Friday, April 20, 2018

Disease model: Is alcohol addiction a disease?

One of the things that addiction to alcohol is that it's almost treated as a special case.

First the name; "alcoholism". Why  the ism? Is there cocaineism? heroinism? marijuanaism? foodism? sex/love/carnal -ism? The quick answer is no. They are all addictions, I don't debate that one bit.

To me the 'ism' suffix was done by Bill Wilson by design and was/is a way to differentiate or provide some buffer for this addiction since Bill couldn't very well be afflicted by a common addiction. He had to have a disease and then to emphasize it more, he also declared it incurable. I hate this idea and one of the things in aa that I grew to straight up disagree with because it seems to help no one other keep people buying big books and attending meetings and giving their dollar.

Bill's ideas about alcohol addiction as it is cast in aa seems to serve a few functions; first and foremost it lifts the addict from guessing what is wrong with them, they are told 'hey you have a disease' which is well enough by itself. However then telling the addict there is no cure nor try to seek one is crazy and only serves aa. I can't think of a single disease where people simply accept it is not curable nor should we try to cure it. So is there a disease or not? Or, did Bill Wilson have any idea what he was talking about as far as saying this or that was a disease? I am going to guess, Bill knew exactly what he was doing and could see a business model a mile away with his education and exposure to a privileged segment of society.

In case someone was not sold on the disease perspective, there is always the 'spiritual malady' fallback position. It's harder to argue with someone that says 'well the disease model is incorrect because what was known then is not supported by the current body of knowledge about diseases and not to mention Bill was not a doctor and Dr Bob probably did not adhere to qualifying anything he had been told by Bill using medical protocol'. I have seen people that have done this and they were usually met with dismissal and irrational logic of someone launching into aa speak about spiritual malady.

I don't dismiss the idea of spirituality or religion, I actually admire people that are disciplined enough to practice either or. I found very few people in aa that had any discipline.

To sum up, treat it like a disease or a spiritual malady just don't make excuses when it's becoming obvious that neither approach works in aa for very many people.

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