This is an essay I wrote last semester during my study abroad term in Leicester, England. It was for the class “Psychology of Love and Attraction” and was written about John B Davies’ book “The Myth of Addiction”. I’m going to expound upon this later in the semester when I work on my thesis for Human Sexuality class about whether or not sex is addicting. You’ll notice I wrote like a true Brit for this essay spelling words like behaviour and centre like so. When in Rome?
Throughout the medical community, the psychotherapy community, and especially the news media, a stereotype exists about drug addiction and recovery. This stereotype is quite a few years old and it is based around the notion that a person becomes dependent on pharmacological drugs while simultaneously sidelining his willpower. This notion paints a picture of the drug that pharmacologically enslaves the user upon first or second contact and dooms him to a life of utter helpless dependency. This inevitably becomes a deadly lifelong pursuit of a fix to match the involuntary dependencies and the need to resort to drug pushers and shady dark alleys; as author John Booth Davies puts, “life becomes a nightmare of withdrawal symptoms, involuntary theft, and a compulsive need for drugs which cannot be controlled.” (Davies 1997) Davies, however, seeks to paint a different picture. In his book The Myth of Addiction, he proposes the idea that none of these stereotypes necessarily have to be true, but that they are a fabricated idea by drug institutions and forcibly accepted by the user. “The helpless junkie only exists because we all want him/her to exist; and because drug research continues to make naive use of what people say about their addictions.” (Davies 1997) Davies states that most people that use a certain drug really just use it out of their own ambitions, because they enjoy using it. He stresses learned choice over learned helplessness.