Curious about this philosophy, Alcohol Rehab.

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by totoro, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I have only had Family Members involved in A.A or house arrest or a living situation that was A.A based.
    husband's cousin is going to this rehab place and she is a recovering Meth user and now has admitted she is an Alcoholic.
    This is the philosophy of the place she is going, just wondering what some of you who have experience with recovery think?
    Drug Rehab, Addiction Treatment " What is it and who really needs it?

    We are not alone in our assertion that alcoholism and drug addictions are not diseases. Please take a few minutes to understand what research is now telling us about alcohol rehab, alcohol abuse, alcoholism rehab, abusive drinking, and drug use.

    First it is important to understand that the disease theory is just that - a theory. Additionally, it is important to understand that this theory is only accepted as fact by the rehab, rehabilitation, and treatment industry here in the United States. The rest of the world considers the disease theory for alcoholism pure bunk. In his book Why We Should Reject The Disease Concept of Alcoholism, Herbert Fingarette, Ph.D., makes the following observations:

    In the United States, but not in other countries such as Great Britain (Robertson and Heather, 1982), the standard answer is to call the behavior a disease - 'alcoholism' - whose key symptom is a pattern of uncontrollable drinking.
    This myth, now widely advertised and widely accepted, is neither helpfully compassionate nor scientifically valid. It promotes false beliefs and inappropriate attitudes, as well as harmful, wasteful, and ineffective social policies.

    The myth is embodied in the following four scientifically baseless propositions:
    1) Heavy problem drinkers show a single distinctive pattern of ever greater alcohol use leading to ever greater bodily, mental, and social deterioration.

    2) The condition once it appears, persists involuntarily: the craving is irresistible and the drinking is uncontrollable once it has begun.

    3) Medical expertise is needed to understand and relieve the condition (cure the disease) or at least ameliorate its symptoms.

    4) Alcoholics are no more responsible legally or morally for their drinking and its consequences than epileptics are responsible for the consequences of their movements during seizures.

    The idea that alcoholism is a disease has always been a political and moral notion with no scientific basis. It was first promoted in the United States around 1800 as a speculation based on erroneous physiological theory (Levine, 1978), and later became a theme of the temperance movement (Gusfield, 1963). It was revived in the 1930s by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), who derived their views from an amalgam of religious ideas, personal experiences and observations, and the unsubstantiated theories of a contemporary physician (Robinson, 1979).1

    Another observation is offered by Jeffery Schaler, Ph.D. in June of 1995:
    Extensive research supports the idea that addiction is a voluntary process, a behavior that is better explained by individual psychological and environmental factors, than physiology and the chemical properties of drugs." 2

    In another article authored by Dr. Phil Stringer entitled Disease, Victimization, and Personal Responsibility he raises the question, "How many people who never decide to drink would 'catch' the 'disease' of alcoholism?"

    The obvious answer is none. In the traditional meaning of the word "disease," a chosen behavior (i.e. drinking alcohol or taking drugs) does not define a disease in that one can just as reasonably choose not to drink or use drugs. The disease theory simply provides the person with a drug or alcohol problem an easy out from taking responsibility for themselves, their behavior, and the problems they cause others.

    There are hundreds of researchers who have looked carefully at the alcoholism disease theory. Most have rejected the notion that alcoholism is a disease. The studies that have touted alcoholism as a disease are researchers who derive a living, in one way or another, from the treatment industry. These are hardly sources that can be trusted.

    Finally, consider the paradoxical nature of the disease theory: the theory contends that once the disease is in place (diagnosed), the alcoholic has lost the power of choosing not to drink or the drug addict to not use drugs. But, how can that be true when millions of diagnosed alcoholics have stopped drinking and never return to problem drinking and drug addicts have stopped using drugs? If, indeed, they lost their power to choose to not use alcohol or other drugs, how did these millions of people with drug and alcohol problems stop drinking and/or drugging? Are we to believe that counselors and other professionals can make the choice for their patients because their patients have "lost their personal power of choice?" Or perhaps Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs provide some "magic" that gives members their choice back, but only "one day at a time." Or maybe we are to believe that there is some universal power (choice power) that is channeled only through licensed counselors and other would-be professionals.

    The millions that at one time had a substance abuse problem and now do not, do not have one because they made a choice not to. You can too. The ******* Recovery Program ™ cannot make that choice for you - only you can do that. What the ***** Recovery Program ™ can do for you is help you formulate your plans for sobriety and share with you our experiences of making the choice not to drink and drug and then make that choice a reality of your own life.

    I have a link to this place if any one is interested. I think it is in upstate NY.

    Lasted edited by : Jan 16, 2009
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    As they have isolated at least one gene that contributes to alcoholism, I think it is a disease. At no point does AA relieve the alcoholic of responsibility - the admission you are powerless over alcohol is NOT relieving you of responsibility, but placing responsibility on you to not START drinking.

