I wanted to make sure all of you know what a special opportunity this week’s Dawn Farm Education Series presentation offers.
The presenter will be George Vaillant. Who is he?
Well, he’s the source of one of our favorite quotes: “If you want to treat an illness that has no easy cure, first of all treat them with hope.”
Here are a few more things he’s known for:
- Professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
- Study Director for the Grant Study, a 75 year longitudinal study of more than 200 men
- Wrote the Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited
- Member of AA’s General Service Board
He established much of the knowledge we now take for granted. Some of the findings from Dr. Vaillant’s alcoholism studies included:
- That alcoholism is as much a social as a medical condition. “Alcoholism can simultaneously reflect both a conditioned habit and a disease.”
- Factors predicting alcoholism were related to ethnic culture, alcoholism in relatives, and a personality that is antisocial and extroverted. An unhappy childhood predicted mental illness but not alcoholism—unless the family problems were due to alcoholism.
- That alcoholism was generally the cause of co-occurring depression, anxiety, and sociopathic (delinquent) behaviour, not the result.
- That even though alcoholism is not solely a medical condition, it is therapeutically effective to explain it as a disease to patients. The disease concept encourages patients to take responsibility for their drinking, without debilitating guilt.
- That for most alcoholics, attempts at controlled drinking in the long term end in either abstinence or a return to alcoholism.
- That there is as yet no cure for alcoholism, and that medical treatment can only provide short-term crisis intervention.
- Achieving long-term sobriety usually involves (1) a less harmful, substitute dependency; (2) new relationships; (3) sources of inspiration and hope; and (4) experiencing negative consequences of drinking.
You have two chances to see him:<
- You can see him on Tuesday night at St. Joe’s – Reception at 6:30 and presentation at 7:30.
- You can see him Wednesday night at U of M – Reception at 6:30 and presentation at 7:30.
The presentations are different. So, see him twice!
The presentations are free, there is no registration and there will be free food at the receptions.