Updated: May 7, 2019
Addiction is not some phase of behavior that eventually fades into the past. It is a chronic disease managed one day at a time. The issues with treating addicts are not limited to the complexities of their brain’s potential damage* or the difficulties in access to proper healthcare.
Drugs are ingrained in culture: from influence in the entertainment industry, to political involvement, to medicine. Narcotics remain a profitable industry for the lucky** as long as dealers are stigmatized. Criminalizing addiction through possession or distribution punishes the poor for being born into a society that invests in drug trafficking.
The average local dealer or user is a struggling person, not someone in a position to take advantage of others. The true people exploiting addiction enable the conditions for inequality in treatment and punishment for a disease spread by society. All the effort into treating individuals is two steps forward then one step back when there is no end in sight to the system that causes it. Dealing with the system of addiction begins with dealing with drug culture.
Have any doubt about who lives with addiction? Attend a meeting. The people are as diverse as in line at the DMV whether it is AA, NA, Refuge, or a support group. Addicts are friends, family, and community. Look in the mirror. Whether or not an addict is looking back is only by chance.
*especially in terms of decision making
**and a means of getting by for many
Refuge Recovery meetings are an alternative to the standard twelve step program that addresses the root of the pain behind addiction within oneself to gain grounding techniques for moving forward. For anyone struggling, there are people who can relate at these meetings.
"Refuge Recovery is a non-profit organization grounded in the belief that Buddhist principles and practices create a strong foundation for a path to freedom from addiction. This program is an approach to recovery that understands: All individuals have the power and potential to free themselves from the suffering that is caused by addiction. We feel confident in the power of the Dharma, if applied, to relieve suffering of all kinds, including the suffering of addiction. This is a process that cultivates a path of awakening, the path of recovering from the addictions and delusions that have created so much suffering in our lives and in this world."