Applying ideas from Liberation Psychology & Critical Psychology to ‘Addiction’.

According to Liberation Psychology ( rooted from Liberation Theology) “our account of justice has to denounce injustice, but must also indicate modes of resistance instead of encouraging complicity.” What does this mean for the realm of ‘Addictions’?

  1. Maybe drug culture itself, drug use, and the template of ‘Addiction’ and ‘Recovery’ are themselves reactive narratives of resistance to both societal and personal/psychological oppression. This is not to disparage drug culture as simply ‘reactive rebellion’, but encourages a view that our external influences (very much social that) have shaped not just the dialogue of laws, drugs and treatments but shaped how we conceptualize such things themselves. For instance does my drug use mean I lack control of body, or suffer a ‘chronic relapsing brain disease’, or does it mean that I symbolically resist bio power, governmentality and common status quo values of consumerism ( maybe on a personal note I am resisting an oppressive parent, or spouse). If this is the case treatment for drug use should instead be no treatment for drug use, and instead be an empowering of the individual to assert themselves as free and powerful agents in society without the necessity of self-defeating modes of resistance.
  2. Regardless of the causes to ‘Addiction’ whether if they be biological, developmental, caused by personal suffering such as trauma, or suffering of sociological oppression (ie. ‘racial’ oppression) – the causes may not be relevant to what will in fact help as a solution. Critical theory would discount the importance of cause and effect medical models as much the product of, and bias of, a Western Discourse. As can be learnt from the story of the rainmaker  in Taoism – sometimes causality has nothing to do with the solution.
  3. Further consistent with critical theory treatment that is overly focused on causality may in fact be adverse – especially along lines of the bio-medical model. For instance the moment that someone is diagnosed they are subjected to a host of relationships in which they are powerless ( i.e., doctor – patient relationship. Suddenly the person diagnosed holds no knowledge of their own condition and is subject to their diagnosis in which medical authorities hold all knowledge, medicines and solution. Such a relationship is itself producing of illness not to mention deeply stigmatizing.
  4. Much  to do with research in drug use and ‘Addiction’ is shaped by common narratives born into the bio-medical mode ( and yes even the bio-social-psyc model) from western, white, upper class, male ideologies of individuality and capitalism. This basically means that much of the research is biased. Biased in its assumption of the individual participant as a basic research unit, that numbers and statistics can represent living realities in truth, and even biased in assuming procedures such as ‘double-blind’ and ‘random’ sampling are purposely accurate. The simpler truths (although they may lack economies of profit) may be more honestly accurate. For example, drug use is natural behaviour and pathological behaviour of drug use is instead a product of the institutions of law and medicine that seek for some reason to eradicate it ( actually they are trying to patent drug use and product it out in a capitalist economy as medicine).

There is much to be read outside of the common thread that can benefit ideas of ‘addiction’, ‘recovery’, but most importantly benefit people who are need of the empowerment by ideas and not substances. For example, ideas about sociology, and social psychology, including ideas of ‘bio power’, ‘constructions of deviance’, ‘inter-group behaviour’, ‘the psychology of social justice’ and as well ‘iatrogenesis’  – all which can shed light on the current dark realities emerging from current statistics on drug use in contemporary society. In light of this conversation return on point with our core mission statement – that is the first of AddictNoMore’s tenant goals; “Unconditional love” – this is our first and most important step.

All the best on your journey!

Leave a Reply