    I hope some people are helped by this place. I know that AA works, as does AlAnon if you stick to it. Whatever the method, helping alcoholics is a tough job.
  3. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    That is kind of what I think, I believe in the genetics. I know we have a *choice* in some regards. But they make it sound like it is all *choice*.
    They fully are discounting AA.

    I guess if his cousin thinks this place is going to be good that is all that matters? I just don't want her to set herself to fail.
    She is a difficult child big time.
    She abandoned her 3 kids when they were young, was a meth head. Is trying to reconnect with the family. She has not dealt with being molested by her uncle though.
    She spent some time with husband and I over the December, we were pretty up front with her.
    If she wants to be a part of her Grandkids life and her kids life, she needs to be sober.
    We also told her we didn't really want her around our kids if she was using.
    I think it hit home.
    But who knows? I am done for know, I don't really know her, but I said she can write.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think there are redisposed people (you just need to look at your family tree) who will more likely be addicted than those without those genes. My hub was a huge drinker in the Air Force, but he quit on a dime when he wanted too. His friend was a huge drinker, especially in the Air Force. When he tried to quit, he got DT's. My hub doesn't like drinking anymore so he doesn't. His friend is suffering the ill effects of too much alcohol these days. And he still drinks. I think it's a disease. Either way, if you do it too much and are addicted to it, you need to stop for the sake of your health and your loved ones who see you self-destructing.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think it doesn't matter (although I'm sure some of it is genetic), the bottom line is what is effective in helping the person turn their life around when they have the problem and want help with it. The 12 step programs have helped an astronomical amount of people. I heard of programs years ago where they tried to treat alcoholics by making them drink their favorite beverage until they threw up repetetively or tried to convince you that you just needed to make a decision and stop and you were weak if you couldn't. I don't think those places had a very good success rate and closed down.

    If I new anyone who had a problem and was seeking help, I would encourage them to try the "tried and true" methods first.
  6. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Having been raised around alcoholics and drug addicts, I have never thought of it is a disease, by the proper meaning of the word.

    I have no choice over what is happening to my body. An addict does. I don't discount that it is hard to stop and that most people need help to stop. But, it all boils down to choice. I see it as a psychological disorder, not physiological.

    That said, I would not discredit AA, either. It is obviously a very effective program and I don't think it's mission is to absolve addicts of their responsibility and choices.
  7. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I've tried to type my response 3 times and I just can't get out what I want to say without sounding crass.

    What a crock. As if the cops give alcoholics a freebie when they get stopped from a DUI. As if a landlord lets it slip when an addict does not pay the rent.

    It is disease, plain and simple. It starts as use. One uses alcohol and drugs. Then, for someone who has the disease, it progresses to abuse, and finally, addiction.

    It really ticks me off when people tell me that it is not a disease, that I just have no will power. Yes, I had a choice to take a drink or a drug in the first place, but so do millions of people every day who never become addicted. Once that happened, I had no choice. I was addicted and I had no choice in the matter. I cannot go back to an occasional drink or recreational pot use.

    I have not lost the power over choosing not to drink. That statement is very misleading. I AM powerless over the drink and the drug itself. Meaning, as I said, I can't have just one drink.

    We ALL have a choice to use or not use. That's what AA is about as well. The AA club I used to go to was right next to a bar. Those of us who kept going to meetings made that choice every single time we walked through the doors. One time, when I was first trying to get clean, I made the other choice. I drank so much I blacked out. Woke up in the hospital in restraints. I had punched a nurse and broke her nose. And I still drank and used for months after that. Then I got clean and stayed clean for 5 years. I tried to stay clean myself, without AA. And I ended up using and drinking for another 10.

    This place says that AAs use the 12-step program as an easy way of getting out of the responsibility of their behavior? Tell that to Copper. My mom took her away from me when she was 6 months old, and my relationship with her was never the same. I lost my daughter to this disease. And I almost lost Tink as well. Oh I am SEETHING right now. I guess this place may work for some people. Great. For me, AA was the only way to stop.

    Stepping off the soapbox.
  8. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I kind of feel the way you do Kitty. Growing up in a family of some pretty serious addicts.. well I just never thought if they could just outright *choose* they wouldn't just stop.
    Sure they chose to start.
    She is hopefully going anyway, regardless of what I feel. I just felt my hairs rise when I started reading...LOL
    But I am not going to rain on her rehab parade.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I agree that it is a choice to start, to take those first drinks or to use drugs those first times. But I honestly believe it MUST be a disease, something genetic.

    In my family I got ALL the health problems except this. My bro has always been healthy as a horse except for an occasional flu bug and for 3 migraines in his entire life. He doesn't even get sinus headaches often. Where I have been dealing with fibro and arthritis since I was 14 years old, among other things.

