|November 2007 / Issue No. 35
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.
Quote of the Month:
"My sister just got through lying to me about her cat, which has been living with me for several years.
"She beat me to the vet to pick him up so she could lie and tell me nothing was wrong with him. I called the vet today and he said he told her the cat has diabetes. Apparently my sister doesn't want to pay for the $100-per-month medication even though she makes about $60k. Due to my addict ex-, I'm in dire straits and can't pay.
"I want to thank you for providing necessary insights on the kinds of people who do these things--all addicts. At least their behaviors are explicable, even if they are intolerable."
"America’s Sheriff" Michael S. Carona: Is He Merely Corrupt, or is He Alcoholic?
Orange County, CA Sheriff Michael S. Carona, 52, was once dubbed "America’s Sheriff" by Larry King, courted by former White House aide Karl Rove and groomed as a prospective Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of CA. He gained nationwide recognition after leading the search for the kidnapper of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion in 2002. Carona, who is a self-styled "conservative Christian," now faces federal charges on 10 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and tampering with a grand jury witness. His wife, Deborah Carona, 56, has been indicted on one count of conspiracy. His alleged long-time former mistress, attorney Debra V. Hoffman, 41, has been charged on eight counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and bankruptcy fraud.
Center one in this complex tale is businessman Donald Haidl, father of Gregory Haidl, one of three teenagers convicted in the infamous 2005 Orange County, CA gang-rape trial reported in the March 2005 issue of TAR (highly recommended re-reading, by the way). Haidl turned enabling into an expensive art form by reportedly paying over a million dollars for his son's failed defense. After grossing $100 million a year in a prior life selling surplus police cars and assets seized by law enforcement agencies, he has brokered a plea agreement in a related case. Prosecutors claim that Haidl has been lining Carona's pockets for years in exchange for making Haidl an assistant sheriff--although he lacked the requisite experience--and allowing him access to Carona's department (helpful for a man in Haidl's position). According to the indictment, he made a "loan" of $110,000 to Hoffman's law firm, paid a $1,000 monthly stipend to Carona for doing no work as a director on a Haidl-company board and gave cash, vacations and lavish gifts (including luxury box seats to the World Series, Mont Blanc pens and Ladies' Cartier watches) to the three now under indictment.
Center two is attorney Joseph G. Cavallo, 52, who was Greg Haidl's lead attorney and who has since pleaded guilty to a kickback scheme in which bail bondsmen steered business his way. Inmates were paid a "bounty" for "forcefully" recommending certain lawyers and bail bondsmen to detainees. The federal indictment alleges that Sheriff Carona introduced employees and their relatives to Cavallo as "the sheriff's attorney." A portion of awards was allegedly funneled back to Carona and his co-conspirators. If the level of fear of retribution by and disgust with Carona among department veterans over such alleged schemes is any indication of guilt, Carona should go down in flames. Cavallo, appearing contrite during his plea appearance, has called Carona, against whom at least four women have made sex allegations, a "serial adulterer."
Center three is former Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo, 47, who admitted to collecting cash and gifts in the Cavallo kickback scheme worth about $45,000 and concealing the income on his tax returns. Incredibly, Cavallo defended him prior to his admission of guilt. It's apparent that Jaramillo, formerly Carona's number two officer, along with Cavallo and Haidl, will testify to the kickback scheme. Jaramillo, a Mormon who claims not to drink, provoked laughter among cops who worked with him before he was fired when he initially proclaimed his innocence. He has openly celebrated being a serial adulterer and bragged about trysts with a porn star, who according to FBI reports of phone records he once called seven times in seven minutes. As explained in How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics: Using Behavioral Clues to Recognize Addiction in its Early Stages, such "telephonitis," along with serial adultery and taking part in kickbacks, are traits far more common to alcoholics than to others, especially when packaged.
