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Try A Little Tenderness…and give

"Kindness month gives us an opportunity to spread the recovery love a bit more in public"
Kuladharini

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Try A Little Tenderness…and give

Thursday 12, January 2017 by Kuladharini

A week into the national kindness challenge - Kinder Scotland 2017 - I find myself writing chalk messages of appreciation on the pavement outside the building that houses the SRC. In the heart of the merchant city in Glasgow people stop and stare and smile. 

Kindness is something we all need more of; its that connection, acceptance and loving regard that is part of what helps all humans feel well, alive and that life is worthwhile.  Bruce Alexander calls this experience psychosocial integration. We know our place in the world and in the hearts of our loved ones; we are part of a real community. 

Dislocation is when these connections, environments and those secure places in the community are broken.  This can happen through war, economic upheaval, loss of family and nation as well as other aspects of the unrelenting march of hyper capitalism, the mass indoctrination into self-interest as the only interest, loss of support services that kept you from falling off the edge. 

This dislocation, he says is at the heart of the spread of addictions in the world.  We use substances and behaviours that we feel will soothe us and reconnect us quickly with that sense of well-being. As Johan Hari points out in his seminal work “ chasing the scream” humans and animals take substances to alter their experience of emotional pain as well as physical pain.  This is normal. 

When the dislocation grows and gets more extreme some of us will turn to more substances, shopping, video gaming, over eating, gambling, some of us will get very depressed, others will commit suicide. More people become overwhelmingly involved in our chosen numbing addiction. 

The chronic health problems of the 21st century are resistant to public health strategies that focus on the individual pathology as the source of the problem. Phil Hanlon calls the problems of addiction, depression and obesity ‘diseases of modernity’, products of our market driven, highly materialist, individualized form of economy.  The loss of connection caused by the inevitable disruptions of market driven economy has had a marked influence of our well-being and new forms of public health action are needed to stem the tide of pain. 

At the SRC, we are all about the love, the human connection, the real community and so we have joined up with Ulab Scotland and Carnegie Trust and surprising bodies like Visit Scotland to promote that spirit of kindness, that will be part of helping us all to heal.  It’s not the only change we need but it’s a great contribution. To celebrate the Kinder Scotland 2017 challenge, the SRC has made a PDF of its Scottish Recovery Workbook and is giving that away to anyone anywhere in the world that could use it to recover from addiction.  It’s a gift from people in recovery in Scotland to people suffering from addiction anywhere in the world.