For some reason, we exempt addiction from our beliefs about change. In both popular and scientific models, addiction is seen as locking you into an inescapable pattern of behavior. Both folk wisdom, as represented by Alcoholics Anonymous, and modern neuroscience regard addiction as a virtually permanent brain disease. No matter how many years ago your uncle had his last drink, he is still considered an alcoholic. The very word addict confers an identity that admits no other possibilities. It incorporates the assumption that you can't, or won't, change.