Philosophy Stirred, Not Shaken

Insights on Addiction and Philosophy

Why Identify as Alcoholic After All These Years?

A version of Pascal’s Wager shows it is rational to believe that my alcoholism is still alive and kicking. Read More

Identity Crisis?

I can't argue with the logic of your cost benefit analysis of drinking vs not. However, I would hope that you have gained enough character and values to draw the limit and not be a powerless victim because someone or some entity suggested you are.

Alcoholism has NOTHING to do

Alcoholism has NOTHING to do with character and values, which is why it cuts across all class, gender and race lines, among others. I know my relationship with alcohol is dangerous. I've gone back to drinking after years of sobriety, and my drinking immediately started at the same intensity it was when I initially stopped. I am not a powerless victim in any way, but when it comes to alcohol, I know that I will end up dying if I go back to it. I have NO control over how much I drink once I start, so I know I have to remain abstinent. Many people have to slip/relapse to figure this out. If they can go back out and drink "normally" for the rest of their lives, maybe they weren't truly alcoholic in the first place.

or not

Your comment implies that she maybe yet doesn't have character and values, and that she is a powerless victim. What kind of agenda are you running?

It strikes me she's very observant, has made a conscious choice and is quite happy and healthy living with her choice. Some people are powerless when bullets enter their body, some people when peanuts or some other allergen enters their body, and some people when alcohol enters their body. Because various popularized (as in appreciated and valued) 12 Step programs have created an a program that challenges the arrogance, narcissism and self delusion implicit in true addiction, it seems to be a fad these days respond to it with derision and disrespect. I'd suggest most of these are fully misunderstand and misinterpret the meaning and intent of some of these 12 concepts, like powerlessness. Of course 12 Step programs have many participants that fail (and many that succeed) - ALL treatment programs, theories and "medications" have painfully large failure rates, otherwise we wouldn't even need to have these blog posts on alcoholism and addiction.

To me, the failure rate of

To me, the failure rate of treatment programs and 12-step programs says a whole lot more about the disease of alcoholism than it does the specific program. Cunning, baffling and powerful -- that's what alcohol is to me!

Two more things...

1) No one can diagnose a person as alcoholic except the person who has the problem. 2) If I forget or deny for one day that I am an alcoholic , I will go back out and drink, and I will die. This is why I will always identify as alcoholic or recovering alcoholic.

Think about this though...

1) I agree with you on this one. However, I'm sure AA meetings will tell you that one is, whether they know they aren't or not. Alcoholic, in it's non-hijacked term, is someone who is in the present, Addicted. Not of the past but not anymore; nor having the potentiality in the future.

2) Here's where I disagree with you. The debate isn't whether a particular false belief is for the best or not. It's whether it's true or not.

If you are CURRENTLY addicted to alcohol, you're an alky. No debate from anyone here. If you pretty much would be if you started hitting the bottle again, my argument is that NO -- you're are not an alcoholic -- but you very well could be, so don't start up again.

Here's an analogy about something some folks may or may not get over that runs deep: An ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend.

I have an ex (who doesn't, right?) who if I decided to engage with again and she was liking me or possibly liking me, I would put $100 down that I'd start to develop feelings for her again at some point.

I AM over my ex. I wouldn't have feelings for her as soon as talking with her (unlike, say, an ex that I broke up with not too long ago). But I understand it's a Good Idea not to engage with her at all for the future.

The most-recent ex: You could say I'm not over her because the feelings are still there -- even though I have moved on. At some point, what is there will dissipate.

The very-past ex: No, I'm not going to be seeing her anymore. I just am not going to put myself in position to where I *could* start developing feelings again.

If someone many years later is still struggling NOT to drink -- yes, I agree, they're still an alky.

But for a sense of fellowship & acceptance to call themselves an alky in the same sense they stopped drinking 48 hours ago, when it's been 4.8 years? You're right -- only they really KNOW. But many DO. Many aren't compelled to drink like fish after having a half beer. Even if it's been a week since they last drank. Some can't help it and it's like air.

But if you don't have any compulsion to pick up a drink and there's nothing to fight -- I'm not trying to "take anything away from you". I'm just saying, you're not an alky -- but yes, don't go back to it like an ex-GF of the past where you would start hitting the bottle where the concept of moderation is non-existent.

I am an ex alcoholic and proud....

Will never ever identify as recovering or alcoholic, no sir i am cured end of.

I live my life in the now, alcohol has no more place here, aint got the time to be an alcoholic again, too busy doing other stuff.

Abstinence is fine for the moment, me i cook with wine other alcohol if the recipe needs it and that is that.

No diseased for life in my head, not a smoker still after i quit so why be an alcoholic even though i quit???

Because others will feel weaker...

The more "powerful" and not in control one is, the less inner responsibility one's going to feel. I can easily see a self-described "alcoholic" not being too happy with Most non-drinkers who are ex-alcoholics describe it the way you did. Why? You ARE taking away something from them, indirectly. You're making it look like not as big a deal as they have been conditioned to believe, and what a huge deal it truly was going from a drunkard to not drinking at all.

To many people, it's not hard. To some people, it is very very very difficult. To others, being immersed ABOUT alcohol (after not drinking) for the sake of fellowship can make it even harder, IMO.

To some, going to AA and being a part of all that years after not drinking nor having any motive to -- is just Weird.

Kind of like me on a better diet. I don't crave McDonalds. Mine's not a temporary fad, even though in the past it was. I'm sure some people don't want to step foot near McD's because they don't want to turn their diet into Big Macs & Quarter Pounders. Fine -- great.

Not everyone operates the same way. Alcohol isn't something that does control everyone to some huge, massive degree. It's something that CAN to *some* people. Unfortunately, all the AA stuff spouts out rhetoric that it does to Everyone. Why? Because it alleviates guilt.

Addiction is a negative pattern of behavior; a “problem of life”

Stanton Peele: The Controversial Heretic Who's Taking On AA

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Peg O'Connor, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.


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