The Disease of Addiction

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In 12-step groups and at substance abuse treatment centers, we often hear addiction described as a “disease” or an “illness.” This sound controversial when we first hear it. We think we merely have problems with discipline, self-control or willpower. Perhaps we’ve had other troubles in life, so we blame our addiction on them: our fathers hit us, our mothers left us, our partners broke our heart, our brains made us angry, anxious or depressed. Nevertheless, the disease concept of addiction makes the most sense to addicts who have gained some self-understanding. If you are an addict, here are some disease-related concepts that should make sense.

  • Powerlessness – If we look at our lives, we can see that we had plenty of willpower. When we bought drugs, we often drove through cop territory or walked through heavy rain or snow. When it came to hiding our drug use, we spent extraordinary energy coming up with lies to tell and finding places to keep our stash. These things take willpower. However, we weren’t able to apply our willpower to sobriety. Why? Because we were powerless — we had as little power as a cancer patient over their cancer.
  • Genetics – Genetics may or may not mean you “inherited” your addiction from your parents. What it certainly does mean is that outside circumstances are not related to your addiction. Of course, many addicts have experienced plenty of trauma and abuse before their addiction took off. Yet, just as many addicts lived in good towns, went to good schools and were raised by good families. Plus, can we honestly say we got high only when we were in pain? An honest addict will use if he’s rich or poor, working or unemployed, single or married. The simple fact is that circumstances don’t equal addiction.
  • Medication – If drug addiction is a disease, than it must be treated like other diseases. Diabetics use medications such as insulin. For addiction, the “medication” is going to meetings and working the 12 steps. People with allergies likewise carry an epi-pen for emergencies. Addicts have their own “epi-pens” for emergencies. They have people to talk to, numbers to call, and coping skills to use if they experience urges, cravings or temptation.

The first “medication” for any addiction is getting yourself into treatment. At Recovery Hub, we dispense your daily dose on a 24/7 basis! So visit our website or call 888-991-6570 today!

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