The work of the Liberation Institute is shaped and informed by Bruce Alexander’s Dislocation Theory of Addiction. Alexander defines addiction as any “overwhelming involvement with a substance or activity that is harmful to oneself and one’s social relations.” This means that one is addicted if the time, money, or energy he spends on a given substance or activity comes at the expense of his marriage, parenting, or work performance. This means that one can be as addicted to smart phones and shopping as to vodka or heroin. The United States has long been the most addicted country in the world. Dislocation theory holds that the problem is actually social in origin, that addiction only arises as a result of widespread societal breakdown and the loss of shared communal values. Addiction is actually an adaptive behavior; we turn to substances and behaviors in a vain attempt to soothe ourselves. We believe that addicts and inmates alike need to be informed of the myriad social forces that led to their predicament. These include (but are not limited to): globalization, the institutional corruption (e.g. Big Pharma), the War on Drugs, systemic racism, and multigenerational trauma. We agree that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but connection. And we believe that this also holds true for any number of emotional, interpersonal, and societal issues.