August 2006 / Issue No. 23

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

There is something for everyone!

This month's issue marks the 2nd anniversary of the free monthly online Thorburn Addiction Report. For two years, I have shared with you unique insights into current events and the people who create them. I have offered a novel lens through which to view books, movies, radio and TV. I have given appropriate addiction-aware responses to readers crying for help in which other columnists display a woeful unawareness of the likely source of awful behaviors. I’ve analyzed and set the record straight on numerous misstatements in the media that help perpetuate the myths of addiction. Each month has included a description of an addict’s idiotic behavior worthy of a Darwin Award. I am honored that you have chosen to journey with me in what I hope you now see is a revolutionary way of viewing news events, tragic stories and the people that create them.

I know you agree that this is a much-needed endeavor and hope you will help us continue by encouraging family, friends and associates to subscribe. Please share this issue or any others in the archives in their entirety and ask others to join. Given the events in the Middle East and North Korea, issues with top stories on Yasir Arafat, Kim Jong Il and suicide bombers are particularly timely (easy to search for at, but the message in each issue is timeless.

Actor-Director Mel Gibson’s Horrific Relapse

Image In 1947, Dr. William D. Silkworth authored a piece for the magazine of Alcoholics Anonymous, The AA Grapevine, entitled, “Slips and Human Nature.” Silkworth explained the process of relapse, that it is not a mystery and should not be surprising. Yet, when a recovering alcoholic of the stature of Mel Gibson relapses and mouths obscenities and hatred, people are stunned. While we wish it weren’t so, we should not be shocked. Relapses are fairly normal experiences in the lives of alcoholics, particularly when wealth, fame, family, friends and even law enforcers enable by protecting the alcoholic from appropriate and logical consequences. And, as I explain in my latest book, Alcoholism Myths and Realities: Removing the Stigma of Society’s Most Destructive Disease, active alcoholics do and say things at which they would recoil in sobriety. They are completely different people when sober.

Silkworth could have been talking about Gibson, who hadn’t even been born, when he wrote, “While it does seem odd that an alcoholic, who has restored himself to a dignified place among his fellowmen and continues dry for years, should suddenly throw all his happiness overboard and find himself again in mortal peril of drowning in liquor, often the reason is simple.” Silkworth explained that human nature causes the same relapses in cardiac patients as in alcoholic ones. A cardiac patient is given careful instructions to obey stringent rules. The frightened patient follows directions for a time, but after feeling good for months or years he may recover from his scare and becomes slack, taking on physical activities for which he isn’t really ready. And here’s the crucial point: “If no serious aftereffects follow the first departure from the rigorous schedule prescribed, he may try it again, until he suffers a relapse.”

This “wrong thinking,” as Dr. Silkworth puts it, precedes relapses in alcoholic patients. The patient simply stops following directions and suffers no immediate negative feedback. As the cardiac patient may experience no serious aftereffects when first departing from prescribed activities, the alcoholic often has a drink or two and thinks, “Well, that wasn’t a problem, was it!” and tries it again. Due to euphoric recall, the alcoholic feels a sense of invincibility that serves only to worsen the relapse and the drinking increases. This may continue for days, weeks, months or even years before bedlam erupts and the relapse becomes obvious to everyone.

Actor-director Mel Gibson, 50, probably began this process several years ago. The celebrity news web site reported that he was clocked at 74 mph in a 45 zone on Pacific Coast Highway three years ago and 64 mph a year ago, but was let go both times. Reportedly, he was on his cell phone the entire time he was detained by the deputy during the second near-arrest. Excessive speed and telephonitis (especially talking on the phone while driving recklessly and not hanging up while in contact with a law enforcer) are both excellent indications he had already relapsed and unfortunate examples of law enforcers protecting an addict from proper consequences.

