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Point Counterpoint

January 09, 1987

There is no "controversy over moderate drinking" to a recovering alcoholic or one who lives with such a person. You just can't drink!

What's shameful about psychologist Roger Vogler's pitch--it helps sell his book, and with his TV interviews, makes him a personality--is that in using the word moderate, an appeal to a health truth in everything one does, he's snickering at reality.

True, there may be some people who can drink in moderation, or even in excess and get drunk, without becoming alcoholic. But as each body system has its own chemical makeup, we know everything we ingest affects the body's chemistry. The tolerance level is different for everyone. But for an alcoholic, the body chemistry is altered with just a sip, or in time, by constant use and overdosages.

Alcoholic Anonymous teaches one that alcoholism is an allergy of the body coupled with an obsession of the mind. And while Vogler, a psychologist, might be able to deal with the obsession, only an MD can treat the allergy. Total abstinence is recommended as pharmacists have yet to develop a chemical to reverse the allergy.

HYMAN and ETHEL HAVES

Pacific Palisades

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