Regarding “New Treatments for Alcoholics” (Dec. 1 Forum): I have no doubt that Markus Heilig is well-intentioned in his concern for alcoholics, but the entire article strikes me as being written from the safe confines of a laboratory.
Pittsburgh’s Dr. Abraham Twerski has dedicated a lifetime to treating alcoholics in the real world and saw this coming seven years ago in a Post-Gazette article (“What Lifts People Out of Addiction?” Oct. 25, 2006): “So, I can envision what may happen if they develop a drug to treat alcoholism. People will feel that they have no need for AA, because they’re not drinking. But they will still have the self-centeredness, lack of consideration, dishonesty, manipulativeness, finding fault with others, and all the behavioral traits typical in the active alcoholic and addict. Rather than decrease, the divorce rate will soar, and kids exposed to dry-drunk parents will suffer from poor parenting. There will not be a rock-bottom experience to bring people to the awareness that their lifestyle is destructive.”
Dr. Twerski recognizes all the aspects of alcoholism that scientists don’t, including the fact that it is a disease of the affected as well as the afflicted. I’ll put my money on the Pittsburgher.
JAMES K. HANNA