My name is Gautam and I am a doctor by profession, I am also a recovering addict. My introduction to the world of addiction/alcoholism came at a very early age as I belonged to a forces background and alcohol was not looked down upon. I must have been 11 years old when I started drinking at home.

My addiction increased when I went to Pune for doing my MBBS and I was introduced to charas, and grass. Slowly Mandarax and later Brown Sugar also came into my life. It is a progressive disease you know. And DISEASE it surely is. As a doctor it was very difficult for me to accept that I had a DISEAS till my family was forced to get me admitted in a rehabilitation centre where I finally accepted.

Though I cannot complain about the treatment facility I was admitted to (as I am clean and sober today) I did feel that there were a lot of things which could be improved upon. So after getting discharged I finished my MBBS training, I hadn’t done my internship training due to addiction, even though I just had to go and show my face for a period of one year – I could not manage that. And after finishing my internship training and getting my license to practice I opened my own treatment facility which I have been running for more than a year. It is a 24/7 job because I have inpatients and I am responsible for them in every respect. Just the other day one patient had hematemesis (vomited blood), he had to be taken to a hospital immediately and luckily he is alive and back with me.

Though it may seem to be a very noble cause but there are selfish motives also behind running the centre, it gives me help in my own recovery and I have been able to turn my liability namely addiction into an asset.

Dr. Gautam Bhatia



Levi Bryant has criticized the term and concept of addiction as counterproductive in psychotherapy as it defines a patient's identity and makes it harder to become a non-addict. "The signifier 'addict' doesn't simply describe what I am, but initiates a way of relating to myself that informs how I relate to others." A stronger form of criticism comes from Thomas Szasz, who denies that addiction is a psychiatric problem. In many of his works, he argues that addiction is a choice, and that a drug addict is one who simply prefers a socially taboo substance rather than, say, a low risk lifestyle. In 'Our Right to Drugs', Szasz cites the biography of Malcolm X to corroborate his economic views towards addiction: Malcolm claimed that quitting cigarettes was harder than shaking his heroin addiction. Szasz postulates that humans always have a choice, and it is foolish to call someone an 'addict' just because they prefer a drug induced euphoria to a more popular and socially welcome lifestyle. Therefore, being 'addicted' to a substance is no different from being 'addicted' to a job that you work everyday. It should be noted that Szasz and Bryant are not alone in questioning the standard view of addiction. Professor John Booth Davies at the University of Strathclyde has argued in his book The Myth of Addiction that 'people take drugs because they want to and because it makes sense for them to do so given the choices available' as opposed to the view that 'they are compelled to by the pharmacology of the drugs they take'. [1]. He uses an adaption of attribution theory (what he calls the theory of functional attributions) to argue that the statement 'I am addicted to drugs' is functional, rather than veridical. Stanton Peele has put forward similar views. Experimentally, Bruce K. Alexander used the classic experiment of Rat Park to show that 'addicted' behaviour in rats only occurred when the rats had no other options. When other options and behavioural opportunities were put in place, the rats soon showed far more complex behaviours.

 

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