In a recent TV interview with UNTV’s host, Congressman E.Tanada, I was asked about why people become addicts. My answer is not one usual expected standard response, such as poverty or other external forces.
I spoke of internal things, such as “feeling” or experience that an addict is after when using drugs, not the substance itself. Drug addiction is often an internal experience: fear, passivity, irresponsibility, preoccupation with negative emotions, lack of self confidence, and avoidance of life’s challenges.
Drugs then is not the real problem! Drugs do not make a person psychopathic, delinquent, or anti-social. Rather people choose to use drugs because drugs allow them to feel and experience something. The drugs allow them to act in ways they need or want to. Drug addiction is not the results of the drug taken, but of a breakdown in a person’s values and capacities. An addicted person needs to learn to see that he or she, and not the drug, controls his or her consciousness and emotionality.
So, for a drug addict to truly heal, he or she must go into the very internal “roots” of his or her psychological, emotional, and spiritual well being. The traditional rehabilitation protocol where the focus is commonly pasted to the surface of things, such as housing or funding them, is not enough. At best, it’s temporary or stop gap, whose effects fade away along with the memories of the program, when a recovering addict leaves a facility.
Values heal addiction. Values, life coping abilities, and emotional wellness directly contradict the experience of drug addiction. The focus is on the totality of the natural life processes of a person, not on the addiction itself. The issue is not whether a drug addict will take drugs again. It is whether his or her life is felt and experienced as something more than drugs.