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Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease?

Old 09-01-2010, 03:45 AM
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Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease?

No. I do not.

I can more accept that it is a mental disease. But, it cannot be a disease if its cure is almost the exact same one that those of us dealing with the alcoholic use.

Unless being a codie is a disease also, and I've yet to see it referred to as such.
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:09 AM
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I've often pondered that question too. The American Medical Association sees it as a disease, yet other great medical people see it as a "symptom" of underlying psychological issues that need to be addressed.

Disease or not, it is most definitely a sickness, one that has killed too many of our loved ones. A sickness of the body, mind and spirit, I believe.

Just my thoughts, not intended to debate. When I see the difference between an active addict and that same person when they are clean, it makes me feel compassion and sadness for the pain they must be feeling.
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:36 AM
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that is an interesting one! I always hear Dr Phil refering to it as a chronic illness. I seem to feel it also may be due to phychological problems, especially when my AH is drunk, he is always going on about bad memories! He has had a rough childhood as well, but A is also genetic, his M was also an alkie, although she has been sober many years now after treatment. Maybe us being codies is also an illness as we do this for protection, i feel. It must be so hard for the person who is an A, who so desperately wants to stop, but, they just cant! May HP grant them and us mercy and peace...
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:51 AM
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This is a question that has been discussed over and over since the mid 1950s, and there has been some pretty good research that indicates that there is....or can be....a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, although I don't know if we can generalize that to all addictions.

It is essentially the old nature v. nurture discussion, and IMO the two are so interrelated that it's a losing proposition to even attempt to isolate one or the other. I am addicted to alcohol...and other drugs....and no one else in my family or extended family is. But they tend to be workaholics. Nature or nurture?

AA claims it's both physical and mental....allergy and obsession. I personally define addictions as an unhealthy, damaging obsessive dependence on any substance or process, and which causes signs and symptoms of withdrawal (physical and/or emotional) when stopped. This would include codependency which, IMO, is most often linked to a dependence on adrenaline (life via rescuing, crisis management and tilting at windmills). One reason codeps so often offload the alkie (usually far too late) and then find themselves another one. Dependency goes way beyond just a "habit," or even a lifestyle.

It is all insanity, and IMHO, nearly everyone has got some variety of it.

Which is why I love those in recovery....people who are getting well because they've come to understand they're sick.

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Old 09-01-2010, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Starburst View Post
that is an interesting one! I always hear Dr Phil refering to it as a chronic illness. I seem to feel it also may be due to phychological problems, especially when my AH is drunk, he is always going on about bad memories! He has had a rough childhood as well, but A is also genetic, his M was also an alkie, although she has been sober many years now after treatment. Maybe us being codies is also an illness as we do this for protection, i feel. It must be so hard for the person who is an A, who so desperately wants to stop, but, they just cant! May HP grant them and us mercy and peace...
i can relate with that one starburst-my parents were always drinkers-holding weekly parties etc-just socially-not bingeing etc, i remember finding a can of beer as a child and thinking-well if they can drink it so can i-the next thing i knew i was in the local childrens' hospital having my stomach pumped-i know its not the same but i believe it can be genetic-the difference in my parents when they had a drink, they were happier etc, they have both stopped now completely after 30yrs+ -addiction or sickness or genetic ? that's the million dollar question-i guess the answer will never be the same for any 2 people-some people use to fill a void, some to make them happy, or some just because they think they HAVE to drink to fit in-like a drug addict-same situation, just different levels of addiction-ive never tried prescription drugs-but boy have i hammer the alcohol-it's only now i realise i don't need it in my life can i step outside the box and look in-it wasnt addiction with me, like it wasnt with my parents, it was just a gap that needed filling-but i know of people who would willingly kill for a drink-and those who hit a downer when the barrel has run dry so to speak, thats where i think the addiction creeps in-it's crazy but it's different causes for different people.

just my opinion.

joey.
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:47 AM
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If Celiac's is considered a disease, then by the same measure alcoholism is a disease.

Celiac's can live a healthful, normal life if they don't ingest wheat products, which destroy the vilii of the intestines leading to chronic digestive and other wide ranging physiological complications. Stop ingesting wheat, and all goes back to normal.

I can live a healthful, normal life if I don't ingest alcohol, which caused my brain to create excessive dopamine receptors, then for those receptors to cry out for an ever increasing volume and frequency of alcohol consumption. Stop ingesting alcohol, and all goes back to normal.

