Welcome to the Thorburn Addiction Report. Each month, we bring you several sections, including:
1. Top Story of the month
2. Review of the month
3. Dear Doug in which a recent letter to "Dear Annie" or other "help" column is rewritten, with responses given from the unique perspective that alcohol or other drug addiction best explains the misbehaviors described
4. Alcoholic Myth-of-the-Month
5. Alcoholic Antic-of-the-Month, usually where someone deserves the Darwin Award, but lived.
There is something for everyone!
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Along with my books, this newsletter views newsworthy events and people, the media and personal traumas through the lens of alcoholism, making sense of the otherwise incomprehensible. Understanding early-stage alcoholism and its affect on your personal, professional and civic life holds the potential for not only saving huge sums of money, but also preventing concomitant emotional trauma, injury and even death. We hope you enjoy this issue, starring the Austrian Josef Fritzl, a slew of athletes and law enforcers, and the TV drama, “Prison Break”!
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Austrian monster Josef Fritzl: he could be simply crazy, but…
Statistics and anecdotes recounted in Drunks, Drugs & Debits provide a wealth of evidence that monstrous behaviors are generally rooted in alcoholism. While journalists often fail to mention that their subjects had prior arrests for behaviors directly linked to heavy drinking or drugging, when able to dig deep enough we usually find this connection. Whenever we shake our heads and wonder, “How could anyone engage in such conduct?” we should suspect alcoholism. As the “note to readers” below says, we not only give the benefit of the doubt without excusing, but also make sense of the nonsensical and point to the cure.
Josef Fritzl is one such case. While the only known indication of possible heavy drinking is the oft-cited quote that “he liked to drink beer,” there are few if any instances of guilt for false imprisonment, rape, incest and murder by negligence that, if we are able to get the whole story, could not be linked to substance addiction.
The planning, secrecy and lies surrounding this case are the stuff of an Edgar Allen Poe or Stephen King novel. Fritzl built and concealed a secret room inside a basement under his property, protected by eight doors, five of which were locking basement doors including two protected by electronic codes and one two feet wide, barely over three feet high and weighing 650 pounds. Inside this purgatory he fathered seven children with his daughter Elisabeth, who in turn was one of seven children he begat with his wife Rosemarie in the rooms above. His wife, other children and neighbors didn’t have a clue about the nightmare occurring literally right underneath them.
Fritzl reportedly began abusing Elisabeth when she was 11. When she was 18, in August, 1984, Fritzl lured her into the basement where he drugged, handcuffed and kept her imprisoned for the next 24 years. He explained that she had “stopped doing what she was told. She just did not follow any of my rules any more. She would go out all night in local bars and come back stinking of alcohol and smoke.” After running away several times and hanging out with “persons of questionable moral standards,” Fritzl decided to keep her away “from the bad influences of the outside world.” He defended himself over having fathered seven children with her by explaining to investigators, “I am not a man that has sex with little children. I only had sex with her later, much later.” Well, not that much laterElisabeth was pregnant by the spring of 1985.
There is little doubt that psychologists will be analyzing Fritzl’s horrific behaviors for years if not decades. They may point to his apparent mother-fixation, which arose after his father, whom he called a “waster [who] never took responsibility and was just a loser that always cheated on my mother,” was kicked out when Fritzl was four. He described his mother as a “strong woman; she taught me discipline and control and the values of hard work…she was the best woman in the world.” Asked by his lawyer if he had ever fantasized about a relationship with his mother, he responded, “Yes, probably. But I was a very strong man…and as a result I was [able to keep] my desires under control.”
Yet he couldn’t restrain those same desires with his daughter. He also couldn’t control himself in 1967 when, having had four children with Rosemarie (whom he described as “the best mother in the world”) he spent 18 months in jail after being convicted of climbing into a young nurse’s flat and raping her. He appears confused over his own behavior in a way that Jeffrey Dahmer sounded in a prison interview four years after his conviction for serial murder and cannibalization, saying “I do not know what drove me to do that.” He would probably give the same response if he had been convicted for another attempted rape and indecent exposure that same year and for a rape and murder almost 20 years later, both of which have remained unsolved and for which he is a suspect.