This time, driving at 87 mph near his home in Malibu, California at 2 a.m. on Friday, July 28, he was arrested with a reported Blood Alcohol Level of .12 per cent. While most non-alcoholics would be visibly bombed but ready for bed, he looked terrible and was obviously agitated. A clue as to why he looked the way he did and the reason his behaviors were so revolting can be found in Under the Influence, where Katherine Ketcham and Dr. James R. Milam wrote, “When the alcoholic stops drinking, all hell breaks loose. Blood vessels constrict…the blood glucose level drops sharply and remains unstable. The brain amines…decrease dramatically.” This suggests he’d been drinking all night and the BAL was in decline. There may also have been another drug in his system. In any case, by age 50, even tolerance in alcoholics has begun a steady decline.

Gibson, who appears to have had a period of sobriety lasting over a decade (from 1991 into the early 2000s), began swearing uncontrollably using f-word after f-word, resisted arrest, launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements, threatened the arresting officer with revenge and, at the station, made a sexually perverse comment to a female sergeant. The sheriff’s report, written by Deputy Mee (who happens to be Jewish), refers to increasing belligerence and mood swings, along with a denial that the three-quarter litre of Cazadores Tequila sitting in a brown paper bag within “easy reach” of the driver’s position was his. Nothing like the booze talking for a drunk.

Initially on Friday, sheriffs were trying to doctor the real story. Joal Ryan at reported, “When asked Friday afternoon if Gibson gave deputies any trouble, sheriff’s department spokesman Steve Whitmore said no.” Deputy Mee wrote an eight-page report detailing Gibson’s rampage, which according to TMZ was deemed by the sergeant on duty as too “inflammatory,” largely because of the anti-Semitic tirade. Mee was reportedly told to leave out both the tirade and other aspects of Gibson’s conduct, a classic case of attempting to protect an addict from consequences. As I point out in my first book, Drunks, Drugs & Debits, everyone in a position to do so should engage in “uncompromising disenabling” if we are to increase the odds of long-term sobriety. In my book on spotting DUIs before they become tragically obvious, Get Out of the Way!, I argue this is especially true of law enforcers. They are in a far better position to impose consequences and enforce abstinence than most family members and friends, who are all-too-often unwilling to offer the sort of tough love the addict desperately needs.

Gibson has said that pain is a necessary precursor to change. He admitted he was “completely out of control” when he was arrested and is “deeply ashamed” for having driven when he “should not have” and for exhibiting “belligerent behavior.” He specifically apologized to the deputies who, he says, may well have “saved me from myself.” He admitted to having “battled with the disease of alcoholism for” his entire adult life and “profoundly” regrets his “horrific relapse.” Without an arrest, Gibson would not have experienced necessary pain. If his horrific behaviors had been covered up, he might not have experienced enough pain. As we can learn from addicts themselves, pain is the addict’s best friend. Let’s hope this is enough. We were lucky—Gibson didn’t kill anyone driving while under the influence at almost twice the legal speed. But we—and Gibson—might not be so lucky next time. As I wrote in the introduction to How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics, “For every tragedy that occurs in the life of an alcoholic, there were usually dozens if not hundreds of incidents…for which close persons and/or the law could have intervened but didn’t.” The law, with the help of a vigilant press, has thankfully done its job. Now Mr. Gibson, it’s up to you to do the rest. While some are not rooting for you, they should be, because underneath almost every addict there is a good, decent, kind, generous and un-bigoted human being. My bet is your ultimate amends will go down in history as one of the most generous ever to those whom the addict in you so maliciously maligned.

Runners-up for top story of the month:

Acting publisher of the Santa Barbara, California News-Press, Travis Armstrong, for failing to pour on the alcoholic charm required to keep almost a dozen reporters, including seven out of the paper’s top eight editors, from walking out after managing to silence a story on his arrest for driving drunk the wrong way down a one-way street. His Blood Alcohol Level was .23 per cent, which requires the equivalent of 15 shots of 80-proof liquor in a period of four hours for a 200-pound person.

Country singer Mindy McCready, who recently testified she thought that police pulled her over in May 2005 to “give her a hard time,” not because they thought she might be driving under the influence. McCready refused to take a breath test, but according to officers smelled of alcohol, had watery bloodshot eyes and was unsteady. She admitted to having had a “couple of drinks” at a night club, which would have put her at maybe a .04 after an hour or two of drinking. She was convicted in 2004 for fraudulently obtaining prescription painkillers and faces charges of violating probation on the drug charge.

