;
Connect with us

Freedom Model

Does Physical Withdrawal Prove That Addiction Is A Disease?

Great question.

Published

on

How can you say addiction isn’t a disease? You ever see someone come off of heroin?

Heavy drinkers are dependent on booze – obviously that’s a disease!

What about drunks who get cirrhosis of the liver – that’s a disease too!

We get questions like this all the time. Unfortunately, these statements take the already controversial theory – the disease of addiction/alcoholism – and make it even more difficult to understand or debunk. Physical withdrawal and cirrhosis are important to understand because each plays a role in the overall tapestry of the habit of heavy drinking and/or drugging. But while they play a role, the existence of them is not proof of a disease of addiction or “alcoholism.

take our poll - story continues below

Is Biden's Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional?

  • Is Biden's Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional?  

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to Flag And Cross updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

There are two things happening in the statements made above that deserve initial clarity. First, they assume at the onset that addiction and/or heavy drinking is a disease (it’s not). Secondly, they are using the existence of other physical diseases that are the result of heavy substance use, such as cirrhosis or pancreatitis, as proof of the disease of addiction, as well as physical withdrawal symptoms as further proof of the disease. But here is the problem, and it’s a big one; when these assertions are made they ignore the fact that the supposed disease of addiction has its origins in the mind, not in the body. When we all think about the disease of addiction, we think things like the following:

Joe just couldn’t say no to the vodka.

Tammy lost her kids because she loved crack more than her children.

These are descriptions of habits of the heart and mind, not habits driven by body chemistry. Even when referring to the most extreme brain disease theory centered around biochemical “causes of addiction”, the argument is still tied to, “the person just cannot say no to using/drinking.” So you see, no matter how you slice it, whether you have pancreatitis, cirrhosis, a brain disease, or massive DT’s from withdrawal, you still have to decide to put a bottle to your lips or a needle in your arm. In the disease theory, the purported inability to choose to say no is what is meant by the “disease of addiction” or “alcoholism”. This supposed inability is based on the theory that substance users are afflicted with a mental craving for substances that they cannot control. This theory is dreadfully wrong and has been debunked over and over again over the last 70 years, yet our society has doubled down on it and its support of it – the facts be damned!

For the purposes of this article I’m not going to make the argument that drug addiction is not a disease and neither is heavy drinking, as that is covered in many of my previous articles and books. If you want to know more about the debunked disease theory of addiction, read The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap. All of the evidence debunking this theory is there for you in one place. In short, the disease of addiction or alcoholism as defined as a lack of control, a mental disorder, a mental defect, or a compulsion, is false.

Withdrawal – Proof of a Disease?

This brings us to the question, does alcohol or drug withdrawal compel (mentally and emotionally) a person to drink or drug beyond their will? Does a physical condition that requires hospitalization or a clinic-driven physical detoxification process cause someone or compel them to continue to use substances? The simple answer is no, it does not, or none of these people would ever stop, but they do. Over 90% of people eventually overcome their alcohol problems, and more than 95% overcome their drug problems.

Can relief of withdrawal pain be a potent personal motivation for continuing heavy use? Of course. But can it compel people to use? No. Most opioid users have gone through withdrawal cold turkey. Most people with alcohol problems have done it cold turkey too, though some need medical help to deal with potentially fatal symptoms. If it were genuinely compelling, those folks would walk right back out of the detox clinic and get a drink. But they choose to stay. There is no mysterious force within a toxified human body that forces a person to drink or drug. However, making the decision to stave off the pain of withdrawal with further use is a choice that isn’t all that unusual or in any way a disorder-driven event. We “kick the can” down the road to avoid pain and suffering all the time in the human condition for a variety of personal reasons. Whether or not avoiding withdrawal with continued use is a good choice or not doesn’t mean it isn’t chosen.

Other Diseases – Proof of an Addiction Disorder or Disease?

