Can Addiction be Cured?

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.

Can Addiction be CuredOnce I have been clean for a while can I have a drug or a drink again?

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?




  1. Tina says:

    Hi Lynne. Nice article that dispels the myth of addiction… I didn’t know addiction cannot be cured, and that it will always be with you.

    • Lynne Huysamen says:

      Thanks Tina 🙂 It is a common thought it can be “cured” and addicts can use again. I hope to educate as many people as possible about it.

      • Ryan says:

        Hi Lynne and thanks for your article. I don’t put much hope and faith in ‘cures’ as these are biochemically based and focus on the physical aspect – a cure is just a lack of symptoms.

        I do put a tremendous hope on ‘healing’…to being restored to wholeness / to overcome / being restored to original purity and integrity.

        Whatever 12-Step program people follow, the aim is to have a spiritual awakening. In my experience this was sufficient to heal me from 20-years of substance abuse.

        I now live a fully integrated life these days where I practice Steps 1 to 12 on a daily basis. I have no need to do meetings or have a sponsor as I’ve learnt to stand on my own two feet again and take personal accountability and responsibility for my actions.

        The Fellowships of AA and NA were part of my life, but were only a bridge to integration, not a destination. I agree, I cannot go back to drinking and using as I have a predisposition towards substance abuse, but that was never my actual problem – the spiritual void was. Once my void was filled I was healed.

        • Lynne says:

          Congrats on your sobriety! I also agree that the 12 Steps are the way to go and will lead to a spiritual awakening. We can all only be accountable for ourselves and find out what works for us. I believe working on the 12 steps on a daily basis is more than enough to keep one the spiritual void at bay. Thank you for visiting my website and sharing with us!

        • Emily says:

          hi Lynne
          I do agree that once an addict always an addict. My past partner was an addict. And there is no way he could use or drink and be okay. And that is a hard one for addicts to understand. He believed that when clean, he was in recovery. No, actually, he was just clean. Recovery is way more than that. I see the recovery road as being a personal one but with different steps that are common. I like your analogy of the train. I think it describes things well.

          • Lynne Huysamen says:

            Thanks Emily. Sorry to hear about your past partner, it must have been terribly hard for you!

          • lb says:

            Pretty sad to think that while one is in recovery they can never ingest an addictive substance. What if you have surgery and need something for pain? Are you saying that because a person has addiction problems they must now tolerate pain and never take anything for it? Just curious.

            • Lynne Huysamen says:

              Pretty much yes! I am planning on sharing my birth stories too…. emergency c-section for my first birth and elective c-section with my second birth. When all the other new moms had Morphine in their drips and then afterwards Myprodol for the pain I had a Paracetamol mix in my drip and Paracetamol tablets. Needless to say I wasn’t a happy chappy having major abdominal surgery and getting Paracetamol! At rehab we often joked that if we accidentally cut off our arm with a chainsaw we would get a band-aid and a Paracetamol 🙂 It is all about choices though. To consciously choose to have an addictive substance to help with pain after surgery is a personal choice. It can be dangerous and I just wasn’t prepared to take that risk, especially with having a new baby. I know how strong my addiction is and I had nightmares about just walking (limping) out of hospital in a backless gown to try and find drugs, leaving my newborn baby all alone. It was a scary thought and I just couldn’t take anything.

            • mariette says:

              All addictions can be cured, it takes much faith, helping people around, a big dose of courage and a very long time. If you want to get out of the hole, you will.
              You will never be healed completely, so it will require to be attentive for the rest of your life.
              It may looks difficult, it is. But do it, you have only one life !

              • Lynne says:

                Hi Mariette

                Thanks for visiting my website and sharing your thoughts. I completely agree with you, an addict is never completely healed and will have to work a program of recovery for the rest of his or her life.

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