Because Addiction

Regardless of whether addiction is a brain disease or a learning disorder, addicts are compelled to use ever increasing amounts of drugs and then one day they accidentally take too much or combine with other drugs and die.  This is the tragedy of addiction.  Is it true?


Not at all!  In fact, overdose is only loosely coupled with addiction.  Many people overdose who are just experimenting or dabbling in drugs and most drug addicts never overdose and are always well aware of how much drugs they are doing and what amount is safe, despite what is shown in movies and told in stories.  In fact, most overdoses are intentional suicides.  Usually the drug user is going through a tough time in life (as many of us do) and then one day decides to play ‘Russian Roulette’ with whatever drugs they have on hand.  Often it is a deadly combination of opiates, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and even huffing drugs.  The goal is usually a ‘cry for help’ though sometimes the outcome is fatal.

Once we understand overdose as a suicide attempt and not a symptom of ‘addiction’, we can see how a policy of ‘addiction treatment’ is not only ineffective but harmful: it targets the wrong population, since most overdoses are by people who are just experimenting and cannot possibly be considered ‘addicted’, and so are missed.  And much ‘addiction treatment’ is 12 Step based and teaches that the user is ‘powerless’ to the drug.  As a result, they may mistakenly believe they are powerless to their cravings, and then find themselves unable to resist the urge to overdo it the next time they are faced with one of life’s unavoidable frustrations or disappointments.  Actors especially are vulnerable to this dynamic, and many have died soon after attending AA (e.g. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Corey Monteith).

Opiates are implicated in many overdoses, and so politicians are now urging a crackdown on the doctors who prescribe them (or the drug companies that make them) in order to prevent the development of addictions.  But will that help?  In fact, crackdowns only push people into the heroin market, which is cheap and plentiful in many areas.  Also, one doesn’t need much of the drug in order to overdose, if it is mixed with other drugs or alcohol.  So a crackdown probably wouldn’t prevent the dabbler from accessing a lethal dosage, even if it limited the accessibility for addicts.  (As addictions go, opiates are the least harmful, and cause no damage to the brain or body even after long term use, with the exception of complications from dirty needles, so the addiction itself doesn’t cause death.)

More importantly, there are many people in chronic pain.  Crackdowns only make life more miserable for these people who need the drugs to function.  It’s simply wrong to characterize someone in pain as ‘addicted’ to opiates even if they are dependent on them, if their life would be miserable without it.  Are these people at greater risk of suicide?  Of course, as anyone in constant pain can attest the thought is never far away.  Kurt Cobain had chronic stomach pain for which he took opiates, and killed himself soon after an intervention in which he was told he would have to stop.

Suicides by people in chronic pain should be in a separate category and should not be held up as evidence for the severity of the ‘disease’ of addiction — the tragedy of which is that it afflicts otherwise healthy people.

The addiction treatment industry (whether disease theory, spiritual malady, or learning disorder) is always ringing the alarm bell: “People are dying of this disease!”  But this statement is simply false.  In fact if you go to an NA or AA meeting generally you find fairly healthy people who complain about pretty mundane problems and rarely about uncontrollable cravings.  The old timers when reciting their drunkalogs generally talk much more about their conquests than their cravings, and one gets the impression that their life was never at serious risk.  In fact, the claim of craving is simply a lie (Craving Lie) that is foisted upon the general public, and to vulnerable newcomers: “I almost died from my disease.”  This is followed by a testimony for the cult: “AA helped me and it was the only thing that ever helped.  Now I am happy, joyous, and free.™”

But this is just Big Book propaganda.  These people were generally having too much fun drinking and drugging to ever seriously consider suicide except perhaps as a manipulation ploy.  But now they can try to convince newcomers that they are in fact powerless.  In fact if the newcomer denies it, they will accuse them of lying and being in ‘denial’.  They may be told: “You are full of resentments that are deadly for the addict.  If you don’t believe it, go home and keep drinking/drugging!”  Sometimes people actually follow the advice, and the morbidity is promoted as evidence of the disease.  I believe the evidence will show that AA attendance greatly increases overdose rates.  Anyone who is depressed should seek professional help and avoid AA at all costs.

