Implications For Today: Social Connection In The Age Of Technology
Statistics on Addiction and Internet Use
Despite extensive research and changes to treatment approaches, addiction rates have soared in the last several years, with heroin overdoses increasing nearly sixfold from 2,000 deaths in 2001 to more than 11,000 in 2014. Similarly, statistics show a 3.4 fold increase in overdose of prescription opiates, a 42 percent increase in total deaths from cocaine overdose, and a fivefold increase in benzodiazepine overdose, with the number of deaths rapidly increasing from 1,500 in 2001 to nearly 8,000 in 2014 .
Perhaps coincidentally, or not, it was during this same time period that Internet useskyrocketed. In 2001, only 46 percent of American adults used the Internet whereas in 2014, 87 percent of American adults were using it regularly . Arguably, the Internet has made us more connected than ever before. Since connection seems to combat addiction, one would think that addiction rates would have decreased as Internet usage increased, but in actuality, the opposite has appeared to occur.
Physical Presence: The Key to Connection?
Although we may be more readily available to connect with one another, most of this connecting is done behind a screen, making us less physically present for each other than ever before. While we may have hundreds or even thousands of Facebook friends and Twitter followers, the number of close friends the average American feels he can call during a crisis has been steadily dwindling since the 1950s .
The Real Human Connection
Friendships and connections matter. Having relationships where we can be ourselves and not have to weigh our words or filter what we say allows us to authentically connect. Heres what others have said about real human connections.
1.I have someone to talk to when Im down and afraid.2.I have someone to tell a funny story to and we get to laugh together. 3.I feel needed and wanted.4.I can rely on a human instead of relying on a mood-altering drug or behavior.5.I dont feel any guilt or shame after interacting with my friend. Unlike how I felt when I was acting out.6.I feel like someone cares about my feelings and emotions and allows me to express them anyway they come out.
Finding new ways to develop new relationships and maintaining old friendships help us build associations that are real, meaningful, and provide authentic connection so our brain is less likely to seek out substitutes.
I Believe The Opposite Of Addiction Is Neither Sobriety Nor Connection I Believe The Opposite Of Addiction Is Self
I drank for a variety of reasons ranging from celebration and relaxation to mourning and boredom. But my real drinking was medicinal. I drank when I didnt feel good about myself.
The reason Johann Hari is at least directionally correct is because connection often makes us feel better about ourselves and the situation that surrounds us.
I coach high school soccer. As much as I love it, sometimes I just dont feel like going to practice. Sometimes soccer training is interrupting something else I am working on. Sometimes the weather isnt cooperating. And sometimes, Im just too tired to get up and be encouraging.
But always, when I drag my tired, disgruntled old bones to the soccer pitch, I feel so much better when it is over. The power of connection is indisputable. There are few situations in our society that offer a more potent dose of connection than in a team-sport setting where a group of people share a common goal.
But connection is an incomplete answer to solving addiction. Sometimes, connection does not feel good. I cant tell you how many people have described this same scene to me: I went to an AA meeting, and bought booze on the way home. They felt worthless, hopeless or incapable of achieving their objectives, and the people in the rooms reminded them of their inadequacy. So they drank.
Read Also: How To Stop Getting Addicted To Porn
‘the Opposite Of Addiction Is Not Sobriety The Opposite Of Addiction Is Connection’
Politics Social Media Editor, HuffPost
Johann Hari, author of the New York Times best-selling book “Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs,” has been exploring the true cause of addiction, something he believes is largely misunderstood.
In a Ted Talk filmed last month, Hari challenged the belief that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, saying patients who receive painkillers after medical procedures but have no issue getting off the drugs largely disprove that theory.
“If what we believe about addiction is right, if those people are exposed to all those chemical hooks, what should happen? They should become addicts,” he said. “It doesn’t happen.”
What Hari believes to be the cause of addiction — be it drug addiction, gambling addiction or even addiction to your mobile device — is a lack of human connection.
Watch Hari’s Ted Talk above.
“For a hundred years now we’ve been singing war songs about addicts,” Hari said. “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.”
The Opposite Of Addiction Is Not Sobriety It Is Human Connection
ADHD can power addiction. Click here to learn more.
What really causes a person to become addicted to drugs? Is the chemical in the drug strong enough to cause people to continuously crave more? If that were the case, how is it that many medical drug users do not become addicts?
What is really driving the war on drugs? Have we been believing something for so long that is flawed in its essence?
