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Home » Expert Q & A » Alcoholism » Alcoholism: Melissa Borlie

Alcoholism as a Disease

  • Asks ...

    Why do people say alcoholism is a disease for life when I know loads of so called alcoholics who have managed to stop drinking for a while and then are able to be social drinkers for ever?

  • Melissa Borlie Says ...
    Melissa Borlie

    The American Medical Association designated alcoholism a disease in 1956. AA accepted this designation as it was the only acceptable explanation for what happened to alcoholics when left to their own devices. When alcoholics drink alcohol, the chemical processes in the brain are not the same as those of a normal drinker. Alcohol sets in motion a craving for alcohol. If there is no alcohol in the equation, the alcoholic reacts like any other person to life events.

    AA is a program that promotes, but does not require, abstinence from alcohol. If people recover from alcohol addiction in other ways, they establish their own parameters for acceptable behavior. There are many treatment programs that do not promote full abstinence.

    The book, Alcoholics Anonymous, explicitly states that AA has no monopoly on the recovery of alcoholics and that there are many paths to recovery. Many people recover spontaneously, many through church, and many through the love and compassion of loved ones and family. I firmly believe that it is not as important HOW one gets to a happy, useful, productive life, as long as one gets there.

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