Further Reading

What if my wife and I disagree about the disease theory of addiction?

I am a scientist who is engaged to an ER nurse. The program she is in tells her that her addiction is a disease. Do you have any evidence for support or rejection of this . I personally have a difficult time swallowing it, as the scientists I work with have not shown me proof-positive evidence. I want to be as supportive as possible for her during her recovery, but I must have facts!


Dear Ben:

Disagreement on the disease theory of addiction is a potential source of friction in a marriage. After all, you face years of stressful situations, or offers of alcohol, of raising children with a world view about alcohol and responsibility, etc. Views of alcohol differ substantially by cultural and other background experiences. I suspect you have some fairly fundamental differences in perspective with your fiancee -- perhaps these should be dealt with directly in the marriage, not by outside research on the disease theory of addiction. Do you really have the impression that your spouse will look at evidence you present, decide you are right, and abandon her world view? I don't think so.

Best, Stanton