Many men and women enter into recovery programs with the belief that, if they can break their addiction to their specific drug of choice, they will still be able to drink or even use other drugs that they felt they didn’t have a problem with. The disease of addiction, however, is not dependent on our use of a single substance. It is an all-encompassing disease that can only be treated through complete abstinence from mind and mood-altering chemicals. There is an abundance of misinformation from those who are unfamiliar with the disease of addiction. People will advise us to switch to “softer” drugs, or to just drink alcohol. These beliefs are based on the false idea that such substances will be less destructive to our lives. Our experience and knowledge of our disease of addiction tells a very different story. Many men and women have attempted this route before making the decision to attain permanent sobriety, and it always ends in failure. Our disease does not discriminate based on substance. The story is nearly always the same, a person quits using their drug of choice but their addiction causes them to simply replace that drug with another, such as alcohol, and soon their lives are just as chaotic and unmanageable as before. We know that addiction is a progressive and fatal disease. Dr. Silkworth, in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, describes a component of the disease as a “physical allergy.” He explains this as an inability to “start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving” and “the only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence.” This allergy is not limited solely to alcohol. We know from experience that any mind or mood-altering chemical that we put into our body had the potential to trigger this “phenomenon of craving.” As men and women attempting to recover, we must realize that our disease does not distinguish based on the type of substance we are using. We may find that we are able to drink alcohol without immediately engaging in addictive behavior, but overtime two things are more than likely to happen: we will either lose control of our drinking or we will return to our previous drug of choice. It may not be that moment, but our physical allergy has been triggered with the first drink. Eventually, based on our experience and what we know about the progressive nature of the disease, our lives will return to the darkness of addiction, often much worse than we ever believed possible. Sobriety, entire abstinence from drugs and alcohol, is our only safeguard against reentering the horrors of active addiction that we once faced.
You can make the choice to change the story of your life. Oceanfront Recovery is a treatment center with a professional and compassionate staff of detoxification specialists dedicated to making the process as comfortable as possible. For more information about Drug and Alcohol Detox Programs or other treatment options, please call: (877) 279-1777