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The Dangers of Treating Addiction Like a Chronic Disease

Treating addiction like a chronic disease can have adverse effects on lasting recovery. One of the biggest mistakes that people make in society today when they view drug and alcohol addiction is that they see it as a disease.  In this way, a disease is defined as a permanent affliction of the mind and body that one will always have no matter what.  This is the influence of the old 12-Step theory, the Alcoholics Anonymous theory, and the Narcotics Anonymous theory that was drafted in the early 1900s.

Treating Addiction in the Early 1900s

The truth is, very little was known about treating addiction at that time.  In fact, almost nothing about drug and alcohol addiction was known at that point.  Now, that has all changed with over a century of study and trial and error.  One of the first indicators that brought us to understand that drug and alcohol addiction was not a chronic disease was the simple fact that rehabilitation approaches, namely the 12 Step approach, had been gradually dropping in success rates over the last three decades.  The very rehabilitation centers that pushed this idea that addiction is a disease started to experience lessening and reducing success rates.  This was bad news for a lot of people, but it was the grim truth of the matter.

Here’s how this information breaks down.  To believe that addiction is a disease is not entirely to take responsibility for it.  Responsibility is the keynote of success in treating addiction.  Firm treatment methods that convince drug and alcohol addicted individuals that they have a disease robs such people of the opportunity to truly take responsibility for their actions. It makes them feel as though they will never be at cause over their lives, which is to say that they simply have to cope with addiction for the rest of their lives.  Treating addiction like a chronic disease is never in the best interest of the addict or someone in recovery.

Treating Addiction Like a Chronic Disease

Treating addiction like a chronic disease leaves people living in fear. It leaves them living with the concept that at the very best, they are “recovering addicts.” It leaves them with the idea that they will never be truly free of their addiction, and at the very best they can only try to abstain from using drugs and alcohol.  This approach is cruel actually because it gives a person the idea that they cannot ever be truly free from the addiction  This is not true, and every year that the rehabilitation centers that support this idea have their success rates drop is another indicator that it is not correct.  Addiction is not a disease.

Pursuing the Correct Mindset About Addiction

The key to finding success and stability from drug and alcohol addiction is to believe, and correctly so, that one can search for and create permanent sobriety if one chooses to do so.  Rehabilitation programs that approach addiction as an affliction of the mind and body are far more successful.  Rehabilitation centers that look at addiction as a mistake, and the result of poor choices, and the consequences of terrible decisions and environments are the ones that are far more successful.  Also, the rehabilitation programs that approach drug and alcohol addiction as being something that the addicted individual himself or herself can fully take responsibility for and which insist that the person actually does assume responsibility for are very successful in treating addiction.

There is only one person who can create total freedom from addiction, and that is the person himself or herself.  It’s not up to anybody else.  With this being the case, it is much better to not convince the person that he or she has a disease and that they will always have a disease.  Instead, give them the opportunity to tackle their addiction and create total responsibility for it and achieve total cause over it.  In this way, people can know freedom.  At A Forever Recovery, we do just that.  If you are seeking help for yourself or a loved one, call us today.

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