The Connection Is The Thing

The Connection Is The Thing

A friend recently sent me an article from the Huffington Post about one person’s theory of addiction and what the “antidote” is. I certainly want to hear more about it and see some of the science behind what this writer said but it hit a nerve with me. In short, the writer, Johann Hari, believes that what is lacking in the lives of many addicts is real connection or deep bonding with others. Here’s a quote from the article:

But we have created an environment and a culture that cut us off from connection, or offer only the parody of it offered by the internet. The rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live – constantly directing our gaze towards the next shiny object we should buy, rather than the human beings all around us.

As a relationship therapist, (a therapist who looks at mental and emotional issues through the lens of human relationships) this paragraph and the whole article had a strong ring of truth to it. I see the loss of connection all around; from the depressed mom who just can’t get out of bed and the anxious boss who cries behind his closed office door to the kid who loathes himself so much that all he wants to do is disappear at school and the prom queen who is afraid someone might learn her scary secret. And yes, I also see the addicts who snuggle up to their drugs of choice while pushing those who love them away.

So to me, the relationship is the thing. It is the quality and strength of our bonds which make our hearts soar when life is good but also which drag us along when we are barely able to put one foot in front of the other. It is the willingness and courage to lean into love when we are afraid and the willingness to be leaned in to when we are not sure what to do or what to say. In conclusion, Hari writes:

I looked at (him), in withdrawal, trembling on my spare bed, and I thought about him differently. For a century now, we have been singing war songs about addicts. It occurred to me as I wiped his brow – we should have been singing love songs to them all along.