|September 2007 / Issue No. 33
Welcome to the Thorburn Addiction Report. Each month, we bring you several sections, including:
1. Top Story-of-the-Month
2. Review or Public Policy Proposal-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!
If your newsletter is distorted (ex: yahoo.com users) click below for an accurate copy. This edition should be posted within 24 hours of mailing.
"Reading Drunks, Drugs & Debits was initially very upsetting, as it accurately described what I was going through at the time. My brother is an alcoholic, had borrowed money from me, and wasn't in recovery. You've never met him, but the book could have been his biography. Drunks, Drugs & Debits helped me to understand there was nothing I could do to 'fix' the problem and giving him money was just making it easier for him to drink. It helped me in my resolve to cut him off and allowed me to do so with a clear conscience. I read the book six years ago. He's been sober five years. I don't think the timing is a coincidence. Thanks for your wonderful insight, a willingness to share--and upsetting me into action." -- Patricia
The more we know about alcoholism, the more we can protect ourselves. Learn how to spot addiction at or near its inception, in the early, hidden stages. Protect yourself by giving Doug's books to family, friends, associates, managers and others--even tenants. I sent a complete set of my books to a commercial tenant who recently dissolved a partnership with an addict. Helping her to protect herself from partnering with or employing addicts in the future will help me to insure a more fiscally-sound tenant, who is far more likely to keep up on her rent.
NBA Player Eddie Griffin was Enabled to Death. Will Starlets Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Nicole Richie be Next
NBA forward Eddie Griffin, the seventh overall pick in the 2001 draft, was killed instantly in a fiery collision with a freight train August 17 at age 25. There was no sign of skid marks and his body was burned so badly dental records were required to confirm his identity. While friends and peers alike agreed that a sober Griffin "had the innocence of a child" and "would give you the shirt off his back," all hell could break out when alcohol coursed through his veins--which it often did.
Two public incidents were notable. He was indicted on charges of felony assault stemming from an incident in October, 2003, in which he hit his girlfriend in the face and shot at her as she drove away from his home. As a result of this arrest, Griffin went into rehab. His alcoholism was already so obvious that a clause in his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves required abstinence.
Unfortunately, the agreement lacked teeth--which would include regular monitoring to insure that he kept to the terms of his contract. As a result, he was involved in a 2006 incident many consider to be the most embarrassing ever involving an NBA player. Griffin was masturbating and watching pornography when he drove his Cadillac Escalade into a parked Chevy Suburban at 2:20 a.m., a few hours after participating in a regular season NBA game. He convinced an unnamed witness to cancel a 911 call and promised to purchase the owner of the Suburban, who had been walking toward his vehicle at the time of the incident, "a car, any car--well not a Bentley," if he wouldn't call the cops.
There were numerous light-weight or non-existent consequences throughout Griffin's alcoholism career. He spent 11 days in jail and was sentenced to 18 months of probation, a $2,000 fine and anger-management classes as a result of the 2003 assault. There is no mention of being required to test clean and sober as a condition of probation.
A lawsuit brought by the owner of the Suburban, Jamal Goulart Hassuneh, alleged that numerous Timberwolves top employees knew that Griffin was drinking regularly. Despite the clause in his contract, Griffin "repeatedly" consumed alcohol and became "intoxicated" at a bar "across the street from the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis where the Minnesota Timberwolves play their home games and where the administrative offices are located." The lawsuit further alleged that Coach Dwane Casey, Vice-President of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale and unnamed others in the administrative arm "knew or should have known of" Griffin's relapse.
Officers called to scene of the 2:20 a.m. incident were told by the dispatcher that the suspect was under the influence of alcohol. Numerous witnesses at the scene, in front of and inside an all-night grocery store, "observed Defendant Griffin's obvious intoxication and had advised the Defendant officers of their observations, and...heard and observed Defendant Griffin say in the store" that he was drunk. Most of this was caught on the store's audio-video device. Yet the officers, Matthew Lindquist and Daniel S. Anderson, who were named in the lawsuit, "conducted no field sobriety tests or otherwise competently assessed the issue of whether Defendant Griffin may have been under the influence of alcohol." After being heard on the tape saying they were not going to arrest him, they committed the ultimate act of enabling by a cop--they drove him to his home in St. Paul.
