Tuesday, October 2, 2012

EA Professionals: "Watch Your Mouth!"

If you are an EA professional, you may want to examine your language. For example, labeling someone a functional alcoholic is a strong and reinforcing enabling behavior. Don't you agree? It is used to describe someone the enabler believes to be alcoholic, but also seems to “function” acceptably in their occupation or social activities. Usually these areas are where the enabler knows the alcoholic best. In truth, you know there is no such thing as functional alcoholism. The term doesn't makes sense. It foists alcoholism into a behavioral construct rather than a disease construct, and you don't want to be responsible for this terrible impact. Need more clarity? Think disease. There is no such thing as functional cancer, right? Both alcoholism and cancer are chronic potentially fatal illnesses that grow worse over time. Ok, straight up. The term functional alcoholism allows the enabler to continue the advantages of the relationship they have with the alcoholic, even while their role as an enabler grows worse. The defense is called “minimizing.” EA professionals, watch your mouths and don't join forces with the larger society that struggles to see alcoholism as a disease.