Beating Addiction - Is It Recovery or Conquering?

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    Aug 11, 2014
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Beating Addiction - Is It Recovery or Conquering? Photo by Colin Armstrong

When two Americans founded Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s, they began what would eventually become the most successful alcohol rehab programme in history. Bill Wilson and Bob Smith established their organisation after failing to find the help they needed to overcome alcohol dependence. They based their treatment model on the idea of group support and fellowship that would enable long-term recovery for every participant. Thus, the 12-step recovery programme was born.

Alcoholics Anonymous became so successful that it was adapted for drug rehab as well. The whole idea of recovery by way of mutual support and accountability laid the foundation for the modern rehab clinics we are all familiar with today. Yet despite the success of the 12-step programme established by Alcoholics Anonymous, there remains some debate over the question of whether or not beating addiction is really a process of recovery. Some believe it is a process of conquering.

Recovering from Addiction

The recovery philosophy is rooted in the belief that addiction is a permanent problem that, once established, must be dealt with for a lifetime. Thus, the 12-step approach calls for ongoing counselling and support for the remainder of one's life. Some organisations include a spiritual component to recovery while others do not. In either case, recovery never ceases.

Of course, the idea of recovery has further led to the classification of addiction as a disease. Moreover, as a disease, curing it requires medical treatment. Yet the concept of disease requires addiction to be looked at from multiple angles. It must be considered not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Even when physical addiction is overcome, ongoing treatment is necessary to deal with the mental and emotional.

Conquering Addiction

An alternative philosophy of conquering addiction arose in the 1990s with the development of the SMART recovery programme. The SMART way of looking at addiction is to view it as a personal problem that can be permanently solved with the right solutions. This philosophy does not see overcoming addiction as a lifelong process of recovery.

The conquering philosophy is not one that has been adopted by drug and alcohol rehab clinics to the same degree as the traditional 12-step recovery approach. However, it is gaining traction. SMART programmes are now available through more than 1,000 support groups worldwide. These groups focus on analysing drug and alcohol problems, coming up with practical solutions, and then applying the solutions in order to conquer addiction.

At the end of the day, there really is no right or wrong here. It always comes down to finding the approach that works best for the individual. Some people will require the recovery philosophy to break the addiction cycle and avoid relapse. Others do much better approaching addiction from the conquering mindset.

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The mission of is to assist those in need find and access appropriate alcohol or drug rehab clinics in the UK. The organisation provides free advice and referrals to private rehab clinics, support groups, local charities and more.

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