Issue # 79 - Spring/Summer 2015

Viewing the news through the lens of alcohol and other-drug addiction

In a world gone mad, where politicians and their enablers lie almost unceasingly and words no longer have any meaning, you might think stories (and especially the Top Story) might be about one or more of the liars who tell us how to live our lives and spend our money (or would like to do so). However, while pathological lying is usually excellent evidence of substance addiction, it doesn’t always prove out—there are, after all, some just plain bad people—which is why we prefer to have excellent proof of addictive use before writing about addictive misbehaviors. The challenge is, as journalist Steven Waldman asserted (cited in TAR # 57’s Top Story, “Governing Under the Influence”), Washington alcoholics’ “aides protect them, the media shields them [and] reporters usually fail to cover the drinking problems….” While I would love to get the goods on some of the pathological liars for whom the evidence of addiction is in the lying itself, proof is too often elusive.

Hence, a potpourri of subjects in whom addiction is all-but certain, but who are not at the top of the food chain.

Welcome to the Thorburn Addiction Report in which we interpret the news through the lens of alcohol and other drug addiction. Each month, we bring you several sections, including:

1. Top Story of the month along with runners up, persons under watch, enablers, disenablers and more
2. Review or Public Policy Recommendation 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!

Addiction Report Archives here

© 2015 by Doug Thorburn

The blog is open to your comments. We’ll be interested in any thoughts you, our loyal readers, may have.

All four books are available on Amazon, and the two e-books are available in multiple formats on Amazon and IPG.

Addiction-Fueled Muslim Extremism Takes Form in Violent Crimes:
The Culture of Rape in Rotherham, England

Over the years, I’ve provided evidence that atrocities committed by anyone, including radical jihadi Muslims, are likely fueled by alcohol and other-drug addiction or serious co-dependency. In these virtual pages and my books I’ve shown that despots and cult leaders alike are nearly always substance addicts. Additionally, addicts are great salesmen who can frequently convince others into acting unethically and criminally; non-addicted children and young adults, under their hypnotic-like control, are also capable of monstrous misbehaviors. This is especially true of those abused as children. It’s also true of those who previously used drugs addictively but didn’t combine abstinence with the ego deflation required for true sobriety.

Without ego deflation, the behaviors of would-be recovering addicts can be just as awful as during active addiction. Often, one dangerous compulsion flips to another, perpetuating unethical and criminal behaviors albeit in different form. Misbehaviors, whether in active or inactive addicts, take countless forms: sometimes, it’s emotional abuse, other times, mass murder. Some addicts (whether active or inactive, but not sober) make false accusations; others commit grand theft. In some cultures, misbehaviors are more likely to take form as organized crime; in others, rape. Evidence shows that in some Muslim countries addiction takes form in greater levels of violence against women and girls. In some cases this takes form in the grooming of underage girls, in which emotional bonds are created in anticipation of violating the young girls. If authorities stand by and do nothing, ego inflation is always fueled and atrocities worsen as their number increases.

You wouldn’t expect rape of hundreds of underage girls to be tolerated, let alone swept under the rug, in England. But that’s what’s been happening in the sleepy city of Rotherham since the late 1990s—and only recently has the extent of these violent crimes come to light.

Jayne Senior, a “bored stay-at-home mother” started a youth organization for young-to-teen girls in 1999 in her home town of Rotherham, England. Many girls in her charge told stories of being befriended by Muslim British-Pakistani men in parks, arcades and fast-food establishments. The men picked them up in fancy cars, bought them cellphone cards and other gifts—and plied them with alcohol. The men eventually raped and sometimes prostituted the young girls. Although Senior began collecting details and reporting the crimes to regional police almost immediately, from 1999 to 2013 almost 1,700 girls, ages 12-15, reported abuse—with only five men convicted and three other arrests for which no charges have been brought. No one else has been charged or convicted over a 17-year period. And only recently has the widespread reports of abuse and cover-up received real scrutiny.

