Alcohol is a drug. Alcohol is the drug of ethanol. It is the psychoactive substance or ingredient in alcoholic beverages.
Alcoholism is a 3-fold progressive incurable disease. The language about this disease is very important.
A Disease is a:
- Condition of ill-health that has definite signs and symptoms
- A disease has a cause that may be known or unknown.
- A disease has a prognosis (i.e. the probable outcome(s) of a disease) that may be known or unknown.
The primary symptoms fall under the simple headings Physical, Mental and Emotional. Some also use the heading Spiritual with Emotional. The symptoms of this Disease get progressively worse over time and continued alcohol or drug use. This is simply evidenced by watching any person suffering from this disease. Over time a person suffering from alcoholism will experience worsening symptoms and behaviours and will experience regular crises related to their alcoholism.
Physical: Every part of the body is affected by the alcohol or drug. In particular all the major organs are damaged, some organs more than others depending on the drug of choice. Poly drug users tend to be more affected because of the cumulative impact of the range of drugs, on the body.
- Physical Compulsion to drink or use
- Feeling sick and hungover
- Using alcohol or drugs and getting intoxicated when that was not the intention
- Withdrawal symptoms
Mental: The mind is a very valuable human asset. It is sensitive to the impact of alcohol and other drugs. Primary symptoms include:
- Personality Change when drinking or using
- Denial – not accepting the reality of the outcomes of drinking or drugging
- Obsession to get alcohol or drugs
- Poor concentration
- Short term memory
- Long term memory
- Lost capacity for abstract thought
- Loss of self-respect
- Loss of self-esteem
- Self Pity
- Loss of Faith
- Loss of concept of God or Higher Power
- Profound sense of hopelessness
Cause: We can only speculate about the cause. Is it because of what happened to you when you were a child? We do know that many alcoholics and addicts have one or both parents who also suffer from this disease and we do know that others have other relatives with this disease. But this connection has never been more than speculation. The real question is “Does it Matter?”. If you suffered from any other debilitating disease, Cancer for example, would you care about the cause before you get treatment or would you speculate about the cause once you were getting the right treatment? The cause does NOT matter. What matters is that you correctly diagnose yourself and get help.
Prognosis: We don’t have to speculate about the prognosis. We know what happens to sufferers of this disease.
Incurable: The evidence shows that a sufferer from this Disease can get well. We call it Recovery. However the evidence shows that if a person starts to drink or drug after a period of time in Recovery, the Disease process starts all over again, almost exactly where the person left off.