Shermaine Miles, 52, added one more charge to her record as a result of her drinking recently. Normally, this would not be particularly noteworthy. However, this was Miles’ 397th arrest.
Interestingly enough, most of these arrests are centered on alcoholism. Things like drinking in public, public intoxication, and the other usual suspects. In fact, on Miles’ 396th arrest, she had vowed to never touch a drink again. She went to a halfway house. She promised to stay away from her normal stomping grounds and friends who drank.
Yet again, she returned to the bottle.
So, what drove Miles and others like her back to the insanity and instability of a life of chronic alcoholism if it is not a disease?
What compels a person to drink continuously when it has been undoubtedly proven that person cannot do so without ruining his or her life?
It is not necessarily intelligence (or the lack thereof). If anything, it is likely to be the opposite. There is some evidence that suggests that drinking at a young age has a correlation with higher IQ. The evidence also shows similar evidence of the inverse. People with lower IQs also tend to consume less alcohol at a younger age.
So if it is not a matter of Miles having low intelligence, having a supposedly sincere desire to stop, and literally hundreds of arrests; then what is it?
According to the DSM V, Miles definitely fits the criteria for alcoholism. In this context, Miles at least suffers from a brain disorder. The physical sequelae separates alcoholism and addiction from standard brain disorders.
A lot of the argument against alcoholism and addiction being a disease is that it is related to the actions and behaviors of the sufferer. However, type 2 diabetes is a disease, yet obesity is thought to be the most common cause. Obesity, like drug abuse, is often the result of the breakdown of substances ingested. None would dare question whether or not diabetes is a disease, so why are alcoholism and addiction fair game in the eyes of many?
The sad truth is that addiction and alcoholism are still seen as moral issues. Instead of offering help to those with drinking and drug problems, we instead choose to lock them out-of-sight-and-out-of-mind. In those respects, alcoholism and addiction are still hundreds of years behind in both physical and mental health based upon the supposed lack of morality or character of the sufferer.
This is made all the more difficult by those who really do not suffer from the disease of alcoholism or addiction, but instead develop a drug and alcohol problem. Not all problem drinkers or users are addicts or alcoholics.
That is not to say, though, that there have not been huge advances in how our society deals with alcoholism and addiction treatment. We hate thinking about what could have been had certain individuals not had the drive and courage to help those whom no one else wanted to help.