Addiction is Progressive
I’ve heard a number of people question whether or not alcoholism and addiction are actually diseases. To put the matter to rest, let us define a disease. In the simplest definition possible, a disease is a condition that is harmful, progressive and if left untreated, fatal. Using this definition, alcoholism and addiction are diseases.
Let us begin by acknowledging that alcohol is but a symptom of alcoholism. In reality, quitting drinking is the easiest part of recovery. The hard part is learning how to live restless, irritable and discontent because that’s how we get if we are alcoholic and we don’t drink. Alcoholism is a disease of faulty thinking and perception. If anyone who is alcoholic is going to live without alcohol, they’re going to have to do something differently or it’s just going to get worse.
Addiction is progressive whether we continue to use or not. It has been said that if a person stays sober for 25 years and relapses, it will quickly become as bad as it would’ve been if he never had quit drinking. While there is no scientific data to support this contention, it is a common experience that many of us have witnessed more that I am comfortable with. Just because a person quit drinking doesn’t mean he quit thinking. If we are not actively getting better, we are passively getting worse.
Finally, alcoholism is a fatal illness. It either takes your life or the best parts of it. It kills you whether you die or not. Alcoholism will always get worse if we don’t do things to keep it at bay. Now to close this with some excellent news:
Recovery is also progressive!
Recovery is a state of wellness, is progressive and if pursued continuously, produces life. The more we do it, the better we get at it. The more mistakes we make, the more learning opportunities we encounter. We must allow our recovery to take on a life of its own. Let us never forget that it is a gift of God and we are blessed to have gotten it.
When it comes to alcoholism and addiction, focus less on what it is and focus more on what we can do about it. Regardless of the terrible prognosis that these conditions present, if you are willing to change and ask your Higher Power to help you, they can never hurt you again.
James A. Francetich is a freelance writer and author. The opinions expressed are solely of the author and do not represent any community based recovery programs, private or public entities or any governmental agencies.