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Learn More About Addiction

There are four technical stages of problematic substance use: 

  • Substance misuse: a person uses a substance in a way that wasn't intended; for example: taking less of an antibiotic than directed

  • Substance abuse: a person uses more of a substance than prescribed or intended; for example: drinking an entire bottle of wine in one sitting. 

  • Substance dependence: a person relies on a substance in order to move through life; for example: needing to have a few beers after work to be able to relax. 

  • Substance addiction: a person's life completely revolves around the substance; for example: not being able to make it through the day without taking a drink or thinking about drinking. 

Because these definitions are not well known, we at JWB Recovery will often refer to any problematic substance use under the umbrella term, "addiction." A person does not need to use their problem substance every single day in order for their use to be considered problematic. A person does not need to act violent, dishonest, or erratic while under the influence for their substance use to be considered problematic. Addiction is a wide spectrum, and many people who are abusing, dependent, or addicted to a substance oftentimes do not realize that their use is problematic.

Recognizing and accepting the problematic substance use of a loved one can be a very difficult first step. If you need help identifying whether a loved one's substance use is problematic, or if you need help processing the realization that it is, we are here for you. If you have been impacted by a loved one's substance use in any way, you are welcome here. 

There are four primary models of viewing and treating addiction:

  • The Medical Model: This is most commonly seen in doctor's offices, hospitals, and other healthcare settings. This model focuses on the idea that addiction is a disease, and strives to find a treatment, provides detoxification, and utilizes Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). 

  • The Moral Model: This model is the most prevalent in society. This model focuses on using 12-step programs and complete abstinence. This model emphasizes the idea that addiction is a personal choice, so each person must take responsibility for their substance use. 

  • The Recovery Model: This model was developed by people who have personal experience with addiction. This model focuses on the idea that internal and external conditions contribute to a person's recovery. This model develops the idea that once a person experiences addiction, they cannot, "go back to normal," but they can create a new normal. This model claims that the greatest success in recovery is found through a combination hope, healing, empowerment, and connection, and living in an environment that supports human rights, promotes a positive culture of healing, and has access to recovery-oriented services. 

  • The Harm Reduction Model: This model was developed by people who have personal experience with addiction. This model uses a public health model of social problems to emphasize the idea that addiction is a communal issue and requires social support. The focus of harm reduction is to eliminate the negative communal consequences of substance use and allows individuals to choose their own path. This model does not promote abstinence as the only solution, but it promotes safety. 

Each person may view addiction through their own unique combination of these models. At JWB Recovery, we do not believe in the moral model. We do believe that addiction is a disease, but we place our primary focus on the harm reduction and recovery models. There is no right or wrong way to view addiction, but it is important to connect with others who share similar views to ensure your path to recovery is right for you. 

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