Alcoholic Playbook

The Alcoholic Playbook: The Endorsement

April 4, 2009

The names, places, and circumstances may vary, but you can be rest assured that most alcoholics and addicts follow a very predictable path. The same rationalizations, secrecy, prevarications and red herrings are used by gutter drunks to Boston bluebloods as if there were an actual manual; I call it the alcoholic playbook.

It can be big news during election season, politicians crowing about who has endorsed who; it is a way of building credibility with voters. Alcoholics and addicts do the same thing, but for an entirely different reason; they are trying to lend credence to the web of lies that makes up their existence. I know it sounds a little convoluted, so let me run you through a couple of series to give you a good feel for the play.

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Famous Alcoholics: Edgar Allen Poe and Excuses

March 12, 2009

Hat Tip and thanks to unofficial TDA researcher AnnaZ for the heads up on this one!

Edgar Allen Poe and Excuses courtesy of UV Library at the Discovering Alcoholic

The University of Virginia Library is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allen Poe’s birth by announcing the acquisition of a very rare and personal letter written by Poe to his publisher in 1842. What makes this letter so relevant to our site is that it is an excellent example of one of the most exasperating and indicative behaviors of an alcoholic- excuse making.

Will you be kind enough to put the best possible interpretation upon my behavior in N. York? You must have conceived a queer idea of me- but the simple truth is that Wallace would insist upon the juleps, and I knew not what I was either doing or saying. ~ Edgar Allen Poe

This is not the first time I’ve mentioned Poe on the blog, but I think this post will strike a chord more with the families and friends of alcoholics and addicts who are often the target of such excuses. They know the most painful part of this behavior is that the person they love is not actually begging for forgiveness, but instead just asking for a reprieve so that they can continue on with same behavior. True to the alcoholic playbook, Poe is making excuses for his intoxicated antics in order to get money (to support his habit)- not because he is truly wanting to make amends.

To see the full letter in high resolution, click here and scroll down on the right hand column of the UV Library press release.

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The Alcoholic Playbook: Spectators Become Part of Game

December 12, 2008

The names, places, and circumstances may vary, but you can be rest assured that most alcoholics and addicts follow a very predictable path. The same rationalizations, secrecy, prevarications and red herrings are used by gutter drunks to Boston bluebloods as if they were all using the same playbook; let’s call it the alcoholic playbook.

We go back to one of our favorite tags of this series, Amy Winehouse, who has spent most of a month in the hospital because of a “reaction to medications”. Actually though it’s her parents that are the main objects of my attention as they display not only enablement, but demonstrate how easily an alcoholic/addict can draw the spectators into their own game of addiction.

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John Daly: Hooters Trigger Relapse

October 30, 2008

Photo by galaygobiA few months back I posted a story on a statement John Daly made after a drunken incident at a Hooter’s hospitality tent on the golf course. The professional golfer and chronic alcoholic basically said he had his drinking under control. Yeah, right John.

I call controlled drinking an alcoholic oxymoron because the two words are absolutely contradictory in this context. An alcoholic that is even considering drinking is already effectively, out of control.

This week Mr. Daly had to be revived by medical personnel after passing out at a Hooters in North Carolina in yet another intoxicated and belligerent episode. After regaining consciousness he was promptly arrested and taken to jail to sober up.

Officers went to the restaurant on a medical call and found Daly being worked on after losing consciousness, a police statement said. The statement said he had been “extremely intoxicated and uncooperative” and had been asked to leave the restaurant. ~ LA Times

While it sounds cutesy and even semi-logical to say that Hooters could be a trigger for John Daly, the truth of the matter is that all alcoholics know what our real trigger is… alcohol. Stay away from it John, it’s the only way to stay sober!

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The Devil Made Me Do It

October 16, 2008

Just a little follow up on one of my favorite alcoholic crash dummies, Amy Winehouse, who has once again made the news with a spectacular failure. She has added to a recent quick succession of aborted outings and performances by throwing a tantrum in the recording studio, smashing her guitar, and blaming her drug use on the “devil” (see picture). Hard to believe it was only nine months ago I used her as an example in the Alcoholic’s Playbook in which she seemed convinced enough of her ability to control her addiction that she would be able to throw one last hurrah.

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Changed Priorities Ahead

August 23, 2008

photo by RedverRecovery is the number one priority in my life, nothing is more important. It may sound selfish, but without my mental health and sobriety I will at best just lose those I love and that which I treasure… and at worst I will destroy these things.

It’s a lesson that every alcoholic and addict new to sobriety has to learn. Unfortunately it is also a very difficult concept to convey and often the “suddenly sober” awareness of kids, finances, and relationships is overwhelming and eclipses the recovery process.

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The Alcoholic Playbook: Control Play

July 16, 2008

image from the TimesOnlineThe names, places, and circumstances may vary, but you can be rest assured that most alcoholics and addicts follow a very predictable path. The same rationalizations, secrecy, prevarications and red herrings are used by gutter drunks to Boston bluebloods as if they were all using the same playbook; I call it The Alcoholic Playbook.

