From the March 1979 magazine.

A Disease of Opposites

What seemed to be the end was actually the beginning

THE CONCEPT of alcoholism as a disease was easy for my mind to grasp right from the beginning. As I listened to speakers, I patched together a list of common symptoms that pointed to a common illness. I heard this disease described as being threefold--mental, physical, and spiritual. It was also called a family disease and a disease of the emotions. But I have come to understand it best as a disease of opposites.

The old-timers said, "It's a disease that says you don't have a disease." As I pondered this definition, I began to face some painful memories. How many times had I said, "I can quit anytime I want to," when in reality quitting was increasingly difficult? "I'm not hurting anyone but myself," when I was affecting everyone I came in contact with? "I'm a free man. I do what I want," when daily I was sinking deeper into bondage? I thought I was hiding it so well, when, in fact, more people were aware of my excesses than I could have imagined.

-- F. R.

Parsippany, New Jersey

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