Texas Rangers Win World Series

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , on November 8, 2010 by corecompany

NYC is the only city in America, maybe the world, without an inferiority complex. Of course we think we should win the world series every year. There was no joy in the Bronx today, the Yankees were beaten, soundly, by the Texas Rangers.

A few short months ago, Texas manager, Ron Washington put his job in jeopardy by turning up positive for cocaine. Of course people were calling for Washington to be fired and for “zero tolerance” policy in sports because after all, what kind of example does this set? Children are watching and learning so what kind of example did the Texas Rangers led by Nolan Ryan set? A very good one actually.

Nolan Ryan stuck by Washington, apparently, the Texas Rangers don’t quit on people when they present with alcoholism and chemical use disorders. The series MVP was Josh Hamilton, who has very publicly struggled with his alcoholism, sometimes losing the struggle but always being forthcoming about his mistakes, not blaming anyone and getting back on the beam. Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers, by design or maybe default, have an excellent policy and program, they give second chances to addicts and the result, this time, was spectacular. A coke snorter and an alkie are going to the World Series, imagine that. Take this is an example of the possibility of what stable addicts can achieve.

As if this weren’t cool enough for our people, the system shows genuine understanding and support by spraying each other with ginger ale, unprecedented in the alcohol fueled sports world. I am a dedicated Yankee fan, but tonight, live from Tokyo, I am genuinely happy for the Texas Rangers and I might be the only one to see this as a victory for the recovering community but there it is. Somehow, I think Nolan Ryan knows something about all of this. He should give MLB a seminar.


Courtney Love and Recovery

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , , on October 24, 2010 by corecompany

Iconic grande dame of rock and roll Courtney Love played at the recovery rally, a celebration of recovery from drug abuse recently in NY. Love is known for her on and off stage antics, largely connected to her long time on and off recovery. Love has had a stormy history including the suicide of her husband, Kurt Cobain. It’s been a very public experience, one that easily asks the question, is she an example of recovery?

The media has long been telling the same story about recovery, the same story arc of fall from grace, lesson learned, never did it again. It’s a fine story, the kind that after school specials and Republican social policy is made of, not to mention the DARE program. Is there anything wrong with this message? No. It’s a happy tale and representative of about 2 percent of people currently in remission from addictive disease and some of them may be lying.

In a way, Courtney Love is the perfect recovery story and one that is closer to more stories than the media approved neatly tied up story. She has been up, down, in rehab, stable, funny and charming, glimmers of artistic brilliance consumed by tragedy, back recording and touring, fall again, loved, hated, the story continues. Most of us don’t live our lives under the watchful eye of the media nor do we have the unique life of Courtney Love. At many levels, she is an inspiration, she reduces the shame that many addicts feel by letting us watch her very flawed and imperfect life, she gives misfits permission to live, to feel they have a place in a complicated and often isolating world. So yes, Courtney Love is a role model for the recovering community, and I enjoyed her show and was there to say thank you for advocating for our cause.

Deciphering the War on Drugs

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , on October 13, 2010 by corecompany

I was in a hotel room in Canada recently. Mercifully, I found an old movie to watch amongst the bizarre Canadian programming. The movie was from 1972 and was adapted from a Joseph Wambaugh novel, “The New Centurions” starring George C. Scott as an LAPD police officer who develops his own brand of justice, which is a mixed bag, but he defends the rights of the immigrants and protects them from an exploitive slum lord.  The character argues that they do jobs nobody else is willing to do and they are humans seeking a better life for their children (what is a more American value than that?).  It struck me that the film was almost as old as I am and yet we have the same arguments today as we did then, it’s a forty-year argument, other than most marriages, who has a forty-year argument?

I have wondered about how the drug war is connected to the immigration problems we face. It must be, the border towns are bloodbaths, more people killed there than in Iraq (I swear, check it out). If we had a stable regulated drug trade would we have immigration problems? Yes. If we had a tax and regulate system of decriminalized free choice intoxicant would we have more secure boarders? Yes.

President Obama just signed a $600 million bill for border security. I am a huge Obama fan and am hesitant to be critical, but, is this  time to pander to the right?  Not to mention, I thought the Obama administration ended the “war” on drugs? They said they did, they said they wanted to change the language of it, move more toward the treatment and prevention. Did I miss the $600 million for treatment bill? Must have skipped CNN that day or maybe I was in Canada?

Am I crazy or is this thinly veiled funding for the war on drugs? Call it what you want, but I think if there are more people killed in an effort than the war on terror, it’s a war too. There is clear and present danger along the border of the US and Mexico and it’s not all housekeepers sneaking across, its drug traffic.

