|SeptemberOctober 2008 / Issue No. 43
Welcome to the Thorburn Addiction Report. Each month, we bring you several sections, including:
1. Top Story of the month
2. Review of the month
3. Dear Doug in which a recent letter to "Dear Annie" or other "help" column is rewritten, with responses given from the unique perspective that alcohol or other drug addiction best explains the misbehaviors described
4. Alcoholic Myth-of-the-Month
5. Alcoholic Antic-of-the-Month, usually where someone deserves the Darwin Award, but lived.
There is something for everyone!
In the Summer-Fall 2008 client newsletter Wealth Creation Strategies, I discuss the idea that regulation in the medical market is the problem and free choice, competition and accountability is the cure. I also ask and rhetorically respond to the question, “So what do we do?” Two of my suggestions could only have been made by understanding alcohol and other-drug addiction. I’m not sure they are optimal, but I’ve put them out thereand I’d be most interested in comments from the numerous health professionals that I know read this Report. Your thoughts, comments and critiques would be most welcome, which you can send to me via the web site.
By the way, I could present similar ideas in a piece on the financial debacle, which I may do before the election. You may want to check back at that web site before then for my thoughts, which revolve around the idea that government regulations create unintended consequences, which create a perceived “need” for more regulations, ad infinitum. For now, please enjoy the current issue of the Thorburn Addiction Report.
Order Books Here.
Presidential Contenders: Sons of Alcoholics
Presidential contenders Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain may be members of different parties, hold opposite views on many subjects and have very different ancestral backgrounds. They have, however, one key similarity: they are both sons of alcoholics.
Barack Obama Sr. met Ann Dunham while both were studying at the University of Hawaii in 1959. In 1962, a year after their son was born, Barack Sr. won a graduate scholarship to Harvard and left, never to return. Sen. Barack Obama was abandoned by his father before he was old enough to remember him.
While earning a masters degree in economics at Harvard, Obama Sr. became a fixture in bars, chain-smoking and ordering scotch straight up by the “double-double.” He referred to beer as a “child’s drink”. Although there is no record of him completing his doctorate, in typical alcoholic hyperbole Obama often introduced himself as “Dr.” The elder Obama returned to his native Kenya with his new wife, a school teacher he met while at Harvard. Although friends explained that Obama was “a creature of time and culture,” his is drinking binges, which strained both career and marriage, indicated alcoholism. In the grand paradox that is alcoholism, this compelled him to expose fraud, lambaste government policies and publicly contradict superiors, while belittling co-workers. His alcoholic sense of invincibility resulted in injuries from several car accidents (by itself a clue to alcoholism, as discussed in Get Out of the Way! How to Identify and Avoid a Driver Under the Influence), beginning as early as 1965. As obvious as the answer is to the addiction-aware, it is reported that everyone asked “what happened” after he was killed in a one-car crash in 1982.
Sen. Obama has spoken often of his father’s abandonment and readily admits he became more driven to make up for his father’s shortcomings and troubled life. He is indeed a non-alcoholic child of an alcoholic, which is often manifested in overachievement. Fortunately, this results not so much from a need to inflate the ego as to compensate for the behaviors of the parent. While he does so in classic idealist iNtuitive Feeling (Myers-Briggs/Keirsey) fashion as a writer and in his search for self-identity, it takes an unusual twist in his desire to move beyond being merely the leader of movements (in line with fellow idealists Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.). This may be best explained by his need to do penance for his father’s sins. (Emily Yoffe’s piece delves further into the Psychological Types of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain. While she may or may not be dead-on regarding specific Type, I think she’s correctly identified the Keirseyan Temperaments.)
Sen. John McCain has written that his father “drank too much” even though he “didn’t drink at work” and “was never incapacitated by his weakness.” He explained, “As with most people, drinking changed his personality in unattractive ways. When he was drunk, I did not recognize him.”
Sen. McCain, too, is likely driven to overachieve to compensate for his alcoholic father’s behaviors while drinking. This indicates a gross misunderstanding of alcoholism, perhaps as a result of being around too many alcoholics. His comment, “As with most people,” is not only wrong, but dangerously so. The personalities of non-alcoholics don’t change much while drinking, and certainly not in “unattractive ways.” The fact that McCain has been around so many alcoholics that he thinks “most” people become unrecognizable while drunk suggests he is accustomed to the behaviors of alcoholics and that he might fail to get out of their way before they become dangerous.
