The Denial and Destruction of Diane Schuler

denialDavid Lowe, April 1994

Denial Kills! It’s that simple, when it comes to dealing with alcoholics and addicts. I should know, I run a company that deals with all kinds of situations, usually when people are in crisis. Sometimes people come to us when the warning signs are there and our counsel is generally the same ‘do something now before the crisis hits.” Sometimes they do, more often than not, they don’t. It doesn’t always produce a tragic consequence but when it does, there is no satisfaction in being “right”. We have many examples of car accidents, overdoses, all kinds of horror stories that may have been avoided were it not for denial, the denial of the addict themselves but as damaging as that is the denial of the people around them. There is an old story about a woman standing graveside after the death of her son. A friend said, “Did he ever think of going to AA?” and she replies, “Oh, it never got THAT bad”

In his first public statement since the tragic accident, Daniel Schuler seems more vested in telling the world that his wife was not an alcoholic than anything else. He has blamed everything imaginable: some bump on her leg, diabetes,  the boogeyman (not really, but you get the point).  Despite simple toxicology that demonstrated his wife should not have been vertical much less driving, Schuler claims he ‘never saw her drunk”. I don’t believe he never saw her drunk; I do believe he never acknowledged she was drunk, that’s a big difference. At this point I don’t think his psyche will let him believe that  Diane Schuler was anything but a “perfect wife” and it certainly won’t let him believe that his co dependency is culpable in this tragedy as well.  The consequences of her actions have cost others their lives, her family is in denial (although her brother failed to mention her at the funeral for his 3  daughters so he may be open to the theory that she had a problem) and until that veil of secrecy is lifted they will remain secluded and isolated in denial.  The families of the victims in the car she plowed into have no problem seeing the truth and deciphering the toxicology reports clearly – she was drunk and stoned, she choose to get behind the wheel of a car and those actions killed their loved ones.

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5 Responses to “The Denial and Destruction of Diane Schuler”

  1. Interesting insight. Thank you… but like the mother at the graveside, how do we see beyond denial before it’s too late? For many, asking for help isn’t easy, especially when you are the caregiver to many.

    And by the way, why did Schuler’s husband have the good/bad fortune of riding home alone in his truck (oh, right, he had the family dog). I might be driven to drink if I had a car-load filled with little kids after a weekend of camping. Mothers sometimes need a break, that’s no excuse AT ALL for behavior like Diane Schuler but clearly, she needed help.

  2. Your right about the denial. From what I’ve read, it appears her husband’s not the only one in denial. It appears people are having a hard time thinking of her as the face of an alcoholic-drug addict. In fact, on another blog, someone suggested real alcoholics and addicts would have left without the children. It’s a sad story.

  3. What does this woman have to do to be identified as an alcoholic? kill someone? (or 8)

  4. Diane Schuler is like the drunk drivers Norman Wesley Bagley and Theodore Robert Eshom that involved the head on collision (with another two people in them) and all four of them died. Forgive Norm and Ted.

  5. What a great article. This is exactly how I feel about this whole situation and I am not an expert by any means. I think it’s clear that by the way Daniel spoke of his wife, being so positive that there was absolutely no way ever that she could have been in the condition she was. He wasn’t there so he doesn’t have proof she didn’t drink or smoke in that car. If he would have left a little window of possibility that she could have, then he’d be more believable. To state without a doubt, shows he’s in denial. At first he said she wasn’t a drinker/smoker, then he admited she did. ALso, like you mentioned about the medical excuses he made….it reminded me of a child who is in trouble and tries to think of things that could be a reason for the occurance. It has to be hard on her husband, all of the guilt, the denial, the deaths are all on his shoulders. Yet at the same time, he needs to come clean.

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