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|12-29-2010, 08:09 AM||#41 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Akron, Ohio
I had an Alanon sponsor that once told me that the very basic definition of a disease is 'if not treated properly the sick person will die.'
The Big Book of AA describes the disease of Alcoholism perfectly. It's a 3 part disease of Mental, Physical, and Spiritual.
The physical side being Compulsion. In other words, when the Alcoholic picks up the first drink s/he cannot stop. They usually drink until they run out.
The mental side is Obsession, which means when the Alcoholic has been dry for a period of time, the obsession will return again and again and again. The thought that it's ok to have just one. When they pick it up the Compulsion begins again.
And the Spiritual aspect is their total Self Centeredness. Regardless of how their drinking affects anyone else around them, what any one says etc. the Obsession will convince them to get that next drink.
As an Alanon I have been able to relate these 3 components to my behavior as a codependant.
Do you have to accept it as a disease? No, that's not what step one says. Step one for us is admitting we are powerless over the alcoholic and that our lives have become unmanagable. Am I powerless over the alocholic and is my life unmanagable? HELL YES!
|12-29-2010, 08:17 AM||#42 (permalink)|
i've done my almost
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA
Blog Entries: 1
I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to put my 2 cents in.
I was born an alcoholic. I know this to be true. It's also recoginzed as such by most experts (meaning doctors, treatment facilities, etc...).
Knowing this fact and not worrying about these small details have helped me to get a strong, lasting foundation in my sobreity.
B/c alcohol did for me what I could not do for myself.
|12-31-2010, 08:47 AM||#43 (permalink)|
bona fido dog-lover
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: eastern USA
Blog Entries: 31
I see it as an 'illness', albeit one that I chose to make worse by drinking when I knew the consequences. And even tho I stopped drinking, it's still an illness that will destroy me IF I DRINK AGAIN. So it's an illness, to me, but one that I have control over by not drinking. It's an illness that I have arrested but that lies dormant inside me and can be awakened by drinking. So it's not, to me, a disease like heart disease or diabetes that strikes randomly or thru family history, but an illness that I can keep in check by my behavior and choices. Does that make any sense?
Altho, thinking about it some more, it's like diabetes which can't be eliminated but can be controlled by diet, exercise, medication - making choices to keep it under control... I guess it doesn't matter so much, to me, what it's called, as long as I keep it under control by healthy choices/behavior... now I'm confused...
I'd rather live in my car with my dogs than live in a castle without them.
Dogs may not be our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.
Don't wait for the Last Judgement. It takes place every day. -Albert Camus
Find the good and praise it. - Alex Haley
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|12-31-2010, 09:01 AM||#44 (permalink)|
i've done my almost
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA
Blog Entries: 1
1. a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.
Sounds like alcoholism is a disease to me
B/c alcohol did for me what I could not do for myself.
|12-31-2010, 05:17 PM||#45 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Algiers, Algeria
I accept that Alcoholism is a disease, but that doesn't make one a "victim"
Alcoholism and diabetes both run in my family. I inherited diabetes, my sister inherited alcoholism. Inheriting a disease doesn't make one a "victim" though. Its a cross one has to bear and no one else can do it for you.
Both diseases became active for us at about the same time, in our mid 20s. Both of us resisted actively treating our diseases. I was afraid of the effects of taking medication for my diabetes and only starting treating it seriously after my symptoms became much worse and when I started to have some success with different medications. My sister has not found success with her treatment for alcoholism yet. She's been hospitalized twice for pancreatitis, been in detox/treatment twice, and has a mounting list of other symptoms that are spiraling out of control.
I am a new member to this community because I just had a disaster of a visit with my sister over the holidays which I didn't handle very well at all. She is actively drinking but trying to hide it from all of us, unsuccessfully. The issue of alcoholism being a disease came up a few times and I don't get the debate, I guess. My sister seemed to want to say that since it is a disease, we need to see her as a victim of it, which I don't agree with at all.
I don't see myself as "victim" of diabetes, its a disease that I need to deal with. I'm responsible for taking care of my diabetes treatment which changed all of my life routines but is now just a part of who I am and what I do. Same thing with treatment for alcoholism, right?
My family says I'm self righteous and inflexible in general so I apologize if others take that away in the tone of my post -- that's why I'm on here. I'm trying to learn how to deal with this better and this is the first topic on the list.
|01-11-2011, 05:38 AM||#46 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In my little piece of heaven
Hi Far Away, I'm sorry I didn't see your response sooner. Welcome to SR and our Step Study.