“Survivor” winner Brian Heidik, 38, who won $1 million on the 2002 “Survivor: Thailand” show, jailed on charges of domestic violence and shooting a puppy with a bow and arrow. Heidik’s wife, Charmaine Heidik, 34, who said her husband had been “out with friends,” was awakened at 3:30 a.m. to the sound of the puppy yelping. She found Heidik about a foot away from the dog and saw him shoot the 12- to 16-week-old puppy, after which he commented, “I am tired of stupid dogs on my back porch.” Heidik is a former North Carolina State football player and part-time actor who has done stints on “Doogie Howser, M.D.” the daytime soap “Days of Our Lives” and several adult films including “Chick Street Fighter,” which also featured his wife Charmaine. The couple has a history of discord with indications of alcoholism on both sides, with Charmaine agreeing to undergo counseling in return for the dismissal of a charge that she punched Brian in the nose in late 2002. She says Brian has been “spiraling out of control” since winning “Survivor,” adding, “He thinks he can do anything. He thinks he is invincible.” Indeed. By the way, the puppy survived.

Actress Lindsay Lohan, 20, whose “hard-partying” style is taking its toll on her work. According to The Smoking Gun, a letter from the CEO of her own production company refers to her behaviors as “…discourteous, irresponsible and unprofessional.” He compares her actions to that of a spoiled child, which “has endangered the quality of” the film she is working on, “Georgia Rule,” for which she is frequently showing up late, if at all. Lohan was recently seen partying with model Kate Moss, 32, who was in rehab for her cocaine addiction not too long ago.

The runners of Pamplona, Spain, many of whom were up all night drinking before running with the bulls. The Associated Press described the festivities as “nine days of drinking, drinking, and more drinking. Oh, and a daily dash down the cobblestone streets ahead of the lethal horns of six ¾-ton bulls.” 2006 was the least-accident filled year since 1996, with only five runners gored and 22 others treated in hospitals for various injuries, perhaps because police now try to block anyone who looks too inebriated from taking part in the run. Since record keeping began in 1924, 13 people have been killed during the runs, the last in 1995. While the festival dates from the late 16th century, alcoholic author Ernest Hemingway made it famous in 1926 with the publication of his novel, The Sun Also Rises.

Founding frontman of the rock group Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, reportedly dead of complications from diabetes, to which we will add poly-drug addiction. Barrett was the chief architect of Pink Floyd’s 1967 debut album, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” and was a major inspiration for many well-known rockers including David Bowie. He became increasingly erratic and unreliable due to his “voracious” drug use and, although not fired by the band, was soon “left behind.” By 1970, he was reported to be suffering from “profound mental illness” and, by the mid ‘70s, had become a Howard Hughes-style recluse. The hallucinogenic LSD was widely viewed as Barrett’s drug of choice and immediate downfall. Barrett was 60.

Under watch:

Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, undergoing surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding, temporarily ceding power to his younger brother Raul. Castro has been one of the few despots in whom I have so far been unable to confirm addiction. However, in the autobiographical expose, Castro’s Daughter: An Exile’s Memoir of Cuba, Alina Fernandez mentions the prevalence of cocaine in Cuba. For the first 212 pages, there are no clues to drugs in Castro’s life (he, like amphetamine/barbiturate addict Adolf Hitler before him, is a relative teetotaler). Then, “Cocaine was everywhere in Cuba…There was so much cocaine available in Havana that…all production indexes seemed to improve….One could easily conclude that cocaine was the sole impetus behind all the revolutionary marches….This was no secret at all.” She also talks about amphetamine on the island of Cuba as if it were candy. Unlike the pupils in pictures of Yasir Arafat, Castro’s eyes do not give away the secret. On the other hand, he is known for giving six-hour long speeches and recently hosted Mort Zuckerman, publisher of U.S. News and World Report, for a discussion lasting from 9pm to 3am, from which Zuckerman retired while Castro stayed up. Some observers have tentatively diagnosed him as suffering from Parkinson’s disease, which amphetamine addiction mimics and Adolf Hitler was misdiagnosed as having. Hitler was addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates.