Separately, in response to several years of reported drug problems, Rotherham police hired a narcotics analyst in 2002 to map the growing regional drug trade. Not surprisingly, analyst Angie Heal found links between Senior’s child sex victims’ database and British-Pakistani gangs running the town’s crack-cocaine trade. She reported and updated those links to her superiors every six months, but quit the force in 2006 because authorities weren’t acting to staunch the drug trade and were ignoring the sex abuse altogether. Before leaving, she concluded: “Drugs gangs who were a clear danger to public safety were also a danger to young girls.”

Why would there be a connection between the drug trade and sex abuse? Usually, drug sellers are also users and addicts themselves, even if among the more functional ones. Addiction causes an inflated ego, compelling the addict to wield power over others; one way to wield such power is through the commission of crimes. Roughly 80-90% of criminal acts are committed by addicts, and such crimes often involve coerced sex. Environment, circumstances and culture can coalesce and result in addiction taking form in the rape of young girls. This may be the reason a 2013 World Health Organization study found the prevalence of intimate partner violence and non-sexual partner violence higher in Muslim countries than elsewhere—culture and addiction combined to fuel these crimes.

In the meantime, the culture of authority in Rotherham was such that the crimes continued and few offenders have been brought to justice. When national media began to get wind of what was happening, professor and former social worker Alexis Jay was asked by the City Council to examine the allegations. Her 2014 inquiry concluded that police, town leaders and senior managers underplayed the seriousness of the drug and sex abuse problems, “dismissed the girls as unworthy of their protection,” turned a blind eye and snubbed an advocate (Senior) they considered a gadfly. Jay determined officials viewed Senior as a “pesky outsider on a misguided crusade….[and] criticized her as lacking the academic credentials to identify abuse,” something I have shown can be a detriment to recognizing the reality of addiction and of addiction as the root cause of a multitude of other problems. The report, however, brought some much-needed light to these horrors and several authorities have recently resigned their posts, including the Rotherham police commissioner, the child-protective services head and the town-council chief. Since addiction causes impaired judgment, these three, Shaun Wright, Joyce Thacker and Roger Stone respectively, are “under watch”—their incredibly poor judgment in failing to act against the abusers suggests possible addiction or some or all of them.

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Runners-up for top story of the month:

While addiction is usually the root cause of the horrific behaviors of despots and cult leaders, proof is often elusive. Historians, biographers and journalists don’t have a clue; hence, they usually say nothing or, if they do, a comment proving addictive use is buried on page 160 of a book or the 28th paragraph of one article out of a dozen. However, James Traub, in his review in The Wall Street Journal of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan, tells us what we need to know early on. ISIS “traces its origin” to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a “semi-literate but very charismatic Jordanian thug.” Traub quotes the authors: “his first stint in prison was for drug possession and sexual assault;” he “bootlegged alcohol” and, according to Traub, he may have been a pimp. When he refused allegiance to Osama bin Laden (who I argue here was likely addicted to a variety of drugs) he splintered off to create his own sect of anti-Shiite Islam. Helping achieve this was his “long career of crime [that] had introduced him to a highly differentiated violent underworld.”

Traub provides another clue that much violence in Islam has its roots in substance addiction: “Many of the European ‘lone wolves’ who carry out attacks at home in the name of either ISIS or al Qaeda are, like the young Zarqawi, bored and alienated young men with giant chips on their shoulders who find in Islam a rationale for their violence.” I have long suggested that terms like manic, madman, unchecked emotions, mentally ill and “alienated” really mean “addicted.” That addiction has a crucial role in terrorism is consistent with the idea in the top story above, as well: religion alone doesn’t cause serious misbehaviors. Terrorism usually requires distorted perceptions and impaired judgment manifesting as egomania, caused by the introduction of chemicals—like alcohol and other psychotropic drugs—to the brain.

