From my perspective, addiction has taken portions of my life, very much like diabetes or cancer takes away from the lives of those suffering from those diseases.
I wonder if one would say; schizophrenia takes the soul of the sufferer. For me, my soul is very much intact. My addiction has taken my self respect at times, my ability to function at times, my joy, my potential.
I think if society had any kind of understanding about alcoholism, drug addiction, our prisons wouldn't be overcrowded, addicts would be more open to recovery and society would understand the person with the disease better. I am not a label. I am a human being, born with a malfunction in part of my brain.
If people were educated on the, very real, dysfunction of the brain chemistry causing the inability for a person to regulate their consumption of mind altering substances. Can you imagine someone aspiring to be a drunk when they grow up? Come on. Nobody WANTS to be that.
Alcoholism and drug addiction, it doesn't matter, it's all drugs, is not a moral failing, it is a medical condition. Unfortunately, the world beats us down to the point where hope of recovery is often lost. The relapse rate in the long term is somewhere between 50 - 90%.
This number is dismal, I know. When one leaves rehab and returns to families who are uneducated, or motivated to make the environment safe, it is nearly impossible. Will power will not do it. The attitude of: It's your problem, not mine, will send any recovering addict back out.
It's most difficult to get out of a marriage, a job, etc . . . break ties will all your friends who drink. So, one may go on for a while, managing, for the sake of others. It is a road leading to a sure relapse. Until addiction is recognized as a disease, this country is doomed to failure.
Fantasizing the freedom from addiction that comes from recognition of the disease it is.