NA in Iran is host to approximately 16,000 of the worlds 60,000 meetings. Addiction is a great leveller. It is an equal opportunities destroyer. But it is also an equal opportunities transformer.
During the 1920s Carl Jung treated a man called Roland Hazard III for alcoholism. I’m going to distill their therapeutic conversations down into the following essential components.
We must understand that addiction is driven predominantly by the brain’s reward system, whereas physiological dependence occurs mostly in the body’s nervous system.
Since antiquity we have been eating mushrooms, licking toads and otherwise imbibing the psychoactive ingredients of numerous seeds, flowers, fruits, nuts, fungi, bark, moulds, sap and animal excretions.
All addictions are like ‘fake software’. They can be used on the same hardware that evolved over millennia to meet our survival needs.
The roots of this opioid epidemic go back to the 1990s when there was a massive upsurge in the production and marketing of opioid analgesics for medical purposes.
There are a range of highly rewarding behaviours (such as sex) that can become addictive, or which for all intents and purposes, feel like they are addictive.
Those who have experienced it, will understand the restorative effect of surviving serious danger. When we are seriously threatened all of our priorities suddenly come into focus.
The brain’s reward system has been central to the human survival story for millennia by making us ‘want’ the things we ‘need’ — but now it’s turning on us.
Whilst physical confrontation is not for everybody, the analogy of creating inner strength through manageable doses of stress — preferably in groups — still holds.