Children of alcoholics usually either react to the dysfunction or learn some of the misbehaviors. Obama wasn’t with his father long enough to learn from him, but clearly reacted to his absence (iNtuitive Feelers experience issues over abandonment). Often, such children react by becoming sexually compulsive, spendthrifts or compulsive gamblers. Obama’s idealism perhaps helped him to instead become more introspective and to find ways to improve the world around him (even if we may disagree with his methods). Although I haven’t read his books, the first of which he published at age 34, some critics suggest an attitude problem that he may have since outgrown. Children of alcoholics, especially the introspective type, can grow emotionally in spurts in their 30s and 40s.
McCain’s clear Artisan Temperament (probably ESTP, who has a need to do what he wants when he feels like it), in conjunction with the influence of his alcoholic father, could explain much of his wild youth. He earned a reputation as a party man, drove a Corvette and became a fighter pilot from aircraft carriers while studies ranked far below his social life (he was 5th from the bottom of his class). Unlike Obama, McCain was in a position to learn from his alcoholic biological father. According to biographer Matt Welch, McCain was startlingly violent well into his 20s. Once, drunk on shore leave, he charged into a brawl between Marines and sailors and admits he “loved” such encounters. While still hot-tempered, he has clearly mellowed, as we would expect of a non-alcoholic child of an alcoholic in his later years. The mellowing, including conciliation with his North Vietnamese captors, suggests that McCain is not alcoholic, although the issue is not free from doubt. If he has “stopped” drinking, he is probably a recovering alcoholic.
Additionally, Obama’s stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was likely alcoholic. He is the one who uprooted Ann Dunham and her young son and moved, when Barack was only six, to what was then one of the most troubled places on earth, Indonesia. Although Lolo was Muslim, according to Stephen Mansfield in The Faith of Barack Obama, he “lived on the folk edge of Islam,” teaching young Barack apparently non-Muslim notions such as the idea that we take on the powers of whatever we eat. More telling, he also “loved women, drink, and Western music. Obama would later recall his stepfather’s passion for Johnny Walker Black….” Rare is the drinker who has a “passion” for a particular drink who isn’t alcoholic. Lolo died of a “liver ailment” at age 51.
Obama lived with his stepfather for only a few years. If there was alcoholism there was probably at the very least some degree of psychological or verbal abuse. That would have had some effect on a young Obama and the process of maturation. Although there is no direct evidence that Ann Dunham was alcoholic, she married one and possibly two alcoholicswhich suggests a deep codependence and need to enable poor behaviors.
My main concerns about children of alcoholicsand I speak from the experience alluded to in Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How to Recognize Addicts and Avoid Financial Abuseinclude stunted emotional growth, a need for control and a tendency to enable poor behaviors. Alcoholics in recovery admit their emotional growth stopped the day they triggered their alcoholismusually about age 14. Children of alcoholics probably grow emotionally at about half the rate of non-alcoholic children of non-alcoholics, at least until they understand their parent’s problem. In an attempt to compensate for the lack of control in their own lives, they often try to exert control over others, sometimes by enabling. They can grow up and out of these character defects, but only after time and work. As American citizens who will have one as their leader for the next four years, we can only hope that McCain has had enough time and Obama has done enough introspection to get beyond the worst manifestations of these flaws.
|Runners-up for top story of the month:
O.J. Simpson, 61, who finally got his comeuppance by being convicted on all counts of armed robbery in a trial involving, as I wrote in the October 2007 edition of the Thorburn Addiction Report, a cast of characters consisting solely of other likely alcoholics. Most commentators were amazed when he broke into the hotel room to “take back” his memorabilia from sports collectors. I wrote that if one is to understand O.J., one must grasp the concept of alcoholic egomania, which compels the addict to wield power over others. This accounts for O.J.'s success on the playing field and as an actor, because success facilitates the use of power. It also sheds light on a double-murder and numerous brushes with the law, because such abuse of others is part and parcel of power-seeking misbehaviors that serve to inflate the alcoholic ego. Unchecked alcoholism compelled him to commit his final criminal act as a free man.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, top story in the April-May 2008 issue of TAR, who pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice and agreed to pay the city $1 million in restitution and give up his job and pension benefits. “I lied under oath,” Mr. Kilpatrick admitted to the court, in regards to testimony at a whistleblower trial in which he denied a romance with his chief of staff (he attempted to hide the affair by firing police officers who were investigating allegations of official misconduct; the officers sued and collected $8.4 million). Telephonitis and now text-messagitis, two unheralded clues to alcoholism, proved his undoing14,000 messages over several months, many of which proved the lie.
