addiction a disease?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by big_tits4big_dicks, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. big_tits4big_dicks

    big_tits4big_dicks New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    466
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    L.A, city of madness,
    We have heard that drug or alcohol addiction is a disease for years now by a lot of 12 steppers. Do YOU think so? And if so can you explain how?
     
  2. nudeyorker

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Messages:
    42,918
    Likes Received:
    37
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    NYC/Honolulu
    No I don't and no I really can't. I think addictions are quite simply addictions.
     
  3. Belly_Dancer

    Belly_Dancer Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    846
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Canada
    I really don't know about the whole disease thing, myself.

    My ex was an alcoholic...he went into rehab in 1990, a year after we started dating, and stayed sober for over fifteen years. Then, about a year before we divorced, he began drinking again. To my knowledge, he is still drinking.

    He seems absolutely incapable of drinking in moderation (is either completely sober or drunk every day), but I don't know if that should be classified as a disease.

    I will probably get a lot of negative responses to this, but I think alcoholism is just one more coping mechanism that people use...I think most of us have some kind of thing we turn to to make us feel better when life seems overwhelming...it's only that some people's fixes are more visible and harmful than others. If this is a disease, then we are all diseased.
     
    #3 Belly_Dancer, Aug 10, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  4. HiddenLacey

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    5,470
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    249
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    somewhere
    I do not consider it a disease. However, once your body is hooked on alcohol or drugs trying to stop can be very hard. Withdrawal seizures, delirum, night sweats... it's horrible. People who try to quit on their own face a tough battle and in some cases they could die. Addiction is serious business. Not to mention the effects that it has on your body years after your clean. The desire to go back is always there for most addicts. It's an uphill battle.
     
  5. simbasa12

    simbasa12 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think it is a disease. Just as some people are genetically more prone to heart disease and cancer and diabetes. Some people are more inclined to it. I am one of them. Sometime in the future scientists will isolate the exact cause of addiction and then there will be a cure.

    'Normal' people look at addicts with pity and often, fear and loathing. They feel that they are throwing away their lives. The addict looks at it like it's one of life's great feelings and who would want to be normal? It's all good of course until the shit hits the fan. But the reallly hardcore people don't want to be sober. There are many types of addicts, though. Some can work and live a fairly 'normal' life, while others just fall by the wayside.

    Natural Selection? Could be. Some people were born to self-destruct. In the end, what does it really matter? We all die sooner or later. Enjoy life anyway you can.....as long as you don't fuck anyone else up. Aaaaahhhhhhh ......the meaning of life has so many definitions for everyone.
     
  6. Bbucko

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    7,413
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    58
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sunny SoFla
    I find both the words "addiction" and "disease" overused to express the problems people have in their lives.

    I come from a long line of drunks and addicts: both grandfathers, both parents, sister. My sister's been in recovery since 1990 (it was 20 years in July) and hasn't picked up once since; my dad's been in and out of rehab too many times to count over the last 35 years and still drinks every day; my mother still denies that she has a problem, though the lie is so transparent it's absurd.

    Of my two grandfathers, one stopped drinking completely once he retired and my memories of our interactions are generally pleasant, though I knew that he was frequently impossible, especially with his daughter (my mom) and both a cousin and my sister claim that he touched them inappropriately when they were very young. The other was a miserable bitter old bitch and stinking drunk until the day he died. Both grandmothers were teatotalers all their lives.

    I have gone through times when I drank more than others, including four or so years of full abstinence; because I work in a bar, I'd label myself currently a heavy social drinker. I don't "need" to drink, I like to drink, it makes me more social and propels my business along. I stopped doing all illicit drugs at the age of 23, but until then was a heavy user of most everything except heroin and cocaine.

    My sister uses the "disease" verbiage and it's helped her keep her sobriety intact; my father uses it as a crutch to relapse again and again: he claims to be unable to control it. I find his use of this crutch as yet another sign of a much greater failure in his character to take responsibility for anything.

    As someone who enjoys precarious health, I'm not overly protective of the word "disease" but understand the difference between, say, having pneumonia (a disease) and a bad Meth habit (an addiction). For one thing, a disease is usually temporary (thank gawd): a condition is chronic (permanent). Addictions are always chronic and I'd be more likely to label them as conditions, personally.

    Addictions are a combination of a physical need and the fulfillment of a deep psychological void that nothing else will fill. I am addicted to nicotine, so I understand the dual nature of the addiction dilemma. It is the psychological side that keeps me smoking and I know it.

    I loathe using the word "addiction" when the correct term is "compulsion", as in "addictions" to food, porn, sex, the internet, etc etc. "Compulsion" does not necessarily connote anything voluntary, but these are not addictions, they are compulsive behaviors that are usually the sign of some underlying mental condition.
     
