In 2009, doctors Abraham Hoffer and Andrew Saul published a book entitled The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism, in which they discussed vitamin therapy in sobriety as a means to cure alcoholism. The book postulates that people who are “optimally-nourished” do not suffer from addictions and that since “alcoholism is primarily a metabolic disease,” it should be treated as such through the proper usage of vitamins.
It is an interesting concept to say the least and one that every addict and alcoholic throughout the world hopes to be true, but upon further investigation, it does not appear that vitamin therapy is an actual cure of addiction, nor is there really any proof that vitamin therapy in sobriety could act as such.
I would like to say from the start that I am not a doctor, nor am I an expert in the field, but rather what I will present on the topic of does vitamin therapy in sobriety really work, is based off of research that I have done and my own personal experiences with recovery.
Does Vitamin Therapy Really Work in Sobriety?
To answer this question out right, vitamins are not a cure for alcoholism or addiction because if they were, this form of treatment would already have been adopted by the drug treatment industry. Instead, what we have seen within the drug treatment industry over the past few years is more of a focus on nutrition and other holistic medicines as a means to support traditional forms of therapy like behavioral therapy and the 12 Steps.
The reason for this, especially the focus on ensuring proper vitamin intake, is because many people who enter into recovery are malnourished and have not taken care of themselves for years. Due to this, they may have health problems or are on the verge of having health problems, so by making sure that they have proper daily vitamin intake, a lot of physical issues can be nipped in the bud from the start.
Not to mention that it has recently been shown that the stomach has a dramatic influence over our emotions, so when a person has a well-rounded diet and proper vitamin intake, they are more apt to have a more balanced emotional state.
To this regard, vitamin therapy in sobriety works, but not in the sense that it cures an addict of their addiction or cures an alcoholic of their alcoholism.
Why Vitamin Therapy in Sobriety Isn’t A Cure
Like I stated above, if this form of therapy truly offered a cure, it would have already been implemented within the treatment industry, and more than likely, it would have been lauded as the greatest scientific finding of our life time. But yet, neither of these things have occurred and that is because vitamin therapy in sobriety does not work as a cure.
The thing to understand is that addiction is a very complex illness. To this day, even after it has been studied for the better part of 100 years, we are still far from truly understanding what causes addiction, or how to best treat it. We know that there is a genetic component to the illness, although this is often debated, and we know that there is an environmental component to it as well. In one sense, it is a learned behavior and the addict’s mind is trained to crave drugs, and in another sense the cravings predate the learning of the behavior, but lay dormant until the drugs are introduced into the system. There is a psychological component to addiction as well and a physiological component, where the brain actually stops creating certain chemicals because of the presence of outside substances. As if all of this wasn’t enough, there is also a spiritual component to the illness, and in fact, if you subscribe to the 12 Step model of treatment, this component is the basis for the entirety of addiction. A person who is spiritually unwell will suffer from addiction and until that spiritual malady is overcome, the alcoholism or addiction will always return.
Yet, within the scientific community, this idea of addiction being a spiritual malady is often cast aside due to the fact that this cannot be measured or proven through any of our modern testing. It is thought of as mystical hocus pocus that doesn’t amount to much, but with that said, this form of thinking has also given us the one of the only real tools we have to fight alcoholism and addiction, and the one of the only known ways of treating it, the 12 Steps.
Using Vitamins as a Way To Support Recovery
Surprisingly enough, and counter-intuitively, addiction has little to do with actual substance abuse. While yes, the reason that a person enters recovery is often times so they can learn how to not abuse substances, tackling this issue head on often times does not actually get the desired result. The individual who attempts to beat their addiction by focusing solely on the substance abuse portion fails to see that their addiction to drugs is only a by-product or symptom of the illness that they are suffering from and that in order to overcome addiction as a whole, they must deal with the underlying causes.
These underlying causes can be numerous and varied, from co-occurring mental health concerns or physical ailments, but among every person who suffers from addiction, a common cause for their addiction is an overwhelming obsession and compulsion that cannot be controlled through sheer will alone.
In order to overcome this obsession they must have a complete shift in their way of thinking, and they must also learn how to care for their body. For the latter portion, vitamins can help in not only the healing process during the early phases of recovery, but can also help ensure continued physical health as sobriety continues. A person who involves themselves in vitamin therapy in sobriety on a daily basis will be less likely to get sick, and they will also have a better physical health than those who do not take vitamins. So while vitamins are not a cure for addiction, they can certainly help people in recovery maintain a healthy and balanced life.