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Gratifying delusions (like that we're in touch with "reality") are so addictive, we tend to hang onto them no matter what they cost us.

Before the Devil Knows You're Hooked

Champions of "personal responsibility" believe that moral censure can prevent addiction and spur addicts’ recovery by removing “incentives” to use drugs. The recovery community diagnoses addiction as a medical condition that blame can’t help. In the end, Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn’t saved by either camp. Read More

What is voluntary can be changed

For a mind wired to use, deliberation can only do so much.

Although the brain disease model of addiction is perceived by many as received knowledge it is not supported by research or logic.


Then there are others. Keith Richards, according to his autobiography, was an addict by choice as well as proclivity. He broke his dependency, he claims, only when the police were closing in and threatening to destroy his band. In other words, he was the kind of addict upon whom legal disincentives eventually worked.

Or, is it more of a case of a crisis situation forcing Richards to confront his behaviour and seriously consider the pros and cons of continued use? Thus, it is not the legal ramifications specifically, but an unavoidable and dramatic confrontation with the present and future cost of his addiction that finally motivates him to change.

Ultimately, addiction is most usefully described as a disorder of choice. Nobody has ever stopped using without exhibiting self-control.


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Lynn Phillips is the author of Self-Loathing for Beginners. She has written (sometimes as "Maggie Cutler") for a variety of publications, from The Nation to T Magazine. more...

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