addication defn

maté addiction law:

addiction is neither a choice nor a disease..

In short, it is a forlorn attempt to solve the problem of human pain.

[also from Gabor Maté below]

gabor on addiction/trauma/needs

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hari addiction law:

opposite of addiction haricope\ing

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Gabor Maté
A film maker who has overcome abuse and mental illness to document the nitty-gritty of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
and Gabor on addiction:
more from Gabor:
beyond drugs (april 2017) – universal addiction
Most addicted people use no drugs at all and addiction cannot be understood if we restrict our vision of it to substances, legal or illicit.
Addiction is manifested in any behavior that a person craves, finds temporary relief or pleasure in but suffers negative consequences as a result of, and yet has difficulty giving up. In brief: craving, relief, pleasure, suffering, impaired control.

“I’m not going to ask you what you were addicted to,”..Only, whatever your addictive focus, what did it offer you? ..universally, the answers are: “It

helped me escape emotional pain… helped me deal with stress… gave me peace of mind… a sense of connection with others… a sense of control.”

Such answers illuminate that the

addiction is neither a choice nor a disease,

from asking google: what’s the difference between illness and disease (because so many.. ie: nic and david.. and saying it’s an illness.. and i don’t know about that.. i’m thinking.. societal illness.. yeah.. for sure that)

A “disease” has a pathological cause such as bacteria or a virus. A “disorder” has a mental, chemical, or physical cause. An illness is more generally any condition that causes one to not feel well. It includes diseases and disorders, and it can be applied to more transient maladies such as a cold.

but originates in a human being’s desperate attempt to solve a problem: the problem of emotional pain, of overwhelming stress, of lost connection, of loss of control, of a deep discomfort with the self. .

maté addiction law:

In short, it is a forlorn attempt to solve the problem of human pain.

Hence my mantra:

The question is not why the addiction, but why the pain.”


source of pain is always and invariably to be found in a person’s lived experience, beginning with childhood.

Childhood trauma is the template for addiction—any addiction

the same brain circuits involved in all addictions, from shopping to eating to heroin dependence

a psychological and physiological response to painful life experiences


trauma is not restricted to horrific experiences. It refers to

any set of events that, over time, impose more pain on the child than his or her sensitive organism can process and discharge.

Therefore, trauma can occur not only when bad things happen, but also when the parents are too stressed, too distracted, too depressed, to beset by economic worry, too isolated, etc. to respond to a sensitive child’s emotional need to be seen, emotionally held, heard, validated, made to feel secure.


Not all traumatized people become addicted, but all addicted people were traumatized.

That is the reality of our culture, where addiction, like trauma, is so commonplace that most people also don’t recognize its presence. Yet it surrounds us, engulfs so many of us, that

our near-exclusive focus on the troubles of drug addiction is itself but another escape from reality.

in the realm of hungry ghosts
Eleanor Longden
Russell Brand
Glennon Doyle Melton
Carl Hart – high price
Johann Hari – chasing the scream
Bruce Alexanderrat park
Travis Lupick  – fighting for space
bud osborn..liz evans..ann livingston ..dan small
Matt Taibbi – the divide
Bryan Stevenson – just mercy
Nadine Burke Harris – early adversity
Harvey Milkman
Nic Sheff – tweak
jan 2015 by Johann Hari:

..the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.

There is an alternative. You can build a system that is designed to help drug addicts to reconnect with the world – and so leave behind their addictions.

This isn’t only relevant to the addicts I love. It is relevant to all of us, because it forces us to think differently about ourselves. Human beings are bonding animals. We need to connect and love. The wisest sentence of the twentieth century was E.M. Forster’s – only connect. 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.

2 needs and a cure – deeper than addiction, crime, illness, .. deep enough to resonate with 7 billion of us…

interview (video) on democracy now – feb 2015: 

it’s your cage/environment… in need of a rat park..

44 min – if driver is isolation, pain, distress… policy focused on inflicting more.. is crazy

hari present in society law:

we have created a society where huge numbers of our fellow citizens can’t bear to be present in their lives .. and have to medicate themselves to get through the day..

there’s is nothing that preps us for the hyper-individualist/capitalist society like yours and mine

interview – part 2:

Gabor – drug injection sites

7 min – right from the start – criminals are not only the ones who benefit from war on drugs.. they paid for it (bribed narcotics officers) – criminal gangs.. only ones that have profited from drug war

all she needed was help

there’s a much better way

short – a rat park for 7 billion people
hari rat park law
My mother left when I was 3. We’ve met. She’s still in Baltimore. But I don’t remember her. Addiction is powerful.Original Tweet:

april 2015 – Gabor interview

For 12 years, until his recent retirement from medicine, the Hungarian-born physician ran a clinic treating Vancouver’s most serious addicts, most of whom suffered from other health issues as well, including HIV and hepatitis C. The clinic, Insite, remains the only place in North America that allows addicts a safe injection site, meaning they can come to the clinic to use clean needles and have their injections medically supervised.

