#4 The Opposite of Addiction is Connection

While watching Simon Sinek’s TEDTalk; “How Great Leaders Inspire Change” I was able to see how I need to frame this project going forward. The point Sinek really worked to drive home was that “people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.”  People aren’t going to “buy” a documentary on addiction in Vermont they’re going to buy  my vision to renovate the way we handle substance addiction so that society as a whole can recover. Another quote that stood out to me in particular, was “those who start with why have the ability to inspire.” From Simon Sinek’s talk, I learned that in order to get the result I want, I need to start from why and work outward from there.

I began using this Idea and really applying it to my topic; addiction. I went to search for resources that would help me explain the “why” behind what I’m trying to achieve. Doing this made me realize that the problem, as well as the solution, starts with why. Why is addiction such a huge problem in our society today? Why are our current efforts not yielding sufficient results?

I found this video that illustrates this ‘why’ in a very new and innovative way, saying that; “everything we think we know about addiction is wrong”(Addiction. Kurzgesagt, n.d. Web.)




Kurzgesagt’s video claims that it’s not the chemicals it’s the cage. I found the Ideas in this video particularly innovative because it expresses the need to “focus on social recovery, not individual recovery”(Addiction. Kurzgesagt, n.d. Web.). The notion that this is a problem that we all are involved in, not just the addicts is something very different from the typical view. When we think of an addict we think the problem is something wrong with them, not something wrong with all of us. I want to help create this change and facilitate the social healing our society needs.

This brings me to my pitch:

Why: The way we currently handle addiction is making society as a whole even more unwell.

How: Showing the stories of different people and proving that in a lot of ways; the system is set up for recovering addicts to fail.

What: A full documentary.

I want to transcend the usual message; that addiction is bad and kids should stay away from substance abuse. I want to look at the bigger picture and show that this is a problem that hurts all of us, and we are all responsible for creating a better society and a better future.


Kati Tolgyesi

2 Responses to “#4 The Opposite of Addiction is Connection

  • Dixie Goswami
    7 years ago

    Dear Kati,

    Your focus on “social recovery” not “individual recovery” gives you an
    excellent rationale for using documentary production to transcend the
    usual message abput addiction that boils down to versions of “just say
    no.” Your challenge could be showing the stories of different people
    (individuals) while showing that this happens in a social context – an
    unwell environment.

    Why produce this particular documentary? The way we currently handle
    addiction is making individuals sick and society as a whole even more

    What action will you take to make a difference? Make a full documentary
    that that will sending a double message of individual AND social healing.
    What will social healing or social recovery look like? I can see Vermont
    communities struggling with rising problems of addition would be primary
    audiences your doc for changing public awareness that leads to action.

    I love the way your decisions about your topic give you the richest
    possible opportunity for using your own strengths: visual art and imagery,
    composition and design.

    I’ve A important resource when it comes to doc production is evc.org. The
    EVC director, Steve Goodman, is a Bread Loaf Teacher Network
    Resource—well known to Tim and Bill Rich. Please check out the evc.org
    website. Would you be interested in going to New York for a youth doc
    workshop? Just dreaming, but….

    Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture by
    Henry Jenkins et al is the best book of know of about how content spreads
    via social media – a new form of social change. Might be fun to dip into
    as you move forward. But evc.org and Steve Goodman are at the top of my
    list of resources.


  • Emily Rinkema
    7 years ago

    Hi Kati,

    Your focus on the “why” is so important to capturing the hearts of your future audience, and I’m glad the Sinek talk inspired this for you! The change in your focus from the addict being the problem to society being a problem is such an important one…but also really really difficult. It’s so easy to put the blame on the individual, as that lets us off the hook. We can say, “she needs to do this, ” or “if only he hadn’t…,” rather than, “what do we need to do differently?” I love the focus of getting us to see that this is OUR responsibility through telling stories. Story is so important.

    Thanks again for such thoughtful posts.

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