The Truth about Acetone and Alcoholism
Although what I call now call the Acetone theory of Alcoholism is not
presented in the Big Book of Alcoholics, it is an idea that circulates
and is prevalent in AA. The reason I bring up the subject is that I
went to a
meeting the other day and a fellow brought up the "Fact" that
process alcohol differently and this is the "cause"of alcoholism.
Ideas like this are presented as Truth in meetings, often by people
with years of sobriety. And don't get my wrong, the people who
advance this idea really believe it. Let us quickly look at the idea to
see if its true.
Where did the idea come from. As far as I can see, this idea was
popularized by James Milam (Ph.D) in his book "Under the Influence"
(1981). Mr. Milam summarizes his position :
"In summary, addiction to alcohol MAY, in part, be traced back to a
liver enzyme malfunction which results in a a buildup of Acetaldehyde
throughout the body".
Milam bases his theory on a study by Charles Lieber , chief of research
program on liver disease and nutrition at the Bronx Veterans Hospital.
Dr. Lieber found that the same amount of alcohol produced very
different blood acetalhyde levels in alcoholics than non-alcoholics.
Higher levels were found in alcoholics than non-alcoholics*
What these "Acetone Theory" advocates don't tell you (Because
they don't know it) is that other research has not found the same
Stanton Peele has done a service by pointing out this fact in his book,
"The Diseasing of America".
All of this brings us to a discussion of what is known as "The
Oriental Flush". It is generally acknowledged that the phenomenon of
Oriental flush has a biochemical basis. Stanton Peele puts it like
" Oriental Flush has a biochemical basis in that Asian groups display
higher acetaldehyde levels when they drink: here, many believe, is the
key to alcoholism"***
Are you beginning to draw a conclusion like "Well, if acetone is the
cause of Alcoholism and those with "Oriental Flush" have higher
acetone leves , then they must have higher rates of Alcoholism. That
would make perfect sense.
But do those with "Oriental Flush" have higher rates of alcoholism?
Not according to R.C. Johnson in "Cultural Factors as explanations
for ethnic group differences in alcohol use in Hawaii" published in
Journal of Studies on Alcohol 49(1988): 346-356.
So are you beginning to see the truth. Those that advance the
"Acetone theory" of Alcoholism do so not because Science has proven
it as a fact. They may be deceived by reading Milan book or maybe its
what they want to believe, regardless of facts.
Anyway, now you know the rest of the story. Fortunately, Alcoholics
Anonymous has a step for those who promulgate the "Acetone Theory"
as a proven scientific fact:
" Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong
promptly admitted it"
Please print out and take to your sponsor who tells you alcoholism is
caused by Aceton.
Archived from group: alt>recovery>na