Alcoholism - Curable or Just Controllable?
Alcoholism is a progressive and potentially fatal disease. Alcoholism itself is not curable but it is possible
to recover completely.
Recovering from alcohol is to abstain from all forms of alcoholic beverages and medications that contain alcohol
such as cough medicines.
Alcoholism is considered a chronic illness. As with any chronic illness, it affects
As a result, the recovery process also affects the entire family and network of friends of the alcoholic.
The good news is that these people can serve as a good support network to enable the alcoholic to abstain from
The same way a family would support a chronically ill person is how the alcoholic should be treated because
alcoholism is chronic.
Anyone who is an alcoholic will be an alcoholic for the rest of his or her lives. Even though there is no
cure for alcoholism, there is hope for the alcoholic. That is where recovery comes in - the abstinence from
all alcohol on the part of the addicted person.
This is where the control part of the disease comes into play. It is important to be able to control the
desire to have alcohol and to choose not to drink it. Unfortunately, the sheer nature of being an alcoholic
is defined by the lack of an ability to control ones drinking.
In order to enter the recovery phase and thus control the disease itself, the alcoholic must come to the place
where he or she is able and willing to take control and stop reaching for alcohol.
Research has shown that the alcoholic cannot willfully control his drinking and therefore should be
abstinent. The alcoholic has to accept responsibility for his addiction and recovery.
There are some programs that highlight the issue of control of alcoholism and they do not mandate abstinence
from alcohol. Rationing and moderation programs such as these allow the person to have alcohol but with every
drink, the person becomes less able to decide that the next drink is a bad idea.
Most alcoholics are unable to limit their drinking and absolutely must abstain from alcohol all together to be
This is still considered being in control of the disease. In fact, once the alcoholic has exhibited control over
the disease by abstinence, rationing or moderation the person is said to be in remission.
The American Psychiatric Association considers remission to be where the physical and mental aspects of
alcoholism are no longer evident regardless of whether or not the person is still drinking.
Most others use the term remission only after the alcoholic has completely stopped the consumption of
Alcoholism, regardless of whether the alcoholic totally abstains from alcohol or just drinks in moderation, is a
However, alcoholism is not considered curable because the alcoholic can relapse back into the acute phase of the
disease many times with just one drink or one episode of over drinking.
Even when the alcoholic is in remission, he is still considered an alcoholic and will be an alcoholic for the
rest of his life.
Regardless of the amount of years since active alcohol consumption, the person remains an alcoholic.
As with any chronic illness, the possibility is always at the forefront for the person to relapse into acute,