Obviously, the behaviors of all involved indicate alcoholism. Further evidence of a culture of alcoholism-fueled egomania is found among other former allies of Carona, who were often made "reserve deputies," recipients of badges, weapons permits and powers of arrest even though lacking the training and background checks mandated by the state. Stephen Mensinger, president and chief operations officer of Arnel Management Co., one of Southern California's largest apartment owners, allegedly represented himself as a deputy sheriff to an airline employee when he found his baggage, including guns and game meat, was missing after returning from a hunting trip. He allegedly became agitated and loud, referring to the attendant as a "dumb blond," snapping pictures of her with his cell phone and screaming at her he could have her fired. Carona's former martial arts instructor, Raymond K. Yi, 44, was arrested for allegedly flashing his badge and gun at a group of golfers he thought were playing too slowly. One of the golfers said that Yi threatened to kill them and added, "It was a scary feeling. He was acting so erratic and odd...it was like he was in a road rage." An unnamed owner of an upscale Las Vegas restaurant angrily flashing his badge while trying to park illegally in Newport Beach and was subsequently forced to give up the Carona-supplied perk. Businessman Charles Gabbard, 70, who according to investigative journalist R. Scott Moxley is "a convicted murderer, robber, thief and Carona breakfast partner [who] narrowly avoided charges for depositing $40,000 in illegal campaign contributions in Carona's [2002 re-election] campaign account after getting [the] sheriff to write an official letter endorsing a Gabbard invention."
R. Scott Moxley, a journalist for the Orange County Weekly who has been following all the related cases for several years, has said Cavallo and Carona "have consumed plenty of alcohol together" and were "drinking buddies" for 26 years. Grown men do not have "drinking buddies" unless drinking is a really important part of their lives. Anyone for whom drinking is that important is, typically, alcoholic. Alcoholism causes egomania, indications of which all of those involved have exhibited. In almost every case sources inside the Sheriff's department have spoken only on condition of anonymity, fearing retaliation. One of the myths of addiction described in Alcoholism Myths and Realities: Removing the Stigma of Society’s Most Destructive Disease is "He would never do that!" Considering the fact that alcoholics are capable of anything, including making false accusations and unspeakable acts of revenge, the sources are very wise.
Sheriff Carona says he looks forward to his day in court and that he will be vindicated. Before his plea, Cavallo said, "I'm confident that I'll win. I’ve done nothing wrong." When he initially pleaded "not guilty" to the accusations against him, Jaramillo said he "has never, never broken a law." Alcoholics have a sense of entitlement and invincibility that explains such apparent confidence. Because Sheriff Michael Carona exhibits such traits, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that alcoholism explains--but does not excuse--what appear to be awful behaviors while in office.
Runners-up for top story of the month:
TV host and actor Gary Collins, 69, arrested for DUI after slamming his Ford Explorer into a Toyota driven by an 80-year-old man. Collins, who hosts Comcast Cable's Retirement Living TV featuring experts in senior lifestyles, was reportedly traveling at least 60 mph on a residential surface street in Van Nuys, CA (very near where I grew up). The 80-year-old was rendered unconscious and Collins told bystanders he needed to leave. They managed to make him wait, explaining that if he left he could be charged with hit and run. After he failed a field sobriety test, cops tried to get Collins to breathe into a Breathalyzer, but he claimed he was hard of hearing and unable to understand the officers' instructions. Witnesses said "you could smell [Collins] from five feet away" and that the cops, exasperated with his cagey behavior, finally arrested him. As the clues described in Get Out of the Way! How to Identify and Avoid a Driver Under the Influence would suggest we would find (in particular, unnecessarily reckless driving), a blood alcohol test at the station showed that Collins' BAL was over .16 per cent, more than twice the legal limit. It isn't known how long Collins’ wife, Miss America of 1959 Mary Ann Mobley, has been enabling Collins’ active alcoholism, but they celebrate--hopefully with 7-Up--their 40th wedding anniversary this month.
