Posted by galtin on November 10, 2001, at 6:04:41
In reply to Re: addiction and recovery, posted by Elizabeth on November 9, 2001, at 21:25:54
> > Alcohol is a drug. There is no cure. If you are an alcoholic, you will always be an alcoholic. If you pick up a drink, you will pick up where you would be if you had never stopped.
> According to the 12-steppers, you're back to square one if you slip. It's not written in stone, nor does it qualify as scientific fact: it's *just* the dogma of the *-anonymous groups. Some respectable addiction medicine researchers have found that some alcoholics can learn to drink in moderation.
Some AA members have strong opinions, but there is no AA "dogma." Dogma is a belief or set of beliefs required for membership in a group. AA has no such beliefs.
> If a person has been indoctrinated (by AA or some other group) into believing that they can't learn to drink responsibly, then they probably won't be able to -- most likely, they won't even try to learn moderate and responsible drinking habits, and when they do slip they'll be more likely to give up and go back to their former pattern of excessive drinking.
Can people be "indoctrinated" when their attendance is voluntary?
The term "alcoholic" is not a medical or psychiatric term. It is a self-description that people in AA adopt for themselves, partly in order to identify themselves as among those who can't learn to drink moderately or "socially." They have demonstrated this to themselves well before setting sites on AA. The medical/psychiatric diagnoses are alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. The former is akin to heavy drinking and the latter to what society equates with the term alcoholism.
Researchers like Stanton Peale believe they have demonstrated that "heavy" and "problem" drinkers can be taught to drink moderately. They have not claimed this of alcoholics, since alcoholics are not heavy drinkers, problem drinkers, alcohol abusers or dependents. They are those who have adopted the term alcoholic as a self-designation defining themselves precisely as those unable to drink moderately. Alcoholics are often members of AA, but not always.
> (Same goes for other drugs, of course, not just alcohol.)