Lets enter Joe’s fantasy world and decriminalize Marijuana, tax it ( how a $40 billion industry doesn’t pay taxes I will never know), regulate it, sell it at 7-11. The violence along the border is greatly reduced, money is made instead of spent and we help the immigration problem. Oh, and some people get really high, giggle at comedy central and eat twinkies and chips.  How is this a choice? People shot and killed or people high, stupid, and complacent? I really don’t get it and I am fairly irritated with the President for not taking a bolder step with this. I am sure he will be really worried when he hears about how upset I am. I say it frequently. Humans like to get high, they like intoxication, no amount of money will change that.

Alderman Ricardo Munoz and the Traditions of AA

Posted in Current Events, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 17, 2010 by corecompany

Chicago, they say is called “The Windy City” not because of a weather condition but because of the legendary dirty politics; a reference to the “wind bag” politicians. Alderman Ricardo Munoz is no stranger to controversy and questionable ethics.  Recently, Munoz disclosed he is an alcoholic and he sought treatment at an outpatient clinic.

Some would say this is a premature announcement, others would claim its inappropriate.  We all love the stories of redemption, those stories of people who were destroying their life, learned their lesson, and then moved on with their life to share their story and save others. The problem with this paradigm is that it is rare and can serve as a source of shame for people who don’t fit into this mold. Additionally, many people try to force their square peg into this round hole, abandoning honesty in lieu of fitting in.

This brings up the whole issue of anonymity in the recovery world.  There are a few ideas about this. The 12 step guard, fiercely defending the traditions of AA would say we must “always maintain anonymity at the level of press, radio, and film” .   The AA traditions seem to be solid, they have worked for a long time but there is an arrogance associated with this idea. It assumes that everyone who is in need of an arresting alcoholism is a 12 step zealot. Not True. It also assumes that advocacy is self-disclosure, also not true. There are many roads to Damascus and while, I believe that 12 step is what works the best for the most, who really knows. Alcoholism, the forgotten step child of public health, isn’t researched all that well so largely what we are doing is throwing pasta at the wall and seeing what sticks. Can you imagine if this is what we did with other diseases that impacted every American?

I think we need to re-think and update the very fabric of how we approach this issue and its long reaching tentacles. I am all for people sharing their struggles with alcoholism. I also don’t think we need to hide the imperfect struggle most people experience. I have no idea how effective Munoz is as a city official but I certainly support his decision to come forward and share his story. The HIV community clued in right away that silence=Death. Will we make that same discovery?

Damon Evans Fired For DUI!

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , on July 5, 2010 by corecompany

Damon Evans has been fired as the University of Georgia’s athletic director after a DUI arrest.  It seems as though Evans forgot he was no longer a fraternity boy and currently an administrator at a major research institution. Police reports indicate that he had with him, a young woman (arrested for disorderly conduct in the incident) and red panties on his lap. No reports if the panties belonged to his passenger.  Evans made an attempt to coerce the officers into letting him go with a warning. They didn’t.  Who could defend this behavior? I always side with the drunk and I can’t come up with a defense. I will say that if Evans were white, we would have never heard of this. The officers would have driven him home and kept it all quiet, especially if UGA had a current championship football team. Call me crazy, but this all went down in Georgia. This is not to say that the arresting officers did anything wrong by arresting Evans. It is to say in the alcohol fueled sports world, there is a wide berth when interpreting the law, wider for tailbacks than lineman, wider for white people than black people. It’s just how it is. One of the things that is so wrong about our drug and alcohol policy is that black people pay a much higher price than white people. I don’t think that is unique to drugs but it seems more severe because its one of the ways we keep putting black people in jail.

He has made a public mea culpa and talked about the “dark cloud of shame” he has placed over UGA. Really? He did that? I am sure DUI’s are fairly common on the UGA campus. Granted as a faculty member it is different from a student doing this. Georgia chose to fire him. Yes, they fired him. God I hope Doug Tieman doesn’t read my blog, but he is the CEO of a treatment center and had a similar incident and he wasn’t fired. He is white, so I am sure that helps.

I did some research into the UGA alcohol and other drug policy. They do have a treatment program which is pretty standard fare. Students can be referred through various avenues mostly due to violations. So in otherwords, treatment is “clinical detention”.  It seems that the firing of Evans is a way the University can save face, can “do something” about it.  Did anyone consider a treatment option? Was that ever brought up at any of the meetings held to discuss what to do about this?

