Two Longreads on Addiction that Will Change The Way You Think Of Addicts, whatever your perspective

I read two long articles recently, about addiction, that blew my mind open a little wider, and I wanted to share them here. They’re worth the time.

The first, The Like Cause of Addiction has been discovered, and it is not what you think, ran on the Huffington Post at the end of January, and you might have come across it on your facebook feed, or seen Cindy Filipenko’s mention of it in her column (that we reproduced here.)

There’s so much worthy stuff in the article that I don’t want to just pull out a highlight, but in a nutshell, the big take-away is this:

Human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. We should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.

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


chasing-the-scream-3The second is an old piece by NY Times journalist (and one of my favourite writers and media commentators), David Carr. Carr died last week, and many worthwhile and important things were written about him. But a good way to remember a writer is to give them  the last say.  This 8061 words/32 minutes piece, Me and My Girls, ran in the Times, and is gripping storytelling, as Carr turned his investigative reporting talents on himself, and excavated the truth about a period of his life that he was too blasted with drugs to remember accurately. His personal low point is gut-churning, and his honesty is searing.


To be an addict is to be something of a cognitive acrobat. You spread versions of yourself around, giving each person the truth he or she needs — you need, actually — to keep them at a remove. Let’s stipulate that I do not have a good memory, having recklessly sautéed my brain in fistfuls of pharmaceutical spices. Beyond impairment, there may be no more unreliable narrator than an addict. Recovered or not, I am someone who used my mouth to constantly create one more opportunity to get high.

Here is what I deserved: hepatitis C, federal prison time, H.I.V., a cold park bench, an early, addled death.

Here is what I got: the smart, pretty wife, the three lovely children, the job that impresses.


3 thoughts on “Two Longreads on Addiction that Will Change The Way You Think Of Addicts, whatever your perspective

  1. brentblonigan says:

    From my high school days at Benilde, I knew David Carr. At that time, he was the consummate partier. While that being said, most of us knew that he would opine on about anything and everything. If there ever was something called the Law of Attraction, David Carr would be it If there was a party, the first question was where is Carr. The party did not start without David Carr.

    I went throught two inpatient treatment centers. I don’t know. I think there was a conscious decision not to let go on his part. Benilde was a Benedictine school that really sucked. In fact, David was gracious not to mention the name. It was an all boys school where dope smoking and staying away from certain staff members was a daily event.

    We knew he was special back then. The book was well written. It was read and llisted by Stephen King in his autobiography. I am an author and that book impacted me by its brutality.

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