The enabling, or attempts thereof, continued after the incident when a former Minneapolis police officer now employed by the Timberwolves, Bob Goedderz, allegedly attempted to illegally remove Griffin's Escalade from an impound lot. This could have prevented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit from securing the in-dash DVD player, which would serve to contradict Griffin's claim that he crashed when he reached down for his cell phone (the player was locked in "play" mode after the crash).
The troubling aspect to the Griffin story is that his life was filled with enablers. Apparently, no one was willing to impose enough pain for him to cry "enough." While the toxicology report is not yet in, we can safely ascribe a high likelihood that he was under the influence when he slammed into the freight train, which his enablers will have to live with for the rest of their lives.
The end for any of the trio of young starlets could be just as tragic. Nicole Richie incredibly served just 82 minutes for a DUI in which she was heading the wrong way while on her cell phone (typical) on the 134 freeway in Burbank, California. Lindsay Lohan served a one-day sentence stemming from a DUI incident in which she was driving at speeds up to 100 mph on Pacific Coast Highway and 80 mph on residential surface streets in Santa Monica. Although required to complete a drug treatment program and placed on 36 months probation, there is no report that she will be tested regularly and randomly for alcohol and legal psychotropic drugs. While Britney Spears hasn't had any run-ins with the law lately, she has often been reported to be under the influence since she gained primary custody of her two toddlers--and was probably high as a kite for the world to see as her performance at the recent MTV Video Music Awards bombed.
These are far from being the first incidents for which close people or the law could intervene and coerce abstinence in any of these young women. Richie, singer Lionel Richie's adopted daughter, was arrested for DUI in 2001 and for being involved in a nightclub brawl in 2002. In 2003 she was charged with driving without a valid license and heroin possession. Lohan, who is too good an actress for her own good and is thereby enabled by filmmakers, has been repeatedly excused for awful behaviors by those closest to her, including her mother Dina Lohan and her publicist Leslie Sloane-Zelnik, who until recently always denied anything was wrong with Lindsay. Even after a stint in rehab, celebrity "mental health therapist" Terence McPhaul was quoted in USA Today saying Spears may not be struggling with alcoholism but that instead “there are steps in her development she has skipped over." Yes, she skipped them alright--because she has the disease of alcoholism, she is emotionally stuck at the age she triggered her alcoholism--average age 13.
What can be done? All have been in rehab, which has so far failed utterly. The problem with rehab is that it focuses on the wrong person. Too many addicts are left with enablers to bail them out of any trouble post-relapse. And money buys enablers. Addicts, especially wealthy ones who have proven to society they cannot safely use, need coerced abstinence. This should include ankle bracelets, random and regular testing for all psychotropic drugs and a promise of real jail time with any relapse. Society does the starlets and their potential victims no favors through its failure to coerce abstinence. These three have so far been lucky--they have not yet experienced the ultimate tragedy. Because those closest are often the most vociferous and stalwart enablers, it's time for society to act--before it's too late--as it was for Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, John Belushi, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Ana Nicole Smith and now, Eddie Griffin.
Runners-up for top story of the month:
Trevor Michael Karney, who may prove to be the mysterious "Dietrich" reportedly in the passenger seat of a $1-million Ferrari Enzo that spectacularly crashed on February 21, 2006 and was runner-up and antic-of-the-month in the March 2006 issue of the Addiction Report http://preventragedy.com/pages/TAR/019.mar06.html. Karney was arrested on charges of DUI, resisting arrest and giving false information to a police officer. After the crash, in which former head of the now defunct video game company Gizmundo, Bo Stefan Eriksson, was at the wheel, Karney reportedly fled the scene. The DUI is unrelated to the Ferrari incident, but we might surmise that being a willing passenger in a vehicle driven at 162 mph at 6 a.m. while reportedly videotaping indicates he was under the influence then as well. Police encountered him at the scene of the crash, but he told officers he was traveling in another vehicle. Did we really need more proof that alcoholics can sell anyone anything?
Former baseball great and 1983 Rookie of the Year Daryl Strawberry, sued by the government for almost a half million dollars in unpaid taxes stemming from an indictment in 1994 for failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars of income from autographs and memorabilia. The eight-time All-Star great served 11 months in prison in 2002-2003 on charges of violating probation on cocaine possession charges. There was no report as to whether any of the taxes had been repaid or official explanation as to why the lawsuit was filed so long after the indictment, to which Strawberry pleaded guilty the following year. However--and the Enrolled Agent in me is compelled to share what may be hopelessly boring--since he was originally ordered to repay $350,000 in tax and the accumulated debt would now total something north of $1.5 million, we can safely say that Strawberry has kept pace with most of the interest and penalties. Also, he may have been on a payment plan and perhaps the government wanted to protect its interest due to the possibility of an expiring statute of limitations.
