When it comes to addiction, two schools of thought dominate: 1) Addiction is all in the mind of the addict, and 2) Addiction is an identifiable and very real disease.
What if both are true?
Enter: The Secret Disease of Addiction: A Dis-ease Which Tells Us it Isn’t one, by Jane Allen, a recovering addict and co-founder of Affinity Lodge, a rehabilitation center producing success rates far above most facilities. Allen offers a provocative and controversial explanation of addiction based on it starting and ending in the brain, and why addiction is an acquired disease.
Unlike virtually any ‘theory’ put forth on the topic of alcohol and drug addiction, Allen posits that the disease of addiction is created and acquired by over-use of mood-altering substances.
The Secret Disease of Addiction, inspired and influenced by Allen’s mentor and co-founder of Affinity Lodge, John Gillen, explains in clear, simple language the psycho-biology of addiction by blending scientific knowledge with personal experiences.
The underpinnings of Allen’s philosophy on addiction have led to amazingly successful outcomes at Affinity Lodge, with a recovery rate far exceeding most programs.
“Addiction is an acquired disease, and this is difficult for most people to understand,” says Allen. “But when a person does come to understand it, stable recovery becomes much more possible.”
Although Allen’s program for stable and enduring recovery shares some similarities with Alcoholics Anonymous in terms of a heavy focus on God and spirituality, its premise – true understanding of the disease and self-empowerment rather than ‘outside’ dependency – differs substantially. Allen’s book outlines a process which starts with an admission that addicts are powerless in fighting the disease on their own, but its focus is on educating the addict to fully understand the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of recovery, supported by science.
“Addiction has a ‘starting point,’” notes Allen. “It is not solely a genetic predisposition to addiction; there are emotional, psychological and physical reasons why Happy Hours often equate to sad years, and why we turn to mood-altering substances to self-medicate.”
The Secret Disease of Addiction covers topics including:
Why addiction is a ‘disease which tells us it is not a disease’
Why addiction is in fact a disease caused by over-use of alcohol or drugs
The ‘party effect’ which often happens in adolescence, and why the ‘buzz’ of substances causes some to become addicted, while others do not.
The biological ‘need for relief’
The ‘geometric’ progression of addiction – from tolerance to dependency
Why addiction is a disease of stress, created by lifestyles and environment
“My book is a non-AA book which openly discusses and acknowledges the importance of God and spirituality,” adds Allen. “88% of people in AA don’t really ‘get it,’ and only 5% of those who do stay on the program. Understanding the multi-faceted underpinnings of addiction dramatically improves success statistics; I know because I’ve lived it and see it in our program.”
About the author
Jane Allen was raised in a middle class family and moved out at the age of 19. After a serious back injury led to a 10+ year addiction to painkillers, Allen went to several recovery and counseling programs with no long term success. After meeting John Gillen, Allen was able to control her addiction. She is currently an addiction specialist at Affinity Lodge located outside of London.
source: Tristate Observer, http://www.tristateobserver.com