I don’t get it. Regardless of the biochemical elements of addiction and compulsion, why wouldn’t we stress the moral necessity of recovering? What better incentive is there for an addict to stop using or an alcoholic to stop drinking than the resounding knowledge of the deep and agonizing pain we are causing those who love us?
Why is it such an abomination to assert the moral reality of addiction? Regardless of the degree to which an addict has lost control, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s wrong to use, that we gave up the right to drink and use the moment we lost control and began hurting those who care about us.
There were only three things that drove me to get better, and one of them was when the Big Book taught me of my selfishness and the gut-wrenching heartache I was causing my family. The other two things were becoming sick and disgusted of the coward I was, and then becoming passionate about growing spiritually.
Let’s not forget that this “disease” is not synonymous with other diseases beyond our control, such as juvenile luekemia. You really think addiction is the same as some terminal disease beyond a child’s control? This disease, or illness rather, is one that we indeed choose to give to ourselves and one that we can choose to put in remission for the rest of our lives. Sure there is a compulsion, but that doesn’t mean we cannot choose to drag ourselves into detox and subsequently restore the power of choice through hard work. Are we not personally responsible to recover when it is absolutely possible to do so, and do so for life?
Addicts today are being infected with this notion that their ‘disease’ is beyond their control, but that is a dangerous and degenerate pile of bullshit. Addiction is not some evil force that flies through the air and takes over us. Sorry, nope. Addiction is the result of consistent and repeated acts of selfishness. Addicts and alcoholic are 100% responsible for mutating themselves into addicts by drinking or using excessively over and over and over again until they finally break their bodies. Addiction is then maintained as we break our minds and go insane.
So the act of becoming an addict is also a moral failure. Everybody knows that drinking excessively and using drugs is wrong. Believe me, we have plenty of time to stop before we lose control, and guess what? Knowledge of the pain we are causing others would go a long way to prevent us from becoming addicts before it’s too late. It would be a total disservice not to incorporate the moral aspect into prevention. Sick actually.
We should know that what we’re doing is wrong. It is a moral failure to become an addict or an alcoholic, to maintain our addiction, and to fail to recover. Once we understand that we have lost control and once we have been taught of the hearts we are ripping out, there is no excuse. So to instill that knowledge seems to me to be of the utmost value. If I had truly understood the pain I was causing my mother, father, sister and wife, I may have not waited until I was 28 and on the verge of death to get better. Sure there are no guarantees, but that moral knowledge and awareness is one of the brightly shining lights that has pushed me and driven my recovery from day 1.
What happened to human responsibility? Why have we lost sight of this? I suppose it is the cycle we are in, but like all cycles, it will eventually revert. They always do.
Caring about what I do and the consequences of my actions is the single greatest gift I’ve been given for my sobriety. And to maintain this knowledge, I do what it takes to stay close to God, to put my relationship with Him first. The moment this relationship moves out of first position is the moment I begin to get sick again, and believe me, this is true of all addicts and alcoholics. We must replace our addiction with something as powerful as the addiction itself, and we must nourish our shriveled up conscience back into a guiding light within. Without a conscience, no addict or alcoholic will make it.
So how about we get with the program and stop infecting addicts with this notion that it’s okay to continue using and crushing the soul of our parents? Does every addict need a trophy too now? Trust me, we want to encourage independence and maturity, not facilitate continued thumb-sucking.
Also see, Addiction Is a Moral Failure, Obviously.