In the United States, treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is based largely on the premise that addicts have a chronic, permanent condition in which they are forever powerless over their drug of choice. Even if an addict quits using, his identity cannot change—and the first step is to admit this powerful truth.
Yet a large body of research shows that the most important factor in determining treatment outcomes is the way people conceive of themselves and their condition. Why, then, is the repeated self-admission of such an all-encompassing, morally-charged identity (Hello my name is John and I’m an addict) a prerequisite to recovery?
Writer and activist Chelsea Carmona reveals her experience with this popular approach and raises questions about our deeply entrenched beliefs around addiction and recovery.
Chelsea Carmona is a writer and drug treatment activist whose work has
appeared in a wide range of print and online publications including
TIME, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, The
Christian Science Monitor, The Huffington Post and The San Francisco
Chronicle. Chelsea serves as The OpEd Project’s Program Manager,
running ambitious training and mentoring programs with top scholars
and activists all over the nation.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
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