In an increasingly popular TED Talk, Johann Hari famously concludes that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is human connection.
Read Also: Addiction Rates In The Us
If The Human Connection Is The Opposite Of Addiction Can There Be Addiction Where There Is A Connection
In a 2015 TED Talk entitled Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong, British journalist Johann Hari talks about the underlying causes of addiction, concluding that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, its the connection and social bonding. He talks about the research that proves that addiction is not really about the pleasurable effects of substances, instead, its about the users inability to make healthy connections. As Hari tells it, addiction is not a substance disorder, its a social disorder.
Haris conclusion is the exact opposite of societal views of substance use. Society believes that the pleasurable effects of alcohol, cocaine, and heroin are what drives addiction. Studies do support that substance use triggers the release of dopamine, a pleasure neurochemical in the brain. If this long-held belief is correct, then everybody who drank or used opiates would become addicted. On the contrary, only approximately 10 percent of the people who use, become addicted. The remaining 80% either walk away from substance use completely or use it recreationally. It is now believed that social connections are what keep that 80 % from becoming addicted.
Next Up In This Blog Series: The Naloxone Debate To Carry Or Not To Carry
As NRPA has navigated the opioid crisis over the last few years, one of the greatest debates among members of the field centers on whether park and recreation professionals should carry and be trained on how to administer Naloxone . Naloxone is a medication, often referred to as an opioid antagonist, meaning it can reverse and block the effect of opioids. Its used to rapidly counter the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose, for example, morphine and heroin overdose. While there are differing views among park and recreation professionals and the public about Naloxone, the fact of the matter is that Naloxone is extremely safe, it can only affect people with opioids in their system and it saves human lives.
*Do you have a story to tell about this epidemic or how your agency is responding? Feel free to ! We firmly believe that through shared stories and experiences, the park and recreation field can continue to support and elevate the work we do as public health advocates, creating healthier, stronger communities for all.
Also Check: Food Addiction And Binge Eating Disorder
The Opposite Of Addiction Is Connection
When you or someone you love is battling an addiction, it can feel like the whole world is against you. However, its important to remember that the opposite of addiction is connection. Connection is what nearly all people battling are craving, whether they realize it or not. Its the human connection that each person needs in order to feel loved, supported, and understood. If youre struggling with addiction, know that you are not alone and there is help available. Seek out support groups or counseling to support you on your journey to recovery. To learn more about group therapy options at our substance abuse treatment program, please contact Fort Behavioral Health today at .
How To Find Support
Finding someone to help you may seem difficult. It needs to be someone you feel that you can trust but not someone too close to the pain and confusion you have sown in your life. You also need someone who has a little distance from the situation. In most cases, it is best to reach out to a treatment team. You can go online and research treatment centers or 12-Step programs or try other ways to find the road to wellness.
There is a lot of information out there on recovery, and they all have one thing in common: people. You have to step outside of yourself, dig into the ache and trauma and find someone to help you find that first step.
Picking up the phone or writing an email asking for help is a huge step, one you have to do alone, but after that, there are people in the world who know how to help you. They might have personal experience, special training, or both. The important thing is that they have the ability to walk with you. They are the light in a dark night.
Read Also: What To Do If Your Addicted To Food
An Inability To Connect
In his Ted Talk from TEDGlobal London, Johann Hari makes the statement that, the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection. This powerful statement is at once a message of hope to those suffering from addiction and an indictment of the way our culture has treated addicts for the last 100 years. Mr. Hari spent three years studying addiction by traveling the world speaking to individuals on all sides of the issues. What he was left with was an understanding that behind and underneath addiction of all sorts is an inability to connect, to engage in a life of purpose. While I do not agree with everything Mr Hari says during his talk, I am passionate about this idea of connection. The most common experience for any addict is a feeling of isolation and inability to connect in a meaningful way with others and the world around them.
Johann Hari: ‘the Opposite Of Addiction Isn’t Sobriety It’s Connection’
The author of Chasing the Scream on his anxiety about writing a book, and the 30,000-mile journey of recognition and shared stories it took him on, from the drug war ground zero in Baltimore to Colombia and Mexico
When you write a book, its like writing a message in a bottle and tossing it into the ocean you know the likelihood is that nobody will ever find it, and its hard to picture the people who might. Ive known plenty of people who spent years writing important books, only for virtually nobody to ever read them. So I was conscious, all through the three-and-a-half years I was writing Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, that I was most likely writing primarily for myself and for the people I love.
