AddictNoMore is grateful for what was another great year of seized opportunities of growth with our sisters and brothers in the regions of Niagara Ontario. Engaged on the front lines of ‘addiction’ and ‘poverty’ (aka disempowerment). We would like to pass on some observations.
WHAT THE PROBLEM SEEMS TO BE
Addiction is not a simple issue of ‘drugs’. Just as the criminal-justice approach has shown to only exacerbate the problem, a disease model concept in fact may only be further perpetuating and making a problem worse. It seems the same mechanisms of the construction of deviance are at play with both styles of addressing addiction. Whereas the justice systems punishes drug use with the label of ‘crime’ so the disease model punishes drug taking behaviour with the label/stigma of ‘disease/illness’. Both approaches are simply repressive enforcement of societal norms that actually have no ontological reality to begin with. AddictNoMore challenges the current trend of twitter and facebook parades of mental health style posts in regards to drug use – we maintain that the continued enforcement of the regime of repressive normalcy (to do with human behaviour) and undue socialization of economic, material, and political ideologies only makes problems worse. As Carl Jung wrote ‘dirt is matter in the wrong the place, and the more civilized we become the dirtier we get.” It is shameful when social services and good-will organizations both wittingly and unwittingly put forward and advance an oppressive narrative in the name of helping people.
Despite all of our best efforts the war against the suffering and disempowerment around substance use is being lost; it seems the losses are unimaginable. With hard drug use beginning as early as adolescence, young people with no family nor any support network at all are being forced to negotiate substance dependence in a harsh post-apocalyptical setting of an economically, socially, and spiritually ravaged Niagara Region.
THE ROOT OF IT ALL – DISEMPOWERMENT
AddictNoMore maintains the root of all problematic substance use is ‘disempowerment’. This is when a person finds themselves in a sort of need-state (either material, psychological, or spiritual depravation) but has no real viable means of growth/overcoming. This “absence of means” is today often systematic (with the break-down of the family as our reproductive technology, also economic and social justice issues, but also the failure of organized faiths and their people to deliver and teach transcendental values), but the “absence of means” can often be personal as well (in instances of trauma and abuse). Disempowerment is then perpetuated by the disempowered themselves, by people having already internalized social beliefs that are really oppressive narratives meant to substantiate a status quo world of injustice (a person then can become their own worst enemy). In all such examples however, the one constant is substances. In any case regardless of the differences, ‘drugs’ remain the easy and only available partner to our woes (either street drugs or pharma – and we challenge the thoughts about which are safer). Within our system of profit pursuits, eager capitalists (corporations, cartels) have made available at all levels of society (and at all levels of price) different substances that people can turn to instead of other people, or their own internal psychological resilient strengths and, or spiritual essence and guide.
A RATHER SIMPLE SOLUTION
AddictNoMore suggests the following means to immediately begin to take our people back!
1.Empowerment; via love (unconditional regard, non-judgement and forgiveness). Teaching that defaults are not a result of our individual biology, but a manifestation of blocked paths to growth.
2. Social Power; re-establishing communities that empower their members through horizontal (non- professional, community based) guidance. Enabling communities through economic resources that include real access to education that is growth orientated. Assisting communities by putting expert knowledge in the hands of community members synonymous to ideas of community and liberation psychology.
3. Transcendental guidance; going beyond tolerance of different beliefs but encouraging people to reconnect with each their own life source and find in it their own heritage, tradition, culture, and truths which can lead the person to an internal state of otherness yet connection – a truly powerful way of being not unlike Maslow’s ideas of peak/plateau experiences and, or mystical experiences chronicled in the writings of Joseph Campbell.
A FINAL NOTE AND BEST WISHES
As we close 2017 we leave you with some pictures of good cooking and loving from our local youth shelter. We hope you all a greater and greater understanding for 2018; the idea that the greatest truths are only those that get better by growing.
AddictNoMore continues it work on the frontline. We reach out to those marginalized, disempowered, oppressed, and those in the throes of, or, at risk to substance abuse. Currently engaged in the Niagara Region of Ontario on both the streets and also in our local youth shelters. We actively engage with those working the streets, as well those in shelters to spread ideas of empowerment, liberation, recovery, positive role modelling, as well tangible, emotional, and informational support. If you are looking for an answer to a specific question (i.e., about drugs, health, or safety), looking for a specific service (i.e., detox, shelter, rehab, legal info) want to connect with people and discuss ideas, problems, solutions please do so on our live chatroom – ( use this chatroom to find support and as well offer support to those on it – feel free to remain anonymous ).
Our Core Tenements;
TO RAISE AWARENESS OF “ADDICTION” AND “DRUG REALITIES”
TO WORK TOWARDS THE CREATION OF A FUNCTIONAL, FAIR, AND SAFE PLACE FOR RECOVERIES – GEARED AND AVAILABLE TO ALL – INCLUDING THOSE WITH NO SUPPORTS
STREET-LEVEL ENGAGEMENT AND INTERVENTION (FOR PURPOSES OF SUPPORT)
A STEADFAST COMMITMENT TO LIBERATION AND EMPOWERMENT
Thank-you, please be good to each other, and please be good to your selfs…
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’?
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.
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.
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.
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.