Parents of children who died of an overdose are quick to blame ‘addiction’ even if there is little evidence of long term drug use, and in fact often have to concoct a story that they were unaware or in denial of the extent of the ‘addiction’.  This fits in perfectly with the 12 Step disease model and such parents are often persuasive apostles for the group, even teaching other children about the dangers of the ‘disease’ or testifying before Congress.  But the simple truth is that the child was only dabbling in drugs, and one day experienced an insult, failure, or disappointment and decided to overdo it.  The parent much prefers the disease theory over the possibility that they inadequately prepared their child for the  vicissitudes of life.  The truth would be obvious in many cases simply by reviewing the child’s social network feed.

Every time the news shows a story about the high rate of overdose, they attribute it to ‘addiction’.  However, this connection is simply unjustified.  Most of these people are intentional suicides.  Often people start using drugs and alcohol because they are unhappy and having suicidal thoughts, and it is easy to see how this could quickly lead to a regrettable action.  Also many people claim ‘addiction’ to conceal a slow motion suicide.  If excessive drug use is seen as a symptom of unhappiness instead of a disorder on its own, we have a better chance of being able to intervene more quickly and offer help — help for unhappiness, not ‘substance abuse’.

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Stomp the Steppers

Are there steppers on your favorite message board?  Just post the link in a comment below and we’ll head over to stomp them out!

Some recent stepper stomps:

NIAAA Addiction Expert Dr. George Koob Maintains Silence

The venerable science journal Nature recently published NIAAA Director Dr George Koob‘s beautifully illustrated science fiction fantasy about drug addiction:

Nature: The Development and Maintenance of Drug Addiction


His esteemed colleague Dr. Donald F. Klein, D.Sc. responded:

My experience with human heroin addiction stems from 1953 to 1955. Having one whole year as a psychiatric resident at Creedmoor State Hospital Continue reading

AA Threatens AddictionMyth on The Fix!

The Best Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder Your Addiction Counselor Isn’t Telling You

Your RELIGION teaches that drinking causes crimes, thus one must be punished for drinking. That is a RELIGIOUS belief. Again, just punish for the crimes. And yes the laws are precisely what is at issue here. Juliet has a problem that JUDGES are sentencing people to AA. And I’d agree that’s just wrong. But you are so blinded by your fanaticism for your religion that you cannot see it.

Sorry, but my religion and my drinking coexist very amicably. I guess some people aren’t as fortunate. I wish you the best. Be careful. Continue reading

Psycho Stepper: A Chat with Drug Czar Michael Botticelli



The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) demands the immediate retraction and termination of your irresponsible and dangerous anti-AA propaganda website (‘AddictionMyth’) claiming that all alcoholism and drug addiction is completely fake and all addicts are liars and that AA is a ‘blood cult of mischief’ and a ‘drinking club’ and a ‘sin mortgaging scam’ and brainwashes innocent people to kill themselves.  We have received numerous complaints from the public claiming that people have seen your website and refused life saving treatment, and many of those people have overdosed and died.  You have completely ignored our numerous complaints and now we must take decisive action to shut you down.   Continue reading

Alcoholism: The Lie Becomes the Truth

William James was born in 1842 and grew up in an age of rapid advancements in science and industry that promised to unveil the mysteries of the world and relieve man of his physical burdens. He studied medicine at Harvard and soon was teaching courses in physiology. However he is best known for his contributions to the study of the mind, and is considered the “Father of American psychology”. He founded the philosophical school of Pragmatism, which stated that the truth of a statement is nothing more than the usefulness to the person who believes it (a reversal of our intuitive sense).  He applied the newly discovered principles of Darwinism to epistemology: the most useful ideas eventually win out. Continue reading

AA: The American ISIS

Both Alcoholics Anonymous and ISIS believe that alcohol is evil and makes you do bad things.  Of course, ISIS bans alcohol for that reason.  But they are raging hypocrites, and their leaders engage in all the prohibited ‘evils’ including drinking, drugs, rape, and homosexuality, while forbidding those behaviors to the masses.

