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TED Talk 8: You Must Make Mistakes to Recover from Addiction - Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment

TED Talk 8: You Must Make Mistakes to Recover from Addiction


Speaker: Diana Laufenberg


Topic: Looks at ways that experiential learning and embracing failure is a part of the educational reform and learning process.



TED Talk Relation to Addiction:


Since I began writing about drugs, drug addiction and drug rehabilitation, one of the most mesmerizing and impactful facts I have learned about drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation is, the more an addict relapses and goes back to rehab, to do more treatment, the better the addict gets.


There seems to be a giant taboo around the notion of addiction relapse, even though anyone who has struggled with any type of addiction will tell you, relapse is (typically) not a matter of if, but when.


While Laufenberg’s TED talk is about the elementary and high school education process in America, her statements about learning and pushing the boundaries of how you ask students to learn is very applicable to the drug addiction rehabilitation process. After all, recovering from an addiction is very much a learning process that requires education and hard work. According to Laufenberg, part of this learning process is also failure.


“Learning has to include an amount of failure because failure is instructional in the process.”


Laufenbergtalks about the fact that in order for kids to learn, you have to ask them, not only if they know the information, but what they can do with information:


“Ask them to go to places and see things for themselves. To experience the learning.”


This leads me to question several things about drug addiction and rehabilitation.


1. Can learning like a child help you when you are learning to get your life back and how to live without drugs?

2. Are drug and alcohol rehabilitation and treatment centers asking addicts to do enough?

3. Does the rehabilitation/treatment community expect enough out of a person recovering from addiction when they are getting treatment?

4. Does the rehabilitation/treatment community prepare addicts for the likelihood of relapse and create a program that immediately gets them back on track?


Laufenberg concludes, “If we continue to look at education as if it is about coming to school to get the information and not about experiential learning, student voice and embracing failure, we’re missing the mark.”

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