Note: When I use the word “addiction” here, I include alcohol addiction, narcotics addiction, prescribed medication addiction, compulsive overeating, gambling addiction etc.
If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting that personal responsibility and the disease model of addiction are mutually exclusive.
If that is what you are saying here then I must disagree most vehemently.
These ideas can, and must, co-exist for recovery to occur.
There’s a difference between responsibility and fault/blame. An addict can acknowledge the mental illness along with the physiological genetic predisposition while at the same time taking responsibility for it and for subsequent recovery.
Alcoholics and addicts have a disease; recovery requires taking responsibility for this dis-ease.
Mostly, however, people under the influence who have lost control lie and cheat, often about everything else, not just about their habit.
I can’t blame someone for being an addict but they must be forced to take responsibility for their actions. This can be extremely painful and counter-intuitive for family members. A good example is the wife who cleans up her husband’s vomit so he wakes up from his alcohol-induced “sleep” in nice clean bed linen. Let him lie in his bodily fluids so he can truly experience how bad it is.
Denial is astonishingly powerful.
Once an Icelandic woman is burying her husband. His friend asks what he died of. She answers that he drank himself to death. When the friends asks if he went to Alcoholics Anonymous, her response is this:
“No, he wasn’t that bad”
Addicts are physiologically different from other normal people.
Addicts suffer terrible emotional pain when not under the influence especially in the early days, even after the physical withdrawal symptoms have been overcome.
Maybe, as you suggest, there is greater pain, or the intensity of the pain is greater today than it used to be. There is certainly more openness about it and that must be a relief for many who once felt compelled to hide their drug use.
Frankly, I doubt that the problem is any worse today than it used to be, there is just more openness in song about it, no more “Lucy-in-the-Sky-with Diamonds” veiled allusions in the lyrics.
In my grandmother’s day, morphine was freely available for medicinal purposes. Medicinal use of cannabis was legal until 1971 in the UK. “Fragile” ladies lounged on couches and were considered to be mentally vulnerable.
They kept a low profile and didn’t write songs about it.
But it was there.