Amritpal “Paul” Dhaliwal, who was one of two brothers wounded in a Christmas Day tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo, sentenced to 16 months in prison for violating probation relating to an April 2007 incident in which he led police on a high-speed chase. The court apparently didn’t bother with other probation violations, which included several counts of felony shoplifting. His brother, Kulbir Dhaliwal, faces charges of public drunkenness and resisting arrest in connection with a 2007 confrontation with police. As I wrote in the January-February 2008 issue of TAR, the act of taunting tigersas is the act of any abusive behaviors towards animalsis an excellent clue to alcoholism.
Actress Shannen Doherty, 37, whose character Brenda Walsh was reprised after a 14-year hiatus, has been so difficult on the set of “Beverly Hills, 90210” that producers have written her out of the show. Described as walking around the set as if she were special, arguing with people, belittling the scripts and demanding that things be done her way would be enough to ascribe an 80% likelihood of alcoholism. An arrest for DUI in 2001 ups the odds to nearly 100% that this disease best explains her behaviors. The former “Charmed” star’s blood alcohol level was .13 per cent and “she unleashed an expletive-laden tirade while being processed at the police station [that] was so disruptive and abusive that a female officer was forced to body slam the ‘90210’ siren to the ground in order to subdue her.” The twice-divorced Doherty also insisted she wasn’t drunk and “physically resisted being fingerprinted until officers forced her to do so.” A simple algebraic equation can be used to confirm alcoholism: d + m = a (drunk + misbehaviors = alcoholism).
Con man Daniel Heath, 51, sentenced to 127 years in prison on 400 counts, including grand theft, elderly abuse and filing false tax returns, for running a $180 million investment scam that bilked many of at least 1,800 elderly investors of their life savings. In classic Ponzi-like fashion, Heath, along with his late, possibly codependent, father John Heath, and Dennis T. O’Brien, 53, funneled money from new investors to pay off early investors. The scam dated to the early 1990s, when Daniel W. Heath & Associates lured clients to “free lunch” seminars where they were told their money would go into fixed income investments with little or no risk. Instead, it went into high-risk real estate and small business projects.
I have long suspected that most such scams have been perpetrated by addicts. Proof is hard to find, but a few in whom alcoholism is proven, including Charles Ponzi and Samuel Israel lll (July 2008 TAR), offer a bit of evidence. Recall from the top story on Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo in the July 2007 TAR that proof of addiction in all but celebrities and professional athletes is hard to come by. In addition, the most well-known tax fraud cases this decade involved two clear-cut addicts (“Survivor’s” Richard HatchApril 2005 TARand actor Wesley SnipesJanuary 2007 TAR). Victims said that Daniel’s “charm” and self-described “religious values” were instrumental in enticing them into investing. Excessive charm is a well-known attribute of many alcoholics, some of whom feign religious values, including the alcoholic ministers Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart.
Along similar lines, businessman Raffaello Follieri, 30, pleaded guilty to multimillion dollar real estate fraud. The “smooth-talking” Italian, who once dated actress Anne Hathaway (“Get Smart” and “The Devil Wears Prada”) and claimed to have friends in high places in the Vatican, lived a life of luxury at the expense of investors whom he convinced would be buying properties from the Roman Catholic Church at prices far below fair market value. Follieri’s lawyer, Flora Edwards, told reporters, “As with many people, he got sidetracked by the need to adopt a lifestyle he couldn’t maintain.” Sure, and we all steal money from investors to maintain that lifestyle.
Headline of the month:
"Jobless dad kills 5, himself"; also, "Father kills family and himself, despondent over financial losses"
We may as well get used to headlines like these which refer, in this case, to the murder-suicide by Karthik Rajaram, 45, as the unwinding of the great credit bubble proceeds. Unfortunately, they will be mostly misleading and thereby fail to help prevent future similar tragedies.
