The A and the A

Let me clear the air about a couple of modern myths that cripple us as a society.

  1. Alcoholism is a disease. It almost unfathomable that anyone would characterize this dangerous, destructive, selfish behavior as a “disease.” If there was ever a perfect example of an enabling gesture, this would be it. I call it what it is, plainly and simply, a choice. Human beings are sentient, which means that they can chose how to behave based on inputs from the environment combined with their cognitive means. Lately I have been hearing the phrase “if you do it, you own it” more and more, and I like it a lot. It expresses laconically the way I feel about humanity, that each of us is responsible for our actions every day. The greater good would be served much better if this phrase could become the gold standard of behavior, instead of the sad excuse-making machinery that apologizes for alcoholics, and more broadly the whole cadre of addiction, by writing off their behavior as “a disease.”
  2. Adultery “just happens.” Though I am not a religious person, I easily and quickly call adultery a sin. I am both amused and appalled when I hear adulterers claim that they “never meant for it to happen,” or that, “it just happened.” Perhaps it just happened while you were coming down with a case of alcoholism. As an atheist, my concept of morals is that they are part of our lives because they work, because they structure the behavior of humanity for its greater good. Fidelity is one of the most noble of moral causes. If you are not up to keeping the promise of fidelity, don’t make it.

Before you launch into some infantile tirade about some loved one who was rescued from alcoholism by AA or some other lame addiction-replacement group, or that you made the “mistake” of falling into an affair, consider this: I will delete your comments. You should probably start your own blog.

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3 Comments

  1. “My alcoholism was acting up recently” sounds like a pretty stupid phrase too. No, I just wanted a drink, and I took one. Absolutely agree (as does my wife, who is a social worker with a degree in psychology).

    I *loved* the South Park episode where Stan’s Dad becomes convinced that his alcoholism is a disease, so he tries to get healed by the bleeding Catholic statue. Hilarious.

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  2. Both are signs of disgustingly weak mental capacity. Not to mention total lack of self-control. I have actually read that “not caring for physical appearance” is a “symptom” of alcoholism.
    Really? Like it’s the downside to some OTC drug?
    It CAUSES diseases…

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  3. Oh hell no! You won’t get an opposing tirade from me! On both counts you are right on! Calling alcoholism a disease and adultry a mistake is nothing but not taking responsibilty for one’s own shameful behavior. I’m not being harsh or judgemental. I get my wisdom from personal experience. Not that those who are engaging in such behaviors care to hear what I have to say. You preach to the choir a lot on here, don’t you?

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