So I have participated or currently participate in two programs that look at addiction very differently. One thinks it’s a disease that has no cure and can simply be arrested, and the other say it’s a choice that can be corrected with behavioral therapy.
The first is Narcotics Anonymous, which is a program I currently attend, and enjoy very much. I haven’t tackled the whole book yet but so far I understand that they perceive addiction as a disease and through abstinence and support from your group members you can stay clean.
I believe in this method and I very much see my current group as a strong support network inside the prison, and I look forward to finding my home group when I am released and building a relationship with those members as well and staying involved.
RDAP, which was the residential drug program I participated in 2018-2019, looked at addiction as a behavioral problem, that comes down to making choices based off of irrational or rational beliefs. The goal here is to use the community as a method, which is similar to NA (Narcotics Anonymous), because you have to rely on the people in your network to provide a pro social environment where you look out for one another and pick each other up when someone is struggling.
However, they do not think of addiction as a disease, and if you identify your irrational beliefs as they arise, challenge them, and chose not to act on them, you will make better life decisions that will help your recovery instead of hindering it.
I enjoy(ed) both programs and I also use both of them in my recovery.
I do believe that addiction is a disease. The reason I believe addiction is a disease, is because science has proven that it is hereditary and therefore can be past down through generations. I have recently learned this in the addicted brain class I am currently enrolled in here at Yankton.
This class has shown a series of videos and in one of these videos they talked about a study where they inbred a bunch of mice from a particular mouse that became easily addicted to alcohol and they had a separate control group as well and they offered these two groups the alcohol, and the group from the inbred mouse became addicted at a higher rate then the mice from the control group. So, if addiction can be hereditary the same as cancer or diabetes, why would it not be considered a disease all the same.
However, I also personally relate to the behavioral side where I became addicted to drugs and alcohol because of the choices I made both to use the drug and the environment I created in my life off a different set of choices.
I believe addiction doesn’t run strongly in my family tree, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t one’s here and there that have had or are having their struggles.
I thinks it’s different for everyone, some people just have that pull or “feigning” feeling towards drugs more then the next person, and that is addiction.
Sometimes the urge is just uncontrollable, it’s like when you eat something sweet and you just need to have more sugar. I compare sugar to my past addictions all the time, especially whenever I go on a bender and eat 4-5 thousand calories of crap food and feel sick to my stomach afterwards, and guess what that’s because sugar is also my drug.
Even if you haven’t had struggles with crack or meth, you probably can take a closer look at your life and think of 5-10 other things you have became addicted to all the same.
How about cell phones or social media? Dating apps, or TV shows and personalities? Caffeine is another drug I would have problems kicking right now in my life, and I would probably experience headaches or small migraines if I even cut it out of my life for one day.
My choices are simplified in here and my problems are minimized because the temptations come around a lot less often, but I know one thing the two drugs that are content in my life are sugar and caffeine, and I now don’t fight those urges off very well, so maybe staying away from drugs and bad influences will be a little harder then I anticipate when I am released.
But I know one thing for sure and that is in order for me to stay clear of addiction is that I need to stay ahead of the game. And that means staying involved with my recovery, keeping a strong support group (both inside and out of prison), and I need to continue to ask for help when I am struggling.
Whether you are a sick person who was predisposed to addiction or simply a poor judge of character with a history of making bad choices, there is something you can do about it and there are people who can help you, so act!
Thanks for listening!