The disease model of addiction takes into account that it is a chronic, progressive, and fatal illness. The chronic nature of the disease means that, like diseases such as diabetes and cancer, it must be managed. Fortunately, through adherence to a program of recovery, addiction and alcoholism can be managed successfully. However, if left untreated, the disease can progress to a point where a sufferer faces three possible options: jails, institutions, or death. Due to the progressive nature of the disease, complete abstinence from mind and mood-altering chemicals is the only solution. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous present a story of a businessman who decided not stop drinking and remained free from alcohol for twenty-five years. After his retirement, however, “he fell victim to the belief which practically every alcoholic has—that his long period of sobriety and self-discipline had qualified him to drink as other men.” Within two month he was in the hospital for complications from alcoholism. He attempted to stop again but “every attempt failed. Though a robust man at retirement, he went to pieces quickly and was dead within four years.” This is but one example of the way that the disease of addiction and alcoholism can progress. Even a long period of sobriety does not negate the fatal progression of the disease. Many men and women in recovery communities have stories about putting together time sober, then relapsing into a much worse state of addiction, as if the disease had continued to worsen even while they were abstinent. Combined with the chronic nature of the disease, we are in strong danger of relapse and facing more suffering and unmanageability as a result. As stated in the Big Book: “Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol.” If we are to recover, we must maintain an awareness of the nature of our disease and its progression.
Recovery from addiction and alcoholism is possible and can be the next great chapter in the story of your life. You can begin building a brighter future by making the decision to seek help now. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with compassionate professionals dedicated to providing you all the tools needed to recover mentally, physically, and spiritually. For more information about treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777