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Sunday, September 22, 2013

SUNDAY SNIPPET: September 22

The stigma of the disease of alcoholism stems from faulty beliefs generally accepted by the public. This Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud excerpt looks at misinformed manipulation from people who think in outdated stereotypes.

"Of all the characters who march across the stage of your recovery, misinformed manipulators are the most potentially harmful.

A manipulator demanding an apology is almost without fail a person who has a belief system that tells them the logical explanation for Alcoholism is that it is a choice. As a result, their injury is that they feel you chose the disease. There are millions of sometimes goofy bits of misinformation that find their way from being comforting thoughts to becoming “logical explanations.” If you get cancer, you ate too much red meat. If your husband left, you drove him to it. If an infant dies, it was God’s will. If you get Alcoholism, you chose to get Alcoholism. Faulty belief systems aren’t your hang-ups to solve. Logic is what other people try to use to prove you are wrong. Their logic is not logical.

Alcoholism isn’t logical. Period.

A lethal disease that kills with an undeniable need to consume a toxic substance yet still kills when you deny it the toxic substance is not logical. You can see how that won’t be logical to most people, however, because non-Alcoholics unchallenged by alcohol have no idea how it feels to have to keep drinking once started. Nine out of 11 people who are not in the counseling or medical professions still have belief systems that Alcoholism is a problem of willpower. To them it is far from logical to think it is a biochemical problem, not a moral one.

I’m fond of pointing out that mice don’t even like the smell or flavor or alcohol. It repels them actually. They don’t have morals, either. So how do scientists gather up alcoholic mice for alcohol research if Alcoholism is a moral problem? They breed them. The Alcoholic mice are Not Normal. The genes are tweaked. The mouse morals aren’t tweaked, and the alcohol is not altered to trick them into tasting it. They are bred with a biological condition, not a psychological condition. Dr. James Milian and Katherine Ketcham point out, “Psychological factors play no stronger role in Alcoholism than they play in causing any other chronic illness.” (Under the Influence, Madrona Publishers, Seattle, WA 1981) And that is a leap of logic many people are unwilling to take. Despite the weight of medical evidence, there will be those in the path of your recovery who have a belief system which simply will not permit them to accept a biological explanation. It’s something you did and they want an apology."

--from Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud: Relapse and the Symptoms of Sobriety, pgs. 65-65