The pattern of criminal behavior and self-justification for those behaviors in which Fritzl has engaged for decades is consistent with a diagnosis of alcoholism. The Survival Games he has played (described on pp. 266-270 of Drunks, Drugs & Debits) are consistent with a Keirseyan Temperament of Artisan (Myers-Briggs “SP,” probably ISTP). This theory, from Eve Delunas’ extraordinary Survival Games Personalities Play*, postulates that if Artisans are unable to follow their impulses (which dramatically increase when under the influence) they will begin playing Games as a means of “masking inadequacy or to put others in a one-down position” (Delunas, p. 21, cited in Drunks, Drugs & Debits, p. 267). This is a subconscious ego-inflating tool used to control relationships while denying taking such control, with the goal of protecting what little sense of self-worth they have. As pointed out in Drunks, this sounds remarkably similar to the addict with zero self-esteem (favorable view of self) who perseveres in attempts at inflating the ego (wielding power over others).
Delunas refers to the most dangerous games the Artisan plays as “Blackmail,” a variation of which is “Delinquency,” in which a player who lies, cheats and steals denies it all if caught, or blames others for his or her behavior (“I stole the car because the owner left it unlocked, so it was his fault”). This is euphoric recall in which every unconscionable action is distorted in some self-favoring way. Psychologists may call it Sociopathy, but if we work backwards from the euphoric recall at which alcoholics excel, we can see the behaviors are usually rooted in alcoholic survival game-playing. And recovering alcoholics admit to having done everything required in “Delinquency:” lying, cheating, stealing and blaming everyone else for all their problems.
In response to a reporter asking if he wanted to die, Fritzl, who is 73, said, “No. I only want one thing nowto pay for what I did.” Such remorse, combined with confusion, is consistent with early-stage recovery from alcoholism, which in a study by Terence Gorski resulted in the percentage of alcoholics who could be diagnosed as Sociopathic plummeting from 90% to less than 10% with as little as a month in recovery. The behaviors and geneslikely alcoholism in both his father and at least the one daughter, Elisabethsupport a diagnosis of alcoholism. Even Poe and King, both with booze-soaked brains, would have been hard-pressed to concoct this scheme in their wildest fantasies. While Fritzl might be a repentant sociopath without benefit of chemistry, the odds favor alcoholism as the underlying cause of his behaviors.
* Delunas’ work is based on David Kiersey’s work, which includes the best book extant for understanding healthy human behaviors, Please Understand Me.
Runners-up for top story of the month:
|Hawaii State Senator Ron Menor, 52, arrested for DUI while “weaving in a snake-like motion” 20 miles under the speed limit. The arresting officer saw that Menor’s eyes “were red and watery, and he emitted a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage…[and his face was] flushed and he appeared extremely tired.” While failing to mention drinking, he told the officer he was “on pain medication” and later said the medication “might” have been Vicodin. Menor, in a feigned mea culpa to the public, admitted he had “one to two glasses of wine” with dinner after a Chicago concert ended. He may have forgotten about his consumption at the concert preceding the late-night dinner, but his sons, ages 17 and 11, both of whom were in the back seat, apparently did not. One of them later told the officer his father “was drinking a lot” at the Chicago concert. The .14 per cent Breathalyzer reading might help jog his memory, since it shows he drank the equivalent of 10 shots of 80-proof liquor over a four-hour period (assuming he weighs in at 200 pounds). Menor refused a standard field sobriety test, explaining he was wearing an old contact lens and had a fractured foot. He also refused to respond to a reporter’s question of what that had to do with the amount of alcohol circulating in his blood. There is no report of anyone asking why, if he couldn’t see well with the old contact, he was driving a motor vehicle. He also refused to respond directly to a reporter’s query as to whether he had consumed any alcoholic drinks at the concert. When asked if he has a drinking problem, Menor replied, “I definitely don’t.” No Senator Menor, you won’t until you’ve attended a few months’ meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Actor-comedian Bill Murray, 57, whose wife Jennifer Butler Murray has filed for divorce after more than 10 years of marriage, saying he is addicted to marijuana and alcohol. The complaint alleges that Murray “travels overseas where he engages in public and private altercations and sexual liaisons.” It also states he physically abused her and last November "hit her in the face and then told her she was `lucky he didn't kill her.'" The former “Saturday Night Live!” and “Ghostbusters” star said through his attorney, John McDougall, “he is deeply saddened by the break-up of his marriage.” How about this, Bill: your addiction has caused you to engage in idiotic, adolescent-like misbehaviors that caused the break-up of your marriage and if you get clean and sober the opposite in terms of behaviors and results will follow as day follows night.
