When I entered rehab on July 5, 1996, involuntarily and five times the legal limit for drunk driving, I was certain alcoholism was a personality defect and I was a poster boy for the proposition. As my doctor noted in my medical chart, “He has lots of shame associated with his present problem, does not think he has a disease, just thinks he’s a bad guy.” I dismissed both my doctor’s diagnosis of alcoholism and the 12-Step solution rehab prescribed. But I was to learn I couldn’t have been more wrong.
32 days of rehab shattered my denial of my alcoholism. But when I got out I still didn’t accept that it was a disease and couldn’t shake the stigma I attached to it. But then I studied the science of addiction and learned I’d been wrong about the disease model: addiction really is a brain disease. Addicts have physiologically different brains than “normies,” which explained why I felt and acted the way I did.
Rehab led me to intellectual acceptance of my addiction. But that wasn’t enough. Coming to see that it’s a brain disorder enabled me to reach the emotional acceptance necessary for long-term sobriety.
I created AddictScience.com to help those affected by addiction, particularly for people like I used to be who harbor doubts about whether it’s really a disease or whether treatment works. (For more, click on Doubt Addiction Is A Disease? I Did, and Doubt Treatment Works? I Did.)
I hope the information in this website will help ease the journey others have to travel in coming to terms with addiction, whether their own or a loved one’s.
San Francisco, California
For more about this Web Site, click on:
- About Navigating This Site
- A Word About Science and Spirituality
- A Note About the Terms “Addict” and “Alcoholic”
- About Repetition
- A Humble Plea for Corrections