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Alcoholism as a disease

Old 12-21-2012, 06:48 AM
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Alcoholism as a disease

Alright-so I am totally in the belief that this is a disease. However...im curious to see how you all feel about this.

If my bf had cancer, and chose to get no treatment-i would not be happy
If my bf had diabetes and chose not to monitor it and take care of it-i would not be happy

I understand there are some diseases that have no cure, but this one does. So saying you wouldnt be mad at someone for having cancer-yes makes sense-but at the same time, i would be mad at someone that had cancer and refused all treatments when there is a chance of beating it.

what do you all think of this?
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:55 AM
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I think Hydrogirl posted this recently: She heard someone say ~

A cancer patient doesn't keep going to the store to buy another bottle of cancer.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by bamboo10 View Post
i would be mad at someone that had cancer and refused all treatments when there is a chance of beating it.
Why get mad? Why take their decision personally? It's not about you, right?

True story:
My mom chose not to have chemo after her mastectomy for breast cancer. That was her personal choice. She had the right to choose what was done to her body and when.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:56 AM
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I dunno im iffy. Alcoholism as a disease when they drink the disease....
It is something they pick up and put in their body and it can be battled if they never pick it up again.
But then again a person eats alot of sweets ( not all but some) and develop diabetes however they battle diabetes lifelong much like an alcoholic whom must refrain from alcohol...battling to not pick it up.
I think alcoholism is on a very fine line between addiction and disease. Very fine line.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:10 AM
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I truly believe addiction is a disease. I also think it's hereditary. Often times, the nature vs nurture is a factor but over all I think you are either born with it or not.

Many experts say 50% of children with an addicted parent will become one or marry one. Based on all the thread I have read here and seen in my own life, I think that statistic seems low, JMO.

Native American's have a high probability of alcoholism. Its a very interesting read on the reasons why! Basically, it comes done to a genetic factor and what happened when the Europeans (pilgrims) introduce alcohol to them.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:11 AM
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My disease is in remission. There is no "cure" for my disease.

I've watched it happen time and time again over the years.

Someone with long-term sobriety picks up again and is dead within a short period of time.

I have a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of spiritual principles. I don't know about other alcoholics.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
I think Hydrogirl posted this recently: She heard someone say ~

A cancer patient doesn't keep going to the store to buy another bottle of cancer.
That used to be my stance as well. As I make realizations about whats happening to me, I'm more inclined to say that said bottle is a symptom of the "disease". I don't relate it in the same way as more conventional diseases, thats too much of a leap for me.

But the "disease" isn't contained within that bottle, if it was, the gallons of disease I've dumped down the drain should've cured AW by now lol.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:55 AM
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My disease of addiction is in remission. Has been for a very long time. There
is no 'cure' for my addiction. Only abstinence and a lot of work on ME keep me
sober and clean today. I live a 'spiritual' way of life, to the best of my ability
each day.

I was diagnosed 'diabetic' in 1999. Today, finally over 13 years later, my
diabetes is almost in remission. My month A1C and looking real good. 5.1
the last time, and Dr is usually happy if a diabetic can get a 6.1 to 7.1 range.
Therefore, as long as I CONTINUE to use the tools for diabetes, ie, diet,
exercise, 1 insulin long lasting injection each day. 1 enzyme injection daily,
monitoring my blood sugars, continuing to lose weight, it will be in remission
before too much longer.

Now when I was out there still practicing my addiction, there was no way
anyone could convince me I had a problem, and believe me friends and
family sure tried. It was only when my addiction had taken me to living
the streets, that 'my awakening' finally happen. One and half years of
living on the street and I was ready to die. Knew if I kept using and drinking
I would die, and knew without a shadow of a doubt that if I tried to sober
up I would die during my detox. BUT, I wanted to die sober. I did die.
11 times in the ER and the last time the Dr gave up and started writing
my T.O.D. on my medical chart and my heart started on its own after
being down for 28 minutes.

