In "The Indulgence Epidemic" Vatz and Weinberg have established that associate professors in rhetoric and legal studies can sound totally ridiculous when they dabble in the field of chemical dependency.
To suggest that alcoholism is not a disease is to completely ignore the findings of both the American Medical Assn. and the American Psychiatric Assn. With 30% of the patients in general hospitals and 50% of the patients in mental hospitals suffering from alcoholism or alcohol-related illness, the statement that alcoholism and other drug abuses are "bad" rather than "ill" seems indefensible.
Simply because there is no known "cause" or "cure" for a given disease does not remove it from the realm of human suffering. To do this is to move right back into the dark pages of history when cancer patients were turned out to die in the streets because the ignorant considered the disease contagious and psychotic patients were jailed for being possessed by evil spirits.
At present within the fellowship of AA, the basis for most competent alcoholism units, there are more than 1 million people living busy, healthy and productive lives through a program that offers a lifelong remission from the fatal disease of alcoholism.
MARY C. A. GILLIGAN
Alcoholism Information Center