In what many are calling an act of terrorism, Dylann Storm Roof murdered nine parishioners in an Emanuel AME Church during a bible study. His actions are blamed on everything from “this is the face of evil” to “he watches things like Fox News,” from “mental illness” to “racism,” from “someone who wanted to inflict harm [having] no trouble getting their hands on a gun” to “he was motivated by hate,” from “Confederate flags” to “right wing media,” from “there’s a sickness in our country” to “public discourse…is sometimes hotter and more negative than it should be, which can…trigger people who are less than stable.” Yet, none of these “explanations” get to the root of what happened: “Roof is a pill popping druggie who experienced impaired judgment and distorted perceptions, which caused egomania, impelling in him a need to wield power over others, which he did in his own particularly horrific style.” Or, more simply: “Roof is a substance addict—and this is the sort of act addicts, almost exclusively, are capable of committing.” To pare it down even further: “Roof is an addict—no other explanation needed.” Everything else is a distraction.

Inanimate objects such as guns and drugs (or flags) are not to blame; the person on the drug with a gun is, for which the best defense is another person with a gun. It never ceases to amaze: conservatives oppose decriminalization of drugs, while leftists want to criminalize guns. How about acknowledging we cannot keep drugs or guns out of the hands of addicts and, instead, narrow the scope of the failed war on drugs to those who cause problems for others? If we do this, we can weed out the Dylann Storm Roof’s of the world, which will go far in preventing these senseless tragedies.

Alcoholic victims of the month:

Airbnb and Mark and Star King, who thought they were renting their Calgary home for the weekend to four adults attending a family wedding. Instead, a party bus brought at least 100 partiers, the aftermath of which was described by police as a “drug-induced orgy.” Neighbors contacted the Kings on Monday morning, asking if everything “was all right,” explaining police had responded to noise complaints at their home multiple times over the weekend. The Kings arrived home late Monday and, when they were finally allowed to enter (the Airbnb agreement confirmed the renters were legal tenants and the Canadian “Residential Tenancies Act” prevented entry until the rental period was up), they were “almost knocked over by the fumes” of liquor and marijuana. Bras, underwear, garbage, dirty dishes, old food, cigarettes and joints were strewn all over most open surfaces, including barbeque sauce found on the ceiling; garbage cans were full of condoms and wrappers; and “body fluids” were found throughout. Airbnb, which has a $1-million host damage guarantee and offered cleaning services and accommodations for the Kings while clean-up ensues, has banned the guest and “will offer its full assistance to law enforcement in [the pending] investigation.”


Misdiagnosis of the month:

William Hahne, 57, a former chemical engineer, pleaded guilty on charges of sending mail laced with synthetic hallucinogen NBOMe, which has an effect similar to LSD, to pals in the Joseph V. Conte Jail in Pompano Beach, Florida. Hahne’s lawyer, Glenn Kritzer, in asking for a lenient sentence, explained his client has “a long history of mental illness, including psychosis, [which] contributed to his track record of drug-related arrests.” Kritzer has cause and effect reversed: his drug addiction likely caused or triggered any psychosis.


Nearly-correct diagnosis of the month:

The same William Hahne told U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas, “I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you I will never do this again.” The judge, to his credit, asked whether Hahne used those words when he was sentenced to four years in 2004 for manufacturing drugs in a “sophisticated lab” in his home, an arrest that got him fired from his county job. The judge “weighed Hahne’s history of mental illness and his criminal history” to determine the sentence; he ordered Hahne to “receive treatment for his mental health and substance abuse problems” while in prison. Not bad, Judge Dimitrouleas, but Hahne has proven to society he cannot safely use drugs. Therefore, you have the right to do what you can to get him and keep him sober: proscribe use for Hahne as part of his sentence and as a condition of parole.


Some things you just can't make up:

Jonathan Restrepo, 25, jumped out of his girlfriend’s car into traffic and, according to a witness, ran “around like a monkey with his tongue out, waving his arms in the air, jumping on top of cars,” the last of which didn’t stop. Restrepo reportedly scrambled around the roof on his knees, looking through the window at what was reportedly a terrified driver. After police were finally able to stop the car, Restrepo jumped off and explained someone was after him, admitting he was using crystal meth, the drug that we addictionologists know most frequently causes addicts to engage in the most insane behaviors. In case you can’t visualize this, here’s the full video.

Chutzpah of the month:

Whitehouse, Texas Police Chief Craig Shelton, who intended to text only Officer Shawn Johnson with a threat against Johnson’s job—but instead group texted the message to most of the police force. Johnson allegedly beat “the [expletive] out of” Shelton for making sexual advances towards his soon-to-be ex-wife Jessica, from whom he is amicably separated.