Looking more like the star of a tribute film to John Candy than a professional athlete, John Daly, an alcoholic with a bipolar golf game, will run the route for us today demonstrating the “Control Play”. With at least three trips to the Betty Ford Clinic for alcoholism, four ruined marriages, and a gambling habit that has cost him upwards of $50 million- obviously control is not one of John’s better talents. However he does not let this fact get in the way after an alleged drinking incident in the Hooters hospitality tent led to a golf analyst commenting, “The most important thing in his life is getting drunk.”

“That hurt. There were some rumours flying, probably because of my past. My lifestyle has been great. I’m eating too much, but I’m hardly drinking at all – and I never go out. I guess that’s just the way my life is going to be for a long time because of my past.” ~ TimesOnline

”But I’m hardly drinking at all”… uhhh yeah, right John, you’ve got the drinking under control. You’re an alcoholic yet somehow you rationalize eating too much and the comments of a talking head as being more harmful than the fact the YOU ARE STILL DRINKING! A good sand wedge will not extract you from this relapse trap.

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The Alcoholic Playbook: Something Really Scary!

June 20, 2008

scene from Twilight ZoneThe names, places, and circumstances may vary,
but you can be rest assured that most alcoholics and addicts follow a very predictable path. The same rationalizations, secrecy, prevarications and red herrings are used by gutter drunks to Boston bluebloods as if they were all using the same playbook; I call it the alcoholic playbook.

I usually use as an example the already publicized spectacle of celebrity drunken antics, that’s your cue Amy Winehouse, when reviewing a page out of the alcoholic playbook. This time however I have asked permission from one of my favorite bloggers, The Junky’s Wife, if I could use her husband as my playmaker.

The full name of this play is “You want to see something really scary?” and it’s a type that becomes more extreme each time it’s used. It has to be progressive for this to work on someone who has a high tolerance for addict inspired drama… especially someone like TJW, who has put up with years of this type of behavior. So let’s take a look at what stage of the game we’re in and see why the junky is calling this play.

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Alcoholic Playbook: The Time Bomb

March 2, 2008

I recently ran across an advice column in the Washington Post where a reader asks for advice about her on again, off again alcoholic grandmother she no longer wants to babysit their child. Her concerns were appropriately addressed by the advice columnist; I especially liked the realistic comment about placing a “frequency” modifier on the disease of addiction.

First, your mother-in-law isn’t an “on-again, off-again alcoholic.” She is an alcoholic. Everyone in her life needs to recognize this important distinction.

No, absolutely no problem with the advice given but I would like to elaborate on the reasons why the advice is sound. Expressions like on-again, off-again, functioning, and mild in relation to alcoholism or drug addiction are often used by those who only glimpse a small window or time frame of behavior or that have a personal desire to see the condition couched in more palatable terms. Those who suffer from addiction are quick to adopt such descriptors as it seems to lessen the severity of their condition, after all, “if other people say it then it must be true.”

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Alcoholic Playbook: The Two Minute Drill

January 23, 2008

The Alcoholic PlaybookNo good will come out of the alcohol and drug abusing lifestyle of Amy Winehouse, so the best we can do is maybe learn from her addled antics. So take a seat on the bench and follow the X’s and O’s of the alcoholic playbook.

The names, places, and circumstances may vary, but you can be rest assured that most alcoholics and addicts follow a very predictable path. The same rationalizations, secrecy, prevarications and red herrings are used by gutter drunks to Boston bluebloods as if they were all using the same playbook; let’s call it the alcoholic playbook.

When we last heard from Amy she was executing a play I like to call the last hurrah in which she promised to get sober and her life back together after one last blowout at year’s end. We’re well into the New Year and since Amy is now smoking crack (watch this disturbing video) and drinking like a fish it’s kind of obvious that play fizzled. Rehab and getting her act together enough to perform at the Grammys seem a long shot now, in fact, we are probably in the final minutes of this game. So it’s time for the two minute drill, in football this would mean a hurried offense meant to move the ball quickly down the field in order to score. It’s a whole other ballgame when it comes to addictions.

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Alcoholic Playbook: The Last Hurrah

December 14, 2007

The names, places, and circumstances may vary, but you can be rest assured that most alcoholics and addicts follow a very predictable path. The same rationalizations, secrecy, prevarications and red herrings are used by gutter drunks to Boston bluebloods as if they were all using the same playbook; let’s call it the alcoholic playbook.

The latest news on Amy Winehouse shows that she is about to execute a play that is the bread and butter of those that have faced the fact that they have an addiction, but have either not suffered enough pain or haven’t honestly decided to lead the life of sober recovery. Amy is calling it a festive binge; I call it “the last hurrah”.

Amy Winehouse Plans Massive Christmas Blow-Out Before Heading to Rehab

Amy Winehouse to Have Festive Binge Before Rehab in the New Year

This play is used essentially as a guilt avoidance maneuver designed to accomplish two ends. It fends off those pestering for treatment by setting a future date of commitment and allows the addict/alcoholic the freedom to “enjoy” their last embrace with their beloved drugs. Unfortunately that’s the problem… they still love their substance of choice and the lifestyle in which their disease flourishes. Rehab may still be in the cards, but going to rehab without desiring recovery is pointless.

If I had to make a guess at what stage in the addiction game this play is usually executed I would say just before or after halftime. There is still plenty of time left in the game to score a full recovery, but as with all addictions the game could always be called on the account of jail or death.

Good luck Amy, you’re going to need it because in this game they play for keeps.

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