The Disease of Alcoholism by Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.


"Alcoholism is definitely being redefined and it may be many years before we have a final answer, a complete explanation."

REVIEWS - What Members Have to Say:

TeddyBear:  This is one of many booklets available through WFS to help you on your New Life Journey.  In the back of the booklet is a synopsis of the Women for Sobriety Program, the Levels of Recovery program and each of the 13 Statements.  Each level is summarized with an explanation of the statement or statements relevant to that level.  Recommendations for readings within the levels are also given.  There is a brief biography of the founder, Dr. Jean Kirkpatrick.  The main topic is alcoholism as a disease.  This publication deals with the essence of Statement #1, Level 1.  The purpose of the booklet is to begin the education of the reader about the disease of alcoholism.  Scientific studies and medical research have linked alcoholism to genetic, social, physiological and psychological determinants.  However, all gets distilled down to the fact that when an alcoholic drinks, there is no control of the quantity consumed.  Neither the quantity of the alcohol consumed nor the frequencies of the drinking sessions are factors relevant to who will or will not be alcoholic.  Lack of control can exist from the very first drink or it may evolve over time.  A lack of moral substance is not a causative.  The desire to stop drinking is often a part of the active alcoholic’s life.  The ability to stop may not be.  There are many myths surrounding the disease of alcoholism; but, currently, there is only one “cure”, abstinence.  Keywords are disease, control, metabolism, abstinence and recovery.  The concept of alcoholism as a physical disease was not a new one to me.  I read about the theory and some results of preliminary studies back when I was a senior in high school (yes, the age of the dinosaur is reasonable) researching alcoholism for a class presentation.  The theory had an intellectual appeal to me; but, emotionally, I could not completely accept it.  I saw daily the reality of the dark side of the alcoholic in my father.  He would die from the disease, four years later, at age 49.  Reading in Dr. Kirkpatrick’s booklet about the medical and science based progress made in proving past theory as fact gave respectability to the concept of alcoholism as a true disease.  I was able to begin to move from viewing myself as a worthless entity who could not forgive my father and, by association, myself, to realizing that he and I had a “real” illness.  Understanding that being an alcoholic is the same as being a diabetic, an asthmatic, or any person with a chronic condition allowed me to accept my illness.  It allowed me to forgive my father and myself and illuminated the way for the healing to begin.  This is not my first excursion into sobriety.  I had 17 years of sobriety before I lapsed and began a two-year struggle back.  The difference between that sobriety and my current sobriety lies in the WFS program and its foundation of acceptance.  Learning what one can seek to change and what one must accept as a given is very empowering.  Obviously we cannot change our genetic make-up; however, we can change what we retain from our social, psychological and, to some extent, our physiologic pasts.  How we choose to allow these to be part of or not part of our sober lives is within our control.  Any who have read this booklet are encouraged to share how it impacted your recovery.  If you have not read the booklet, I encourage you to do so.  You may find that tidbit of information that enables you to embrace the first Statement “I have a life threatening problem that once had me” and to begin your New Life Journey.

  • Item #: BT115

The Disease of Alcoholism by Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.

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