Perhaps in anticipation of the Summer Olympics there were a surprising number of professional athletes and their relatives and fans who qualified for Top Story this month. Briefly, in no particular order:
Olympic gold medalist Tim Montgomery, 38, sentenced to 46 months in prison for his part in depositing $1.7 million in bogus checks. He has a child with former track superstar Marion Jones, 29, who is now in prison for lying about the check scam, which has turned their child, the most helpless of all their victims, into a temporary orphan. Montgomery still faces drug-dealing charges in Virginia.
New York Yankees fan Ivonne Hernandez, 43, charged with murder and DUI for allegedly striking and killing Boston Red Sox fan Matthew Beaudoin, 29, after a child-like argument over “which team is better” spilled outside a bar. Apparently, after some Sox fans sneered at a Yankees sticker on her car, Hernandez got into it, turned the key and accelerated “at a high speed for about 200 feet” before hitting Beaudoin and another fan who suffered minor injuries. I swear you just can’t make this stuff up.
Former NFL center Curtis Whitley, 39, who played for three teams during six tumultuous years in the 1990s, found face down and dead in his trailer home in West Texas. His history of obvious substance addiction included two suspensions for violating NFL drug policy, an arrest for DUI and a 26-day stint at the Betty Ford Center. His drug of choice was crystal methamphetamine. His life was boring for about a year after the Betty Ford stay; too bad it didn’t remain that way.
Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid’s son, Garrett Reid, 25, pleading guilty to smuggling drugs into his jail cell, which is where he landed after injuring a motorist in a heroin-fueled car crash last year. His brother Britt Reid, 23, is in a county drug-court program after pleading guilty to drug and gun charges. Andy and Tammy Reid have three other children who we never hear about, because they don’t engage in behaviors worth reporting.
Former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding, 37, offering an account of why she didn’t report her then-husband Jeff Gillooly for attacking her then-rival Nancy Kerrigan during the 1994 Winter Olympics. Harding says she planned to go to the FBI, but (she claims) Gillooly and two other men kidnapped her, held her at gunpoint, raped her and told her they would kill her if she didn’t help them lie about the incident. Harding was arrested for DUI at a .16 per cent blood alcohol level in 2002. We’re supposed to believe who?
Former NBA player Latrell Sprewell, 37, losing his $668,000 Milwaukee home in a foreclosure on his $320,000 mortgage. Perhaps best known for threatening to murder and then choking head coach P.J. Carlesimo during a December 1997 Golden State Warriors practice, in 2003 Sprewell made NBA history after making nine of nine attempts from the three-point arc. When the Minnesota Timberwolves offered him a three-year $21 million contract in 2004, “substantially” less than what his then-current contract paid him, Sprewell vented his outrage at the insult declaring “I have a family to feed” (just when we thought that egomania had its limits). This was followed by the worst season of his life in the last year of his old contract, after which Sprewell’s agent, Bob Gist, told Sports Illustrated his client would rather retire than take a drop in salary from $7 million to $1 million, which he called a “slap in the face.” In 2006, a 21-year-old woman alleged that while having consensual sex aboard his 70-foot yacht Sprewell began to strangle her; in a common alcoholic twist, Sprewell is now seeking a restraining order against the accuser, along with “civil remedies.” In 2007, Sprewell’s long-term companion sued him for $200 million for ending their relationship, claiming Sprewell agreed to support her and their four children, apparently in style and for the rest of their lives. In August 2007 Sprewell’s yacht, on which he owed $1.3 million, was repossessed. He reportedly owes more than $72,000 in unpaid taxes and his company hasn’t paid credit card bills in several months. Do any among us doubt that alcoholism is at the root of Sprewell’s amazing arrogance and personal, professional and financial problems?
