gabor on why addicted to everything

Gabor Mate: Why Are We Addicted To Everything? – 1 hr video.. gabor is 5-40 min

from metaphysical milkshake with:

rainn wilson @rainnwilson (actor – the office et al .. co founded soul pancake – &

reza aslan @rezaaslan (ucr professor – President of Harvard’s Chapter of the World Conference of Religions for Peace – ‘It’s not [that] I think Islam is correct and Christianity is incorrect. It’s that all religions are nothing more than a language made up of symbols and metaphors to help an individual explain faith’ –


2 min – rainn: mental/health addiction issues been w me/fam.. i’ve put many cousins thru finest rehabs.. and i’m fascinated by this topic

sounds like johann hari‘s search in chasing the scream

rainn: but not just how addiction works on an individual level.. what addiction is.. why.. what causes it and all that is fascinating.. but .. humanity seems to be addicted to everything these days.. does humanity just need a giant intervention..t

yeah.. that.. a legit re\set.. a global leap to a nother way for 8b people.. because we are all intoxicated in sea world..

hari rat park law et al.. because mufleh humanity lawwe have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity– Luma Mufleh

4 min – reza: i think people have changed.. thinking about addiction differently.. but also as you rightly pointed out.. feels like everyone is addicted to something now

yeah.. that .. for sure.. perpetually intoxicated whales

reza: so.. what’s going on there.. this is more than an individual problem.. this is a societal problem.. we need help figuring out exactly what is happening to us..t

indeed.. systemic vs individual ness.. missing pieces.. problem deep enough.. healing (roots of)

4 min – rainn: i have just the person.. gabor

reza: oh.. you love this guy.. you can’t stop talking about this guy.. i am his biggest fan.. love his book realm of hungry ghosts

i hear you.. been swimming there for years now.. but so glad to hear it

realm of hungry ghosts

and and and .. a nother way for 8b people to live.. based on legit/deep needs.. rather than our assumed basic needs (food, water, shelter et al).. maté basic needs et al

5 min – rainn: your books.. profound to me over the years.. your perspective is like none other.. really truly touched me.. (talked about all his troubles).. not something i talk a lot about.. but drugs, alcohol, and other addictions.. workaholism, codependence.. i love the process of being in therapy.. which i’ve been for long time.. that excavation of the self.. you go into trauma.. and this link between trauma and addiction is kind of where you (gabor) live.. asking you about the totality of the view of addiction.. there is no better guest on the planet to ask to speak on this topic.. for those that don’t know.. like reza .. reza is so smart on so many topics.. and we were prepping for this and reza was like.. i don’t know what is it.. so bring us up to speed.. our first question.. what is addiction

7 min – so i’ll give you a defn reza.. and as i give it to you just think about it.. you might be the one person on the planet that it doesn’t apply to .. but.. usually think of addiction of drugs/substances.. but really .. work, sex, substances..

8 min – so addiction not about substances.. it’s manifested in any behavior that a person finds temp pleasure/relief in and therefore craves.. but then suffers negative consequences as a result of and has trouble giving up despite negative consequences.. any behavior.. could be anything.. t (lists everything).. any range of human behavior.. so reza let me ask you from that pov

maté addiction law et al

9 min – reza: well i guess.. rainn called me at the beginning a workaholic.. but i never thought of that as a negative thing

well the question is.. does it have neg consequences on you personally.. either physically or emotionally.. or on your relationships..

reza: yeah.. that’s the one i’ll have to think about a little bit more.. see this is really fascinating because i feel like my knowledge about addiction really matches society’s changing knowledge.. like most people.. i used to think addiction was some moral failing.. go fix it.. then read.. addiction as disease.. so treat disease thru therapy/meds.. but reading your material.. not a disease, not a moral failing, not a personality trait.. may be some genetic quality to it but not .. if dad then you.. but something deeper going on.. something that has to do with childhood.. right

gabor on childhood trauma et al

10 min – well that’s what i’m getting at.. that’s what i’m asking you.. maybe you’re one of the few people that doesn’t have an addiction.. but again.. i’m just asking.. that defn.. craving and pleasure relief in the short term.. neg consequences and difficulty giving it up.. that’s what an addiction is.. maybe you won’t identify.. but i’m just asking you.. yes or no

