Alcoholism: disease or choice? - page 13
What is your opinion; is alcoholism a disease or a choice? Please provide your rationale or empirical support of your belief.... Read More
Jul 28, '12Occupation: RN Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in Oncology ; From: US ; Joined: Apr '12; Posts: 597; Likes: 1,293The only decision an alcoholic ever makes is the decision where they started to drink in the first place, and the decision to seek help and stay sober. The alcoholism is purely a disease. No one would choose to be an alcoholic.
Sep 20, '12Joined: Sep '12; Posts: 2Being the daughter of an alcoholic mother, I see alcoholism as both a choice and a disease. Alcoholism runs on her side of the family. Both her parents drank as well as all her siblings. I've seen first hand some of the horrible things a person will do to get their fix. We have tried to get her help through counseling, taking her keys so she doesn't drive, taking her to AA and church AA groups. So far, nothing is working. Why? Because she is choosing not to stop. I don't believe she will stop until she has a change of heart or something drastic changes in her life. We can support her through it all but ultimately she has to choose to want to stop. Although I say she is choosing to drink, I also see the psychological and physical dependency side of alcoholism. If she doesn't drink for a few days, she starts having withdraw symptoms like shaking, depression, irritability.. her body is craving it. It doesn't matter what the consequences are, she will do anything to get her hands on a few dollars and get her fix. I'm not sure if it is actually a disease but I like what someone said in an earlier post. "Who would really choose to be an alcoholic?" I'm sure my mother didn't wake up one day and choose that. It happened over many years of abuse, which I think leads to alcoholism. But the choice to get help and stay clean is something I think non-drinkers just don't understand and probably never will.
Sep 21, '12Occupation: retired From: US ; Joined: Jun '08; Posts: 7,997; Likes: 23,032mj<3, I am sorry your other has this dread disease. I would be equally sorry if she had DM and did not monitor blood sugars. The choice is not to have or have not the disease. The choice is what to do about it. In addiction the natural thought processes to stop after one drink, or avoid drinking have been essentially burned out. It takes a huge blow to make the mind react. We call that hitting a bottom. You cannot take her to AA, or any of the things you have tried.
You did not cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it. Known as the 3 Cs in Al-Anon. Go to meetings. As hard as it is allow her to hit a real bottom and don't try to cushion it. Yes, it is risky. She could die. AA teaches jails, institutions and death as the only three outcomes of continued use. Many alcoholics hit at least two of the three before it gets through 'a bottom means you can't go back there'.
I understand a great deal about alcoholism. All the knowledge in the world will not stop the disease. i do not have it, but only by the Grace of God. I drank, and still do socially. I have no ill effects but I deal with people daily who have the effects over and over again and continue to drink.
We have no idea where abuse ends and addiction begins. After the fact we can suspect certain areas of life but there is no one day that an hour glass is turned and addiction is present. This means we cannot prevent it unless the person never drinks. Some people choose this.
This is a diease and a deadly one. It kills much more than the one body. Go to Al-Anon. Do not become another "collateral damage."
any hugs and well wishes.
Sep 27, '12Joined: Aug '01; Posts: 1,681; Likes: 2,675Starting down the path is a choice. Remaining on it may or may not be. As one develops physical and psychological addictions, it is tougher and tougher to go in a different direction. That said, I don't accept addiction as a catch-all excuse for every aberrant or criminal behavior that people engage in. At some point there has to be personal accountability.
Sep 28, '12Occupation: retired From: US ; Joined: Jun '08; Posts: 7,997; Likes: 23,032In recovery there will always be personal accountability.
We keep learning more about the brain and the addicted brain. I don't think every criminal behavior is addiction in origin.
As long as we treat addiction as criminal behavior we lose valuable members of society rather than treat an illness.
Sep 30, '12Joined: Dec '04; Posts: 11,695; Likes: 14,916Quote from OrcaFor some, starting down the path is a choice. People who are not predisposed to alcohol dependence can, for various reasons, drink so much and so often that they wear a pathway to craving in their bodies and their brains.Starting down the path is a choice. Remaining on it may or may not be. As one develops physical and psychological addictions, it is tougher and tougher to go in a different direction. That said, I don't accept addiction as a catch-all excuse for every aberrant or criminal behavior that people engage in. At some point there has to be personal accountability.
But there are many, many others who are born with a susceptibility to alcoholism that requires very little stir up the appetite for booze. Think of someone like Drew Barrymore who came from a long line of heavy drinkers and entered rehab for the first time at the age of 13!
Not all of the folks who have this urge start drinking at the age of 9 like she did, but many were already getting wasted or raiding the parents' liquor cabinet long before they left high school.
Does this genetic shove in the wrong direction excuse them from personal responsibility? Not in the least. But maybe understanding this unasked for burden could help others to refrain from judging them and saying they brought the problem on themselves. The only thing they did to "deserve" judgement was to be born to the wrong parents.
If personal condemnation could be given the heave-ho, that might free up a lot of energy on both sides. Those formerly inclined to look down their noses could discover empathy that leads to genuine encouragement. And the alcoholics could find the motivation and the strength to handle the actual torments and temptations and the personal accountability that is crucial to staying clean and sober, one day at a time.
Sep 30, '12Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 7,667; Likes: 28,726As someone whose childhood was destroyed by the actions and choices made by the adult alcoholics in my life - I view drinking as a choice. Alcoholism is a sickness - but it is a sickness that's only effective treatment is the choice to stop drinking made by the 'victim'.
I, obviously, do not drink. I do not think drunkenness is 'cute', 'fun' or 'harmless'. Part of the reason I left the ED was dealing with drunks.
Sep 30, '12Joined: Dec '04; Posts: 11,695; Likes: 14,916I'm so sorry that you suffered at the hands of people who chose drinking over caring for you. That's a horrible legacy.
But, I'm also glad that you called alcoholism as a sickness. It's a condition in which the afflicted didn't get a vote. But they have plenty of say about how they will respond.
You can be an alcoholic without behaving like one.
Alcoholism isn't a choice. Sobriety is lots of choices, day after day, month after month, year after year.