Is Addiction Really a Disease? | Psychology Today.
I start this weeks post on Getting Educated on addiction with an article by Lance Dodes, M.D.
He has written several books on the topic under the premiss that addiction is not a disease, but a symptom. I haven’t read his books, but I was impressed with this article.
I have been saying that addiction is not a disease for years. I have had the opportunity to talk with hundreds of people suffering from addiction. I have felt that the problem is just a symptom of depression or a low self esteem which is a precursor to depression. It often leads to suicide because “self medicating” just didn’t work and things kept getting worse.
40 years ago the medical industry decided that addiction was a disease. I think that was a mistake. It gave addicts an out or an excuse as to why they have the problem and since it has no “cure” they often give up trying to get the problem under control.
Now this being said, I don’t believe that by being educated on the “disease” as it is labeled or “situation” as I like to call it, will give you the tools to make your loved one change. It won’t. That is completely up to your loved one.
Only you know, if it is possible, to feed your loved one the information on how to get help. I have found it can be a dangerous thing to offer that help. I must be a glutton for punishment though, because I keep on sending it their way. You never know when the timing might be right and they will welcome your help.
I want you to be educated on what the symptoms are, what kind of support is available, and how to know if it is out of control. There comes a time when we do have to step in and a time to back off.
I don’t believe that an addict is unable to control themselves. I don’t believe an addict is a selfish self centered person…..all the time. I don’t believe that we are responsible for their recovery. I do believe, that they can overcome the addiction and we just have to love them for who they are behind the addiction.
I mentioned that I have spoken to hundreds of addicts. I am not exaggerating. I am glad to say that a good portion of those addicts were “recovering”. I am one of them.
I didn’t meet these people in an AA program. I was able to do it on my own. I found that MOST of them had tried AA or similar programs and it didn’t work for them. What does work……well a true desire to be done with the agony of the addiction.
For those of us living with Jekyll and Hyde it is important to understand what they are going through, but even more important to protect ourselves.
Educate yourself on local support groups for you. Find out how others have not only survived in the same situation, but found a way to thrive. You can’t just ignore the monster and expect to be ok. It is there and until your loved one takes control, it will try to take over your life.
You CAN have a good life. You DO DESERVE to be happy. Don’t let the monster control your happiness. That is yours to find and nourish.
The Best thing YOU CAN do for the monster is to stay happy and be the example of what a good life can bring. Be the light and beacon so your loved one sees the way out of addiction….all on their own.