(Excerpted from Quitting Crystal Meth, 2018 Update)
If you are buying this book for a family member or close friend who has a substance abuse problem, it’s important to know a few things up front.
Though addiction may have many causes — genetic, environmental, psychological, social and economic — there is no denying the neurobiological changes in the brain once it’s been “hijacked” by drugs, including alcohol.
The medical community has long considered addiction to be a “chronic disease,” just the same as high blood pressure or asthma. The difference between addiction and hypertension or asthma is the location of the malfunction. With addiction, the malfunction is in the brain — so the illness affects feelings and behaviors. Because of this, those who don’t know any better view addiction as a moral issue, a matter of willpower or character.
But the truth is more complicated, nuanced. Whatever else it may be, addiction is also a neurobiological process in a brain that is malfunctioning. We don’t blame someone with high blood pressure or asthma for the physical malfunction happening in their bodies. And we certainly don’t shame them for seeking treatment.
Why is it different for the addict? It shouldn’t be.
When you give this book to someone, remember there is no shame involved with addiction. It is not a sign that your friend or family member is somehow mentally weak or lacking in character. In my experience, the truth is often the opposite. Those struggling with addiction are some of the strongest people I know. With the brain no longer hijacked by a substance, they can become persons of amazing character.
When you give this book to someone, remember that only they can know when it’s time to quit. You can’t make that decision for them.
The way to give this book is without any shame or blame whatsoever.
You give it because you care.