You WILL recover from alcoholism...

says the Government, and if you refuse to, then we'll take your benefits away from you! Or at least that's my interpretation of this report on the BBC today.

Funny, because I was under the impression that alcohol addiction had for some time now been considered by the medical establishment as a disease.

My father was an alcoholic. Whilst it sounds rather melodramatic, as I sit here typing in my lovely house, about to get married my lovely boyfriend and feeling rather happy and successful, my father's alcohol addition fairly ravaged it's way though my childhood and left my family exhausted and in tatters. Alcohol had a Jekyll & Hyde effect on my Dad, turning a brilliant, talented and generous man into a mean and nasty one, predictable only in the anger and poison that would flare up when he had been drinking.

Alcoholism, like other addictions, has an immediate effect on the entire family and often work colleagues. It is a sordid business and there is nothing to be romanticised about it. I really would have preferred that my father was not an alcoholic.

It is easy to get frustrated with addicts, especially when you're the one having to pick up the pieces. And I did get very frustrated with my father and was not always understanding. It can feel at times, as if the person with the alcohol addiction is not really trying and if they really, really loved you, if you really mattered, surely they would stop, wouldn't they? They would care, wouldn't they?

And so we have a government who has got really frustrated with all the addicts under it's care because they're not taking their medicine like the government wants them too. Is it churlish to point out that the government hasn't really been trying either and that services for addicts have been underfunded for year? No, I don't think so.

This government initiative, like the one for drug addicts, is both nonsensical and inhumane. It is the behaviour of bullies.

It is nonsensical because there is no evidence that taking away someone's basic income has any impact on their ability to 'recover' or go into remission. Addiction is not an illness that responds to logic. Thousands of people have destroyed families, friendships and careers because they are addicted to some sort of substance and taking away their ability to pay rent and buy food is not going to have any impact. I saw from my father's experience that they are very few depths to which an addict will not fall whilst in the grip of addiction.

People lie and steal, prostitute themselves and others in order to afford the substance to which they are addicted; removing benefits will just make them do those things sooner.

In fact, it could make the problem worse. Addiction is often tied up with depression and worry about food and shelter could jeopardise someone's ability to recover.

But as well as being wrong headed, it is also inhumane, because it codes into legislation the idea that drug and alcohol addition is not to be considered a disease, or an illness, and is instead a lifestyle choice. That people can choose to get better!

While wanting to get better is a requirement of getting better, it does not follow that if you want to get better that you necessarily can get better. I don't know how many times my father got hauled off to the local psychiatric hospital to 'dry out'; all voluntarily and not any sort of walk in a park!

So, from this government that seeks to blame people for their diseases? That we take money off those suffering from mental illness for not going to CBT sessions? Or, take benefits of those who have cancer because they are refusing treatment?

The nanny state has a nasty side, you know. If you don't at least make an effort to get better she'll send you to bed with no dinner; it doesn't take much to turn her into a bully. Or, him, as it is James Purnell that is the bully this week.

Am I being a little soft on addicts because my father was one? I don't think so, I have had plenty of time to reflect on my father's illness during my childhood, teenage years and into adulthood. I rather think being able to blame it all on him would make it easier frankly - trying to unpick the bits of him that were him and the bits of him that were down to his addiction is a complex and at times unsatisfying job.

And, for sure, I'm not suggesting that addicts should not be responsible for their own actions.

An addict that steals to buy drugs, or assaults someone because they are drunk should be dealt with like any thief or violent criminal (albeit with an awareness that they need treatment and that there are good ways and less good ways of aiding recovery). An important step on the road to recovery is to take responsibility for your own actions and the impact they have had on the people around you.

Punish them for their behaviour but do not punish a sufferer of addiction, by taking away the basic income on which to survive, because they are a sufferer of an addiction.

This is nasty populism and don't let the government dupe you into thinking that it's fair or just.

8 comments:

Michael said...
21 Apr 2009, 22:37:00

Alcoholism is the new death wish…..thats all I have to say. we need to offer a hand to those in need of help. Help by helping others, not by ignoring the pain…

http://www.recoveryconnection.org /?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=pv&utm_content=zs&utm_campaign=home

Brian said...
25 Sep 2009, 14:49:00

Nice post the alcoholism affects mainly your partner and it is very difficult to accept it is like the ED because for me is difficult to accept my disease but I take Generic Viagra to have a better relationship

Natural Lubricant said...
22 Oct 2009, 20:34:00

Interesting post is a real problem that affect many people in the world but is a difficult problem to resolve and star again but is important treat to do.

Negocio Inversiones said...
16 Feb 2010, 17:29:00

I really like this blog, you are very good making them. I say that the issue discussed in this blog is quite interesting and of high quality.

Aşk Büyüsü said...
25 Jun 2010, 09:52:00

Alcoholism is the new death wish…..thats all I have to say. we need to offer a hand to those in need of help. Help by helping others, not by ignoring the pain…

Cialis said...
28 Feb 2012, 19:28:00

Alcohol addiction is very difficult to get over, but it is definitely possible.

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