I’ve had an interesting life experience over the past few years that I’d like to share with you.
As longtime readers will recall, my wife and I helped start a drug and alcohol treatment center back in 2001 – and that was, indeed, a spacey odyssey. (I’m sorry; that just forced its way out.)
For the first few months it was Michele, me, two therapists, an office manager and about ten clients. Over the next couple of years that changed (despite an embezzlement problem we won’t go into), into a thrice larger and quite successful operation. Continue reading
People use alcohol and drugs for only one reason, to alter their brain chemistry so that they feel “better” than they did previously. Therefore, without exception, a person who is “under the influence” is suffering from chemically induced abnormal brain function, and is unable accurately to judge her own behavior. Continue reading
I’ve been a commercial pilot, and I was a cop for a lot of years. I’ve investigated well in excess of 2000 traffic crashes.* I’ve taught traffic investigation — as well as tactical driving — to rookie cops. I’ve scraped children off windshields — and also adults who should have known better. I’m a rabid believer in wearing seat belts.
There are a few basic arguments against them, including the “libertarian” position that I’ll deal with last. None of them have merit when considered objectively, but many are used every day as excuses by people who simply don’t want to be bothered buckling up. Let’s look at a few.
The “Officer Said I Would Have Been Killed” excuse. Continue reading
You will find that in addition to addiction I have a fairly intense interest in HIV and other communicable diseases. I have my reasons.
In the early eighties I was involved in writing policy for several law enforcement organizations regarding their dealings with situations where members might be exposed to blood and blood-borne pathogens. During that time I became familiar with the early AIDS hysteria in considerable detail. Public Safety people were afraid to arrest and/or otherwise deal physically with gays (who, along with Haitians, were at that time the only well-publicized victims of AIDS.) Paramedics were concerned about treating people at accident scenes. Law enforcement personnel called into emergency rooms were refusing, in some cases, to deal with patients or visitors if it involved physical contact. All the misinformation and panic of the general population was concentrated and often exaggerated in the folks who were supposed to be protecting it. Continue reading
January 21, 2002
A reader commented on a remark in a previous article as follows:
I noticed you called it an “addiction disease” or something like that. And I have seen and heard that people resist thinking of these things as diseases.
What I’m wondering is if there is some cross-communication going on there? I mean, the word “disease” implies an external source — you “catch” a disease. Even technically, I’d think addictions would be Syndromes, and not diseases? The connotation of a syndrome is an illness that comes from within.”
Actually, the reader is mistaken. A syndrome is a collection of symptoms that, taken together, suggest a condition but do not in themselves constitute a disease. The collection of opportunistic diseases, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, Pneumocystis carinii, Thrush and the others that, taken together, make up Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) are an excellent example. His remarks are, however, a wonderful lead-in to a basic discussion of the disease concept of addiction/alcoholism. Continue reading
Sunday January 20, 2002
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance–that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
I ignored similar concepts for most of my life. I would have told you that I was a liberal, well-educated, philosophically-inclined, hyper-intelligent and well-informed chap, a credit to my mother, my school and my community, and an excellent judge of fine liquor. All but the last were debatable, at best. In reality I was a hard-headed, opinionated, fuzzy-thinking, gun-loving Republican asshole and drunken drug addict. And no, I’m not being hard on myself. Continue reading