Aspiring horror novelist and poet Jose Luis Calva, arrested in Mexico City for admittedly squeezing the life out of his girlfriend, Alejandra Galeana, 32, while trying to restrain her during a violent argument. Forensic experts, who found human flesh in a frying pan in his apartment, say that after he strangled her, Calva put her on the bed and figured out a nefarious scheme to get rid of the body. A statement by the Mexico City Attorney General's Office said he cut it up, stored the severed limbs in the refrigerator "so they wouldn't start smelling so quickly" and the torso in a cupboard. Police found him with a plate of the fried flesh on the dining table set laid out with cutlery, while he was cooking more flesh to feed to his dogs. Calva said he didn’t remember what he had done that night because he had "consumed alcohol and cocaine." He may have had other blackouts: he denied being involved in the death of another former girlfriend whose dismembered body was found stuffed in cardboard boxes in 2004 and more recently has been implicated in the murders of three prostitutes. Authorities, who found an unfinished manuscript entitled, Cannibal Instincts, reported that Calva was an admirer of actor Anthony Hopkins, who played cannibal Hannibal Lector in the movie, "Silence of the Lambs." Alcoholic confabulation can take horrifying forms.
Former mayor of Atlantic City, NJ, Robert W. Levy, 64, who pleaded guilty to false claims of being awarded two military medals to increase his disability benefits from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. He fabricated stories of parachute jumps he never made and being left in the jungle with South Vietnamese troops to fend for himself. Levy is the latest in a string of former Atlantic City mayors who have been convicted of various crimes including bribery. Levy is known most recently for having "mysteriously" disappeared for three weeks earlier this fall before resurfacing to resign his post, citing "ill health" and the federal investigation into his war record. The Associated Press report on his plea deal mentioned only his "bizarre three-week disappearance earlier this fall." Other officials said he was at an "undisclosed" hospital receiving "unspecified" treatments. His lawyer came closest to explaining (not excusing) his behavior, stating that Levy was at Carrier Clinic, which is known for treatment of addiction. We'll call a spade a spade: his misbehaviors are most likely rooted in a form of alcoholic confabulation that is a bit less extreme than that exhibited by Jose Luis Calva.
Actor Nathaniel Marston, 32, who plays a doctor on "One Life to Live," charged with assault, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest after attacking three men at 4:30 a.m. on a recent Sunday morning, causing one man to be hospitalized with a broken leg. When officers tried to arrest the soap star, he flailed his arms and kicked at officers as he fought being handcuffed. He was previously arrested on criminal mischief charges for destroying an ATM machine and was fired from the soap with no explanation in 2003, but was rehired when fans protested. Marston was taken to Bellevue hospital after his latest arrest, where he was labeled an "emotionally disturbed person." Oh, and police say he "seemed to be under the influence of narcotics, possibly cocaine." I’m shocked, just shocked. As explained at length in Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How to Recognize Addicts and Avoid Financial Abuse, if behaviors indicate addiction we should assume that addiction explains the behaviors.
Atlanta Falcon's former star quarterback Michael Vick, who made the "under watch" section in the August 2007 issue of TAR due to being indicted for allegedly participating in a dog fighting ring. I wrote, "Vick is linked to the ring because he owns the property at which the dogs were sometimes housed. While there is otherwise no public information on Vick to suggest alcoholism, animal cruelty is almost always rooted in the disease. Of the 65 dog fighting arrests he's made in the last five years, Sgt. David Hunt of the Franklin County (Ohio) Sheriff's Office says, 'There's only been one where we didn't find drugs.'" Hey Michael, here's a way to get upgraded from "under watch" to "runner-up": get a pre-trial release on charges of being involved in a dog fighting ring. Have the Magistrate issue restrictions such as "refrain from use or unlawful possession of narcotic drugs or other controlled substances." Then go ahead and test positive for marijuana use, which you know is easily detectable and will jeopardize your freedom and career. I'd call you an idiot as so many other observers do, but I know better.
The late former NBA player Eddie Griffin, who made Top Story in the September 2007 issue of TAR by dying instantly after crashing his SUV into a moving freight train in August. The medical examiner's office in Harris County, Texas, determined that Griffin's blood alcohol level was .26 per cent, over three times the legal limit for driving. This does not surprise the addiction aware.
Commanding officer of the nuclear-powered submarine, the Hampton, Cmdr. Michael B. Portland, relieved of duty because of a failure to conduct daily safety checks on the sub’s nuclear reactor for a month and falsifying records to cover it up. We'll give you the benefit of the doubt, Cmdr. Portland: like your brother, Joseph Hazelwood, former captain of the Exxon Valdez, you have a disease that causes distortion of perception leading to impaired judgment, which is displayed in exceedingly dangerous fashion when commanding a nuclear submarine.