Well...as normal as normal gets anyway

Murray
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:43 AM
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People have said that addiction is a disruption of the brain's normal working processes - your neurochemistry gets f***ed up basically. Your behaviour-control centres become disregulated; the feedback loops that keep everything in check in normality just become deranged by all the wrong stuff activating the neuroreceptors. Well, that's what ppl say the CT scans show!! I've posted a link to an HBO documentary somewhere on this forum - it's broken down into 10min sections but all of it is informative (IMO) - I'll try to find it

I'm not sure how that addresses how addicts justify their problem tho? I can see how before the addiction someone might want to turn to drugs or alcohol to forget traumatic events because they've heard or experienced that it worked (on the short term?) but it's insiduous isn't it. By the time it all gets to work rearranging the furniture in your brain you're in tricky territory :/

Thoughts?

P
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:46 AM
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Here:
HBO: Addiction: The Film: Centerpiece Film: Brain Imaging

There are links to the other bits of the documentary on the left of the site too. I found it helpful

xx
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Old 09-01-2010, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by zbear23 View Post
It is essentially the old nature v. nurture discussion, and IMO the two are so interrelated that it's a losing proposition to even attempt to isolate one or the other.
It's only recently that the mental health community has begun addressing nature plus nurture. It became unavoidable with so many new medical specialties and diagnostic tools.

I accept addiction is a disease, using the medical definition of disease. It can either be active or in remission. I accept that this disease is chemical by nature, and spiritual by nurture.
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Old 09-01-2010, 03:46 PM
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still, i found it hard to except this #1 step...took a while for me to see, then i saw it 1st hand and now realize that is a diease....he/she is very SICK....now I see....
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:37 PM
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I totally agree they are sick, I disagree that it is a disease.

We use the same treatment essentially. They put down the booze, we put down the alcoholic.
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:40 PM
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I agree. I consider it a sickness, but not a disease.
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Chino View Post
It's only recently that the mental health community has begun addressing nature plus nurture. It became unavoidable with so many new medical specialties and diagnostic tools.

I accept addiction is a disease, using the medical definition of disease. It can either be active or in remission. I accept that this disease is chemical by nature, and spiritual by nurture.
And science is now exploring the peculiar behaviors of particles that only decide their "nature" when we ask them to. Awareness is creative.

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Old 09-02-2010, 04:39 AM
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I still don't know the answer. My XAH was a heavy drinker, his father was a whisky man, as was his brother......dad and bro died in their early 60's, XAH ligered on to past 82.

RABF has his dad, grand-dad and great grand-dad, all riproaring A's and only his dad ended up sober and staying so for his last 35 years.
His younger brother only recently admitted he did not touch alcohol, as what he did when drinking scared him enough to stop for good.

RABF had 2 sons, eldest shows no signs of any addiction, but younger son was a chip of the old block and drove into a tree while drunk, killing himself.

I can understand someone with a gene which predisposes them to some disease, IF they eat, drink or do something to "turn" that disease on....deciding NOT to go down the necessary path. But seeing the hell and misery picking up a drink brings the drinker and others involved, it seems inexplicable that the A keeps drinking.

I know it is so powerful a compulsion, because I have been part of it, and hate it with a passion, but I will never understand it.

God bless
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:24 PM
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I've heard that alcoholism and/or addiction is heredity, and I have seen that in some families. It may not affect every member of a family, only some. I have often wondered why some become alcoholics or addicts, and others don't.

If Celiac's is considered a disease, then by the same measure alcoholism is a disease.

Celiac's can live a healthful, normal life if they don't ingest wheat products, which destroy the vilii of the intestines leading to chronic digestive and other wide ranging physiological complications. Stop ingesting wheat, and all goes back to normal.
Celiac's is a disease, a genetic disease. You have to have the gene for celiac disease to manifest. Just because you have the gene, does not necessarily mean you will have celiac's. You can go several years eating gluten products and have absolutely no problem, then something could trigger it, and bam, you have a intolerance to gluten. Or, you can carry the gene, and never have a reaction to gluten.

If you don't have the gene for celiac's, you will never have celiac's disease. You can carry the gene for celiac's and be unaware they have it, until and unless you have a reaction to gluten.

So is addiction and/or alcoholism caused by a gene? If you don't have the gene for addiction/alcoholism, you can drink and drug as much as you want and won't become an addict or alcoholic?

Part of the definition of disease from Webster's is "inherent weakness, or environmental stress, a condition or tendency, as of society, regarded as abnormal and harmful".
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:33 PM
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It was explained to me at my AH's rehab center, than anyone can become alcoholic. With enough alcohol and enough time (and everyone's amount and time differs) you will eventually become dependent on it.

I suppose the same goes for narcotics. If you require heavy pain killers for a long time after an accident or surgery, you'll face withdraw when you stop taking them.
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:00 PM
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I'm on the fence.