I really love colleges, I don’t like college because it is tedious and boring, but I like campuses and undergraduates, so I jump on issues like this one and I think Universities have a cultural responsibility to lead the way. Remember the 60’s? Didn’t we take cultural leadership from places like Berkeley? UGA could have handled this differently. I’ll bet there is a recovery community in Athens, GA. Did they make their voice heard? A sit in? A cold metal folding chair sat in front of the president’s office to demonstrate that Evan’s likely meets criteria for alcoholism and that he can be helped. He can get better and be an even better athletic director. I am guessing that nobody did that.  I wish the University president had called us, I would have encouraged him to deliver the following in a press conference: “in light of the recent arrest of Damon Evan, he has been placed on a medical leave while he undergoes a comprehensive assessment and likely treatment for alcoholism. We will take into consideration the opinions of those treating him before any final decisions are made regarding his future at UGA” Is that so hard?

What’s The DEA Selling These Days?!?!

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

I like to keep up on the DEA, just to see what they are up to. Nothing much changes, they list their most wanted, state-by-state, they state their latest bust of whatever drug cartel. There is no mention about how many people are engaged into an intoxicant free lifestyle, more than likely that is because they don’t really do all that much. The DEA, I guess is an important agency, they must do something. I don’t know what they do but they consume huge amounts of money, so let’s take it on faith that they do something.  I resent them because they are so well-funded when people really in the trenches in the drug war are ill-equipped and poorly supported. I had a field placement in a social work program at New York Hospital, people coming in with needles broken off in their arm, seizures, over-doses. It was gritty stuff. The copy machine NEVER worked, ever, it was a complete piece of shit. I am sure the DEA never has this problem. I’ll bet they have a decent coffee maker too.

Perusing the DEA website, I happened upon their gift shop. Gift Shop? The DEA sells gifts? Who would want a DEA gift? What is a DEA gift? Looking through the DEA gift shop, there are some very disturbing items. The DEA rubber ducky struck me as particularly strange. A classic tub toy, cute, fun but even more special since it has a police hat and DEA logo on it.  Is the duck able to bust into an apartment when not floating in a tub? The t-shirts, somehow were less odd. In addition to the duck, the DEA offers toddler romper suits that read “I’m gonna catch some bad guys, right after my nap”.  Clearly the DEA doesn’t like addicts. They consider them ‘bad” and they want to instill that into the new generation of romper suit wearers.

There is some kind of campy appeal to this. I think I will buy a stockpile of them and it will be my signature baby gift, along with a DEA duck.

A&E and Reality tv

Posted in TV with tags , , , , on May 30, 2010 by corecompany

I had a brief yet glorious career as part of A&E’s galaxy of stars. Me, dog the bounty hunter, and the guy with the disturbing hair that catches raccoons in peoples attics. The short version is that it sucked, the experience sucked, it took forever and nothing really happened, and now it’s over. A rant will ensue, make no mistake. Is it the anger of a disgruntled would be/ never was star? I guess there is an element of that but not really, I have other offers from other TV networks trying to get their share of the addiction/recovery pie. Is this right? Watching people and their dissent into the fray of addiction? Who knows, there are valid arguments for and against, maybe it’s two rights clashing?  As with everything dealing with addictive disease, there are no easy answers.

I don’t hate A&E for the obvious oversight that had “One Man Rehab” continued they would have expanded their audience to include teen girls with a crush on me. Not to mention the publicity they would have received when I was named “the sexiest interventionist alive” by People magazine. I hate A&E because they pulled the plug on their support of the recovery rally in New York City. The recovery rally is/was a critical event. It was a celebration of people in recovery complete with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, speaker, music, etc. It put addiction on the same plane as other diseases, like HIV, breast cancer, etc. They all have walks in the city, our city, the metropolis of the American dream, New York, New York.  The exec’s at A&E have been avoidant, non responsive and dodged the questions regarding the event entirely. They have said they will be “doing something” but are non-committal as to what that “something” is, also they won’t answer how much money they will commit to the event, Additionally, they have told me the “permits alone will cost between 20 and 35k”. The city says ‘a few hundred-dollar processing fee”. So what’s going on? I really don’t know but whatever it is, it’s not good.  It’s not an expansion of the event, it’s an erosion of it. They killed it.

A&E is certainly under no obligation to underwrite an event for the recovering community. It needs to be said that not doing so is just not cool, ethical, or respectable. “Intervention” is their highest rated show, they make millions from it and yet they can no longer sponsor the event supporting the very community that made their show a hit. In my view that is like having a show called “final stages of AIDS”, making millions and then avoiding the people who organize the HIV bike ride events.

To add to their “dick” status, when it has been suggested that other sponsorship be sought they get angry and scold stating “this is exclusively an A&E event!” Is that right? The recovery rally is an event owned by A&E? I thought it was a community event sponsored by A&E. Again, what dicks.

I am on the hunt for someone else to step up to the plate and do what is right. Surprise! It’s not easy to find someone to cozy up to addiction. Even more of a reason that A&E sucks, now we have little time to put this together. So they pulled the plug and are holding us hostage, well they have tried to hold us hostage. Maybe they did, I don’t know.