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Disease or Doctrine?

"I wasn't mad or vicious—I was a sick person. I was suffering from an actual disease that had a name and symptoms like diabetes or cancer or TB--and a disease was respectable, not a moral stigma!"
-- Marty Mann, "Women Suffer Too", pp. 227 Alcoholics Anonymous Third Edition
(.PDF-linked articles from Microsoft Encarta Deluxe 2004)

With all of the disinformation, folklore and outright lies surrounding what addiction is and isn't it's no wonder why, despite the amount of money and services available in combatting the problem, that instead of being eradicated it has become worse. Acceptance of the disease mythology to explain away the debaucherous behaviour of self-inflicted intoxication is one of the many reasons why American society is plunging into further turmoil.

Margaret "Marty" Mann, founder of the National Council of Alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous's second prominent female member who wound up staying abstinent within A.A., defined alcoholism within her story in the book Alcoholics Anonymous as a disease by only two properities: A disease has a name and symptoms. She then proceeded to mention cancer, diabetes and tubercurlosis as examples of diseases in an effort to qualify alcoholism as one.

The problem with her example is that diseases have more than just names and symptoms to qualify as such. No mention is given towards the actual pathology of a disease in the context of its own known mechanisms of action. Lab tests and specific fields of medicine regarding the three examples of disease and their treatment (oncology, endocrinology and pulmonary specialties, respectively) prove this. Yet there is no specific lab test, pathology or field of medicine which proves the existence of alcoholism as a disease "...like cancer, diabetes or TB". None. There is not even a blood test for the presence of such a disease which causes a person to move their skeletal and facial muscles in a distinct, purposeful manner as to intoxicate onseself.

In lieu of this, the only evidence of alcoholism or any addiction being a disease is 100% anecdotal. E.L. Jelinek's study on alcoholism as a disease involved nothing more than questionairres mailed out to members of Alcoholics Anonymous through its organ, the A.A. Grapevine, and where only completed questionairres from only male problem drinkers were compiled. Incomplete questionairres and questinairrees filled out by women were discarded. Therefore the alleged disease of addiction has been conconcted out of thin air by the various laypeople comprising the membership of a public organization: Alcoholics Anonymous. Apart from graphic descriptions of drunken and debaucherous behavior there is nothing proving that alcoholism is a disease short of the collective membership of a very influential public organization. So, if alcoholism isn't a disease then what is it?

The Fatal Doctrine Of Alcoholism

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, the definition of doctrine is a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church, political party, or other group. While we possess zero empirical evidence of alcoholism as a disease we have ample evidence of Alcoholism as a doctrine.

Alcoholism is a doctrine with a set of beliefs and rituals surrounding the over-consumption of a sacred substance known as Alcohol. Further indoctrination into this system of belief implies that this substance is imbued with supernatural powers despite it being an inanimate object. Those who entertain this doctrine and have "came to believe" that it is true are Alcoholics. To push the correlation further a Catholic is a practicioner in the doctrine of Catholocism. An Alcoholics, therefore, is a monotheist: a believer in the existence of one true diety. In fact one can even state with complete certainty that Alcoholism is a de facto religion when one observes the practices involved in A.A. meetings (ritualistic confession, contrition, offerings and prayer) as well as its obvious monotheistic practices toward the one true God as A.A. defines it.

Why "mythology" is a better term than "theory":

A myth within the context of this article is "any fictitious story, or unscientific account, theory, belief, etc." When one actually compares and contrasts A.A. simplistic definition of disease with far more authoritative work upon that subject the "disease theory" immediately crumbles into the mythology that it certainly is. Myths, such as loss of control and mental blank spots do not exist within the context of the pursuit of inebriation. In fact when one chooses to drink one is fully aware of what one is doing from the moment the drinker thinks of the idea of alcohol consumption right on down to the actual action involving their own skeletal and facial muscles.

Sources:

Webster's New World Dictionary (3rd College Edition) and Thesaurus: Definitions of the words theory, mythology and myth:

Theory

Mythology

the-o-ry (e re; ere, ire) n. , pl. -ries [[< Fr or LL: Fr theorie < LL theoria < Gr theoria, a looking at, contemplation, speculation, theory < theorein: see THEOREM]] 1 orig., a mental viewing; contemplation 2 a speculative idea or plan as to how something might be done 3 a systematic statement of principles involved [the theory of equations in mathematics] 4 a formulation of apparent relationships or underlying principles of certain observed phenomena which has been verified to some degree 5 that branch of an art or science consisting in a knowledge of its principles and methods rather than in its practice; pure, as opposed to applied, science, etc. 6 popularly, a mere conjecture, or guess

SYN.--theory, as compared here, implies considerable evidence in support of a formulated general principle explaining the operation of certain phenomena [ the theory of evolution] ; hypothesis implies an inadequacy of evidence in support of an explanation that is tentatively inferred, often as a basis for further experimentation [ the nebular hypothesis] ; law implies an exact formulation of the principle operating in a sequence of events in nature, observed to occur with unvarying uniformity under the same conditions [ the law of the conservation of energy]

my-thol-o-gy (-je) n. , pl. -gies [[ME methologie < LL mythologia < Gr, a telling of tales or legends < mythos, MYTH + -logia, -LOGY]] 1 the science or study of myths 2 a book of or about myths 3 myths collectively; esp., all the myths of a specific people or about a specific being

myth (mi) n. [[LL mythos < Gr, a word, speech, story, legend]] 1 a traditional story of unknown authorship, ostensibly with a historical basis, but serving usually to explain some phenomenon of nature, the origin of man, or the customs, institutions, religious rites, etc. of a people: myths usually involve the exploits of gods and heroes: cf. LEGEND 2 such stories collectively; mythology 3 any fictitious story, or unscientific account, theory, belief, etc. 4 any imaginary person or thing spoken of as though existing

myth abbrev. mythology

Excerpted from Mosby's Medical Encyclopedia

Copyright (c) 1994-5, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Last updated 2005/04/13

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