Comment/Response on Selfishness, Morality & "Stigma"


     Alcohol use disorder/ substance use disorder/ severe depression are not caused by selfishness of self-centeredness. Those theories are rooted in old moralizing tales of how to treat addiction and illness in general. Unfortunately many of us are not only used to the stigma but we self stigmatize and start to believe things like that. It’s simply not true. Yea can working on humility help a person thrive/ live a more balanced life? Sure. Are we, as people who struggle with mental health problems and substance use issues, inherently selfish and immoral. Fuck no.


     First, I love the official DSM phraseology – “Alcohol use disorder, substance use disorder.” It’s okay to just say alcoholic or drug addict, bud. Or junkbox. Better yet, how about we just say… pig. 
     Second, um, yeah, it simply is true. When any person drinks or uses any drug for its effect, that is selfish. And continuing to drink and use drugs until you cop a habit is the sole result of multiple acts of selfishness. Moreover, the passionate concern and preoccupation with one’s feelings is indeed self-centered. What does self-centered mean then if not this? And how does an individual habitually get jammed out of his skull or completely sloshed without being selfish and self-centered? Of course it is selfish and self-centered. 
     You are also ignoring the fact that there are endless consequences of our drinking and using. The ripple effect is beyond the pale. Every time I drink and use, I cause pain to anyone who loves me or gives a shit about me. I lie, deceive, manipulate, exhaust, bankrupt. I tear the heart out of my parents, my spouse, my children. I effect those around me, my colleagues, my performance, my reputation, the reputation of my business, the company I work for, and on and on. I put the safety of others at risk. I make others uncomfortable. I walk into a room and ruin everything. All of that is selfish. All of that is born of self-centeredness. We are emotional vampires. 
     AND uh, yes, all of that is immoral. Knowing that drugs and alcohol are destructive and harmful and choosing to use them anyway is a moral failure. Going to treatment and learning of the pain we have caused others and then picking up again is a moral failure. It does not matter to what degree you have lost control or willpower – using drugs or drinking alcohol is a moral failure. That is just a fact, so feel free to rationalize it and justify it all you want to the mirror, but that does not change the fact that you are destroying yourself, hurting others and failing morally. Sorry. 
     Your point about the post asserting that we are inherently selfish and immoral is inaccurate. The moral failure and the painfully extreme condition of selfishness is committed/acquired after birth. Existence precedes essence, as Sartre put it. That is, we make ourselves, whether hero or junkie. That said, beyond voluntarily mutating ourselves into drug addicts, we are all inherently selfish and immoral. This is the human condition, and we are all called by God to rise above our more banal instincts. That is what separates the boys from the men. That is what separates thoughtful, mature, other-centered adults from infantile, selfish assholes. 
     Finally, the “stigma” as you say, is GOOD. We attach stigmas to things that we commonly consider to be abhorrent, negative, harmful, ugly, etc. etc. Why should drug and alcohol addiction, one of the most inappropriate, painful, selfish and destructive set of behaviors in the world, not be stigmatized? Furthermore, thank God the stigma exists as an appropriate way to dress drug addiction and alcoholism to further help us repel it.   
     I honestly can’t make sense of this comment. What does “old moralizing tales of how to treat addiction” even mean? Can someone help this guy out?