Five Simple Truths about Addiction

Dr. Ellis discusses the danger of waiting for an addict to “want to go to treatment.” A Hazelden Betty Ford Addiction Center interview of recovering addicts and alcoholics asked them “what set you on the road to recovery.” 77% said a friend or family member cared enough to intervene. A caring intervention harnesses the incredible and divine power of love to help the addict become willing to get well.

Families can easily get overwhelmed by all of the information about addiction, with some of it being contradictory. You must find a trusted source of information, and I hope this site will be that for you.

The following five truths about addiction form a really solid foundation for understanding the disease.
  1. Addiction is the primary diagnosis. Often family members tell me something like “I think it’s the depression that makes her drink.” Or “The marriage is so bad, anyone would drink.” That makes it sound like if we just treated the depression or sent the couple to marriage counseling then the addiction would disappear. That is not true. Addiction is the primary diagnosis and until we treat it none of the other problems can be resolved.
  2. Addiction is chronic. This means that we never “cure” addiction. It’s like diabetes or heart disease. Follow a life-long program of recovery and the addiction will remain in remission.
  3. Addiction is progressive. Addictions do not disappear or spontaneously resolve. In fact, they get worse.
  4. Addiction is fatal. If left untreated addiction will kill the sufferer. Prescription and illicit drug overdoses kill tens of thousands annually. Alcohol deaths are listed at about 90,000 but alcohol as a main contributing factor in fatal diseases pushes this number well into the hundreds of thousands.
  5. Addiction is treatable. At the core of all addiction lies a spiritual void. Into that void comes the pill, the bottle, or the needle, etc. The good news is the addiction responds very well to a combination of spirituality, psychology, and community support.

A compassionate and wise intervention can be the catalyst that helps your loved one recover.