Let’s look at cirrhosis. Does the presence of this life threatening liver disease mean the decision to drink is compelled or forced upon people that have it by a mysterious mental force over which they have no control? That is what the following assertion states:

What about drunks who get cirrhosis of the liver – it’s a disease!

So is the presence of liver disease proof that the disease of alcoholism exists? At a glance, you might think so. First off, we can all agree with a part of the statement; cirrhosis is a disease, that’s a fact. But that isn’t what is being inferred in that statement. What they are trying to argue is that the result of drinking (the physical disease of cirrhosis) is the cause (the mental disease of alcoholism) of the individual’s drinking habit. Frankly this idea is nonsensical. It’s an illogical reverse argument, a sort of “guilt by association” attempt to prove that drinking itself is an involuntary behavior.

When using cirrhosis (or any other alcohol related physical illness) as an example to prop up the addiction disease ideal, you are conflating the physical ramifications of choosing to drink heavily as proof that the person had no choice in drinking on the front end. At best, this is a strange argument. It’s akin to a boxer who just lost to a knock-out saying in his post-fight press conference, “I got knocked out! Obviously I was forced beyond my will to take the fight and get in the ring!”

The confusion behind self-destructive habits such as heavy drug and alcogol use is deep enough without adding to the mix parallel disease and withdrawal arguments. People use heavily for personal reasons, and when they do so, other costs come down the road. Some heavy drinkers may get cirrhosis or pancreatitis while others may get life threatening withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. Yet, simply stated, these are the results of heavy use, not the causes of them. The causes are in the mind of the individual. It’s in our likes and desires, not in our biochemistry. And while the costs of these habits might be high, that fact doesn’t mean the use is compelled – it just means the person felt the trade-offs were worth it. There is a way to get beyond this, and it’s not by pretending that substance use is an involuntary behavior. It’s by facing your options, reassessing them, and making a heartfelt decision to change.

If you want to know more about becoming free from cravings, you can get your own free copy of The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap at www.thefreedommodel.org/products/ and use the coupon code FREEDOM108 at checkout. For The Freedom Model for the Family use coupon code FAMILY100 at checkout.

Or call 888-424-2626 for help with your addiction.

If you would like to get away and learn the Freedom Model with a certified FM Instructor in a residential retreat setting at The Saint Jude Retreat, call the number above, or go to www.soberforever.net

If you want to learn about The Freedom Model Private Instruction Program, a program you take from the safety and comfort of home, go to www.leaveaddictionbehind.com

Mr. Mark Scheeren is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the St. Jude Retreat, as is co-author of The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap, the original Non-12-Step approach for people who struggle with serious substance use issues. Mr. Scheeren and his staff of Researchers and Instructors have helped many thousands find permanent solutions to their drug and alcohol problems.

Freedom Model

You CAN Move Past an Addiction

…a message to those who feel hopeless

Published

on

There is a difference between struggling “one day at a time” in recovery and moving on from an addiction; there’s a big difference. We’ve been taught that once you’re an addict, you’ll always be an addict. This is not true. However, should you believe this, it becomes your truth. But it doesn’t have to be that way. So called addicts and alcoholics moderate their use with surprising frequency (for example, 50% of all “alcoholics” eventually moderate their drinking to non-problematic levels whether they’ve been treated or not – NESARC, 2005). While the facts are what they are – and they are very encouraging – people are woefully ignorant of these hopeful and empowering facts.

Here’s the truth; beliefs can change; and lives change when our beliefs do. Once I realized I’d been lied to and I found that alcohol and drugs were not the “cunning, baffling, powerful” agents they were said to be, I could easily choose better for myself. I didn’t need extra willpower, more strength, or any kind of special recovery formula once I realized that drugs were substances, not living, breathing, motivated entities bent on my destruction.

