Yesterday I learned about a very interesting book from Vegetarian Chic, a blog written by a woman who has recently gone vegan after learning the truth about the meat industry. The book is Addict Nation by Jane Velez-Mitchell. In an interview, Ms. Velez-Mitchell seems to hit the nail on the head when she sums up many of the problems plaguing Western society. We've become addicts - we're addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, and even pharmaceuticals. In our culture, just as in an addict's world, "more is better."
The problem is, we don't recognize our addictions and we even become enablers. While one would never serve or drink alcohol around a recovering alcoholic, we see nothing wrong with pushing food on someone with an obvious food addiction or suggesting going shopping with someone whom we know is struggling with debt or even a hoarding problem. Yet the person who over-eats or over-spends is no different than the alcoholic; they have a serious addiction. Pharmaceuticals are also a problem. I am often amazed at the array of pill bottles I see in homes or the drug names that are commonly dropped in conversation. It seems everyone is rushing to the doctor for a pill to cure what ails them, even when there are healthier and safer alternatives. Sometimes the cure is a lifestyle change - but the pills are easier to swallow. And yet the person who is quick to seek out and take a variety of prescription drugs from the doctor is sometimes the first to condemn someone who uses illicit drugs. But it's all the same - we are addicted.
For some time now, I've been trying to understand our culture - our rampant consumerism, our huge credit card debt, the rise in hoarding of possessions, the increasingly dangerous obesity crisis, the proliferation of snack foods and fast food outlets, and our dependence on pharmaceuticals as a way of life. Looking at all of these issues as an addiction problem makes so much sense.