Dr. Adi Jaffe is an up-and-coming expert on addiction (drugs, sex, gambling, you-name-it). As an expert on addiction, he knows more than most: he has first-hand experience. He suffered for many years from a raging meth addiction, which he eventually had to support the only way he could – by selling drugs and skimming off some for himself. He was arrested several times, risking everything including his life and freedom, just for a hit of meth. After many desperate attempts to stop, he realized that he would “end up either dead or in jail or homeless”. He checked himself into rehab and finally broke the addiction. It was not easy! Amazingly, he pulled the pieces of his life back together. He went back to school, and did extremely well. Using skills developed during his successful drug business, he did a ‘full court press’ on UCLA and was admitted to their prestigious PhD program. UCLA is the epicenter of the scientific study of “Addiction Research”, and Dr. Jaffe is now a scion of the emerging field. http://www.uclaisap.org/ He also maintains his own web site All About Addiction in which he writes a blog and promotes rehabs that have unfilled beds.
There is hope for all you meth addicts!
AddictionMyth recently sat down with Dr. Jaffe via email message board for an intimate and informative conversation.
Addiction Myth says:
If drugs were legal then you never would have been able to make a living off it, and you would have had to get a real job instead of being a rehab scammer.
P.S. You were never an addict. You went to rehab only because your lawyer told you to.
P.P.S. No one is a drug addict. It’s a myth.
Obviously I disagree, but let me ask some questions:
-Your assumption is that if I didn’t sell drugs I would have had to get a real job. Have you ever met someone who was not a drug dealer but didn’t have a “real job?” I have met many such people, so I don’t know why that assertion makes sense.
– If I was not an addict than why did I try to stop using more than 5 times on my own and always return to using? This doesn’t count the endless days in which I woke up and was resolute not to use only to find myself smoking meth a few hours later. Do people who have no problem with something usually continue doing things that negatively affect their lives even when they try to stop?
-If you read my story, you’ll have seen that my first try at rehab was indeed the result of my attorney telling me to go (thanks for reading by the way). However, it was once I got kicked out of that treatment center for using that I realized I had a real problem, and the next time I went into treatment was absolutely because I knew that if I didn’t get help I would end up back in jail.
– I’m also not sure why it matters who “made” me go (I could have obviously refused). Most people are diagnosed and told to enter treatment for a slew of conditions by health professionals – are you arguing that all those people (cancer patients, diabetics, HIV patients, and so on who didn’t discover they had a problem on their own but were prescribed treatment) don’t really have a problem?
thanks for reading and I’m looking forward to your reply.
Hi Dr. J, thanks for responding.
My point is that you were never a drug addict, despite the fact that you received treatment for it. You were a drug user having a great time, and enjoying the fast life, and cultivating the flirting-with-addiction persona. You never let your drug use get in the way of business.
You got sober when you got tired and/or scared of that life. Suddenly drugs lost their appeal entirely. Not surprising since you were never an addict to begin with. You went into rehab for legal reasons but you would have stopped on your own. No doubt it would not have been easy, but you’ve done harder things. You used the ‘drug addict’ excuse to get out of trouble, and now you’re trying to parlay your experience into a rehab scam. (Which by the way I think is brilliant!)
To answer your questions:
– Unemployment was not an option for you. You’re a ‘doer’. My point is that the Drug War cultivates the Addiction Myth (disease model) and its associated industries: rehabs, prisons, medical research, drug dealing, etc. It creates the perfect opportunity for an ambitious and rebellious teenager to achieve success and prove everyone else wrong. Without the Drug War, you would not have had this option and would have had little use for drugs. (Though I am quite sure you would have found another way to make trouble!)
– “The next time I went into treatment was absolutely because I knew that if I didn’t get help I would end up back in jail.”. Oh I thought you said it was because you saw a high homeless man: “I was one step away from becoming like this man.” The real reason you went to treatment? You were tired of sleeping on your friend’s couch and you still had insurance! It was time for a change.
Please do a video where you admit that you are powerless over meth. Describe the times you decided to stop using, and how a compulsion beyond your greatest effort brought you back to the pipe. And now that you have the addiction disease, if you ever did meth again you would lose all control and go back to using.
Or are you cured?
For the sake of science and suffering addicts everywhere…..
