I Know Addiction Isn’t a Disease

CS before and after

I’m not an addict but before I qualify myself on this subject, I would like to say I write this with no malicious intent towards programs or people who view addiction differently than I do.

There are many different avenues to save lives from the awful grip of addiction, and I would never want to put down anything that has saved lives. I would simply like to bring awareness to those still struggling; other options are available.

If you have tried to get sober with the mainstream approach of 12 step, faith-based programs or medications without any luck, please don’t think you are a lost cause.

There is much hope left for you.

I struggled with drug addiction for years and it took my life in a direction my family and I could never have imagined. My drug addiction led me to more 12 step programs than I can count on both hands, multiple halfway houses, a couple stints in New York’s not-so-wonderful penitentiary system, a handful of life-threatening overdoses, and financial despair. It destroyed my relationship with a loving family and resulted in overall hopelessness.

I truly believed drugs would be the death of me, and the only advice I kept hearing was I needed to go to more AA/NA meetings, or that I wasn’t on the right medications. I would usually string together a few months of sobriety, start to feel better, my family would get their hopes up that we could finally put this drug issue behind us, yet inevitably I would relapse, and the downward cycle would continue. It wasn’t until I found out about Narconon, a holistic approach to addiction, that I learned the importance of dealing with the underlying issues that continued to take me back to drugs.

Unfortunately, for those who struggle with substance abuse like I did, it is very common that once we realize we need help, our lives are already in despair. At that point treatment options are usually limited to whatever facility is the cheapest. The problem is the programs that are offered for those with little or no income are 12 step or faith-based programs. This is because state funding only goes to two types of treatment 28-day programs and medication-assisted treatment. Even though these treatments tend to have low success rates.  Other approaches such as holistic addiction treatment don’t get funded because they do not believe addiction is a disease, and don’t treat drug addiction by giving the addict more drugs.

The word disease gets thrown around a lot, but it derives from Old French meaning “lack of ease,” and the Oxford dictionary defines it as “a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.”

When you look at it from a literal perspective, there are a lot of things that could be considered a disease, but that doesn’t mean there is only one way to handle the conditions that cause dis-ease, or that medication is the answer. I know from my own experience that when I believed I had this incurable disease, I used that as a justification to continue using drugs.

What I have come to realize is simply, that when I experience something which causes dis-ease in my life, it is paramount I handle that situation in an appropriate, healthy manner, and not mask my condition with something else entirely. It wasn’t until I learned how to confront my underlying problems I was able to experience ease in my life.

My life is great today but is by no means perfect. I still experience things that upset me, but now I can tackle them as they come. I think it’s unfortunate this country recognizes substance abuse as a manifestation of a disease a person is predisposed to from birth. When I hear someone say, “I have an addictive personality” what I really hear is “I have a lot of underlying issues I’ve never dealt with.” If that isn’t real for you, then agree to disagree.

But I believe everyone can agree that the drug epidemic is out of control. According to NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) there were 72,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2017 putting drug overdose in 4th place for most deaths in the United States.

My point is when you look at this massive problem you must keep an open mind that there is more than one way to solve it, and maybe the way we have been trying isn’t the best.

The Narconon program at Narconon New Life Retreat saved my life. I believe in this program so much so that now I work here dedicating my time to helping people get the treatment they actually need. If any of this resonates with you, and you or someone you know needs help, please call us. We can help you. —CS Narconon Graduate



Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.