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The administrator of a large hospital recently gave me a tour. As he showed me the cancer, cardiac, renal dialysis units, he emphatically told me that the hospital was committed to these chronically ill patients. He stated with pride that no matter how stick they were, how diffucult their recovery, or how many treatments they needed, the hospital was committed to their care.
When we went to the chemical dependency unit, he told me in no uncertain terms that the unit did not "enable chemical addicts by readmitting them for treatment after relapse." His position was that if chemicaly addicts wanted to stay sober, they would, Relapse, he emphasized, is a "self-inflicted condition" and to provide multiple treatments is enabling their disease.
Unfortunately, this misguided attitude is still very common. We say that chemical dependence is a disease …