Science, as medicine is commonly called, is never-ceasing in its search for cures. In his syndicated column, Albert Edward Wiggam once wrote that science has not discovered a surefire cure for alcoholism, but it has found a drug that helps. He said that, after a drunken man sobers up the drug Equanil quiets his tense nerves and helps reduce the desire for another drink. This is to say, the drug substitutes for alcohol. The drug is sufficiently dangerous that it can be obtained only upon a physician’s prescription.
Drug addiction is frequently an aftermath of the employment of drugs in the treatment of disease. Sedatives, narcotics, and stimulants are employed with which to provide evanescent, but fictional, relief from discomfort and pain. Somatic awareness, no less than psychic awareness, is benumbed by the taking of sedative drugs and the house-cleaning that is so urgently needed is not undertaken. Each repetition of the dose tends to build a drug habit. A rebirth of awareness follows the excretion of the drug.
It is then that the drug user becomes aware of his actual condition. His physician will call his symptoms withdrawal symptoms. He should realize that they are the outcries of an organism that has been outraged with poisons.
Drug addiction grows out of the search for relief from the unease, weakness, discomfort and pain that result from the employment of drugs and is not a genuine demand for a repetition of the drug. There is no craving for a drug, but a subconscious demand for relief.
For fifty years I have insisted that what is called drug addiction arises out of the search for relief from the unease, discomfort, distress and misery caused by prior taking of a drug. The narcotic addict obtains a brief respite from his misery by renarcotizing his nerves.
The stimulant addict receives a brief illusion of renewed strength by goading his nerves with the stimulant the prior taking of which is responsibte for his weakness. In July of 1971 a former drunkard was interviewed on television here in San Antonio. When asked what made him drink he stated: “I would drink today to get relief from the misery caused by drinking yesterday.” Thus speaking from his personal experience, he confirmed my view.
So persistent and so insistent is the demand for relief from the drug caused misery, the victim of the drug practice finds himself unable to resist the temptation to return again and again to the source of his misery for the temporary “relief” this affords.
To provide this “relief” requires a progressive increase both in the size and the frequency of the dose. The standard procedures in such cases continue to revolve around efforts to break the vicious circle by a gradual reduction of the dose, both in size and frequency, and to substitute one addiction for another.
Both of these plans have proved very unsatisfactory, for the reason that each of them continues to outrage the nervous system by continuing drugging and the search for relief through drugs. Instead of stopping the drug to which the habitue is addicted, it is continued or an effort is made to substitute another drug—one narcotic for another or one stimulant for another.
The addict continues to be smothered in his drug-induced miseries. No effective means of promoting the health of the individual is employed, hence the addict does not recover normal health. In those few cases where apparent recovery from addiction occurs, the tendency to relapse is great.
Diseases and vices, growing out of the same general causes, and being essentially the same, are therefore, to handled on the same general plan. That mode of care that will restore health to the sick man, will just as effectually relieve the vicious man and vice versa. If it fails in one, it will fail in both. When either disease or vice becomes thoroughly matured, it is, to a large extent, beyond control of the will. A proper environment and a Hygienic life provide the best hope in this case.
It is idle to suppose that a man who has violated nature’s laws until his sensations are all abnormal, and the mainsprings of his life are all befouled, representing poor diseased conditions and vicious habits, can merely exercise the will to recover, and even recovery would not be at all sufficient unless good habits and a thorough revolution of life follow.
To appeal simply to the intellect and moral sense of a tobacco smoker or an opium eater or a drunkard, as a means of inducing him to relinquish his indulgence is generally about as effective as to ask an ague patient to stop shaking.
When Professor Carlson, who was a habitual cigar smoker, underwent a short fast in his studies of hunger, he found that after the second day of abstinence, he did not enjoy smoking. “In fact,” he reports, “smoking tended to produce nausea.”
It is not an unusual experience for the fast to compel the smoker to discontinue the practice. Many have been able to continue smoking through a fast, but all who discontinue smoking at the outset of fast find that after two to three days without food, they have no more craving for the weed. The same is true of other forms (chewing, for example) of tobacco addiction.
A similar experience is seen in other drug addictions. It is a simple matter to give up coffee, tea, marijuana, alcohol, opium, morphine, and similar addictions by fasting at the same time the drug is discontinued. It is best to abandon all addictions at once and abruptly.
For example, the average alcoholic also smokes tobacco and drinks coffee. He will find it easier to discontinue the alcohol if he also abandons both the coffee and the tobacco at the same time. This will be easily understood when the true character of addiction is understood.
Most addicts think it will be easier to give up one drug at a time or to give up one drug habit and continue the others. An organization in California has a home where drug addicts are taken in. By a program similar to that employed by Alcoholics Anonymous, they slowly eduate the addict out of his addiction. Frequently two years or more are required to whip the morphine habit.
The addicts eat a conventional diet, smoke tobacco and drink freely of coffee. This is the hard way: it is the long way and it probably registers many failures. There cannot be any doubt that their educational program and their cultivation of self-reliance are useful features of the rehabilitation of the addict, but the education program does not go far enough.
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Faulty education is the chief, if not the only cause of all drug addiction. It may be and probably is true that individuals with neuropathic tendencies most readily fall prey to so-called habit-forming drugs, but the fact remains that the initial use of drugs arises out of false education. Had the whole population not been wrongly educated from infancy up, they would not turn to drugs to “sustain” them when some unusual circumstance puts a heavy tax upon the nervous system.
Pain, sleeplessness, profound and lasting emotions, losses, etc., cause the nervously unstable to turn to those sources of palliation they have been, educated to believe will supply the desired, relief. For this false education and all the evils that grow inevitably out of it, we are indebted to the medical profession and to no other.
The legitimate pharmaceutical industry has flooded today’s market place with great quantities of addictive drugs which are being sold, especially to the young, through, both legitimate and illegitimate channels. Most of the drugs now being taken by youth are supplied the drug pushers by duly licensed manufacturers of the drugs.
If we assume as is popularly done, that these drugs have valid medical usage, we are still faced with the fearful fact that the drug manufacturers are turning out thousands of times more of these drugs than the medical profession can possibly find valid medical use for.
So great is their profit hunger that the manufacturers of drugs are willing to destroy the minds of all of today’s youth in order to increase their dividends. I marvel at the apathy and indifference of the parents of this country that cause them to sit by and watch the destruction of their children, instead of rising in their collective might and putting an eternal end to the drug industry.
Reprinted from Fasting For Renewal Of Life