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7 Best TED Talks About Sobriety and Addiction

7 Best TED Talks About Sobriety and Addiction

These amazing TED talks will have you inspired, educated, and motivated about sobriety and addiction. Each speaker has a different view on the subject and that is what we need more of in recovery. Different strokes for different folks, because recovery isn't a one size fits all box.
More people are openly embracing sobriety, and they’re doing it for a variety of reasons. The more we talk about sobriety and the more awareness we bring to the issue, the more we are able to realize that we are not alone.
Here are the 7 best TED Talks about sobriety and addiction that will motivate you to stay the course as well as educate others about alcoholism and addiction.


  1. Gray Area Drinking by Jolene Park: 

Jolene Park defines “gray area drinking” as not having a rock bottom and wanting to be a social drinker, but always winding up overdoing it and regretting the amount of alcohol they end up consuming. People who do a lot of gray area drinking are functioning, but also feel that there is some aspect of their drinking that has gotten beyond their control. 

She argues that it’s relatively easy for gray area drinkers to stop, but not necessarily to stay stopped. They have to find ways to replenish their neurotransmitters and nourish their nervous system in an effective, healthy way. 

Jolene coined the acronym NOURISH to talk about how gray area drinkers can ditch the alcohol and stay sober.  


  1. Recover Out Loud by Tara Conner: 

 Tara Conner is a former Miss USA winner who struggled with addiction issues from the age of 14. In her talk, she lets us in on her tumultuous upbringing and how she became an addict.  

Tara’s faced incredible backlash when she tested positive for cocaine shortly after being crowned Miss USA. It’s fascinating to see her perspective as a public figure in recovery. Tara has a refreshingly honest and witty approach to discussing the stigma behind addiction. 


  1. I’ve Been Duped by Alcohol by Paul Churchill: 

In 2006, Paul Churchill moved to Granada, Spain, and bought a bar. Over the next three years, his drinking became so problematic that he was blacking out 6-7 times per week, drinking 20-25 drinks in an evening. He walked away from his bar in 2009, but unfortunately, not his drinking, which continued to spiral. 

Paul talks about his journey to sobriety and how we are brought up hearing about the dangers of drugs, but rarely about the dangers of alcohol specifically. He ended up battling sobriety and relapse for ten years before getting sober for good.


  1. Drinking and How It Changed My Life by Anne Dowsett-Johnston: 

Anne Dowsett-Johnston is the bestselling author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. She talks about how publicly outing herself as “sober” impacted her personal life and professional career 

She’s incredibly knowledgeable about the way we consume alcohol and the effects it has on our opportunities, economies, health, and overall wellbeing. It’s a fascinating talk that will really make you contemplate our usually cavalier attitude towards alcohol and how to reframe that narrative. 


  1. Addiction Is A Disease. We Should Treat It Like One by Michael Botticelli: 

Michael Botticelli is a recovering alcoholic and former Director of Drug Policy for the Obama Administration. This talk is a really great look at how we’ve historically treated people with addiction and our flawed attempt to “arrest our way” out of the problem of drug and alcohol abuse. 

He offers an alternative solution for how we can tackle the addiction problem plaguing our country that goes beyond criminalizing addiction and actually putting systems and policies in place to help treat people who are suffering.


  1. Everything You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong by Johann Hari: 

Johann Hari talks about his experiences growing up in a family that struggled with addiction and how different countries are approaching the problem. He discusses the implications of their findings on how we can change our own drug policies. 

He offers a different perspective on what is truly at the root of the addiction. Whether you agree with his perspective or not, it’s interesting food for thought. 


  1. The Stigma of Addiction by Tony Hoffman:  

Tony is a former addict who experienced homelessness and prison before turning his life. After he was paroled, Tony become an Elite BMX Pro and founder of the Freewheel Project, a non-profit that mentors young people through sports like BMX and skateboarding. 

He’s got a compelling story of how he managed to claw his way back into the world and turn his life around. It’s a great motivational talk for anyone who needs a little inspiration to keep going. 


If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction or want to change your relationship with alcohol, check out our warm, welcoming Avalon community! Join our free meetings by phone, by Zoom, or in person at Avalon.  


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