Environmental Change: Strong Enough To Stop Heroin Addiction

We’re going to talk about heroin.

Say what?!

Now that I have your attention, we’re going to talk about how the environment is the giant driver of habits in our lives.

We talk a lot about behavior change around here, and have talked about how punching the big ticket habits lead to the largest changes in health. But what about things that have nothing to do with fat loss? Like heavy drug addiction?

Let’s go back to Vietnam, where the soldiers were in love with heroin (for a variety of terrible, horrible reasons). When they returned to the States, over 95% of the soldiers with addiction, after a treatment program, where drug free after 1 year. This was huge, because heroin was thought to be the most addictive substance in human history. Once injected, you’d be chasing the dragon for all of your days.

The full story can be found on NPR.

It’s the environment

So the fact that these soldiers managed to kick the habit was largely attributed to the fact that their home environment was so drastically different than the environment that the addiction occurred. Similarly, if you notice how many “Biggest Loser”-type weight loss stories result in weight regain, you’d understand that their home and normal life were the environment in which the weight gain occurred. OF COURSE you’re at risk of ending up exactly as you were in the environment that built you into that very person.

So this year, instead of thinking about how you’re going to willpower your way through a change, look at ways you can change the environment to support your goals. It’s much more important than you think.

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