Accepting the Disease of Addiction

The first step toward recovering from addictions is admitting that there is a problem. For many of us, it took a long time to come to the conclusion that we were, in fact, suffering from a disease out of our control. We had lost the power of choice, and willpower was not sufficient in stopping our drinking or drug use. Without coming to this realization, we continued in a cycle of using substances, attempting to quit, and inevitably relapsing. One we understand that addiction is not the result of a moral failure or lack of self-will, we are able to seek help from those who understand the disease of addiction and, often, have successfully recovered themselves.
If we are to be successful in recovery, we need to accept that we have lost the power of choice when it comes to our drinking or drug use. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains, “We learned that we had to fully concede to out innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.” The nature of the disease explains why we have never been able to control our drinking or drug use, despite our many attempts and resolutions to do so. Our own willpower is simply not enough to rid us of addiction. Dr. Paul Christopher, in a 2012 New York Times article Addicted to Painkillers, Unready for Help, explains, “The cognitive concepts that we typically associate with “willpower” — motivation, resolve and an ability to delay gratification, resist impulses and consider and choose among alternatives — arise from distinct neural pathways in the brain. The characteristic elements of drug abuse — craving, intoxication, dependency and withdrawal — correspond with disruptions in these circuits. A host of genetic or environmental factors serve to reinforce or mitigate these effects. These data underscore the powerful ways in which addiction constrains one’s ability to resist.” We can all recall countless examples of times when we tried to stop but found ourselves picking up again in only a short time. When we realize that every attempt to overcome our drinking or drug use has failed, we begin to understand that complete abstinence is the only answer. Through the process of recovery, however, we can achieve and maintain permanent sobriety and successfully recover from a hopeless state of body and mind.

Recovery is possible and can be the next great chapter in the story of your life. You can find a new sense of happiness and serenity in sobriety by making the decision to seek help now. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with compassionate professionals who understand the disease of addiction and are dedicated to guiding you through the process of recovery. For more information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777