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The Disease Concept of Addiction

Old 10-12-2001, 05:15 PM
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Post The Disease Concept of Addiction

Dee & Smoke please read; It has come to my attention that the best decisions are made when you have the best information:

Perhaps you are unaware that chemical dependency is a disease. But it is-just like diabetes or the mumps. It is vital that you both understand and accept this concept. Once you do, you can begin to realize that the person who abuses or misuses alcohol or drugs is not doing it deliberately, but because he or she is sick. Some of your confusion, frustration and anger will subside, and you will be able to approach the situation more objectively and constructively.
You would not blame your child for coming down with the flu. Instead you would take your child to the doctor, have the disease diagnosed, and do whatever you could to speed your child on the way to recovery. Similarly, you cannot blame the chemically dependent person for being chemically dependent. What you can do is help him or her to get the care that is needed.
If you are finding the disease concept difficult to grasp, you are not alone. Some physicians still do not accept it. Some even prescribe drugs to alleviate the symptoms of chemical dependency, leading to new dependencies. It was not until 1956 that the American Medical Association formally recognized alcoholism is a disease. Until then, most medical and psychiatric professionals believed that it was a symptom of some other underlying emotional disorder. As a result, the usual approach went something like this: "Let's find out what's really wrong with you. If we can get at that and correct it, then you will no longer have the need to drink." It was thought that the drinking problem wopuld take care of itself--disappear spontaneously--if that other disorder could be discovered and addressed. Months, and sometimes years, were spent in treatment that did not work. Meanwhile the sick person's condition steadily worsened.
Once alcoholism was identified as a disease, it became possible to learn more about it. When I use the term alcoholism, I am referring to all other types of chemical dependency as well. The symptoms of dependency are essentially the same, and the need for intervention is just as urgent whether the person is abusing pills, marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogen, amphetmines, barbituates, tranquilizers, heroin, ectasy or whatever. The process of intervention translates across the board and across age groups. There has been a tendency in some treatment circles to approach drugs idiosyncratically when it is far more useful to approach it generically. We do not distinguish between the alcoholic who drinks only beer and the alcoholic who drinks only gin, similarly, we do not distinguish between the drug user who smokes marijuana and the drug user who mainlines heroin. And by extension, we do not treat the drug user any differently from the alcoholic. All are caught up in the emotional syndrome we will describe later, all need help; all can benefit greatly from intervention.
There is also a widespread belief that young people can't get into the same sort of trouble with chemical dependency as adults. This is simply not true. Nobody is "to young" to develop a harmful and eventually fatal dependency on alcohol and drugs. And nobody is "to old" to recover.