AA is a drinking club and blood cult of mischief with a similar dynamic.   Continue reading

Dan Genis: Aronofsky’s Robot Zombie

In Darren Aronofsky’s Pi (1998), the young protagonist Max Cohen is a brilliant Math genius at an unspecified downtown New York City university.  He discovers a 216-digit string of numbers that hinted at “The true name of God.”  Max tries to unite math, computers, drug use and kabballah to uncover the secret of the universe.  Like his hero Alastair Crowley, who attempted a similar feat almost a hundred years earlier, his attempt failed miserably and painfully.  The film earned Aronofsky the Directing Award at Sundance and high praise from Roger Ebert.

Daniel Genis was a young and ambitious student at New York City’s elite Stuyvesant High School Continue reading

The Origin of Sin

We are born sinners.  In fact it’s the child’s job to push boundaries and break the rules.  Not everyone is born with a finely tuned moral compass, and so that’s just how we learn.  Of course, it’s the parent’s job to discipline with love.  The right balance is important: if the parent is too strict or cruel then the child learns that the rules are arbitrary and can be broken if no one is looking.  If the parent is too lax, then the child must either learn to police himself (with guilt and shame) or will simply continue to break the rules under the assumption that this is acceptable as long as no one says anything, and unintentionally develops the art of lying, manipulation, and self-deception.

Continue reading

AA’s Satanic Roots

Alastair Crowley chafed at the long and oppressive list of ‘Thou shalt nots’ in the bible, as well as the hypocrisy he saw in the church in which he followed his father who was a traveling preacher.  So he dreamed up a new religion whose only law was “Do what thou wilt.”  He named it Thelema and spent the rest of his life trying to justify it through a grand unified theory of science, magic, occult and drug use.  He founded two churches in which to practice this religion: OTO (Order of Oriental Templars) and  A∴A∴ (Argentium Astrum – Silver Star).  

The primary purpose of the religion was of course to convince women to sleep with him or engage in various depraved activities and to not complain about it afterwards.  Unfortunately he never achieved much success and died poor and alone, and highly reviled.   Continue reading

And the Lesson Today is HOW TO DIE!

Simon Astaire has his personal imprint on many high profile calamities.

Elliot Rodger and his six victims

Astaire is the family’s close personal adviser and main link to the outside world.  “So many people are asking what could have led this young man to take the lives of 6 innocent people and injure 13 others.  So yesterday I spoke with close family friend and author Simon Astaire who knew Elliot Rodger since he was a little boy and witnessed his parents’ struggle to raise him first hand.”

Continue reading

Pepperdine U Sues AddictionMyth’s Ass Off!

Pepperdine University today filed papers to “sue the ass off” AddictionMyth for “all he’s worth” for impersonating and plagiarizing Public Policy Assistant Professor Angela Hawken.  Said Pepperdine President Andrew K. Benton, “That despicable troll committed the crimes of Impersonating a Revered University Official and then Plagiarizing Sacred Academic Texts when he copied her research wholesale and passed it off as her own.  I mean, I believe in academic freedom.  But crediting ideas to their rightful owner?  That’s just outrageous!” Continue reading

A Conversation with Drug Policy Expert Angela Hawken

Angela Hawken is a professor at Pepperdine U and a drug policy expert.  She is author of the book Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know.  AddictionMyth recently sat down with the raging loon for an intimate conversation by email:

Angela Hawken:  You have a blog post “written” by me.  Except that I did not write it.  I want it removed from your site or attributed to the correct author. Continue reading