically addictive and you will get physical withdrawals. People who have gained a high tolerance have to take the opioid just feel ‘normal’. He’s obviously never experienced this..

  20. It is true when i was alone i used to smoke more cigarettes but when i am with a good company i don't think about cigarettes.

    PS. DON'T KNOW WHAT HE WROTE IN HIS HAND..🙄

  21. Taking advice about recovery from 12 yr old (I'm 52) is challenging. Especially since I'm feeling really solid with nearly 3 yrs clean time. However, I hope that Johann is helpful to those that still suffer.

  22. Drugs are not the problem, but the solution. When we fall deep enough, because this solution disconnects us from ourselves, despair makes us seek for help. Despair can be a gift. Don't let anything, anyone or any feeling/thought hold you back from asking for help, because you don't stand alone and you're worth it, even when you might believe you are not.

  23. Kratom can help break many addictions imo

    Google it
    If your looking for good kratom checkout www.titankratom.com 🙂 thank me later

  24. He is a breath of fresh air. He cuts through the crap to what matters. People don't start out life wanting to be addicts.

  25. Everyone has a bit of them that looks at an addict and says "I wish someone would just stop you"… including the addicts themselves

  26. This guy is one of the most naive people to ever give a talk about addiction. I have a bad back and at one time for about 12 years was prescribed pain meds. At the end it was percocet 10's 4 times a day. I was on these for about 5 years. I never abused them by taking more them prescribed and I certainly never snorted them. I had zero withdraw and wasn't even stepped down. I was offered to be stepped down and refused. I do not smoke cigarettes and I have no addictions what so ever. Im a keen observer though. My mom and dad both smoke and did drugs and my dad was a heavy drinker. Most of the people in my family smoke drink and do drugs too. The people who pick up smoking at a very young age and stick with it are going to be at A HIGHER RISK FOR ADDICTION. Do the research. Look these facts up. Addiction tendency is a very real thing. If your brain chemistry is set up in such a way that you feel like you like to smoke, drink or do drugs its an imbalance in your brain chemistry. And as a result your more susceptible to being addicted to something at some point ion your life. Thats the secret to addiction. Fear it, avoid it and never give in. The most naive person alive is the one who does their first drug thinking " Ill never become an addict." You more then likely will and you will lose everything and everyone you love.

  27. Crazy as it sounds it’s true 10 years ago I was a user , my mom found out after the back nd forth of arguing one day she told me “ I’ll. Be here for you regardless I love you either way” I got sober the next week . Been sober 10 years

  28. I don't give two flying fucks what this guy said. this is the worst ted talk in my opinion. if young people see this they might think oh see we can do drugs and not get addicted. this guy should go ahead and take opioids for a few months and stop cold turkey then come and do this ted talk. comparing smart phones to opioids is a fuckin joke!!!! what am I missing here???

  29. Portuguese who smokes weed now and then and travelled around the world quite a while here. It’s true I’ve noticed that I feel much more free and stress free when smoking in Portugal because “im not doing anything wrong” while in other countries when I do smoke I start thinking “what if I get caught this is wrong here”, and it really affects everything so I don’t smoke much outside Portugal because it affects my whole enjoyment of my recreational time! Feeling controlled and knowing you are doing something wrong is the worst possible thing imaginable, in the end of the day, if you are not hurting anyone else you should not be doing something considered illegal

  30. Everything that Johann Hari thinks about addiction is wrong. Rat Park experiment has very serious issues with replication.

  31. Only Portugal has adopted this system. I'm in half a mind to sue the EU for not forcibly implementing this everywhere. The hippocratic oath says "primum non nocere" (first, do no harm) and we ARE!!!

  32. ive taken nearly all illegal drugs just to take and to feel what they were like for a good amount of time ,a few drugs i used as learning tools mdma and lsd and mushrooms ,if i could i would take amphetimine every day just to make me feel alive ,as im on alot of heavy painkillers morphine and codine and diazapam,which makes me feel a shell dissconected but amphetimine relinks me to me i have not done any for over 3 years addiction is folks that are broken folks,to block out feelings that they cant handle,

  33. #JohannHari you Brought streaming tearsssss of amazement & recognition, Thanks!
    🌈💜💪👻🤳🌱🌿🌲🍁🤞☃️✌️
    MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

  34. What? People respond well to basic human decency and empathy? What? Mind-blowing. Crazy that we have to have Ted Talks about this in order to realize it.

  35. This guy is wrong! I am a nurse and I have seen Grandmothers that are addicts. The worst part is that they deny it because doctors prescribe the drugs. It may take more than 20 (the 20 day example is SO POOR. That would be like saying if you drink 3 beers and don't get drunk, then beer can't get you drunk.) days but eventually you will become addicted to morphine. That is a fact. Of course better connections are a deterrent that is common sense. But most people's lives aren't like Amusement Parks full of nothing but fun. Also some people are genetically predisposed to addiction. May factors play a role in addiction and the drug is like the most significant one.

  36. As a former addict, I feel very lucky that my girlfriend showed me this kind of love before it was too late. I really hope, that addiction gets treated the way this guy present it more often, because I really feel, this is the kind of push an addict really needs in order to move on from that dark place they are so deeply stuck in.
    Much love to all the current addicts.
    If I, and many others, can move on from addiction, I have my hopes for you as well. <3

  37. I hold AA principles in high regard yet I have to agree more with those who speak with experience, honesty ,humility and educated like this guy and Dr G. Mate

  38. Ive given up my addictions (11 months now) but even without them I’m suck a sick and fucked up person. A lot of the times I just feel like giving up

  39. I want some help from people that have been there. Who do you thing helps the most? / what do you recommend me studying? Social workers, counselors, physicians, occupational therapists, nurses?, thank you for answering

  40. He got one thing wrong. If everybody in that room used heroin 3 times a day 20 days idgaf what their social situation they have, PHYSICAL WITHDRAWALS would occur, 100%. I agree with his outlook on how to handle addiction as a society though, and that's the main point of this talk. Be realistic though, singing a love song to a heavy fentanyl addict won't do much regarding their complete despair of withdraw.

  41. The description of the two rat experiments in the beginning is so bang on. We put a rat in a case and don't realize it is lonely. It still happens. The wide-spread belief that man is "just a machine" doesn't help our case, does it ?

  42. This is what meditation and yoga is.. It's enhancing our faculties to experience high…to bond with evening in the world..being in union…..see sadguru video about yoga and meditstion….Whereas drugs is like shortcut.. .. (Coz we saw things from microscope.. But it's a reflection of what is called a being…. What u call body is itself reflection of light.. .. Light goes into retina.. Invert image… And it happens.. (Even the retina or invert image or eye nerves is itself a reflection of light. …) So how this sense is made up of u. ….. ..

  43. I've been struggling through addiction for a number of years now, and started a journey towards (hopefully) recovery earlier this year. I began by focussing on the chemical bonds, and trying to occupy my time in isolation to prevent withdrawal but had no joy. The lightest push could knock me clean off course. But, for the last 2-3 months, since I entered full blown counselling, I've noticed a huge shift. This coincides with embarking on a relationship with someone doesn't use, but knows me and thinks I'm a good man regardless. And I've noticed that whenever I'm with them I don't even think about drugs, and when I'm not with them I have something to look forward to. I have 'connections in my life that I want to be present for', as Johann puts it. 'The opposite of addiction isn't sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection' – that line is like a beacon of light to me. I was lost in the woods, displeased with the cage I'd built for myself, and I'm finally starting to step out into the world again. It feels amazing.

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