Maté, author of the best-selling book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction,” believes the origins of addiction stem from childhood trauma and that addicts should be treated with more compassion. He argues against the two prevailing views of addiction: that it’s a choice people make to seek out hedonistic, self-destructive pleasure due to a lack of willpower, or that it’s an inevitable result of inherited genes.


Addiction, he believes, represents a failure of crucial brain circuits to develop early in life under the influence of a nurturing environment. “Seeing addiction itself as the problem doesn’t deal with the fundamental issue, which is a person’s attempt to solve the distress and suffering lingering from a past trauma,” he explains. “That’s why it’s not sufficient to simply try to treat the addiction.”


“Once we acknowledge that addiction is not an inherited disease — that we’re not genetically wired to become addicts — we can provide the conditions needed to help people overcome their conditions, since the brain is neuroplastic and can change with new habits,” explains Maté.

recovery 2 point 0 conf – feb 6-12 2015
mental health
cure violence keri
aug 2016 – shocking truths of what causes addiction – via Gabor..  (45 min podcast)

addiction soothes isolation and pain.. – gabor

constantly looking for a way to not be with myself.. – sam –

addict: slave in roman times indebt to someone and couldn’t pay debt.. so addiction implies slavery.. a lack of autonomy/control/freedom… so .. any behavior .. substance related or not.. that occurs/craves/find-temp-pleasure in or suffers long-term neg consequences.. unable to give it up.. lacks freedom to give it up..

so anyone of theses behaviors characterised by craving relief… long term neg consequence.. imperent (?) control..

9 min – whatever kind of addict.. same psych dynamics.. at heart of addiction is not any kind of disease or choice.. but emotional pain.. all attempts to escape from emotional pain… lot of pain in our society.. so not understanding addictino is not understanding pain.. in denial of the trauma… that’s at the heart of human addiction in our society…

10 min – what’s it like to be uncomfortable in one’s own skin.. our narrow defn of addiction allows us not to look at that trauma.. not to look at that pain

sam – i’m guilty of that whole us and them thing.. the labeling.. is a completely mired language..

gabor.. doesn’t only apply to addiction.. but mental models in general.. ie: we thought depressions/anxiety/adhd is a disease.. which allows us to not look through society.. what’s actually true.. doesn’t matter what mental condition you look at..we have a continuum throughout entire society… disease model allows us to.. sequester these people .. so we don’t have to look at our similarities with them…

14 min – w/o loving contact.. infants don’t survive.. so drug addicts.. see loss of connection..

reading book about pigmies… have maintained original form for thousands of years till recently… very communal… tremendous sense of security and belonging… gradual breakdown.. esp accelerated under industrialized systems… where people lose community..

16 min – more culturally isolated.. more pain.. more want to soothe paint..

17 min – if say someone is drinking too much.. say.. feeling no pain… so pain relievers.. but also behaviors of addiction: gambling, sex, overeating.. trigger release of ednorphins…

not what the addiction.. but why the pain…

primary problem/disease is the pain experience..

19 min – guilt as denial..

20 min – sam – on the distraction methods we surround ourselves with

21 min – industries arise to soothe pains.. rather than release them.. services/producs..- gabor

22 min – individual level – addiction all about trauma… in form of abuse.. neglect.. hurt.. but can also be developmental.. children not getting needs met.. ie: physically held.. but emotionally ignored.. actually shape brain in certain ways

24 min – social level – stresses people.. ie: more stressed parents.. less emotionally available to kids.. a multi generational.. and cultural transmission of pain.. question of seeing how this culture induces stress on those people.. can’t separate..individuals from environment… so individual help is a cultural/social issue..

yes.. thinking the whole.. voluntary compliance ness – from previous stress

28 min – where rat study comes in.. substances aren’t addictive.. it’s the environment/society..

what have now – highest rates of addiction/suicide/abuse.. was totally foreign to them.. shows.. addiction is response to certain circumstances

29 min – bruce alexander… globalization of addiction.. (2nd best book i’ve ever written)..  talks of rat park.. shows addiction is not inborn.. not disease.. but a response to environment..