Co-Dependents of the Month:
The U.S. Navy, for failing to intervene in Cmdr. Portland’s likely alcoholism long before relieving him from duty. It's reminiscent of another story: the Exxon Valdez oil spill. According to Wikipedia, by 1988 Captain Joseph Hazelwood’s "driver's license had been suspended or revoked three times...for alcohol violations....At the time of the Exxon Valdez incident, his...driving privileges were suspended as a result of [an arrest for DUI] on September 13, 1988." The oil spill on his watch occurred on March 23, 1989.
Disenablers of the Month:
Good Charlotte rocker Joel Madden, who gaveNicole Richie a "get-help-or-we're-through" ultimatum after learning she was pregnant. According to a close person, "His tough love saved her life." Of course, we'll only know in the fullness of time, but she seems to have a good start for someone who was drinking addictively by age 13, using cocaine at 14, and ingesting an estimated 25 Vicodin and 25 Soma daily over a period of four years beginning at age 20 (an incredible 73,000 pills). Sometimes, one-on-one intervention--especially if timed right--does the job.
Tucker Chapman, who released a private conversation with his father, television bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman, in which the reality star repeatedly used racial slurs in referring to his son's black girlfriend. I included Chapman's methamphetamine-addicted daughter Barbara Chapman, who was killed in a stolen vehicle being driven by a "friend" at 90 mph, as a "runner-up" for top story in the July 2006 issue of TAR. I wrote, "Duane has apparently been a clean born-again Christian for 27 years after having been arrested 18 times, the consequences of which included time in prison. He is a classic addict turnaround, having been responsible for some 6,000 captures of mostly practicing addicts acting badly." I'm afraid I may have been wrong about the "classic addict turnaround" part--he may have been sober at one time, but he's probably at best a serial relapser. The recording supports the accusations of another of his sons, Christopher Hecht, who accused his father in June of being "a violent, racist tyrant" who he blames for getting him hooked on drugs. (Well duh--you inherited his addiction. The fact that you were adopted by a nice non-addicted couple, Keith and Gloria Hecht, who told you that your biological dad was dead, couldn’t keep you from triggering addiction once you took that first drink, hit or snort.) A & E has pulled his TV show from the air indefinitely and Chapman said, "I am ashamed of myself and I pledge to do whatever I can to repair this damage I have caused." Hey Duane, you can start by getting sober-- this time for real--and staying that way.
And speaking of children, they're never too young to act as disenablers--and they may be particularly effective ones. Two young children of addicts make the cut this month. The eight-year-old son of Paulette Lynn Spears, 33, who called 911 from her car twice and asked for help because he was scared by his mother's driving, and a teenage daughter of Robert Montoya, 52, who made a frantic call to 911 while attempting to get her dad to pull off the road. Spears, who is related to Britney by blood alcohol only, has a 2003 conviction for DUI and Montoya, who was reportedly driving 100 mph with his three teenage daughters, has five previous arrests for DUI.
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.
"Samantha Who?" and "Life"
The Fall TV season offers two terrific new shows featuring alcoholism as primary and secondary themes. "Samantha Who?" stars Christina Applegate, who has become an excellent actress (who would have known after her role as the daughter in "Married with Children"?). She plays Sam, who after spending eight days in a coma remembers nothing of her life. She is aghast to discover that she was not a "nice" person, but was instead an alcoholic slut who regularly cheated on her non-addicted boyfriend, was a spendthrift and was excellent in her job working for a disreputable company. The question is, can people change--or not? Those of us who understand the difference between a practicing alcoholic and one in recovery know the answer, but the show responds in what is so far a very amusing style. The irony that the uninitiated may miss is the reason she was in the coma: she'd been a victim of a hit-and-run accident. It's a case of alcoholic runs into alcoholic, who is "cured" by the offending alcoholic.
