The question “Can Addiction be Cured?” is one frequently asked by addicts. A lot of people believe an addict can be permanently cured and even use alcohol or drugs again in moderation like normal people.
This is not what I believe. I believe once an addict, always an addict.
In treatment we were taught it is the disease of addiction. It cannot be cured and if you are an addict you cannot recover. The closest you can come is to be “in recovery”. Being in recovery also implies not just being sober, you are working a program.
Once you get clean and sober you need to stay away from any form of mind or mood altering substance/ activity. You cannot touch another drink or drug again. This is a very scary thought for an addict, never being able to touch an addictive substance every again. It is often so overwhelming that even though you are aware that you are wrecking your life you would rather continue to do so than never be able to use again.
Think of it like being on a moving train. If you get off the train and then get on again it will be at the same place, moving at the same speed in the same direction. The path you are on is to land up dead, in prison or in an institution and until then you will damage everything and everyone you come into contact with, including yourself.
If I am an Addict can I have an Alcoholic drink?
Another belief about addiction that I see regularly (and I have seen people die because of this) is that if you are for example a cocaine addict and have never had an alcoholic drink before, if you stop cocaine you can drink alcohol. This is simply cross addiction. The scary thing is that this also can apply to food, gambling, sex, work…. It is very common to stop your drug of choice and simply carry on with your addiction in another form.
If you are an addict you cannot indulge in alcohol, gambling or any other type of risky behaviour.
In Alcoholics Anonymous we regularly refer to the saying:
One drink is too many and a thousand is not enough.
If I have one drink I will once again be in the grip of my addiction, it will take hold immediately and consume me.
What do you believe (please leave a comment), can addiction be cured?