This bizarre and fictitious personified view of drugs as an all-powerful entity was one of the myths that caused me to fear them, and in turn, I feared the inevitable “triggered relapse” as well. That’s what fear based mythology can do. It keeps you trapped in the relapse loop. Even the word “relapse” makes a connotation to the “disease of addiction” myth. There are dozens of ways the treatment and recovery models have instilled this myth based fear throughout its messaging. The question is why?

Treatment and Recovery are about Control

take our poll - story continues below

Is Biden's Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional?

  • Is Biden's Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional?  

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to Flag And Cross updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

It’s all about control. A free thinking, freely choosing individual cannot be controlled because the center of that individual’s problem solving capability lies directly inside of them. As humans, our autonomous nature makes us immune to being manipulated, as long as you have the facts. In order for treatment and/or recovery to be necessary, the idea of self-efficacy needs to be extinguished. That can only be done by creating a straw man called the disease of addiction. A disease is, by its very definition, out of one’s control. And because of this defining characteristic, that same afflicted individual must find an outside power, force or method to combat the disease; much like chemotherapy in a cancer victim’s scenario.

The autonomous individual with full knowledge that addiction IS NOT a disease can therefore move past their “addiction” (we call it more accurately, a preference for heavy use) with seeming ease. They can make an internal choice to moderate or abstain that does not require an outside treatment of any kind to be made or supported. No need for recovery either, because without a disease present, there is nothing to recover from.

Now, we are not saying people don’t have serious issues with heavy use. This is why we call it problematic use. We also do not miss the fact that some people might even need to be physically detoxed from their drug of choice. These facts however, sit outside the scope of what we are talking about in this article. The “disease of addiction” we are referencing here is the idea that a person is compelled beyond their mindful will to use drugs and alcohol, and that an outside force called treatment is needed to solve that lack of will. That definition of addiction – as a disease of the mind – is absolutely incorrect. And, if we correct that definition to the following: addiction is a preference for heavy use as determined by the powers of reason in the mind of the individual, and only the individual can change that preference internally, then we bring the solution back where it belongs, inside the mind of the individual. Free will either exists or it doesn’t. Either you are a being capable of choosing or you are not. The treatment world wants you to believe you can choose certain aspects of your life (like the choice to go to treatment) but not have the power of choice in regards to the use of drugs and alcohol. But here is the problem with that – you cannot have it both ways. Either free will exists or it doesn’t. When you think about it, you know that the existence of free will is self evident – you are choosing to read this article right now. You’re a chooser.

Are you ready to move on from an adfdiction for good? Are you ready to moderate or abstain? Are you ready to own your use and its trade-offs? Are you ready to seek the truth to make these kinds of decisions? If so, The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap is the book to read and study. In it, all the addiction myths are exposed, and the researched truth provided. Moving on from an addiction is a wonderful and amazing event. I hope you take the time to learn the truth as I did. My life is amazing, and yours can be too!

If you or someone you love are ready to break free from the addiction and recovery trap and move on, call us at 888-424-2626.

For more information about The Freedom Model go to TheFreedomModel.org

Mr. Mark Scheeren is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the St. Jude Retreat, as is co-author of The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap, the original Non-12-Step approach for people who struggle with serious substance use issues. Mr. Scheeren and his staff of Researchers and Instructors have helped many thousands find permanent solutions to their drug and alcohol problems.

