In today’s world, where more and more information is readily available, there appears to be an increasing amount of confusion surrounding the topic of an “Addiction Cure.” Is there a treatment for addiction? Some would argue quite persuasively that there is.
“Even quitting use completely for many years does not mean that someone is cured,” I’ll say.
You’ll most likely read or hear information on this subject from a variety of perspectives. It’s difficult to understand how an addict who has been clean for years and years can’t be cured.
I recently received a letter from a reader in which he expresses his opinion. I include a portion of it, as well as my response to him. I believe you will be able to hear and learn to discern some of the more subtle differences and truths about this perplexing disease known as addiction.
The following letter was signed by “an ex-addict from the Netherlands”:
“I recently finished your book and wanted to thank you for your bravery.” Your insight is a source of inspiration for me. I admire people who are brave enough to be vulnerable and document their journey.
I, too, was addicted at one point. In 2008, I overcame my addiction. Now, I help others break free from the drug-induced confidence boost. Ironically, I live in the Netherlands, where drug culture differs from that of the United States. I relocated here from the wonderful state of Colorado (yes, the “coffee” shops had plenty to do with it). Without a doubt, my addiction took off during my four years at college. Cheap beer, cheap marijuana, cheap coke… and plenty of eager “students.” A combination that is destructive.
Jay, there’s another reason I’m inspired to write today. To be honest, I disagree with a central tenet of your philosophy (as well as that of AA and pretty much every other 12-step program).
You claim (and AA preaches) that an addict can never be cured. In your opinion, an addict is always “recovering.” To be honest, I not only disagree with this idea, but I believe it makes it more difficult for addicts to attempt to quit.
Please allow me to explain. Based on my own personal experience, I believe that when a drug addict no longer wants to take a drug, truly has no desire to take the drug, he or she is free. Cured.
Recovered. Not a “recovering addict,” but an “ex-addict.” It is FINISHED. Why burden ourselves with the bleak prospect of always being on the lookout for triggers, temptation, and impending relapse?
We’re done when we realise that drugs never gave us anything and that drugs have nothing to offer us in the future.
I coach my clients to savour that moment, to rejoice in their newfound freedom, and to immediately move on to the joy of life ahead of them. Immediately! Don’t wait another 150 days. Don’t put off getting your next chip. You are now liberated. You understand. It’s all over. From now on, have fun.
If support groups can help, that’s fantastic. If a “sponsor” can help, that’s fantastic. If counseling is recommended, go ahead and do it. We must certainly nourish our physical and spiritual selves for the rest of our lives. However, the prospect of constantly adding up the days, months, and years until we are free appears so daunting to users that they will not even attempt to quit for fear of a lifetime of “battle.”
And please don’t get me wrong. My father’s life was saved by the AA. My brother’s life was saved by the AA. I am grateful for AA’s significant contribution to our culture’s health and well-being. However, the concept of “recovery” requires an update, a dose of evolution, or a face-lift. When you stop using, you are no longer an addict. You’re a recovering alcoholic.
“Drugs?,” He brilliantly asks. “I’m done with it.”
Thank you once more, and God bless you.
a former drug addict from the Mumbai
Thank you for your encouraging message in your email. We have spent many years attempting to gather reliable information on this perplexing issue known as addiction. Our primary focus is on alcohol and other drug addiction.
I’ll confine my addiction terminology to tangible substances such as alcohol, coke, meth, weed, heroin, and so on. When it comes to using the word addiction to refer to gambling, porn, and other activities, I’ll let someone else handle it.
What I’m picking up on in the second half of your email is the quandary of distinguishing the terms “recovered” and “recovering” in relation to addiction. As a result, we find ourselves using labels that most people dislike, such as addicts and alcoholics. Who wants to be identified as either of these for the rest of their lives?
The term “cured” is on the other side of the debate. Almost everyone who studies and works in this field believes there is no cure for drug addiction—who is correct?
I believe one approach would be to review a definition of alcohol/drug addiction. Although there are numerous signs and symptoms, one that all alcoholics and drug addicts share is a loss of control. A person will eventually lose the ability to control their use. Whether they are daily or binge users, the common thread is that once they start, they have no control over how much or when they stop.
So, if we can reach an agreement on that point, we can move on to a discussion of cure. To me, a cure is the absence or reversal of a problem or disease. In the case of substance addiction, I have never seen an addict regain control of their use-to become a social-occasional user in the past thirty-three years.
As a result, I believe that if I tell someone they are cured, they will believe they no longer have a problem. That opens the door to another attempt at social use, which ALWAYS fails miserably.
I explain it to people by comparing it to cancer. Cancer has no cure, but it often goes into remission after treatment. It does not imply that they have been cured or that a cure has occurred. It is still present, but it is in remission.
I haven’t used anything since 1977, but I’m still not cured. My disease has gone into remission. If I chose to drink occasionally or socially, I would bring my disease out of remission and it would soon cause a slew of problems.
But I agree with you that once a person “gets it,” they can move on with their lives. They can and should move on with their lives once they have come to believe in and understand their disease on a deep level. I never tell people that they “have to go to a lot of meetings for the rest of their lives.” Each person must decide for himself or herself how much involvement they require to stay sober and how frequently they should attend support groups.
The best support for laying that foundation is AA and the 12 steps. This is what has proven to be the most effective for the majority of people. And, in the long run, I believe it is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to this horrifying and devastating disease.
Grace and peace to you,
Jay Parekh, a man who over thirty years ago battled his own demons of addiction, says, “I’m aware that people can change. Anyone can do it if I can!” Jay’s personal struggles and practical advice provide hope and solutions to those living in the midst of someone else’s alcohol and drug abuse.
Jay battled his own drug and alcohol addiction from the age of 13 to 29, eventually receiving treatment. He has now been substance-free for over 35 years.
His passion is to assist men and women who are struggling with addiction, as well as to provide answers and solutions to family and friends who are looking for ways to assist their loved ones in starting the road to recovery.
Jay offers words of encouragement, writing, “Addiction is not a hopeless situation.” “Addicts and alcoholics are not insane, and they can recover.”
Trucare Trust is one of the top Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre in Mumbai and a Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Mumbai that offers a full range of safe and comprehensive addiction services. Our team at Trucare Trust, located in the suburbs of Maharashtra, India, provides a variety of treatments for our clients, providing them with a peaceful, secure, and serene environment in which to grow.
We recreate the modes of secured therapies and help people in need by discovering the folds of sobriety bonded with various combinations of proven and secured treatment processes.
Believing in the faith and process of recovery, we believe there’s a better day in the future for our clients. Helping and guiding them at every step with best suited and functioning treatment processes, we have faith and trust in our empathetic, resilient and compassionate staff members, making our team one big positive and radiating family, hoping and praying only for the best.