The stereotypical depiction of fighting addiction makes it seem highly unpleasant: White knuckling, sweating it out, detoxing, going cold turkey–you get the picture. This applies to classical addiction, and also to the less dangerous (but nonetheless nettlesome) unhealthy habits and compulsions that we all wrestle with. My guest today takes a very different approach. She aims to harness the pleasure centers of the brain as a way to handle addictive habits—and, controversially, she doesn’t believe you need to go cold turkey on alcohol, which is the main intoxicant she has targeted. Annie introduces a new way to think about addiction.
Her name is Annie Grace, and she is the author of a very popular book called This Naked Mind. (Shout out to my friend and colleague Steve Baker, the executive producer of Nightline, who has gotten a lot out of Annie’s work, and turned me on to her.)
A New Way To Think About Addiction
This episode is the second in a two-part series we’re doing this week on addiction. If you missed it, go check out Monday’s episode with Buddhist teacher Kevin Griffin, who has worked to combine the dharma and the 12 steps. Speaking of the 12 steps, many people in the AA community are quite critical of Annie Grace, and she will address that in our conversation. We also cover: Her personal story, and why she now drinks as much alcohol as she wants to–which is none at all; the connection between her approach and Evelyn Tribole’s “intuitive eating”; and her thoughts on working with other addictions, including nicotine, gambling, shopping, pornography, and video games.