I agree, i'm not going to sit in a meeting and talk about this stuff. It works for some people. I think I may have a heightened awareness and ability to attract things. The last thing I want to attract is sickness.
I think I first started reading the Big Book at 10, my dad was in and out of jail and 12 step all my life. As a kid, watching all the drunks and addicts talking and discussing ways to view the world more positive was interesting to me. Problem for me was, I also sat there and watched the same people go out and get wasted, in my house and yard. I was under the impression that it was like the Catholic Christianity community I around me, just confess and start again. I don't think I saw it as a lifestyle program, but as a religious group of people who couldn't hold up their own commitments or beliefs. My dad never like the disease model, so I was lucky not to hear that in meetings, I heard that from my mom and other family members, but my dad just said, "I like drinking, smoking, and getting high, my life is better that way, it's not a disease, I am choosing to use, because I like it." He still uses to this day, even though he poops blood and pees his bed most nights, sure sounds fun, heh?
Anyway, it sounds like you are finally deciding to come up with your own way of viewing yourself and addiction, that's good. As you know, I promote 12 step and encourage everyone to try it, though I no longer go. Part of it is my small town, there are not enough members for me to choose a good sponsor or have anyone to talk deeply with. Even my therapist says I am smarter than most people around me, so I can't get much help from anyone. I have had to come up with my own ways of recovery, just because I don't go to 12 step, doesn't mean I don't go to recovery options. I find I am connecting more with the bipolar community around me, bipolar are crazy, but they are also known to have creativity and intelligence. When I detoxed, I would have never guessed that I would start a bipolar group, but enough time off opiates showed me why I REALLY used them so much for so long. My recovery is based on those reasons I used, not based on 12 step philosophy, definitions, or standard practices. My recovery is specifically designed for MY needs, nobody else.
So. I coin terms, invent phrases, I do a lot of work with linguistics and perception manipulation. I have to explain myself to people, because saying things like, "I'm a healthy addict/bipolar," simply comes off as an Oxymoron to many. People **** their head sideways, when I say, "I have bipolar order, not out of order, just a different order." I walk to the beat of my own drum, but I do try to harmonize with other drummers, we don't have to like all the same beats, but it is not helpful to bang MY drum, while others are singing a lullaby. As much as I have to be accepted for my way, I have to accept the ways of others. I don't have to believe in their ways, but hating someone or their beliefs doesn't help me. I mean, difference of belief has caused more war, death, and destruction of any other one thing in history. If I want to be better than "just a diseased addict," then I have to show them how to be accepting, while I continue to follow my own beat.
I am angry that I was thrown in the rooms before I was even getting high. When you are 13 the things I was doing were behavior issues and mis placed anger because of not getting the proper care. Almost 20 years later I am still in and out of rehab due to the fact that I was never taught how to cope with problems. NO ONE ever taught me how to deal with things in a health way. Of course a lonely kid is going to find where they fit in and me being on the eccentric kid found the acceptance in a feisty crowd. I feel like Ive been brainwashed to believe I was a drug addict before it even happened. I am not mad at the program, I think the steps are GREAT. I am 32 now and finally waking up to what's REALLY going on.
I definitely believe that addiction is a disease, my first husband, my son's father was an addict. His mother had seven children, (devote Catholic) She lost five sons to addiction (drugs) including my son's father :( Born to lose? No! One other son and a daughter did not fall into the same trap and were like night and day. Had they tried drugs, I do believe that they would have had the same problems with them. They saw what had happened to their siblings and vowed never to break their mother's heart again. My father was an alcoholic (biological & adopted fathers) I am an addict but I believe I can control mine better. Is it nature or nuture? Is it heredity or habit? Or a little of all.? The reason I try to control mine is that when I get my prescription, if I am greedy and take them more than my doc orders, then I run out early and have to suffer the rest of the month, if you have ever had to do that, it's no picnic because I really do need them for very legit pain, it is very hard for an addict to try to behave like they are "normies". I think calling it a disease comes from doctors who want to call everything a disease. I think that is a fine line that we cross along the way. Great thread, great peeps.
I'm sure you're not alone in the way you feel, and I agree that this is an interesting topic. I don't think I ever saw someone post about having an issue with the "disease" label for the reasons you mention. Now, a lot of people struggle with accepting ANY kind of "addict" label due to denial, but to feel as though you will become what you call yourself, that's interesting.
Like I said before, I would be FAR more interested in seeing people focus on their recovery and addressing the issues, rather than focusing on the label so much. If you can get to a place where you just kind of accept it as a formality (for meetings, etc), I think it will bother you a lot less. It would be a shame to miss out on all of the helpful things because of the diversion to the disease label.