Actor Owen Wilson, surviving an apparent suicide attempt after ingesting a half bottle of sleeping pills and slitting his wrists. The blond comedic actor with the distinctive nose reportedly has been "outwardly rude and awful" to girlfriend Kate Hudson, with whom he has had an on-again off-again relationship typical of many addicts. The 38-year-old co-star of Jackie Chan's "Shanghai Noon" and "Shanghai Nights," and star of the more recent "Wedding Crashers" and "You, Me and Dupree" was not on my radar. His brother actor Luke Wilson ("My Super Ex-Girlfriend" and "The Royal Tenenbaums," the latter of which he co-starred with Owen, who also co-wrote the script) wasn't under watch either, until I learned he made life for others unpleasant by arriving hung over, being late to and making diva-like demands on the set of "Vacancy". It appears alcoholism runs in your family, Owen and Luke. I'll say the same thing I said (http://www.preventragedy.com/pages/TAR/018.feb06.html) in regards to reports of Kiefer Sutherland's carousing: please, someone, step up to the plate and intervene in the lives of these wonderful actors, before it's too late.
Former investment guru, author and speaker Wade Cook, sentenced to prison as part of a tax evasion case in which he was found to have repeatedly defrauded the IRS. He was ordered to pay $3.75 million in back taxes on $9.5 million generated from sales of financial books, tapes and seminars in the late '90s. His wife, Laura, previously pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and admitted she created false documents with the intent to understate income. While Cook's net worth was at one time estimated at $200 million, his publicly traded company, Wade Cook Financial Corp., filed under Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2003. Just what were Wade and Laura Cook thinking? As usual, we offer the benefit of the doubt in assuming that alcoholism was the reason they thought they were all-powerful--even more so than the U.S. government.
"Queen of Mean" Leona Helmsley, heir to the Helmsley hotels, dead at 87 after exhibiting indications of distorted thinking, impaired judgment and egomania for decades. In 1989, Helmsley was convicted of tax evasion for actions resulting from her belief that "only little people pay taxes," having attempted to bury millions in personal expenses on company books. She reportedly subjected employees to volatile mood swings, frequently shouting obscenities at staff for having dirty fingernails or finding even a piece of lint on the floor, and then firing them. She was known for tirades, a short temper and a Jekyll and Hyde personality. Worse, she engaged in one of the most extreme cases of revenge based on a false accusation ever. Her son, Jay, died from a heart attack after having suffered from heart disease for many years. At a gathering prior to the funeral, she lunged towards one of Jay's children, Craig, accusing the fourteen-year-old boy of "killing his father." She also blamed her son's third wife, Mimi, for his death and vowed to "destroy" her. She unsuccessfully tried to bill Mimi for air transportation of Jay's casket. Two months later, Leona evicted Mimi and her children from their home, which was owned by a subsidiary of Helmsley Enterprises. She sued Mimi and the estate that she and Jay's four children divided amongst themselves at least six times. Mimi was ultimately left almost penniless.
Hardly anyone, close or not, could comprehend how someone could be as mean as Helmsley was on countless occasions. Such actions are beyond comprehension--unless we hypothesize alcohol or pharmaceutical drug addiction. Then it all makes perfect sense.
Co-Dependents of the Month:
Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who pleaded guilty to felony charges related to a betting scandal in which he provided picks to co-conspirators as to which team they should bet on in games he officiated. Donaghy, who admitted to a severe gambling compulsion, seemed contrite as he told the judge he was seeing a psychiatrist for his problem and taking antidepressants and anxiety medication (which may or may not be psychotropic in its effects). My bet (so to speak) is he is not an alcoholic as we define it, which dramatically increases the likelihood that his co-conspirators, Thomas Martino and James Battista, are. If correct, his codependency will cost him up to 25 years in prison. Martino and Battista, a professional gambler, could face 20 years.
Actor Sean Penn, who arguably provided moral support for Venezuela's likely drug-addicted dictator Hugo Chavez by traveling through the Venezuelan countryside with him. While Penn told a crowd, "I came here looking for a great country. I found a great country," is not the same as saying he found a great government, I would not be overly optimistic about Penn's ability to think clearly. His marriage to Madonna in the 1980s was marred by violent outbursts against the press, including one in which he beat up a photographer, as well as at least one charge of felony domestic assault, for which the odds of alcoholism are roughly 85% (even though he pled it down to a misdemeanor). This follows stints in Iran and Iraq as a self-styled freelance journalist.
