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September 3, 2004

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Addiction: Metaphor, Hyperbole or Nonsense?

Overheard on a non-fake newscast tonight:

…former President Clinton, whose addiction to fast food is well known…

One more sign of cultural schizophrenia about enjoying the simple pleasures of life, eh? The disease model: Coming soon to whatever you enjoy most!

  • posted by Bose
  • created 03-Sep-2004
  • last updated 04-Sep-2004

August 31, 2004

Martin's Alcoholic Diary

Martin, a 30-something guy in the vicinity of Manchester, England, has been writing a diary of his journey with alcoholism since October, 2002.

He has mentioned his drinking history prior to getting inpatient treatment in June 2002, but not dwelt not on it. Dire circumstances precipitated the hospitalization, which led to 10 weeks of sobriety.

Continue reading "Martin's Alcoholic Diary"

  • posted by Bose
  • 31-Aug-2004 02:58 AM

August 23, 2004

The horse? It seemed sober

This just in from Latvia:

Police in eastern Latvia were trying to determine Wednesday what charges to bring against a drunken horse-and-buggy driver who caused a drunken motorist to crash into a ditch, flipping his car.

Nobody hurt, the car driver fined and license revoked, but Latvian law doesn’t criminalize taking the reins while intoxicated.

Via Sarpy Sam at Thoughts from the Middle of Nowhere.

Related web page (trackback):

  • posted by Bose
  • 23-Aug-2004 08:45 PM

Julie R's Naltrexone Mini-Journal

Dean Esmay links to an article which reviews current and developing drug therapies.

One of the drugs, Naltrexone (Nal), has shown promise both for folks seeking to abstain permanently as well as those who are drinking moderately or working toward a moderate drinking goal. Julie R., a Moderation Management member, has journaled vividly about her recent experience with it and has graciously agreed to let me share a bit of it with you.

Her experience with it strikes me as similar to that of folks using antidepressants — some trial and error is necessary to find the best dosage, results can vary from day to day, and the drug supports, not replaces, insight and effort — and you’ll see that she describes trade-offs in using Naltrexone, as well.

Dr. Alexander DeLuca, M.D. is a great online source for papers on this topic, updated regularly as new stuff is published.

Continue reading "Julie R's Naltrexone Mini-Journal"

  • posted by Bose
  • 23-Aug-2004 10:12 AM

August 22, 2004

Joe Six Pack in the News

Photo: Keith EmerichKeith Emerich has bounced in and out of the news in recent weeks. His physician contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to identify Emerich as having a condition that could impair his ability to drive safely. Radley Balko has also tracked the story.

The condition which the law requires the doctor to report is alcohol misuse — which Pennsylvania legal code doesn’t define any further — not addiction or dependence.

Let’s take a look at the sequence of events, how Emerich stacks up against the criteria for alcoholism, then sensible drinking, treatment options, and finally ethical perspectives.

Continue reading "Joe Six Pack in the News"

  • posted by Bose
  • 22-Aug-2004 10:47 PM

August 20, 2004

Clients Power Cincinnati Recovery Center

“I hate A.A.!”

Photo: Jay StahlJay Stahl hears that from time to time as an addictions counselor, but his clients learn it’s no way to bond with him.

“Be specific” is his reply. “Let’s talk about what works or doesn’t work for you about A.A.

If the client has attended A.A. meetings where the group members seemed out of touch with his/her concerns, Stahl points out that any peer support group will have its own character, strengths and weaknesses. If the personality mix at a meeting wasn’t a good fit for the client, Stahl may recommend other A.A. meetings that could fit better.

“I’m not powerless.” “I’m not an alcoholic.”

Stahl welcomes these sorts of specifics. They are conversation-starters, not symptoms, in his work as a clinician.

So, Sharon feels responsible and empowered, but wants help asserting herself to quit drinking. Or, Shawn shuns the “alcoholism” label, but is ready to talk about solving the problems his drinking is causing. And, Mike resists committing to much of anything, but promised his wife he would talk to somebody.

Continue reading "Clients Power Cincinnati Recovery Center"

  • posted by Bose
  • 20-Aug-2004 08:14 PM

August 16, 2004

Cigarette, Bourbon, Beer, and Sinatra Tunes

I love Toddorado’s style:

Scene: A smoky pool room at a local neighborhood bar. Cigarette, Bourbon, Beer and Sinatra Tunes are shooting a game of doubles

Cigarette: (oddly enough, smoking a cigarette) Hey guys! How long has Coffee been missing? There were five of us here, even though you guys, Beer and Bourbon, are related. Now there’s only four of us!

Bourbon: (looks up from the pool table, where he is lining up a shot) Who cares? We were never that close anyway - he was the natural one to leave the group, damn stimulants. It was always the two of you in the morning - no one ever heard of Coffee and Bourbon hangin’ out.

