Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.
The idea of alcoholism and addiction as a disease plays havoc in many peoples minds including the professionals. This concept has long been the center of debate for addiction and alcoholism researchers. For the addict it is a double edged sword. Early on they fight the idea of an incurable disease and then often in treatment and for many in recovery they utilize it to escape responsibility for their actions or outcomes of their lives. Often people confuse commercial opinion for scientific or scholarly research. Lets face it authors claiming addiction is not a disease and can be cured are claims that can be directly related to personal or corporate monetary gain.
The question is does this make them wrong? Are the researchers wrong? How do we make sense of it all? In evaluation there are a number of contradictions in the disease concept or definitions.
The first thing we need to do is recognize that our human nature is to look for answers. Our minds need to make sense of everything. Chaos or disorder creates fear and panic in our lives, therefore our brains search for meaning. The harm in this debate has a lose-lose outcome. The truth is that alcoholism and/or addiction on the personal level are filled with perceived contradictions. The afflicted often look at their lives and situations and compare their plight to others around them in similar situations. In other words they look at others in treatment and proclaim they are not like that!
The second issue is the “crackpot functionalism” that surrounds the malady. I cringe every time I listen to a recovering addict proclaim that their “alcoholism” has taken hold of them, “my addiction is flaring up”! Talk about lack of responsibility! We use the disease concept to excuse our behaviors adding fuel to the fire.
What is right or wrong?
The first thing we must come to terms with is, there is no right or wrong in the disease debate when it comes to recovery. What matters is the end result. The twelve step experts claim that admission of powerlessness is essential to recover. What if this is simply semantics? What if an individual recognizes that alcohol or a drug (s) play a negative role in their lives and they choose to live abstinent? Is this a possibility? If alcoholism is progressive where does the progression begin? Can an individual change prior to crossing the line of addiction? Can the warning signs be heeded prior to full blown alcohol dependence or addiction?
Tell us what you think. However, remember this and never, ever, ever forget it, LIFE IS GOOOOOOD!
Go, Go, Go…