Prosecutors say the JetBlue flight attendant (Steven Slater) flipped out over a fight with an agitated traveler Monday, cursing over the intercom before grabbing some beer from the plane’s galley and making a grand exit down the emergency slide at Kennedy Airport. He has been charged with felonies but elevated to folk-hero status by thousands who shrugged off allegations that Slater endangered others and praised him for his take-this-job-and-shove-it moment. ~ AP
The press is touting this story as the justified meltdown of a mild mannered flight attendant caused by rude passengers, but a closer look through the TDA magnifying glass suggests the culprit may be alcohol withdrawals. SFGN reports that Slater has recently bragged about “beating alcoholism and substance abuse” – yet flamboyantly fleeing responsibility with beer in hand leads me to believe he never really quit. The short temper, erratic behavior, and the willingness to sacrifice anything for a drink sounds more like Mr. Slater was experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms and simultaneously being hammered by the close-quarters-reality of an airplane while trying to support a failing facade. Then he did what all alcoholics do when under duress- he bolted, for the bottle. Using misdirection, a major component of the alcoholic’s playbook, by creating a scene he masked the real problem that he could no longer accomplish his job without drinking.
Of course this is only conjecture, but I’ve been there, done that, still wear the T-shirt and my alky-sense is definitely tingling here. Hopefully I’m wrong; Mr. Slater has a world of hurt to face for his actions and fighting DT’s and struggling with sobriety certainly will not it make it any easier.