As regular readers know, almost all crimeespecially murderis rooted in alcoholism. Many suicides also have their source in this disease. Readers of Drunks, Drugs & Debits (with thanks to James Graham’s The Secret History of Alcoholism) also understand that desperate measures are sometimes taken to compensate for a deflating ego. As wealth contracts, leaving the alcoholic less able to inflate his or her ego by wielding power with prestige and money, such measures can take form in the commission of atrocities.
Most people who lose a job don’t kill their family or themselves. Why, on rare occasion, do they? Although the story of the moment is newand remember, it took five days and a dozen stories on anthrax killer Bruce Ivins to find proof of Ivins’ addictive usewe’ve already got compelling evidence of alcoholism.
Rajaram, who lived in Porter Ranch, California, was a financial manager who once turned a few tens of thousands of dollars into more than $1.2 million in a London-based venture fund. He timed the real estate peak almost perfectly, having sold a $274,000 home his family purchased in 1997 for $750,000 in 2006. He should have had a pile of cash. Somehow, he lost it all.
Neighbors said they saw no problems except one night when they heard a man screaming for hours. Greg Robinson, who fired him from his last job, called him a “very smart guy,” but added, “He had some behavioral problems. He wasn’t reliable…He was not an emotionally stable person. It was a real problem….” Elaborating, Robinson said that Rajaram “would miss phone calls and miss meetings and sometimes couldn’t be found for a couple of days.” That’s an almost-certain indication that he went on alcoholic benders.
One report said that the murder-suicide “offered a chilling symbol of the nation’s economic crisis.” While not every murder-suicide is committed by an alcohol or other-drug addict, there are very few exceptions. More accurately, the murder offers a chilling symbol of what an alcoholic is capable of when he loses everything. Those are the people on whom we need to focus our attention and, where possible, intervene as financial disarray worsens.
Co-alcoholics of the month:
Ed McMahon, who had trouble selling his home partly because it’s just off Mulholland Drive near an area where photographers wait for shots of one of his neighbors, pop singer full-blown poly-drug addict Britney Spears. McMahon purchased the home in 1990 for $2.6 million. He listed it near the peak of the housing bubble for $7 million and only recently reduced the asking price to the approximately $4.6 million he owes on the home. McMahon, who plight is recounted in the July 2008 issue of TAR is yet another example of an alcoholic harmed by another alcoholic.
Enablers of the month:
Donald Trump, who announced he will purchase Ed McMahon’s home and lease it back to him. That’s very sweet, Donald, but you don’t seem to understand what you’re doing. How do we know this? Because you asked, “How could this happen?” Donald, Ed McMahon dug himself into this hole because of his alcoholism. He’s reportedly been sober for a decade, but recent history suggests otherwise. He won a lawsuit with his insurer over mold and lost THAT fortune after squandering millions from being Johnny’s sidekick. He borrowed an additional $250,000 in July 2006 at an annual interest rate of 15%, suggesting there were serious financial problems before he injured himself so badly he couldn’t continue to workat age 85. McMahon has not come clean about his underlying problem. On “Larry King Live,” he responded to King’s query about what happened. “If you spend more money than you make, you know what happens. A couple of divorces thrown in, a few things like that.” Sorry, but “that” is not specific enough. He needs to admit to his alcoholism and explain to the world that this disease compelled him to spend wantonly (without, of course, excusing his misbehaviors).
The Chinese government, which continues to revere the barbiturate-addicted Mao Tse-tung, despite the horrifying outcome of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, which resulted in the deaths of at least 30 million Chinese. The mass murderer’s face remains not only on much Chinese currency, many postage stamps and on posters and souvenirs, but also on walls and billboards surrounding the August 2008 Olympic Games. Can you imagine amphetamine addict Adolf Hitler’s portrait hanging all over Germany, or Russia honoring the alcoholic Josef Stalin by encouraging the display of such pictures?