Disenablers of the Month:
Georgette and Giles Fielder-Civil, parents-in-law to singer Amy Winehouse, who not only went public about their son Blake Fielder-Civil and Amys addiction to coke, crack and heroin, but also asked everyone to stop buying her CDs immediately. They said fans should send a message to Winehouse, who has been spiraling down the path of late-stage polydrug addiction with Blake, that "her addiction and her behavior are not acceptable" and to stop giving her money with which to buy drugs. They also said Amy shouldn’t be rewarded with more MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards, explaining that such awards only serve to condone the addiction. Their plea is reminiscent of Lucy Barry Robe's comment in Co-Starring Famous Women and Alcohol that Janis Joplin’s fans enabled her to her death by attending her concerts. At least they’re open about the problem and since we never know what part of the pain we are able to impose will drive the message home, it's worth a try. Congratulations to the Fielder-Civil's for being blunt and honest about their son and daughter-in-law's addiction and for doing what they can to uncompromisingly disenable.
The "nobody gets it" story of the month:
The 26th paragraph of a Los Angeles Times story on the murder of Neal Williams and his two small sons by his wife, Manling Williams, of Rowland Heights, California, reported that a neighbor said Manling "was barefoot, wearing boxer shorts and smelled of alcohol" when she ran from her house screaming that her husband was hurt. The first 25 paragraphs reported on the impromptu memorial set up by caring neighbors, donations collected to pay for the three funerals, the charges against Manling (including special circumstances of multiple homicides and lying in wait), incriminating statements made by Manling to officers, incomplete autopsies with toxicology tests and descriptions of the Williamses as "happy and outgoing" and how normal their family seemed. Paragraphs 27 and 29 mentioned other neighbors saying that while the family seemed happy, Manling was sometimes heard yelling at her husband and at other times Neal yelling at her. The unfortunate fact is that this story is like so many others involving murder: alcoholic rage punctuates an otherwise idyllic family setting in suburbia, needlessly culminating in the death of a family. If stories like this began with, "Manling Williams ran from her house smelling of alcohol," the odds that others will recognize addiction and intervene before tragedy happens might dramatically increase.
Sometimes, it takes a (likely) addict:
Nautilus inventor Arthur Jones, the "flamboyant" entrepreneur whose weightlifting machines were instrumental in creating the health club industry, dead at 80. At various times in his eclectic career Jones operated an airline in South America, collected big game for zoos and circuses, worked as a pilot, produced movies and hosted a syndicated animal show, "Wild Cargo." Jones' 600-acre estate in Ocala, Florida (part of a series of estates that Jones developed consisting of fly-in only properties, the most famous resident of which is actor John Travolta), included 90 elephants, 300 alligators, 400 crocodiles, a gorilla, three rhinos and a collection of poisonous snakes and insects. He was self-taught in most of his careers, including physiology, for which he studied cadavers and, according to his daughter, "kept a freezer full of frozen limbs."
As is often the case for alcoholic entrepreneurs and scientists, there are no reports of heavy drinking. There was, however, one key observable symptom of addiction reported in the obituaries in conjunction with his extraordinary risk-taking behaviors: the number of marriages and ages of his brides. Jones was married and divorced an incredible six times to women whose ages ranged from 16 to 20 on their wedding day. The odds of alcoholism in someone divorced just four times are about 85%, and even higher when there are dramatic age differences. This, shall we say, inspired me to dig deeper.
Jones was reportedly gruff, profane and a nearly lifelong smoker, all of which are consistent with a diagnosis of alcoholism. He was indicted for failure to pay income taxes in the 1970s and, virtually putting the nail in the coffin, as many as six former business partners and distributors accused him of threatening to kill them. While alcoholics may threaten violence and even act on such threats, non-addicts rarely if ever do so.
A number of distributors accused his company of failing to ship merchandise for which they had paid. He also spoke disparagingly of his competitors, calling them "thieves, frauds, fakers, slanderers and incompetents" and said that the number of scientists who "know literally anything of value about exercise" was, in his typically colorful language, "equal to the number of thumbs on your left ear." One common way by which alcoholics inflate their ego is by making disparaging and belittling remarks of others.
