From Courage to Change, March 24:
“When I accept that alcoholism is a disease, I am forced to face the fact that I am powerless over it. Only then can I gain the freedom to focus on my own spiritual growth.
‘A family member has no more right to state, ‘If you loved me then you would not drink,’ than the right to say, ‘If you loved me you would not have tuberculosis…’ Illness is a condition, not an act.”
The NIH (National Institute on Drug Abuse) has stated: “Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive behaviors.”
The debate continues: is it a disease or a choice? A person who has the disease, before they know it, might try a dangerous drug or alcohol and become hooked. Another person who doesn’t have addictive disease might experiment in the same way; but he can walk away.
Disease just is; you either have it or you don’t. Choice is what the addict decides to do about it: get help or not.
I have two daughters: Angie has been a drug addict for fifteen years; today she chooses to continue in her disease. I have another daughter who has also tried drugs a few times; but she walked away. She chose to live healthfully. Which one of my girls is an addict?
Accepting that addiction is a disease “has given me the freedom to focus on my own spiritual growth.” And the results in my life have been miraculous. God Bless us all who have to struggle with the painful reality of drug addiction!