Anyway, a recent thread was regarding whether or not alcoholism is a disease or if it comes down to a choice. I think you know my take by now but the bantering back and forth was interesting and I share it here.
“Very interested in researching whether Alcoholism is a disease or not. Of course almost everything is a disease now and there is a pricy pill for whatever it is. etc.”
My response….Here's some food for thought as to whether or not alcoholism is a disease. I say not and here's why. Name one other disease, just ONE, that you can arrest immediately by making a decision (choice). Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc.... I don't think so. Now, that's not to say that drinking
alcoholically for years isn't going to screw you up neurologically because it certainly will. What do you expect when you pour poison down your throat for years every day; that however, does not make it a
disease. It's self inflicted bodily abuse is what it is.
Participant #2 now chimes in with…."The problem with this, Rolf, is you nor anyone else has ever proven we have a choice. It is an assumption, a hope, a faith. It works for some of us. However, it would appear that people who have the severest cases of alcoholism do not have the ability to choose.”
My reply…..”Really? I proved it to myself. My case of alcoholism was pretty damned severe. Towards
the end there was a bottle of vodka underneath the passenger seat at all times. The damned thing took showers with me. Lost a marriage, love and respect of my children, jobs, ......So don't you dare insinuate that I was not "alcoholic" enough. I personally know dozens of people if not hundreds at this point who made the choice to put the bottle down. All of those people and myself included are proof that choice and freewill exists. Not to exercise it, is also a choice.As Neil Peart accurately says in the song "Freewill"; "If you decide not to decide, you still have made a choice." Best line ever!”
Then I added ….”On another note, Your saying "It (Meaning Choice) is an assumption, a hope, a faith. It works for some of us."…..No it's not; it's a decision that requires fortitude, hard work and educating
yourself. You sound very AAlike in that it is an assumption, a hope, a faith that GOD will cure you if you ask. You're right, that works for AA sheeple only to the point that they can remain "recovering" for life as opposed to recovered if they listen to the "word" of Bill Wilson and "follow" the Step Religion for ETERNITY.
Then he added….”The debate isn't settled on whether we have free will. That doesn't mean we
shouldn't hope that we have the power to choose not to drink. But let's not get ahead of ourselves with assumptions, hopes, and faith. These only work for some of us.”
Participant #3 came to my rescue here and made the accurate observation….”Anyone can stop drinking at any time.....there is more help now to recover than there has ever been in the history of humanity. Is it easy?
Certainly NOT....and for some, much harder than others. But to say humans have no choice is to completely
remove the moral/ethical agency that is part of our very existence. It is not true that people have no choice. People prove every day in the world they have a choice by putting down a drink/drug and never picking it up again.”
Finally, participant #4 asked……”I believe what he may be referring to is the age old psychological argument, nature v. nurture. In which case, there is no definitive answer as to whether some individuals are predisposed naturally to addiction, or that their upbringing/environment molded them. What is true to one individual is not true for the masses. Perception is unique to each individual. I fail to see how splitting hairs on this subject is aiding to the open forum of shared experiences in gaining sobriety.”
And my final response on the matter up to this time (not done yet I’m sure) was…..
I actually do believe that some people are more naturally predisposed toward addiction but again that doesn't make it a disease. As for splitting hairs on the subject, I disagree that it's not important. How
you can go about trying to overcome addiction depends very much on whether or not it is a disease! If it were a disease, then the only help would be things like medication, or as AA would have you believe; a gift or release from God providing you "surrender your will and your life" to him and the AA program. Now if it's not a disease, as I and many others believe, then that opens upa Hell of a lot more options as to how to overcome addiction. Then things like freewill, choice, education, logic, etc.. Become viable methods.
So yeah, it kind of is very important to make that distinction for oneself.