The Truth of Addiction
The one thing missing from every treatment center I was a client of was the Truth of Addiction.The unvarnished truth.The good news is that the vast majority of addicts will survive their addiction.They will, one day, seperate themselves from the substance of their addiction.The bad news, if you're an addict, is that there is no effective treatment for addiction that works sucessfully for a majority of addicts, and for the disease to "run it's course", can take decades..Residential treatment centers will not get an addict "clean and sober."They are what I call "time-out." Not to say they are not an important step in the right direction.They are! They clean you out and give you hope and information about the disease.Then after treatment, they will turn you over to a 12 step program in a neighborhood near you. 12 step programs make-up about 96% of all post inpatient treatment for the disease of addiction.They offer a good support group for the continuing fight of a disease that is chronic. The unfortunate aspect of 12 step programs is that they have a very low sucess rate, if measured by the standard of five years of continuous sobriety. About 6-20%, depending on which study you read. From my experience, no where near the A.A. claim of fifty percent. The 6% is closer to truth, from my experience. I do recommend any addict attend 12 steps.Or church, yoga, accupuncture,or whatever may have even a small chance of bringing about a spontaneous remission.
The truth as I see it, is that the treatment industry benefits more than their clients do.They earn a living and the addict relapses time and time again. Science and the medical fields can do better. They do have their hands tied, in large part due to the stigma of addiction, caused by hollywood, your local news, state laws, and politicians looking for re-election. Addicts are portrayed as low life criminals. Theives. Murderers. The truth is we are people who suffer from a devestating disease with no effective treatments. It doesn't have to be this way. Ask yourself why disease treatment for AIDS, cancer, and other diseases have made so much improvement in treatments of these diseases, but addiction has not ? We can do better. Addicts are human beings and want help, but it's not there in an effective way.The main treatment often seems to be jail. SO, if you are an addict, keep fighting. Keep searching. Keep surviving. If you are not an addict, this is why you should never place yourself in a position to become addicted. I was addicted to crack cocaine for twenty-five years, and sought treatment. Both long and short term treatments, multiple times(At least 8 residental treatments.) I found unexpected freedom from addiction suddenly, by spontaneous remission. This was as bewildering to me as my disease was, but when it occured, I knew , deep within, that I now had no craving or desire for the drug and I felt a freedom I had sought through treatment for years. Is this a rare occurence ? Put it this way: Eighty-eight percent of all addicts NEVER seek treatment for their disease, yet the majority of these addicts seperate themselves from their substance of addiction, permenently, at some point in time. But this may take decades before that happens. Research, public pressure for better treatment, political pressure for a change in laws making addiction the number one source of prison populations will turn the tides and bring real hope to addicts and those who love them.