11 min – reza: do i focus on my work sometimes at the detriment of my relationships.. absolutely.. there’s no question of that.. but i wonder if it’s because i’m getting short term enjoyment out of it or if it’s because i’m just scared to death of being poor again

supposed to’s of school/work.. work.. et al

rainn: well.. here we go to the childhood trauma piece.. because reza was sharing this w me earlier.. he grew up super poor.. parents immigrants.. lot of pressure to make way in this world.. living in trailer parks.. so he’s got 14 jobs.. but isn’t that a correlation between childhood trauma and

well.. wait a minute now.. the 14 jobs could be a rational decision.. or it could be an addiction..

love this man

the question is .. is there pleasure/relief in short term.. negative consequences in the long term.. and does he have trouble giving it up.. it’s not what he’s doing .. it’s his relationship to it.. t

maté addiction law – not why the addiction but why the pain

12 min – but let me ask you this.. if it’s an addiction what does it do for you in the short term.. what do you like about it.. and rainn i can ask you the same question.. first.. what did they do for you

rainn: to do a deep dive.. my mom left me

hold on .. don’t go there yet..

so much

rainn: but i’m gonna get there.. i promise

there’s a reason i’m asking in this sequence.. k?

rainn: in short term.. it allows me to escape anxiety..

ok terrific.. so relief from anxiety.. is that a good/bad thing

rainn: that is a very good thing

excellent.. that’s what i’m saying.. addiction is not a disease.. it’s an attempt to solve a problem

addiction is not a disease.. it’s an attempt to solve a problem..t

maté addiction law

the problem is anxiety.. so did you choose to be anxious.. did you wake up one morning and say.. hey may ambition is to be anxious

rainn: no.. are you going to let me share my childhood trauma yet


13 min – in a minute i will .. but the point i want to nail first is the reason addiction is not a disease or choice is because .. it’s really an attempt to solve a human problem of emotional pain.. so the pain comes first.. so my mantra is not why the addiction.. but why the pain..t now why the pain.. tada.. childhood

i’m repeating so much but oh well

gabor on addiction/trauma/needs

cope\ing ness.. hari present in society law.. et al

rainn: so now i can go

yeah.. now you can go

rainn: so my mom took off when i was 2 yrs old.. w father who didn’t have capacity to take care of 2yr old.. he remarried in a loveless marriage and moved to central america.. i experienced a lot of corp punishment.. isolation.. over the years.. that was a fair amount of trauma.. and it led to a lot of anxiety and some depression .. and some other issues

14 min – yeah.. so that’s the whole point.. that you’ve been itching to get to very appropriately.. that first comes the trauma.. then comes the pain.. then the addiction comes along as an attempt to soothe the pain.. so why call it a disease..t

and by the way.. even in your narrative.. it’s interesting how you talked about it.. you said.. i experienced a lot of corp punishment.. no you didn’t .. you were hit a lot.. even to say it’s an experience of corp punishment is kind of intellectualizing it.. what really happened was

rainn: you’re absolutely right

and what’s the impact of a child .. of being abandoned by mom.. of being hit a lot.. of being in a marriage which is loveless.. what’s the impact.. it’s tremendous emotional pain.. and the thing about addiction.. it’s always an attempt to escape emotional pain.. whether the person realizes it or not.. let me tell you.. i’ve spoken to 100s of people who say.. i had a happy childhood.. that usually takes me 2 min.. in other words.. underneath addiction.. there’s always emotional pain.. that emotional pain is originally rooted in childhood.. then it gets triggered in adulthood.. let’s say you lose a job/marriage/meaning/sense-of-belonging.. that’s why we see the rise in addiction these days.. not just a question of individual trauma.. it’s also a question of social stress on a lot of people.. coupled w individual trauma..

structural violence

graeber wealth law et al

hari rat park law.. krishnamurti measure law

but in every single case.. the addictive behavior.. whatever it is.. it’s always about a way to soothe some distressing/emotional state.. so it’s not the primary problem.. it’s an attempt to solve a problem.. which creates more problems..

