Friday, October 23, 2020

Comments by Freedomart

Showing 2 of 2 comments.

  • Hi Richard,

    I enjoyed reading your post, even though I did not agree with some of it. I enjoyed it mostly because I absolutely agree that new approaches to addiction need to be tried.

    I have a less critical take on both the biological theory of addiction and the 12 steps, even though I am VERY critical of the biological theory of “mental illness” and am not religious.

    Addiction, I believe, is absolutely biological. A chemical enters the body, the reward mechanisms in the brain go wild, and the body craves, even needs the drug in severe cases, to operate. Take alcohol and benzos, which I would argue are the most difficult drug problem to overcome (not opiates). Stop them cold turkey and you can die. Nothing more biological than that.

    I believe that methadone and suboxone, as well as Valium for sedative withdrawal, are overused and used too long. But they have their uses, namely to stem seizures, suicide, physical wasting, and other biological phenomenon.

    The goal, however, for true addicts, should be abstinence, which is where AA or NA comes in. I agree there are problems with it. My biggest critique is that in the opening, they claim that some people do not have the strength of character to recover. This is very disempowering. But I find the first step very empowering. Most addicts get there because they have a sense of “terminal uniqueness” and an overexaggerated sense of responsibility. To release their power, control, hold on something can be very liberating…though I’d agree the words can seem disturbing at face value. It took me years to realize how awesome that first step really is.

    I never went to AA. I went to al-anon. And we used the terms “Higher Power”, not God, and it did not feel religious at all. I also learned that part of why “Bill” was so successful is that he titrated the most ill addicts off of alcohol, not because of any religiosity.

    Biological. Addiction is. But I also agree that the psychological componenets often come from the addiction itself, as I also believe is true with eating disorders. If we could have programs that understood these things, tweaked the 12 steps and did not bow down to the pseudoscience of psychiatry, we’d have something.