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

Motivational Model of Addiction

I don’t know what exactly Marc Lewis is saying, because the middle ground is quite large yet quite exacting. I agree with you and with Lewis that the Disease Model is not the correct fit for addiction. I once proposed the Motivational Model and I still think that fits the best. I’ve worked with addicts for many years and every one was either running to or from something or some place in their life. The substance was merely the vehicle

Think about how much pain a crack addict causes her or himself. The addict loses everything over time, relationships, money, belongings, home, car, phone, school, health and maybe even life. If they are left with their life, they have probably done horrible things like stealing from family and friends, breaking into or robbing small stores and/or gas stations. Often times addicts will do things that would horrify their non-addict selves. I’ve worked with female crack addicts who were young mothers and professional people like a music teacher and an elementary school principal before the drugs came into their lives. They ended up prostituting themselves, losing their marriages and eventually having their parental rights terminated.

So, do the math; where does the equation equalize out? Where does the pain that the addiction causes win out over the pain that the drugs are meant to win out over. The addict is motivated to use the drugs to run from the demons of the past; motivated to relieve the pain that is nearly always there. The addiction motivates the addict to abuse the drugs. The more one abuses, the more pain he or she causes and suffers. The more pain, the more drugs or alcohol are needed to fight the pain and so the vicious cycle goes.

Sooner or later, the pain has to win out one way or the other. Is this a disease? I don’t think so. This is an effort to defeat a long held pain or fear and keep it from becoming even worse as motivation forces that cycle into overdrive and takes the addiction to another level.

This is the body’s, the brain’s natural process of evolution. We are motivated to act and as we continue to act in a certain way, we must continually evolve to deal with the pain we are causing ourselves and others. We are motivated to escape pain — continually.

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