What is addiction, really?

Yes, we’re about to go there.

Okay so personally I have been dying to address the whole "addiction is a choice, not a disease" issue for a while now. Before you get aggressive, read until the end. I’m not telling those who say that it’s a choice that you’re wrong. In fact, you’re right.

Well, partially. Let me explain...

The fact of the matter is addiction is a result of a set of choices, but it is also a disease. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

For example, many people make a choice to expose themselves to the sun each day & understand there are inherent risks. Its no secret the sun can potentially cause skin cancer. So would you say a person with a skin cancer diagnosis made a choice to expose themselves to the possibility of cancer? Sure. Would you dispute that cancer is a disease? No.

Men and women contract STD’s everyday. That was a result of a choice. A choice regarding with who, or how, you get intimate. 
No one argues that those are ALSO diseases.

Type II diabetes? A result of choices? Possibly. Still a disease? Absolutely.
Are you seeing a theme yet?

If you really want to go there, EVERYTHING can be traced back to a choice and while some are more obvious than others, every choice we make has its risks. I’ve heard next to nothing from anyone actually in recovery or is still suffering from addiction make a post about addiction being a choice, not disease. Only those who have seen it from a distance, the ones who haven’t been there, dare put something as SIMPLE as that on the face of addiction. Again, a choice and a disease are not mutually exclusive.

You and I both shake the hand of a man we know is sick, assuming it will be a harmless, fleeting moment. I come down with a cold, but you don’t. Choice? Yes. Illness? Yes.

The first time you drank or smoked, did you think it would lead you down the darkest road you’ve ever traveled? Probably not.

Guess what? Neither did I, but it did. 
We are not all cut from the same cloth. 
My brain developed a chemical dependency on the same substances you used, while yours didn’t. How about the person recovering from a painful injury who required painkillers just to function? They took their prescription to the letter just as the doctor ordered & they too became addicted. You may not understand what happens in the mind of the addict, but I do and I promise you, after the first choice was made, the following choices are no longer yours to make.

So before you make another post about it being “just” a choice, I want you to go to that little boy or girl who just lost their mom or dad to addiction. I want you to tell them that they died not because they were sick, but because they chose this and that they didn’t love them enough. And if you still believe that’s true, and you can look a child in the eye and say that then please, by all means continue on your "it’s a choice" crusade.

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