The Anthropomorphism of Addiction

 

Remember that we deal with alcohol, cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us.  (Alcoholics Anonymous, 1st. Edition,
How It Works, Page 58)(Emphasis added)

As we can see from the quote above, the anthropomorphism of alcoholism comes directly from The Big Book. For centuries man has debated the question of what alcoholism is or is not. Current American Medical Association dogma states that alcoholism is a disease.

The AMA

1. endorses the proposition that drug dependencies, including alcoholism, are diseases and that their treatment is a legitimate part of medical practice (http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/alcohol/alcoholism_treatable.pdf, retrieved 12/24/11)

However, AA itself has never directly endorsed the idea that Alcoholism is a disease. In fact, as late as 1960, Bill Wilson stated,

We have never called alcoholism a disease because, technically speaking, it is not a disease entity For example, there is no such thing as heart disease. Instead there are many separate heart ailments, or combinations of them. It is something like that with alcoholism. Therefore we did not wish to get in wrong with the medical profession by pronouncing alcoholism a disease entity. Therefore we always called it an illness, or a malady—a far safer term for us to use.(Emphasis added). (National  Clergy Conference on Alcoholism, Volume 12, P199, Retrieved from http://www.silkworth.net/religion_clergy/01052.html, 12/30/2011 at 7:55 AM) (Emphasis added)

Entity? Alcoholism is not a “disease entity”? What does that mean exactly? I understand that Bill W’s spoke these words an eternity ago in relation to current thinking on drug and alcohol addiction. By giving life to alcoholism, by referencing it as a cunning, baffling, powerful disease entity we give it an unnerving presence.

How many times have you heard an addict or alcoholic sharing their experience by mentioning that the disease had its claws into them or stole from them or wanted something from them, etc.? I am not sure it is healthy for us to refer to our disease in human or satanic terms.

By giving life to the disease, have we not disassociated our culpability for our actions and the resultant effects on our friends and loved ones? Is that wise? Is it morally or spiritually correct? I don’t pretend to know the answers to any of these questions. I have no clinical training and am trying to remember to take my inventory and leave you, dear reader, to your own.

I have never referred to my disease as being caused by anyone but me. No cunning, baffling disease entity made me do anything. Some of it is genetic (nature) and some of it environment (nurture). The nature vs. nurture argument has long been debated. I believe that we are products of both nature and nurture. But that’s it.

So, devil, get ye gone. I’ll have no part of you nor will you of me. I have faced the facts that I can’t use alcohol or drugs in safety and am man enough to know that it was me in every flawed aspect of myself that wanted and did what I did to me, my family and my friends. Now I have to live with it.

Peace out,
M
In Recovery Blog Facebook Page

3 Ways to Keep Your Addiction Recovery Confidential

This is a guest post which has been attributed to recovery writer Alan Goodstat (brief bio at the end of the piece) and was provided to me by Melissa C at BlogContentGuild.Com.
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The addiction recovery process is a personal journey. Addicts should not feel obligated or pressured to discuss their addiction recovery with anyone with whom they do not want to discuss it. There are three simple rules to follow to ensure your privacy: 

  1. Do not openly talk about your addiction or recovery in public.
  2. Be cautious about whom you tell in the workplace.
  3. Understand the confidentiality policy in your workplace.

1) Do Not Talk Openly About Your Addiction in Public

If you are sensitive about your addiction and recovery, there is no need for you to discuss it in public. You have plenty of opportunities to discuss and work through your addiction at support groups, recovery meetings and treatment facilities. When and if the time comes that you feel ready to share your struggles in public, you can do so without feeling pressure.

If someone knows about your addiction and asks questions about it or your recovery, you can politely decline to discuss it by saying, “I’m not ready to discuss this with you yet” or “I am not comfortable discussing this publicly.”

Eventually, you will need to share your addiction history with some people in order to fully recover, but they need to be people you trust and with whom you want to share the information. You should not feel pressured to share the information until you are ready.

2) Be Cautious About Whom You Tell at Work

It only makes sense to be careful about whom you share your addiction, treatment and recovery information with at work. There are many reasons why discussing addictions in the workplace can be a slippery slope. You may fear job loss or advancement repercussions, endure social stigma associated with addiction or you may simply feel ashamed about your addiction. If you feel that you want to tell someone in your workplace about your addiction, the best place to start is with your supervisor. There may be times that your addiction and treatment could affect your job performance or your availability to work overtime or on special projects. Your supervisor needs to know why you are unavailable for these job duties. A supervisor can also get you in contact with a Human Resources representative who can explain the company Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to you, if one exists.

If you want to share your addiction with co-workers, make sure they are trustworthy. Gossip can run rampant in a work environment. If you are not going public with your addiction or recovery, you run the risk of gossip corrupting the truth of your situation, potentially making it sound worse than it really is.

3) Understand the Confidentiality Policy in Your Workplace

You may have to let your supervisor know about your addiction problem in order to attend support and treatment meetings, adjust your work schedule or activities, or excuse yourself from company events where temptation may arise. If this is the case, make sure you are familiar with your company’s confidentiality policy.

A confidentiality policy may be a part of a company ethics policy or code of conduct. Any of these policies should protect your personal data, information about medical treatment or counseling services received, and any additional personal information you share with the company. You will want to make sure that your information will remain confidential and that you will not suffer any job-related repercussions as a result of sharing your addiction information with appropriate personnel, most likely your supervisor or a Human Resources representative.

Companies with confidentiality policies will often conduct employee trainings when policies change or annually, in order to keep the policies fresh in employees’ minds. If you do not have a confidentiality policy, you may want to re-think discussing your addiction with anyone other than Human Resources.

By following these three simple rules, you can ensure your addiction and recovery process remain confidential.

 Further Resources:

Learn more about utilizing the Family Medical Leave Act for addiction recovery.

 About the Author:

Alan Goodstat, LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, received his Masters in Social Work at Columbia University in New York City. He’s now a Director of Performance Improvement for a Behavioral Hospital System and contributes to the addiction treatment site RecoveryConnection.org. He wrote a chapter on substance abuse in the book Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding Teenagers With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

A Change Will Do You Good

If you don’t change, you won’t change.

Here’s another truism from the halls of A.A. (see Time Takes Time) that, on its face, seems to say  little beyond its very words (hence, a truism). However, to us alcoholics and addicts it says a lot more about how we learn to live day in and day out without resorting to our various predilections.

I heard someone voice this today and then I ruminated on it for a while before deciding to bring it to your attention. Therefore, as usual, you are probably wondering why I chose to do so.

The answer is simply this: It doesn’t matter how much we want to get sober or be a better person or attend meetings or work the program, if we don’t commit to change, we won’t ever change. It’s like the adage, “The definition of Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Change is easy to talk about doing but difficult to achieve because, for the most part, we resist change, even change beneficial to us, to our families, and to our work environment. In order to affect change, we have to want to change. In order to want change we must be willing to  accept (amazing how much that word keeps popping up, ain’t it?) change. This brings us back to the beginning of the premise that  to change requires change. Accepting change equals wanting change.

Acceptance of change, therefore, is the answer to our prayers. Until we accept that we cannot move on to a fruitful and rewarding life without making changes in our attitudes, and ourselves, we cannot truly change. If we don’t change, we won’t change. That’s my .02¢, anyway.

Peace out,
M
In Recovery Facebook Page