This is a great TED Talk that I saw last year but had forgotten until a friend re-posted it this week.

The basic premise in this talk is exactly what I teach in my models and mentoring, that people fall into addiction in the absence of social validation. Drugs are a substitute, not a preference.

Therefore, the solution for curing addiction is to cure the social disruption that nurtures addiction.

Related Video: Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong


Canadian psychologist Bruce K. Alexander showed this with a study of rats published in 1981 called “Rat Park”. Rats that were often tested in closed cages with a choice between a heroin-laced water bottle and a regular water bottle were found to have developed an addiction-induced death.

Those in “Rat Park” however were given alternative, access to food, free space and social interactions which included sex. And in large part, the “Rat Park” rats with that access to form bonds, ignored the addictive drink.

There are detractors to this study of course. A Psychology Today author posted a quick follow-up that, in principle, argued that it was simply utopian to think we could remove “all stress”.  The author dismissed real results, the kind that I achieve every day with this statement, “Worse still, as far as I can tell, we will, for the foreseeable future, be unable to create such a Utopia for most people on earth.”

We All Just Want to Be Heard

Most people on Earth sir are not heroin addicts.  He is correct in stating that it isn’t easy to change course from selfish group motives to inclusive, cooperative group dynamics.

Fixing a marriage on the ropes isn’t easy either.  Neither is saving struggling parents from the Gaps that consume them and their children.  But I’ve done it for my private clients and with the help of my team in my group/shared mentoring platform PIQ Living.  I’ve done this for over 20 years.  We prove it’s not genetic.  And we prove that people want to count and to be heard.  Husbands and wives want to be heard.  Children want to be heard.

Addicts at one time, wanted to be heard.  When that voice is taken away, when our Identity is challenged, we all seek alternatives.  Some of us challenge ourselves and use that frustration to rise above it.  Some of us are consumed by it.

One of My Favorite Testimonials

This testimonial came from a client about 6 years ago with two young children and a marriage on the brink of divorce.  A situation close to my own childhood that always touches my heart.  And it shows, just WHAT can happen, what can change when we work to validate those in our circle.


“Growing up I always thought I’d be the great mom who would know how to love and discipline my children. Ok so I got the love down, but the discipline, no way! It got to the point with my oldest son who is 4, that I was getting emails from the director of the daycare 2 and 3 times a day regarding his behavior. The director was getting frustrated and so was I. And here comes Dave who saw my despair, “If you would like some ideas, email me”. Oh boy did I ever!

He got me right on track and quickly. He taught me how to connect with my children, how to use punishment vs reward to modify behavior and how to teach a family ‘team’ atmosphere. Now, we ARE a team!

This was certainly no easy feat. To modify a 4 year old’s bad behavior was difficult, challenging, tearful, but a reward like no other. Dave was there every step of the way, mentoring and cheering my husband and I on. Dave has been such a blessing with his ideas, positive attitude and the way he shares his own family stories. My son is certainly no angel, but he knows that he’s part of an important team and if he misbehaves, he hurts the whole team and has consequences to pay. He’s even learned how to root for his younger sister in her behavioral challenges as well.

My job is by no means done. I have a 3 year old daughter waiting in the wings for some extra guidance and I know that Dave will be there to mentor me to be the best mommy I can be. Thanks Dave!”

Leave a comment

Skip to toolbar