Addiction: Facts & Fiction...

The following pages will challenge everything you thought you knew about addiction. The fiction - that addiction is a lifelong disease over which people have no control - is rather grim, and provides little hope to people with substance use problems. The facts - that addiction is freely chosen behavior which people can and do change successfully on a regular basis - provides much hope to people with substance use problems. Keep reading for a deeper understanding of these points.

Latest Articles

The Business of Recovery… and Abandoned Storylines

I had the opportunity to see a screening of The Business of Recovery in NYC last month. Here is my extremely brief review and recommendation, followed by a lengthier criticism. The Business Of Recovery was a high quality production. It covered several topics in ways that we don't normally see in most mainstream reports about the treatment world. It was … Learn More

The Disease Propaganda Never Stops. Or, yes it is being screamed from the rooftops.

In my signature article on the disease model of addiction, I start off: They’re screaming it from the rooftops: “addiction is a disease, and you can’t stop it without medical treatment”!  But why are they screaming it so loud, why are they browbeating us about it, why is it always mentioned with a qualifier? Those words were first published on this site in … Learn More

Hate me all you want, but please read this piece by Dr Carl Hart

I know a lot of you stumbled on this site and hate it. You get infuriated when you read it. You think that I'm killing people with my words. You think I'm just ignoring scientific truths. You think I just enjoy putting down AA. You think I'm in this for the money (Lol!). Well, whatever. It's not ideal, but I'm ok with being hated. I've come to peace with … Learn More

Nora Volkow (NIDA) uses Scare Quotes when referring to Free Will

What bothers me more than anything about the entire "addiction" debate is that the scientists at the forefront of it do not believe in free will. Nora Volkow, as the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse is the most visible and most influential addiction scientist in the world. As such, she's the most prominent pusher of the idea that heavy substance … Learn More

5 Year Anniversary of The Clean Slate Blog

Today is the fifth anniversary of this website, so here's an entirely self-indulgent post about my journey here. First, I had problems with substance use. The problems were that: My girlfriend, relatives, and parents didn't like that I used drugs. I spent so much money on drugs that I didn't have any left to spend on much else. I spent so much … Learn More

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For Brain Disease Skeptics

I'm quite skeptical about the simplistic neurological explanations for all of our modern troubles, ills, and aches. This article by Steven Poole at The New Statesmen is worth a read, and may give you reason to think twice and think critically about all the neuroscience claims irresponsibly swirling around in the popular media: "Your Brain On Pseudoscience"

I must also mention that simply placing the phrase "Brain scans indicate" before otherwise faulty explanations for psychological phenomena and human behavior renders such nonsense very believable by us common folk. Also reason to take pause when considering the "addiction is a brain disease" claims. Read about that exciting study here: Brain Scan Smokescreen.

And if I haven't already shared this link enough times, you can learn my opinion on the brain disease theory of addiction and its neuroscience "evidence" here: Addiction is NOT A Brain Disease. Neuroscientist Marc Lewis Ph.D. recently wrote a fantastic article  article which seems to confirm my views from the previous link: Why Addiction Is Not A Brain Disease. He concludes that:

In my view, addiction (whether to drugs, food, gambling, or whatever) doesn’t fit a specific physiological category. Rather, I see addiction as an extreme form of normality, if one can say such a thing. Perhaps more precisely: an extreme form of learning. No doubt addiction is a frightening, often horrible, state to endure, whether in oneself or in one’s loved ones. But that doesn’t make it a disease.

These are my thoughts precisely. The neuroscience on addiction shows a process of learning. This is a normal function of the human brain - it is not a malfunction of the brain, which would be needed in order to claim it as a true brain disease. Learning is learning, and disease is disease - the difference matters, and will shape the approach we take towards helping people with such problems.
And here's one more brilliantly detailed opinion that calls the brain disease model of addiction and alcoholism into question, from Peter Cohen Ph.D. of the Centre For Drug Research in Amsterdam: Modern Neuro Science and the Concept of Addiction. Cohen's thinking also seems to support The Freedom Model Philosophy that I use in my work with the SJP.

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