Clare Myatt, somatic, coaching, somatic coaching, psychotherapy, London, addiction, highly sensitive person

Johann Hari’s book Chasing the Scream came highly recommended and I’m working my way through, skipping or skimming the overwhelmingly triggering parts (at least, when I can catch them in time). It’s an enormously thought provoking read. As someone who’s worked in the field of addiction for nearly thirty years, I’m no stranger to the devastating consequences of alcohol and other drugs. I’m a recovering alcoholic myself, I know this terrain personally as well as professionally. The author’s TED talk appeared in my LinkedIn feed and I watched it with curiosity given my familiarity with the voice I’ve created for him in my head as I read. Equally thought provoking.

He ends his talk with the sentence “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection.”

Takes me back to my Master’s degree thesis about the efficacy of twelve-step programs. I was surprised to find it was not attendance at meetings and engagement with a recovering community that made a [statistical] difference to enduring recovery, rather, it was the number of family and friends engaged with the alcoholic or addict. A loving community, sober or not, was what made the difference. Such a claim, albeit research on a minute scale in the scheme of things, goes along with Hari’s.

Yet I had an uneasy feeling throughout his talk, and am having the same discomfort reading his book. Perhaps it’s the oversimplification and generalities presented – after all, he’s a journalist* rather than a clinician – or perhaps it’s the alarm accompanying root beliefs being challenged. I’ll leave you to review and come to your own conclusions. And if you’d like to engage in conversation, please be in touch.

Here’s my current thinking: “The opposite of addiction is sobriety with connection.”

*A thought-provoking rebuttal appears here

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