Alcoholism -- an illness

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Tommy-S
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Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by Tommy-S »

Alcoholism -- an illness

Today we are willing to accept the idea that, as far as we are concerned, alcoholism is an illness, a progressive illness which can never be “cured,” but which, like some other illnesses, can be arrested. We agree that there is nothing shameful about having an illness, provided we face the problem honestly and try to do something about it. We are perfectly willing to admit that we are allergic to alcohol and that it is simply common sense to stay away from the source of our allergy.

We understand now that once a person has crossed the invisible borderline from heavy drinking to compulsive alcoholic drinking, that person will always remain an alcoholic. So far was we know, there can never be any turning back to “normal’ social drinking. “Once and alcoholic, always an alcoholic” is a simple fact we have to live with.

We have also learned that there are few alternatives for alcoholics. If they continue to drink, their problem will become progressively worse; they seem assuredly on the path to skid row, to jails or other institutions, or to early graves. The only alternative is to stop drinking completely, to abstain from even the smallest quantity of alcohol in any form. If they are willing to follow this course, and to take advantage of the help available to them, a whole new life can open up for alcoholics. (Pamphlet, "This is AA" )http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-1_thisisaa1.pdf
I was grateful to learn that Alcoholism was an Illness... Not a Moral Failing, Lack of Will Power, or any of the stigmas I was used to...But an accepted and definable Illness.

Like a cucumber soaked too long in brine becomes a pickle, and can never be a cucumber again, I had crossed that invisible line from hard drinker to compulsive alcoholic drinking.

Once there, I was plague by the illusion that some how, some way, I would control and enjoy my drinking... the Great Obsession of every Abnormal drinker. It was the insanity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting it to turn out differently.

Had it Not been for the 'disease' concept of Alcoholism, I surely would have ended up pursuing it into the Gates of Insanity or Death...instead, thanks to AA, I have gotten a second chance at Life, and it's a good life. Thanks

Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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Tosh
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by Tosh »

I think time has moved on from the writing of the Big Book and most right-minded folk do see alcoholism as an illness, rather than a moral weakness; which I guess was the prevalent belief in the 1930s. Even the World Health Organisation views alcoholism as a mental illness and most - if not all - World governmental health organisations class alcoholism as a mental illness too.

Of course, our nearest and dearest - those we harmed the most - don't often view it like this! :mrgreen: But we have a program for that, so that's fine.

A.A. seems (and this is my own personal view) to paint a paradox, where on the one hand it is an illness, and we're not to blame for it, yet it teaches us to be fully 100% responsible; not only for the stuff we have done and do, but for how we feel too.

I'm cool with that; I like paradoxes.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Marc L
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by Marc L »

Yeah, At this time as far as we know there is no cure but someday science may find one. Who knows? Wouldn't that be something?

Marc
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Tommy-S
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by Tommy-S »

I remember when I used to think "Will Power"...until one crusty old SOB said will yourself Not to go next time you got the runs.

And a cure, Marc? You kidding, you see the price of booze today? Gone are the days of the 99 cent Red, White & Blue 6-paks, or the $27 half kegs... No way I could afford to drink today, even if I could drink :)
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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ann2
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by ann2 »

I don't think the idea of the illness is that well established, actually. Newcomers seem to think that they ought to be able to stop on their own -- they often have no clue that we are in AA precisely because we couldn't.

I think talking about the malady that has affected us is always pertinent.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Marc L
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by Marc L »

It's always about money, ain't it. Sad...

Marc
Recovery won't just happen by Osmosis. You gonna' have to work at it some.
12th Step work ain't just a job... It's an Adventure.

happycamper
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by happycamper »

Yes, I agree... its an illness or sickness like our book says it is.
I dont like it that ppl say they have a 'disease'.

I guess I dont necessarily look at the price of booze anymore as I do notice all the different kinds of 'new' booze that is out there on the shelves.. and the pretty bottles some of it comes in.
Faith without works is dead

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Tommy-S
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

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Where there is a will, there's a way.... Funds never stopped me from 'changing how I felt ', no matter what the cost. I wasn't above drinking Old Spice aftershave or Sick-Bay Screwdrivers.

