We have learned that drug abuse, drug dependence, or addiction is a matter of illness, not a moral issue. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual disease that affects every area of life. It can be arrested but never cured. Only complete abstinence from the use of drugs, including alcohol, can arrest this disease.

When we say that addiction is a disease, aren't we just letting those afflicted off the hook for their antisocial behaviors? Not at all. A disease model of the addiction holds that it is not the afflicted's responsibility; however, crucially, recovery is. We don't blame someone with heart disease for the development of their condition. Yet once the disease is diagnosed, we do expect them to be responsible for their recovery by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, taking their medication, and so on. Similarly, believing that addiction is a disease does not absolve those afflicted from their responsibility for their own recovery and everything that entails. It's not a free ride.

The 1st paragraph is from Nar-Anon and Family-Anon.

The 2nd paragraph is from The Compass of Pleasure by David J. Linden (2010)

Rev. August 2014

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