I have dealt with the demon of so-called  “addiction” since I was thirteen years old. I have been sent to treatment a few times, and have attempted to do the twelve steps. Looking back on my journey and the experiences I have gone through, I am unsure whether I can call this an illness. I consider entering this world and trying to get out of it is a choice not an illness.

I fully understand the effects drugs have on your mind and body if you allow yourself to let the drugs control you; over you controlling the drugs. It is when the drugs control you; it creates a problem, but not an illness. Throughout the process of transitioning between you controlling and the drugs controlling, you always have the choice to stop. The problem is you don’t want to stop, hence this is the choice you are making. It is when someone hits a bottom; then they finally make the choice to change.

I have felt the mental and physical effects of withdrawal. I know what it is like, and I am aware of the trials and tribulations you have to go through to kick the habit. What I don’t believe is when you hit that point you have an illness. Every decision you made to get where you are at this moment have all been your choices.

The choices you make while using, which hurt the ones you love, is not a result of your illness. This is a product of your selfishness, and only caring about yourself. Many people including myself use the term “illness” to try to justify their fuck up’s. Instead of taking responsibility for their choices, they justify and hide behind the label of illness.

I do not believe in AA, or the twelve steps. I think it is a form of brainwashing, which causes the individuals to become co-dependent on the program. Treatment centers should teach people to be strong and independent, instead of filling their heads with weakness. I do respect AA for the people they help get sober. This is a great accomplishment for the individual, and I will not minimize that achievement.

I feel their needs to be more alternative forms of treatment, to help those who can not buy into the program. People need options and they need to find what works for them. I have always wanted to create such an alternative treatment center. Perhaps after I get The Bucket List Foundation going I will give that a shot.

My biggest complaint against the AA program is step one and two where you need to admit you are powerless and the only thing which will deliver you from this powerlessness is admitting and handing things over to a higher power. They need to instill into these people that they don’t need a higher power, they need to discover their own personal strength within themselves. Relying on some fairy tale creature simply does not work.

My other issue with the powerless statement is saying you can never touch another substance again. They teach if you do use, then you risk your life falling apart. This is a true and untrue statement. One of the things you do in treatment is identify your drug of choice. This drug of choice is your danger zone. Lets say your drug of choice is meth, this does not mean you can never have a drink.

It is about identifying your risk areas and making the choice to not go there. You also need to be aware of where you are. If you start to drink, you need to identify if and when it starts becoming a problem. If you notice this you need to make that choice to cease and desist you actions.

I am and always have been for the legalization of drugs. This would cure many of the things wrong with society, yes it would create some negatives, but they do not out weigh the positives. You would decrease prison population, and the destroyed lives over trying to survive with a felony on your record. The legalization of drugs, if run by the government would create an enormous amount of money. It is unbelievable that alcohol is legal, but marijuana is not. The negatives alcohol causes our society is no where near what marijuana does.

I do not think schools handle drug prevention in a proper way. If they tell kids all the propaganda about how marijuana is so horrible, then when the time comes they try it they realize they were told lies. If the time comes when they are offered stronger drugs, they will not believe what they were taught. It was “Basketball Diaries” which kept me from trying heroin. I saw what that drug did, and made the choice to not explore that. There is the word again “choice.” Everyone has that ability to make that choice. If they decide to smoke meth… well they deserve what ever comes next.

I will never judge someone for using drugs. I do not have an issue with it as long as this person is still able to contribute and properly function within the society. If they allow the drugs to control them, and they cease to be able to function then we have a problem. Everything we do or become in life is a result of our choices.

In the end people will use drugs whether they are legal or not. We will never win the drug war. We need better prevention and support to help those who have made a string of shitty choices.

  1. Gail says:

    hmmm…There is a connection between biology and addiction…certain people do have a predisposition…doesn’t mean they will become addicts…but have the tools to do so if they abuse a substance. There are many other treatment options other than AA, and when they talk about a Higher Power, it is not necessarily GOD or JESUS, for many it is that within one’s self…as you said. I’m glad “choices” has worked for you Tim, but it is not the case with many..also with many, if they have one drug of choice…once sober, they cannot use or drink anything else…one addiction can lead to another! There is no ONE answer and no real easy ones…just for people to keep fighting the fight!

  2. braon says:

    You express a number of intelligent thoughts that I agree with. An example: I’ve always thought the goddy, 12-step programs were a particularly insipid form of brainwashing. Yes, we CHOOSE to use the addictive substances in the first place (for me it was, and is, nicotine), so at that point it’s a choice. But our bodies have receptors for substances that make us feel emotionally better, so at some point it becomes a set of physical events that are happening in our bodies.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Yes I agree once you use and use more to continue to chase that initial high, your body and mind become dependent on this substance. I feel that process is not proof of a disease or illness. I understand what gail is saying, there are addictive genes in us. I still feel if parents explained this to their children; they are high risk then perhaps they would make a different choice. I know the pains of detoxing and it is a shitty experience, but that suffering is a result of my choices not a disease. I am still able to have a drink here and there, because I know my limits. The problem with most people is they do not understand when their mind and body take over their decision making.

      Welcom braon, it is nice to have you aboard.

  3. I view addiction as not an either/or but both. As you wrote, it involves choices, but as Gail wrote, it also involves a genetic component.

    For example, I can decide to have one drink and stop at that (though I rarely drink and haven’t had any alcohol in decades). My dad and brother can decide to have one drink, but can’t stop after the first one because of genetic factors. One becomes two, two becomes four and four becomes eight. I don’t think either is conscious of the exponents.

    My childhood buddy has wasted his entire life on substance abuse. He was a talented musician who now has troubled remembering the musical scale. Each time he kicked one substance, he immediately began to abuse others. He has lived for decades in a downward spiral.

    I firmly believe that what Gail has written — there is no ONE answer — is true of all things. What works for you may be an unmitigated disaster for someone else. What works for them may be completely unworkable for you.

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