Scientists gave rats cocaine; they got them addicted.
Then they took the addicted rats and put them in a cage with non addicted ones. After a short time the addicted rats were cured.
Cured. Just by being in the right community.
The rats were cured because of SOCIALIZATION. When the rats were isolated. Cut off from others. They remained addicts.
In other words scientists discovered the root of ALL addiction is isolation. The cure to ALL addiction is connection.
Sobriety is not the opposite of addiction. Connection is.
People sometimes say; “My addiction is good for me - I work out”.
But NO addiction is good for you.
It’s true; working out is better than using cocaine. But it’s better to deal with the root cause, otherwise your addiction will get worse. You might work out so much you hurt yourself or neglect those who love you. You might become a fanatic.
I run but I’m not addicted to running.
I know I’m not addicted because there are lots of times I have to force myself to do it. I don’t want to. I certainly don’t HAVE to. But since it’s good for me I make myself.
The key to curing addiction is connection. Finding ways to be part of things. To contribute. To make a difference in the lives of others.
That’s why the dojo matters. A dojo is a place you go to connect with others. You practice with others so that you can become part of something bigger than you. Part of a community.
One of the most common addictions is the need for power and control. In martial arts we call this desire for power the “ego”. The ego is especially destructive because it causes competition. Competition distracts us from connection.
Today ego is the reason most people want to learn martial arts. They think learning to fight will give them power over others. Those are the people that call me. Those are the people I talk to most of the time.
It used to upset me. But then I remembered something.
I remembered what happens to addicted rats when they are put in a group of non addicted ones.
In the lab study addicted rats were given the choice of drinking water laced with cocaine or pure water. When put in the right environment, and given a choice, they always chose the pure water.
Our mission is to be the right environment.
People will come to us filled with ego. But if our spirit is right they will let it go.
Our mission is to create the right space. Keep polishing the mirrors.
Good rats create other good ones.