And finally, in a truly supporting role, a former Woodland Hills, California swim coach, David Johnson, is being sued by a former student for having seduced her when she was 16 and he was in his 30s. Dagny B. as she is known in the suit, now 20, is also suing the Los Angeles Unified School District for negligence because, she claims, head swimming coach Steven Kalan and other school officials suspected what was going on and should have stopped it. In an unusual twist, Johnson admitted to having a “drinking problem” and that Dagny’s mother’s drinking “habits” bothered the girl. How about instead explaining that the mother’s alcoholism “affected her adversely,” made her feel like she was “psychologically and emotionally abandoned” and her destructive reaction to the alcoholic parent is just one of many fairly normal manifestations in a child?
Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson, 25, charged with operating a 30-foot boat on Lake Travis, near Austin, Texas with 15 passengers aboard while allegedly intoxicated and for resisting arrest after being stopped for a “random” safety check. He was pepper sprayed when according to police reports he refused to come ashore for additional sobriety tests, after allegedly failing tests applied on the police cruiser. Once in custody, he refused a breath test. Benson invited scrutiny by choosing to park his boat inside the lake’s most popular cove for drinking and partying and putting himself in the middle of an ongoing police crackdown on drunken boaters in the area. Misdemeanor “drug and alcohol” charges against Benson were dropped in 2002 and he was sentenced to eight days in jail in 2003 for a misdemeanor trespassing charge after forcing his way into an apartment to look for a reportedly stolen TV.
You may wonder why Benson isn't in the "Runners Up" section…it's because there are still too many unanswered questions.
According to a (white) witness from another boat, Tony Patch, Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) officer Sgt. Leonard Snyder (white) manhandled, hog-carried and pepper-sprayed Cedric Benson (black) without provocation. A friend on Benson’s boat, Elizabeth Cartwright, 22 (white), who is willing to present her account of events along with photographs of the incident, said he did not seem intoxicated and was not resisting arrest when he was pepper-sprayed. There are multiple problems and it’s probable there are multiple alcoholics. None of the others in the party of 15 on Benson’s boat has come forward, yet this was reportedly the sixth time in as many outings this year that Benson’s boat was boarded for “random” safety checks. What are the odds when we’ve got strong evidence that 20-50% of law enforcers (depending on the agency) are alcoholics and that alcoholism can take form in hatred and racism? On the other hand, according to the Chicago Tribune, “several boaters randomly interviewed Tuesday evening on Lake Travis said the LCRA officers generally are respected as responsible law enforcement officials who prefer to issue warnings rather than citations when they see violations to avoid spoiling recreational experiences for people.” Further, no racial-profiling complaints have been made in recent years about the LCRA, according to the Texas ACLU and other civil rights watchdog groups. Out of “457 total arrests made by LCRA police between 2004 and 2008, 94 percent of those arrested were white, 2.2 percent black, 2 percent Asian and the rest were unclassified.”
Enabler of the Month:
In case you missed it from the “runners-up” section above: Latrell Sprewell’s agent, Bob Gist, who told Sports Illustrated his client would rather retire than take a drop in salary from $7 million to $1 million, referring to the offer as a “slap in the face.”