Disenabler of the month:
Paparazzi Jill Ishkanian, who reported Actress Heather Locklear, 47, to 911 after observing her acting strangely and driving erratically while maneuvering her car in a Montecito, California parking lot. Ishkanian told authorities that Locklear, who left a treatment facility in July after receiving four weeks of treatment for “anxiety and depression,” stopped shortly after exiting the parking lot, stepped out of her car and stumbled into a traffic lane. A California Highway Patrol officer found her shortly after inside her vehicle stopped in a travel lane nearby and booked her on suspicion of driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Wow, a paparazzi doing the right thingnot just reporting the alcoholic antics of her subject, but actually doing something about it. Good work Jill!
Sometimes, it takes an addict:
Thomas “Bud” McDonald, who appeared as the freckled and big eared Buddy in several “Our Gang” movies in the 1930s and later co-founded what are now called the Southern California Alcohol and Drug Programs, dead from congestive heart failure at age 85. McDonald began his movie career at age 8 but moved to Oregon with his mother and two brothers after his parents divorced during his mid-teen years. He eventually moved back to Southern California and became a Los Angeles police officer. After four years on the force, he “left” the LAPD in part, according to his son, because of alcoholism and “running with a bad crowd.” His alcoholism-induced misbehaviors obviously worsened, as he was quickly convicted of armed robbery. During his prison stint, he began attending AA meetings and apparently stayed sober for the rest of his life. He got a job as a truck driver and became active in AA, often as a sponsor to “newbies,” with whom he went to court to help settle drunk driving charges. He got to know several judges, including Downey Municipal Court Judge Leon Emerson, with whom he helped launch educational and treatment programs in public schools. The two collaborated in developing a “court card” system allowing offenders to provide proof to the court of attendance at recovery meetings as a condition of their probation, a system that has been adopted nationally. Lynne Appel, executive director of one of the programs McDonald helped to create, told reporters that “his greatest satisfaction was having [recovering alcoholics] stop him and say they had a family, a car, and were paying their mortgage.” Just like you no doubt did, Bud, setting an example for countless others.
Note to family, friends and fans of the above: the benefit of the doubt is given by assuming alcoholism (they are either idiots and fundamentally rotten, or they are alcoholic/other drug addictswhich would explain the misbehaviors). If alcoholic, there is zero chance that behaviors, in the long run, will improve without sobriety. An essential prerequisite to sobriety is the cessation of enabling, allowing pain and crises to build. Thus far, many have done everything they can to protect the addict from the requisite pain, making these news events possible. The cure for alcoholism, consequential bad behaviors and, ultimately, tragedy, is simple: stop protecting the addict from the logical consequences of misbehaviors and, where possible, proactively intervene.
Review: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
I read Atlas Shrugged almost four decades ago, long before I understood alcoholism. Although I was never enthralled with author Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism, her cult-like behaviors or her personal life, I delighted in her understanding of the wealth-enhancing benefits of free markets and grasp of the idea that capitalism’s fiercest opponents were often those who only pretended to be capitalists. I knew from Gabriel Kolko’s The Triumph of Conservatism that businessmen, under the guise of “consumer protection” or similar pretext, frequently seek favors by getting government to impose regulations that are good for them and bad for their competitors. Rand described such crony capitalists in her books, but I couldn’t possibly have understood then how accurate her depictions were, particularly of her key antagonist, James Taggart.
Many books are written by authors who don’t understand that alcoholism explains much of their subjects’ behaviors. As a result, if alcoholic drinking is mentioned at all, it’s only on the periphery. The fictional Atlas Shrugged similarly only occasionally describes what is clearly alcoholic drinking in Taggart, even if we might doubt that the amphetamine-using Rand fully understood that alcoholism was at the root of awful behaviors.
The first implication of alcoholic drinking can be found on page 70 as Taggart wonders, “Why do I do those things?” while remembering the drunken sex with wealthy socialite Betty Pope, who dreads waking up each day“another day and nothing to do,” suggestive of the idea that the two are co-alcoholics, neither of whom cares about the other. Sixty-four pages later, editorial writer Bertram (“money is the root of all evil”) Scudder is downing drinks while bashing honest non-favor-seeking businessmen and deriding property rights as “superstition.” But we need to read 261 pages before we run into Taggart drinking with the 19-year-old dime shop girl he later marries, Cherryl Brooks, who he knew “did not taste what she was drinking.” Taggart takes a “gulp” from his drink while describing his friend, fellow traveler Orren Boyle, who last night “hired himself a suite…[and] still there today, drinking himself under the table and the beds…” while otherwise talking about himself in glowing terms to the naïve young girl (whose “old man” was “never any good”).
