Ever notice how frequently the word “addict” is used? Just do a Google News search on the word and you’ll be shocked just how often it’s used in a headline. Articles are plastered with mentions of drug addicts, sex addicts, gambling addicts, food addicts, shopping addicts, work addicts and internet addicts. “These people” are painted as out-of-control and often menaces to society who need to be stopped, jailed, medicated or otherwise cut off.
But what if those diseased people weren’t sick at all? What if you suddenly realized you were one of them? Well, that’s what happened to me. In preparation for this podcast, I realized I’m an addict. I’m an addict who comes from other addicts, who has passed it onto my kids, too. I’m constantly looking for a way to not be with myself, a way to avoid the pain I have of not having meaningful bonds.
In this chat with physician and best-selling author, Gabor Maté, we talk about the shocking truth about what causes addiction and the things we can do to address the problem. What’s cool about Gabor is that he avoids quick-fix thinking when he tackles things like addiction, ADHD, sickness and the human spirit overall. Rather, he shines lights on the often uncomfortable truths that live at the root of these things.
Born in Hungary, Gabor survived the Holocaust, became a doctor and worked for over 20 years with patients with hard-core drug addictions, mental illness and HIV before writing In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, When the Body Says No, Scattered Minds, and Hold on to Your Kids (you can learn more on his website gaboremate.com).
Our brief but information-packed conversation even helped me understand why I love podcasting. These conversations are sort of accelerated intimacy that create quick bonds with each person I talk to and anything that helps me bond, lessens the painful void I have from having that very thing growing up.
I remember hearing somewhere that the purpose of life is to create meaningful connections with others. After this conversation with Gabor, I know you’ll have a new point of view of exactly why that’s so important and how and why we as individuals, families and cultures have strayed so far from it.
Music credit: Hate Me – Blue October
Art credit: Takeo Doman