Archive for January, 2010

Jose Pena and Cesar Rodriguez Arrested for…..Candy!!

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by corecompany

Jose Pena and Cesar Rodriguez were headed to a party on the night of January 15 in NY. Through a series of events, they were arrested and charged with possession of crack. As it turned out, they were in fact holding…….holding candy, which as far as I know isn’t a crime. It took the NYPD five days, FIVE DAYS!! To let them out and acknowledge the mistake.

Since the 80’s when the politically correct culture killed straightforward honesty along with irony and humor, people are afraid to say what’s on their mind. As I have said many times, I don’t think any drug issue gets better without honesty and so, I will, without reservation, express my honesty, my reality and my view of this. I shouldn’t have to explain that but along with honesty, humor, and irony, political correctness took with it the ability to differentiate between fact and opinion. Let’s face it, these men were arrested and charged with drug possession because they are not white, I don’t know what they are (Puerto Rican, Dominican maybe?), but white from Greenwich, they are not. This case underscores the waste, overt racism and futility of the drug war. The racism is so blaring it may be trying to hide in plain sight. I promise you this does not happen to white people. Maybe there are exceptions to prove that rule but that would be a very rare exception.

Before we get all bleeding heart and mushy, it is easy to see the NYPD’s point here. I am sure the substance looked like a rock and we wouldn’t want anyone to get high in any way other than with the Government’s blessing. So some Puerto Ricans are in the ‘hood and looks like they are holding a few rocks”, in this climate the NYPD had little choice but to enforce the law. Sure they were told that it was candy and I am sure the NYPD had heard that one before. It would be easy to dismiss the officers as racists but the truth is, they are an agency stretched too thin and one reason is because they are trying to enforce drug policy that makes no sense.

What is the net result? These poor guys from the Bronx spent 5 days in the Monkey house for no good reason, the NYPD looks like the Gestapo, and everyone who wanted to get high got high. I hope whoever ate the candy brushed their teeth after. What will this cost the tax payers in time, man power, community relations, and of course the law suit coming down the pike? Do we, as a culture really accept this situation? Do we accept policy that incarcerates law-abiding people and makes a mockery of the NYPD? Why? Why do we accept this? I don’t, so my blog and I will continue to fight this stupidity. Isn’t this America?

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Benoit Denizet-Lewis and Tiger Woods

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , on January 21, 2010 by corecompany

I first met Benoit Denizet-Lewis a few years ago at the recovery schools conference in Nashville, he was one of the key-note speakers and I was immediately impressed with is take on recovery which underscores our lack of knowledge of addiction. His book, “America Anonymous” was an impressive piece of work, journalistic in style and non judgmental, not offering any easy solutions (Just, say no!) to a complicated problem offered. With so much out there offered as an answer or even a “cure” (That guy by the way should have a serious assessment for sociopathy or at the least stick to real estate development), Benoit is an important voice in our culture and he has real, um, well, balls, to self disclose a sex addiction. Something that is still snickered about like we are in a 5th grade class but is a very serious way to derail a life nevertheless.

The past few days Benoit has been in the media commenting on Tiger Woods as a sex addict.  There is even confusion about whether of not Denizet-Lewis broke the story. I don’t know who broke the story or where Woods is being treated, if he is being treated or what he is being treated for. Already I have received phone calls that Benoit “outed” Woods, I don’t think he did, I think he has a deep respect for recovery and the privacy some people need as part of their process.

There are larger issues here. Is Woods a sex addict? Beats me. He likely meets criteria. In my mind, he is young, rich, famous, and he travels. It seems likely that he would have ample opportunity to have issues with boundaries about his sexual behavior. Whatever his story is, I hope he does well and I hope he finds what works for him.

From a cultural perspective, this is an opportunity to discuss addiction, and its many forms, in a real way. Benoit has a good take on addiction and the damage it does. I say, let’s hear his voice.

Legalizing Marijuana in California

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , on January 14, 2010 by corecompany

California, took another step closer to legalizing recreational use of Marijuana. A 4-3 vote by the assembly public safety committee kept the bill moving. Jared Huffman (D. San Jose) summed the baby step up pretty well, voting for the measure but distancing himself from it. In a bold statement, Huffman declared, “I don’t want my kids to use it”. Solid parenting assemblyman. I am not sure that anyone wants a kid, whose brains are like wet cement to use a dangerous psycho-reactive drug but that is not what the legalization movement is about. To me it’s about honesty. “Of the people, by the people, and for the people”, well, the people like to get high, relax, unwind, whatever you’d like to call it with cannabis. Should we make our own people criminals because they would like to do that with cannabis rather than alcohol?

