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Addiction – Are We Manufacturing Victims? (Opinion)

The following article, Addiction – Are We Manufacturing Victims? (Opinion), was first published on Flag And Cross.

Manufacturing victims is a staple of the addiction-help industry. Over and over we see the natural state as an empowered being giving way to taking on the “fragile addict” identity. We now live in a culture where people’s natural attribute of making choices and their living out the results of those choices (good and bad) are marginalized in favor of being seen as helpless and unable to secure their own fate, or control themselves or their habits. This evolution away from personal responsibility for one’s choices and actions has resulted in millions of lives lost to addiction that could have been easily saved if these same individuals had been provided the right information.

The greatest shift away from seeing ourselves as self-efficacious beings can be seen clearly in the taking-on of the disease-of-addiction myth. This charade was developed in the period between the late 1800’s temperance movement and 1951 when heavy drinking was officially “declared” a disease by the American Medical Association. Like many movements whose intentions seemed above board at the time, the unintended destructive consequences of those intentions blossomed in time. The shift away from addiction being a choice and turning it into a habit tantamount to personal enslavement, created fertile ground for the addiction help-industry to take advantage of those newly minted as “suffering with the disease of addiction.”

FACT – Addiction is NOT a Disease!

Know this – addiction is not a disease. It’s not a disorder. Substances like cocaine and heroin and whiskey do not contain addictiveness like an orange contains vitamin C. Drugs do not have the power to change the content of people’s thoughts and control them, or mentally and emotionally enslave them. Our own beliefs do that. Our beliefs in the mythology of the disease charade keep us tethered to drugs and alcohol, and eventually the “treatment” and “recovery” from it as well. It’s all a part of the treatment and recovery trap that has been ensnaring people for 7 decades now. It’s a 40 billion dollar per year industry with no appreciable benefit to society. Rates of addiction are at their highest while the treatment for it is more widespread and expansive ever. Obviously the disease-based addiction-help industry has failed.

I know, you might be thinking I’ve gone too far here. I know you can readily agree that addiction isn’t a disease (most people when polled agree that it is not a disease). But if I were to ask you if you believed that certain “addicts” or “alcoholics” lose control of their consumption of substances, I bet you’d say, “Yes. Yes, of course they lose control.”

Here is the rub, though. Saying they “lose control” is no different than saying they are diseased. People with diseases have no choice in the matter. Just think cancer here. You can’t have it both ways: you cannot reject the disease-of-addiction theory while also embracing the loss of control theory because they are saying the same thing.

The following is an excerpt from The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap and it helps explain how our cultural beliefs guide some of our thinking and why this is important:

“As researchers we had to ask, has something intrinsically changed in humans that can explain the increased rates of heavy use and death compared to the generations of the past? The drugs are pharmacologically no different. The only remarkable change has been our cultural ideas, theories, and beliefs surrounding substance use. And certainly, those changes can either benefit the masses, or they can contain misinformation that causes exceptional sadness and tragedy. Behind the senseless wave of current trends in overdose and death in western culture is the idea that “once you start, you can’t stop” and that substances have the supernatural power to enslave people. And with that mantra, people give up, keep using “addictively” and die in a state of utter hopelessness. It doesn’t have to be this way. The Freedom Model changes all that.”

Beliefs are Powerful

I want to make the following point absolutely crystal clear: once you are a believer in addiction and recovery, you should never attempt to moderate or use at all. That, of course, makes sense, considering your adherence to the belief in powerlessness. If you believe there is a class of people called addicts that cannot stop taking drugs and/or alcohol once they start, then any level of use is a bad and potentially fatal idea for you. As a believer, any attempt to adjust your substance use will surely fail, because you do not truly believe in free will. (emphasis added)

Free will is an absolute; either you have it, or you don’t. If you believe drugs can enslave you, then abstain. If you believe in loss of control, abstain. If you believe in recovery, abstain. If you believe in addiction, abstain. Of course, even with a sound rejection of addiction and recovery, you might still determine that abstinence is best for you. Many do. What substance use option you choose for yourself is completely and totally your choice. But either way, we recommend that you proceed with your eyes open to the inherent costs of active use and factor that into your decisions. This is vital.

Here’s the truth; drugs don’t inherently contain “addictiveness” (See Appendix D of The Freedom Model for Addictions), people have free will and can choose for themselves. Based on a thorough analysis of the available data provided by National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institutes of Health and others, the fact is over 90% of people who have had a serious drug or alcohol problem at one time have moderated or quit, and most did so on their own. (emphasis added) This statistic is well known and consistent throughout addiction research but is rarely admitted or talked about by treatment providers for obvious reasons. Addiction and recovery are made-up constructs that promote our culture’s preoccupation with controlling others’ behaviors, not with actually helping individuals navigate through their chosen habits. Just like all those who have changed their substance use on their own, you are free to choose what’s best for you and your life.”

The Control Model vs. The Freedom Model

This quote cuts to the heart of the matter. In order for the alcohol and drug addiction treatment complex to control people and make their services relevant and seen as necessary, you need people to believe they are hopeless first. You must design a boogeyman to point to – in this case, a disease that renders you out of control. You must remind the masses that the drugs have “powers” and that the individual has none; and that the person is “out of control.” This marginalizing of free will and choice, once established in an individual, makes the “need for treatment and professionals” a foregone conclusion, an absolute necessity. The ability for the help-industry to then control the “addict” or “alcoholic” is complete, and “lifelong treatment” will become the order of the day.

Again, it didn’t start out this way. Most people in the treatment revolution in the 1930’s 40’s and 50’s thought declaring addiction a disease was an easy black and white solution to the troublesome widespread consequences of heavy substance use. But like any premise that’s false, anything downstream from that lie is tainted with it, and the long term result is that people have died or suffered needlessly.

Freedom of the Mind – The Solution

The tyranny of experts as Dr. Morris Chafetz put it, is alive and well in the alcohol and drug treatment industry, and has been for many decades now. But the good news is anyone can break free from this oppression by simply knowing the truth and acting on it. So what is the truth – what is addiction? Addiction is a series of personal choices that develop into habits. And here is the good news: forming and breaking habits is a natural human process that is fully integrated in every single human being’s life and psyche from birth. We don’t need a disease to explain away the fact that some people enjoy using substances to the extreme. Just like some people enjoy and create habits around activities that hurt them and are risky (think boxing, racing cars, football – or any elite athletes’ career for that matter, etc.), the “addict” or “alcoholic” has determined those risks are worth it. When they see stopping or moderating as the happier option, they will then easily stop or moderate, and many thousands do each year – and most do it without professional help.

In a nutshell – if you believe there is a certain class of people who “lose control of their substance use”, you believe in the disease ideal. In this case the loss of control belief is the disease belief in a new set of clothes. If you want to know the facts that prove the disease for the charade it is, read The Freedom Model for Addictions, or Addiction is a Choice, or The Diseasing of America, or any other number of books that dismantle the control model/disease ideal. Then, decide if drugs and alcohol are providing the benefits you think they are. If so, continue using them. If not, stop or moderate their use. Either way, you are the one choosing, and you will know you are responsible for the choice and its consequences.

Knowing the truth will always give you the ability to pivot and change, even if its days, weeks or even years later. Facts never wilt through time’s lens. And when you make your successful lifestyle change, whether now or later on, you will realize you’re the one in control and always have been. The need to be “treated” will disappear as quickly as the habit itself. And when this happens, you will go from theorizing about freedom to manifesting it.

For more information about The Freedom Model go to www.thefreedommodel.org or call 888-424-2626

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