It all began with City Manager Kevin Huckabee, Chief Shelton and a third unnamed person “consuming alcohol” early one evening and getting “lit up.” The group decided to see Jessica Johnson’s new apartment, where she had moved the week before; she assumed a friendly visit was intended, with her ex included. An intoxicated Shelton drove the threesome to Jessica’s, in uniform, in his city vehicle. Shortly after arriving, Shelton slipped into another room and texted Jessica he wanted to talk privately about her ex; after luring her away from the others he made sexual advances and inappropriately touched her. After an indeterminate time, he came to his senses, stopped, apologized and the trio left separately. Jessica called her ex, who came to her apartment; shortly after, Shelton inexplicably returned, which is when Johnson beat “the [expletive] out of” Shelton, resulting in a “sizeable law enforcement presence seen by neighbors….” In the aftermath, Shelton texted Johnson with a threat against his job; the text instead went to nearly the entire police force. Johnson was suspended, two other officers were suspended for reporting the night’s events to other law enforcement agencies, City Manager Huckabee suspended Shelton and then suspended himself pending action from the City Council.


Enablers of the year:

Guardian angels,” comprising several “high ranking” deputies and a lawyer or two, who have bailed Clayton County, Georgia sheriff Victor Hill out of trouble on multiple occasions. Since February, Hill has twice veered from his lane and struck other vehicles, once driving so erratically that a witness thought he was having a seizure. One of the side-swiped victims, who twice described him as so “wobbly” he might be “intoxicated,” was asked by a trooper, “Do you know who that is?” The woman had no idea but was told, “We got to keep this down. That is Victor Hill.” The troopers in both instances determined Hill was “not drunk.”

Most recently Hill was trying to teach his lady friend, real estate agent Gwenevere McCord, how to protect herself while holding open houses (when female real estate agents can be sitting ducks), at an impromptu session at an open house she was holding—where prospects could (and did) walk in. Instead, he shot her in the abdomen. According to Ray Saxon, director of basic training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, using a live round during a training is a “flagrant violation of common sense” and is not considered “accidental,” even if “unintentional.” Hill’s colleagues insisted that Hill is “extremely careful and methodical during training, removing the magazine from the gun and checking the chamber repeatedly before proceeding with exercises.” Then why was this time different? We might consider his recent two accidents as a clue, but also his demand for, according to “former” member of his “inner circle” Jonathan Newton, “cult-like loyalty. If you deviate from that, you will be dealt with, and not favorably.” Odds heavily favor addiction.

By the way you may remember the name Victor Hill. In 2004 he decided the time was right to run for Sheriff after only a two-year stint as a “popular” Georgia state legislator (most legislators agree it takes six to eight years to understand the nuances of the office); he won. He made national news on his first day as Sheriff, January 3, 2005, when he summoned 27 mostly white employees to the jail and took their guns and badges. Snipers “stood guard on the jail’s roof” as those fired were “were escorted out.” They quickly filed a lawsuit against the County claiming they were fired because of their race or because they supported Hill’s opponent in the 2004 sheriff’s race. Seven additional workers later joined in the lawsuit, claiming wrongful treatment by Sheriff Hill. Clayton County Superior Court Judge Stephen Boswell immediately ruled the employees “were fired without cause.” They returned to work about two weeks later and settled out of court in 2007 for $6.5 million in taxpayer funds.

Enablers of the decade:

U.K. Upper Tribunal Judge Jonathan Perkins, who allowed an immigrant criminal, convicted of more than 70 offences, to remain in the country because the criminal is an alcoholic. The Libyan man, 53, identified only by the initials “HU,” argued he would face physical punishment and imprisonment if he was extradited to Libya, where alcohol consumption is “illegal” although widespread. The Judge said HU has a “right to family life” in Britain and added he could not “take the high moral ground” and simply suggest that HU give up drinking. He explained HU has tried to deal with alcohol dependency for many years and has obviously been unable to: “The claimant’s history [of] addiction is such that he cannot abstain from consuming alcohol when alcohol is available.” Returning him to Libya would, Perkins ruled, “expose him to ill-treatment [and] interfere disproportionately with his private and family life.” What about the rights of others not to be victims of his crimes? What about the fact that HU’s alcoholism, because his love affair is with the bottle, prevents him from having any meaningful “family life?” At least the Home Office, the U.K. immigration authority, hasn’t given up. After this second attempt to deport him, they are appealing the decision, again. Who knows: with appropriate consequences, even in such an “impossible” case, HU might get sober.


