Excessive drug and alcohol use can have a lasting and detrimental effect on relationships, careers, finances and on life in general. For many years the detox and rehab community have been telling substance users that they have a predisposed genetic defeat, a disease that makes them use drugs and alcohol. Substance users have been led to believe that they were born to become drug addicts and alcoholics and that there is nothing they can do about it because there is no cure, only treatment. My people begin to question, "Do I have an addiction disease?"
The substance use treatment community wants you to believe that you have a brain disease that causes you to use drugs and alcohol. They claim that the brain experiences changes from using drugs and alcohol. However, in a real disease, like cancer, the person cannot chose not to have cancer, nor can they stop the physiological changes inside their body due to the cancer and they certainly cannot get rid of the symptoms. You cannot compare the changes made to the body from a true disease such as cancer to an individual's alcohol and drug use. You can stop substance use, but you cannot choose to stop cancer.
Society has become very comfortable and discovered an easy and acceptable way to excuse behavior by labeling it "addiction disease." Shopping, video games, gambling, consumption have all become targets for addiction. If you are a heavy drug user, then it excuses the fact that you use drugs because addiction has become equated with disease. So the accepted cultural norm becomes "it is okay you can't help your drug use because you have a disease." Attaching a label to justify your behavior can be very dangerous because it shifts the responsibility.
Recognizing that you have a substance use problem and deciding to get help, is the first step in changing the behavior and finally being free of drug use indefinitely. Finding a program, that can actually help you and not keep you in the perpetual lie that substance use is a disease, is not a hopeless case.
Traditional drug and alcohol use programs, like 12 step programs, support the idea that substance use is a disease. They label your life, your problems, they even label you. 12 step programs tell you that you cannot be cured and that you will have to spend the rest of your life in treatment counseling. They require their members to attend meetings, to participate in group therapy and talk therapy. 12 step programs suggest that you will always return to drugs and alcohol because you have a disease, so you should expect failure.
The truth is that drug and alcohol use is not a disease but rather it is a choice you make to use. You support and reinforce the decision to use substances with the habits you form and the behaviors that carry out the habits. You do not have a brain disease that forces you to do it and you do have the power to make a different choice.
St. Jude Retreats offers an education based, cognitive behavioral program that helps our guests through self assessments and changing their habits and behaviors to support decisions that are more productive and enriching to their life. Our guests discover that they are empowered and can have a life that is free from drug and alcohol use forever.