There is a difference between struggling “one day at a time” in recovery and moving on from an addiction; there’s a big difference. We’ve been taught that once you’re an addict, you’ll always be an addict. This is not true. However, should you believe this, it becomes your truth. But it doesn’t have to be that way. So called addicts and alcoholics moderate their use with surprising frequency (for example, 50% of all “alcoholics” eventually moderate their drinking to non-problematic levels whether they’ve been treated or not – NESARC, 2005). While the facts are what they are – and they are very encouraging – people are woefully ignorant of these hopeful and empowering facts. Here’s the truth; beliefs can change; and lives change when our beliefs do. Once I realized I’d been lied to and I found that alcohol and drugs were not the “cunning, baffling, powerful” agents they were said to be, I could easily choose better for myself. I didn’t need extra willpower, more strength, or any kind of special recovery formula once I realized that drugs were substances, not living, breathing, motivated entities bent on my destruction. This bizarre and fictitious personified view of drugs as an all-powerful entity was one of the myths that caused me to fear them, and in turn, I feared the inevitable “triggered relapse” as well. That’s what fear based mythology can do. It keeps you trapped in the relapse loop. Even the word “relapse” makes a connotation to the “disease of addiction” myth. There are dozens of ways the treatment and recovery models have instilled this myth based fear throughout its messaging. The question is why? Treatment and Recovery are about Control It’s all about control. A free thinking, freely choosing individual cannot be controlled because the center of that individual’s…

Continue Reading

Freedom Model

Am I An Addict?

Objective Truth vs. Subjective ‘Truth’

Published

on

With so much talk about heavy substance use increasing as a result of the pandemic lockdowns, there are many people wondering if they may have crossed the line from reasonable substance use to “addiction”. Rates of serious emotional problems such as depression and anxiety are skyrocketing across the country as a result of people being locked in their homes and many are using alcohol and other drugs to try and get some relief. But is this increasing demographic now officially suffering from addiction? Are these millions of people now doomed to lifetime of addiction treatment, meetings, and perpetual struggle? Let me answer this straight – absolutely not.

In the book, The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap, we discuss the concept of addiction as the following:

The very concept of addiction – whether it’s called a disease, a disorder, or something else – says that some people (i.e. “addicts & alcoholics”) are enslaved to the behavior of substance use in some way. That is, they cross some line where they are no longer actively choosing to use substances of their own free will, but instead are compelled to use substances. It’s also said that they are unable to stop themselves from using once they start (they experience a loss of control); that they are unable to stop wanting to use substances (they experience craving); that all of this just happens without their consent (that they’re triggered by various things and feelings); and finally, that they’re in for a lifetime of struggling with their demons (the “chronic relapsing disease” and “ongoing recovery.”)

This definition is a construct of the treatment industry – in other words, it’s made up. But because it has been repeated for nearly eight decades, it has become truth to believers. I was once a believer myself. I felt compelled to drink and drug. I believed addiction was something that happened to me. I felt that I was “powerless”. I felt that I would lose control after the first beer, hit or shot. I felt addicted, and I’ve since met tens of thousands who do as well.

take our poll - story continues below

Is Biden's Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional?

  • Is Biden's Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional?  

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to Flag And Cross updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Objective Truth vs. Subjective “Truth”

There is a difference between an objective truth and a subjective “truth”. An objective truth is the kind of reality that takes human opinion and feelings and throws them out the window. It just looks at the merits of the facts and we determine what the truth is based on that foundation. A subjective perception is just that, a perception or opinion-laden perspective. The concept of addiction, as defined above, is fully subjective, it is not grounded in fact. But because the idea that people are addicted – that addiction happens to them – is so oft repeated in our society today, it seems as if it is an objective truth. This definition of addiction is then taken as fact, and so the fear of becoming addicted becomes very real. It might even feel real to you personally or someone you know. The good news is once you know the facts, you can let go of this powerlessness narrative, and move on with your life without an “addiction.” In essence you can become truly objective about the subject.

What is Addiction Really?

Objectively speaking, what we think of as an addiction is a habitual preference for heavy use. We use heavily based on our perception that drugs and alcohol provide certain personal benefits. In the COVID scare, these benefits might include the belief that substances cure boredom, anxiety, depression and trauma. If we believe drugs can provide this relief, we will habitually prefer them and crave them.

But a subjective want (or a craving) is different than an objective need. In the conventional subjective definition of addiction as a disease or disorder, the “addict” is told they will always crave and need the substance for these magical qualities of relief. They are further told that they will always need substances to solve these human problems. Further still, the addiction model says that the COVID scare causes them to feel this way, and that their need for the substances becomes enormous and only intense treatment can stop the cravings and the desires for consistent use.

