Despite the fact that 12-step drug rehabilitation programs have extremely low success rates, many addicts and alcoholics flock to this modality of drug treatment. Why? The reasons are simple. Many 12-step drug rehabilitation programs receive state funding, and consequently, the required meetings are free. But is it a true concept that drug addiction is a disease, a concept that 12-step drug rehabilitation programs are based upon? Most importantly, does this belief actually aid the addict in overcoming addiction?
These 12-step drug rehabilitation programs spread the word that there is “No known Cure,” and, in actuality, this belief contributes to the high relapse rates among members. Here’s why. If an addict believes that he suffers from a disease that is incurable, his belief system is already preset for failure. This belief sets up the revolving door of recovery and relapse that plagues 12-step drug rehabilitation programs.
In 2003, the Baldwin Research Institute published an article on its website titled Alcoholism: A Disease of Speculation that asserts the idea that addiction is NOT a disease. The article states: “The disease concept has proven to be far more damaging to the substance abuser then anyone could have predicted. Therapists claim the disease concept helps the patient to understand the seriousness of [his/her] problems. But in reality, this idea has backfired. The disease concept strips the substance abuser of responsibility. A disease cannot be cured by force of will.” And yet, this is exactly what 12-step drug rehabilitation programs expect of their members.