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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Is being an alcoholic a disability?

I found myself questioning terms used by the Americans with Disabilities Act and question how alcoholism can be a disability.

Did y'all know that being an alcoholic is a "disability" which is both covered and protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act? Included in this post will be, but not limited to, information, links, and my opinions on this little factoid. When did being an alcoholic become a disability? When did being an alcoholic become a disease? I have news for y'all, being an alcoholic is neither a disability or disease. For example, one can quit drinking, but one can not quit having MS or CF. I found that reading at the Americans with Disabilities Act website that the definitions of terms are very screwed up. In fact, I challenge y'all to to look up four words, for fun of course, and then review how they are applied in the Americans with Disabilities Act. The four words are Disability, Disease, Alcoholic, and Addiction. Meanwhile, let me continue. Consuming alcohol is a choice a person makes. Stopping the consumption of alcohol is as well a choice.

This seems to be a very blurred subject when it comes to employment, benifits, and a person living their life. Unfortunately, as we see everyday, we tend to pay for the mistakes made by people making bad choices. Alcoholism is an addiction, it is a choice, it is a matter of a person's will power, and that doesn't make it a disability or disease. Makes no sense to me that an alcolholic is considered sick, he/she is not sick, he/she has an addiction to alcohol. Let me give you an example taken from the ADA questions and answers page. Click the "ADA" for an entire list of questions and answers.

Q. Are alcoholics covered by the ADA?

A. Yes. While a current illegal user of drugs is not protected by the ADA if an employer acts on the basis of such use,a person who currently uses alcohol is not automatically denied protection. An alcoholic is a person with a disability and is protected by the ADA if s/he is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job. An employer may be required to provide an accommodation to an alcoholic. However,an employer can discipline,discharge or deny employment to an alcoholic whose use of alcohol adversely affects job performance or conduct. An employer also may prohibit the use of alcohol in the workplace and can require that employees not be under the influence of alcohol.

I tend to look at the choices we make in life as being similar to choices we would make while playing a game of chess. Each move in chess is a choice, each choice has a consequence, and in turn each time we make a choice, good or bad, we have determined what the outcome will be in advance. The non-chess players are now scratching their head. Just in case one or all of y'all are curious to what brought this up with me today, let me take a minute to explain. I was listening to the radio and one of the commercials boasted information in reference to lawsuits based on the discrimination of alcoholics in the workplace, either being hired or grounds for dismissal. The advertisement went on to explain it was in violation of the ADA and that lawfirm was there to help. Needless to say, it pissed me off just a tad. It pissed me off enough to do some research on my own.

In case you are wondering, yes I do have family members and friends who are "classified" as alcoholics. I have had the exact same conversation with them as well, I have explained to them they do not have a disease, they have an addiction. I can't say much about a person's addictions, I have my own since I make the choice every day to light just one more cigarette. Maybe they should make smoking a "disease" and then I wont have to go out in the rain to smoke. Seriously. Speaking of which, I am being very serious here, I am not making light of someone being an alcoholic. Trust me when I say I fought my own demons of self control not too many years ago. I used to be a heavy drinker, even could be considered an alcoholic, and one day I made a choice. My choice? My choice was to stop drinking. Why? Because I was tired of waking up sick every morning. I was tired of throwing money into the bottle. I was done. Hence, I wanted to quit. Therefore, I made the choice to quit and uphold my decision. Yes I know, what happens with one person is not the blanket answer to everyone's problems. But, I do know, that making the choice to stop drinking is still just that, its a choice.



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Scorpion Sting is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on Is being an alcoholic a disability?

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By riginal on April 01, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Scorp what i can't understand is the proven facts that ciggies contain poisons etc that eventually would kill a dead dog. If you or i or the general public made such a product we'd probably be jailed? I'm sure it's got nothing to do with government profit? Incidently,when's the last time you saw a ciggie company retrenching? Or for that matter brewery workers striking? Not picking on anybody in particular. I drink. Can't afford to be an alcoholic. But at least drinkers urinate their excess...not in people's faces...but then some parties i've been too...! Can't get someone close to me off the ciggies. Lost a few mates on account of booze/smokes also. Funny how a lot of movies even now, the actors chain smoke. I suppose when you come to think of it the stuff they put in fast food would kill a dead dog too? Wonder if those 'gob stoppers' Telly Savalas sucked are no good for you in "the long suck?" Still...even if one lived a puritan life one could die of a bad dose of puritinitess...ie:"stop hassling me...or i'll huff and puff you to death or at the very least pee on your comments!" I'll drink to that. Very good article. Thought provocking.

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