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What is Addiction?

We believe that addiction is a primary, progressive, chronic and potentially fatal disease, which affects almost every aspect of an individual’s life as well as the lives of those surrounding the individual.

We believe that addiction is a physical and/or psychological dependence upon mood changing substances, e.g. alcohol, pills, food, sex, or money.

The disease of addiction is Primary. Addiction has no known cause. Some people seem to be genetically endowed with a tendency to become addicted. Regardless, addiction causes problems—it is not caused by problems.

The disease of addiction is Progressive. Addiction is a disease, which has a known and predictable course. Once a person crosses the unpredictable point in their lives where substance use is no longer “social” or “recreational” and/or once they begin experiencing problems because of their use of alcohol or other substances…they enter a disease process which follows a predictable course. They cannot cross back to the “unaddicted” side to use socially or recreationally. The disease is irreversible.

The disease of addiction is Chronic. As with other chronic diseases like diabetes, the disease of addiction cannot be cured. However, it can be arrested and successfully treated. A return to substance use will eventually result in progressively worse problems.

The disease of addiction is potentially fatal. Eventually, every aspect of their lives are negatively affected including health, relationships, finances, employment and spirituality. The life expectancy of addicted people is 12-15 years less than non-addicted people.

Who is the addict? He or she is a person whose excessive substance use repeatedly interferes with his/her health, family relations, marriage, personal relations, and work. He or she may be an executive, skilled worker, foreman, engineer, farmer, lawyer, doctor, housewife, minister, laborer, or child. Simply put, addiction is an equal opportunity disease: no one is immune.