Disenablers of the Month:
Detroit’s City Council, which has begun the process of removing Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office for (allegedly) lying under oath to cover up an extramarital affair with his Chief of Staff, Christine Beatty. The mayor, a Democrat, whose story was chronicled in the Top Story in last month’s TAR says the City Council is persecuting him for political reasons. However, the entire council consists of Democrats. Maybe lying under oath really does matter, even if the subject is “only” about sex. On the other hand, the council members may be simply sickened by Kilpatrick’s multiple shenanigans.
Porter, Indiana Superior Court Judge David Chidester was fed up with Stephanie Pochron’s repeated arrests for DUI, the latest one of which resulted in serious injury to her victim. Chidester ordered Pochron, age 30, to park her mangled car in front of her house in Wanatah, Indiana, for three years to serve as a reminder of the consequences of her DUI. Although the judge allowed the car to be moved after neighbors complained that it was an eyesore, Pochron, who blew an extraordinary .317 after the crash, pledged, “I’m never going to drink again.” Only time will tell.
Actor comedian Bill Murray’s wife Jennifer Butler Murray who, as related in the “runners-up” story above, didn’t mince words in explaining that the reason for divorcing him is his “addiction to marijuana and alcohol.” Good for her even though, if we truly want to educate the uninformed we might add, “and consequential gross misbehaviors”.
Sometimes, it takes an addict:
Writer Elaine Dundy, born Elaine Brimberg and married (1951-1964) to theater critic and New Yorker writer Kenneth Tynan, dead from a heart attack at age 86. Dundy was best known for her novel, The Dud Avocado (1958), and her memoir, Life Itself! (2001). The former chronicled a young woman coming of age through a series of alcoholic-fueled sexual misadventures in the decadent Paris of the 1950s, while the latter revealed, among other frothy anecdotes, her sexual exploits with Tynan, including having sex while being caned. She explained she stayed in the relationship partly because of a fear he would commit suicide if she left him and partly because of her own “sickness,” which she described as “the thrill of an accomplice collaborating at her own ruin.” However, it might be better explained by the abuse she suffered at the hands of her alcoholic businessman/philanthropist father, which may have made her comfortable with abuse, combined with her own alcoholism, without which she would have had little if any material to draw on for her story-telling. She also wrote a book on fellow alcoholic Elvis Presley, which the Boston Globe praised at the time (1985, after numerous other bio’s) as “nothing less than the best Elvis book yet.” After eight years of attempts at getting sober, she reportedly succeeded and stayed that way after 1976.
Note to family, friends and fans of the above: the benefit of the doubt is given by assuming alcoholism (they are either idiots and fundamentally rotten, or they are alcoholic/other drug addictswhich would explain the misbehaviors). If alcoholic, there is zero chance that behaviors, in the long run, will improve without sobriety. An essential prerequisite to sobriety is the cessation of enabling, allowing pain and crises to build. Thus far, many have done everything they can to protect the addict from the requisite pain, making these news events possible. The cure for alcoholism, consequential bad behaviors and, ultimately, tragedy, is simple: stop protecting the addict from the logical consequences of misbehaviors and, where possible, proactively intervene.
Review: “Prison Break” Seasons 1 and 2: Great Television
Many say we must be willing to suspend belief to appreciate “Prison Break.” I’m not sure that the numerous plot twists, coincidences, contrived sub-plots and absurd cliffhangers are any more incredible than the imprisonment of his daughter and their children by the Austrian, Josef Fritzl, for over two decades. It’s only when so much is combined into one riveting and mind-numbingly suspenseful series that we need to be willing to say, “To hell with reality.” Unless you prefer biographies, this is what great cinema is all about.
And “Prison” is great. The cinematography, writing, character development, plot progression and acting are superb. The suspense is on par with that of “24,” which is to say it’s something few should watch just before bedtime. More important for the addiction aware, when we begin to think one of the leads is acting out of character, a flashback explains why he acted that way.
