It is very popular these days to call all recreational drug use and all recreational alcohol intoxication “substance abuse”. And the NIAAA and NIDA are very, very busy trying to convince the US that all substance abuse is “addiction” and that addiction is an “incurable brain disease that can never be cured but can only be arrested by lifelong attendance at 12 step meetings.” What a load of horse pucky!
Statistics from NIAAA itself show us that almost everyone with a diagnosable drug or alcohol use disorder will quit on his/her own without any treatment! Researchers like Albert Bandura tell us that the more that people believe that they can change a bad habit, the more successful they will be at doing so. So why do 12 step programs and the drug and alcohol treatment industry want to convince people that they have an incurable brain disease? Not because they have any interest in anyone’s health. But rather because they have a vested interest in the incurable disease model.
If we told everyone that they just had a bad habit and that they could fix it on their own if they made a big enough effort, then almost everyone would do so, and there would be no new AA members and no gigantic profits for the drug and alcohol treatment industry. This is why they are so insistent on convincing people that it is an incurable brain disease.
Let us come to our senses and reject the disease model of addiction and return to the bad habit model. Sure it will put a lot of drug and alcohol counselors out of work. But maybe they can go and start earning an honest living by picking fruit or flipping burgers instead.
There is nothing diseased or morally wrong with recreational drug use or recreational alcohol intoxication. Only a very tiny minority will find that it turns into a bad habit. And if it does turn into a bad habit you can fix it on your own by either quitting or by going back to recreational use. You don’t need AA if it doesn’t appeal to you and you sure as hell don’t need some billion dollar rehab program like Hazelden that can’t produce better results than a placebo.
Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press. (Reprinted in H. Friedman [Ed.], Encyclopedia of mental health. San Diego: Academic Press, 1998).
NIAAA five year Strategic Plan
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