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3/08/2018 5:59 pm  #1

19 ugly truths about addiction that nobody wants to look at

19 ugly truths about addiction and recovery that nobody wants to look at

Some people really fall for the whole thing, hook, line, and sinker, and that leads to a lot of unnecessary pain. But here’s what’s really going on with addiction, treatment, and recovery – they are social constructs that are killing us:

The entire concept of addiction – a state in which people are involuntarily using drugs/alcohol, and incapable of stopping – is a myth, and a harmful one at that.
Anyone can voluntarily stop using substances at any time, but we agree to play along with the myth of addiction because it serves other selfish purposes.
Moral crusaders created the myth of addiction to scare people out of using alcohol and other drugs.
Parents like the myth of the “disease of addiction”, because it absolves them of any potential guilt/shame for being “bad parents.”
Heavy substance users like the myth of addiction because it gives them a socially acceptable excuse to keep using drugs and alcohol.
“Addiction treatment” is a sham treatment for a fake disease, and results in no greater success at getting over a substance use problem than if people received no help whatsoever.
Parents, spouses, other family members, and moral crusaders like addiction treatment because it allows them to tell substance users how to live their lives while not appearing to do so. Ordering people to stop drinking/drugging is reframed as generously offering “the gift of treatment.”
It’s impossible to recover from a fake disease. So “treatment” for “addiction” and “recovery” from it is nothing more than a charade – a ritual and a show that we put on for each other.
“Working on recovery” is a show that heavy substance users put on to save face, and to signal to society and their families that they’re sorry, and trying to conform and live up to cultural standards.
Families, politicians, and activists agree to the charade of “supporting people in recovery” in large part because it allows them to engage in conspicuous caring, appearing virtuous. (in large part by paying for addiction treatment)
Doctors furthered the myth of “addictive drugs” in the early 1900s so they could become the gatekeepers of opiates, and secure ongoing business for their profession. As such, they are complicit in all the destruction that has resulted from drug prohibition.
A smaller percentage of Americans were “addicted” to opioids when anyone could legally buy as much heroin, opium, and morphine as they wanted – than now.
Rates of problematic substance use have only gone up since American society has embraced the myths of addiction, addictive drugs, treatment, and recovery.
Withdrawal is a side effect of heavy substance use, not the cause of it. If it was the cause, anyone could be “cured” of their “addiction” with a week or two of supervised detoxification in the hospital. But people often go back to heavy substance use after detox because they prefer it.
Drug prohibition, which is based on the myth of addictive drugs, is the cause of the surge in overdose deaths.
People who believe more strongly in the disease model of addiction become more likely to “relapse” (return to problematic levels of use).
“Alcoholics” who are taught that they will “lose control” of their drinking after a single drink become multiple times more likely to binge drink than those who aren’t taught this myth.
The myths of addiction are causing people to feel helplessly addicted, struggle longer, and in some cases die an early death.
Most (not all) people who understand these truths are afraid to speak them because they’ll be seen as unsympathetic. Some think it’s better to keep the myths alive because “addicts and alcoholics” can’t be trusted with the truth.


3/08/2018 7:00 pm  #2

Re: 19 ugly truths about addiction that nobody wants to look at

That's an interesting site.  I'm also quite skeptical of the "addiction" model.  There are a lot of interesting studies involving animals and addiction that seem to show that animals voluntarily lose their habit/addiction given the right socialization and opportunities.  If that process works for humans as well, "addiction" is the product of our demented, fragmenting social practices, not availability of drugs or weak-will or anything like that.

There's also a lot of anecdotal evidence that supports this.  There are vast quantities of relatively well-adjusted people who at some point did a lot of drugs and never became an addict or anything like it, myself included.  There are also many addicts who got hooked after using some particular drug once or twice.  The difference often seems to be the state/upbringing of the person involved more than anything else.


3/08/2018 7:57 pm  #3

Re: 19 ugly truths about addiction that nobody wants to look at

I know plenty of smokers and alcoholics. They are addicted. 

If you think that addiction story is made up, there are plenty of animal studies out there. A monkey was hooked up to a shunt of heroin, I believe. The monkey could press two keys, one for a shot of heroin, and the other a lever that released food. The monkey stopped pressing the lever for food and customarily only pressed the heroin lever. The monkey I believe committed suicide. I read this story a long time ago. 

Your thesis is broke because animals can be addicted to drugs. 

Addiction is real. Physically, emotionally, psychologically. One or a combination of those factors contribute to addiction. Sometimes, it takes the Grace of God to break it. 

Last edited by Clinias (3/08/2018 7:58 pm)

"We are not in the world to give the laws...but in order to obey the commands of the gods".
~ Plutarch, priest of Apollo at the Doric Temple of Delphi.

3/08/2018 9:43 pm  #4

Re: 19 ugly truths about addiction that nobody wants to look at

Addictive behavior and mindsets obviously exist.  That's not the issue.  The issue is whether addiction is a disease or something like that.  Is it a proper state one can be in or is it the effect of a variety of social and psychological causes?  These seem to be different.

The monkey experiment you mention does absolutely nothing to further the claim that the disease model of addiction is accurate either.  In most of those experiments the animal is confined by itself and given access to a drug.  Those isolating situations are the exact causes that people who dislike addiction-talk claim cause the behavior in question.  It's an inherently unfair "experiment".


4/06/2018 12:42 am  #5

Re: 19 ugly truths about addiction that nobody wants to look at

This is an interesting line that they are taking: denying that addiction exists while simultaneously arguing for the standard liberal/libertarian position on drug legalization. That's a combo that I had not really seen before, since most drug legalization supporters appeal to addiction in order to argue that drug users should be treated "clinically" as opposed to "throwing them in jail".

Interestingly, Peter Hitchens has made himself quite infamous in the drug legalization debate by arguing for the same, or perhaps even a bit stronger, position on addiction; namely, that it is not only a myth, but is a hopelessly confused and contradictory notion. Of course, where he differs with the article cited in the OP is that far from supporting drug legalization, he thinks that drug taking has, at least in England, been de facto legalized since the late 1960's. Further, he thinks we need to actually engage in a war on drugs by enforcing the laws against the possession of illegal substances, as opposed to merely enforcing the laws that relate to the distribution and selling of these drugs; he believes that what we call the war on drugs is merely a show made by the Government to pretend like it is actually doing its job of enforcing the laws on the books.

More on his position can be found in the following links:


4/06/2018 3:08 am  #6

Re: 19 ugly truths about addiction that nobody wants to look at

When it comes to attitudes and habits, there's this basic mistake: Some still think that everybody should be the same.

We should be above this mistake. Attitudes and habits are multifarious. Lifestyles and cultures are many. And there are billions of people, each with their own set of attitudes, habits, cultures, etc.

You can say addiction is a habit, but this does not make it non-existent or a myth. As a habit, it can be easy or hard to drop, depending on the habit and depending on the person.

Some can easily overcome themselves, some need help from others. Either way, if overcoming oneself is a real thing that requires effort, then so is addiction.


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