Monday, April 26, 2021

Teacher Tom: Creating a "Rat Park" for Our Children

Teacher Tom: Creating a "Rat Park" for Our Children
Creating a "Rat Park" for Our Children

Our school is housed in lower level of the Fremont Baptist Church, a place that in non-plague times also opens its doors to several 12-step groups, one of which met early in the morning as I was getting ready for school. I tried to honor the "anonymous" part of AA and keep to myself, but I nevertheless became friendly with a few of the guys over the years and have taken part in many conversations about addiction.

The 12-step model is based upon the idea that alcohol and drugs (and gambling and sex and other things) are addictive and that any one of us could become an addict were we to systematically abuse them. We treat it like an incurable but controllable chronic disease and the kind of talk therapy offered by groups like AA is generally considered central to subduing addictive behavior. That is the prevailing societal idea, although I'm aware there are some who still consider addiction to be a weakness of character.

Some time ago, I read a fascinating article by Bruce K. Alexander, psychologist and professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University. Much of our current thinking on addiction stems from rat studies in which rats were put in cages with CONTINUE READING: Teacher Tom: Creating a "Rat Park" for Our Children