The other new show is "Life," which so far is comparable to "House" and the early episodes of "Law and Order" in terms of quality, but with a dramatically different flair. Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis) is a cop wrongly imprisoned for murder who, after serving 15 years, is released and returns to the force. ("Life was his sentence. Life is what he got back.") His ex-partner Bobby Stark (Brent Sexton) may have framed Crews and the addiction aware will sense alcoholism, while his partner Dani Reese (played by a sultry Sarah Shahi) is clearly alcoholic (whose alcoholic behaviors so far have revolved around picking up strangers in bars). Crews practices Zen, which is an excellent technique to relax when dealing with the extraordinary injustice of having been wrongly imprisoned (rid oneself of attachment to impermanent things, including ego, and let go of all things that are not really important in order to experience a deeper meaning and understanding of life), and his style of dealing with crime is not dissimilar to Vincent D'Onofrio’s Detective Robert "Bobbi" Goren ("Law and Order: Criminal Intent"). It’s not perfect: a fellow cop asks Dani, "How come you're at AA? It was drugs, not alcohol," to which Dani responds, "It was a lot of things," rather than the more appropriate response, "alcohol is a drug; it just wasn't my drug of choice." On the other hand, another alcoholic admits, "One thing I can always be honest about--I am a liar." When there are so few accurate portrayals of alcoholism, we'll settle for one that gets at least a large part of it right, especially when the rest of the show is superb.
Possessive, jealous, angry, controlling--
oh, and violent when drunk
My husband Pete is possessive, jealous and angry. We fight constantly and argue over everything. When I go to a store, he demands to know which store and when I'm going to be home. Sometimes, he checks my undergarments to see that I've returned home in the same pair I left with. Once, he turned violent when he was really drunk. I forgave, but will never forget.
I don't want a divorce because he can be a really great guy, but I’m beginning to wonder. What should I do?
. . . . .
While other columnists might simply explain that "Pete is showing signs of an abuser...and he is willing to hurt you," that doesn’t get to the crux of the problem. Without getting at the root cause, if Pete doesn't seriously injure you before you leave him, he'll eventually injure or even kill someone else. We need to solve the underlying problem--which may even salvage the marriage.
Even if you hadn't mentioned the drunken episode, other indications provide loads of evidence for alcoholism. With the violence and drunkenness linked, we can safely say that Pete has this disease. Due to the particular biochemistry Pete inherited, a blood alcohol level somewhere over .04 per cent (but often at .15 or .18) causes him to act badly, some of the time. Can you see that if alcoholism is the cause, the other issues can't be mitigated until he gets sober?
The idea you need to grasp, accept and feel good about is that you must draw a line in the sand over drinking and getting into a program of sobriety. My book, Drunks, Drugs & Debits, will give you a gut feel for alcoholism, along with the understanding required to stop enabling and give him a clear-cut choice--the booze or you. You’ll even be able to do it with a clear conscience.
However, it is exceedingly unlikely that you can coerce abstinence by yourself. A qualified interventionist will set the proper stage for you and several friends, family and associates to lovingly explain to Pete that he has alcoholism and, if he wants to save the relationship, he must immediately begin a program of sobriety.
He also may need to confront his own background. The form that alcoholism takes in terms of misbehaviors is a function of one's environment, circumstances and upbringing. He may have had an alcoholic parent, which resulted in the particularly controlling form of alcoholism he has. Don't expect miracles early on, because he may need counseling to get past childhood issues.
(Source for story idea: Annie's Mailbox, October 16, 2007.)
"Adverse close relationships may increase the risk of heart disease."
So found researchers in a study of 9,011 British civil servants, most of whom were married. Those judged to have the worst relationships were 34% more likely to have serious heart trouble during 12 years of follow-up than those having good relationships with partners, close relatives and friends. The study, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that "the quality of the relationship matters." The study follows several others linking health problems with being single and having few close relationships.
Correlation, however, is not causation. There may be a reason that explains both poor health and a high degree of conflict: levels of alcoholism are higher among unhappily married and divorced people than happily married ones.