He often carried a Colt .45 and famously said, "I've shot 630 elephants and 63 men, and I regret the elephants more." After collecting exotic animals and ferrying them to zoos and researchers, he claimed he was accused by the CIA and FBI of running guns or bombs to Cuba. Alcoholics are often paranoid and speak as if everything is a conspiracy. He once explained, "When I was broke, I was crazy. Now that I am rich, I’m eccentric." He also asserted, "There is no limit to my abilities. I can do anything." Indeed. Arthur Jones may be one of those in whom alcoholism drove overachievement, in grand irony, for the benefit of mankind, even if his personal life was a mess.
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.
All law enforcers involved in accidents should be tested for alcohol and other drugs in the system
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published a series in early August entitled, "A broken system works in favor of cops busted for DUI." Inspired by a state anti-DUI ad warning, "Drive Hammered, Get Nailed," investigative reporters Eric Nalder and Lewis Kamb found that some police officers are exempted from such consequences. With the caveat that the sample size of police officers didn't compare with that of ordinary citizens, the reporters found the likelihood of a citizen having his license suspended was twice that of cops after a breath test indicated a blood alcohol level over .08 per cent. For those who refused a breath test, the rate of license suspensions was almost three times that of officers, with 16 out of 17 non-officers losing their license while only one of four current and former officers lost theirs. The reporters found evidence that a number of officers were "visibly inebriated and reeking of alcohol [who] smashed their department cars or their personal cars, asked for favors, got breaks and even threatened fellow officers" who were threatening to arrest them. One of the examples of lightweight consequences included one Tacoma, WA cop who was nearly six times the legal limit (that would be an almost death-defying .48 per cent) and got a two-day suspension and loss of two days vacation pay. A Yakima, WA police woman had five accidents in her patrol car, causing citizen injuries in at least one of them, but was never tested. A year after she resigned, "in part because of the accidents" (one can only imagine the turmoil surrounding her that may have also contributed to the resignation) she hit a barrier on a bridge and blew a .117, well over the .08 limit. There were many similar examples given in the story.
Many think that what people do in the privacy of their own homes is solely their business, regardless of indications of alcoholism. This is true, so long as they have not proven to society that they are capable of inflicting great harm on others while under the influence. However, alcoholic law enforcers are uniquely positioned to cause others great harm over extended periods with relative impunity. Yet, according to the reporters, the same federal law that requires truckers to be blood-tested after an accident specifically exempts police officers and firefighters from such testing. This doesn't do the officers--or the rest of us--any favors.
The law should be changed. If we want to reduce the odds of bad cops policing our communities and enforcing our laws, we need to weed out the alcoholic ones. If we expect to increase the likelihood of justice prevailing, alcoholism in law enforcers needs to be nipped in the bud. At a minimum, the law should require that every law enforcer--defined in its broadest sense--involved in an accident be tested by a Drug Recognition Expert for the possibility of being under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. A DRE can do this quickly and non-intrusively--and their determination almost always proves correct when blood is tested. One of the challenges in reducing the rate of recidivism is that all-too-often alcoholics are arrested by, judged by and guarded by alcoholics. This simple change in the law--fair by any standards of equity--would do much to increase the odds that law enforcers with the bio-genetic disease of alcoholism experience the consequences they so desperately need to drive them to seek sobriety before tragedy occurs. .
Dear Doug: An addict in recovery
I dated a heavy drinker with a violent criminal history who repeatedly lied to and cheated on me. When I understood how deep his issues were, I dumped him. Now, over two years later, he contacts me, admits he is an alcoholic, tells me he has been sober for two years and wants to see me again. I don’t want to be conned yet again, but he was funny, intelligent and a joy to be with when he was on his good behavior. Do people really change?
Cares about an addict
. . . .
Some columnists might respond with a flippant remark such as, "Do you really care?" and suggest that being with a drinking, cheating, lying, violent, criminal is not worth the risk, even if he was sometimes fun and charming. They might suggest you ask yourself what might motivate you to take such chances and to spend a bit of time looking inward.
Indeed. However, we should care about the answer. People do change--especially addicts in recovery. The trouble is recovery is ephemeral. It may last; it may not. Two years or even 20 doesn’t guarantee continued sobriety.
However, the longer sobriety lasts, the lower the risk of relapse. We can generally trust recovering addicts with 15 years of sobriety with our lives. They are usually terrific people and because they have taken pains to deflate the ego are often even more humble than their non-addicted counterparts, who have never been through a program designed to deflate the ego.