The "alcoholism as a disease" subject is one that often spurs heated debate. It's one of the topics that can bring out strong emotions. I have heard it compared to cancer, diabetes, sometimes mental illness. There are similarities but also distinct differences.
The bottom line, for us, is that WE cannot cure neither the illness nor the disease, nor much else in anyone else. There comes a time when we, as loved ones of someone who drinks or uses drugs to excess, have to accept our powerlessness over the situation.
Ultimately we choose our own path of recovery. I'm glad you found us and look forward to learning more about you.
What other people think of me is really none of my business!
|01-25-2011, 11:38 AM||#47 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sweet Virginia
I am new to SR. I am codependent and an ACOA. I believe that alcoholism is a disease of families - generations of families. The actual addiction of drinking of alcohol may skip a generation of only affect a few in each generation but if there is one family member who is an "alcoholic" the whole family contracts the disease in one form or another. Codependencing, dry alcoholism, etc... I was born to an ACOA. My mother doesn't really drink - once in a blue moon. BUT she has every characteristic of a fully addicted alcoholic/codependent person. As a small child I learned to be on high alert with her; I learned to please her at all costs to myself; I learned to be codependent.
Is it a disease? Physical and/or mental? I don't know. I don't really think that matters. Alcoholism infects families and until each person realizes for herself/himself that there is a problem, the infection continues its trickle down effect.
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|06-02-2011, 07:53 AM||#48 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2011
Still Waters~ Is your struggle with calling alcoholism a disease tied up with the fact that we (as codependents) have the same treatment program they do? As you said, they put down the bottle and we put down the alcoholic? Finding recovery/remission by using the same treatment program does not mean that something can't be a disease because its treatment is the same as something else. You can use ibuprofen to treat a migraine or to treat inflamed muscles in your back. Same treatment. Both those conditions using the same treatment doesn't lessen the nature of one or the other. We can't base a diagnosis on its treatment, but on its symptoms and effects.
|06-02-2011, 08:53 AM||#49 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Albany NY
Models of Alcoholism Based on Belief Systems
These are notes taken from the educational component of my in-patient rehabilitation in 1994. It may have been updated since then, but it was eye-opening to me.
Our belief systems are based on our experiences - childhood, environmental, social and religious affiliations - to name a few. Within those beliefs, there may be stigma attached to them. Here are a few of the common attitudes about alcoholism:
Impaired Model: (this is common to people who grew up in an alcoholic home). Preconcieved notion that the alcoholic cannot change. They feel that the only way to treat an alcoholic is to lock them up and throw away the key; to get them off the street. When operating under this model, the alcoholic himself may not consider himself to be an alcoholic because he may not perceive himself to have "crossed the line" that was set for him in his experience in dealing with his own alcoholic family.
Old Medical Model: Belief system that alcoholism is brought on by oneself. The cause of alcoholism is too much drinking, therefore the solution is to abstain or cut down. Medical community will only be concerned with physical deterioration. Doctors will detox and release the alcoholic; will provide no further treatment.
Dry Moral Model: states that alcoholism isn't an illness; rather, its a result of weak moral fiber and lack of character. Choices can be made to do the "right thing"; self-will to abstain is enough treament. Believes if you can choose to do the drug, then you must suffer the consequences. (popular belief in 19th century; this attitude led to Prohibition). Popular in fundamentalism - "please confess and rejoin the moral community". There is no treatment in this model because alcoholism is viewed as a character weakness.
Wet Moral Model: This model is common to alcoholics - speaks to the ability to control their drinking. Belief is that an alcoholic is a person who can't follow the rules set down by society. This model states there is no illness: therapy is based on making the alcoholic responsible and teaching them to drink responsibly. States that is is OK to drink within boundaries. Premise is that good people obey the law and bad people don't. (Know when to say when, good friends don't let their friends drive drunk, appoint designated driver, etc)
Psychoanalytic Model: The belief that addictive behavior is the result of an addictive personality. The alcoholic's behavior is the result of underlying psychological neuroses. A bad childhood results in the reason for an alcoholic to drink. Based on the belief system that if the alcoholic got to the root of the problem, he'd be able to get over it and learn to drink responsibly. Suggest a cure.
Family Interaction Model: comes from recent school of counseling. Acknowledges that the alcoholic impacts the entire family but believes that an alcoholic cannot achieve sobriety unless the entire family is treated.
New Medical Model: Recognizes that alcoholism is a disease and requires more than treating just the physical.
