The Opposite of Addiction is… What? (Hint: It’s Not Sobriety)


“Almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong — and there is a very different story waiting for us, if only we are ready to hear it.” — Johann Hari

There’s an ongoing debate in the recovery community as to how to diagnosis methamphetamine — or any — addiction. Is meth addiction a disease (majority view)?

Or perhaps it is a kind of learning disorder, like ADD or OCD, where the brain has learned to expect the abnormally high dopamine rush of meth as the new normal?

Or perhaps addiction is not abnormal at all, but a normal adaption of the brain after repeated exposure to meth? All this matters because the better we understand addiction, the more options we have for treatment.

And this is all to introduce Johan Hari’s provoking TEDTalk: Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong. With over two million views and counting, it’s fairly short as lectures go, clocking in under fifteen minutes.

Though, I don’t completely agree with everything he says, his out-of-the-box observations in this TEDTalk are crucial in informing how I approach recovery today.

Again, I don’t believe that Hari’s view of addiction is the whole story, but I do believe he’s correct in the larger picture. I do believe “connectivity” with others is an indispensible part of recovery from addiction.

So, what’s the opposite of addiction? Connection.


(For more detail, see Hari’s latest book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.)