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  • Writer's pictureDavid Sklar, PhD, ACSW

The Disease Model

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

The disease model of addiction describes addiction as a disease with biological, neurological, genetic, and environmental sources of origin. First of all, this definition fits a variety of phenomena. It more aptly describes asthma then it does alcoholism. Secondly, what happened to the specific individual. Where does the 'I' go? who buys the liquor? Where do they go? Who do they talk with? What do they buy? What makes them stop and not buy? The Will recedes on they down to the pit. I have been there. It doesn't disappear. I bought the bottle. I drank the liquor. Now I don't buy the bottle and I don't drink the liquor. The same me, different decisions.

The disease model seems to want to absolve the alcoholic from feeling bad, sad, worthless,ect... about being unable to control their drinking. It is as if there are strong forces internally and externally before you are a drunk that push towards your alcoholic fate. While there are strong forces pushing many in that direction, not everybody from the same circumstance makes the same choice. We have a choice to drink or not drink. Will-power. The power of the Will. If I may borrow from Nietzsche, The Will for Sobriety. We reduce our Will when we can't stop drinking, and regain our Will when we do stop drinking. This works for the addict, not for the victim of Parkinsons.

Will trumps alcohol. Disease trumps Will.

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