by Eliza Player
This stigma of addiction keeps the drug user in the ancient realm of his moral failing, which is also exasperated by unchanging and archaic treatment models. Our treatment model is dominated by the 12-step model, which is a spiritual solution, relying on the connection with a Higher Power to find a treatment for addiction. To claim that addiction is a spiritual problem that requires a spiritual solution, simply keeps addiction in the realm of moral failing. Unfortunately, you hear this phrase often within 12-step groups. If you had cancer, would you skirt all medical treatments, and simply rely on the power of prayer and your pastor’s blessing to cure you? Of course not! But, yet our addiction treatment model is dominated by a spiritual solution, and too often evidence-based treatments are regarded as lesser options. We all acknowledge today that addiction is a disease, but the old image of drug use being a moral problem remains embedded within society’s belief, keeping many from seeking a medical solution to this disease. If you have diabetes, a doctor would not tell you to rely on your Higher Power to keep you alive, but he would look to evidence-based, scientifically proven, medical solutions. Stigma is the only reason that addiction is not regarded the same as other diseases.