Save one, none of the reviews I found, which average 5 and 4.5 stars for Season One and Two respectively at Amazon.com, mentioned addiction or its progeny, suffering at the hands of an alcoholic parent, as an explanation for the behaviors of any of the characters. As so often occurs in real life, this is true even when it stares us in the face. The one exception mentions “troubled” FBI agent Alex Mahone’s (played by William Fichtner) “pill-popping habit that makes him just unstable enough to be interesting.” But there are several other addiction-driven characters worthy of mention and study. (The rest of this review may not interest those who haven’t yet seen the series, but might when you buy the DVD. Warning: I include what some may view as spoilers. By the way, please let me know if you see a screw up or omitted character whose behaviors are portrayed as rooted in alcoholism. I wasn’t even considering writing a review until a bit over half-way through viewing Season Two, so I didn’t take notes.)
FBI agent Mahone is, indeed, a pill-popping, over-achieving addict. Although he is not given any choice in the matter and must win at any cost (track down those who broke out) to keep his family safe, his brilliance is equal to that of the main protagonist, the non-addicted Michael Scofield (a stoic Wentworth Miller) and the addicted Hugh Laurie character Dr. Gregory House in the TV series “House.” His uneven behavior, sudden mood swings, hidden stash of pills and short term withdrawals are classic addict. He isn’t quite the Sociopath of Gary Oldman’s fabulous portrayal of the pill-popping addict DEA agent Stanfield in the classic movie “The Professional,” but there are times he comes close.
Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell (Robert Knepper) is the psycho everyone who sees the show loves to hate. He’s an almost laughable caricature of a sociopath, who makes little sense until we learn that his alcoholic father not only verbally and emotionally abused him, but also committed sexual abuse.
Charles “Haywire” Patoshik (Silas Weir Mitchell) is a paranoid who suffered at the hands of an alcoholic father.
Dr. Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies) is a recovering addict who relapses as a consequence of enduring the stress of doing the unthinkablesurreptitiously helping Scofield and his brother, Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), escape from prison. She is portrayed as an intuitive feeler (Myers-Briggs), an Idealist (Keirseyan Temperament), which is consistent with her behaviors as both a recovering addict and a temporarily practicing one. I’m not convinced the brief relapse is realistic, but in the interest of keeping the plot going, the literary license is something I can live with. And she and Scofield create one of the great so far unrequited love stories ever.
Paul Kellerman (Paul Adelstein) plays another sociopath, who again makes no sense for those of us who know that addiction is usually at the root of horrific behaviors, until we learn that his mother was likely an extremely abusive alcoholic. When he attempts to assassinate the Vice-President, we are given the impression he is in his mind murdering his mother.
There are several other characters in whom overt addiction would be satisfying to the addiction-aware. These include Vice-President Caroline Reynolds (Patricia Wettig) and the sociopathic Bill Kim (Reggie Lee). Burrows, a petty criminal even if falsely accused (and set up to take the rap) for the Vice-President’s brother’s murder, should be portrayed as an alcoholic but is not. And the writers are on the verge of showing prison guard, turned bounty hunter, turned convict, turned bounty hunter Brad Bellick’s (Wade Williams) alcoholic drinking, but don’t quite get there. They may yet show the role of alcoholism in the evolution of some of these characters. However, considering I had no expectations, the writers should be excused for a failure to accurately portray everyone whose behaviors in real life would have been fueled by addiction. The series deserves a five star ranking regardless.
Brags about sex
I’ve been seeing a man who occasionally tells me about his past loves and the number of women he’s been with. Once in a while he tells me how great sex is when you’re high, even though he knows I don’t do drugs. When we’re not in bed every night, he tells me he is “used to having sex and lots of it.” I’ve told him I don’t want to hear this sort of talk, but he foams at the mouth anyway. We’re both in our 50s and have grown children from previous marriages. What’s your take?
. . . .
Some observers may suggest the fact that your boyfriend is desperate to impress you with his sexual history shows he is terribly insecure. They might tell you to point out if he were truly a sexual superman he wouldn’t brag about it, or suggest you simply laugh about it and that might take care of the problem.