Moving Past the Lies

So how does someone get past the lies? What is the objective truth? Is addiction an unstoppable disease that requires lifelong treatment and struggle? Or is it a preference that can change – even in an environment defined by a pandemic?

The answer is the latter. You do not have a disease of addiction – the disease model of addiction was created to make an efficient path for third party reimbursement of drug and alcohol related medical and psychiatric needs. In other words the disease concept created a way for health insurance providers to pay the treatment and rehab industry for its services, it’s creation had nothing to do with whether, in fact, a disease existed. What you have is not a disease, but rather a preference for heavy use that you might choose to call “addiction.” That preference is based on the perception that drinking and drugging can somehow help you cope with the COVID scare and shutdowns. Substances can’t do that of course, but if you belief they can, then the belief will drive further heavy use.

Know this – you are not powerless. You are not compelled to use substances by an outside force called addiction. Your feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness are learned. You have reasons for your belief that substances provide benefits to you. But equally important is the truth that you can change your point of view and see that stopping or moderating your use might have more benefits than trying to cope by using drugs and alcohol heavily.

In short, addiction is what you make it. You can choose to see it as an unstoppable outside force that creates havoc in your life. You can even see it as a solution to boredom, worry, depression, trauma and anxiety, making heavy use seem so much more necessary than it actually is. Or, you can see it as a temporary habit you’ve created yourself. You can challenge the benefits you see in heavy use. You can challenge the idea that heavy use solves depression, anxiety and trauma. You can decide to deal with your human struggles without the idea that substances need to be front and center in solving them.

Let Go of the Construct of Addiction

Addiction, seen as a powerless state of mind is a construct meant to lead you to endless treatment. Let go of these myths! It is time to move on from this narrative, and challenge all the benefits you see in using. The benefits of not using or moderating far outweigh believing you are powerless and addicted. Once you come to grips with this objective truth, you will never use heavily again – even in the COVID era.

If you or someone you love are ready to break free from the addiction and recovery trap and move on, call us at 888-424-2626.

For more information about The Freedom Model go to TheFreedomModel.org

Mr. Mark Scheeren is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the St. Jude Retreat, as is co-author of The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap, the original Non-12-Step approach for people who struggle with serious substance use issues. Mr. Scheeren and his staff of Researchers and Instructors have helped many thousands find permanent solutions to their drug and alcohol problems.

With so much talk about heavy substance use increasing as a result of the pandemic lockdowns, there are many people wondering if they may have crossed the line from reasonable substance use to “addiction”. Rates of serious emotional problems such as depression and anxiety are skyrocketing across the country as a result of people being locked in their homes and many are using alcohol and other drugs to try and get some relief. But is this increasing demographic now officially suffering from addiction? Are these millions of people now doomed to lifetime of addiction treatment, meetings, and perpetual struggle? Let me answer this straight – absolutely not. In the book, The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap, we discuss the concept of addiction as the following: The very concept of addiction – whether it’s called a disease, a disorder, or something else – says that some people (i.e. “addicts & alcoholics”) are enslaved to the behavior of substance use in some way. That is, they cross some line where they are no longer actively choosing to use substances of their own free will, but instead are compelled to use substances. It’s also said that they are unable to stop themselves from using once they start (they experience a loss of control); that they are unable to stop wanting to use substances (they experience craving); that all of this just happens without their consent (that they’re triggered by various things and feelings); and finally, that they’re in for a lifetime of struggling with their demons (the “chronic relapsing disease” and “ongoing recovery.”) This definition is a construct of the treatment industry – in other words, it’s made up. But because it has been repeated for nearly eight decades, it has become truth to believers. I was once…

Continue Reading

Latest Articles

Best of the Week