16 min – but it’s a very human thing to do.. to want to escape emotional pain.. t

16-19 min commercial

19 min – reza: i didn’t realize this was going to be a therapy session.. but it is opening up some things.. if i were to answer the questions you asked rainn.. suddenly yes.. if addiction originates in the need for a person to solve a problem.. some kind of deep seated problem.. often having to do w our earliest years.. trauma/loss.. yeah.. my family was very wealthy when we lived in iran.. then we fled a revolution and came here w nothing.. grew up with nothing.. and having nothing was very stressful.. it destroyed our fam.. the relationship between my mother/father.. and then thru out 20-30s i was fairly poor myself.. but didn’t matter because i was single.. could live off ramon.. easy.. but now i have wife.. more kids i can count/recognize.. so yeah.. i gotta be honest w you.. now that i think about it.. when there’s a moment in which i’m unsure of what the income is going to be.. there is a tightening in my chest.. and i do have kind of flashes of childhood a little bit.. and so .. yeah.. i think uh.. yes.. i guess if .. i’m a workaholic.. there i’ve admitted.. step 1 right? the first step is to admit there’s a problem.. and yeah.. i think i do it because i’m so stressed out about being poor again.. because i think if i’m poor again.. it’ll destroy my fam and my fam is the most important thing to me.. and hs i’m an addict.. wow

21 min – let me take it a step further ok.. so you’ve recounted the loss to your fam of he upheaval in your country.. having to immigrate.. new culture.. parents having to make a living in fully diff society.. fin/economically the pressure is on your fam.. what did that feel like as a child.. i’m not talking about the lack of money.. i’m talking about the family atmosphere.. how did that affect you

reza: i guess the primary emotion was stress/anxiety.. but the result of the stress/anxiety was disconnection

ok.. and that’s what trauma is.. trauma is a disconnection.. from self or other people.. that’s what trauma is.. and there’s a good reason for that disconnection .. because when to stay connected is too painful.. the human mind automatically disconnects..

maté trauma law

22 min – so the trauma is not what happens to us.. it happens to us as a result of what happens inside us as a result of what happens to us.. and that disconnection.. that sense of neither being fully myself .. connected w myself.. or.. connected with other people.. that’s the essence of trauma..t

and.. the essence of being.. which all of us are currently lacking: missing pieces: authenticity and attachment

maté basic needs.. et al

imagine if we org’d around that (2 needs via 2 conversations)

ie: a nother way

rainn: that reminds me of an animal in the wild being attacked by a leopard.. and they just lie there.. in their shock/trauma.. which might be a defense mech but is often a response to that neg stimulus

no.. it’s actually a defense mech.. in that frozen state.. the animal doesn’t feel as much pain.. if he indeed gets attacked.. so animals who can’t escape or fight back.. which is the primary defense.. if they can’t do that.. their nervous system goes into freeze mode.. a protective mode.. maybe if i’m immobile they won’t notice me and if i am hurt.. it won’t hurt so much.. and people who are traumatized.. people who are sexually abused.. they go into freeze mode.. and then they blame themselves later on.. ‘why didn’t i fight back’.. they didn’t fight back because their nervous system protects them by going into freeze mode..