Many of my former ideas about Alcoholics/alcoholism are summed up in this passage:
To many other Americans, the alcoholic is a subject for moral censure. They class him as a sinner, a social delinquent, a person of weak moral character. They feel that only pure cussedness keeps him from “handling his liquor.” There are even many alcoholics who do not recognize that they are alcoholics, and feel privileged to look scornfully upon the people they consider alcoholics.("We can Lick alcoholism", Science Illustrated, June 1948
Fortunately, the Fatal Illness, Spiritual Malady removed the stigmas stated above.

I also have an inkling, but have not seen hard evidence to substantiate it, that a reason our Big Book refers to Alcoholism as an Illness, Malady has to do with 'practicing medicine without a license' controversy AA could have gotten itself wrapped up in had we as laymen labeled Alcoholism a "Disease" and Aa a treatment for a disease

Any one have more information on that?

Thanks... Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

MitchellK
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by MitchellK »

" At this time as far as we know there is no cure but someday science may find one. Who knows? Wouldn't that be something?"


One of the beautiful things for me about Alcoholics Anonymous is that even if one day someone does find a "cure" for alcoholism, it really is of no consequence to me. The desire to drink beverage alcohol was totally removed from my entire being. Regardless of whether or not there would be any negative consequences from drinking or if it would be OK to drink like a so-called "normal" person, I wouldn't want to.

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ann2
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by ann2 »

Thanks Mitchell, I pretty much agree. I mean, what's the point of drinking to me today? Anything that would interfere with my conscious contact with my higher power is something I need to examine closely. I got enough of those going on in my life without some temporary escape from reality to factor in, no matter how innocent it may be. And I don't put "innocent" in quotes in the prior sentence, because if I were cured of alcoholism, being perfectly serious here, it would be innocent wouldn't it?

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

MitchellK
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by MitchellK »

If I want to "escape from reality" or get "high," I take my camera and macro lens and go out into the woods or to an orchid show and focus real close and disappear into the world in front of my lens. I don't need any substance to get the rush I get from seeing nature close-up.
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ann2
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by ann2 »

Whoa, that is gorgeous. Reminds me a little of Michael Crichton's posthumously published novel Micro where scientists are miniaturized and go exploring the woods in teeny tiny closeup!

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

llewellyn
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by llewellyn »

Tommy_S wrote:

Today we are willing to accept the idea that, as far as we are concerned, alcoholism is an illness, a progressive illness which can never be “cured,” but which, like some other illnesses, can be arrested.
For me this means that no one has a monopoly on truth. At the time this was written it was the best analysis given the findings of their experience. Today it does not matter to me that the illness concept is not scientifically correct or accurate. What matters to me is the undeniable fact that for my sobriety, this concept is essential. By accepting this idea as is, I start walking the path to sobriety that the 12 steps offers.


Thanks

Llew, alcoholic

Squarelymet
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by Squarelymet »

I guess it really does not matter... Lives are ruined and dreams are shattered. I want to focus on the idea that 'the best is yet to come'. It is comforting to hear I am not an weakling or sinner, but looking back things I did after sober? I dunno. I really do not have any reasoning or excuses left about my behaviors in sobriety.

An old man told if I want to feel good about myself, do the things that make me feel good about myself. As I grow up in AA. I can see the bottles are but only the symptoms. How can this be? For a good guy like me? This minuscule mental twist I got, after years of drinking and self-pity have created a perfect alcoholic.

Where do I go from here? Thy will, not mine be done. Because He does it anyways.
"Happily and Usefully Whole"

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Tommy-S
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Re: Alcoholism -- an illness

Post by Tommy-S »

'the best is yet to come'
I love that... We have folks with 40, 50 years sober down here still telling us, "The Best is Yet to Come". What a promise!
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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