Don't Mind Me...

Thoughts of the Thoughtless

I have come across this topic before, and just today in the journals page.  This is a topic that I have aways disagreed with, but always kept my mouth shut.  I want to thank the other woman who posted on the topic today, who  gave me the push to finally get this off my chest.

This may be a controversial point of view, and sorry to those I offend.  But I do NOT apologize for my opinion.  If this pisses you off, oh well. 

I DO NOT think alcoholism or addiction is a disease.  In any sense of the word.  A disease is a biological ailment or psychosis.  It is not something you chose to do to yourself that you can stop if you choose to or have the right incentive to avoid.   

I was raised by drug addicts and alcoholics, and I have alcoholics on both sides of my family.  My doc told me I am genetically predisposed to alcoholism and other addictive substances and behaviors. 

But I rarely drink.  Notice, I didn't say never.  I can control myself when I do drink.  Because it is my CHOICE.  Yes, I said CHOICE.  I CHOOSE not to drink.  I CHOOSE not to smoke.  I CHOOSE not to do drugs.  Having no will power is NOT a disease, it is just being WEAK.  I am not saying those who are addicted to things are bad people, I am just saying they do not have a disease.  I realize the word "weak" is harsh, and I do not mean it to be offensive.  This post is not bashing alcoholics or addicts.  (That is a whole different Oprah!)  It is just meant to describe those who can't resist temptation or other influences. 

I think people who say addiction is a disease use it as a crutch.  I am not saying this to be a bitch, or to sound insensitive.  These are my own family members  and dear friends I am talking about, some of whom I love very much, some of whom have cleaned up their lives, some of whom have not.  My mom was an alcoholic for over 20 years.  My favorite uncle was an alcoholic and died from chirrosis of the liver when he was in his 40s.  (His alcoholism actually gave him a disease.)  He died 15 years ago.  I still miss him terribly.  I realize that maybe this could even happen to myself one day.  I hope it never will, but you never know.  I'm not throwing dirt in anyone's eye.   But I don't think it will happen to me.  I have had some hard times, too, and I have CHOSEN not to pick up a bottle.

 I realize some people have had some hard knocks, bad circumstances, etc,.  But that does not mean they have a disease.  For those people who like to excuse it away as a disease, how would they feel if they were refered to as "diseased"?  I didn't think so. 

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Jun. 1, 2008 at 2:40 PM I have never felt comfortable calling addiction a disease (and I smoke and drink coffee). I mean, I believe strongly that some substances make your body crave it, but when I tried most stuff (drugs as a kid) and I felt that craving right after? I stayed FAR away from it. The craving scared me and I didn't ever want to be dependant on a drug (cigarettes aside). I think that you make a good argument, but there is more to it. Is the craving a disease? I mean, it is your body working wrong. You call cirrhosis a disease, and that is your body working wrong. I guess what I am saying is, I don't know for sure. I do agree though, calling it a disease leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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Jun. 1, 2008 at 2:40 PM Your point is well taken and is a good opinion. I did write on that other post and did call addictive behaviors diseases....I think that way because that is what I have been taught to think about the subject. I am really happy to see that you wrote without anger and came across in your post as a well educated person showing your viewpoint well.   That is what all CafeMom's should do when they disagree with other's viewpoints. If all expressed themselves as well as you just did, CafeMom and the Internet in general would be a more peaceful, mature virtual world to be in.

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Jun. 1, 2008 at 2:44 PM I hear you. And I agree that it is not a disease. I have OCD-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have a chemical inbalance, and I am "prone" to addictions. But I am not addicted to anything. I know how to deal with my disorder, and it takes will power. I am not a "saint" or perfect. But there was a time I saw myself heading down the wrong road. I drank every day that my kids were not home. Then when they got home, I couldn't wait for the next time they went to their dad's so I could get drunk again.There were other things going on in my life, and I took to the bottle. I was journaling at the time, which saved me. When I read what I wrote one day, "Can't wait for the kids to leave so I can go get drunk, come home and pass out and do it again". I had been seeing a counselor, and so decided to share this journal with her. I had to make a decsion to be moderate, or no at all, and I did. But it did take great will power. I now have full custody of my children. If I had gone further down that road, I hate to think where I would be now.....probably dead.

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Jun. 1, 2008 at 6:06 PM

I completely disagree with your definition of a disease. I got this definition at Yahoo Education: A condition or tendency, as of society, regarded as abnormal and harmful. I got this one at the Webster's dictionary site: a harmful development. I believe both of those describe perfectly what alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, shopping addiction, or whatever other kind of addiction a person can have can be. You ask if it is an addiction or a disease and my answer to that is - an addiction IS a disease!!!

I have to say that I believe it is a disease that people CAN recover from just as you can recover from other diseases. Just because it is a disease DOES NOT give the person an excuse to be that way.

I think it is FANTASTIC that you have choosen not to follow in your family's footsteps. My husband also comes from an alcoholic/drug addicted family and he was not as lucky as you- he inherited the addictive personality trait. He got addicted early and fast. He is has been drug-free for quite a few years now but it is always hanging over his head. The idea of it and the memory of it is always going to be there. He wants very badly to never go back down that path now that he is in "remission" for his disease.

But of course- you have your opinion and that is mine.

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Jun. 2, 2008 at 9:15 PM I have wavering points of view on this subject because I am a recovering addict and I also work with addicts.  I do believe it's a desease in some sense of the word but this is where I feel very strongly.  You may be so physically addicted to a drug or alcohol that not to use it makes you sick but you still CHOSE to continue to pick it up.  We were given free will and I know, I have been there.  I could only blame my past and circumstance for so long before I had to get over myself and get clean.  Recovery all lies with us.  It all boils down to the choice, do you really WANT TO STOP.  That's the choice.  A disease yes and no I go back and forth.

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Jun. 7, 2008 at 10:43 PM

Thats crazy how much we have in common.  I see a therapist to try and resolve some of the issues I have with my biological father.  He is a heroin addict who took off on us when I was 4.  Ever since I had my son, I became angry at him for leaving us.  NOTHING could make me ever leave my son.  So the doc is trying to explain to me that it is a disease and not a choice.  I dont think I will ever understand, but im trying to.

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