Mrs. Wendy McCaw, owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press, for using twisted logic to explain why almost a dozen journalists left the paper. They objected when a story on acting publisher Travis Armstrong’s guilty plea and four-day jail stint was stifled. She wrote that the “real reason” they left was because they objected to her “efforts to improve the paper…[deciding] to leave when it was clear they no longer would be permitted to flavor the news with their personal opinions.”

Until Mel Gibson’s arrest, Mr. Armstrong was earning top story honors this month. But it wasn’t so much him as it was Mrs. McCaw, who is far more interesting. Mrs. McCaw divorced cellular phone mogul Craig McCaw after long and acrimonious proceedings, settling for at least a half billion dollars in 1997. She purchased the News-Press from the New York Times Company in 2000 for $100 million. Since then, six people have held the job of News-Press publisher. In 2004, editors objected to Mrs. McCaw asking for special news coverage of pet projects of hers, including litigation she won against an architect. By the fall of 2004 she “stopped speaking to” Jerry Roberts, the executive editor she had recruited from The San Francisco Chronicle several years earlier. When the paper ran the initial article on Armstrong’s arrest for DUI, Mrs. McCaw agreed with Armstrong that the prominence of the article with its placement on page 3 was a sign of a personal vendetta against him by Mr. Roberts. Roberts denied it, arguing the paper could not favor high-profile figures like Armstrong, regardless of who they work for. When Mrs. McCaw ordered him to kill the follow-up piece, he resigned.

There are numerous other instances of clues to hidden alcoholism. A professional and personal relationship with a Santa Barbara lawyer, Gregory Parker, disintegrated to the point at which Parker sued Mrs. McCaw in 2000 over severance pay and attorney’s fees. An arbitrator referred to Mrs. McCaw’s “oppressive” and “despicable” conduct, which included the hiring of a public relations firm to attack Parker in the press and the filing of a complaint to the State Bar that the arbitrator said was without merit.

She has threatened to terminate any employee who so much as speaks to journalist Nick Welsh, who has written several columns outing the events at the News-Press. One of her editors, Michael Todd, sent a carefully reasoned response to her threat of severe disciplinary action, including dismissal, if addresses of the subject of news stories were ever published again without the acting publisher’s permission. Todd argued that of course the address of the celebrity in question, actor Rob Lowe, should be published, since the entire story was about his quest to build a mansion that neighbors objected to. She responded that his argument to publish the address, which was already cited in a televised day-long government session, was “specious,” lacked regard for the Lowe’s or their safety and was unethical. She said his response was “blatantly disrespectful.” After she wrote the letter, she put Todd, who is reported as being an excellent and hard-working employee, on indefinite unpaid leave purportedly due to a remark he made to a News-Press employee several weeks prior.

These behaviors, which include capriciousness, possible false accusations, likely attempts at revenge, a need to win at any cost, a “rules don’t apply to me” but apply to everyone else attitude, twisted logic, unreasonable resentments, intimidation of others and serious problems at home smack of undiagnosed and untreated alcoholism. You’ll find descriptions of each in How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics: Using Behavioral Clues to Recognize Addiction in its Early Stages, under “A ‘Supreme Being’ Complex.” And these are just the clues we see in a woman about whom there is very little published information and many others are afraid to talk about. Oh, and she insists that we call her by her honorific, "Mrs."

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 addicts—which 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 proactively intervene.

Co-Dependent of the Month:

Mrs. Wendy McCaw, owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press, for having named and stood behind Travis Armstrong, this month’s top runner-up, as acting publisher of the paper despite his DUI and serious problems with staff. As noted in the “under watch” section, she supported the squelching of a story on Armstrong’s guilty plea and four-day jail stint. At best, she’s an extreme codependent.