Addiction is the only disease that I have heard of that will tell the individual
they do not have it. Thus they can keep drinking and/or using.

It is hard to 'compare' addiction to any other 'disease' of record because it
is so different from the other diseases we hear about.

I gave up years ago trying to figure out the alcoholic/addict. Heck I am
one and I gave up trying to figure me out, yet alone anyone else. lol

Remember we are walking with you in spirit.

Love and hugs,
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:49 PM
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Alcoholisn is also a mental illness. When alcoholics get sober they're shocked to learn that they identify closely with other alcoholics. It is a physical, mental and spiritual disease. Nobody knows why some people can get sober but others simply can't, even when they try. In the end, it's about choice: am I going to drink or not drink today? There's enormous support out there for people who crave alcohol but want to stop ... AA saved my life but I had to choose each day not to drink.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:08 PM
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No cure ffor alcoholism A.A puts it in remission but I,m always an alcoholic.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:14 PM
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bamboo, i am glad you see it a a disease. to leanr more, you may want to read the big book of alcoholics anonymous to learn more about the disease. heres a lil bit:

An illness of this sort - and we have come to believe it an illness - involves those about us in a way no other human sickness can. If a person has cancer all are sorry for him and no one is angry or hurt. But not so with the alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all the things worth while in life. It engulfs all whose lives touch the sufferer's. It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents - anyone can increase the list.

We hope this volume will inform and comfort those who are, or who may be affected. There are many.

Highly competent psychiatrists who have dealt with us have found it sometimes impossible to persuade an alcoholic to discuss his situation without reserve. Strangely enough, wives, parents and intimate friends usually find us even more unapproachable than do the psychiatrist and the doctor.

But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.


We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:26 AM
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I must admit, I have been struggling with this one, bamboo. But when I think about the differences between my family and my own drinking and my ABFs, I am starting to accept there is a definite element of disease.

My family barely drink, and I was not raised around drinkers (I am very grateful for this now!), nor have I ever gravitated towards big drinkers. When I met ABF, this changed as his family are big drinkers (his brother and estranged father are both alcoholics) and so are the majority of his friends. There is a definite cultural component as well. This was a big shock for me, but I thought maybe these were once off drinking sessions, and that I had just been sheltered and was over-sensitive (at least, that's how he made me feel). This is the nurture part, and being around him even made me drink more (again, nurture) for a while until I realised his drinking was a problem.

The nature part is that he shares genes with his father. I know this must be genetic as I very much feel my limit when I drink. I have a few (lightweight) and I fall fast asleep. I don't get aggressive or depressed or anything like that, I just fall asleep. I could probably try to force a few more drinks into me if I really tried, but it would be extremely difficult and unpleasant. ABF, on the other hand, doesn't have that switch. He was drinking continuously for days at a time without sleep, going through fits of aggression, depression, hysteria... It was frightening to wake up and find him still drinking. And confusing. In contrast to me, trying to force himself to STOP drinking was what was extremely difficult. Obviously he's a lot bigger than me, and has grown up drinking heavily so has a tolerance, but I still really struggle to understand how such drinking is physically possible.

And I think this is what makes it a disease. My (slow) realisation of this is what is helping keep my great build up of anger from past hurt in (reasonable) check, and makes me understand why one sip could spell the end of his sobriety. It also makes me feel really sad for him.

I hope this made a bit of sense.
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:35 AM
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I don't see cancer patients lying to family, stealing, yelling, causing accidents, blacking out ect... It may be a disease but sure is a unpopular one & for good reasons. It is more a behavior type disease than medical.
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:35 AM
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I'm always up and down on this. If anyone has ever had to sit through watching someone they cared about go through alcohol withdrawal, it is obvious that there is a real physical component to addiction that cannot be denied.