    #6 Bbucko, Aug 10, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  7. HiddenLacey

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    5,470
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    249
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    somewhere
    Bbucko, your posts are always great and so personal! You're one of the members that make this site informative and interesting :hug:
     
  8. Belly_Dancer

    Belly_Dancer Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    846
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Canada
    Seconded.
     
  9. Bbucko

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    7,413
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    58
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sunny SoFla
    :redface:
    Thanks.

    ETA: Words have meanings and I hate sloppy vocabulary use. I love words and know how to use them effectively. To a large degree, this thread is about meanings and definitions, which is why I responded the way I did. I'd sound arrogant if I didn't back up my assertions with actual experiences.
     
    #9 Bbucko, Aug 10, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  10. JustAsking

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,249
    Likes Received:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    No arrogance. You covered a diverse range of how family members cope with alcoholism and highlighted the problem of relying on an oversimplified analogy.

    Personally, my answer is like yours, which is "all of the above". And I might add "many at the same time." In other words, an alcoholic can be truly afflicted with physical addiction to a degree where his strength of will is not sufficient to overcome it. But at the same time, the same alcoholic can rely on the addiction as an excuse for lots of other shortcomings, and so on.

    I do believe that someone can be profoundly addicted to something mentally or physically so that the term "chronic disease" could be appropriate.
     
  11. B_subgirrl

    B_subgirrl New Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2010
    Messages:
    9,873
    Likes Received:
    11
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Thirded (not that there's any such word :tongue:).
     
  12. Bbucko

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    7,413
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    58
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sunny SoFla
    If I had just spouted off without giving specific examples, someone unfamiliar with my bio might find me somewhere between smug and arrogantly presumptuous. I always presume that whoever is reading one of my posts isn't aware of the degree of my experience in whatever area I choose to engage a discussion, hence my use of the word "arrogant" :wink:

    In my father's case, his use of the disease verbiage as a crutch to disclaim any real responsibility for his actions is really just part of a much broader spectrum of his avoidant behavior generally. I truly believe that most addicts are profoundly sensitive people and that the drinking/drug use is a way to shut down that part of his/her perceptions. This does not excuse their behavior but at least partially explains it.

    There's an old saying that reality is for people who can't accept drugs (heard that when I was a teenager, but being a teen in the 70s was everything you could expect and much, much more). Aside from the obvious irony, there's an underlying truth in the clich├ęd converse that involves why some people simply can't cope with the world as it is: another saying from high school was "life sucks, then you die".

    You either learn to cope or don't, and frankly I don't not understand why some people rely on drugs or booze to cope with their challenges. But chronic use is an escape mechanism, and I personally feel that a better way to cope is to work on one's expectations rather than being disillusioned by what's thrown your way. Being cynical is a prerogative allowed by experience, bitterness is just being a shitty bitch: it's a choice everyone has.

    Of the hundreds of drunks and addicts who've crossed my path over the years (I seem to attract them), the one thread of commonality is that, at least while using and "active" in their addiction, they are each and every one a liar. Of all the character flaws one finds during one's life drama, the one thing in my life that I abhor is lying. Less than a month ago I ended a short fling with a perfect 10 for me physically (and sexually) when I discovered that he couldn't be truthful regarding his addiction. At one point, I even sent him a text with read "Don't care if you're and arsonist, as long as you tell me up front". That was obviously an exaggeration, but the fact remains that I'd have accepted him with all the damage if he'd only found a way to remain anchored in truth when communicating with me; that, obviously, was too much to ask <no proper emoticon exists>

    I personally know of three addicts who have remained sober once their "bottom" had been reached: my sister, her partner and a co-worker. My sister and her partner have substituted an uncharacteristic (at least for my sister) and over-the-top piety, which I guess is better than drinking and doing drugs. My co-worker is anchored to truth to a degree that I find extraordinary in an addict, and will undoubtedly ensure his continued sobriety.

    It does now, doll :cool:
     
  13. D_Rosalind Mussell

    D_Rosalind Mussell New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,376
    Likes Received:
    6
    I don't believe it starts out as an addiction, but perhaps it turns into one as the brain chemistry changes from exposure. I agree with Bbucko that the terms "addiction" and "disease" are thrown around a bit haphazardly, making it seem like everyone is sick and in need of diagnosis and treatment. However, I do think there is a certain validity to classifying drug and alcohol addiction as a disease because of what it does to the body over time if not controlled.

    I used to work in a detox on weekends and it was complete mayhem. One of the things I learned from my experiences (and the counselors) is that most addicts have some type of mental illness coinciding with that addiction. In these cases where they are self-medicating I am not so sure if it really is addiction, but perhaps an urge that is starts out as a by-product of sorts from their original illness which turns into addiction when it goes unchecked.

