Let’s Get Rid Of The Stigma For Real

It is just as wrong for the segment of society which does not use drugs or alcohol to attempt to impose their value system upon people who choose to engage in recreational intoxication as it is for the heterosexual majority to impose their value system and sexual practices on the homosexual minority. We no longer lock homosexual men in prison for the practice of consensual sodomy. Nor do we send them to therapists to “treat” their “mental illness” of homosexuality. In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association voted that homosexuality was no longer a disease and removed it from the DSM.

We are told by many people that homosexuality is genetic and inherited and that since people cannot choose to be other than what they are that we should accept it and not blame them for who they are–they cannot help it.

Yet we are also told that people who choose to engage in recreational intoxication by using drugs or alcohol are diseased. Why are they diseased? Because they are born that way and they cannot help it and therefore they must be treated until l they change whether they like it or not.

Homosexuality is NOT a disease. This is because it is genetic. Recreational intoxication IS a disease. This is because it is genetic. HUH???!!

What an outrage it would be to take all the homosexuals in America and lock them up in religiously oriented brainwashing camps and to tell them that every time they engaged in homosexual sex it meant that they had “relapsed” into their “disease” and that their only hope was to admit that they were powerless over their homosexuality and to ask a “Higher Power” to give them a daily reprieve from their homosexual behavior.

Yet this is exactly the sort of gross and repellant violation of basic human rights which is accorded to those in America who choose to engage in recreational intoxication. Just get caught even once in possession of a joint and you will be locked up in a religious brainwashing camp and be told that that which you like to do is a disease and that the only cure for your disease is to spend every day for the rest of your life sitting around some godawful religious meeting. Good grief–it is enough to drive one to drink!

Calling something a “disease” or a “mental illness” does not remove stigma. Calling it a personal lifestyle choice is what removes the stigma.

No gay person of my acquaintance has ever said to me “Let is put homosexuality back in the DSM and call homosexuality a mental illness instead of a lifestyle choice so that we can remove the stigma.”

Classifying things as crimes or diseases stigmatizes them. Classifying them as lifestyle choices removes the stigma. The NIAAA wants to refer to recreational alcohol intoxication as “binge drinking” in order to stigmatize it and to force people to stop engaging in it because the NIAAA feels that it has an inalienable right to force its value system upon others against their will.

From my perspective forcing one’s values upon others against their will is a far worse addiction than is engaging in a bit of recreational drug or alcohol use. So is locking someone up in a religious brainwashing camp and forcing your conception of a “Higher Power” on them against their wills.

I do not believe that G.O.D. stands for Group Of Drunks. I don’t believe in creationism in the first place–but even if I did I would not believe that a group of drunks created the universe. Nor do I believe that AA created the universe. Group Of Drunks = G. O. D. indeed!

Let us recognize that engaging in recreational drug or alcohol intoxication–just like homosexuality–is a lifestyle choice. Yes–drug or alcohol use can be a high risk behavior–but so can homosexuality. Both call for personal responsibility and good harm reduction practices to reduce the accompanying risks.

Just as safe sex is good sex–safe intoxication is good intoxication.

How about doing away with abstinence-only programs for drugs and alcohol and teaching kids about safe drug and alcohol use instead?

And how about doing away with abstinence-only programs for sex and teaching kids about safe sex whether it is straight sex or gay sex?

The life you save may be your child’s.

Copyright © 2009, The HAMS Harm Reduction Network


About Kenneth Anderson

Kenneth Anderson is the author of the book How to Change Your Drinking: a Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol. He is also the founder and CEO of The HAMS Harm Reduction Network.
This entry was posted in 12 steps, addiction, Alcohol, alcohol harm reduction, disease theory, harm reduction and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Let’s Get Rid Of The Stigma For Real

  1. redemma44 says:

    EXCELLENT! homosexuality & preferences for fermented fruits/grains occurs in what we call animal populations as well as in human animals. For example, I’ve read most pigs will consistently go for fermenting fruit over other food choices for the alcohol content. If they could build a distillery, they probably would. Neither homosexuality nor preferences for intoxicants are a “disease”, but a natural part of ALL life, not just human. The question for me is, “what works?” Harm reduction helps me find what works.

    Thanks, Pork, a more thoughtful response when I have more time – great blog, pal!

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