Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


How Everyone Already Knows the Disease Theory is Full of ___, but is Afraid to Say So

People must pull down the shades to believe addiction is a disease

I was interviewed for a podcast the other night by the indomitable Monda Williams.

As I told her repeatedly, she knew everything I knew, only she was intimidated from saying it based on the bullshit she heard from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the media, and the brainwashed recovering addicts she knows.

When I told her I regularly ask groups of recovering addicts what the hardest drug is to quit, and asked her to guess their response, Monda said, "You're the expert - tell us." When I said cigarettes, she replied, "That's what I would have said." So I wasn't going to let her off answering my next questions.

After I told her that a majority of the recovering alcoholics or whomever in the audiences where I asked that question had quit smoking, almost all without any kind of medical or other therapy, Monda said "I quit smoking four years ago." When I asked her to elaborate, she said,

"I quit cold turkey. I had been smoking for 20 years, since I was an adolescent. I had some bad influences in my life over the years. But I was in a place, looking at my life, where I just saw that I had to cut this out."

She then asked me, "So you believe you don't need medical therapy to quit an addiction?"

I almost blew up, "Why are you asking me questions you already know the answer to? How did you quit smoking?"

"Well," Monda said, "is smoking really an addiction like drugs?"

I said, "So you don't believe the Surgeon General and all those addiction experts who testify at trials where smokers sue tobacco companies that cigarettes are addictive?"

"I do," she claimed.

"Were you addicted?" I asked

"No, I don't think so."

"Why don't you think so?"

She then answered pretty much because she didn't think of herself as an addict.

I concluded, "Well, here's the most amazing thing - a higher percentage of heroin and cocaine addicts and alcoholics quit their addictions on their own than smokers."

I could tell she couldn't really register what I was saying. So I shortly excused myself: "Monda - you know as much about addiction as I do - so you can answer any listeners' questions. You just have to believe what you already know."

References - This is what it says at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's Website: "Twenty years after onset of alcohol dependence, about three-fourths of individuals are in full recovery. . . . About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

Go ahead, recovering people and disease theory advocates - join the know-nothings in the Tea Party and attack the government.

Picture: Apologies to Ray

More from Stanton Peele Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today