One of the first arenas of addiction which brought up the topic of treating an addiction like a disease is alcohol addiction. Since then, this paradigm has been extended to include a variety of other addictions including drugs and cigarettes. While there are a number of valid benefits to framing addiction in a similar manner as a medical disease, there are also some important drawbacks to consider. Depending upon your personality, these drawbacks can severely hinder your recovery process. In some cases, it can make recovering from your addiction impossible.
1. It Eliminates Your Willpower from the Equation
The primary problem with treating your addiction like a disease is the solution eliminates willpower from the equation. By forcing yourself to rely on the rules and restrictions of a medical setting, your personal willpower becomes a nonissue. If you are a particularly strong willed person, you should take advantage of your willpower to spearhead your recovery process. While there are many people who do not have the personal willpower necessary to overcome addiction on their own, it is an unnecessary risk to eliminate willpower from the equation completely.
2. It Forces a Medical Approach to Be Viewed as Your Only Solution
Another problem of treating your addiction like a disease is it forces you to accept a medical or clinical approach to implementing a recovery solution. This type of approach is ideal for some people; however it is not the best fit for everyone. Additionally, a clinical approach to the addiction recovery process can quickly become expensive. For many people battling their addictions, adding an additional stressor in the form of financial constraints can cause more problems than solutions. To find a recovery process which best suits your situation impersonality, it is essential to consider a variety of approaches and strategies to determine which one is the best fit for you.
3. It Makes You Dependent on a Strict External Rules-Based System
The final reason you shouldn’t always treat your addiction like a disease is because it forces you to become dependent on a strict set of external rules. This eliminates all of the internal forces which can be incredibly effective at promoting a positive life process to help you battle with addiction. Additionally, if the recovery process does not provide the results you want it is easy to blame the process rather than take personal accountability for the situation.
Applying a medical or clinical approach to addiction recovery has proven to be effective in a variety of settings. At the same time, there are inherent limitations which guarantee this approach will not work for everyone. If you are primarily driven by internal forces then leveraging the strength of willpower will make it easier to recover from your addiction. If you consistently struggle to adhere to systems reliant on strict external rules, then a clinical approach will never match your personality. The key to deciding how you should treat your addiction and the recovery process is entirely up to you and treating your addiction solely as a disease limits your recovery process options.
Kevin Tarr, owner of Westlake Recovery in Austin, has dedicated his life to helping men overcome alcoholism. Stop by to learn more about how you can get your life back on track.