23 min – my fam is rife w addiction.. but my dad.. incredibly traumatic childhood.. mostly happened 7-13.. but surrounded by addicts.. he didn’t smoke/drink/overeat/overwork.. he was passive.. married 4 times.. he passed away this year

25 min – what age did he pass away

rainn: 79

by what

rainn: a really bad heart disease.. totally clogged arteries..

what makes you think the clogged arteries wasn’t a trauma affect.. i’m not saying everyone who becomes traumatized is addicted.. what i said was.. everybody who was addicted was traumatized..

so.. to the original focus/question.. if we’re all addicted to everything.. all traumatized.. from being in sea world.. need a new cage.. a new org.. a nother way for 8b people to live.. based on our 2 basic needs

but trauma can show up in diff ways.. ie: canadian study.. men sexually abused.. significantly higher risk of heart disease whether they smoke/drink or not.. so there’s all kinds of ways physiologically in which trauma potentiates heart disease.. your father’s heart disease i would suggest is probably a trauma effect.. he didn’t have an addiction.. but trauma can manifest in multiple ways.. addiction being only one of them

26 min – reza: so these adverse childhood experiences (ace) and you’re saying.. you can trace this.. look at people w high number of ace’s and how it’s sort of a straight line.. it exponentially increases their chances of becoming an addict latter on.. right

yeah but not just being an addict.. also the chances of having autoimmune disease, malignancy, mental illness, .. all kinds of things.. so the line of ace’s is not exclusively to addiction.. it’s to all manner of afflictions

reza: ah .. so like suicide, early death, things like that

all that.. yeah.. sexually transmitted disease.. everything

27 min – reza: so not to get too personal.. but obviously you’ve shared this before .. but you had of course a very traumatic childhood.. nazi rule.. i wonder how that experience shaped your addiction theories..

first of all.. my addiction theories are grounded science.. they’re not just insights that i’ve had.. in other words.. where there’s a huge gap in medical practice is between what science has shown us and what dr’s understand.. i mean.. what i’m talking about has only been shown in 10 000 studies.. which i have many of them on my computer.. relationship between trauma and addiction.. and how trauma affects the brain.. i don’t make that stuff up.. it’s only that i saw it’s impact in physical clinical practice.. i couldn’t help it

yeah.. that.. quiet enough ness.. what i’ve seen ness.. from the what ness.. and can’t unsee it.. can’t not be about it..

28 min – reza: right.. but you also have a personal experience with it as well.. not just a clinical one

yeah.. that’s right .. and so in terms of my own experience.. when i was working here in vancouver w the highly addictive population.. and i didn’t ever have a substance addiction.. meth, heroin, et al.. but i did have behavioral addictions.. work and shopping.. and i would lie/cheat/manip.. just like my addicted clients.. and it had impacts on my personal life.. my marriage/children and so on.. so i could easily recognize the similarities between myself/clients.. the diff’s were obvious.. i was a middle class successful physician.. they were street blowers.. they had hiv .. i didn’t.. the diff’s were obvious.. but it was the similarities that were very interesting..


29 min – now when you say i had a traumatic childhood.. i want to correct that a little bit.. i didn’t have the kind of traumatic childhood that rainn had.. i had traumatic infancy.. but the family i grew up in was by and large a functional.. loving fam home.. my parents were not perfect parents.. but there was no neglect or abusive risk there.. so the trauma i sustained happened in the first year of my life.. jewish infant under nazi occupation .. under the threat of genocide.. deprivation.. hunger.. separation from my mother.. that had significant impacts on my brain.. it made me tune out as a way of coping with it.. so i developed add.. which by the way is another non disease that they think is a disease.. it actually begins as a tuning out.. so i had the tuning out.. i had (?) impulse regulation.. i had a sense of emptiness.. and not being enough.. now.. if you don’t think you’re enough.. here’s what you do.. you go to med school.. my mother gives me to a stranger as a 1 yr old to save my life.. so i don’t see her for 6 wks.. well the message i get is i’m not wanted.. so if not wanted .. go to med school.. now they’re going to want you all the time.. when they’re dying.. being born.. and every min in between.. highly addictive.. so there’s my work addiction.. so my infancy and the unresolved pain i was carrying as a result of it really had a lot to do with the (?) in my marriage.. the trauma i transmitted to my children.. how i approached my work.. and all that..

