The incessant mantra that drug and alcohol abuse is a disease and not a character flaw continues to be spewed out by state and private agencies. The nudge, as a friend calls him, keeps coming on TV, hawking The Addiction Network, insisting that “drug addiction is a disease.”
Critics of the disease theory, as reported on Wikipedia, say the disease theory, which is applied to drug and alcohol abuse “exists only to benefit the professionals’ and governmental agencies responsible for providing recovery services, and the disease model has not offered a solution for those attempting to stop abusive alcohol and drug use.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disease_theory_of_alcoholism
The folks who promote substance abuse as a disease even have a name for it: “Substance Abuse Disorder.” Hummmm… This is SAD. Someone must have made this name up at a party.
I agree that substance abuse is sad. Lives are ruined, people die, people steal, people loose jobs, relationships are ruined. No argument from me about this.
But my argument is where drug and alcohol problems come from. Presupposing these problems are a result of a disease, I ask “is the disease airborne? Is it in the water?”… Oh, proponents of this theory argue that genetics and the environment are the culprits, like cancer or shingles.
To say substance abuse is a disease absolves the abuser from responsibility. As is the case with other bad behavior, making excuses for people doesn’t resolve the problem.
The disease theory also reduces humans to machines. We are not! We have a will.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you. –Psalm 32:9
The notion that substance abuse is a disease lends itself to treatment by behaviorists such as B.F. Skinner, who control behavior by creating conditioned responses – known as operant conditioning – by the patient. This is akin to Pavlov’s Dogs. In an experiment, Ivan Pavlov repeatedly rang a bell when he gave dogs a steak. After doing this for some time, Pavlov would just ring the bell, sans the steak, and the dogs salivated. This is the technique the disciples of Skinner use to govern human behavior.
Note on the 1904 advertisement for treatment how patients’ rights are not respected. “This remedy can be given with or without the permission of the patient.” Success is guaranteed, or you get $500 back. Sure sounds like a snake oil salesman!
The inordinate number of recovery houses in lower Bucks County, PA are there just to benefit professional and government agencies. Consequently, druggies and drunks are set lose on the streets, like Frankenstein after they leave the flop house and terrorize the community. Since the recovery houses were dumped on lower Bucks County, crime has skyrocketed.
Yet, the authorities will not provide timely, adequate housing for other people, who because of job loss or non community threatening circumstances, have become homeless. The clean homeless people are not a threat to the community, the substance abusers are. It’s all about money.
Unlike the efforts of the state and private snake oil salesmen, the 12 Step Program, which came out of Alcoholics Anonymous and started out as six steps, has been successful in treating substance abuse. There have been various adaptations of the program, but the basic program has the right stuff to help people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous
“Addiction” is not a disease but a result of our sinful nature. Recovery starts in the 12 Step Program:
- We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18
This is a good start.