worked to popularize the disease concept in order to
counter the prevailing punitive attitude toward
alcoholism. If alcoholism was simply a matter of
will power, then the way to treat alcoholics was to
punish them and scold them until they shaped up and
stopped drinking that way. That was the way most
people in the U.S. thought in 1939. But if alcoholism
was a "disease" or illness or malady, then you had to
give the person the proper kind of treatment to heal
the alcoholism instead of simply threatening them with
worse and worse punishments.
That was one of the big issues involved in the history
of the dispute over this issue during the 1940's.
Dr. Jellinek at the Yale School of Alcohol Studies
was opposed at first to calling alcoholism a "disease"
and wanted to call it an "illness" instead.
That was another issue involved in the early dispute
over this issue.
Jellinek (and the American Medical Association) were
eventually persuaded to use the term disease instead
of the term illness, but the debate continued, and
still continues today.
Dr. William D. Silkworth (see the Doctor's Opinion
in the Big Book) tried to use an analogy between
alcoholism and the allergic reaction (to things like
bee stings and strawberries, and so on) because the
reaction increases and becomes stronger and stronger
over time. That is, alcoholics undergo some sort
of physiological change in their reaction to alcohol
which is purely physical, and increasingly becomes
greater and greater, the more alcohol they are
exposed to. Modern physicians would see this as a
progressive change in the way our bodies metabolize
alcohol, and a progressive change in the structures
of the brain as it attempts to deal with problems of
how to walk in a straight line, and so on, rather than
the kind of histamine reaction which we see in most
things that are called "allergies," but there may
still be a useful analogy there.
I hope that some of the members of the group can
help fill in some of the other historical facts
surrounding this issue, and the way it developed
during the early years of AA.
Glenn C. (South Bend, Indiana)
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3770. . . . . . . . . . . . The Texas Pamphlet 1940 (Part 7)
From: Jim M . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/29/2006 7:35:00 PM
A NEW APPROACH TO PSYCHOTHERAPY IN