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Fiction: It's an Addiction, not a Disease.

by Greg Adams
(Tonopah, Arizona)

I am definitely addicted to alcohol and I suppose that makes me an alcoholic but I do not suffer from a disease called alcoholism any more than I suffer from a disease called 'nicotinism' because of my addiction to the nicotine in cigarettes and the other pleasurable benefits it brings, such as socializing with other smokers.

My wife says that I have gotten worse--as in angrier and crazier--as the years have gone by. I see this as the result of the cumulative neurological damage from excessive drinking compounded with natural aging. I've done the same sort of damage to my lungs and other organs by smoking.

I recognize that there are those who are addicted to alcohol or nicotine or both that find themselves unable to stop regardless of the horrific consequences but I regard that to be a function of just how addicted the person is to a given substance. Heroin, meth, cocaine, pain pill and other addicts have also found themselves unable to quit and many have died, too. Why aren't they called 'heroinaholics' and the like? Because they're addicts, that's why, not the victims of a mysterious disease that only a super natural power can arrest and everyone knows that.

For me to regard my alcohol addiction as a disease is to give it more power than it actually has, making relapse all the more likely. I have chosen to stop and I am able to do so because I can now see how to be happy without alcohol so I no longer "need" it to feel OK or to avoid realities I don't like. But if I choose to sit at a bar, I will probably experience craving--not from some mysterious force--but from stimulation of my brain by the powerful reminders there. It's like looking at pictures of naked women and becoming aroused. It's quite natural.

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A recovering addict with the DISEASE of Addiction!
by: Brandy

Addiction and alcoholism are diseases.
This is factual and cannot be changed. The American Psychiatric and Medical Association have defined it clearly on why it is a disease.

As for the other comments that I have read where people are denigrating NA and AA, well, it is absolute ignorance. Until, someone has had experience and knowledge on these programs and the disease of addiction as a whole I wouldn't give these opinions any regard.

The disease of addiction can never be cured but it can be arrested and recovery is possible. As an addict recovery is my responsibility and it starts first with abstinence, yet the journey does not end there. It is a life long process. And Millions of people who have NA and AA in their life have been able to obtain years of clean time that they would not have be able to reach just by "simple" will power.

To say that an addict/alcoholic should be capable of stopping on sheer will power is a joke and total ignorance. For all of the family members of the addicts who are unable to understand this...
I would suggest al-anon.

I could argue my point for hours.


Good Argument
by: C-P

Good Argument Greg. But why does the medical professional then refer to addiction, whether it be to alcohol or drugs, as a disease? You can't argue with it meeting the medical criteria required to be classified as disease.

Having said that, I also struggle to compare alcoholism or drug addiction to something like cancer. But for me at the end of the day, whether it is regarded as disease or not shouldn't really matter.

How you treat it and the things you need to do to recover successfully remain the same - disease or not. So for those who it helps referring to addiction as a disease, then fine - whereas others who choose not to see it as disease like yourself, also fine.

It all boils down to taking responsibility for the disease/problem ... call it what you want ... that you have - and then doing it takes to overcome it.

Anyway, glad to see you're posting and contributing. Please continue - you've got a lot of experience and advice to pass on.

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