Sometimes I think my resentments and residual anger that still linger from this experience with my axw keep me from "being willing" to see alcoholism as a disease. If I did, it would follow, that I'd have to have some compassion for her as her being a "victim" of her disease.

When in my mind, she can't be a "victim of alcoholism", since she has made conscious decisions to ignore the DOZENS of life preservers that have been thrown her way over the years.

I struggle with the compassion thing, it wrestles with the anger and resentment. Which BTW is 90% "handled". It no longer dominates my thoughts, nor does it cause me any great angst.....but it's like a little ember in the back of my mind that refuses to burn out.

Then there's me, I drank rivers of alcohol, and smoked bales of weed. I was mainly a weekend warrior, but I drank EVERY DAY from the time I was 18.

When CPS was due to come a knocking, I asked HP (I still didn't believe, but was already beat down by axw's 'ism) to "please remove my desire to drink beer".

And I quit, just like that. Oh, I had about 3 days of minor discomfort, about like the time I quit diet cola "cold turkey".

So what gives? Am I blessed? Well, yes to that, but am I "special" some how?

Do I have more "courage" or "will power" than the average bear?

Did I drink all those years and just not have the "gene"? Plenty of others in my FOO had it on all sides.

I consider myself a "recovered alcoholic", I don't worry about never being able to drink again. I'm ok with that. Is it just because I drank enough in 40 years to last me several life times? IDK.

Any which way, in my mind it boils down to if "I could quit it" when the stakes were high enough, why couldn't she/everybody else?

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:54 AM
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I don't know if I accept alcoholism/addiction as a disease.

I have a disease. It has been managed through several surgeries and hospitalizations. And drug therapies. And dietary changes. I didn't choose to become diseased. I didn't DO anything to become diseased. It just happened. I'm not in denial of my disease.

So......is alcoholism/addiction a disease or a behavioral issue? Behaviors can be as difficult to conquer as a disease.

I'll be honest here.....I don't understand addiction/alcoholism AT ALL. I've read all about it. And I understand that there is a lot of research by people far more intelligent than I am who have concluded that it is a disease.

I have compassion for anyone who becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. But I still can't help feeling that it was within their power NOT to become addicted. I can certainly say that I have no power over their addiction but......somehow.......I still can't grasp the thought that THEY have no power over their own addiction.

But on the other hand....there are many, many things on this earth that I don't understand and I have no choice but to accept that it is what it is. Should we accept that something is what it is because someone says it is so?

I guess I will never understand addiction unless I walk in the shoes of an addict.....but I have no intention of trying to become an addict so that I can better understand addiction.

Here is MY question......is it imperative to my OWN recovery to accept that addiction is a disease?
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by coyote21 View Post
I'm on the fence.

Sometimes I think my resentments and residual anger that still linger from this experience with my axw keep me from "being willing" to see alcoholism as a disease. If I did, it would follow, that I'd have to have some compassion for her as her being a "victim" of her disease.

When in my mind, she can't be a "victim of alcoholism", since she has made conscious decisions to ignore the DOZENS of life preservers that have been thrown her way over the years.

I struggle with the compassion thing, it wrestles with the anger and resentment. Which BTW is 90% "handled". It no longer dominates my thoughts, nor does it cause me any great angst.....but it's like a little ember in the back of my mind that refuses to burn out.

Then there's me, I drank rivers of alcohol, and smoked bales of weed. I was mainly a weekend warrior, but I drank EVERY DAY from the time I was 18.

When CPS was due to come a knocking, I asked HP (I still didn't believe, but was already beat down by axw's 'ism) to "please remove my desire to drink beer".

And I quit, just like that. Oh, I had about 3 days of minor discomfort, about like the time I quit diet cola "cold turkey".

So what gives? Am I blessed? Well, yes to that, but am I "special" some how?

Do I have more "courage" or "will power" than the average bear?

Did I drink all those years and just not have the "gene"? Plenty of others in my FOO had it on all sides.

I consider myself a "recovered alcoholic", I don't worry about never being able to drink again. I'm ok with that. Is it just because I drank enough in 40 years to last me several life times? IDK.

Any which way, in my mind it boils down to if "I could quit it" when the stakes were high enough, why couldn't she/everybody else?

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote

this is very close to me........i partied.........i quit........big deal.

i wonder if ascribing the moniker of disease to the choices one makes helps or hurts those making the choices?
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:08 AM
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I accept it's something I cannot control.
Personally, I don't think it's a "disease" but I do think addicts have a disorder of either personality, spirit or self hatred to the point they just want to self destruct and not feel pain.
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