Archive for December, 2009

Sober is the New Black in 2010!

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2009 by corecompany

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2009 END OF YEAR RANT.

I am sad to report that I still have a job. I am still the CEO of the core company and we still do what we do: intervene, manage crisis, consult on treatment options, manage a sober living, advocate for policy reform, produce a TV show. This is not really an advertisement to the four of you who read this, it’s a long way to let you know that addiction is alive and well and continuing to create havoc in communities, families, schools & work environments. With the Holidays in full swing and winding down, how did substance misuse impact you? Family fights? Car crashes? Overdose? Someday, I will teach history and coach baseball. I would like to think that will happen because my business is obsolete, more than likely, it will happen because I need a change. Fear not, I’m not going anywhere for a while.
THE HOT LIST:

1)   Michael Jackson: What’s to say? I hope bubbles is OK and isn’t stuffing his feelings with too many bananas. The man walked around with a chimp.

2)   DJ AM. Sad, sad, case. A great guy, tried really hard, lost his struggle.

3)   Britney Murphy: “Natural Causes”?  Huh? Well, technically cocoa leaves are natural.

4)   Mexican Blood Bath: More people have been killed in the Mexican border towns in the drug war than in Iraq. Talk about terror and right here. Where is the discourse on this? C’mon CNN, Fox, etc., lets see this discussed.

5)   Ted Kennedy: One of the Good Old Timers, never found recovery and what a tragic thing that was, what could he have been as a sober guy?

6)   Josh Hamilton: Great example of owning one’s own imperfections and trying to do better. Didn’t make excuses, didn’t blame, didnt minimize, showed that recovery and the people in it are imperfect and that for most is part of the deal.

7)   Diane/Daniel Schuler: Denial kills. Enabling does too.

8)   Dash Snow: A cliché of his own youthful arrogance and ego. Beautifully talented, brilliant young mind lost to the disease.

9)   Gil Kerlikowske: Is he with us? Is he not? Is he a reformer? Is he a cop? Where are you Gil? Great seeing you at the recovery rally, hope to see more of you in our sub-culture

10)  Redmond O’Neal: dismissed as an overindulged Hollywood brat, and lets face it, that is likely accurate. Also a very troubled young guy suffering from the disease and forever guilty at being absent from his mother’s passing.

11)  Chris Kennedy Lawford: Great work for the wretched of the earth. Who is dismissed more than poor people, afflicted with IV addiction and a rotting liver? I’m not sure. Great work coming forward and using lineage for the greater good. Keep it going, brother.

12) Levi Johnston. Addict? I don’t know. Child of addiction? Almost certain. His mother has multiple arrests on drug charges and his father is AWOL, bad idea for a young guy in the spot light and a new father himself to be self-determining. To add to the pain, impossibly stupid, gun-toting moose hunter hates him and enters into pissing match. Really, Governor? I mean resigned Governor. Call me anytime you want to talk about it Levi.

13) Tom Amiano: Someone had to do it. Someone had to say “Hey, let’s decriminalize Marijuana”. Well, lots of people say it but he wrote a bill, wears a suit, and is a legit city politician. Bringing it into honesty.

14) John Odom: Died of an overdose. How sad, where was baseball when this kid was spinning out?

15)  Michael Phelps: Whatever, he smokes weed. So? All I can say is don’t share yours with him. Can you imagine the bong hits that guy could take?

And so, it goes on, the reform, the fight, the tragedy and the redemption. Many, many, happy tales of how recovery and intoxicant free-living works. Maybe my New Year resolution should be to throw some happy tales in the mix.

Happy Sober New Year!

Posted in Current Events with tags , , on December 30, 2009 by corecompany

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It’s a freezing night here in Brooklyn, NY. Great night for some bloggin’. If I weren’t so tired. I wanted to post my ’09 wrap up, the Year in Alcoholism. No “Dear Reader”, you will just have to wait for that. Instead I leave you with a T-shirt, which, I will market on my website, not sure when… but it’s on the list. It’s right behind “loose 20 lbs”, “Go to mass”, and “end DEA stupidity and tyranny” but I’ll get there.