Again I disagree, and I get that your point is that I was never an addict but that doesn’t speak to my experience of trying to quit multiple times and failing (a point you seem to have ignored in your above comment). The point is that you are making the same mistake made by those who try to tell me that “everyone is addicted to something” or that “addiction is affecting everyone.” They assume that because they’ve seen or experienced an occurrence it must be ubiquitous. It’s too limited of a world-view.
My own experience (and that of many others as they share it with me) tells me that one can absolutely use drugs and alcohol for years after they’ve “got tired/scared” of the life that goes along with it. But I also know that our own experiences can mislead us and so I know that my experience doesn’t have to hold and that it certainly does not have to be the only one. But to say that I “used the ‘drug addict’ excuse to get out of trouble” is nice if only I had been able to do it that easily.
I am flattered that your ascribe so much cunning and planning to my career path, but again, you are simply off. If you want the simple answer (and I will at some point produce the VYou video response to the question you asked) – I was without question unable to stop using methamphetamine when I decided I had had enough. I tried, tried again, and tried some more. You are right that I needed a stronger impetus, but again as I argued last time, that tells me nothing about the underlying condition only about the pattern of treatment episodes.
As an answer to your replies to me:
– If only you had seen the others around me who lost livelihoods, health, and respect sue to their own drug use you would understand the pointless nature of calling me a ‘doer,’ whatever that means. What does it matter that I’m a doer? Are you saying that addiction only occurs in ‘doers’ or do you offer different explanations for why people use drugs and alcohol to their own detriment for every individual? At that point aren’t you simply avoiding the overarching question? What is it about drugs and alcohol that makes them such powerful providers of such outcomes? Alcohol is a legal drug and is the largest cause of the trouble you are speaking of, so are you blaming the drug was for alcohol-related problems as well? Would there be no more alcoholics if all drugs were legal and widely available?
– Again, the real reason I went into treatment was because when I wasn’t in it it didn’t matter that I was facing 18 years in prison. I smoked meth every day the entire two weeks after I was kicked out of my first rehab. I went into treatment because I realized that if I didn’t I would be unable to stop using and end up in jail, or homeless, or worse. You can try to give me all the credit in the world but the bottom line is that at the time I didn’t know how to live on my won without using and it didn’t really matter where I was sleeping – I didn’t like that but I couldn’t stop it. And btw, insurance had nothing to do with my treatment so I’m not sure where you pulled that from.
As to your final point – that I either have the addiction disease or not (am cured). Again, why decide to focus on the useless dichotomies that have plagued this discussion for decade? Have you not heard of diseases that can be cured? Have you not heard of conditions in remission? Is it inconceivable that a person could be suffering from something that no longer makes them suffer at a different point in time? Why is it not possible for both a) a disorder to exist that is characterized by troublesome and reduced-control (or uncontrolled) over substance use and b) cases in which that disorder is resolved either completely or partially. I think that this continuum way of thinking about substance use disorders make a hell of a lot more sense than having to choose between two options that make no sense.
Thanks again for the reply. I’m glad you can admit your addiction is cured or at least in remission. It will give hope to millions of suffering addicts out there who are desperate and hopeless, struggling every day to control their intense cravings for their drug of choice. I also admire your courage for taking this controversial position. (Most addiction experts will say it can never be cured, and ‘remission’ is only a prologue to relapse.) This is progress.
Now if I can only get you to admit that you were never an addict in the first place. This is a challenge, but I will try.
Let’s for a moment imagine a boy. He is cute and sweet and charming. All the kids and teachers like him. However, there are signs of trouble. This boy is caught stealing from local stores and telling lies. He seems to be good at manipulation and flattery, and knowing exactly what to say to get what he wants and stay out of trouble. It is charming to the teachers but it drives his parents crazy. He seems to have problem with impulse control and appointments are set up with the school counselor. Things seem to stabilize.
Later the boy shows more troubling signs. He is disruptive in school, has a tendency towards aggressive and violent behavior, and a troubling fascination with sharp weapons. As for drugs, this boy has never tried them. But he knows they are dangerous, and he knows that if he does them he might become a drug addict. He wonders what that feels like.
This boy is displaying some of the signs of an incipient psychopath. No, certainly he is not one. Not yet. But what does the future hold for this troubled boy?