    Just a thought.
     
  14. big_tits4big_dicks

    big_tits4big_dicks New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    466
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    L.A, city of madness,
    I really thank you guys for responding. I like many of you have had addiction touch my life. It is interesting how people view addicts, both from people that have no idea what it is like and others that know to well how that shoe fits.
     
  15. simbasa12

    simbasa12 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    1
    Mental condition, I agree. But how much of that is affected by the physical condition? A brain tumor? For me it all comes back to the physical. I recall taking Wellbutrin years ago and it completely suppressed my cravings for alcohol and chewing tobacco. For me, any drug that can do that, it's a sign of a purely physical ailment. At least in my case. Some chemical imbalance or something missing that 'normal' people have ...and people with compulsive behaviour don't have.

    I would say there are varying degrees of compulsive behaviour inherent in each of us, or most of us. And there is probably something else physically wrong with their brain that takes the addict over that edge before the abuse of a drug starts.
     
    #15 simbasa12, Aug 11, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  16. JustAsking

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,249
    Likes Received:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    This is always true. If one is going to have any kind of relationship with an addict, one has to know this up front and be completely reconciled to it. I have one dear friend who seems to have the genes and the emotional makeup to become addicted to everything that crosses her path.

    She is a marvelous, attractive person who is an excellent saleswoman because she has tremendous abilities for understanding and persuading other people. When she is sober and straight she would give you the shirt off her back. But when she is using, she would sell you and your shirt down the river in no time. And she will do it using all her skills that makes her successful. It makes her especially dangerous.

    I have reconciled to this, but then again, she and I are not in an intimate relationship like you and your friend. So its easy for me to talk about reconciling the lying part. It would be harder to live face to face with someone like that. I don't think I would survive it.
     
  17. B_subgirrl

    B_subgirrl New Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2010
    Messages:
    9,873
    Likes Received:
    11
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    NSW, Australia

    I don't actually agree that ALL drunks and addicts are liars, although it certainly seems to be true for most.

    My mum is an alcoholic by many people's standards, as she NEEDS to have a few drinks every night. But she most certainly does not lie. She is also very functional. She has never treated her family badly, or missed a day of work because of alcohol. And she doesn't lie. I realise that she is probably the exception rather than the rule, but I think it is important to acknowledge that there are always exceptions to the rule.
     
  18. unabear09

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    7,083
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    24
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    I think addiction is a disease for some, but for many, its a scapegoat.

    2 things:

    #1 I get really pissed off at people who think its a horrible thing for someone to get hooked on pain killers when they have chronic pain. I used to feel differently until I injured my back, and now have to take pain meds to be able to function. I take neurological pain meds, narcotic muscle relaxors, and opoid pain relievers on a frequent basis (neuro drugs HAVE to be taken every day or I end up in the ER b/c of the severe pain, the muscle relaxors I take once a day, and the opiod meds I take as needed, which can be every day, or once a month to never), and they keep me working and help me from hurting so bad that I can't do anything.

    #2 I've gone thru the whole 12 step program before. It has many positive life changing things in it that I use every day, but something that just pisses me off about it is there is not accountability. You're an alcoholic, but because alcoholism is a disease, you shouldn't be responsible for your actions. Another thing that bothers me is 'turning your will over to your higher power.' Again, you are not taking any accountability for your actions. Your actions are because your higher power told you to do something.
     
  19. JustAsking

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,249
    Likes Received:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ohio
    Yes, I'm sorry. Let me qualify that. There are plenty of functioning alcoholics who would not fit the description I posted before. I am referring to those who have a severe addiction problem to the point where they are self-destructive and destructive of others.

    When my friend was an alcoholic, all she was was secretive and protective about her problem. But when she became addicted to crack, she turned into someone who needed to use so badly that she would sell out her own grandmother when she was in that mode.

    I also need to say that is not her normal character. It is the character distortion of extreme desperation and chemical pathology. My point is that when you have any kind of relationship with someone like this, you have to be reconciled that when they are captive to this desperation, they will sell you out in a moments notice to achieve their goal (and perhaps destroy themselves in the process).

    My friend had to move back into her parent's home for a while (at age 35), and she was doing fine for a while until she sold her parent's car for a few hundred bucks for crack. On the other hand, I don't know anyone who loves her family more and who appreciates what they have sacrificed for her and so on.

    So in regard to the OP, when addiction gets this bad, you might as well classify a person's mental state as having the symptoms of a disease as well. It is as if an otherwise well balanced well meaning person suddenly develops extreme paranoia or some other psychosis that changes their character completely.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted