Beliefs About the Disease of Addiction:
Any use of mind-altering chemicals is potentially harmful:
Even when the effects of a mind-altering substance are fairly predictable, how they may interact with any individual’s unique physiology and neurochemical homeostasis in unknown.
Substance Use Disorders often manifest as an emotional illness:
In the earlier stages of its progression, a Substance Use Disorder may not present with physical signs more common in other diseases. Instead, friends and family are more likely to observe changes in the individual’s demeanor, behavior, and cognitive function.
The Disease of Addiction is a Primary Neurologic Disease:
The debate over whether Substance Use Disorders constitute physiological impairments similar to other diseases or represent discrete choices on the part of the individual is settled. The Disease of Addiction is a disease of the brain and nervous system, and treating it in any other way is counter-productive and dangerous.
Substance Use Disorders occur within and across all cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic borders:
While there are certain genetic predispositions and cultural traditions that may make certain persons or peoples more susceptible to the Disease, no one can be said to be fully immune.
When a member of a family is affected by a Substance Use Disorder, the family is also affected:
Family involvement—whenever possible—is crucial to initial and ongoing recovery for the client and his/her/their loved ones.
Beliefs About Recovery From The Disease Of Addiction:
Recovery is always possible:
The more effort one puts into his/her recovery, the more likely that recovery becomes. While relapse—and even a return to active use—is not an uncommon part of a person’s eventual recovery, it need be neither inevitable nor permanent.
The Disease of Addiction is a catalyst for change, and the pursuit of recovery allows us to leverage this catalyst to our benefit:
Any individual who’s suffering from the Disease of Addiction is going to experience profound change in his/her/their life, yet learning to accept the reality of a Substance Use Disorder can empower one to focus on positive change, rather than succumb to the almost-certainly negative change enforced by active, problematic use of mind-altering chemicals.
Recovery flourishes when it is shared:
Substance Use Disorders often grow stronger and more intractable in isolation. Bringing recovery into the open not only broadens the recovering person’s network of support, but it allows those in recovery to share in each others’ successes.
Anyone who has been negatively affected by the Disease of Addiction can benefit from a program of recovery:
Even if a member of a family or social group has not, themselves, been afflicted with the Disease of Addiction, any close interactions with the sufferer will often result in unpleasant and even traumatic experiences that require and deserve attention.
Because recovery from Substance Use Disorders is a process, treatment should be, too:
Conventional residential and intensive outpatient programs, while very helpful, only engage clients in active group and individual sessions for a period of 2 to 4 months. Many clients benefit from treatment that not only helps them define and establish an initial program of recovery, but that is also a regular and consistent part of their lives as their recoveries evolve.