THE DEMONIZATION OF ADDICTION

Dr. MacAfee, our beloved addiction therapist, wrote: Relatively few people respect the addictive condition as a legitimate life-threatening illness. Rather, there is disgust not only for addiction but for the addicts themselves. This disdain permeates society and emerges from within addicts, honing their stealth and duplicity and their self-hatred. This condition serves to permeate their malady even further.

My reflection: Dr. MacAfee’s words confirm the stark truth of something my son said years ago, “Society loathes addicts and addicts loathe themselves.” At the beginning of Jeff’s addiction, I, too, suffered from lack of understanding the disease. Today, I know better.

Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction is a life-threatening illness claiming over 72,000 deaths in 2017, yet much of society disdains both the person suffering and their families. Granted that many people do horrendous things while under the influence, but instead of criminalization and demonization their condition needs early and prompt medical intervention. Today, I’ll face the addiction crisis and give my support through activism, sharing my story, helping others, and standing tall for what is right.

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MaureenPat NicholslibbycataldiMindy BartholomaePamela Recent comment authors
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Pamela
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Pamela

I have so much gratitude for your words and your strength of spirit Libby – thank you. They’re food for the soul ~

Mindy Bartholomae
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Mindy Bartholomae

I have been fortunate over the years to hear medical professionals present, at seminars and conferences, the disease model of addiction. I would like to believe this is an accepted construct, but because the primary symptom of the disease of addiction is behavioral, i.e. bad behavior, i think most still see it as a moral failing. How can they make the destructive choices they do? It is so hard to grasp, yet the chemical changes that occur in the brain when using are drastic. They are beyond rational thought or reasoning with. Yet we continue to think we can make… Read more »

Pat Nichols
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I spoke with a dad last week who was asking for my guidance due to his adult daughter’s addiction. As soon as I got to the disease model all communication was stopped as he and his family believe it is strictly a behavioral issue. I understood how he believed this way as it took me many many years to accept the disease model myself. Why did it take me that long? It was because of my own denial and my refusal to accept the wise words of our alcohol/drug counselor. I refused to study addiction. I refused to believe in… Read more »

Maureen
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Maureen

Thank you Libby for your clarion call that reminds us that addiction is a life threatening illness which needs redefinition in our culture and that our loved ones need and deserve our compassion, our assistance, our activism, and yes, our respect as they battle this debilitating disease. There was an excellent discussion today with NPR’s Joshua Johnson on 1A about the opioid epidemic that is empowering.