The medical industry and government love to tow the line of addiction being a disease. Why? Because it allows us to lay blame on an inanimate object and not look at the deeper, more complex issues in society. Then when it comes to people seeing addiction as a choice, were simply dealing with people who have no experience or education on the matter. Both these opinions need to be addressed so we can move forward as a society. Addiction is a Coping Mechanism for a deeper emotional pain.
Drugs in of themselves are NOT addictive. Otherwise everyone that used them would become addicted. Truth is, 80%-90% of people who use drugs (including heroin and meth) do not develop a dependence. For more information on this, research the Rat Park scientific experiment with Dr Bruce Alexander.
So the question then becomes; the 10%-20% of our society that does fall into into the depths of addiction. What makes them susceptible?
The middle of the 20th century saw the coming of the era of behavioural psychology. It was decided that behaviour is the only tangible outcome that can be scientifically measured. Thoughts certainly couldnt and definitely not emotions. The issue here is that examining and trying to alter behaviour is making a grossly wrong assumption that human beings are rational creatures.
I liken this to the old food pyramid which told us our diet should be made up of predominantly bread, pasta and other simple sugars. With little fat.
This led to an obesity and diabetes epidemic. Most recently the psychology model has moved toward cognition. A step in the right direction but still off the mark. Thoughts and behaviour and controlled by underlying emotion. One suppressed emotion can spawn a thousand thoughts which then dictate the behaviour.
Weve been approaching this issue backwards for so long! Addiction is a Coping Mechanism, its the best the person has found to cope with their deeper pain. To tell someone to stop is to tell them to stop doing the one thing they know that helps them. - Ryan Hassan (Co-Founder at The Melbourne Centre of Healing)
The hardcore drug addicts that I treat, are, without exception, people who have had extraordinarily difficult lives. The commonality is childhood abuse. These people all enter life under extremely adverse circumstances. Not only did they not get what they need for healthy development; they actually got negative circumstances of neglect. I dont have a single female patient in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver who wasnt sexually abused, for example, as were many of the men, or abused, neglected and abandoned serially, over and over again. Thats what sets up the brain biology of addiction. In other words, the addiction is related both psychologically, in terms of emotional pain relief, and neurobiological development to early adversity. - Dr Gabor Mat (Addiction expert) Eighty to ninety percent of the people who use illegal drugs are not addicts. They dont have a drug problem - Dr Carl Hart (Addiction expert)
Treatment: When it comes to treatment we must delve into the subconscious mind as that is where all memories/beliefs/emotions/programming lie. If there is to be any lasting change then the work must be done here. Anything else is a bandaid.
Stigma: Everything in nature that is broken down but then allowed to heal grows back stronger. Then WHY do we have this belief as a society that once someone is an addict then its going to be a battle for the rest of their lives? That belief is simply not true! Addicts need to be welcomed with open arms and not shunned by society. We must ask Whats on the other side of this? Who are you about to become? We must empower and not judge.
We are ALL on a spectrum of addiction in the society we live in. Were told that if were not consuming then were worthless. The workaholic gets celebrated yet the drug addict gets called a junkie when in actual fact they are very much the same person. Theyve found their Coping Mechanism.
As a society that stands together, we must STOP treating the addiction and start treating the person!
This release was written with certainty and passion as over the last year The Melbourne Centre of Healing offers a new age type of [drug rehabilitation program](http://www.icerehabmelbourne.com.au/) and has seen countless people come through our doors and leave not only free from addiction, but with mission and purpose. People often say they want the old them back. That goal is setting the bar far too low.
Addiction is a Coping Mechanism and we can all be free! Free to be our beautiful, authentic selfs.