AA Model: most effective model. There is no such thing as a hopeless drunk - if he follows a few simple steps and abstains from drinking, he can obtain a healthy sobriety.
No matter what the belief system the alcoholic subscribes to, there is a common denominator. That is denial. Based on one' beliefs, often there is a stigma associated with it, and that prevents the alcoholics from seeking assistance in becoming sober.
|07-10-2011, 11:17 AM||#50 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2010
I think recovery is a life long commitment.
Everyone I've known that used this word "relapsed".
This isn't a criticism I'm only sharing my experiences.
|09-19-2011, 02:02 AM||#51 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
I'm coming late into this discussion but I wanted to add that yes, I do believe that alcoholism is a disease. This is discussed in the Big Book, not scientific I know, but I started a study of my own about it after reading about it there.
I believe it is a disease of the body and the mind. One that can be arrested but never cured. No more than my addiction to people, places, and things can be cured. I'm no better (or worse), at the end of the day, than anyone else with any other addiction.
|09-20-2011, 06:59 AM||#52 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2010
I do not believe it is a disease. I believe it is an addiction or dependency that often is the result of self medicating to escape from other issues. Just as oxycotin can become an addiction to escape pain, difference being that a doctor has precribed it. As for believing it to be a life long chronic illness.... I have known many peiople that drank/used drugs daily for years, hit rock bottom, and quit alcohol and drugs and have never looked back and have no more cravings, live a full life, and die never having a drink or using again. Some even eventualy becoming "normies" (i dislike that term) and having a drink or 2 in moderation a few times a year. I would consider these people cured. yes they do have control over it. Of course, some of you will say they were not really alcoholics to begin with. That's bull. Someone who drinks daily till they are drunk everyday for 20 year is most certainly an alcoholic. If they quit and have it totally under control for the next 40 years... to me that means cured. I do believe if you spend the rest of your life at AA meetings saying you are an alcoholic and that you have a disease, it about the same as a person who survives cancer, is cancer free, and cured, but still runs on about having cancer and being sick. Similarly a person can have a valve replacement or arterial bypass and the results are completely successful. Woudnt you agree that their condition is cured? Now they may choose to continue a diet of fatty foods or high stress lifestyle that could put them back at square one but they were cured. If they live a life without the stress and bad diet and no problem with these ailments again then would you not agree they were cured?
Just possibly that cancer surviver or heart ailment surviver that has been cured may go on endlessly about what a sick person they are, constantly focusing on their past health problem. We have all known someone like that. They make themselves believe they are still most seriously sick, crave attention, and bore the hell out of us with their health woes and constantly telling us stuff like " you need to eat things that do this , or don't contain that", " dark chocolate is good for you", or "tomatoes contain licopenes". ....Think about those AA quotes....They can sometimes drive me crazy...Oh forgot, not allowed to think.
Last edited by SweetB; 09-20-2011 at 07:03 AM. Reason: punctuation
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|11-11-2011, 08:12 PM||#53 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Lake Helen
Is alcoholism a disease
Tonight I feel like it is more like a curse on my family. All three of my brothers are alcoholics. One of my sisters, my mother and father inlaw and both of my adult children are alcoholics! my son came home tonight after being out all night drinking and he couldn't walk a straight line , he could have killed himself or someone with his truck !!!! I am at my wits end.
|11-13-2011, 09:52 AM||#54 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
I don't think it's a disease, it's just learned behaviour. Kids copy their parents, and thats how the cycle goes on. Its people's environment. Calling it a "disease" is a bit of a cop out and makes it seem semi-acceptable almost when it clearly is not. Cancer is a disease. Alcoholism is addiction-no one makes people pick up alcohol or drugs or whatever. They do it to themselves. It's like saying smoking is a disease
|11-13-2011, 10:55 AM||#55 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Pennsylvania USA
hmm, interesting to see so many different levels of opinions. not sure even where to start. well to wiegh in i personally donot think that it is a disease specific. i do think it should be classified as a disease to help those who are in active addiction recieve treatment for the problem. to say that addiction is a disease specific is seemingly offencive to some people. just because someone has say a generic problem shared in some part by a larger population, does not mean it is a pass to excuse behavior. I see no distiction between mental health disorders and addiction. it seems unless the label of disease is applied to the affliction there isn't much help offered in the population at large. whitch if removed would leave alot of addicts untreated ,whitch either side of the fence your on would be a travesty. i tend to believe with all of the people ive met since my introduction into recovery for every one undeserving soul there are many other good individuals who are misguided and lost and just want to make their loved ones happy again.
