Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Friend Asks

David, I just heard a gentleman on the radio discussing AA. He is an alcoholic but has has been clean & sober for 40 years. The host asked him whether he considered alcoholism to be a disease. He adamantly said he did not and then went on to explain why the medical profession had been trying to label it a disease. I'd be interested in your thoughts on this! Robert

(This, of course, will teach you to stop listening to the radio.)

For many years, alcoholism was seen as a shame and a dirty secret. Cancer had the same public perception. Nobody wanted to admit to either.

About 40 years ago, doctors did the world a favour and convinced us all that alcoholism was something that had to be dealt with, not hidden away. They legitimized the problem by calling it a disease.

Fair enough...as far as it goes.

The only trouble with this approach and this history is that doctors then started to believe their own press kit. They came to believe that alcoholism is really a disease and that therefore it is something for doctors to treat.


Big boo-boo, kids.

If I have a heart problem (and apparently, I do), the doctors at VGH can weave their way through my arterial systems and clear a passage and put in a stent and send me home. My job is to eat well, exercise, not yell at bozos in traffic and take my medicines.

Alcoholism is different.

Doctors can do next to nothing about it. It is not a random disease picked up by using public washrooms.

It is a sickness alright. But a sickness of the soul and spirit. Some people can drink and some people can't.

If you are one of the people who can't, you have only one choice.

Stop drinking now.

Begin to live The Examined Life.

Learn who you are and how you function and mal-function.

Focus on values and helping others while you help yourself.

I have always been baffled by why any doctor would want to invest all his/her learning working with addicts and alcoholics.

Livers, kidneys, eyes, ears, noses I understand.

Alcoholism and drug addictions are for alcoholics and drug addicts to work on.

Stethoscopes have no role in this struggle.

Your Daily Cop-Out

It's Tuesday, so there must be another RCMP screw-up.


Three guys are drinking tea. That's right. Tea.

Cops break down door. Attack dog bites through man's leg to the bone and drags him out of his apartment.

Much melee-ing and to and fro-ing. Lock up and release.

Punch line?

Oh, so solly.

Wrong door.

All of this took place - where else? - in Surrey, above a Sechuan restaurant in November of last year.

Oops, there.

Here's the challenge for the national constabulary.

Try to get through a fortnight without embarrassing yourselves and disgracing the uniform.