Is addiction simply an illness as Doctor in the house feels?
The simple fact is that medical science is rock-solid in conclusion that alcoholism and addiction are well-established disease processes, comprised of genetic, physiologic, and mental illness components. As a quick MEDLINE search will demonstrate, there is a vast amount of medical literature addressing this disease in its many medical, psychological, behavioral and social aspects.
Is it rather a social phenomena where we are all to blame for the downtrodden seeking a way out? Is it simply a matter of choice?
My view is it is rather more complex than any one of those answers. There is definitely an element of choice at the begining, and it does have social dimensions, but some of us are physically more susceptible than others. Many of us will have dabbled with alcohol without becomming alcoholics or have smoked the odd cigarette without becoming a smoker.It is interesting that the 12 steps of the AA, which have much dependence on biblical principles have led to many people being set free. Sometimes utilising medical help alongside such a process will give the best chance of success. Over here there is definitely not enough help on offer for people with addictions.
Becoming free is often a rather a slow process though, and I wonder how many churches have enough grace and patience to help people in this need