Addiction means that you can’t stop; but, some people eventually can. Addiction is a medical condition; but, it’s also a spiritual condition. Addiction is caused by societal and psychological factors and not by the drugs; but, sometimes it is caused by the drugs.
Some people use every drug there is, and nothing happens. They can walk away. So why can’t those others? Are they just bad, selfish people who lack morals and values? Or, are they people struggling with a chronic illness?
Clear as mud.
With addiction currently affecting the lives of 23.5 million Americans— not counting the friends and family of those addicted, who are also deeply affected by the disease— how can we have so little clarity about what addiction actually is or how to “cure” it?
In this episode, Dr. Kevin McCauley, a former Naval flight surgeon who is himself in recovery from opioid addiction, explains how something as fundamental as human choice can become part of a disease process. In a refreshingly down-to-earth way, he explains how our brains respond to the most enticing of human phenomena, pleasurable experiences, and how the system that creates those experiences can break, leading to addiction— Sometimes. Hey addiction! Seriously, WTF!
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About Our Guest
Kevin McCauley, MD was a Naval Flight Surgeon with the Third Marine Air Wing
when he became addicted to opioid pain relievers. Following his court-martial and incarceration at Fort Leavenworth and subsequent treatment he began lecturing on the neuroscience of addiction. He wrote and directed the film “Pleasure Unwoven” used by many treatment centers to explain the brain disease of addiction. Currently, he travels between his home in Honolulu and Utah where he is the Director of Program Services at New Roads Behavioral Health. He is also a Senior Fellow at The Meadows.
Mentioned on This Episode
2016 Men in Recovery Project (Video Series)
Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong (Johann Hari TED Talk)
How Science is Unlocking the Secrets of Addiction (National Geographic)
ProtectingSobriety.com (The Institute for Addiction Study)
Pleasure Unwoven (Movie)
Memo to Self (Movie)
Addiction & Recovery Resources
Reliable resources for learning more about addiction and finding help for yourself, a friend, or a family member.
SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association
SMART Recovery Family and Friends
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
Network of Independent Interventionists