30 min – and of course.. working on all that stuff.. like rainn.. at some point i had to decide.. hey.. this life is not working.. i need to find out why.. i need to go to therapy.. i need to do some self reflection.. and that’s when i started to put these pieces together and it resonated so much w the experiences of my clients.. the diff being that they had had much tougher childhoods than i had

31-34 commercial break

34 min – rainn: you talk about modern part of the disease.. stressed out busy parents who are unable/unwilling to be there for their kids.. just too overwhelmed.. i have a teenager.. seems like more to manage these days.. starts to compound.. i see so many dangers that didn’t exist.. ie: phone w 1000 video games on it; vaping; social media – unlimited porn; sugar; constant distraction.. can you talk about this modern battle we’ve got going on

36 min – well there’s a number of things going on.. you’re absolutely right in your description.. there a number of things driving it: 1\ we’re not raising kids like human kids are meant to be raised..t.. human kids were meant to be raised in large family h/g tribal groupings w lots of nurturing adults arounds.. free play in nature and companions of multiple ages.. infants were not meant to be put down.. they were meant to be held all the time.. they were not meant to cry it out.. they were meant to be soothed right away.. this is how human beings have evolved.. so we’ve come a far way.. in the us at least.. 25% of women have to go back to work w/in 2 wks of giving birth.. which is a major trauma to the infant.. the loss of the mother.. even a temp loss of the mother.. in h/g groups.. the avg age of weaning from breast feeding is 4 years.. so we’ve gone way beyond the niche in which we evolved.. that’s hurting a lot of kids.. that creates a lot of emptiness and pain in children..

maté parenting law.. graeber parent/care law.. your own song.. et al

37 min – and then 2\ society creates a lot of modalities to soothe the pain.. to distract ourselves from it..t.. this (phone) being a major culprit.. tv, youtube, internet..

38 min – another thing.. really encourage you rainn to read book.. hold on to your kids.. what happens is the human brain can’t handle a loss of relationship.. so when a duckling hatches from an egg (i’m going to go on a bit of a rant here).. what happens when the duckling sees the mother duck

hold on to kids

rainn: imprinting

exactly.. and imprinting is.. i’m going to follow you and be your child/follower and you’re going to teach me and protect/nurture me.. now.. what happens to a duckling if it hatches from the egg and the mother duck is not there.. what will the duckling imprint on

r&r: whatever’s there

exactly .. whatever is there.. could be dog/horse/mechanical-toy.. none of which are designed by nature to bring that ducking up to adult enough.. children are the same.. children are meant to imprint on the parents.. nurturing adults.. but what happens in our society.. our children from an early age on don’t even see the adults in their lives most of the day.. who do they imprint on? each other.. so now you have immature creatures imprinting on immature creatures.. and when that happens.. kids are desperate to connect to each other all the time thru this (phone) thing here

39 min – rainn: isn’t that just called.. instagram..

absolutely.. so what i’m saying is society creates the problems.. and then it creates the products to exploit the problem.. and when kids imprint on each other.. parents lose their capacity to parent.. they lose their power.. because they kids are not looking to the parent any more..

this is still unsettling to hear.. i totally agree .. but would want to add the importance.. esp in our sick world.. that even the parents get imprinted by the child.. as detox.. ie: 1 yr to be 5.. to be not yet scrambled et al

40 min – so it’s a huge problem.. society creates and the exploits.. and you this.. on the sugar.. the food co’s do special research.. neuro research.. to figure out what combo of sugar/salt/fat will be most addictive to children

rainn: there are teams of specialists trying to get us addicted

i know that’s the whole point.. so this society creates the emptiness/pain/stress.. and then it creates products to exploit it for profit..t

ie: if in downtown vancouver a patient of mine sold an oz of cocaine.. they’d be sitting in jail.. but these people sit in corp boardrooms addicting millions of people to health endangering behaviors.. and all they do is get higher dividends.. that’s the society that we live in

41 min – reza: and since you’ve already answered our big question.. why are we addicted to everything.. i have some stats here.. which i don’t even believe them.. in us 38% of adults battled illicit drug disuse order.. that’s way too low.. at last 21 million americans have an addition.. bs.. that’s way too low.. now that i think about it

that’s because they define addiction in very narrow terms..

reza: yeah.. drugs and alcohol.. that’s what they’re saying right?

still too low for that

reza: 10% get help.. 300 million thru out world have alcohol use disorder.. these numbers are just way .. but the bottom line is .. the answer to the question.. why are we addicted to everything.. seems to be that.. if addiction is a symptom of a disorder and the disorder is trauma that comes from growing up in an increasingly disconnected de spiritualized world.. well then there’s your answer..

