Our Relationship to Addiction | Steven Slate | TEDxTahoeCity

Our Relationship to Addiction | Steven Slate | TEDxTahoeCity

A great Ted Talk by Steven Slate about the reality of problems caused by treatment solutions for addiction. I have followed Steven Slate since I read his intelligent contributions to the Stinkin Thinkin Blog some time ago. He has a great site here at http://www.thecleanslate.org/

This is a quote from his site next to this Ted Talk.

Addiction is not a disease, it is a choice…

…the disease model of addiction has never been scientifically proven. What’s more, the disease model hasn’t even helped to reduce stigma, reduce overdoses, or even to help people solve their substance use problems. All the promises of the medical model have fallen flat. It’s made things worse.

If you’re ready for a realistic helpful view, read on. I think you’ll find the evidence demonstrates that “addicts” are free to change, and that passing on this information isn’t cruel–it’s compassionate.

My thoughts.

I certainly agree with a lot of what he says. I certainly felt that the 12 step approach and calling addiction a disease are things that are out of date. I certainly don’t like the idea that people are powerless. I have read a lot on the subject that supports his views. I hope more people speak out against the old fashioned ideas which work for such a small amount of people. There are lots of superior solutions to beating addiction which do not involve faith or prayer which I have mentioned on other parts of this site.

My experience from running this blog suggests that there are lots of people who have not done well with 12 step groups especially if they had it pushed on them, but who have done much better when they have made use of more modern solutions. Lives are lost because of treatment centers offering such a poor quality service which would not be acceptable in other areas.



Commenting area

  1. Addiction/alcoholism may not be a “disease”, but it is definitely correlated with biochemical changes in the brain. Biological interventions during the early recovery phase to deal with cravings should be mandatory for treatment centers to offer….AA/NA, not so much.

  2. @EDWARD
    Look up Marc Lewis and his new book “the biology of desire”

  3. AA has done many good things for my life..I would describe it as a friend I do not like everything about..I have identified a big problem in aa is a lack of acknowledgment of the links between trauma and addiction and many members are only treating the addiction and not the trauma…I was surprised to discover the founder of AA had a very traumatic childhood but the big book completely fails to acknowledge this…I am transitioning into the co-dependents anonymous programme which is very acknowledging of trauma and the consequences it has as an adult and its links with addiction.

  4. Trauma surivors need to be very careful in the rooms of AA as some members may try and tell them when there acting up that its the disease ..its your alcoholic mind..your a little bit mad..trauma is not madness..it is something mad which has happend to you and the behaviour that results is coming from pain. I think the sponsorship system is very flawed..it works if you buddy up with someone sensible, but some sponsors may not be qualified to deal with what they are being given and they are attempting to treat people with mental health issues with superstitious ideas. I think that some sponsors may even be less healthy than the sponsees they have. some sponsors abuse there postion..when i first came into the room a sponsee attempted to impose his sponsorship on me which even the programme agrees is wrong which suggests some are using the qualification to sponsor as a way of gaining power.

    • I certainly agree. AA is no substitute for proffesional on issues such as trauma, although some more extreme members seem to think that it is a solution for everything. I certainly had poor advice from a sponsor, but luckily I ignored his faith based approach and got some proper counselling. I found being part of the sober community of AA helped me at the start of my recovery butI found more modern solutions helped me sustain my sobriety.

  5. Mr Slate has some decent ideas, many of which match my personal views and experience, but he overshoots the runway by oversimplifying.

    I know too many people who had serious addiction issues. While what they experienced may not technically be a disease in the strictest sense, “choice” is something none of them consciously felt they had. Warning: bad analogy ahead. For example, while I can “choose” the specifics of each meal, I don’t feel like I can choose not to eat. When you’re addicted, that stuff is more important than food to you.

    • Hi Mike, I am not a fan of calling addiction a disease and it is not done much outside USA. At times I felt that I had no choice not to drink, I couldn’t live without booze, but I feel that was me giving in to serious cravings and my warped reward system. I was certainly making achoice to stop when I finally decided enough was enough, but is was seriously tough! I think to really beat addiction on your own you do have to face up to and make this difficult choice. thankfully there are other solutions such as The Sinclair Method that can make this easier.

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