    BUT my bro took that first drink at age 12. And was hooked. Just one beer at a friends turned him into an alcoholic. For many years it was more binge drinking, with some drinking in between to "get him through". I worked at a place renowned for its' parties and permissive atmosphere toward drugs and alcohol. I cannot tell you how much my bro embarrassed me at parties that he attended. He knew many of the people I worked with, so was invited to many of the parties. Once he was drinking, he blacked out and had no memory. I wish I had no memory - he is the reason Christmas parties are closed to employees only and are not held at the restaurant. He also would take ANY drug offered once he was drunk. It was really really scary to be his sister.

    I could drink, and had a very high tolerance for alcohol, even at 19 and 95 pounds. I could drink more than many people I knew with-o any hangover, or throwing up or anything. BUT I NEVER had any craving for alcohol, and when I got pregnant with Wiz alcohol started tasting really really BAD. I didn't know I was preg, but stopped drinking anyway simply because it tasted awful. And after wiz was born I had my first hangover. After 1 carefully measured drink (after I quit nursing him). I haven't had much to drink since then - maybe a glass of wine or 2 a YEAR. And it never bothered me not to drink.

    But my bro had to go through rehab and is still actively going to AA. He really NEEDS it to stay sober, even after many years of sobriety.

    This is a disease. Plain and simple. But AA stresses TAKING responsibility, not ditching it or excusing it.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree, Susie. I don't see how anyone can dispute that street drugs and alcohol have different effects on people and some people crave them after the first try, while others don't. Just like the rx'd medications for our kids have different effects on different people- even people with the same symptoms and diagnosis's. That's why I think there is ample reason to believe genetics are involved and the chemical make-up of a person has something to do with it. I might be more comfortable refering to addiction as an illness than a disease, but I guess it is the same implication: it's not just willpower. The same as if a medication makes my son manic, but not someone else's child- that isn't a matter of willpower. But I've been having to argue that point a lot to others in the real world.
  11. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I looked carefully at the ******** Recovery program when researching therapy for my difficult child. I also looked at AA and 12-step programs. husband and I ended up enrolling difficult child in a 12-step related program. I've seen the difference in reaction to alcohol between my difficult child and my other kids, and husband and myself, for that matter. difficult child has always used alcohol in a destructive way ... a glass of wine with Christmas dinner led to him stealing an entire bottle of liquor to drink all at once downstairs. And so on. I think there is a very real predisposition that's genetic, so that any exposure to mood-altering drugs activates the disease.

    The disease concept truly doesn't remove responsibility. A diabetic has a disease that isn't his or her fault, yet he/she has a responsibility to behave in certain ways in order to manage the illness. If he/she chooses a destructive diet and lifestyle, the disease will progress and eventually result in death. It's really not different with addictive disease.
  12. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi there...
    Just looked up a definition of the word "disease" and got...
    "a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment."

    Over and over again in the Big Book of AA it states that the alcoholic is a "very sick person"... "
    "in a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body."
    "One symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without develping the phenomenon of craving."
    and on pg 23..."the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body.
    "We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop." thats from page 22 of the Big Book.
    and page 30...
    "The delusion that we are like other people, or prsently may be has to be smashed."
    "alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better."
    and page 85...
    "We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition."

    Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that I believe AA suggests alcoholism IS a form of mental illness but that there is a solution...a daily solution that centers around our "spiritual condition".
    AA also states that unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery." ..."something more than human power is needed to produce the essential psychic change."
    "moral inventory, confession of personality defects, restituation to those harmed, helpfulness to others, and the necessity of belief in a dependence upon God."

    Anyway, AA is a design for daily living, living in sobriety, with sober thinking and help from my humble opinion.
    I think alot of rehabs are dual diagnosis because they recognise the fact that the mind of an addict/alcoholic is mentally ill to begin with...a that medication for some of their other issues may give one a more stable mind in which to think and implement what they learn from AA about a daily reprieve.

    I think AA is extremely helpful both to the alcholic and the family's of alcoholics. I am on both sides though it has been about a year or so since my last meeting.

    I hope some of what I shared helps in understanding that this in my humble opinion is a "diseased mind" we're talking about...not a normal one.

  13. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I guess I should have remembered too that AA does not wish to engage in controvery and from all I understand AA would want for any alcoholic to be convinced in his own mind and do/be involved with WHATEVER solution works or helps the addict/alcoholic.

    For me personally, I am convinced that AA helps people with the problem of alcoholism and gives them a new design, way of life.
    I love Al Anon too because I think it really helps the family to see the ways that they may be enabling or contributing to the problem of Alcoholism.

    Anyway, to each his own and whatever works.