IT’S LATE NIGHT AT LOFT 107

Top 10 reasons to live sober:
10) AA meetings are the perfect place to look for your next failed relationship

9) Chances of meeting Dr. Drew are greatly increased

8)  Easier to glibly Judge Oprah for lack of personal insight into her food addiction

7) Keep at it for a year and open a high-end treatment center

6) Sober people almost always urinate into something

5) When you’re not holding, streetlights don’t feel like spotlights

4) Able to spew vague generalities as a ‘suggestion” for any situation

3) Rationalize anything by saying “but that is when I was in my disease”

2) Inappropriate romance just around the corner

1) Finally able to live up to Nancy Regan’s dream

The Duncan Roy and Dr. Drew Show

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , on December 20, 2009 by corecompany

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In a piece on “The Daily BeastDuncan Roy, asks “is Dr. Drew Pinsky a phony”? The short answer is “No”…however this raises a few other questions in my mind.  The most glaring question ‘Is Duncan Roy a narcissist”? – that would be a good one.  Midway through Duncan’s ramblings he states that he has rejected his “sprawling Malibu estate” for a Hollywood apartment, all in the name of his recovery. Imagine the dedication.

Roy is hyper critical of Dr. Drew. Does Dr. Drew deserve it? Maybe.  Maybe not.  What I can say having been in the dope fiend game a long time is that clients will always find something to complain about while in treatment. The arguments that Roy makes regarding his treatment sound like typical addict dissatisfaction to me. More to do with him than with Drew Pinsky.

Much of stabilizing sex addiction and being sexually sober is about victimization. Roy, who is in the movie business, plays the victim as he describes the coercive tactics of the a-moral and valueless producers who put this whole Sex rehab project together. Let me see if I understand this – some guys are trying to assemble a show about sex rehab with porn stars and they are less than virtuous? Huh? Oh, AND this is all happening in Los Angeles? Ok, Duncan Roy, where is the personal responsibility? What did YOU do to get yourself into this?

One of his main complaints about Dr. Drew is that he is an atheist. Roy quips, “more disturbingly, he (Pinsky) does not believe in God, a fundamental prerequisite for any 12 step program”.  First off, Dr. Drew is a professional helper, not a sponsor so why HE would have to believe in God to help people is more out of whack criticism. In other words, you don’t have to wear a bra to sell one, so what Dr. Drew believes or doesn’t believe is really not relevant. Additionally belief in God is NOT required for 12-step participation. In fact quite the opposite. Most people are searching for a belief in something that is “not God” at least not the micro-manipulative being that some imagine God to be.  There is a chapter in the AA big book called “We agnostics”. As far as I understand 12 step tenants, there is no belief in God required. It is a common experience to come into 12 step culture without a belief in God. It shifts into an understanding of not being able to control things. Like the Jesuits say “there is a God, and it’s not you.” Roy never really answers his own question. He indicts himself as a narcissist invested in blame and apparently, he doesn’t listen very well. Maybe his estate is too sprawling and the crashing Pacific drowns out the message Pinsky delivers. We can only assume that the estate is oceanfront.

Someone alerted me to the Duncan Roy piece and I was eager to read it. I thought it was going to be about the controversy of putting treatment on TV. Instead, Roy comes off as a self-pitying, victimized crybaby. Even complaining how he looks on the TV show he signed a contract to appear on (no mention of the armed guard who made him do it).

I have no idea if Drew Pinsky is a phony. I have met him a few times at various rehab events and he seems nice enough to me. I think he is a very well-meaning guy and as a kid, listening to Loveline, I found his absence of judgment to be inspiring. I admire his empathy and insight into knowing how damaging addiction is.  I think he gives really good information and I think he helps people. Does this all need to be seen on Television with porn stars? Maybe it does. Maybe it’s a bait and switch. Maybe Drew Pinsky is trying to give viewers a gossipy front and then filling them with factual information while he has their attention. Maybe I am trying to rationalize my own decision to Produce and be on a TV show about addicts. Maybe there are just no easy answers to any of this.

I was very conflicted about my decision to be on a TV show for a variety of reasons and I am reasonably sure that Drew Pinsky shared my conflict. My show is not as sexy as Drew’s, it is more documentary style and it is shot in the field, it’s not treatment, its crisis management. I hope we give good information and I hope we communicate that there is help. I imagine that is what Drew Pinsky hopes for as well. What I can say is that Sex Rehab is hugely popular which means Dr. Drew is communicating at a macro level. Other than my mother’s bridge group (who loved it by the way), I am not sure anyone saw our show. As usual, I don’t have any answers but I don’t think Drew Pinsky is a phony. I think he is genuinely well-meaning and caught in the vapid stupid culture of Los Angeles and the TV business. I think Duncan Roy is a crybaby and I hope he understands that recovery is all in the serenity prayer: God, Grant me the serenity to accept that things I cannot change (Dr. Drew) and the courage to change the things I can (Duncan Roy).

Any Universities Permitting Medical Marijuana?