Go read the rest. Really. It’s quirkygood.

  • posted by Bose
  • 16-Aug-2004 09:23 AM

Preempting Harm Reduction

Last year, the Naperville Illinois City Council attached penalties to an ordinance prohibiting under-21 folks from attending parties where alcohol was served. From an article by Anna Johnson in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Naperville … already prohibited minors from attending drinking parties, but last year the City Council changed the wording to create a specific ordinance to ticket minors at the parties who aren’t drinking.

City officials say the strict rule is meant to protect minors by targeting unsupervised teen parties.

”We’re trying to be involved in the situation and recognize the tragic and sometimes horrific outcomes of these underage parties,” said Naperville Police Lt. Dave Hilderbrand. ”We’re trying to take a bit more of an ambitious step.”

Continue reading "Preempting Harm Reduction"

  • posted by Bose
  • 16-Aug-2004 06:56 AM

Online Support: Not Just Vapor

Can internet-based contacts really make a difference once folks walk away from their keyboards? They did for me in 2000 when I connected with other folks from Moderation Management (MM). During my first period of abstinence, I reported my challenges and discoveries to my friends in the group. Knowing that I wasn’t going it alone, and wanting to report progress, often helped me to stay on track. When things didn’t turn out well, I could review what happened and get ideas for setting new priorities from the group; when things went well, I never celebrated alone.

This weekend, another MM member put that principle to work. He wrote to the group just before heading out for the weekend and again after his return, and was good enough to let me share his thoughts here.

Continue reading "Online Support: Not Just Vapor"

  • posted by Bose
  • 16-Aug-2004 05:16 AM

August 15, 2004

Sticking, not Stuck

On July 2nd of 2000,

I started 30 days of abstinence. With the support of folks in MM, it turned out that having alcohol-free days was kind of freeing, not the burden I had anticipated.

Taking my abstinence past the 30-day mark began to appeal to me by the half-way point. I was figuring some stuff out about myself and adding new habits and skills. All of that would be helpful once I was drinking (but moderately this time) in the future, and I figured a longer period of abstinence would probably be good for me.

Rather than commit to another specific timeframe, I set this framework in place: I could choose to have my next beer (or whatever) at any time, but the decision had to be made a week ahead of time. No moral significance was attached to the timing — I could do it the next week or the next year — but the timeclock was available, and seven days after hitting it I would be free to crack open a cold one or pour myself a glass of wine.

Continue reading "Sticking, not Stuck"

Related web page (trackback):

  • posted by Bose
  • created 15-Aug-2004
  • last updated 18-Aug-2004

August 13, 2004

A.A. Alternatives: An Empowered Round-up

Live Sensibly reader Faith notes that abstinence is her thing but powerlessness is not. (She writes about her life pragmatically, with refreshing transparency — go take a peek.)

So, it’s as good a time as any to do a quick review of some of the solidly abstinence-based support out there which follows something other than the 12 steps. Along with that, a request to my readers: I’m looking for individuals who are talking about their experiences in these different groups at their personal websites. If you know of any, please drop links into a comment or an email message.

So, here’s a list of empowered alternatives:

Continue reading "A.A. Alternatives: An Empowered Round-up"

  • posted by Bose
  • created 13-Aug-2004
  • last updated 15-Aug-2004

August 12, 2004

Demystifying My Drinking

I first connected with Moderation Management (MM) in early June of 2000. In July, eager to test out its 9 Steps, I kicked off a 30-day abs, and ended up extending it past 3 months.

One of the concepts I worked through while abstaining was my fear that I’d slip right back into bad habits after the abs period finished, or even see my drinking escalate beyond where it had been before. It’s a pretty common sentiment; an MM member who is 10 days into his first 30 expressed a similar fear, and I responded:

Continue reading "Demystifying My Drinking"

  • posted by Bose
  • 12-Aug-2004 07:43 PM

August 11, 2004

Acamprosate Approval in the News

Recent approval by the Food and Drug Adminstration of Acamprosate to treat alcohol dependence is making its way around the media.

The Washington Post runs a short piece by Alicia Ault (free registration required) which includes:

Campral appears to work by restoring the balance between excitation and inhibition in nerve signals, a balance that gets altered by alcohol abuse. An older drug, Antabuse (disulfiram), makes people violently ill if they drink alcohol. Another, naltrexone, works by making people want to drink less, said Litten.

Only 5 to 10 percent of people treated for alcoholism are prescribed naltrexone or Antabuse, which don’t work for everyone and are not widely marketed, said Litten. Forest aims to market Campral broadly to addiction centers and physicians, said company president Ken Goodman, and persuade insurers to pay for the drug.He would not comment on price.

Continue reading "Acamprosate Approval in the News"

  • posted by Bose
  • created 11-Aug-2004
  • last updated 12-Aug-2004