Enablers of the Month:

The Malibu sub-station of the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department, for having initially attempted to squelch the truth about Mel Gibson’s behavior during his arrest, deserves top honors. They also deserved it one year ago and three years ago for having let Mr. Gibson off with warnings. Hopefully, Mr. Gibson will later forgive the department for having failed to inflict necessary pain then and, most recently, for attempting to reduce the pain, which would have served to dramatically decrease the odds of long-term sobriety. Mr. Gibson owes a big “thank you” to the investigative journalists at and Deputy Mee, who at least attempted to do his job.

Bruno Heidick, the father of “runners-up” subject Brian Heidik, who told a reporter, “When he came home he thought he had cornered a fox or coyote.” Recall that he was a foot away from the puppy when he shot him and told his wife, “I am tired of stupid dogs on my back porch.”

Public Policy Proposal:
Require that all apprehended traffic violators be tested for DUI

Mel Gibson provides a classic example of the reason we need to narrow the scope and focus of the War on Drugs. Rather than maintaining a broad and ineffective “war,” we should concentrate our efforts and scarce resources on those who create problems for others as a result of drug use, including use of the drug alcohol. We need to admit that the person on the drug, not the drug, is the problem.

Countless recovering alcoholics admit they bottomed out after a DUI, or a second or third DUI. Every addict’s pain threshold is different, but that doesn’t mean we should ever give up. They should be arrested and videotaped, with an airing of the tape that the offender should be required to watch if he ever wants to retrieve his license to drive.

Apprehending them is easy. I spot likely DUIs almost every day. The trouble is, law enforcers are either unwilling or unable to easily test for likely DUI. While a few are obviously drunk, many are drunk but not obvious. In a study cited in Get Out of the Way! How to Identify and Avoid a Driver Under the Influence, for every traffic violator arrested for being under the influence, almost four others who were legally under the influence were released. Officers can no more look at a highly-tolerant early-stage alcoholic and identify a DUI than you or I can.

Officers should be required to test every traffic violator for Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, or HGN. Without touching the suspect, any trained law enforcer can determine the BAL within .02 per cent in less than a minute. If we concentrated our efforts on detecting DUIs and coercing abstinence, crime would arguably be reduced by as much as 80%. There would be no need for a war on drugs if we could get addicts sober. A pipe-dream, if you’ll excuse the phrase, perhaps. But certainly no more so than thinking we can control the drug, when even incarcerated convicts get them. And think about it: Mel Gibson might have been forced into a program of sobriety three years ago with far less rancor and damage to his reputation. That would have been good for everyone.


Dear Doug: Indian Giver

Dear Doug:

My daughter gave me a lotto ticket for Mother’s day, which turned out to be a $10,000 winner. I promptly gave my daughter $2,000 of the winnings, thinking that she’d be thrilled. Instead, after telling her husband, she called her father and told him she should be given 50% of the winnings, not 20%. My husband explained that the ticket was a gift to me and I was under no compunction to return even 20%, much less half of the winnings. Our daughter abruptly hung up on her dad and has not called back. It’s been three weeks already and I’m concerned we will never get to see our grandchildren again. What should we do?



. . . .

Dear Giver,

Other columnists might admit that the tickets were a gift, the winnings belong to you and your greedy and ungrateful daughter is wrong, but you should grit your teeth and give the additional $3,000 ransom to create peace in the family.


“Intimidates others to get his way” is clue number 21 in the “Supreme Being” complex section of How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics. Intimidating others is indicative of a need to win at any cost and is, therefore, symptomatic of alcoholism. While there are no other clues to addiction in your letter, this is a compelling one that should raise the antennae. You need to look for other clues and, if alcohol or other-drug addiction is confirmed, allowing your daughter to “win” will serve only to further inflate her ego, resulting in far worse behaviors down the road.

There is no easy answer except patience while you confirm or disconfirm addiction. If the cause isn’t her alcoholism, look for the disease in persons close to her, particularly her husband. Once identified, do everything possible to impose consequences for misbehaviors and don’t give up. If she is the afflicted person, intervene. If someone near her is afflicted, explain the likely source of her frustrations. Whatever you do, don’t compromise. Giving in only prolongs the agony. And remember, things take time.

(Source for story idea: Annie’s Mailbox, July 17, 2006.)

Prevent Tragedy Foundation

“Alcohol is a revealer, not a creator of human behavior.” “Alcohol is truth serum.”

