Friday, May 16, 2008

Alcoholism as a disease

The meeting topic last night was alcoholism as a disease. The person who brought up the topic shared that it is both a physical craving and a mental obsession.

I know that accepting the disease description helps me to better understand the individual. I can accept and have compassion for a person who has this "cunning, baffling, and powerful" disease.

I have learned that no matter how hard I try, I will not be able to help the alcoholic. If I were to devote my life to "fixing" the alcoholic, I would only harm her and myself. I would harm through enabling and doing for someone what they have to do for themselves. Instead I have chosen to help myself through the Al-Anon program.

I don't need to go back to asking the question of why the person I love is an alcoholic. I have to accept that is the way it is and that my SO has a disease that can make her sick. I've also accepted that she isn't a bad person.

I have learned that having a compulsion to drink is a terrible thing. I've listened in open AA meetings about how hard it is to not pick up a drink. Have you ever had a compulsion to eat ice cream or pizza, even though you were on a diet? What did that compulsion feel like to you? How much did you struggle with it? What did you feel like when it bested you? What did it feel like when it didn't and you were able to withstand the compulsion? What does it feel like to know that you can never eat another piece of pizza or have any more ice cream...ever? If I think about those things, then I can better understand the territory of the struggling alcoholic and addict.

But I can't do anything about anyone's alcoholism because I don't know how. I don't have that compulsion that would kill me. My alcoholic can only get help with another recovering alcoholic and by practicing a program of honesty and willingness.

Because I need to work on my own issues from living with alcoholism, I focus on my own program. Getting through the affects of alcohol requires a lot from me. It requires detatchment, patience and humility. It requires being teachable and allowing room for great successes and great failures. It requires serenity, courage and wisdom. It requires honesty and the willingness to change.


  1. Some say that alcoholism being a disease is a cop out so we dont have to accept responsibility.
    I think only when you have suffered with the agony of compulsion can you understand how powerful it is, so powerful that the only cure is spiritual.

  2. Syd, if I were voting for posts, this one would win the top prize. I'm thinking as I'm reading it about writing a post on the food issue and how it obsessed me. I think people would be very surprised.

    I was very good looking in high school and I remember walking by heavy girls and thinking she eats like a pig. Boy, did that come back to bite me in my big, fat *ss.

    I just wanted to whole heartedly thank you. You have been an inspiration and a mentor to me with both the Alanon and the food issues.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  3. Hi Syd, what a healthy perspective you have - I can see you are working the Alanon program!
    thanks for leaving me a message! I am getting back to blogging here
    Happy Friday : D

  4. Hey, Syd, how do I respond to The Junky's Wife? I know she doesn't allow comments but I don't see how to email her. Where does it show her email address? Thanks.

  5. I love your comment about not explaining why you love your alcholic. Thats your business. The mystery of love is as baffling as the mystery of addiction. But love heals, addiction tears asunder.
    Opps, I'm trying to have deep thoughts like you:)

  6. Cunning, baffling and powerful!

  7. I am grateful you blog, I forget sometimes you arent alcoholic, and please do not take that as a negative, its actually a positive (I think) that we think and feel similar much of the time, not you and I specifically, that us, the human race... alcoholism I too cannot "fix" anyones alcoholism, only lay out them tools and see if they get picked up.

    Good post Syd. Glad you had a good day with the ships, sounds good :)


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