In a blend of text and songs we follow three characters, each made up of a collage of the various people Worklight spoke to during a two year research period. The broad topic of addiction is filtered through the lens of behavioural addictions and these determined performers navigate communicating the science of how dependencies manifest in the brain, alongside their intimate character portraits.
The trio preface their findings with the message that the numerous range of causes, impacts and treatment for addictions are ‘up for debate’ and what unfolds before the audience seems to be about humans chasing connections - neurological, emotional and physical. These connections are inherent in the process of social bonding and evolution and yet, frequently disrupted by the loneliness of addiction. Or rather, the loneliness of disconnecting from family, friends and/or the gradual but entrenched process of political and economical disenfranchisement, which then fuels addiction.
Digestible science-y bits about the habit forming centres of the brain, which addiction alters, travel the audience into the impossibly complex matrix of neurones that explode our soft tissue into a mess of cravings. These longings become more concrete with each cycle of repeated fixes and pauses between fixes.
The show grazes the surface yet provides a compassionate glimpse into the scope and consequences of addiction. Near the end, there are undertones of devastation in an assertion that ‘you can’t cure this…no one is ever completely fixed’. What springs to mind is how long term care, compassion and the continual re-understandings needed to treat addictions, each sit uncomfortably within impatient, globalised capitalism. Short sharp treatment courses, 6 NHS therapy sessions, TV talk show hosts-cum-doctors…
So, how do we make more time? How do we replenish healthcare resources? How do we nurture rather than rupture emotional connections in order to counter getting a fix, a release, an escape from destructive patterning and habits?
- Alexandrina Hemsley
Links relevant to this diagnosis:
Behavioural Addiction vs Substance Addiction: Correspondence of Psychiatric and Psychological Views - US National Library of Medicine
Codependency Help & Treatment - Rehab & Recovery