So said countless pundits in a sentiment echoed across the country when discussing Mel Gibson’s “true” feelings about Jews. Yet, none of these talking heads grasp a fundamental truism of alcoholism: due to brain damage, it interferes with the seat of reason and logic, resulting in behavioral changes that mimic those of Jekyll and Hyde. Alcoholism causes egomania, which requires that the addict attempt to wield power in whatever way circumstances and environment allow. This sometimes takes form in hatred and bigotry.

Myth # 65 in Alcoholism Myths and Realities: Removing the Stigma of Society’s Most Destructive Disease is, “He’s no alcoholic; he’s just a racist.” This myth, since Mr. Gibson is a known alcoholic, might be restated, “He’s an alcoholic and a racist.” Yet, it is no coincidence that those who exhibit and act on their hatred can usually be identified as addicts. Just as other misbehaviors clear up in sobriety, so does bigotry, racism and other forms of malevolence. As mentioned in Drunks, Drugs & Debits, Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver and former Gov. George Wallace, both bigots while they drank, died sober and contrite. The correct statement for those with such feelings and attitudes while still drinking or using is, “His alcoholism took form in bigotry and racism.”

I elaborated in myth # 63, “His real personality comes out when he drinks.” “The real personality of the alcoholic eventually emerges well after his last drink, usually five or ten years later. The personality manifesting during a period of active alcoholism is a toxic one and is as opposite of ‘real’ as we’ll ever see.” We’ll know Mr. Gibson’s true feelings only in the fullness of time. In the meantime, even while subjected to all the consequences society can impose, he should, like other alcoholics, be given the benefit of the doubt: alcoholism, a biochemical disorder that results in brain damage in some as a result of drinking alcohol, caused his misbehavior. Gibson’s alcoholism took form in religious hatred. I’ll repeat my bet from the Top Story: after a period of sobriety he’ll pay huge amends for his vile comments and terrible behavior.

Amazing Antics: Stories of Alcoholism-Driven Behaviors™
Story from “This is True” by Randy Cassingham, with his “tagline:”

Story from “This is True” by Randy Cassingham, with his “tagline:”

“HOW THEY DO THINGS IN FLORIDA: Laurie Primeau, 47, a police academy instructor and 27-year veteran officer in Plantation, Fla., was pulled over for speeding after she allegedly swerved and nearly hit a sheriff's cruiser. The deputy who stopped her noted two odd things. First, she had an open bottle of whiskey in her car (a training aid for police cadets, her lawyer said later). Second, "I asked her, 'Where are your pants?'," Deputy David Alvarado said— she wasn't wearing anything below the waist; she replied that she didn't know. She refused to take a breath test and was jailed, but couldn't get bailed out for five days. She was fined $647 for speeding, lost her driver's license for 180 days, and was put on probation. In an internal affairs investigation, Primeau swore she ‘does not know how to perform the finger to nose test’ for drunk driving even though she ‘extols her expertise as a DUI instructor,’ insisted she was wearing a swimsuit bottom, and said she did not have any alcohol in the whiskey bottle in her car. Police Chief Larry Massey concluded, ‘You simply may have been too drunk to remember exactly what happened’ and tacked on a six-week suspension without pay, after which she can return to full duty. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel) ...On the other hand, sometimes a new career really is in order.”

As mentioned in the Top Story on Mel Gibson’s relapse, for every tragedy—or near tragedy—in the life of an alcoholic, there were plenty of incidents for which someone could have intervened but didn’t. What are the odds that this was a one-time event for Laurie Primeau at age 47? How many hundreds—no, in her case thousands of times might she have come into contact with other law enforcers who could have imposed necessary consequences for her misbehaviors as a result of drinking? Police Chief Massey should know that what he described, a blackout, is a virtual certain indication of alcoholism. Rather than a six-week suspension, he should give her a choice: regular and random blood and urine tested sobriety for several years, or as Randy suggests, a new career.

(Story and tagline from “This is True,” copyright 2006 by Randy Cassingham, used with permission. See for free subscriptions.)

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