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What is addiction? How do you effectively deal with addiction? How can you help a loved one with addiction? As authors of this blog and as researchers who have conducted the longest observational study in the history of addiction studies (26 years and running), we have been providing answers to these questions for decades at our St. Jude Retreats. We’ve proven that addiction is not a disease and that heavy drug and alcohol users are not out of control. What’s more, the idea that addiction is a disease, and the systems that have been historically put in place to help people overcome this mythical disease, only compound the problems of troubled substance users. There is a way to help. It is through providing researched facts coupled with common sense that substances users can once again navigate their lives away from addiction.

Our research has shown that people with substance use problems improve their lives more often when treated with dignity and given the following factual information:

o   They are in full control of their choices to use drugs and/or alcohol at all times.

o   They are capable of change.

o   They are not weak or in need of support.

o   They do not suffer from the disease of addiction and therefore do not need addiction treatment.

o   They needn’t identify as addicts or alcoholics.

o   Their desire for heavy substance use is not caused by “underlying causes”, tough life circumstances, “co-occurring disorders”, or any supposed need to “self-medicate.”

o   They use substances because they prefer to use substances heavily, given what options they think are available to them at the time.

o   They have the power to change their desires and their habits by owning their choices, and developing new perspectives on their life options.

The above list, being only a brief overview, is obviously incomplete. However, we’ll be examining all of this in depth on this blog.

Who Reads this Blog?

o   Anyone interested in addiction in general.

o   Someone who has trouble believing addiction is a disease (because it isn’t).

o   Those who want to move past 12-step meetings and support groups and/or long-term addiction therapy.

o   Someone who has watched a loved one return to addiction after going to treatment (because alcohol and drug addiction treatment does not work!)

o   Someone who is more interested in factual information about addiction rather the current addiction mythology our recovery society promotes.

o   A mother/father who has a child who is addicted and is struggling.

o   A wife/husband whose spouse is struggling with addition.

o   A professional therapist who finds the current state of addiction treatment to be subpar and is looking for facts that make more sense.

o   The frightened parents of an addicted child that can’t break free from their habit and who can’t seem to get a straight answer to solving the problem.

o   The researcher who is seeking the facts about our recovery-based culture, and is looking for a sensible, non-hysterical, well researched view of addiction.

o    Those who want to read well researched information on addiction, and those who desire facts rather than hysteria.

o   The person in search of real solutions to addiction that are sensible and that do not center on a need for permanent treatment and/or long-term therapy.

o   Those who question the alcohol and drug treatment industry as a whole, and who also question the 12 step/loss-of-control theory it represents.

o   Those who might question the oft stated idea that emotional issues and general life issues cause addiction, or that addiction is the cause of an individual’s life struggles and issues (because these are corollaries rather than causal relationships).

o   Those who want a permanent solution to their addiction rather than a daily reprieve from their addiction.

o   Anyone who is interested in the results of the longest observational study ever conducted in addiction research (26 years and counting)!

Throughout this blog you will find a list of articles that have been written by the leading team of addiction researchers from the Baldwin Research Institute, Inc., and the St. Jude Retreats: Mr. Mark Scheeren, Mr. Gerald Brown, Ms. Michelle Dunbar, and Mr. Steven Slate. Please take the time to review the list, and if you do not find an article that answers your specific question about addiction, then post your question below in the comments box, and your topic will be addressed in the order in which it was received. We write one article every two weeks on average. Thank you for your interest and we hope you find the information we have posted as liberating, hopeful and engaging. We look forward to your suggestions.


  1. Maybe an article about what society gains from treating a disease that isn’t real (addiction). One thought off the top of my head is that advertising and capitalism depend on being able to create and control compulsions in people so that they will keep consuming, even if they don’t actually need what they are buying. This mechanism is the same as the one that keeps people believing in the power of drugs (although the mythological drug appetite is wanton and evil). The crime isn’t so much being addicted to something as it is being addicted to the wrong thing. I don’t know…there’s an angle somewhere in there that might be worth pursuing. I applaud what you are doing to empower addicts, truly, but on one hand I am not sure if the People In Charge actually want people to be *too* empowered. 😛

    • Mark Scheeren
      Author May 11, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      You bring up a great article here tc923@gmail.com, and one I have spent much time thinking about through the decades. The question is… why do we spend so much time and money on treatment when the common response is, “Yeah, I know a friend who went to treatment five times and he still is a mess – actually he’s worse!” We would never buy five cars until we found one that ran. Rather, we make sure it runs first – then we buy. Being that humans are always in the pursuit of some benefits, the question is – why in America (and now much of the West) do we keep buying into a broken system, and why don’t we pursue something that provides better results? I will work on this in the next week. thank you for the article suggestion!


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