I was OK with that, because I was impelled on this writing journey for a very personal reason a series of questions I needed to answer. One of my earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of my relatives and not being able to. I didnt understand why then, but as I got older, I realised we had addiction in my family. As I began writing, I knew we were coming up to a century since the world first went to war against drug users, addicts and providers, and I wanted to know why? What really causes drug use and drug addiction? What are the alternatives in practice? There was one person I love in particular who was close to killing himself with crack and heroin. I needed to know if the addicts I loved could be brought back to me, and how.
Don’t Miss: American Addiction Centers Riverview Fl
Addiction Is The Opposite Of Connection
Addiction is not a choice that anybody makes its not a moral failure What it actually is: its a response to human suffering Dr. Gabor Maté
Dr. Gabor Maté is a world-renowned expert on addiction and trauma. In his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction, he discusses how addiction is best viewed not as a crime or illness but as a coping mechanism for a personal, spiritual crisis.
He has defined addiction as follows:
An addiction is any behavior, substance related or not, that an individual pursues because they find pleasure, relief, or they crave it temporarily, so they pursue the pleasure and relief despite negative consequences. And they dont give it up, in the face of negative consequences. I said any behavior. So that could be sex, gambling, eating, shopping, work, relationships, or substances.
Dr. Gabor Maté
I Get That I Can Feel That In My Bones
Johann Hari bases much of his conclusion about the importance of connection on the infamous Rat Park study where researchers gave rats lots of toys and other rats with which to play, and the rats did not compulsively drink opioid water . Hari, therefore, concluded that the connection was distraction enough to keep the rats away from drug addiction.
Close. But I think thats not quite right.
Rats are extremely social creatures. Constant interaction with each other, that included, loads of sex, as Hari explained in his TED Talk, would definitely make a rat feel pretty good. So would playing with the rat toys, an environment that provided safety and the copious amounts of cheese available in the experiment. Connection is not the determining factor in avoiding addiction. It is useful, even important. But if there are other positive stimuli available, connection or not, a rat is bound to feel pretty good about himself. and not need a substance to make him feel better.
This hypothesis is proven over and over again in my daily life, too. I am in my fifth year of sobriety from alcohol addiction. I rarely, if ever, feel any desire to drink alcohol anymore. I have embraced the fact that alcohol is a poison in any quantity completely devoid of benefits to humans.
Don’t Miss: Ways To Fight Drug Addiction
Lets Keep Moving Forward Together
Welcome to RECO Institute, one of South Floridas most trusted Sober Living Residences. Offered in conjunction with our unique Addiction Treatment Program, RECO Intensive, RECO Institute provides transitional sober housing for men and women in the early stages of recovery.
How Does The Detox Center Of Los Angeles Can Help
Living with pain isnt easy. If you live with pain, you may already be all too familiar with the profound effect it can have on your quality of life. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
The Detox Center of Los Angeles is a 24/7 residential and outpatient rehab center in California. We have state-of-the-art facilities, proven detox medication, holistic therapies, and a staff with over four decades of inexperience in drug and alcohol detox Los Angeles. Our main priority is to provide medical safety, nourishment, and comfort to our patients during their detox and treatment. Contact Us Today!
Read Also: Can You Get Addicted To Vaping
The Opposite Of Addiction Is Not Sobriety Its Connection
People think the opposite of addiction is sobriety. Its not. Its connection.
This statement, given by an individual attending NRPAs convening on youth impacted by the opioid crisis, bears repeating. Those of us who attended the convening in Elizabethton, Tenn., have repeated the statement on a near-daily basis since hearing it. Weve repeated it because it is so simple, so obvious, so clear, and, because across the park and recreation field, our power to cultivate connection is one of our greatest strengths.
Every day there are 192 overdose deaths in this country, with the central Appalachian region disproportionately impacted. In Appalachia, pill mills and drug dealers found a vacuum in areas where disinvestment left communities vulnerable. Disinvestment in the economy and job market fueled the deterioration of these communities as well as the public recreation spaces where previous generations congregated, connected and thrived. In the afterword of his award-winning book Dreamland, author Sam Quinones concludes:
I believe more strongly than ever that the antidote to heroin is community. If you want to keep kids off heroin, make sure people in your neighborhood do things together, in public, oftendon’t have play dates, just go out and play.