§ Part of the Recovery Is NOT For Quitters series §
Due to the nature of this post I must again refer you to my Disclosure Policy. I remind you that I am not a doctor or counselor. Nothing you read here should be construed or accepted as medical or professional advice. I am only presenting my own perceptions and opinions based on my personal experience and adventures in the recovery process.
This post may cause some… let me just be honest. This post will probably piss some people off royally. Especially hardcore “12-Steppers,” many doctors, treatment programs, and anyone who profits financially from, what I think, is the misguided idea that addiction is forever.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many people and programs out there whose desire is to help people, and let’s face it, the reality is that it costs money. The cost of health care is a subject for another post, but a definite reality in recovery.
I’ve met several people in my adventures who have been through various treatment centers multiple times. One man I talked to had been through 23 treatment programs and here he was sitting with me in his 24th! There is definitely something wrong with this picture. One thing we have to keep in mind is that there are some people who use the system. They do not work and do not have homes. So they spend their lives going from treatment to a halfway house, back to the streets and then ultimately back into another treatment program and another halfway house. It’s how they survive and unfortunately it is the taxpayer who foots the bill for these folks. There are not the people I am talking about here. This is about those who truly struggle with addiction and seek freedom.
So, is there a cure for addiction? I think so, yes.
I do not believe that addiction is an incurable disease. I do not believe that telling someone they have a disease, giving them the title of addict, and then declaring them to be powerless and demanding that they accept these as fact for the remainder of their lives does anything but harm. I tend to agree with the small and highly successful number of people and treatment programs that believe addiction is not an incurable disease, but rather a symptom of other issues. Obviously if these other issues are not dealt with there is little, if any, chance for success and addiction will most likely continue to be a problem.
So what are some of these other issues that are the real problem? They are many and varied. A chemical imbalance, ADD, low self-esteem, depression, family turmoil, anxiety, panic attacks, loss of loved ones, insomnia, physical pain, trauma, molestation, headaches, and lack of purpose are just a few.
So 12-Step programs are useless then, right? Absolutely not! They just aren’t enough. I believe it takes a combination of several things to accomplish a true escape from addiction. One-on-one counseling, group counseling, diet and exercise, and especially an honest desire to live a healthy and happy life. How could anyone think of pursuing a healthy and happy life if the idea that they are forever bound to their addiction is there clawing at the back of their minds? It’s no wonder so many (but certainly not all) 12-Steppers seem to be so unhappy! They feel forever doomed to a life of addiction.
Look for the reasons you started your addictive behavior, get help finding them if necessary. While you work on those issues, try a meeting of some kind, there is a list of organizations in the introduction to this series, just be careful what you decide to believe about yourself! Most importantly keep it firmly in your mind that you can be free! It’s not always easy and rarely fast in coming. Stick with it, while many can help along the road, ultimately it is up to you…
I love this quote from the book Narcotics Anonymous, Sixth Edition:
We cannot change the nature of the addict or addiction. We can help to change the old lie “Once an addict, always an addict,” by striving to make recovery more available. God help us to remember this difference.