In college the boy continues lying and stealing, although he maintains good grades — he is naturally smart and a B average is not too challenging at a state school. He begins selling drugs — mostly pot and alcohol. He does them to be cool, and to feel more comfortable at parties. He is BMOC for a while. For the first time in his life he feels like he belongs. The drug use is all easily controlled; he does not have a problem with addiction.
Later this boy parlays his college past time into big time business in LA. He is buying and selling drugs by the truck load. He also starts using more – harder stuff like Meth and Ecstasy. But it is always under control and he never lets it affect his business. As is common in this business of theives, people cheat each other. People owe him money and he owes people money. It is dangerous and scary and he’s loving every minute of it. It feels like he’s in a Tarantino movie. Expensive cars and loose women, and most of all the sex that feels so much more intense on a meth high.
But then suddenly it all comes crashing down. There is a bust. He is caught with huge quantities of drugs, and his lawyer tells him to take a deal. He goes into rehab because it will look better to the court if he can blame his dealing on his drug use, even though it started much earlier.
This young man is a psychopath, liar, con man, and master manipulator. No doubt about that. You couldn’t be successful in the drug biz if you weren’t! Everyone knows it and sometimes he openly takes pride in it.
He claims he got into trouble because of an overpowering addiction to drugs. His desperate need for a meth high forced him to sell drugs. Do you believe him? Remember, he is an admitted liar. Every thing he says must be taken with healthy skepticism. Do you at least consider the possibility that he got into trouble because he was a psychopath and a trouble maker from the beginning? Like all the millions of other people who get into trouble without ever using drugs? (Or are drugs really the source of all evil?) And then he used the ‘drug addict’ excuse to explain his reprehensible behavior? Do you believe him when he says he had an overpowering compulsion to use drugs, and couldn’t stop even when he decided that it absolutely had to end, once and for all? That he tried but just couldn’t do it? And he couldn’t bear the thought of rehab because it would mean the end of his precious, life-sustaining drugs, and excruciating suffering from withdrawals?
I don’t know about you. But I wouldn’t trust this person further than I could throw him. No, I would think he was a master manipulator and con man and his so-called ‘addiction’ was a fake to get a better deal from the prosecutor and to avoid being held accountable for his behavior, a skill he excelled at his entire life.
But actually most people will believe him. He was a good kid at heart. He just had a drug addiction. Drugs are evil. Children, don’t do drugs or you’ll end up like him!
Fortunately for him, people believed him, or at least gave him another chance. He escaped serious punishment. He decided not to continue in the drug world. Instead he decides to pursue another option – that of the drug counselor. It serves multiple purposes: he now has a career and he can further establish the Myth of Drug Addiction in the impressionable minds of young people. He can further avoid moral blame for his behavior, and make people forget that he was a psychopath. (So many ex addicts find themselves in the rehab business. It is full of ex-addicts/psychopaths-with-a-history-of-lying-and-aggression. I wonder why.)
Anyway, my point is this, Dr. J: This young man is you!
And if your parents don’t seem to understand, this is why: They know you better than anyone else. They know you are lying. They know you were never an addict. They know you tortured and humiliated them intentionally. They are still waiting for your apology. Meanwhile, you are waiting for theirs, for some perceived injustice during childhood, or for making you feel ‘less than’. Who knows. Regardless, it’s a dead lock.
Oh man, until you said at the end that it was me I wasn’t able to figure out who this interesting person you were talking about was.
I feel sorry that your only way to explain the world is by seeing everyone as a liar. I hope someone is able to prove to you one day that it is not so. I used to feel the way you do, and it sucks.
All addicts are either lying about their addiction or they are brainwashed by AA or similar. None are speaking the truth. But thank you for the sympathy. Yes the truth is not always pleasant. I feel as if I have peered behind the curtain.
Here are some excerpts from your many online posts, which reveal the truth about your ‘addiction’:
“I’ve always been known for doing things I wasn’t supposed to and then feeling sorry for them (or not). It was true when I was 5, long before my first sip of alcohol. Sadly, I’m realizing it is still true now and will most likely be true forever.”
“I was a well-liked kid who smiled a lot, but inside I had the feeling that I didn’t quite fit in. This feeling, along with my innate impulsivity and hyperactivity (which would most likely have been diagnosed today as ADHD), began to manifest itself through class clowning, borderline-dangerous roughhousing, and playing around with knives.”
