We develop patterns of behavior to meet our needs, and the four immediate human needs are that of certainty, variety, significance and connection.
Why does anybody engage in a habitual behavior knowing that habit will cost them their health, their relationships, their family and ultimately their life?
"Alcoholism and the most vulnerable on our Darwin Streets is a major safety and security problem in my opinion."
Why would anybody drink to excess day in and day out, for example? But like everything we do, alcoholics try to ultimately meet their needs. For someone who is sad, alcohol becomes a tool for them to change their emotional state, to let go of their inhibitions. It lowers their core temperature and in the heat of the Top End changes not only their physiology, and state it gives them comfort. Filling their need for certainty as comfort is certainty.
To escape stress or boredom someone might try shots or a cocktail or mix some drinks, that meets their need for variety, change is variety.
Most people when they drink they drink in social situations with other drinkers or family members and may find connection with other drinkers or even connect with themselves as when people are stressed they focus on the past or on the future rather than the present.
In Top End culture the ability to drink copious amounts of alcohol is in many groups regardless of cultural background or sex, proof of skill and this in turn creates a sense of significance.
Imagine that any emotion, belief or habit that meets at least three human needs in your brain will lead to an addiction. Alcoholism in the Top End is a particularly hard habit/addiction to break because it is convenient and due to the influx of discount liquor outlets right next door to supermarkets its a relatively cheap and effective way of meeting your needs, albeit an extremely destructive way.
Now many who have read up to here expect a quick fix solution to fix this addictive and destructive way to meet our needs, there is no quick fix.
Some would hope maybe there is a way to transfer those needs or habits elsewhere that has less anti-social and destructive behaviour results, and there is but its complicated and requires acknowledgement, education, time and resources.
Now I want you to take a look at those most vulnerable in our society and I ask you...
I hallucinate that you would say... NO! So therein lies the dilemma, it is quite easy to create a destructive habit or addiction and in order to break it requires skills that must be learnt, practiced and nurtured through time.
So is there a way to speed up the process?
YES!, like all resources in life, the opportunities are endless but it is our proximity to a particular set of people and resources that determines what opportunities we will undertake.
As abhorrent as some would consider it, the greater the interaction and connection the vulnerable in our society have with the most successful, the greater their chance and faster their ability to be rehabilitated which leads to the next two most powerful needs we evolve in our lives - A need to grow and a need to contribute.
It is important to understand that I could substitute, smoking, eating, drugs or any number of substance abuse addictions into the same patterns and meet the same needs and create the same addictions.
Proximity to those that communicate, consult, care, contribute and create is what will lead the vulnerable to contribute.
In the City of Darwin, People are our greatest resource, it's time we helped our people realize their potential.
Now I need you to help me achieve the potential of being your voice on Council on the 26th of August 2017.
Written and Authorized by Sam Wilks. The views included may not be those of others mentioned in the article but are those of Sam Wilks. If you have other idea’s feel free to comment below. Idea’s and differing opinion is recognition of a free and just democratic society. A Society I am happy to live in. Please however try not to be abusive or discriminate, you may be. But if I feel that your opinion may be harmful or is reported as being harmful, I will delete it.
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