To be con't

Just for Today-----------I am Sober
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Old 10-12-2001, 05:40 PM
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What we know about the disease. The disease can be discribed. A disease is a condition which is describable across a population. If your daughter wakes up one morning with red spots all over her body and (provided they're a certain kind of red spots) will be correctly diagnosed a case of measles. Not because the doctor knows anything about the child's personality, or habits, or friends, but because measles are measles regardless of who gets them. We are now able to diagnose chemical dependency in much the same way. A symptomatology-- a list of distinct characteristics of the disease is available, enabling us to recognize its presence and effects. One of the symptoms of alcoholism is the compulsion to drink. The compulsion is evident in drinking that is inappropriate, unpredictable, excessive, and constant. The alcoholics behavior fluctuates between extremes that confuse and bewilder the people around him or her. He or she may be unaware of the compulsion, but it is always there. When confronted, the alcoholic swears that he or she can stop anytime that they want to. They say that they always decide when they going to or not going to drink. To the person close to the alcoholic, that may sound reasonable. To an objective observer, however, it becomes obvious that sooner or later the "decision" is always the same: to drink. Or, in the case of the drig addict, to use.
Rather than being a symptom of an underlying emotional or physical disorder, chemical dependency causes many such problems, or aggravates those that already exist. And these cannot be treated effectively unless the chemical dependency is treated first. It is estimated that alcohol is involved in anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of all admissions to hospitals and mental hospitals. Gastritis cirrhosis of the liver, the deterioration of blood vessels in the brain, the breakdown of the lining of the esophagus, alcoholic myopathy, ( a generalized weakness in the muscles), impotence in men and menstrual difficulties in women, mental deterioration, and alcohol-related heart disease, among others, continue to escalate for as long as the sick person keeps drinking. Social problems and family problems keep getting worse.
Chemical dependency seems to rest on a human life in such a way that it effectively blocks any other care we might want to deliver to whatever else is wrong with the individual. For example, if an alcoholic has a diseased liver, not even the best practitioner can deliver lasting care to that individual through the alcoholism. That must be lifted first, to clear the way for healing. The same is true for emotional problems. Not even the best psychiatrist care can have any lasting effects until the drinking or using stops. That must happen before recovery can begin.
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Old 10-12-2001, 05:47 PM
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Here is where we begin to see how truly serious the disease of chemical dependency is. Nobody has the measles over a lifetime, but once a person becomes chemically dependent, he or she remains so forever. It used to be believed that chemical dependency was "learned" and could therefore be "unlearned". Now we know that this is not so. It is contracted like any other disease, and it never goes away. Fortunately, it can be arrested, and dependent persons can go on to live happy, healthy, productive lives--as long as they abstain from mind or mood altering chemicals. Relapse, the return to drinking or using is an ever present danger; this is another side to the chronicity of the disease.
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Old 08-06-2004, 12:19 PM
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Happytails and others....
For Naranon in Philadelphia hit
http://www.naranon.com
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Old 08-06-2004, 01:07 PM
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So if my child has the measles I would make sure she was seen by a doctor. I would have her prescriptions filled, measure out the medication and see that she takes it on schedule. I would make her chicken soup and read her bedtime stories. But with an A we are told to focus on ourselves and let them suffer the consequences of their illness in order to get well. So how does that make sense?
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Old 08-06-2004, 04:16 PM
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This post was brought up from the basement! Notice the date of the post, 2001.
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Old 08-06-2004, 07:40 PM
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Givingup- you make a good point...maybe because your kid with the measles won't wreck havoc on your health while helping her to heal....also she will at some point definately get better, that is not the way of the disease of alcoholism.
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Old 08-07-2004, 01:55 AM
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Hi givingup,

Here is another good post by Pernell. It may help.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...&threadid=2168
 
Old 08-07-2004, 05:36 AM
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Thank you Morning Glory for the link. I don't think I took a single breath while reading the entire thing the first time. I've read it at least 5 times now. It describes our lives even down to the correct age group. I am not sure who all the cast of characters are besides my AH, me and his employer but I will certainly be watching for their entrances on stage. With Gods help, I am going to learn new lines and hopefully be cast in another role, in another play, on another stage. My AH says he is not ready to give up drinking. Well, I'm not ready to give up living. The curtain may come down on his head but I plan to clean up my act and move on.

Thank you for your encouragement
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Old 08-07-2004, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by givingup
My AH says he is not ready to give up drinking. Well, I'm not ready to give up living.
Perfect. Take if from there and move forward, one step at a time.
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Old 08-09-2004, 08:09 PM
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It is a great post

Originally Posted by Chy
This post was brought up from the basement! Notice the date of the post, 2001.
Is that a problem?

I thought it was great....
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Old 08-15-2004, 09:04 AM
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Morning Glory that is a good thread...