rat park

32 min – so does that mean for us .. we need to change our cage.. – sam

gabor: as soon as brain is developed in fetus.. has to begin with looking after pregnant women and young children… et al… kids well taken care o f…

addiction has nothing to do with telling people how bad drugs are but.. with creating conditions in which human beings develop in a healthy way.. that calls for vast social changing.. rethinking of priorities... on social.. on individual.. not what addiction but why pain.. the essence of trauma.. discomfort/disconnection with self is exactly that.. not sufficient to base on behavior aspects w/o reconnection to self.. is not sufficient…

a nother way

35 min – nazi occupation.. all jewish babies crying.. picking up on mother’s stress…  so i accumulated a lot of pain/fear.. get sense that world doesn’t want me.. plays w/ my attention problems.. because tuning out is a way to deal with it..

book – scattered – not a disease.. it’s from environment.. so i compensate by ie: becoming successful dr and to be wanted by everybody.. which also means i’m a work-a-holic.. emotionally distant from self.. and is what my children experience… we just keep passing it on..

39 min – not guilt.. but lack of consciousness. if approach from position of guilt.. you can’t help them..then saying.. you’re a mistake i made.. so first to deal with is the heal self first.. don’t try and fix children.. heal yourself..

42 min – has to be awareness/acceptance that this is how it is.. then an unflinching dedication.. ie: each time problem arises.. another opp to grow/learn.. dedication to expansion.. expansion means .. a letting go..


the loss of my son.. what i wish i would have known


dec 2016 – Russell Brand – 14 yrs clean

what is this need/thing.. that people are trying to medicate

3 min -people feeling deep well of despair.. econ – broad social problem… there is a solution.. but conditions creating it getting worse and worse..

4 min – what would address this..

5 min – reading: we knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be against war or blacks.. but by getting the public to associate hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin…criminalize both heavily, we could disrupt those communities.. did we know we were lying about the drugs.. of course we did

10 min – all this focus on the substance is quite irrelevant..

rat park ness

11 min – need a community.. and a spiritual.. looking into self..

talking a and a

12 min – a problem that is deep deep deep in the bones of the way we look at reality.. and the way we see what being human is..  and the end to addiction is ..connection/love/togetherness


Dr Mark Tyndall (@DrMtyndall) tweeted at 8:46 AM on Sat, Feb 04, 2017:
Fixing fentanyl means treating trauma that creates addicts

the first question when dealing with opiate-dependent human beings should be not “why the addiction” but “why the pain?”



The answer is trauma: deep, unresolved trauma that imposes a lifetime of suffering, fear of reality, isolation, hopelessness and an urgency to alter one’s experience. This is where addiction comes in.

The meaning of all addictions could be defined as endeavours at controlling our life experiences with the help of external remedies,” wrote the psychiatrist Thomas Hora.


And what is the nature of the trauma that drives people to desperation?

In my 12 years in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, ground zero for addiction in Canada, all my female patients reported sexual abuse in childhood, all the male patients abuse or neglect of one kind or another.


As large scale international epidemiological studies have repeatedly demonstrated, childhood adversity is at the core of the emotional patterns and psychological dynamics that drive addiction.

Further, childhood trauma shapes the physiology of the developing brain in ways that induce a susceptibility to addiction. Hence the addiction-prone person finds relief in substances that would not entice others, even after repeated exposure to the same drugs.

In turn, prolonged drug use also changes the brain in ways that further entrench the addictive drive.

Trauma, induced by Canada’s colonial history and far from healed yet, is also what accounts for the high rates of alcoholism and other substance dependencies in our First Nations communities, to say nothing of the shocking preponderance of First Nations citizens in our jails, for legal reasons often rooted in addiction.


It is not a fault, not a moral lapse, not a sin, not a failure of will, nor yet even an inherited disease, but a complex response to suffering. It is not a legal problem but a human problem, to which the solutions need to be humane in every possible way.

Inclusion, not ostracizing, needs to motivate our policies; not punishment but support, not judgment but empathy


drug injection sites

Looks like Seattle, Washington will be the 1st US city to start a legal safe injection site. Others soon to follow.

Original Tweet:


Steven Slate (@cleanslateblog) tweeted at 4:29 PM on Mon, Mar 06, 2017:
Addiction is nothing like diabetes. Stop mindlessly repeating this useless comparison.

rt by Carl hart


Gabor fb share

“Addiction is an attempt to solve a problem in your life. What happened to create the discomfort with yourself and the present moment that you have to escape from?” – Dr Gabor Maté. Watch an excerpt from the interview, below.

Dr Maté is a featured keynote speaker for the Radical Recovery Summit – a gathering of leaders in the recovery field sharing their innovative approaches to the exploding epidemic of addiction in the many forms it takes. His interview focuses on trauma, abuse and neglect as the real root of addiction and the radical step of reconnecting within for true healing and recovery.