I agree too that it seems you have a lot of anger, directed towards the 12-step modality.
Keep talking...it helps.
Linda- Wow, interesting thread. For the record, I despise the term disease for this. I hate it when people say in meetings:"I'm sick, we're all sick." I have shared about that. The whole world then is "sick" in some ways, not just addicts. But I digress. It seems to me you are really angry at the program. And maybe taking out your anger on this word and it's definition. You say you've been in the rooms since age 13. That's a LONG time (I don't know how old you are but still.) Seems that something else is bothering you. Maybe put aside the "disease" issue for now and look at what else is there. Besides, if you got a definitive answer, would that really help how you feel?
Hi lins just a tidbit here as we go threw the room and say our names it is like ''mark addict''....some will say ''Mark addict in recovery'' it takes some of the bit out of it regardless of what you call it as long as your getting recovery thats all that maters im sure you will be fine you know what you need to do to recover we will be here to help so keep posting ........Gnarly............
My issue is... In meetings Identifying over and over again that I am and alcoholic/addict. Why would I keep creating alcoholic/addict. I believe that thoughts and language form who you are. I think that I have been being told that I have a disease before I ever even got high/drunk and thrown in aa meetings at age 13. I think it's an over used diagnosis. Yes I have been powerless over alcohol and drugs in the past, NO I do not want to use, Yes I think the 12 steps EVERYONE should practice. I am un willing to conform and conceive to my innermost self that I have a disease. If one believes they have a disease, a disease will form and grow. if I hang out with people that are getting high, I am eventually going to get high. That goes for EVERYONE! It works for some people. I've been in and out of the program. I never believed it when people said that AA brainwashes people because it helps so many people. Now that I have this new outlook I can see where those people were coming from. Announcing EVERY DAY, sometimes 2+ times in a meeting that " Hi, I'm Lindsey, I am an alcoholic " I think is counter intuitive. Recreating a problem that we are trying to fix. If one goes back out, of course the same stuff is going to happen. It's been drilled into their heads the out come.
I hate that word, i dont want a disease i want a cure
then I got high again
I have a disease
I still dont want a disease but i dont know any normal person who would do the things I have done
or would have used against their will
I am an addict names heather and I have a disease called addiction
and it *****
Someone who has an addiction and why some people refer to the addiction as a "DISEASE" is because the drug that we become addicted to can be habit forming and can affect you and the people around you as well. I am an addict and i take full rsponsibility for my actions. When I was in my addiction I would have withdrawls and before I used I would physically get sick until that first hit or smoke. Someone mentioned that we just stimulate a certain part of our brain with drugs and when the high is over depression sets in and they are so right. When we choose to use a drug that we already know is going to change our attitude because it makes us happier or productive, I believe we are just telling ourselves a lie,without the drug im depressed or cant get motivated. I know that being sober and living a clean life has its ups and downs but living a drug life can only cause you grief. Calling your addictiion a disease or not does not matter Its overcoming that addiction that really matters.
t is a disease of the brain.People become reliant on the drug and cant stop using which in extreme cases until death.What is "rock bottom to a drug attic?"......."DEATH".Drugs stimulate nuerotransmitters deep down n the brain.Certain drugs trigger certian nuerons/transmitters.EX:amphetamines stimuate a nuerotransmitter called dopamine.Its what causes us to feel good and like thngs.AKA the pleasure chemical of the brain.So much that the brain cant pass it through our nuerons causng an overload which our brain actually opens up to make room for.Now when the euphoria passes, the surge of dopamne slowly wears down toits natural load.Causing the room for the overload to become empty which therefor gives us depression do to the lack of pleasure we were used to feeling while high. I can go on for days about indivdual drugs and their effects on the brain but to really trip your mind is this.........Your body already has and experiences all drugs have to offer naturally in our brain.We simply stimulate whats already exssting within our brain.You couldnt feel t otherwise.The recepters and nuerotransmitters exsst from birth and when stimulated by natural substances(all drugs derve from some plant)they stimulate into a "high".....Hope you understood what I am gettng at.Gotta go
I think that while many people are predisposed towards addiction if exposed to addictive substances its a very complex subject (the rat park experiment is very interesting if anyone has read the study).
Things like our environment, our relationships with others and the basic choices we make can determine whether someone predisposed to addiction actually engages in active addiction (many don't). At the end of the day disease or not we all have choices and sometimes maybe the disease angle gives us rationalization over our own bad choices and mistakes.
