Calling alcoholism a disease lets Rob Ford off the Hook

Calling alcoholism a disease lets Rob Ford off the Hook   

Above is a link to an article by Robert Fulford in the National Post which talks about the way calling alcoholism is a disease is not always helpful and how Rob Ford is using it as an excuse for his bad behavior. I agree with a lot of what is said here and find the genetic type of argument pitiful. People are not born with the disease of alcoholism. It is time to stop the excuses and treat the condition rationally with compassion. I heard people say they were born with the disease in AA and it generally means they do not want to take responsibility for their actions.


Here is a section but read the whole thing from the link above.

What Ford says now indicates that he’s trying to explain his troubles in a way that will do him the least possible political damage.

First, he wants everyone to know he’s not to blame for all those things that happened, those many occasions when he made an international fool of himself — even though he’s kind of sorry about them.

The point is, he has a disease. Surely we can’t refuse to pity a fellow in that position.

Is alcoholism a disease, as many authorities think, and Ford believes? If it is, do you develop this disease over time, or is it installed in certain human brains at birth?

Ford has the answer: “I was born with this disease,” he said the other day. “I’m going to die with this disease.” He compared it to being born with blond hair, a part of his genetic make-up.

The official classification of alcoholism as a disease helps attract government research grants and encourages insurance companies to pay for rehab. But it may drive individual alcoholics away from the kind of self-transformation that will save them. James Prochaska, an American health psychologist and an expert on addiction, believes that calling it a disease implies that it’s something that happens to you. It depicts the alcoholic as a victim. “It puts us into a passive-reactive mode that doesn’t help us prevent or solve the problem,” Prochaska argues.

Ford seems to have only a vague and ill-formed idea of what has happened to him in recent months. He’s issued apologies to the many people he insulted through his racist, obscene and misogynist remarks. Even so, his regrets sound extremely cursory. He also blames his disease for those insults. “When you have this disease, you say things, do things that aren’t you. I think that goes along with having this disease.”

Where did he get that idea? Alcohol has many powers but it does not place in someone’s mouth thoughts “that aren’t you.” It does, however, remove the inhibitions of drinkers, allowing them to express parts of themselves that get censored during periods of sobriety. Psychologists suggest that “substances can make you say things you don’t mean,” but they come from the same brain. In medieval times, people thought a devil could enter someone’s head and spew out obscene abuse, but that excuse is no longer available.

Whatever the reason, Ford is sorry he often was offensive while drunk. “And all I can do is apologize and say sorry.” Alcoholics Anonymous recommends something a little more careful: Members should make amends to those they have hurt — but privately, one at a time, not by issuing a blanket to-whom-it-may-concern apology


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