Disenablers of the month:

Officials in Broward County, Florida, who fired veteran prosecutor David Weigel after learning he deliberately failed to file over 293 cases involving county ordinance and traffic violations, including 177 DUIs. We might suspect Weigel was only trying to hide his own cases or those of his fellow alkies.

English singer-songwriter Paul Weller’s wife Hannah Andrews, who gave Paul a credible ultimatum. Weller explained why he got sober: “I got bored with [alcohol and other drugs]. You know the cliché of feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired?....It got to the point where I just wanted to stop doing that, so I did….And the drinking—which I loved—became too much for me as well. It helped that another influence was my misses: she said I had to make a decision. It was either her or the bottle.” So, after saying he “just” got sober, the addictionologist might observe he didn’t just get sober; he got sober because of a credible threat of consequences. As story after story recounted in Drunks, Drugs & Debits shows, only when there are severe consequences or the credible threat of same do addicts ever tire of feeling “sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.” See how this works? Weller who started out with The Jam as lead guitarist and vocalist in the late ‘70s, has been sober since 2010 not because he “realized the drink was killing him,” as so many journalists say, but because of the ultimatum he received from someone he loves.

The 16-year-old daughter of Melissa Holloway, 39, who offered to drive her 12-year-old sister with their drunk mother to the store to get an outfit for the younger daughter’s sixth-grade graduation, despite not having a license to drive. When the daughter got in the driver’s seat, Holloway grabbed her and tried to pull her out; when that didn’t work, Holloway began hitting her daughter and the daughter fought back, telling deputies arriving on the scene it was in self-defense. Deputies correctly arrested mom.


Bad mom of the month:

Kana Querta, 25, who caused an accident and fled the scene. Querta was observed speeding, making unsafe lane changes and running red lights—all with an unrestrained child in the front seat, while police pursued. Once caught, she exhibited slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and a “strong odor of alcohol.” Querta was arrested on multiple charges of child endangerment, failure to stop at a collision—and aggravated DUI.


Bad parents of the month:

Chad Mudd and Joey Mudd, arrested for providing unique rewards for their 13- and 14-year-old daughters attending school and doing their chores: the kids could smoke pot and snort cocaine with the parents. Joey, 34, smoked pot with the daughters at least five times and Chad, 36, snorted cocaine with the two girls and one of their boyfriends. Worse: apparently the pediatrician’s office where Joey works doesn’t drug test. The parents are facing several counts of child abuse. There is no report on what creative incentives they will come up with next.


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, where possible, proactively intervene.

A Variety of Popular TV Shows Portray Alcoholism Accurately

Several popular TV shows fail to show addictive use of drugs in the portrayal of criminal perpetrators, including “Criminal Minds” and most episodes of the “Law and Order” spin-offs. While nearly all felons are alcohol or other-drug addicts, many shows lead the uninitiated to believe that any old Dick or Jane could have committed the awful crime(s) depicted. This is so wrong it can ruin an otherwise excellent show for the addiction aware.

Conversely, it’s a pleasure watching television in which the root cause of misbehaviors is identified as addiction; even a brief moment depicting the addiction may be all that’s needed to make sense of the characters and events. Several shows are doing a bang-up job of accurately portraying the addict: “Tyrant” (FX), “Mom” (CBS) and “Aquarius” (NBC). And, the recent “Kaitlyn” Bachelorette season (ABC) does so unwittingly.

