Monday, November 5, 2007

What is Addiction?

THE SPEECH was taped by a friend. He was only able to post the first 10 minutes of what became a 30 minute presentation.

For those of you frustrated by the video being cut off early, I can tell you that we will tape and play the next time I make that speech in its entirety.

In the meantime, I cannot possibly write everything I said, but I can tell you what came next:

What is addiction really about?

It is not about the drug. It is not about heroin or crack or meth or Johnny Walker or Stella Artois or sex or gambling or work or books or any of the other thousands of specifics on which we choose to obsess.

Addiction is all about the oldest and most common of all human ailments - LONELINESS.

We come into the world alone and we leave the world alone. We are trapped within this skin and frame. We live in splendid or horrid isolation, depending on our wealth.

But...between birth and death, most of us make at least some minimal effort to communicate with Others. We find friends and lovers and sweethearts and parents and children and colleagues and bowling teams and camera clubs and bridge partners. And to one degree or another, we make some small or large success of combating loneliness.

Addicts do not.

Addicts simplify all their problems into a single misfortune with a recognizable label - drug addict, alcoholic, gambler, child abuser, over eater.

Yes, these are diseases. But they are diseases of the soul, of the spirit.

And trying to cure them by answering only the most obvious physical symptom is hopelessly doomed.

Addicts need the Ultimate Make-Over. Physical, spiritual, emotional, financial, social, occupational, interactional, literary, athletic, name a phase of life.

Every one is looking for a Silver Bullet. The Mayor, the doctors, the social workers, the armchair therapists, the Would-be saviours.

Doesn't exist.

The treatment lies in steady, consistent, knowing hard work.

And there are many people already doing this work and many more who can do much more for so many other addicted people, if we as a body politic would stop fooling around with destructive harm reduction nonsense and fund real treatment.

And real treatment is cheap. Real treatment does not need doctors and nurses, except on call as occasional volunteers. Real treatment is peer group work, addicts helping addicts.


PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS THE FIRST 10 MINUTES OF A 30-MINUTE PRESENTATION. The pos above explains a bit more of the message.

Regional Police Force

Kudos to Kash Heed, the new Police Chief in West Vancouver for his thoughtful and necessary plea for a regional police force in BC in today's Sun.

Criminals are not bound by municipal lines on the map, and the RCMP is force fading fast from its glorious past.

Territorial silences and hostilities between local forces help only the bad guys.

Take heed of Heed. He's on the right track.

Tom Christensen Should Resign. The Ministry Should be Sued in the Wrongful Death of Savannah Hall, age 3.

Here's the quote of the week/month/year:

Children & families Minister, who just spent $560,000 of your hard earned taxpayers money on Victoria office renovations, comments on what has now been called the "homicide" of 3 year old Savannah Hall:

"The ministry knows that it could have better served Savannah Hall."

Did the minister know that the foster "mother"/murderer had NINE children in "care?"

Did the minister know that the mother/murderer was under investigation when Savannah Hall was placed in her "care?"

Did the minister know that there are not enough case workers to do the job, because the ministry won't provide adequate funding, which is hard to do when you're redecorating the office?

Does the minister know much of anything?

Should the minister have his job? Be in "public service?"

Tsakumis on Deporting the Bad Guys

And speaking of violent immigrant vistors who will not be deported...

Here is the Friday 24 Hours column by Alex Tsakumis on the very issue:

To Hell with Speed Demons

By A. G. Tsakumis

'Rebel with a Clause'

Irene Thorpe didn’t have a hope.

On that fateful night in November of 2000, when she lost her life, she> couldn’t have possibly seen them coming. Taking her faithful dog out for a> walk was her last act, in a life apparently brimming with goodness.>> At almost 140 kms/hr, Bahndur Singh Bhalru and Sukhvir Singh Khosa fuelled> by the insanity of street-racing, tore up the road like there was nothing> there. When Mr. Khosa hit and killed Ms. Thorpe, there was nothing left.>> Nothing except the shattered lives of Ms. Thorpe’s family.>> In the ensuing seven years, while Mr. Bhalru was appropriately jettisoned> from these shores back to his homeland, Mr. Khosa, the man who killed Ms.> Thorpe, has managed to mambo through the legal process, delaying his> overdue departure with surprising ease. Last week we discovered, with> astonishment, I’m sure, that he has yet to be sent packing. With family> now, he must weep his way through one last hurdle as the Supreme Court of> Canada weighs in.>> But who weeps for the rest of us?>> There is something fundamentally wrong with a country’s immigration laws> that allows a convicted, street-racing, non-citizen killer seven years of> appeal from extradition.>> A maggot should be afforded more quarter.>> When B. C. Supreme Court Justice Linda Loo sentenced Messers. Bhalru and> Khosa, the shock then was enough to begin to ask some serious questions> about our legal system: two landed immigrants, who obviously felt that> they would selectively pick which Canadian laws they would choose to> follow, were given 2 years of house arrest, 240 hours of community> service, 3 years of probation and barred further from driving for five> years.>> Irene Thorpe was sentenced to a casket.>> In this Province, six speeding tickets over a two year period gets you six> months of having your license suspended. That’s exactly ten percent of the> driving penalty, alone, meted out to these idiots, by Justice Loo, who> should clearly add the letters N-I-E to the end of her last name. This was> justice served? How could anyone in their right mind not know,> instinctively, that street racing kills? What a farce.>> Immigrants to this country should respect all the laws of Canada, and not> follow them conveniently piecemeal. We all should for that matter. But how> can we expect this to transpire, when our politicians are busy embracing> ineffective carbon-credit climate change programs and pushing drug> replacement fantasies?>> And to those of you who will drop the race card, spare me the letters> about race and ethnicity. I’m well aware that both Mr. Khosa and Mr.> Bhalru are Indo-Canadian. That has absolutely no bearing on this issue> whatsoever. I could care less if they are Indo-Canadian, Dutch, French or> self-replicating aliens from some far away galaxy in outer space--which> might more easily explain their behavior if true. They came to this> country to be good (read: law-abiding) citizens, and were most certainly> not. They cost Ms. Thorpe her life.>> I have never been an advocate of a broad-based death penalty in this> country. But save and except for terrorists, rapists and child molesters,> I can’t think another group of sufficiently sick enough bastards to whom I> would happily have the government consistently throw the switch.>> Street racers who recklessly flout the laws and show little remorse, if at> all, other than the perfunctory words of regret in court or before the> cameras of the six o’clock news…?>> I would have accepted Messers. Bhalru and Khosa going back to India,> quietly, without any legal fanfare or noise, never to return to Canada,> ever. But with Mr. Bhalru already long gone, seven years of stubborn> appeals for Mr. Khosa seems an absolute outrage. The man who killed Irene> Thorpe should have been on a plane, home, years ago.>> Then again, if we want real justice, we should just make him swim.

A.G. Tsakumis is a free-lance editorial writer and popular political commentator.

$taying the Cour$e in Paki$tan

American taxpayers, believing and dreaming that they live in a democracy, will continue to contribute through their daily sweat Billions of dollars to Pakistan's military government.

Read the story here.

Then go see "Rendition," the new movie playing in town.

This is a huge and fast-paced entertainment with a great cast, but, more importantly it is a debate wrapped in a drama - Are torture and detainment without counsel reasonable tools in a democracy? Do we throw out the very principles by which we claim to live when we behave like "the enemy?"


Check out these pipes!

Reba - You're the Best

I think Reba is one of the most extraordianry 3-barreled performers alive today. Her portrayal of Nellie Forbush in the concert version of "South Pacific" is the best I've ever seen. She's not only a helluva singer, she's a marvelous actress.