I am far from finished in my re-reading of Atlas Shrugged, but with crony capitalism at the root of today’s financial messwhich I intend to explain before the election in my client newsletter Wealth Creation Strategiesit’s an unusually timely story.
On a personal note, I decided on the name Galt Publishing for my publishing company when I realized that my admonition to codependents to stop enabling was equivalent to Rand’s exhortation, through her main protagonist John Galt, that producers stop playing host to parasites. Like the alcoholics they often are, the “Looters,” as described in Wikipedia's List of characters in Atlas Shrugged, consist of men and women who use force or fraud to obtain value from those who produce it. They seek to destroy the producers despite the fact they are dependent upon them. James Taggart’s desire to destroy those on whom his life depends brings the analogy full-circle.
Offensive friend of boyfriend
My boyfriend Jake and I each have friends the other doesn’t really like, which is normally ok with both of us. However, the most recently befriendedTysonis very offensive. He not only makes comments I find racist and sexist, but also drinks heavily.
Although I’ve told Jake my feelings, he’s hanging out with Tyson more frequently than everand worse, Jake seems to be trying to keep up with Tyson’s drinking. Jake said I should lighten up and just get to know his friend because he can be a “nice person.” What should I do?
. . . .
Other columnists (even Carolyn Hax) might suggest that you’ve made your point and should just wait and watch. They might tell you that after a failed period of trying to see Tyson’s better side, you should hold your boyfriend responsible for whom he befriends and his own behavior. And, you should be responsible for your choices in boyfriends.
Such columnists completely miss the point: the friend is an alcoholic and your boyfriend is either badly codependent or an alcoholic in his own right. Your observations are enough to suggest that you turn around and run the other way, before Tyson’s verbal abuse worsens or even becomes physical. After all, as stated many times in these pages, there is no way to predict how destructive the behaviors of a practicing alcoholic might become, or when.
As an aside, I would also suggest one of a number of observable indications to screen out prospective boyfriends. In a day and age in which racism and sexism have largely been relegated to the dust bins of history, as noted in myth # 65 in Alcoholism Myths and Realities: Removing the Stigma of Society’s Most Destructive Disease (“He’s no alcoholic; he’s just racist”), where such attitudes are on display, alcoholism is usually found. Addicts often hang out with other addicts. There’s no reason to become entangled, romantically or otherwise, with such people.
(Source for story idea: Carolyn Hax’s column,
September 17, 2008.)
“Non-alcoholics commit plenty of crime!”
At a recent neighborhood watch meeting, your faithful correspondent responded to complaints about recovery homes in the neighborhood. “You should be concerned about group recovery homes in your midstbut only if the recovering addicts aren’t being tested regularly and randomly, because practicing addictsnot recovering onesare responsible for most crime.” The response, “No they’re not! Non-alcoholics commit plenty of crime!” was almost deafening. My neighbors truly had no idea that alcohol and other-drug addicts commit at least 80% and probably closer to 90% of crime.
This is important because parole officers don’t test every day. There are plenty of hours between tests, during which addicts can relapse. And 12 hours after an alcoholic hits a blood alcohol level of .18 per cent, a time during which dangerously reckless and criminal behaviors can occur, he or she will test zero.
Between those tests others can observe behaviors that indicate relapse. If an addict is in recovery, he won’t act like one who isn’t. As recounted in Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How to Recognize Addicts and Avoid Financial Abuse, relapse prevention specialist Terence Gorski reported a study in which 90% of recovering addicts with only five days of sobriety tested as Sociopaths, while only 10% of those same addicts after 25 days of sobriety could be identified as such. Recovering alcoholics in group homes have typically already been through at least 30 days of rehab and often much longer.
Behaviors neighbors might observe include acting suspicious or inconsiderate. A God-complex and verbal abuse goes hand-in-hand with the criminal-styled addict. As pointed out in How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics: Using Behavioral Clues to Recognize Addiction in its Early Stages, if he’s violating the rulescomes home after curfew or drives when not allowedwe can safely assume relapse. There may be exceptions, but that’s why they’re called that.
