|It's Not The Morphine; It's The Size Of The Cage
If you work addiction treatment, you probably are familiar with a famous study wherein rats in small cages were given the option of drinking plain water or water containing morphine. Invariably, a large percentage of these caged rats chose morphine over plain water.
An equally fascinating and somewhat jarring scientific study has been published that refutes some commonly accepted notions – and a previously "proved" hypothesis – about the nature of addiction and what pushes mammals to become chemically dependent.
In the original study, rats kept in small cages were offered a choice between regular water or water with dope (morphine) added. The overwhelming majority chose dope.
In the new study, rats were no longer caged in tiny, wired enclosures. Instead, they lived in what researchers called the Rat Park; there were spaces for rats to do things rats want to do: eat, drink, mate, raise offspring, play, and nest.
Guess what? The incidence of morphine addiction among Rat Park residents was so low it is astonishing. Apparently, it's not about the drug as much as it is about the social environment in which we live.
How does this relate to humans? I can tell you this much: if I am placed in a cage (body. Mind, or both), I will seek relief. If I am placed in a healthy environment where my natural needs and many desires are met, I will be much less inclined to seek drugs in the first place. QED.
Addiction treatment doesn't start and stop with drugs vs. no drugs. At Sober Champion, we feel the experiment goes a long way to show the conditions before chemical dependence have a great deal to do with whether an addict will return to using after he's been clean for some time. When the addict's orientation toward his life – his vision of himself and his place – do not change, the inclination is to return to using even when he knows the result will be detrimental.
I won't drag you through the whole study; you can click here to review the presentation made to the Canadian Parliament by Professsor Bruce Alexander.
Sober Coaching is a treatment modality that brings the addict into a new vision of himself through a synergistic and interdisciplinary approach toward his life without drugs.
Once again, science is teaching us it's time to cease waging our futile war on addicts and declare war on conditions that induce addiction.
We suggest you explore Sober Coaching with an open mind – in just the same way these modern researchers have changed the conversation about what presupposes our very inclination toward addiction.