While alcoholism afflicts about 10% of the overall U.S. population, the odds that one or the other in a divorce--almost by definition, a marriage in which the relationship wasn’t good--runs nearly 40%. The likelihood of alcoholism in an individual who has been married and divorced four times is roughly 85%. We could argue that such discord causes alcoholism, but since the typical recovering addict informs us he or she triggered alcoholism during the first drinking episode--average age 13--it would appear that alcoholism is more likely the cause of disharmony.
A number of the 350 or so diseases and disorders caused or exacerbated by alcoholism involve the cardiovascular system, including hypertension, irregular heartbeat, disease of the heart muscle and myocardial infarction, or heart attack. As James R. Milam, Ph.D., wrote in the foreword to Toby Rice Drew's The 350 Secondary Diseases/Disorders to Alcoholism, "Alcoholism very often is the one factor that pushes a 'tendency' to have the disease over the edge into a full-blown manifestation."
As is all-too-common, even the so-called experts don’t even suspect alcoholism when it should be number one on the list (a defect that Alcoholism Myths and Realities: Removing the Stigma of Society’s Most Destructive Diseaseis designed to correct). The correct statement is more likely, "Alcoholism causes conflict in relationships and also contributes to numerous health challenges, including heart disease." By treating the underlying cause, both issues can be mitigated, along with countless other ones that are secondary to the primary diagnosis of alcoholism
Story from "This is True" by Randy Cassingham, with his "tagline:"
"JUST PASSING THROUGH: When a car crashed into the front of police headquarters in East Windsor, Conn., an officer ran to investigate. The driver, a 68-year-old woman, was fine, but when she saw the officer, police say, she backed up her car and tried to run him down, crashing into the building again. She then flipped the cop off and drove away. Officers pursued the car and arrested Lillian Dunn about a mile away. During a court hearing Dunn repeatedly interrupted the judge, who warned her that she would be gagged if she didn't be quiet. 'Go ahead,' Dunn urged. 'Shove it!' She has been charged with criminal attempt to commit assault, criminal mischief, driving with a suspended license, and drunk driving. (Hartford Courant) ...Gosh: how come we saw that last charge coming from a mile away?"
And you would think we'd see a charge of public intoxication in a courtroom. However, she may or may not have been under the influence while figuratively flipping off the judge, since alcoholics' behaviors between drinking episodes can be just as awful as when under the influence.
Despite her age, Lillian Dunn exhibited a number of early-stage behavioral indications of alcoholism on the road and in the courtroom. She attempted to seriously injure someone--a cop--and crashed (clues # 28 and 31 in Appendix 1 of How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics: Using Behavioral Clues to Identify Alcoholism in its Early Stages), in this case purposely into a police station. She made obscene gestures (clue # 2 under "Supreme Being Complex" in Get Out of the Way! How to Identify and Avoid a Driver Under the Influence), which alone indicates a 60% probability of DUI and likely alcoholism. She attempted to evade arrest, which if not a felony should be. A case is made in Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How to Recognize Addicts and Avoid Financial Abuse, that 80-90% of felonies are committed by alcohol or other-drug addicts. In court, she was rude and verbally abusive (clues # 15 and 27 in Hidden Alcoholics). Any one of these clues is a strong indicator of addiction, but in conjunction they are damning evidence.
What's extraordinary is that so many alcoholics go for decades acting badly. Many may have been sober for extended periods and experienced relapses, which codependents suffer from. Such may be the case for one of this month’s Runners-Up, actor Gary Collins. This was not true, however, for actress Bette Davis, whose story I recount in Drunks, Drugs & Debits. Except perhaps for one two-year period during mid-life, she appears to have drunk heavily from start to finish.
The fact that Ms. Dunn's alcoholism was not nipped in the bud could have cost a police officer his life. There is little doubt there have been dozens or even hundreds of incidents for which the law could have already intervened in Ms. Dunn's addiction. Perhaps the judge will finally say, “Enough!” and impose not only proper consequences on her--but also just ones, including a requirement of permanently abstaining from all psychotropic drugs for whatever remains of her life. If there are any sober members of her family still talking to her, they will be the biggest beneficiaries--and among those no longer in contact, the most deserving beneficiaries of the judge's power.
(Story and tagline from "This is True," copyright 2007 by Randy Cassingham, used with permission.)
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