As Justfor1 said, there's a behavioral component in there that makes it difficult sometimes to accept that the person can't help it, as they claim. It's also grating that so many so-called "recovering" alcoholics blithely dismiss the pain of those they've harmed with the notion that the hurts simply shouldn't count because what they did was, after all, just part of that silly ol' disease. With some of their rhetoric such as "there are no victims (of alcoholics), just volunteers", the people on the receiving end of the alcoholic's bad behavior are led to believe their feelings are not valid--and once again, same as it ever was when the alcoholic was actively drinking, their feelings and priorities and lives are shoved aside in favor of the "poor sick alcoholic", who, after all, just "couldn't help" lying, name-calling, or worse.

I think that this attitude of not having to be responsible for one's behavior in the recovery culture goes a long way toward unacceptance by the drinker's family and friends of alcoholism as a disease.
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:54 AM
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... and then I read mightyqueen's post and I feel slightly less sad for ABF.

Last night he told me (after speaking with his therapist) that sexual assault is apparently "normal" for alcoholics. He said this with an air of innocence, as if he didn't even need to feel bad about it. I asked him if he could so easily brush off the behaviour of another alcoholic if, say, his niece was being regularly sexually assulted by her (fictional) ABF. No reply.

So yeah, I guess I am another up-and-downer.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:31 AM
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I dont know. I am on the fence with this one.

I *think* that I think alcoholism is a disease, but my hesitation is quite simply because for YEARS my mother has said (about my brother) "His alcoholism is a disease." and in doing so, acted like we should sympathize and hold his hand. Not to mention, it made brother feel like the poor poor victim.....he loves the attention and drinks more to get more.

Alcoholism may be a disease, and but alcoholism as a disease is not an excuse.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by redtailgal View Post
I dont know. I am on the fence with this one.

I *think* that I think alcoholism is a disease, but my hesitation is quite simply because for YEARS my mother has said (about my brother) "His alcoholism is a disease." and in doing so, acted like we should sympathize and hold his hand. Not to mention, it made brother feel like the poor poor victim.....he loves the attention and drinks more to get more.

Alcoholism may be a disease, and but alcoholism as a disease is not an excuse.
Wow. How simply put and yet how full of truth! Good job.

I lost a best friend to her alcoholism. She's not dead yet, as far as I know, but she is dead to me--it's easier to think that way then to watch her and listen to her brain-damaged conversation. It's been three years since I cut her off forever. Still, she's in my mind because wherever she is, she turned 50 this week.

But, I would describe her the same way, and others who knew her said the same thing--she was a person who always needed attention, and drinking was part of the way she brought attention to herself. She was sober for seven wonderful years, and a good friend to me then--I think of THAT person as the one who died. But, even then, that need to get attention beyond what a normal healthy adult should do was still there, but only annoying in a minor way. She would pretend to be dumber than she was, for example, saying things that even she knew were stupid so that she could play this air-heady little blonde-girl act. It got kind of uncomfortable to watch after she was 40.

Anyway, she got cancer--Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma right after she lost a good job through no fault of her own. Many people helped her out during her treatment, and she got lots of attention when she was sick. Then, as soon as the treatment ended and she was in remission, and after seven years of sobriety, she promptly picked up the bottle of vodka and started to drink with a dedication usually seen only in Olympic Athletes. It's as of she was going through withdrawal from the cancer attention and was going to get it another way. She went to rehab three times in five months, started to become severely brain-damaged/wet-brained from the withdrawal seizures she'd have all the time, and it got to the point where you almost wanted to bash her head in with a rock because it was unbearable to see her that way. She became far worse than she was when she originally drank pre-recovery, and that was pretty bad. I had no choice but to cut her off.

But that "look at me, I need attention 24 hours a day!" thing was always there under the surface, and I do think it related to her drinking. It's not hard to do an armchair analysis, either--baby of the family/youngest of five kids born late in her parents' lives, I don't think she ever learned to play any role other than that one, and coupled with the alcoholic tendency in her extended family, it was a disaster.
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