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Disease or Doctrine?

Saturday, May 7, 2005 - dr.bomb

"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 combating 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. Instead of seeing addiction as the stupid behavior that it is and shunning it outright, American society has followed the pied piper of Akron like a bunch of lemmings right off the cliff.

Margaret "Marty" Mann, co-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 properties: A disease has a name and symptoms. She then proceeded to mention cancer, diabetes and tuberculosis 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 diabetes or cancer 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 oneself.

In lieu of this, the only evidence of alcoholism or any addiction being a disease is 100% anecdotal with zero empirical evidence. E.L. Jelinek, the other co-founder of the NCA (National Council on Alcoholism, now known as NCADD: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence), crafted the hypothesis of alcoholism as a disease through a study involving nothing more than 1600 questionnaires mailed out to members of Alcoholics Anonymous through its organ, the A.A. Grapevine, and where only 98 completed questionnaires from only male problem drinkers were compiled. Incomplete questionnaires and fifteen questionnaires filled out by women were discarded.1 Therefore the alleged disease of addiction has been concocted out of thin air by a few 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 as set forth by Alcoholics Anonymous itself

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 practitioner in the doctrine of Catholicism. An Alcoholic, therefore, is a monotheist: a believer in the existence of one true deity he/she declares as God. 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.

The core of the doctrine of Alcoholism is A.A.'s own Twelve Steps. It is where all aspects of one's own humanity is discredited in favor of siding with the "cunning, baffling, powerful" urge of the temptation to drink itself. The person surrenders their freedom of choice to drink or not to drink to a deity literally defined by the sacramental substance at hand. Instead of rationally seeing alcohol as nothing more than an inanimate object which possesses no will of its own and that one has to do something with it before it can do something to him/her, the doctrine fosters irrationality by instilling the phobia that if the person does not do certain actions then "God Alcohol" will strike them down into a series of punishments consisting of "jails, institutions and death"!

The doctrine itself take that core irrational belief and builds upon it a series of "IF...THEN..." conditions for abstinence with the fear of death used for "program" compliance. These conditions are not for the sake of the person's well being in regards to their consumption of alcohol and how to quit. Instead they are a prescribed series of instructions of learned helplessness2 designed for the sake of the cult's own continued existence. Ultimately, these conditions for cult preservation are not seen for what they are (a series of death threats should one exercise their own native intelligence and free-will provided by their own humanity, thereby providing an exit from the cult) but are seen as a "simple Program" of "spiritual principles" to maintain "sobriety".

According to A.A. lore, The Program was handed from God to William Griffith Wilson, after he found his Higher Power within Towns Hospital, through a process of "automatic handwriting". Because The Program is divinely inspired according to its adherents The Program is perfect and, conversely, all human beings are not. This contradictory action of arrogance leads to the true believers, the hardcore practitioners of the doctrine of Alcoholism, shunning anything which may contradict The Program itself. The Program which purports itself through its "A.A. Preamble" to "help others achieve sobriety", which to outsiders not familiar with its language appears to be a quit drinking program, through its own practices deliberately withholds information concerning criticism of A.A., the disease mythology and disavows the existence of authentic anti-addiction organizations and regards such contradictions as nothing more that what it considers to be "soul sickness" itself. The real purpose of A.A. and its doctrine known as Alcoholism is, according to its own book, Alcoholics Anonymous is this:

"Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us."
-- William Griffith Wilson, "Into Action", pp. 77 Alcoholics Anonymous

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."3 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 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 to place that intoxicant within their own body.

As proven above there is NOTHING proving that Alcoholism is a disease. Terms such as "disease concept" or "disease theory" in relation to Alcoholism and the identical mythology of "addiction disease" in general are just simply wrong. A more accurate phrase describing this nonsense is "disease mythology". Words, such as concept or theory imply that there is a shred of academic or empirical evidence backing the claim. The more accurate terms, myth and mythology, tell it exactly the way it is in regards to the lack of substance behind the claims that are made.

Until American society as a whole takes a good hard look at the myths backing the mythology of "treatment" for compulsive bad habits millions will continue to suffer under the Bill$h!t of a bunch of cult-based lies with the "victims" believing that they cannot control their own voluntary skeletal and facial muscles concerning the act of self-intoxication itself. By removing the social "stigma" of self-intoxication the disease mythology serves up more harm than good by removing the need of ethical responsibility through self-restraint on the part of the person who chooses to intoxicate themselves.

The disease mythology consisting of the doctrines of Alcoholism and "addiction disease" is nothing more than a doctrine of permissable debauchery. What better way is there to excuse attrocious behaviour and to leave the door open for more of it than to label it a disease? To justify why addiction "treatment" and services for detox are outright failures they simply refer back to the mythology itself to justify the expenditures in search for the causes of this "mythology" when all they need to do is look at its origins based in an alcohol-worshipping occult-based religious cult from Akron, Ohio and New York City. There is no need to look any further than that and waste any more taxpayer money on this. The cure is in the form of personal ethical responsibility consisting of a commitment to planned permanent abstinence from intoxicants.

Anything less is just an excuse for leaving the door wide open for future unethical, iresponsible behavior based in lies and further excuses.

Sources:

1) A History of Addiction & Recovery in the United States: (Michael Lemanski) Chapter 6: "The Disease Concept of Alcoholism and Its Outgrowths" (pp. 83-94)

2) The Real A.A.: Behind The Myth Of 12-Step Recovery: (Ken Ragge) Chapter 5: "Models" (pp. 47-50) - Available Online

3) 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

Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia (reference in article)

Alcoholics Anonymous (Third Edition) (reference in article)

New Oxford American Dictionary (reference in article)

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Last updated 2005/05/07

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