In what may be too realistic for some, in “Tyrant,” created and directed by Gideon Raff (“Homeland”), Bassam “Barry” Al-Fayeed (Adam Rayner) and his American family reluctantly return to his home country, the fictional middle-East Abbudin, for his nephew’s wedding. His father, who rules Abbudin in semi-despotic fashion, dies during the wedding week and the “brutal and unstable” older brother, Jamal (Ashraf Barhom), takes the reins of power. Barry, in classic Idealist (for Keirseyan Temperament enthusiasts; iNtuitive Feeler in Myers-Briggs terms) fashion, tries to influence his brother to be a munificent ruler but slowly comes to realize his brother is capable of atrocities. Early on, after showing enough alcoholic consumption required to prove addiction, we addictionologists know what Jamal is capable of—and he has not disappointed. Barhom’s portrayal as an erratic alcoholic despot is perfect, while Rayner’s portrayal of an Idealist is among the best I’ve ever seen.

“Mom,” produced by Chuck Lorre of “Two and a Half Men” fame, follows the travails of two recovering addicts, Bonnie and Christy Plunkett, a mom and daughter duo played by Allison Janney and Anna Faris. How Lorre is able to fill scenes with so much comedy is as much a testament to his writers (and he is often one of them) as to Faris, who ranks among the greats of comedy and comedic timing. The portrayal of two very different recovering addicts is also second-to-none for those aware that there are as many styles of addiction and recovery as there are addicts on the planet. Bonnie’s relapse in season 2 is perfect in every way, from the simplest of triggers to the inability of her closest AA friends to see what is all too obvious to the addiction aware. (The late David Keirsey admonished, “observe behaviors” to determine Temperament; I simply applied the idea to alcoholism.)

“Aquarius” stars David Duchovny as Sam Hodiak, an LAPD detective, investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl who, he comes to find, has succumbed to the charms of a young Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony of “Game of Thrones” fame). While there is little shown (so far) to suggest Manson is the full-on substance addict his behaviors indicate, Hodiak is a recovering alcoholic whose past included beating up his estranged alcoholic wife. In one of the early episodes Hodiak’s relapse takes shape in don Juan-ism, lying and having others, including female detective Charmain Tully (Claire Holt), lie about a cop shooting. This prompts a classic exchange, where Tully tells Hodiak, “My father is an unreliable, morally ambiguous, charming drunk.” Hodiak asks, “So?” to which Tully responds, “You know what you smell like to me? Home cooking.” Indeed. Wherever we observe charm in conjunction with moral ambiguity and unreliability, addiction should be suspected; we’ll usually find it.

“Aquarius” also reminds us that the current anti-police mentality is not the first time in U.S. history honest citizens have had to stand by in horror as good cops are attacked. The “anti-pig” attitude of the late ‘60s was breathtaking in scope. The lead hippies of the generation were, no doubt, mostly (if not all) alcohol and other-drug addicts; the “liberal” leftists/statists leading the fray today are no doubt the same, as they give excuse after excuse for addicts committing crimes (see: Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown) and convince codependent followers that cops are the bad guys.

The “Bachelorette” follows one woman (this season Kaitlyn Bristowe), as she tries to find “true love” by dating a group of single men. The season started out with a bang, as Ryan M. (the “junkyard specialist”) got so stinking drunk the first night he was “asked” to leave. He engaged in classic alcoholic behavior: belittling others, frequently a great clue to addiction even if nothing else is observable. “The place is dead anyway,” he snivels, when he is the only one jumping into the pool in his underwear. When Shawn E. arrives in his “hot tub” car (a convertible with welded doors, filled with water), Ryan does it again: “[Your] car sucks.” When Shawn suggests they talk inside, Ryan responds, “No we won’t. You suck. Now I’m the bad guy?” In typical narcissistic alcoholic fashion he says, referring to the other guys, “They really love me.” I’ve long suggested videos of alcoholics acting badly may be part and parcel of the most effective interventions; it will delight the addictionologist in me if he shows up on the “men tell all” episode near the end with a story of “trying sobriety.”

