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Step 2

The Solution to Addiction

The first step in handling addiction is correctly understanding the nature of the problem.

Some highly placed people in the government or in the addiction recovery field will tell you that addiction is a disease. The problem with that classification is that addiction treatment programs based on this definition typically state their results in a range between 5% and 20%. Most of them now agree that “relapse is part of the disease.” Fortunately, not every addiction treatment facility takes this viewpoint.

Here is a better definition for addiction:

Addiction is a condition characterized by repeated, compulsive seeking and use of drugs, alcohol or other similar substances despite adverse social, mental and physical consequences. It is usually accompanied by psychological and physical dependence on the abused substance and the appearance of withdrawal symptoms when the additive substance is rapidly decreased or terminated. When addiction is classified with diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, the logical form of addiction treatment is medication to control the illness.
The problem with these medications is that they are, themselves, addictive. Add to that the fact that when an addict goes through addiction treatment that uses drugs to treat the addiction to drugs, the addiction does not learn to build a self-reliant, drug-free life. These addiction treatment medications also add more toxins to a body that has already been overloaded with poisons, instead of reducing the toxic load.

Addiction treatment should start with withdrawing the addict from their preferred drug thoroughly and humanely. Excruciating pains and nausea can be alleviated with sufficient nutrition and calming physical techniques. It is common for addicts to refuse to face addiction treatment because of the agony of withdrawal. They should know that it is possible to overcome this barrier without major discomfort. 

Many forms of addiction treatment endeavor to create a positive moral change in an addict. This approach is used in Twelve Step program, therapeutic communities, group counseling and many other types of approaches. This approach can be effective for some people who were not addicted for long periods of time and who were fully mature when they became addicted. When a person is addicted for a great length of time or they became addicted in their teens, it is possible that they have lost or never developed the moral sense to be able to benefit from a Twelve Step or similar program. In this case, improvement of a moral sensibility requires a thorough education in the basics of making good choices in friends, in jobs, in one’s personal life.

When you consider the time required to rebuild a body’s resources after the stress and deprivation of drug addiction, and the time needed to re-educate oneself on the basics of morals, a thirty to sixty day addiction treatment program is not enough time for most addicts to build a new drug-free life. An open-ended program where a person progresses at their own pace is better for most addicts, especially those who have been through one or more drug addiction treatment centers before.

Now that you understand addiction a little better, how can you select a treatment program for your loved one?