I had a chance to speak again. I introduced myself as having authored four books on alcohol and other-drug addiction and explained that in the course of my research I interviewed recovering addict ex-cons. When I asked what percent of their fellow inmates were addicts, they always responded, “100%.” While it may not be quite that high, it’s close enough. After all, when you’re watching your neighborhood, you’re mind is not a court of law.
Story from “This is True” by Randy Cassingham, with his “tagline:”
“YOU GONNA DRINK THAT? Juan Briceno, 33, was arrested for drunk driving in Omaha, Neb. As he waited at the police station for a breath test to establish his blood alcohol level, when arresting officer John Neaman stepped out of the room, Briceno picked up a bottle of Wite-Out from the table -- and drank it. The quick act was captured by a video surveillance camera, which then shows an evidence technician pointing out Briceno's ultra-white lips when Neaman returned. Neaman canceled the breath test and took him for a blood test, which came back at .28 percent -- well over the .08 limit. Briceno was convicted of fourth- offense drunk driving, a felony. (Omaha World Herald) ...You can't blame a guy for wanting to look his best in his mug shot.”
Briceno was obviously fueled by liquid courage to ingest a different liquid…and a distorted sense of reality to think (our best guess) that it might mask the booze. This is yet another example of why reading about the antics of addicts can be far more interesting than fiction.
(Story and tagline from This is True, copyright 2008 by Randy Cassingham, used with permission.)
To view reader's comments on last month's Thorburn Addiction Report and Doug's responses please visit the Thorburn Weblog at PrevenTragedy.com.
Doug's new book, Alcoholism Myths and Realities, is now available at
"Every policymaker in America needs to read your book exposing the myths of chemical addiction...Excellent book."
GaltPublishing.com, Amazon.com and bookstores near you.
Jim Ramstad, Member of U.S. Congress (MN)
"My father died of alcoholism. His father died of alcoholism. Three generations of alcoholism is enough. Now is the time to abandon superstition and pseudoscience, to debunk the myths surrounding alcoholism, and to apply science to solving this problem. Doug Thorburn's book is a model example of how this should be done. Read it and be prepared to change your thinking on this important topic. When enough of us understand what is really going on with alcoholism, society can make the shift from treatment to prevention and intervention."
Michael Shermer, publisher, Skeptic Magazine and columnist, Scientific American
Buy your copy of Alcoholism Myths and Realities for only $14.95 or get the whole collection PLUS a two-hour audio cassette from Galt Publishing for just $49.95 plus tax and shipping. That's a $72.75 value for only $49.95.
To order online, click the following link (be sure to put "TAR SPECIAL" in the comments section of the order form.) Orders can also be placed by phone: 800-482-9424 OR fax: 818-363-3111.
If you wish to pay by check, send the appropriate payment with your shipping information and the words "TAR SPECIAL" in the "memo" section of your check to: PO Box 7777, Northridge, CA 91327.
Click here o purchase any of the above Thorburn books
Have you visited the Prevent Tragedy Foundation" The Prevent Tragedy Foundation is a tax-exempt 501c-3 organization, the goal of which is to educate the general public on the need for early detection of alcohol and other drug addiction. The Foundation is intended to answer a question that has been all-but-ignored by similar organizations: what does alcoholism look like before it becomes obvious"
Click here to visit the Prevent Tragedy Foundation
The Thorburn Addiction Report is a free newsletter published by Galt Publishing and PrevenTragedy.com. Subscibe by visiting our web site at www.PrevenTragedy.com.
The Thorburn Addiction Report is available to newspapers as a regular feature column.
Inquiries are invited.
Copyright Doug Thorburn All Rights Reserved.
ALL broadcast, publication, retransmission to e-mail lists, WWW or any other copying or storage, in any medium, online or not, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from the author. Manual forwarding by e-mail to friends is allowed if 1) the newsletter is forwarded in its entirety and 2) no fee is charged. Please forward no more than three issues to any one person -- after that, they should get their own free subscription. We appreciate people who report violations of our copyright to us.
TO COMMENT to the author,
send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to
Doug Thorburn, P.O. Box 7777, Northridge, CA 91327-7777