by Allen Coberly exclusive for

“In the end, when we don’t stand up and speak out, we hide behind our recoveries, we sustain the most harmful myth about the disease – that it is hopeless.”

William Cope Moyers, author of “Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption”

When Mr. Moyers speaks of addiction, he speaks of ‘bad habits’ that have taken control of and even jeopardized one’s life.

Addiction, whether to chemical substances, harmful behaviors or both, is alarmingly widespread- the National Institute on Drug Abuse( NIDA) estimates that there are 22.5 million drug and alcohol addicts in the U.S. alone ( roughly 10% of the adult population, former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke once famously stated thathis city had “over 60,000 drug addicts”-again nearly 10% of the population)  and the problem can be nearly impossible to understand, admit and confront.

Once widely considered to be a moral or character flaw on part of the addict; addiction is now commonly viewed as a chronic, treatable disease. Alcohol, drugs and gambling are the most well-known and studied addictions; however, a list of potential addictions is nearly as long as the list of potential human behaviors, and can range from habitual over-eating to obsessive self-mutilation. All can be deadly.

The number and variety of recovery programs and methods are almost as numerous as the number of addictions- most people have at least a passing knowledge of traditional ’12-Step’ programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, but newer approaches include such diverse treatments as: acupuncture; drug-free psychiatry; hypnosis; yoga; exercise/nutritional regimes and aromatherapy.

For the addict who is newly recovered, these choices can be as baffling as their addictions, perhaps more so.

The subject of addiction and recovery is often contentious and subjective and rarely simple; one treatment may work wonders for one individual, while the same treatment may lead to relapse or worse when applied to a different person.

The one thing that is almost universally recognized is that acknowledgment of a problem is the single most important element of recovery.

As yet, there does not seem to be any single ‘magic bullet’ that cures addiction- there is not even a consensus that it can be ‘cured’ as such, but there is hope. It’s an increasingly open problem and, with luck and determination, many addicts can and do find or develop effective methods to recover and lead happy, ‘normal’ lives.

The NIDA states:”No single treatment program is right for everybody. Matching the treatment program to each individual’s needs is critical to success.”

At, we will monitor new, alternative and traditional treatments and objectively report on case studies as they develop. As author and addict Melanie Solomon says:”It is finally time to stop living in the dark ages of recovery, [and] educate people about all of [the] choices and alternatives that are out there. ”

© By Allen Coberly 2006.

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