When having this debate, many times the other person will say, “Ok, well if it’s not a disease, then it most definitely is an ADDICTION”
While addiction is real, I don’t care for the word because it also implies a state in which the person has no control over it. So, let’s take a look at what constitutes this much misunderstood word.
Addiction, when discussing alcohol or drugs, clearly has two very different components, one physical and one mental. Now there are “addictions” that only have the mental component (gambling, shopping, etc…) and I’ll touch on those later, but for now we’ll concern ourselves with just substance addiction.
With regards to the physical aspect of it, if you go to www.psychology.com and click on the tab Psych
Basics and then click on “addiction” you will find the following in the body of the article;
“The word addiction is used in several different ways. One definition describes physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect; this is known as tolerance. Because of tolerance, there is a biological reaction when the drug is withdrawn. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of overreaction by the brain to
drugs (or to cues associated with the drugs). An alcoholic walking into a bar, for instance, will feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these cues.”
Ok, now while this is a very real and debilitating consequence of using/abusing drugs/alcohol, it is hardly irreversible and therefore not some kind of terminal disease!
Now is it easy? HELL NO, but once you make the decision to overcome your addiction, it’s simply, from a physical standpoint, a matter of enduring the pain and discomfort from withdrawal.
Withdrawal can be one of the most horrid experiences of your life and dangerous as well, so you should seek medical help before you take it on.
OK, now on to the mental part of “addiction”.
From that same article on www.psychology.com, addiction is defined as follows;
“Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (gambling) that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work or relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.”
However, most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use drugs, gamble, or shop nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or
brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior. The focus of the addiction isn't what matters; it's the need to take action under certain kinds of stress. Treating this kind of addiction requires an understanding of how it works psychologically.”
A “condition” is not a disease but is still nonetheless very real. “Emotionally stressed” is a bit vague but I agree that for most people, besides the “physical” addiction, there is also this mental component and that that component should be more accurately call a “DEPENDENCY”
I agree that for many if not most “alcoholics”, their dependency is a result of and a response to “underlying issues and/or internal pain and suffering”
From medicalnewstoday.com “When a person is addicted to something they cannot control how they use it, and become dependent on it to cope with daily life.”
I agree wholeheartedly and these dependencies that are composed of underlying stresses, issues, internal pain or whatever you want to call it, need to be uncovered, addressed and overcome.
That’s what part two of “The Freedom to Recover” is all about. You don’t need to surrender your will or admit “powerlessness” but rather do the exact opposite. You need to utilize methods that will empower you to recreate your view of the world and your ability to deal with these underlying factors.
People are doing every day and so can you!