Choice isn’t shame, but shame is a choice.

Shame and Addiction

I've had it with the argument that suggests seeing "addictive" behavior as freely chosen automatically bestows shame upon those who engage in it. It's usually presented with the request that we "treat addiction as a disease so that people won't feel ashamed." This argument is so wrong, but it's rarely questioned and analyzed with any depth. I wanted a real quotable example, so did a quick google search and found a recent article discussing shame and addiction. The author's husband "died of … [Read more...]

Mental Illnesses Don’t Cause Continued Addiction: NESARC Epidemiological Results

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I've been spending a lot of time analyzing the evidence for/against the "underlying causes" or "self-medication" model of addiction (for the latest edition of the Saint Jude Program textbook). Briefly, this is the idea that people's other psychological problems/disorders/mental illnesses cause them to use substances and to be "addicted." Stress, anxiety, depression, unhealed "trauma", and various mental illnesses are mentioned as causes of continued substance use - and it is said that the … [Read more...]

Alec Baldwin’s “Gaming Addiction” and Other Nonsense

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Addiction seems to be everywhere. Dear Abby recently answered a question about texting and facebook addiction, and now there’s this Alec Baldwin fiasco. The actor was kicked off a plane after he refused to stop playing the popular iPhone game Words With Friends - in response to the situation some are calling Baldwin a gaming addict. Beyond these recent examples there’s the constant talk about shopping, gambling, and collecting (hoarding) as addictions. It seems that anything that offers people … [Read more...]

Addiction as a Brain Disease is NOT Big News in 2011

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Addiction is now officially a brain disease according to a statement made by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) this summer. This is big news, right? Well actually, no it’s not. Numerous organizations have been labeling, declaring, and defining alcoholism and addiction as diseases, illnesses, or disorders for a long time now. I suppose I should’ve written this post about 2 months ago when it was big in the news, but it’s so boring to me, and I’ve heard it so many times that I just … [Read more...]

A Critic’s View of Drugs, Music, and Creativity

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Do drugs unleash a creative force in artists?  If so, does quitting drugs then handicap you as an artist?  I've received many questions around this topic over the past few months, and to be honest, I don't know the best way to answer them.  Luckily though, an interesting article just came along which should forward this debate in a constructive way. Music critic Tom Hawking wrote a piece for Flavorpill titled Going Clean: Drugs and Creativity in the Lives of 10 Musicians, which compares the … [Read more...]

Substance Use, Abuse, and Addiction – Defined.

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The words that we use and the meanings they have, greatly affect our thinking in any subject.  Consider the following, and you may end up with clearer thinking about substance use problems which allows you to change your habits. Substance Use: is the simple act of using a substance.  People freely choose to use substances, and like any other chosen behavior, people have their reasons for doing it - because they want pleasure, excitement, stress & anxiety relief, etc.  Substance use isn’t … [Read more...]

Musings On The Choice Model

SocialClass&Choice

I've been working on a very in depth and direct description of a Choice Model of Addiction which stands on its own without reference to the disease model, and it's still not finished, but I can't wait till then to post up some sort of description. The Stinkin Thinkin blog highlighted a particularly dishonest article about addiction which purported to be busting myths, but simply went on to present more of the same. Within it, was this gem of a quote: Some say addicts can stop any time. They … [Read more...]

Penn & Teller Bullshit: Alcoholics Anonymous

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The comedy/magic duo Penn & Teller, have been doing a show called Bullshit! for several years now where they expose scams and bust cultural myths.  One classic episode examined Alcoholics Anonymous.  It's a great primer on what's wrong with the organization.  With all the traffic I'm getting right now from people interested in Charlie Sheen's claims that AA is a cult and an ineffective solution for addiction, I thought this would be a good time to post it. Specifically, they cover the … [Read more...]

The Tragedy of Motivational Interviewing

Contradiction

Motivational Interviewing is a style of counseling developed by longtime addiction researchers.  As far as what is currently available in the "treatment" world, it's probably the most useful thing available (not counting solutions outside of the world of formal "treatment" for addictions) and has the most evidence to back it up, ranking #1 in a survey of the effectiveness of known treatments.  Whereas most counselors assume the addict to be "in denial", lying, diseased, powerless, and … [Read more...]

Choice and Will Power

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As the hate-mail I receive shows, some people are very turned off by the tagline of my site which reads: Addiction is not a disease, it is a choice. One of the most common interpretations among the haters goes something like this: "When you call addiction a choice, you're not offering a solution, you're only telling people that they should just use will-power."  I'm going to state clearly now, for anyone who cares to pay attention - I am not saying that will-power is the solution. In the … [Read more...]