Obviously it would help if those who are predisposed to addiction weren't exposed to addictive substances but in the real world that's not really possible so we all have to try to make the wisest choices we can and not let a natural predisposition to destructive behaviour ruin the one life we own.
I definitely think that addicts are "wired" differently, without a doubt. There are good and bad consequences with the labeling of addiction as a disease.
The bad...addicts don't need much to come up with an excuse to use, or to keep using. If an addict runs with the "disease" concept, they can easily talk themselves into using based on the fact that they "have a disease and cannot help it." That's simply NOT true. While addicts may be cut from a different cloth, they are still 100% responsible for their choices and decisions along the way. Just like someone with depression or anxiety. Can they HELP that they are inflicted with that disorder? Of course not. But, does it give them the right to treat their loved ones horribly, being angry, miserable, and lashing out (common)? Of course not! An addict cannot help that they're an addict but they CAN help how they choose to address that.
As for the good...one of the best aspects of addiction being officially labeled as a disease, recognized with diagnostic codes, is that there is a LOT more help out there for people. It also means that insurance is covering a lot of treatment modalities it didn't before. The world of addiction treatment has GREATLY improved over the last decade. It still has loads of room for improvement, but it's a far cry from what it was. Before, an addict's options were few, with really one of the only treatment options being inpatient rehab. Now, a person can go about their recovery in a multitude of different ways.
This is always a heavily debated topic, with very valid points on both sides. I would tell people not to get hung up so much on the label, but more on how to move forward and formulate a recovery plan.
I had the same dilemma, however I always recognized my addictive personality before I even got hooked into pills in my 30s. I have alcoholics on both sides of my family which likely 90% of addicts have addiction in their immediate family. It's a disease but we are not sick and hopeless, it's a disease we have the power to control when we surrender and admit we cannot manage our lives like some recreational users do. Being clean is a great life once you clear that first hurdle, I mean can you really imagine going through the rest of your life trying to feed your addiction, I would rather die now than be a slave forever. Read the 12 steps and the CBT translations of them to gain more insight. We might have a disease however it's nothing to be ashamed of, I couldn't believe the kind of extremely successful people I met in treatment, I was there with a world class comedian, two actors, a doctor, a international lawyer, a university professor, a retired CEO of a major pharma, a multi-millionaire who is in the music industry, I was absolutely floored how so many people you think have everything straightened out still suffer from addiction. I am not some rich person either who went to Beverly Hills for treatment, just a normal dude who needed help.
Whether it is actually disease or addiction is kinda', sorta' a moot point - with much room for opinion/debate
The important thing is, and the only thing that really matters, is where, why, how, each and every individual draws personal strength to enable recovery (i.e., dominosarah, gnarly_1, meegWpay, etc, etc.)
My Mother called it a "disease", my Son called it an "addiction" - They Both died from overdose/overuse of Their "drug of choice"
I am thankful and deeply moved by all who find Their path(s) to recovery
This is just MY opinion here and how i have to live MY recovery. I have a hard time with the word "disease" on addiction. It doesnt matter to me as the bottom line for me is i am an addict in recovery. Labeling it a disease doesnt change that. What it does allow for me is a road to excuses This is how my brain is wired. My addiction isnt lying to me tonight and hopefully it doesnt tomorrow. For those of us who dont wrap ourselves around the word disease we arent at any greater risk for relapse than the ones who do call it a disease. I work my recovery the moment my feet hit the ground in the morning. As i said in the beginning, this is only MY opinion,
Hi well this is debated is like what came first the chicken or the egg I base my opinion on hard science and doctors all agree this is a disease I used a substance abuse counselor for the better part of 4yrs of aftercare he had a masters degree in the field and also agreed it was a disease I have watched specials on the brain and addiction and it gave conclusive evidence we a are wired differently the ''normies'' the mri shows that the pleasure centers not only lit up the way normies din but also had other parts of the brain that lit up after going to N/A and lissining to people with 10+ years clean that are still dealing with the compulsions the obsessions the resentments even after 10+ years clean this will not go away if your honest with yourself you will realize that once you stop the drugs your still left with the mental part of this disease the addict is still alive and well in your head we still think the same but it is ok you can arrest the disease and the recovery is possible... I have been on this forum since 09 and those that treat the disease stay clean those that dont come back on over and over wounding why there in the same boat again this dose not have to be a death sentence you can recover but it is up to you to treat it your disease will tell you you dont need aftercare it will tell you you will grow out of it it will eventually tell you one wont hurt then it is game on again for many of us it is the first time in years that we are trying to deal with life on lifes terms clean and it is all but impossible without a program of recovery all I know is programs like n/a work and will power does not it is your disease that makes you ask this question in the first place now you can white knuckle it or find recovery my best friend has 29 trs clean and goes to 4 meeting a week it is very treatable but it is up to you to surrender to the fact your going to have to treat it if N/a works for a old dope fiend like me it will work for any one please dont be confused this disease will take you places you never thought you would go and it is progressive and only gets worst with time the reason im so pashanet about this is I lived in active addiction for 35years and if I can help someone that is only in the begining stages avoid that it makes my day if someone showed me the way out I may not have wasted over 1/2 my life getting high think long and hard about this post and for many your disease is already lying to you saying well it is not me I feel for you...you never have to use again...........................Gnarly..................................