Watch his interview at 11AM Eastern on Saturday September 23rd, 2017, or watch the replay until midnight Sunday evening.

Click here to sign up.

Please share with your networks.

the horse that’s pulling us is the discomfort and lack of safety you experience in your life.. that you have to escape from

addiction not as the primary problem.. but as an attempt to solve a problem..

treatment.. takes a lot of courage and a lot of safety

stephen porges (polyvagal): when people are safe.. neurophysiologically they’re in a diff state when they are not safe

neocortex not threatened ness

for people to open to their pain/hurt.. they have to feel very safe.. that it’s ok to be that way.. that they’ll be taken care of.. that they won’t be punished/judged/rejected.. they’ll be actually heard..

spaces of permission w nothing to prove.. quiet/safe enough for all the voices

parents just couldn’t see.. because they couldn’t see themselves.. that they had been traumatized..

the most fundamental catastrophe is the result of that first catastrophe which is a loss of connection to your essence..

(still stephen): the real problem wasn’t that your mother/father couldn’t support you.. or maybe even they hurt you.. the problem is that as a result of that you lost a connection to yourself.. that’s the greatest calamity

now.. that’s the good news.. because if the problem was what happened to you and i however may decades ago.. if that’s the problem.. we’re basically lost.. cause it ain’t never gonna not happen

but if the problem is that a result of that.. we lost the connection to our essence.. well that can be regained at any moment.. and that’s the positive news..


nov 2017 – link between trauma and work addiction by @drake_baer about Gabor

The bigger the void that people feel, the greater the urge to get themselves noticed, and the greater the compulsion to acquire status.


deray (@deray) tweeted at 7:12 AM – 29 Dec 2017 :

Addiction to video games is a mental disorder, as WHO adds it to list of mental health conditions for first time

Julia Firestone (@JuliaHallie) tweeted at 7:23 AM – 29 Dec 2017 :

@deray @avantgame shared a great point on this: (

The obvious problem with this is that many studies suggest depression/anxiety is the underlying problem and “game addiction” is the manifestation/result, so treating games as the problem may miss the actual need for (and opportunity to more directly) help

hari addiction law

Julia Firestone (@JuliaHallie) tweeted at 7:24 AM – 29 Dec 2017 :

@deray @avantgame And she shared this article as well: (

“We never get out of this ‘It’s a disease or it’s a choice’ debate,” Szalavitz tells me. “But addiction is not brain damage or a pathology like Alzheimer’s. It really is misguided learning.”

What she means is that the path to addiction—which she defines as compulsive behavior despite negative consequences—depends on learning that the problematic substance can help soothe some other problem in a person’s life, such as depression, social anxiety, physical pain, or, in Szalavitz’s case, what she believes was an undiagnosed childhood autism-spectrum disorder.

Szalavitz didn’t have a classic “addictive personality.” She was a *good student and fearful of many novel experiences, not a thrill-seeker. In her case, anxiety drove addiction.

*already addicted .. to pleasing people.. and status quo

Learning is more often driven by *intrinsic motivation (the authentic desire of the student to succeed) than by extrinsic motivation, such as rewards and punishments from authority figures.

*how about.. authentic curiosity.. ‘student to succeed’ is an addiction..


via Dave Gray fb share – why the disease defn of addiction does more harm than good – feb 2018

The disease model remains dominant in the U.S. because of its stakeholders. First, the rehab industry, worth an estimated $35 billion per year, uses the disease nomenclature in a vast majority of its ads and slogans. Despite consistently low success rates, that’s not likely to stop because it pulls in the cash. Second, as long as addiction is labeled a disease, medical insurance providers can be required to pay for it.

Definitions not only direct strategies for knowledge acquisition; they are also rich with implications and connotations


Bud Osborn – down here (doc)

Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis (doc) []

28 min – (gabor) – so the opioid crisis is not just an accident.. not just a product of fentanyl..  it’s also a result of poor medical practice and unscrupulous pharma practice.. for which nobody has gone to jail by the way..t

1998 to 2002 – push to treat pain as the 5th vital sign – need to do a better job treating pain

33 min (gabor) – the system needs a major overhaul.. the system is not even broken dysfunctional/counterproductive that we have the opp results to what we actually want..t

36 min – ie: portugal – decriminalized drugs.. we need a reset/rethink

41 min – (gabor) – in the meanwhile let’s look at what’s possible right now.. people don’t need to hope they just need to wake up..t

Travis Lupick (@tlupick)’s fighting for space

Ann Livingston

Liz Evans