Addiction is Not a Disease but It’s Not a Choice Either
Roisin Hegarty

I have been around addiction all my life. My Pop Pop was a recovering alcoholic of 25 year, who ended up owning and running a drug rehabilitation center. I have struggled with addiction for many years. I have been to rehab, read the Big Book {as well as scientific and anecdotal literature on the topic), been in 12 step programs, and tried methods I have devised on my own to deal with my addiction.

I have gotten in plenty of arguments on the disease concept. Usually it’s with people who have zero understanding of addiction. They base most of what the believe on their feelings, not on facts. My personal opinion is that addiction IS a disease. But not a disease in it’s truest sense. It’s a disease of will and character, which also has a biological competent altering your body chemistry.

Addiction is very sneaky and extremely dangerous. It’s amazing what an addicts mind will accept as legitimate reasons to use. The only way I was able to get clean was to associate the feeling of such overwhelming pain with the use of opiates that I kicked cold turkey. My mind finally got to the point where the pain and suffering of withdraw, as well as having to deal with my emotions, were not nearly as great as continuing to use. That was the key for me. Forging a mental association that linked taking painkillers to creating more pain in my life, rather than taking the pain away.

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