Psychologist and Family Nurse Practitioner
Addiction and Spirituality
“I am a Family Nurse Practitioner working in an underserved population in Oregon. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 with a degree in American Civilization and Psychology. I then worked as a programmer/analyst and research assistant in Penn's Addiction Treatment Research Center for five years before enrolling in a doctoral program in theoretical neuroscience. I then worked for ten years in Silicon Valley as a software engineer, before switching to medicine, a childhood interest of mine. I am married with two young sons, am an avid long-distance runner, and do science as a hobby.”
In the book “In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts” Gabor Maté writes that he sees addiction as one of the most misunderstood phenomena in our society.
People who should know better, such as doctors and policymakers believe addiction to be a matter of individual choice or, at best, a medical disease. It is both simpler and more complex than that.
Addiction, or the capacity to become addicted, is very close to the core of the human experience.
That is why almost anything can become addictive, from healthy activities such as eating or exercising to abusing drugs intended for healing.
The issue is not the external target but our internal relationship to it. Addictions, for the most part, develop in a compulsive attempt to ease one’s pain or distress in the world. Given the amount of pain and dissatisfaction that human life engenders, many of us are driven to find comfort in external things.
The more we suffer, and the earlier in life we suffer, the more we are prone to become addicted.
The inner city drug addicts are amongst the most abused and rejected people amongst us, but instead of compassion, our society treats them with contempt. Instead of understanding and acceptance, we give them punishment and moral disapproval. In doing so, we fail to recognize our own deeply rooted problems and the opportunity for healing not only for them, the extreme addicts, but also for ourselves as individuals and as a culture.
In this episode, I am exploring Gabor's message about addiction with Josh Sandeman.
Josh is a Family Nurse Practitioner. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 with a degree in American Civilization and Psychology. Josh then worked as a programmer/analyst and research assistant in Penn's Addiction Treatment Research Center for five years before enrolling in a doctoral program in theoretical neuroscience. For ten years he worked in Silicon Valley as a software engineer, before switching to medicine, a childhood interest. Josh is married with two young sons, he an enthusiastic long-distance runner, and does science as a hobby.