According to the book Chasing the Scream, by journalist Johann Hari, the “opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, but connection.” There is a lot of truth to this, as sobriety is more of a lifestyle, rather than simply not taking drugs, and addiction is primarily destructive because of how it alienates people further into the fringes of society. However, from a nuanced perspective, what sobriety is about is actually connection. If sobriety is a lifestyle, then the ways that we interact with our fellow man are the tenets that hold such a lifestyle together, so that we can share in our human experience in positive and fulfilling ways. Here is some information about this ideology, as well as Johann Hari’s experience with it…
Johann Hari and Chasing the Scream
Chasing the Scream is a novel written by the journalist Johann Hari, who has seen his fair share of the harmful effects of addiction during his roller coaster of a career from prestigious journalist, to disgraced contributor, to investigative author. In Chasing the Scream, Hari is able to explore many of the stigmas that we have against addicts, across the globe, and how harmful some of our reactions to the global drug problem have been. Chasing the Scream examines the effects of the war on drugs, which has actually lasted over a century, and how dehumanizing it has been to addicts. This works contrary to the book’s central theme, which is that human connection is the best way to fight addiction, as it invites addicts towards a sober lifestyle.
Human connection is imperative to fighting addiction
When addicts are shamed by society, as they are in many of the societal situations that are outlined in Chasing the Scream, it pushes them further into dangerous fringes of communities. Fighting addiction needs to be based in human connection, rather than criminalization, which has proven to have an adverse effect on the lives of millions, and has done little to curb the epidemic of addiction. Human connection opens a road where addicts can be reached on a personal level, and treatment can become possible. However, to do this, a lot of the shame that is associated with addiction needs to be curbed, as it is an absolutely counterproductive way to approach the problem. Shame is the primary generator of the stigma that has created such a harsh gap between addicts and the people who can help them.