Since 10% of us consist of alcohol/other-drug addicts, we know there are likely at least one or two additional drunks among the 25. We would not be disappointed. Kupah (“entrepreneur”) was almost assuredly under the influence when he was thrown off the show the 2nd week, which would explain his truly bizarre and erratic behaviors that night. I’d suggest Tony the “healer,” (who seemed to me—how to put it—“off”), JJ the manipulative “former” investment banker and JJ’s now former friend Clint, the architectural engineer with whom JJ had a fabulously weird bromance, belong in the “under watch” category. I’d also look to software sales executive Nick’s behaviors, which are attention-seeking, both this season and last (“Andi’s” season) as suggestive of substance addiction. If nothing else, he’s simply creepy (and what Kaitlyn sees in him is beyond me).

The naiveté of the other bachelors towards Ryan M’s obvious alcoholism was stunning, even if normal. Tanner said (paraphrasing), “The whole situation with the cameras and two bachelorettes got the best of him and he let the alcohol take over.” He tried to talk some sense into Ryan and said, “I think Ryan’s having some fun; he likes to drink.” Brady (who also left the first night, but only because he went after rejected bachelorette Britt) said, “There’s a certain gentleman who’s enjoying himself quite a bit tonight.” Corey said, “I don’t know how much he drank before he got here, but he’s the guy.” Jonathan: “Alcohol takes over some people and kind of gets in the way and only amplifies your actual personality.” Commenting about Kaitlyn’s warning to Ryan, “Hey Ryan, don’t touch my ass again,” Clint commented, “It’s just immature.” Yes, but it’s rooted in alcoholism, without which the immaturity would be much less likely. Alcoholism doesn’t amplify the personality—it changes the personality, and Ryan is “enjoying” himself only as an alcoholic can when that amped up. He likes to drink because it makes him feel like he’s God; he didn’t let alcohol take over because everything got the best of him—it took over because his biochemistry processes the drug in a way that causes him to act like God.

Oddly, JJ was the only guy who got it right: while implying at first he could “fix” Ryan, he told him, “The bar says they have another drink for you.” After asking, “I’m just curious, why are you taking your shirt off?” he spelled it out: “I think you’re a drunk and an alcoholic.”

(For Myers-Briggs/Keirseyan Temperament enthusiasts, I suspect Kaitlyn is an ENFP—the most effervescent of Idealists—likely with an Artisan parent (or two). Her verbiage commonly includes perfectly Idealist lines including, “All I want to be is true to myself.” Words others use to describe her include “genuine,” which is a trait and undying need of Idealists. Host Chris Harrison told Kaitlyn, “When I told you [that] you were the Bachelorette, the first thing you did was you went to Brit,” who was the competing Bachelorette for the first night only; this shows an Idealist’s measure of caring and concern. While many of the date activities she chooses suggest she is an Artisan—and she’s a dance instructor, a typically Artisan occupation—Idealists often look and act like other types. This is especially true as a result of trying to please parents with Temperaments different from their own; Idealists are so good at emulating them, I’ve seen questions to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator answered as their parents would have responded.)

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Other columnist thinks explosive boyfriend can learn to control his fuse. Think again.

Dear Doug:

My boyfriend of ten years, with whom I’ve been living for two, has always struggled with depression, anxiety and anger. He occasionally explodes and throws things and punches or kicks inanimate objects.

I know this is serious, especially after he recently threw a potted plant across the room when I “disturbed his process” while he was making dinner. After this outburst, he set an appointment with a therapist and promises he will stop drinking. Still, while family and friends agree that underneath he’s a good guy, they tell me to leave him.

I don’t want to give up on him, especially now that he’s seeking treatment. Am I an idiot for not walking away?


Wants to stay


Dear Codependent,

Other columnists might suggest that you focus on you rather than trying to save him. However, now that your boyfriend is seeking help, they’d tell you to visit the therapist together and ask the therapist whether it would be better to live apart while he works on his “issues.” Such other columnists miss the underlying problem.