I agree with some of what you said, lindy, i think that for a long time it was difficult for me to believe in addiction as a disease. I have seen 'Pleasure Unwoven" and while I found it riveting it did not convince me. In fact, the 'evidence' portraying addiction as a medical disease proved inconclusive imo. However, "Pleasure" went a gigantic distance in aiding me in my recovery. A substantial part of my relapse history, which is extensive (!!!), was precisely due to the fact that I was in denial about the gravity and nature of my addiction. When I saw how the chemicals in the brain behaved, it allowed me to treat my addiction as more than just a personal failure or moral weakness. While it may seem that one would use the disease model as an 'excuse' for addiction, in my case and I would posit in many others, it actually ameliorated my ability to get and stay clean with a more profound and effective understanding. just my .02
Vicki, I'd debate whether the DSM is the be all and end all for defining disease. Every new edition comes with a raging debate about what should and shouldn't be included.
I personally think the answer to the question originally asked is: Don't get hung up on semantics. Addiction fits nicely into the disease model, so it's logical to call it one.
If you're not using and haven't in some time, like Vicki said, there's no need to wake up feeling like you're sick or diseased.
If you've ever had chicken pox, you still have that virus in your body. Do you wake up every day lamenting the fact that you technically have chicken pox? Of course not. Same thing applies as far as I'm concerned.
EVERY cucumber (person) left in the brine (alcohol) long enough WILL become a pickle. Key here is the amount of alcohol AND / OR the length of time one exposes oneself to an (any) addictive substance. How many cigarettes does it take for one to become addicted to smoking? No one knows the exact answer to exactly how many - surely the number differs from one person to another - but it's agreed that at some point addiction occurs.....and as with all addictions, there are changes in the brain - but we don't call it a "disease" when one is addicted to other substances than alcohol.
Drugs are addicting; alcohol (ethanol) is a drug. 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor all contain the same amount of ethanol: an addictive substance.
In my thinking, alcoholism may well be a disease, but if so, well then, addiction to cigarettes, meth, heroin, prescription drugs, etc., etc. would also be a disease, all are addictive substances.
We do all have opinions (and I agree that's fine even though we may differ). I've done a lot of reading myself and I have come to realize for almost every opinion (fact) there is an opposing opinion (fact). So, we draw conclusions from what we learn. Interacting with my Mother (alcoholic) and my Son (meth addict) and learning all I could about Their addictions played a huge role in my opinions. I may not be completely correct in my opinion but neither am I completely wrong. This subject will continue to be debated
Addiction as a disease is not really debatable. It's a disease that's well documented. It has a medical diagnosis code and is described in detail in the DSM V ( Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of mental illnesses ). Not everyone becomes addicted to an intoxicating substance when exposed...dependence is separate from addiction. We all have our opinions and that's fine but there's no denying the facts.
ethanol (alcohol) is a neurotoxic psychoactive DRUG
as are: sedatives, hypnotics, and narcotics - all are addictive drugs
certainly the brain goes through changes but fact is:
ethanol (present in ALL alcoholic beverage) is an addictive SUBSTANCE. EVERYONE has the potential of becoming addicted when exposing themselves to an addictive substance.
ALL addiction is progressive and ALL addictions can end in death
Alcohol is a drug, an addictive drug like the others. One doesn't say a person addicted to cigarettes has a disease, nor do I hear that other drug addicts have a disease - rather it's called addiction
My Mother was an alcoholic until the day She died. My Son was an alcoholic AND a drug addict until the day He died of an accidental drug overdose (acute phentanyl intoxication). They were both addicted to their drug of choice.
I mean NO disrespect to anyone. Opinions differ on this topic and I'm only stating my own opinion. I 'earned', 'learned' my opinion the hard way.
I just wanted to rewrite this b/c I think this is a point that's overlooked ALOT....Vicki595: Treating addiction requires much more than abstinence and willpower!!!!!!
Treating addiction requires much more than abstinence and willpower! I love this statement!