Can addiction be overcome?
Can you overcome addiction?
It’s good to be active on this important site again; and to be asked to give an opinion on a question like the one above. I really enjoy the questions I get from readers and try to answer questions related to addiction in a clear straight forward manner. So, can addiction really be overcome?
To overcome addiction, remain abstinent
The American Medical Association recognizes addiction to alcohol (alcoholism) as a disease, and in my opinion, rightly so. With some diseases, a doctor can operate and remove the diseased portion of the body. The operation is one time and lasts forever. With certain forms of cancer, the disease goes into remission. The why’s are not clearly understood.
From what I have experienced and witnessed, the same is true for addiction. Alcoholism can go into remission through total abstinence. The true alcoholic (as opposed to a heavy drinker) will find that the psychological cravings for alcohol reactivate with the use of alcohol. The same is true for someone who relapses on their drug of choise. Quite often after resuming, the alcoholic or drug addict finds they get to in as bad a shape as when they quit very quickly. And if you know alcoholism or drug addiction, you’ll know that the conditions are progressive. There are many published studies that bear these things out.
Is addiction physical or mental or both?
Why do people have addictive behaviors? Experts say it’s a combination of nature and nurture. To me, it is not important.
Addition is a disease I have, along with millions of others. Addiction, low self-esteem and psychological issues can drive use. But does it really matter whether addiction is genetically driven or an environmental adaptation?
I remember the “cravings” I had long ago. I also remember the mental state I was in. The short term escape from mental pain I got through the use, and later abuse, of alcohol (and other soft drugs) became unbearable. And while the compulsion, cravings, and loss of control may be influenced by both genetics and environment, what was most important to me was to live a healthy, productive life again. And to stop the cycle of pain – use – shame.
So can addiction/alcoholism be overcome?
Yes, but only with a high level of personal committment and honesty, professional help and with a life of abstinence from mood altering substance. Sounds easy, eh!
Think you might have a problem? Wondering what to do when you drink too much or can’t stop thinking about a certain drug? Give up your substance of choice for a month if you can, and see if you get your own answer.
I’d love to hear your point of view.
Photo credit: USAP, The United States Antartic Program