The promise to “stop drinking” is key. If drinking can be connected to the awful misbehaviors some of the time, drinking must be assumed to be the root cause of all the other issues. Every story of recovery includes an ultimatum, a credible threat of consequences. If you want a future with this man, who is no doubt a wonderful guy deep down as everyone says, you must provide that ultimatum. Note that it may or may not work, and certainly won’t if he doesn’t think you will follow through. You must tell him he needs not a therapist, but AA or another treatment for alcoholism (AA is by far the cheapest). If you stay with him, tell him up front you reserve the right to test his blood alcohol level at any time (breathalyzers run an inexpensive $25 or so) and do random other-drug tests using test kits any pharmacy can provide (at about $30 each). Should he fail, for any reason whatsoever, you leave. That doesn’t mean the relationship ends, however. After being with him for ten years, this could be a process in which he slowly realizes you will no longer enable. Hopefully, his love for you will prove greater than his love for the drug, as was the case for Paul Weller, whose classic story is briefly recounted above, under “disenabler of the month.”

(Source for story idea: “Dear Abby,” April 20, 2015.)

TV Show "Tyrant" and Addiction

Wikipedia reports numerous misunderstandings and myths of the FX show reviewed above, “Tyrant,” accounting for the “mixed reviews” the show has received. According to Wiki, Rotten Tomatoes (giving season one a score of only 6.2 out of 10) says the show “thrives as a biting family drama…” but never mentions the reason how or why it’s a “biting drama” or a political one as well.

Wiki posits the main problem with the series is Adam Rayner’s (younger brother Bassam “Barry” Al-Fayeed, the iNtuitive Feeler, or “Idealist”) “lackluster” performance and lack of charisma. But of course: he’s not a “larger than life” alcoholic, without which charisma often is non-existent. Blindsided both by events and his brother’s misbehaviors, he’s stunned—and with that, at least initially, comes paralysis. The evolution from this to taking action is gradual, but expected for someone who doesn’t grasp the fundamentals of substance addiction (nearly everyone). It takes time for the uninitiated to realize the extent of problems addiction causes, especially among blood relatives.

The rave reviews the show does receive are for the wrong reasons. Ashraf Barhom, playing older brother Jamal Al-Fayeed, is praised for bringing a “smoldering intensity to the role and practically drips with testosterone,” but the critics don’t mention the alcoholic egomania driving his intensity and testosterone. The criticism the show received for his rape of his son’s bride-to-be says that it serves only to add “edge” and “atmosphere.” No it’s not; the rape is meant to show that as an addict, Jamal is capable of anything. One critic complains the scenes “leave a bad taste in the mouth.” Indeed: that’s precisely what alcoholic misbehaviors are supposed to do.

If the critics understood addiction, this magnificent portrayal of an alcoholic dictator would scare them in its realism.

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

Dance Fever: A woman called for sheriff’s deputies in Naples, Fla. When they arrived, she told them she had been in a bar, ‘dancing with Jim Carey in the Batman costume,’ and wanted them to ask the bartender why he threw her out. Deputies told Rachael Austin, 40, that she was too drunk to drive; the bartender at Jack’s Bait Shack reportedly said Austin had been ‘harassing the men at the bar,’ so deputies told her that they were going to enforce the ouster. Austin allegedly flicked a lit cigarette at a deputy, hitting him, and started fighting them, screaming that she was ‘mafia and married to [a] man in the FBI from New York.’ Deputies were not intimidated by either claim, and charged Austin with battery against a law enforcement officer, and resisting arrest. (RC/Naples News) ...Warning: chemical-induced confidence may not work in the sober world.”

“Chemically-induced confidence” is part and parcel of an inordinately large sense of self-importance, or inflated ego. Flicking a cigarette at a sheriff’s deputy, fighting them, letting them know how important she is (“married to a man in the FBI from New York” as opposed to a scumbag in Perris, California) are examples, any one of which would have indicated alcoholism. Of course, so is “harassing the men at the bar,” hallucinating or lying about dancing with “Jim Carey in the Batman costume” and being kicked out of a bar. (How many women are kicked out of bars?!) Rachael Austin is a classic case of someone in need of recovery before tragedy happens.

Read more on this amazing story here.

(Story and tagline from “This is True,” copyright 2015 by Randy Cassingham, used with permission. If you haven't already subscribed to his newsletter—the free one at least, or the paid one I get, with more than twice the stories—I highly recommend it:


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