42 min – reza: so at the risk of depressing the shit out of all our listeners.. where do you find hope.. how do we heal ourselves as a society

this is the best part guys.. huge mindset coming.. listen deep

well first of all.. my intention is not exactly to depress anybody.. it’s actually to show them that a diff possibility is available to us.. but we have to first get the reality of this life that we’re living.. what i love doing though is disillusioning people.. now we think of disillusionment as a bad thing .. but let me ask you something.. would you rather be illusioned or disillusioned?

rainn: i’d rather be living in reality.. cause you can’t grow unless you’re seeing it

that’s the whole point.. so my intention is never to depress but it’s always to hold up a reflection of reality to people

reality: we are all in sea world.. and we need to get out

43 min – now.. it’s not a question of hope.. of something happening in the future.. i believe deeply in the human capacity for wholeness.. by the way healing comes from the word wholeness.. and that disconnection is a loss of wholeness.. but it’s not a loss of wholeness in the sense of the wholeness being destroyed.. it’s just we lose connection w our wholeness.. so i believe in the possibility of reconnection.. what do we call reconnection.. we call it recovery.. finding again something that we’ve lost.. and so .. that possibility is inherent in every human being.. in every creature in the universe by the way.. so when you ask me what’s the hope? .. the possibility of reconnection and healing is available to us as long as we’re alive.. so.. it’s not this vague hope that i have.. it’s a real possibility that i’ve seen in action.. inspiringly so..

almaas holes law .. missing pieces.. et al



44 min – and it can happen both on the individual and with much more great difficulty on the social level as well.. that’s the possibility that i see.. t

both can be simple.. exponentially instant..
we need a global leap because for the dance to dance.. we need everyone in sync ..

otherwise still perpetuating tragedy of the non common.. for (blank)’s sake

rainn: end of discussion.. but.. lightening round

when do you feel most connected w universe: when i look in my wife’s eyes..

what skill do you wish you had: drumming

what was the happiest day of your life: the day my first child was born

what’s something only few people know about you: what a wonderful guy i am..

what book changed your life: don quite

most enlightening spiritual experience: ayahuasca.. admin’d by shamans.. had experience i can’t even describe.. sky blue screen.. inscribed in sky.. ‘boldog’ hungarian word for happy.. and all of a sudden i realized my happiness is not limited to what happened to me as an infant

what is your life’s big question: when i go into the depths of me.. there are no questions left.. that doesn’t mean i won’t get surprised.. i expect to get surprised.. but something in me already knows what the surprise is going ot be.. that’s as close as i can get to it

47 min – rainn: i encourage everyone to email/call gabor..

well i hope they don’t.. but they can check out my site.. and there’s a lot of videos on youtube.. you don’t have to pay for

gabor leaves at 48 min

49 min – reza: his defn of addiction makes the most sense to me.. and using that framework to think about why i work all the time and expect people to praise me for it

50 min – rainn: so question my therapist would ask.. so what are you going to soothe yourself that is healthy..

reza: no clue.. a hobby? something that doesn’t pay.. everything i do is essentially a job..

rainn: everything i do.. being in public.. is for show.. i’ve always wanted to do pottery/ceramics.. i think i need to do it and not show anything on instagram.. my own private idaho of my work.. can it soothe me? maybe so

reza: same for me and books.. i don’t read them to be entertained.. i read them to learn.. i’d never read for enjoyment

54 min – reza: asked listeners to come on.. (i quit listening)




gabor on addiction/trauma/needs

maté addiction law

missing pieces

almaas holes law – always a way back

please stay

et al