We are not winning the war on drugs and the average age that a person first experiences alcohol keeps dropping. I am not okay with this. Every day as I talk to people who have had tough starts in life, tough childhoods, and struggle as adults I see why they in fact choose to drink and do drugs to cope and survive.
Family dysfunction and substance abuse is a systemic problem that is passed from generation to generation until the cycle of neglect and abuse (be it directly or indirectly experienced) is put to rest and healing occurs for the individual. I do not see substance abuse as a disease. I do see that for many it becomes an escape hatch from tough situations, if only for a short while.