Tag: Relapse

They Say Addiction Is A Disease But They Don’t Act That Way

They Say Addiction Is Disease But They Don't Treat It That Way

They say addiction is a disease, but they don’t act that way.  If people believed addiction was a disease things would be different in our Country.   Yes, the doctors and the government officials all call addiction a disease but they don’t treat it like it is a disease.  If they did when someone overdosed they wouldn’t be let back onto the streets in four hours.  The hospital would know that they need to keep the patient until a long-term bed could be found.  Acknowledging that someone with the disease of addiction who just overdosed is much more likely to die than any other patient they will see besides the trauma patients.  They don’t do any of these things though.  Because they don’t treat addiction as a disease.

If law enforcement viewed addiction as a disease then surely people wouldn’t get arrested for addiction related issues. People wouldn’t be spending their lives in jail over drugs.  The police would get people into treatment instead of placing them in prison. Every police officer would carry Narcan.  The officers time would be spent providing hope and support instead of handcuffs that do nothing besides adding more stigma and guilt.

Everyone says Addiction is not a disease, its a choice.  You have heard this argument, and even if you have never said it out loud, you have thought it.  At least I have, and I am an addict


Did you know that people with diabetes can relapse?  They sure can.  They stop following doctors orders by not checking their sugar and not eating properly.  People with diabetes relapse all the time but doctors don’t shame them.  They go out of their way to get that patient back on track.  Why? Managing disease is hard.  That includes heart disease.  How many of you fail to take your blood pressure meds correctly?  Are you following the diet that your doctor set out for you?

Let me guess you don’t think that heart disease and diabetes is anything like an addiction because addiction is a choice, right?  Well isn’t most diabetes brought on by diet and lack of physical activity? Type 2 diabetes is caused by the choices that the patient made and continues to make.  What about heart disease?  Isn’t that often brought on by the same things?

Addiction is caused by using that first drug.  Most of us made that same choice at one time or another.  How many people can honestly say they have never had a drink, smoked a joint or taken a pain pill?  If you didn’t get addicted then awesome for you.  You are lucky.  That means you don’t have the disease of addiction.  See I know many addicts that can eat as many donuts as they want and their sugar won’t spike at all.  That is awesome for them…that means they don’t have diabetes.

Cookies and fast food are causing Diabetes all over the world.  The last time I checked cookies don’t force you to eat them, so the person with diabetes is making a choice, that led to their disease. I don’t know about you but not once when I was buying ice cream, and white bread did I worry that a police officer was going to pull me over and catch it on me.  Why is that?  If the argument is that addiction is a choice, then let’s declassify diabetes and heart “disease.”

So why do they call addiction a disease when they don’t believe that it is?  Is it a new concept?  No, it’s been classified as a disease since the 80’s.  Maybe that is still too new; I don’t know.  Maybe they are trying to train us into believing that it is a disease. I know what some of you are thinking.  You think that calling addiction a disease is something that addicts want and you refuse to buy into that bull, right?  I get it.  I used opiates for twenty years, and I would laugh when people would tell me addiction was a disease until I listened to Dr. Ruth Potee giving her talk called Addiction is a Brain Disease.  Dr. Potee breaks it down, and I found not only understanding of myself but peace knowing that I wasn’t just a bad person.

Please take the time to watch Dr. Ruth Potee explain exactly why addiction is a disease and ask why we aren’t treating it accordingly.

I never wanted to be an addict.  When I had my first drink or drug, I planned on having fun like everyone else and not looking back.  Something happen though, I felt for the first time happy and what I imagined normal was.  Even though I wasn’t addicted that first time, I knew by the end of it that I wanted to feel it again.  So I did, over and over until I had not only a mental addiction but a physical one.

So like Richard Jones said in the rant that inspired this post…Stop calling it a disease if you aren’t going to treat it like one.  It’s almost as insulting as when you use words like junkie.  It’s time to demand that addiction is treated as a disease.  Just calling it a disease isn’t enough anymore.

Please follow Richard Jones.  He runs the recovery and activist group called, Recovery Cartel on Facebook.





My Relapse

Advocate Relapse

It’s hard for anyone to admit that they relapsed.  Recently we have had a few relapses in our recovery community online.  Advocates are no different than anyone else, this shit is hard.  One of the arguments that I have heard of “going live” is that eventually one of us are going to relapse, one of us might die.  They say that most of us aren’t qualified to step out in front of a camera and tell people how to cook a steak much less how to recover.  Yes, it is true, some will relapse and it’s possible that someone could die but that doesn’t mean we should stop.  Those things could happen regardless.

After the past month, I have to admit that I have done exactly what everyone worries about.  I didn’t take any drugs, but I still relapsed all the same.  The type of relapse I am speaking of is an emotional relapse.  That might not be the right word but all I know is that before I knew what happen I looked up and realized I have been crying for a month.  All I was doing was self-loathing and punishing myself for things I didn’t do, couldn’t control and wasn’t really involved in.  Thankfully, I decided to speak up about what was going on and showed my vulnerability, even if it came out in anger.

The reason I share this is simple.  It doesn’t matter what your role is in recovery, how long you’re clean or how immune you think you are shit happens.  There are different kinds of relapses.  Of course, you can relapse by using, but you can also relapse by:

  • self-loathing
  • acting out in relationships
  • self serving
  • lying
  • cheating

Some of these other relapses can be just as dangerous as picking up your drug of choice.  Mental health is key to our recovery.  If you see someone in recovery struggling with a mental or character relapse, take it seriously.  There are many other ways that addicts die every day besides overdose.  There are countless suicides daily that no one attributes to addiction.  There are many addicts that survive these nondrug-related relapses but destroy loved ones and friends with their insecurities.

The biggest message is this.  These so-called “leaders” in recovery are just addicts like you.  They feel all the same feelings that you do.  They have bad days and good days, but just like us sometimes they have bad months.  If you notice yourself going down the path of one of these types of relapse speak out.  The biggest lessons that advocates have to teach is that they are human. Humans make mistakes and as long as you are honest about them, you will teach far more with your mistakes than you ever will with your success.

Be good to each other and stand up when something is wrong.  Sometimes we have to be “negative” to do what is right.  Turning the other cheek is great for a while.  After you get punched twice, its time to fight.