I decided to repond to this thread because i'm a bit biased, the members of the recovery community seem to chant the montra to such extreme that it allieviates responsiblity for previous actions, whitch to be honest i feel is a method of glossing over the reality of the situation. I am an addict, i have done some terrible things, and i owe it to those i've done wrong to grasp the pain ive caused and make atonement where i can. On the other side of the coin there are individulas in my life that wish suffering upon me for past transgressions. on this not even my actual suffering will alleviate that wraith in them. i pray for them and hope they can cope with these things without following my path into drinking and drugs.
I am an addict
I suffer from a chronic, progressive, and self-destructive flaw in my thought process whitch affects my behavior, i made these bad choices and have to live with that
I am glad that they determined this be a disease, otherwise i would have caused pain to those around me and died alone. Instead i have been given a chance to make amends and to be here as a responsible productive member of society
Addiction isn't really a disease , but i'm sure glad someone else said it was
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|12-14-2011, 08:21 AM||#56 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2011
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|12-14-2011, 12:26 PM||#57 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: LA - Lower Alabama
What is intersting about this thread to me is it was posted under the "Step One" forum. No where in AA's steps does it say you have to recognize or accept alcoholism as a disease. For the record, here is AA's step one:
I believe in staying in the solution not in arguing over terminology or semantics.
It is easier to practice total abstinence than perfect moderation
Any quotes from the big book of AA are from the first edition, or are otherwise exempt from copyright infringement under the "fair use doctrine".
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|12-17-2011, 07:46 PM||#58 (permalink)|
Join Date: Mar 2010
Blog Entries: 3
The debate continues......I "grew up" in a setting where the disease concept reigned supreme. It did not even occur to me to debate, and I accepted that the medical community was firm in the designation. It proved useful to me to think of my alcoholism as a disease: It was the springboard from which I could begin to forgive myself. Besides, I reasoned, if it was a disease then surely there was an antidote! So I immersed myself in the most ubiquitous mutual help program of the day: AA. I carried into 12-step meetings the language and philosophies I had learned in treatment, as others before me had done & more would do after us. It would be years before I questioned the notion of a disease concept, before I realized that AA had no opinion on the matter. I did not have to have a disease to be a member of AA: A desire to stop drinking was the only requisite.
There has been criticism of the disease concept and its use in treatment. For some, it is argued, it becomes an excuse to continue to drink; others may resign themselves out of hopelessness. I must have been one the lucky ones.
Today I am less convinced that my alcoholism is a disease. Oh, there are features of disease: It is progressive, left untreated it is fatal. But I begin to have trouble with that designation when I reflect that it was a 12-step program, a spiritual program, that arrested the progression. Cancer does not spontaneously remit when the patient grows sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I never wanted to grow up to be an alcoholic. I was genetically predisposed, and my environment made me vulnerable to all sorts of pathologies. I do not metabolize alcohol "normally," but does that make it a disease? I am also lactose intolerant! In the final analysis I believe that it was a useful concept to think of my alcoholism as a disease. There are other "explanations" that might be equally useful to other people. And really, I don't know that the explanation matters unless it facilitates the solution.
|12-18-2011, 04:49 AM||#59 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2011
If it helps, people can think of themselves as incredibly powerful and in full and masterful control regarding drinking alcohol, not selfish or concerned with self in the least, fully matured individuals who are amazing specimens of mental health without the least character flaws and suffering zero defects in any way, with nothing required of them to do but to quit pouring that crap down their necks to be wonderful for ever and ever. And any time in the past they may have been a victim of circumstance and possibly stepped the tiniest bit out of line should never be mentioned and is best ignored and forgotten. And they are the greatest thing to ever appear under the sun since forever.
Completely fine with me as I don't care at all what others believe. Keeping that attitude removes me from the debating society while still allowing me to stay an interested observer of what happens and the results people obtain over the long haul with their various approaches and desperate certainties.
|12-21-2011, 05:29 AM||#60 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Eastern Time Zone
In Alanon we say, "Take what you need and leave the rest." I have found the word "disease" troublesome. I find the better term to be "neurologic condition" as it is hard to dispute the CT scans of the brain not only in active use but for months and months after abstinence as the brain heals from the chemical assault. Maybe it could also be called a "slow chemical lobotomy" that happens. So in the beginning, my son made the choice to use or not use, but his brain very quickly started influencing that decision for him.
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