This was an important discussion in the book Addicted I’ve talked about in the last two blog posts that triggered much reflection on my part and I wanted to share it here.
The authors discuss Bruce Alexander and his Rat Park work and used several excerpts
Addiction is not just one behaviour, It’s a spectrum of behaviours. Like anger. Anger can be internal and not noticeable on the surface. It can be hardly perceptible. It can lead to shouting at someone in a way that is helpful to both you and them. It can be so bad that you hit someone. It can even be murderous It’s a spectrum of behaviours. Like anger, addiction can sometimes be benign.
Alexander shows us that addiction is indeed something that happens to most of us, if not every single one of us, at some stage in our life. Whether it’s falling in love to the temporary detriment of our friends ….. or sometimes spending more time checking emails on our smartphones than playing with our children …… or being forced to do sex work to score heroin.
He asks us to imagine dependence like the way most of us wear shoes to work. We are dependent on our shoes to protect our feet, to look the part. However, we are not addicted to them. On the other hand, consider the person who is addicted to shoes. All they do is shop for shoes, get home and try on new shoes, go to bed searching for shoes on the web, only to get up the next morning to buy new shoes. Alexander describes someone who uses heroin four times a week as opposed to someone who uses it daily.
“A lady uses four times a week. It’s just a way of relaxing and blissing out, and maybe it’s good for sex, if you use it in those ways. Why would you even think about that lady in the context of addiction? On the other hand, if she starts selling her soul for it, of course then we do have to think of it. I think it’s important to be precise about the word addiction and the word dependence”
NOFFS & PALMER ADDICTED
I was never (physically) dependent on alcohol but I was definitely (psychologically) addicted to it.