One of the dissenting votes called the 1.4 billion dollars in potential tax revenue “blood money”.  What would the money spent on incarceration and paramilitary tactics be if taxing and regulating is blood money?

In my own smug way I like to distance myself from the marijuana smokers. For a variety of reasons, I have been intoxicant free for nearly 13 years but in all that time, I don’t think I have gathered the opinion that everyone should be. It’s really not my business, and frankly, I find the marijuana culture insultingly stupid, complacent, and boring, but I don’t think we should shoot people because they like it or want to participate in it.  So if any of you hippies are out there reading this are thinking we will be friends, forget it. Just play with your xbox in your apartments and let me be your champion from up high, from my lofty perch.

To me, legislating people into a specific intoxicant goes against the foundational ideas of America. When did we become a nation of judgment and shame? Bay area politicians hemming and hawing and apologizing for their vote?  Good work with the vote but why not sound off like you got a pair, step up and have an opinion. Is that so hard?

Love The One You’re With!

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , , , on January 11, 2010 by corecompany

Tonight I received an email from Benoit Denizet–Lewis about an interview piece he has posted on The daily beast where he interviews Brad Lamm, interventionist and author of “How to Change someone you love”.  Benoit thought I may be interested and he was right, I was.  I have been asked about this book a few times and in all fairness I have read nothing other than the title, but the title is enough to comment on.  To start it is Al-Anon blasphemy.  Depending on how many are sold, the book is bound to make some 12-step waves. I’m not in publishing but they are offering a free copy at the author’s book signing in Dallas so I don’t think they are flying off the shelves so maybe it won’t be a massive earthquake in the 12-step world.  Paradigm in tact!

On one hand I admire Lamm’s willingness to challenge what really does not work all that well. I don’t think we really understand all that much about addiction, how to intervene or treat it. Hazelden has been an industry leader and pioneer and they do great work and have for generations but I think they could use Vatican II. In principal, doing something different is a good idea. I think addiction is very individual and impacts every family, community, and person differently so yes, let’s try something new, let’s try many new things. Is this worth trying? Telling people they can change someone they love? Does it work in reverse? In other words can an active addict use the step by step approach to change the one’s they love? Change them into seeing the world as the addict does? Changing someone is a dicey proposition, to start, it sets up a ‘better than” dynamic. The “better than” person must be worthy of changing the “less than” person. As far as I have seen, competitions about right and wrong never go very far when trying to sort out an addiction. Additionally, what if you don’t like that your loved one is gay? Clearly not the same as a life threatening addiction but to some, being gay is risking eternal damnation. Will the plan change that? How about not liking your son’s shiksa wife? Taste in furniture? Political affiliation? Where is it that this ability to change people ends?  Of course I am a die-hard libertarian and even as an interventionist, I never enter into it with ‘correction” on the agenda. I don’t think addiction is a crime that needs to be punished or changed. I think addiction is a very painful experience, hurtful to the addict and the people around them but it is still mala prohibita, bad because someone says it is. Of course it is hard to watch someone kill him or herself with an addiction but not watching is a choice as well.

In my experience, change comes as a reaction to change within us. People change when we change, when we set limits and are consistent with the limits. Is that the only way? No, but it may be the most effective way. It’s similar to 12-step participation, as far as we know, it’s what works the best for the most, so let’s do that. As far as we know, changing ourselves is what works best in supporting change in others. I will read the book, but it’s unlikely I’ll be changing my approach to the problem.  I say it all the time, often to girlfriends of cocaine addicts, “yes, everything you say about him is true, but have you considered a boyfriend who doesn’t use cocaine?” Some people are addicted to trying to change people. Oh, where does this stop?

If anyone is out there in blog land thinking about trying to change a loved one, consider this. It seems to be an act of self-love (still a loved one) to focus the efforts to move toward change to oneself. Someday, after the t-shirts, starting a recovery high school, losing 20 lbs (ok 25), reorganizing the drug war and all the other things on my list I will write a book and maybe the title will be “How to accept the addict you love for their inherent worth and value even though you may not ever approve of their choices and understand that you can set limits to protect yourself from the things you don’t like” Seems like a long title, I think I need an editor.