Indeed, it could, only because you may not live to challenge his ego another day.
He already admits to serial Don Juanism and doing drugs. This suggests addiction and, therefore, egomania. You’re dealing with a likely drug addicted person and, therefore, someone who may be capable of heinous acts. He is courting you and, therefore, on his best behavior. Since addicts are like icebergs, there could be far bigger problems lurking just beneath the surface. If you challenge the ego of a practicing addict, you take your life into your hands.
Walk away. Quickly. Live to date another man.
(Source for story idea: Annie’s Mailbox, March 27, 2008.)
Asked by U.S. District Court Judge Gary A. Feess why he became involved in a robbery ring of rogue LAPD cops, Gabriel Loaiza responded, “I have no excuse. Just plain stupidity.”
Loaiza’s cousin Ruben Palomares, the ringleader, told Feess that he failed to face up to “problems” as a young police officer. Palomares, now 38, told the judge, “Instead of facing my problems, I ran from them.”
So wrote Scott Glover in an L.A. Times piece, “Rogue LAPD cop gets 13 years,” on the sentencing of both Loaiza and Palomares. As usual in the media, the focus is on symptoms (“stupidity” and “problems”) rather than root causes. Even recovering addicts years into sobriety make this mistake.
The trouble is journalists are limited in terms of offering opinions and how deep they can dig. The alcoholism-unaware might think that Loaiza’s lack of clear thinking occurred because he was young (more likely because he had an alcoholism-damaged brain). The uninitiated could easily incorrectly interpret Palomares’ “problems” as, “financial problems at home were the instigator” or some such nonsense (more likely because alcoholism causes problems; therefore, the problem was alcoholism).
The gang of cops committed about 40 robberies, attempted robberies or burglaries between 1999 and 2001, often while wearing police uniforms and brandishing weapons, netting some $1 million in cash and drugs. Palomares, Loaiza and others were finally arrested buying 10 kilos of cocaine from undercover DEA agents.
Drug Recognition Experts, the 20% or so of law enforcers who understand that alcohol and other-drug addiction is at the root of most criminal behavior, don’t discriminate among the people exhibiting such behavior. They know that the Loaizas’s and Palomares’s of the world are almost always addicts and that addiction causes what appears to be “stupidity” and “problems.” If journalists were to dig deeper into the lives of those who commit crimes, they could provide the crucial link between idiotic and criminal behaviors, “problems” and substance addiction that would serve to educate rather than perpetrate the seemingly countless myths of addiction.
Story from “This is True” by Randy Cassingham, with his “tagline:”
“SOMEHOW, THEY REMINDED HIM OF MOM: Dancers at a strip club in Tampa, Fla., called the sheriff about a customer. ‘It was the way he was acting,’ one said -- not just that he was intoxicated, but it was the baby. ‘I asked, 'Where's the mom?',’ the dancer said, but the man was ‘evasive’ about why he had the 6-month-old, and what he was doing with it. Finally, the man blurted out his plan: ‘I need someone to watch the baby for a week or two,’ he told the dancer, Minouche Eliasin. ‘I'll come back,’ he promised. ‘You guys are so nice. Thanks, I appreciate it.’ By then deputies had arrived and charged Robert Hancock, 44, with child neglect. (Tampa Tribune) ...Look, pal: it's a strip joint, not a baby-sitting service -- unless of course you count their regular clients.”
Luckily, the baby will live, but this is the sort of alcoholism that can cause a baby’s deathand unless Hancock gets sober, might still.
But Randy’s clever tagline speaks volumes about the mindset of the typical alcoholic. Regulars at strip joints are generally either collegians or alcoholics, or both. Emotional growth stops the day alcoholism is triggered, average age 13. When we consort with alcoholics, we deal with emotional adolescents. When drinking they indeed need babysittingif only to protect the rest of us.
(Story and tagline from “This is True,” copyright 2008 by Randy Cassingham, used with permission.)
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