Alcoholism's Chemistry

The Feb. 4 story on Katherine and Thomas Pike will add to the public awareness of the dangers of alcoholism, and ways by which one afflicted with the "disease" may deal with it ("Socialite Couple Leading Fight Against Alcoholism" by Mary Lou Loper).

However, the term disease may not fully describe what's at work in making one an alcoholic. All of us have within our bodies the chemical makeup that creates life, and gives us the power to function. Just one drop for an allergic person, or an overdose by constant drinking, can change the chemistry of one's being and make that person an alcoholic.

That message has to be understood by the public.


Pacific Palisades

Must The Times prominently display irrationality (of which we're already suffering a surfeit)? I cite the article about the Pikes and alcohol. If alcoholism is a "disease like a cold, diabetes, liver disease, cancer," how is it that the alcoholic makes a decision to stop drinking? If that isn't "willpower," what is it?

Can you name any true disease that can be cured by such an act of will? It will come as a great surprise to victims of diabetes or cancer to learn that if they just join an organization of others so afflicted, they will be "cured." Such nonsense!


Beverly Hills

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