I have just read an article from Spirituality and Health about a physician named Gabor Mate. Mate works with addiction patients in Vancouver, Canada. I have included a link to the whole article at the end of this post.
I was intrigued by the article and found some things I agree with and others I don’t. Mate is convinced that much addiction is linked to our childhood experiences. I agree that there may be some link between the two but I wouldn’t rule out the other links such as genetic disposition. I am a holistic thinker and tend to see us as body, mind and spirit linked together. However, some of his thinking seems to be right on target.
“Addiction, says Maté, is nothing more than an attempt to self-medicate emotional pain.”
I do believe that this is true. In a previous blog I talked about the hole that is in us that we need to fill. Each of us tries to fill it in some way. Our way of filling it may be a recognizable addiction or one that society sees as good.
Mate says that: “The only difference between the identified addict and the rest of us is a matter of degrees. Daniel Maté, Gabor’s son and an editor of his books says “A lot of people make wonderful contributions to the world at their own cost. We often lionize unhealthy things.”
It seems to me that we are all addicted in some way. Some are workaholics, some over or under eat, some shop etc. If we do enough of these things we may begin to be noticed as going overboard and a problem may be identified and called addiction. This doesn’t happen to all of us but each of us is trying to fill that hole in some way. The question is with what?
Some doctors who do not recognize something as other do not agree with Mate who says: “something else in us and about us: it is called by many names, ‘spirit’ being the most democratic and least denominational.” For me this is God.
He does believe that there is something more. Something about us that is craving for wholeness.
The article concludes with Mate talking about how we treat and judge addiction and for me he hits the target smack in the middle.
“We lack compassion for the addict precisely because we are addicted ourselves in ways we don’t want to accept and because we lack self-compassion,” he says. “And so we treat the addict as an “other” – this criminal, this person making poor choices – to whom we can feel superior.
“I think that if we developed a more compassionate view of addiction and a more deep understanding of the addict and if we recognized the similarities between the ostracized addict at the social periphery and the rest of society and if we did so with compassion both for them and for the rest of us we would not only have more efficient, more successful drug treatment programs, we would also have a better society.”
This was an excellent article with much to think about. If you would like to read it for yourself the link is: https://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/2012/10/10/gabor-mat%C3%A9-why-were-culture-addicts#.Wa3qMGIX6z0.email