“My parents fought often when I was a kid, screaming loud enough for me to take my sister away often and go play. We never talked about the fights. We never talked about my stealing either, whether I was stealing from my family (mainly my father’s porn) or from the neighborhood toy store. The one time I got caught, my father sternly told me to return my new toy and to never be caught stealing again. I began stealing away from my neighborhood; it would be years before he’d hear about me stealing again.”
“When I was caught stealing at my work, my father didn’t want to tell my mom, so as not to upset her. We call that denial.”
“The kid my parents knew was going nowhere, and fast.”
“I’m not sure if it was my perception or my parents’ actual wish, but I always felt like unless I saved the world, I would end up a nobody.”
“This constant need for perfectionism also lead to the repression of many issues in my family.”
“To this day my parents are not the best at confronting issues.”
“I had begun my drug dealing career so I could get, and do, what I wanted: play music, party with beautiful women, get high on the best drugs, and have enough money to get my parents off my back. It worked, too. For a 23-year-old, I was hugely successful–as long as you only measure success by glitter and gold. I had the Teflon invincibility of a rock star, and the ego to go with it. Until the day the cops busted down my door and took me to jail.”
“My inability to fill my time with anything other than thoughts of using got me tossed out of my first rehab. Going back to work in my studio, I couldn’t help but look for some left behind treasures; I found a bag of meth, filled a pipe, and threw out three months of sobriety without a second thought.”
“I got kicked out of my first rehab for using.”
“I’m a doer. I need to get things accomplished in order to feel satisfied. When it came to my drug life, I got things done by becoming a pretty successful drug dealer as well as a less successful, but working, musician. Now, I needed to find another channel for my energy, one that didn’t center around filling a meth pipe.”
“My second attempt at getting sober was more successful, not only because I’d learned from my mistake. I’d made mistakes before but never learned a thing. The difference was that this place made us all do chores. They made us work.”
“When I stopped smoking crystal meth, getting over the fatigue, hunger, and even my non-existent libido (all part of my withdrawal) was easy when compared with the simple challenge of what to do every day.”
“If anything, it was after getting sober that I realized my drug use was so tied up with sex that I most likely had developed a sex addiction as well.”
“I have too much going on in my life that I love to throw it all away over getting high.”
Dr J, I want to thank you for the opportunity to study you. It has been fascinating and further validates my theory of the Addiction Myth. I will now move on to my next subject — yes there are many more to go!
Please let me know when the YVid is ready. I can’t wait to see it!
“Hi I’m Adi and I was a meth addict and a sex addict.”
9 thoughts on “A Conversation with UCLA Addictions Expert Dr. Adi Jaffe”
So I found your site doing some research on the good doctor…I myself thought he could help me, as he had experience with my same issue…but something he said in an email made me dig deeper…that and the extra charge on my CC I had not expected. It’s funny that he just put out a new book titled “The Abstinence Myth” and I wonder if it was an original title….After reading your blog and Q&A with Dr. Jaffe, I see your point…he dabbled, but he was never a full blown addict as he makes himself out to be. He got out before ever coming close to getting to that point…which is why I think you say he was never an addict. Just a rich kid with a taste for the bad boy lifestyle…once sated and facing prison…he opted for the counselor role instead, a much more respectable life path. I thank you for giving me some more insight into the man I put what I now think was way too much faith and hope, not to mention money into believing.
What a con. Thanks A.M. Good investigatory work. Did the fako-J reply to your proofs?
Good investigatory work?
Really now, you must be a reader of the Tattler, Enquirer and the like just like AddictionMoth!
Inferior minds want to know!!
Looks as though you are just pea in AM’s pod. Sees liars everywhere…
Easy when your are a sociopathic liar…
Sort of like driving a Yugo…you start seeing Yugo’s everywhere.
Also a good analogue for the quality of your mental vehicles.
@ ” Anonymous” – Yeah, right.
