No matter who we are or where we come from, I believe we all want the same things – to feel like we belong and to feel loved by those closest to us must be somewhere at the top of the list. But when life doesn’t go as planned or the relationships dearest to us begin to falter, turning to drugs or alcohol for comfort to fill a seeming void may feel like a solid thing to lean on.
In a recent TED talk, Johann Hari explains that new research has been shedding light on the fact that everything we think we know about addiction may not be entirely true. In his desire to help those he loved who had become drug addicts, he was impelled to go on a quest; an unplanned, 30,000 mile quest. After extensive and exhaustive research, he came to this conclusion, “the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety but connection.”
And just what is this connection he is talking about? He explains that we, as human beings, need to bond with other human beings. Nothing new there, but when some seem unable to maintain close relationships or “can’t bear to be present in their lives”, he says, because of trauma or some other adverse circumstance, “(they) will bond with something that gives relief.” That “something” more often than not can be the very substances which, when indulged in too heavily and too often, can lead to addictive behavior.
My experience in wanting to let go of alcohol proved that a more lasting, satisfying way of being myself was already present and already within me. And, my life completely changed.