2Q - What is meant by mental obsession and the obsessional character of alcoholism?

Q2:精神の強迫観念の意味するものは? またアルコホリズムの強迫的な特徴とは?

2A - Well, as I understand it, we are all born with the freedom of choice. The degree of this varies from person to person, and from area to area in our lives. In the case of neurotic people, our instincts take on certain patterns and directions, sometimes so compulsive they cannot be broken by any ordinary effort of the will. The alcoholic's compulsion to drink is like that.


As a smoker, for example, I have a deeply ingrained habit - I'm almost an addict. But I do not think that this habit is an actual obsession. Doubtless it could be broken by an act of my own will. If badly enough hurt, I could in all probability give up tobacco. Should smoking repeatedly land me in Bellevue Hospital, I doubt that I would make the trip many times before quitting. But with my alcoholism, well, that was something else again. No amount of desire to stop, no amount of punishment, could enable me to quit. What was once a habit of drinking became an obsession of drinking - genuine lunacy.


Perhaps a little more should be said about the obsessional character of alcoholism. When our fellowship was about three years old some of us called on Dr. Lawrence Kolb, then Assistant Surgeon General of the United States. He said that our report of progress had given him his first hope for alcoholics in general. Not long before, the U.S. Public Health Department had thought of trying to do something about the alcoholic situation. After a careful survey of the obsessional character of our malady, this had been given up. Indeed, Dr. Kolb felt that dope addicts had a far better chance. Accordingly, the government had built a hospital for their treatment at Lexington, Kentucky. But for alcoholics - well, there simply wasn't any use at all, so he thought.


Nevertheless, many people still go on insisting that the alcoholic is not a sick man - that he is simply weak or willful, and sinful. Even today we often hear the remark “That drunk could get well if he wanted to.”


There is no doubt, too, that the deeply obsessional character of the alcoholic's drinking is obscured by the fact that drinking is a socially acceptable custom. By contrast, stealing, or let us say shop-lifting, is not. Practically everybody has heard of that form of lunacy known as kleptomania. Oftentimes kleptomaniacs are splendid people in all other respects. Yet they are under an absolute compulsion to steal - just for the kick. A kleptomaniac enters a store and pockets a piece of merchandise. He is arrested and lands in the police station. The judge gives him a jail term. He is stigmatized and humiliated. Just like the alcoholic, he swears that never, never will he do this again.


On his release from the jail, he wanders down the street past a department store. Unaccountably he is drawn inside. He sees, for example, a red tin fire truck, a child's toy. He instantly forgets all about his misery in the jail. He begins to rationalize. He says, “Well, this little fire engine is of no real value. The store won't miss it.” So he pockets the toy, the store detective collars him, he is right back in the clink. Everybody recognizes this type of stealing as sheer lunacy.

やがて彼は刑務所から釈放され、通りを歩いていているとデパートの前を通りかかる。不可解なことに、彼はその中に入ってしまう。彼は、例えば、赤いブリキの消防車を眺める。子どものおもちゃだ。彼は瞬時に刑務所での惨めな日々を完全に忘れてしまう。そして自己正当化を始める。「この小さな消防車の原価はまったく安いはずだ。だからこれが無くなっても店は惜しいとも思わないだろう」 彼はそのおもちゃをポケットに入れ、万引き監視員が彼をつかまえる。彼はまた刑務所に戻ることになる。誰もが、この種の窃盗が完全な狂気だと評価するだろう。

Now, let's compare this behavior with that of an alcoholic. He, too, has landed in jail. He has already lost family and friends. He suffers heavy stigma and guilt. He has been physically tortured by his hangover. Like the kleptomaniac he swears that he will never get into this fix again. Perhaps he actually knows that he is an alcoholic. He may understand just what that means and may be fully aware of what the fearful risk of that first drink is.


Upon his release from jail, the alcoholic behaves just like the kleptomaniac. He passes a bar and at the first temptation may say, “No, I must not go inside there; liquor is not for me.” But when he arrives at the next drinking place, he is gripped by a rationalization. Perhaps he says, “Well, one beer won't hurt me. After all, beer isn't liquor.” Completely unmindful of his recent miseries, he steps inside. He takes that fatal first drink. The following day, the police have him again. His fellow citizens continue to say that he is weak or willful. Actually he is just as crazy as the kleptomaniac ever was. At this stage, his free will in regard to alcoholism has evaporated. He cannot very well be held accountable for his behavior. (The N.C.C.A. 'Blue Book', Vol. 12, 1960)

刑務所から釈放されると、アルコホーリクはクレプトマニアとまったく同じ行動を取る。彼がバーの前を通りかかって誘惑を感じると、最初は「だめだ、入ってはいけない。酒を飲んではいけないのだ」と自分に言い聞かせるだろう。だが、次の酒場に着いたとき、彼は自己正当化に捕まってしまう。おそらくこう考えるだろう。「ビール一杯だけなら大丈夫。どのみち、ビールは酒のうちに入らないから」 つい近頃味わった苦痛を完全に忘れて、彼は中に入る。そして致命的な最初の一杯を飲む。明くる日、警察官が再び彼を逮捕する。彼の同胞は相変わらず彼のことを弱い、自分勝手な人間だと言い続ける。実際のところは、クレプトマニアが狂っているのと同じように、彼も狂っているのだ。この段階に至ると、アルコホリズムについては彼の自由意志はすでに消えてなくなっている。彼は自分の行動に十分責任を取ることができないのだ。(Blue Book, Vol.12, N.C.C.A.1), 1960)

National Clergy Conference on Alcoholism — 1960年代に聖職者がアルコホリズムに焦点を当てて開いていた協議会。
recovery/letsaskbillw/02.txt · 最終更新: 2020/09/03 by ひいらぎ