Adi promised us to help my son with quitting cannabis . He even promised my husband returning our money back if my son would not quite. It was all baloney. My son had to go in a 500 sqf, stay there all day and just to hear a few hours of how to quite. The therapy was suppose to be for a month. My son couldn’t take it any longer. My son hated it, he run off. He got more depressed and ended up in a Wilderness camp. Jaffi’s methods are just not professional. It does’t work for kids. He doesn’t have patients and is like a child himself. He is just a very good sales person. His Neurofeedback specialist , Mr. Andrew Hill, is very week. They do everything to get you in. Ones they notice they are failing, they find an excuse to reject you, but the thousand of dollars that they had received are gone.
Sorry to hear that. But please be aware that everyone in the drug addictions business is a fraud. You are wasting your money if you are trying to ‘cure’ your son of his pot habit. Your son smokes because he wants to, and if he says otherwise then he’s lying. And if that’s not your own fault, then there’s nothing you can do about it.
Be a parent and take charge of the situation. Require him to get involved in school or community activities, and you must set and follow through with consequences. Don’t argue with him. He’s probably smarter than you and will win every time.
I really don’t get your points.
I’ve read lots of Adi Jaffe’s stuff and seen his videos.
Where does he deny responsibility for his actions? He takes full responsibility for what he did. He became an addict with his eyes wide open – he never denies that. He admits he was from a good background, good family etc… so he has no excuses.
That doesn’t mean though that his addiction didn’t become a serious problem and something very difficult to stop. That doesn’t mean that drug addiction is disease-like or that it can be a horrible experience. It also doesn’t mean that the party lifestyle that goes with some drug addictions isn’t also enjoyable in some respects. I’m sure Adi would admit that.
Who cares WHY he tried to stop. The point is that it’s very very difficult when one does decide to stop. That’s what helping people with addiction is all about.
Your argument is a bit like saying that if somebody has unprotected sex with a stranger and gets HIV and then AIDS, then they can’t claim that AIDS is a disease because it was their fault they got it in the first place??? So what if it’s their own fault? It’s still needs treatment!!!
Adi Jaffe is not an addict and never was. He just uses the ‘addiction’ excuse to explain away his history of drug dealing and indiscriminate sex, and to avoid legal trouble, and now he is trying to parlay his addiction ‘expertise’ into a new business:
If you don’t believe me, just ask him to do a video where he claims to be (or have been) an addict. I asked him months ago, and he said he would. But he never did. If I ever see that video, I will eat my hat!!
Anyway, please know that this is not personal. I have nothing against the good doctor. I believe that ALL drug addicts are liars or brainwashed. Dr. Jaffe is just a particularly public and hypocritical example. He has a long and well-documented history of lying and sociopathy, as detailed here. Why anyone would believe anything he says is beyond me.
“The point is that it’s very very difficult when one does decide to stop.” — How do you know this, exactly? Please describe your personal experience. Or are you just relying on what other people say?
“If you don’t believe me, just ask him to do a video where he claims to be (or have been) an addict. I asked him months ago, and he said he would. But he never did. If I ever see that video, I will eat my hat!!”
What??? He has admitted in numerous places to have been an addict. I don’t get your point.
He says in this video, at approx 0.48 that he was a “drug-addicted drug dealer”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RzDlo_mNDs
See the About section of his website – http://www.allaboutaddiction.com/About-A3
In the second sentence, it says he was a “drug dealer and meth addict”.
I really don’t understand the point of your blog. I fully understand that not all addicts are victims, though obviously some people grow up in circumstances that may make them more likely to be addicts (e.g. somebody with a parent who was an addict may be more likely to be one themselves). I also understand that addiction can be over-diagnosed for certain drugs.
I personally don’t see Adi Jaffe as a victim. He’s from a good background, educated, healthy etc..
But so what? How does that disprove the existence of addiction being a real physical problem?
My brother used to be an alcoholic. I lived with him for a few years while he was an alcoholic. He was constantly depressed (except while drunk). He never did anything productive, never seemed to be able to enjoy anything. Like Adi, he’s never been a victim. He came from a good family with plenty of money and opportunities. However, it’s about 6 years since he finally quit (and I saw first hand how difficult it was). I don’t know the inner workings of his mind, but he’s a far far healthier, happier person now than he was when he was drinking.
I don’t have any experience of other drug addicts. I do see heroin addicts every day coming into our store and on the street (the area I work in is notorious for them). They are miserable, miserable, unhappy, angry people. Why would they continue living this miserable existence if it weren’t for an addiction?