I would look at yourself and ask if you just want to "save" him. It may be you could love the real person, who is now only beginning to emerge. If you decide to talk, tread gingerly and read all my books on addiction (especially, Drunks, Drugs & Debits) so that you will not only be able to identify an impending or actual relapse, but also enable you to draw a line in the sand with a clear conscience if needed. Letting him know about your newfound expertise in addiction will likely drive him away if he is not serious about staying sober. If he is serious, it may well add just what is needed to encourage him to stay clean, maybe even for the rest of his life.
The same is true for married people. Many, many married couples overcome addiction in one spouse when the other draws that line--resulting in children of such couples being children of parents in which one is a recovering addict, rather than of divorced parents and a broken home.
(Source for story idea: Carolyn Hax, "Dear Carolyn," August 22, 2007. From what I've seen so far, the column is generally excellent; this was an aberration over which rational people could agree to disagree.)
Prevent Tragedy Foundation
Is it jealousy--or is it psychotropic drug addiction-driven jealousy that is the leading cause of murder?
"Jealousy is possibly the most destructive emotion housed in the human brain. It's the leading cause of spousal murder worldwide, according to analyses I did of data over the last century."
So said David M. Buss, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, in explaining why astronaut Lisa Nowak tracked down and threatened her romantic rival after driving 900 miles in a diaper. It just goes to show, you can prove anything with statistics.
I was reminded of this myth when recently reading that Nowak, awaiting trial on charges of attacking her romantic rival, was allowed by the court to remove her ankle bracelet (intended to prevent her from getting anywhere near her perceived rival). It's a pervasive myth that leads many to believe that this common symptom of alcoholism can be successfully treated without tackling the root problem.
Most of us have felt jealousy. However, it's a huge leap from feeling emotions to acting out on them in particularly destructive ways. Those with a functioning neo-cortex restrain lower impulses that cause some to beat up or murder their rivals. Those with alcoholism, due to brain damage, have no such restraint. The evidence suggests that almost all murders are committed by alcohol or other-drug addicts and often in an alcohol-fueled rage.
If we are to improve outcomes in the criminal justice system, we need to look first at the likelihood of addiction and, if it exists, treat it. Usually, the person underneath is a decent human being who committed heinous acts only because of brain damage rooted in alcoholism. Attempting to treat jealousy, anger and other emotional states leaves the underlying problem untreated, which serves to perpetuate destructive acts.
Story from "This is True" by Randy Cassingham, with his "tagline:"
"WE DELIVER: A woman drove her car through the front window of Papa Murphy's Pizza in Carson City, Nev., hitting a customer who was reading the menu. She then backed out and drove off, witnesses say, and then crashed broadside into another car. After she left that accident, too, police say, a passenger decided she had enough and bailed out of the car, rolling to a stop in a parking lot. Police finally pulled the car over and Nicole Andrews, 23, blew a blood alcohol reading of .264 percent -- more than three times the legal limit. "Please don't let this go on my insurance," she begged of the officer when she heard the reading. "I'll be in a lot of trouble." She was charged with felony hit-and-run causing injury, drunk driving, and other charges. A Papa Murphy's spokesman said he knows Andrews -- she used to work at the store she crashed into. But, Donn Leyba said, he had to fire her 'for drinking on the job.' (Nevada Appeal)... Sometimes they really do return to the scene of the crime."
Those who fail to grasp the fundamentals of alcoholism cannot be expected to forge the link between drinking on the job and almost killing someone. The trouble is, we cannot predict how destructive an alcoholic may become or the degree of pain she must experience before making a decision to try sobriety. One of the challenges in imposing the requisite pain, however, could be limitations on the employer. Sometimes they don't want the publicity and let the employee "resign." Even when firing someone, employers are reluctant to inform other employers who call for references, at best responding to any queries with a statement for which they cannot be sued for defamation: "We wouldn't hire her again." We don't do anyone else favors by keeping quiet about the reason, which only allows the disease to progress from bad to worse and which also allows the addict to continue to inflict harm on others. One thing employers might try, however, is to say, "We wouldn't hire her again. By the way, you might want to read Doug Thorburn’s book, How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics.
(Story and tagline from "This is True," copyright 2007 by Randy Cassingham, used with permission.)
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Doug frequently posts alcoholism-related articles, as well as his responses, so be sure to check back often.
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."
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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
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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"
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