Alcoholism is a disease

By |2008-04-04T09:00:00-04:00April 4th, 2008|Uncategorized|

Dear BTL,
RE: “Same-sex marriages should be allowed” (Between The Lines, March 18), while I find myself in general agreement with Dr. Laurel Sills’ perspective on the science and ethics of same-gender marriage, there is something in the fourth paragraph that deeply disturbs me, and I want to let your editorial staff and Dr. Sills in on it.
When Sills writes, “Gay people are not child molesters, sinners, alcoholics, or bad people,” I do understand that she is trying to say that the LGBT community is no better or worse than the general population.
What bothers me, however, is that I see she has lazily lumped in “alcoholics” with child molesters, sinners, and bad people. How somebody in the mental health profession can show such a lack of understanding of the disease of alcoholism in this day and age is astonishing to me.
Alcoholics are not bad people. Alcoholism is a treatable disease for which we do not know the cause. Experts are careful to point out that it has nothing to do with any moral or ethical lapse. Alcoholics are allergic to the drug alcohol, and, whether they drink or not, will continue to be their whole life.
I’m surprised to see this sort of outdated view of alcoholism laid between the lines by Dr. Sills. I’m especially shocked to see it in an essay that argues for enlightenment.
I strongly urge both your editorial board and Dr. Sills to bear this in mind in the future. Such insensitivity, ignorance, or carelessness does damage to your credibility, and therefore hinders your noble pursuit of enlightening the public.

Michael Jackman

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.