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