There is an inescapable conceptual struggle when dealing with America's volatile history of, and attitudes toward, substance use. In other words, the meaning of addiction is a never-ending American, and thus worldwide, cultural debate.
Just because our brains have been altered by addiction, doesn't mean we're destined to fall into the same habits. With the right skills, community and support we can learn how to break out of routine and into a life worth living.
That there is something inherent in the person to be found there -- in mental illness and addiction -- is received wisdom, not empirical fact. The belief derives from the assumption that these phenomena are medical diseases.