After wrestling in his attempts to support close friends and relatives who were struggling with addiction, TED speaker Johann Hari embarked on a journey to understand many of his basic questions about addiction. What he found runs counter to everything we’ve been doing for a century.

Image: Abstract sculpture of a boy sitting on a table

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In this 15 minute TED Talk from June 2015, Hari provides anecdotes and cites solid research that challenges many conventional views about causes of and responses to addiction.

One question Hari highlights from research with rats:

“What if addiction is not about your chemical hooks, but is about your “cage” (a.k.a. environment)?”

Not sure what that means? Take a look at this awesome TED Talk! This concept may be a total game changer…

Via: TED 1

“The opposite of addiction is connection.”

This seems so obvious now that I put this through my own observations. What about your own experiences?

With this new window of possibility, it should be exciting to see where this leads over the next few years.

Ever Widening Circles would love to hear from you if you have some insight to add to this!

I’m a new EWC guest writer, Neal Smith.

Have a great day!

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  1. “Everything You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong | Johann Hari | TED Talks.” YouTube. TED, 9 July 2015. Web. 26 July 2015. <>.

Neal Smith is an educator and youth advocate working with high school students in St. Albans, Vermont. His passions include education, social justice, connecting relationships, music, gardening, woodlot management, travel, and all sorts of outdoor activities. He has a wonderful partner, two adult biological children, four adult step-children, and two granddaughters. His heroes, inspirations, and mentors are too numerous to mention, and many of them are probably yours as well.