Originally Posted by givingup
So if my child has the measles I would make sure she was seen by a doctor. I would have her prescriptions filled, measure out the medication and see that she takes it on schedule. I would make her chicken soup and read her bedtime stories. But with an A we are told to focus on ourselves and let them suffer the consequences of their illness in order to get well. So how does that make sense?
Morning Glory is right, that is a good thread... here is part of it from Pernell

Recovery Begins in Act II

If recovery from alcoholsm is to be initiated, it must begin with the persons in the second act who must learn the dynamics of the illness, and to act in anentirely different fashion. New roles cannot be learned without turning to others who understand the play, and putting into practice the insight and understanding gained from this source. If act two is rewritten and replayed, there is every reason to believe that the alcoholic will recover. He is locked in a phase of resistance to treatment, and the people in act two hold the key to his recovery. If the alcoholic is rescued from every crisis , if the employer submits to repeated victimization, and if the wife remains in the role of Provocatrix, there is not one chance in ten that the alcoholic will recover. He is virtually helpless and cannot break the lock, but he may recover if the other actors in the drama learn how to break the dependency relationship. The alcoholic cannot cannot keep the merry-go-round going unless the others ride it with him and help keep it going. The characters in the second act keep asking the alcoholic why he does not stop drinking, yet these are the very persons whose actions assist the alcoholic in solving his basic human problems by drinking in this fashion. It is completely untrue to state that an alcoholic cannot be helped until he wants help. It is true to state that an alcoholic will not recover as long as other people remove the painful consequences of the drinking episodes.
The Victim and the Enabler must seek information, insight and understanding of they plan to change their roles. It is imperative that the Provocatrix enter into some kind of continuing program of supportive counseling or therapy, preferably on a group basis, if she is to make a basic change in her life.
In understanding the role of the three supporting actors in the drama, we must remember that they did not learn to play these roles overnight. These persons play what they conceive to be the normal roles that are expected of them in life. They actually believe that they are helping the alcoholic and do not understand that they are helping perpetuate the illness.
The Enabler thinks he must not let the alcoholic suffer the consequences of his drinking when it can so easily be prevented by a simple rescue operation. It is like saving a drowning man. It simply must be done. But this rescue mission relieves the anxiety, guilt and fears of the Enabler and conveys to the alcoholic what the rescuer really thinks: "You cannot make it without my help." It reveals a lack of faith in the alcoholic's ability to take care of himself and is a form of judgement and condemnation.


This goes for alcohol, drug addiction or sexaholism...

thanks Morning Glory for thread
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...&threadid=2168
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Old 08-15-2004, 08:29 PM
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Don't Understand

njriverman,
If what you have quoted is true, how can an alcoholic ever recover? In the case of my AH, I made him leave our house and our kids because I feared more and more for my kids safety. I didn't tell him to leave forever only until he got himself under control. Instead of recognizing his problem, he went and found someone to take my place. Who would continue to tell him he didn't have a problem. Then he moved back in with his Mother (with the other woman) and the rest of his family and now they are all protecting him. His sister told me that they realize he might have a problem but that he is their brother and they don't want to hear about it. How is he going to recover? Can he ever recognize what he has lost? We have two great kids together (15 & 13), he won't be here to see all the amazing things that are going to happen in their lives. I really don't understand.
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Old 08-16-2004, 11:14 AM
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Hi Kat...

Hi Kat...

Well they are enabling him.

You need to take care of you.

Have you been to alanon meetings yet?

There you will find others with similar experiences who have moved forward.

Paul in NJ
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Old 08-16-2004, 11:51 AM
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Hi Paul.
The first meeting I can attend is tomorrow night. I plan on being there.
Thank you
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Old 08-16-2004, 12:25 PM
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kfa2004 - glad to hear you are going to a meeting - let us know how it went!

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Old 08-17-2004, 11:28 AM
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hi guys anyone seen minnie the minx?
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Old 08-17-2004, 11:54 AM
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minnie the minx? Not sure I know that one.
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Old 08-17-2004, 02:03 PM
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Hey Zebedee, I dropped the minx on here! Don't feel very minx-like when I'm talking about this stuff.

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Old 08-17-2004, 03:44 PM
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Oh! Minnie! I get it. He He!
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