Posted in Education with tags , , , on December 16, 2009 by corecompany

KDVR.COM reported today that Fort Lewis College has forbidden any marijuana on campus, even if someone has a medical marijuana license. The issue was raised after a student group asked that the penalties for Marijuana are the same for those who violate the alcohol policy. Help me Jesus!! Where to start……..A few issues jump out at me. Let’s begin with the obvious, even if someone has a legal right AND a doctor’s prescription they can’t consume their medicine? Ok, that’s fine, except what if you have a prescription for Zanax? How about Valium? Ritalin? Adderall? All of these are drugs of abuse but legal if they are prescribed. Is consumption of those substances forbidden on the campus of Fort Lewis College? Why is it that Marijuana users are singled out?  Adderall can be crushed, snorted, and has all kinds of routes of admission that make it highly addictive and dangerous. What if you have dental work? Can you take Vicodan on campus?  In other words: Chemo got you down? Well that sucks for you but don’t think you will be relieving your side effects on our campus,  you hippie – commie – pinko.  This makes no sense at all. The report didn’t state the penalties for alcohol violations but one could surmise that they are less severe than they are for Marijuana.  Who drafts this policy? What are they smoking?

I began to wonder what other schools did about this. If one attended Berkeley and had a prescription for Marijuana and had that prescription filled at a legal dispensary in Oakland, could you sit on Sproul plaza and smoke it? Beats me. It would seem logical that you could.  I selected to look at the drug and alcohol policy at the University of Iowa. Why Iowa? It seemed to be a pretty American place. There is no mention made of medical Marijuana, I have no idea if Iowa has legal medical Marijuana but I did read through the other policies. The residence halls at Iowa are all substance free (um, ok, Iowa). However if some of the kids did use something, let’s hope it’s alcohol. Why? Because if they get caught they are sent to a program at Iowa health. After repeated offenses they could be dismissed from the residence halls. Caught with Marijuana at Iowa? They call the police. What is this really saying? It’s saying, “use alcohol,” the penalty is softer; forget that it can kill you. My sense is that the policy at Iowa is common at other universities. It’s outdated and unrealistic (the residence halls are substance free), it follows generations old ineffective “just say no” rhetoric based on “tough on crime” logic that simply does not work.

Universities are important systems for progressive policy reform that makes sense. They need to lead the culture with this and lay the foundation for the next era which could stand a chance at ending the bloody, senseless and ineffective drug war.

The Solution to Supporting Addicts in Recovery

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , on December 9, 2009 by corecompany

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“Billions upon billions of U. S. taxpayers dollars have been spent over the years to combat the drug trade in Latin America and the Caribbean. In spite of our efforts, the positive results have been few and far between”.  So Says Eliot Engle, representative from New York, and author of a bipartisan bill that will create an independent commission to evaluate U.S. policies and programs aimed at reducing the supply of narcotics in the Western Hemisphere. Engle goes on to say, “Cleary the time has come to take a fresh look at our counternarcotics efforts”. No shit congressman.  How is it that the government does not know what any dope fiend can tell you? The drug trade is really very simple economics, it’s about as complex as a lemonade stand. To date the policies have tried to repeal the law of supply and demand because we don’t like the culture that surrounds people who like to get high. That’s my best guess anyway. Why we cherish people who swill booze and treat people who shoot dope like the unwashed, I will never understand.  The law of supply and demand is just one of those things, that seems to just be the way it is.  In other words, millions of people want to get high so somebody will meet that need/want or want that becomes need.

Engle, who is also a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on health, goes on top say “ To tackle our nation’s horrific drug problem, we can not simply look to solutions on the supply side”.  That’s a good thought and I am glad there is someone in Washington having it. The bill passed unanimously so it seems that Engle isn’t the only one having the thought.

Let’s not pull any punches. I think I should be on the commission. Actually, it’s not important that I am on the commission but it is important that the voice of recovery be heard. As a nation we have tried “just say no”, military tactics, incarcerating an entire generation, shooting people, shaming people, demonizing them, we have tried a lot, since Nixon made his declaration of war on drugs. What we have not tried is taxing, regulating, treating, and providing continuing care. Why not?  We have not tried to support people in recovery build the infrastructure to sustain their recovery. No, not really.  This should be national news, but it’s buried on the internet being read maybe by a few reformers. Well done Eliot, come on over to the loft, lets talk some policy reform, just don’t bring us wine when you come over for dinner because unlike most systems in America, we live intoxicant free. Is anyone in government the least bit curious as to how we do that?