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November 1976

About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment

The Answer: Nutrition? - From the February 1968 Grapevine

Many of these items are contrary to AA philosophy. Their publication here does not mean that the Grapevine endorses or approves them; they are offered solely for your information.

This being a Classic Grapevine, we have gleaned some classic items from past pages of our "About Alcoholism" section. The next time a report on controlled drinking or a promise of an easier, softer way hits the fan, remember some of these.

NEW YORK--Dr. Frank S. Butler, a surgical scientist, believes a stomach tube may be the answer to one of science's most baffling problems--how to control the uncontrolled alcoholic.

Surgically, it is easy to put one in place, more or less permanently, using only a local anesthetic. The outside opening is a hole button embedded in the chest and hidden except when in use.

Into it the alcoholic pours a nutritionally adequate liquid diet two to four times a day, using a funnel if it helps. Nothing more is required of him. He is not even asked to give up drinking.

Whatever else it may be, alcoholism is a nutritional-deficiency disease, Butler said, and that is what makes it an inevitably fatal disease. Either the alcoholic doesn't eat or what he eats is nutritionally wasted because it is overwhelmed by the quick energy but empty calories of alcohol. As a consequence, his organs and particularly his liver are taken over by fatty degeneration.

Butler revealed that he has already installed stomach tubes in three alcoholics, using a plastic silicone which is chemically inert in contact with body tissues and is not deteriorated by body secretions. In all of them the "craving" for drink has been reduced by proper nutrition, he said.

All have improved in general health, though none has stopped drinking.

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