Let’s get something straight.
The disease model sure isn’t what it used to be.
Today you are taught that we addicts are born addicts and then wake up one day and just start pounding booze non-stop and speedballing five times a day. Worse yet, today’s disease model has not been constructed to help addicts recover. Quite the contrary. Though well disguised as compassion and cutting edge miracle science, it is used to subsidize drug companies and promote the devious and immoral sale of so-called addiction drugs, because, well, everybody knows more drugs is such a sane, logical, reasonable, scientific and intelligent solution to a drug problem. The disease model is also used to take moral and personal responsibility out the equation. Why? Because God must be removed from any discussion, regardless of facts. God must be removed period. And any reference to God and personal or moral responsibility should be met with the words “stupid and/or hick” and delivered with the stench of moral and intellectual superiority.
In the ‘The Doctor’s Opinion’ at the beginning of Alcoholics Anonymous (which every addict and family member must read), Dr. William D. Silkworth, once the director of the Charles B. Towns hospital in NYC wrote to AA that the chronic alcoholic indeed seems to have developed an allergy to alcohol. What does this mean?
Physically, the body of an alcoholic responds differently than the body of a non-alcoholic. Upon drinking, the alcoholic (that is, the person who has over time BECOME an alcoholic) experiences the “phenomenon of craving” once he starts drinking. His body craves more and more. He seeminlgly cannot stop, nor does he want to. Once he starts, something happens, and it becomes nearly impossible for him to stop, “nearly” meaning, not impossible. The mind is the issue, and one that can certainly be repaired.
While the body of an addict (once again, the body of a person who has used so much that he has crossed the line) begins to crave abnormally, the mind of an alcoholic is the only problem which needs to be addressed, especially since it is the only problem that can be addressed. The body of an addict cannot be fixed, nor does it have to. The body an addict is irrelevant anyway, because so long as the alcoholic refrains from drinking, it doesn’t matter how his body reacts, so it’s quite useful for addicts to believe in the danger or using and drinking, even once. Powerlessness or loss of will is an entirely different issue and one that can quite easily be addressed and restored.
However, once the addict achieves physical sobriety, the only thing causing him to relapse is a what the Big Book calls a “strange mental blank spot” or phenomenon, whereby the mind essentially goes insane and fails to respond rationally and reasonably to thoughts about drinking or using, despite the horror that is our drinking/using careers and our lives.
Back to the disease model.
This is no disease like the child with juvenile leukemia. Quite the contrary. If you want to call it a disease, you must distinguish our illness as one we gave to ourselves voluntarily by indulging in drugs and alcohol past the point of no return. Sure we may like to get jammed much more than the next guy, but the idea that we wake up one day and we are suddenly addicts is willfully ignorant. And while we may have damaged out bodies, perhaps permanently, in the way they respond to drugs, we don’t start off this way.
As well, all mental, emotional and spiritual components to our “disease” such as willpower, are by no means permanent. If they were, nobody would recover. Why is it that I never think about drugs and alcohol anymore? Why am I repulsed by them and the mere thought of anything that pulls me away from God? Where has my disease gone? Sure I am still a vastly flawed human being who can certainly be an asshole sometimes, but my drug problem is gone. So long as my mind is clean and sane, I have power over any thoughts to drink or use. The mind and soul can be healed, and should that occur, it matters not what happens to the body or chemistry of an addict. Despite what you’ve been told, brain chemistry is not static. In fact, it changes all day long. And it can be easily changed through a myriad of different actions or practices, especially repeated actions. To claim that our bio-chemistry is static is just bad or fraudulent science. As well, to claim that chemistry can only be altered and therefore addressed with psychotropic medication is also false. Clinicians or social workers who tell you that are engaging in false science. Besides, what do social workers know about anything? Kidding, kidding…
Furthermore, have the new age slew of cocky disease pumpers actually stared into a petri dish and observed the alcoholic allele? Let’s even say you found yourself in a lab one day observing the DNA of an addict – please don’t tell me you have any clue what you’re looking at.
So the “disease model” in reality should be strictly confined to how the body responds to drugs. The body craves drugs once they trigger the release of excess dopamine in the reward system of the brain (which is actually quite normal even for those of us who haven’t mutated into basket case junkies). Craving, therefore, is a normal physical event, not mental. All the talk of psychological craving and mental triggers is a hoax. Pure nonsense. If an addict never picks up, there is no physical craving. It really is all mental. And if he puts the drug down and his body is fully detoxed after a few days, give or take, there is no physical craving either. Physical craving ends with physical withdrawal. It is the mind of an “addict” that is so disturbed, not the body. It is the person we are and it is the person we become.
Everything besides the physiological process of withdrawal occurs in the mind, which is not a disease at all. The mind is malleable and fluid. We can change our minds at any point in time. And we don’t need more drugs to do it. The mind of an addict can well be healed through right action alone. Engaging in prayer, meditation, inventory and service to others can repair the mind with haste. More importantly, our sincere desire to change and out earnest effort induces the will of God to remove our mental obsession and restore us to sanity. And it really doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or not. He is there regardless of what you believe. He is part of our fundamental make-up.
Therefore, when we use the disease model to justify a relapse after physical sobriety has been achieved, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to justify our insane behavior, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to justify lying, deceiving, manipulating and abusing others, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model as a reason why we cannot get better, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to fund pharmaceuticals that claim to reduce cravings and such, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to rob taxpayers to promote and fund substitution drugs like suboxone and methadone, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to excuse the addicts in our lives as innocent creatures that were suddenly taken over and victimized by the demonic entity of addiction, that is bullshit. We turned ourselves into drug addicts because, guess what, we love using drugs, and guess what, we have a very troubled conscience. By all accounts, we have a rather grave spiritual malady.
So the current, bullshit disease model exists (like many things) to subsidize big pharma and big government with tax dollars from the few people still left in the private sector, dressed up with the facade of some righteous, compassionate cause, and that my friends, is bullshit. It’s also not real compassion, because you are robbing the addict of truly changing. You are also relegating them as some permanently damaged creature, and believe me, they love it because they use it to excuse everything they do. How have so many fallen for this and why is there so much hostility and hatred towards anyone who even questions this nonsense? I guess it’s the trendy thing now to smear anyone who disagrees… even though I have actually recovered and therefore my very own experience sort of blows a gaping hole in the permanently powerless thing.