TDA Salute

TDA Salutes Stephen King

December 15, 2009

I’ve stayed up late tonight getting an early morning presentation ready so it pleases me greatly to have cause to double-tap one of my favorite recovering alcoholic/addicts and writer extraordinaire, Stephen King, for a TDA Salute. The first one goes out for supporting our troops by helping them get home for Christmas. King and his […]

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TDA Salute for Dr. A. Thomas McClellan

December 8, 2009

Dr. A Thomas McClellan of the University of Pennsylvania was sworn in as the Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in August. He is impeccably qualified for the position and has more than earned the position because of his training, experience, and more importantly at least to me-the personal suffering he […]

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TDA Salutes New Mexico: US Airways Denied Alcohol License

October 2, 2009

Original pic by cliff1066™ under creative commons license now at The Discovering Alcoholic

I’m sending out a TDA salute to New Mexico for denying US Airways a liquor license and remaining steadfast in its decision even after the airline sued the state. This week a federal judged ruled on the side of New Mexico’s denial of alcohol privileges brought about because of a 5-fatality car accident involving a passenger that was by eye witness reports over-served with in-flight alcoholic beverages.

Bravo New Mexico! Beyond the obvious regret for the unnecessary lost of lives, as a fairly frequent flyer I applaud the decision. I have had enough of the loud drunks, the inebriated supersonic snorers, and the naked antics of smashed passengers. I’m sure my opinion is probably not so popular, but I am all for banning alcohol in flight and at airports all together.

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DJ AM was a Spectacular Failure

August 29, 2009

Celebrity disc jockey DJ AM was found dead of an apparent overdose yesterday surrounded by drug paraphernalia- the same paraphernalia you see him displaying in this posthumous lecture to MTV teens for an upcoming intervention show. So should we consider DJ AM a fraud? A hypocrite, pretender, or phony- these words might come to mind for those not schooled by addiction and will no doubt eventually be used by his critics. I would consider him just an addict though, struggling in his recovery as we all sometimes do… one that failed spectacularly.

Why would I say such a thing about a fellow addict in recovery?

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Licensed to Drink?

August 23, 2009

original pic by ankarino under creative commons license now at The Discovering Alcoholic

Regular readers know that I often harp on the lackadaisical attitude our society has about the tragic and deadly repercussions caused by our nation’s love affair with alcohol. The neglect, crime, violence and senseless killing seem to be “acceptable losses” while on the contrary other issues of lesser magnitude become the cause célèbre depending on which news network you watch or what political party is in power. Never have I seen this point made better than by Marc Folco’s article in the South Coast Today entitled Open Season: A new twist on the liquor license.

Mr. Folco is making his case from a different perspective, but the point is nonetheless well made. He argues that too much scorn, emphasis, and legislation is placed on gun ownership while alcohol use is in comparison virtually unregulated and above reproof. As a gun owner licensed to conceal carry, I do agree with him but he also makes a great case about the way our nation views alcohol related “acceptable losses”

It’s obvious that we need liquor control more than gun control, so let’s treat alcohol and alcohol consumers — including myself, a social drinker — the same as we treat guns and gun owners. From now on, you’ll need a license to buy and/or consume alcohol and it will cost you $100, renewable every six years. Before your license is issued, you will undergo an extensive background check, get fingerprinted and photographed and take a safety course that stresses the dangers of drinking, alcoholism and drunk driving. Balk at that? It’s the same fee and procedure as for a gun license.

Oh, but there is so much more, click “Read more” to continue…

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Flying Drunk at TDA

August 2, 2009

Flying Drunk at The Discovering Alcoholic

Regardless of the occupation, there will always be a percentage of the work force actively battling substance abuse problems. The idea of a house painter or cook working while intoxicated is not all that scary, but when you think of doctors, policemen, and teachers… well that’s another story. How about pilots?

I travel so much that this particular scenario is particularly disturbing, that’s why I am not too sure I want to read Joseph Balzer’s new book Flying Drunk. Balzer was convicted and sent to prison for an infamous flight back in 1990.

Balzer, the flight engineer, was intoxicated on the flight carrying 91 passengers. The flight’s captain, who Balzer described as a tyrant who drank more than a fifth of rum each day, and the first officer also were over the limit… the FAA decided to test the pilots for alcohol in Minneapolis, after the plane landed and some 14 hours after the drinking binge. All were still over the limit. ~ Boston Herald

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A Triple Tap TDA Salute

July 25, 2009

Original pic by cliff1066 under creative commons attribution license now at The Discovering AlcoholicI wanted to shine the spotlight of gratitude on blogger Abel Pharmboy, an independent PhD researcher/educator trained in pharmacology and toxicology, at Terra Sigillata for several reasons. First for mentioning TDA in his own tribute to Buzz Aldrin and Recovery. I must admit that it was his mention of my site that led me to his blog, but I can honestly say that I am better off for it. It is always encouraging to see others that recognize the complex nature and societal relevance of addiction, but also that have more than just a pop culture understanding of the issue and therefore place a high value on recovery.

In searching for other commentary on Aldrin’s book, I came across some superb wisdom on a blog I had never before encountered, The Discovering Alcoholic… (snip) This quote reflects for me perhaps the most important point of this entire post, facts that I have learned in my experiences from growing up in an alcoholic family all the way to my professional interactions with basic and clinical research colleagues in alcohol and drug abuse, substance abuse counselors, and musician friends and others who are predisposed to some manner of addiction. No matter your station in life, successes or failures, rich or poor, roughly 10% of the population will have debilitating problems with chemical dependence at some point in their lives.

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Jamie Lee Curtis on Recovery

July 22, 2009

 Jamie Lee Curtis on Recovery at The Discovering Alcoholic

Award winning actress, prolific author, philanthropist and inventor- Jamie Lee Curtis is a very accomplished woman, but what is her proudest achievement?

Recovery.

My recovery from drug addiction is the single greatest accomplishment of my life… but it takes work — hard, painful work — but the help is there, in every town and career, drug/drink freed members of society, from every single walk and talk of life to help and guide. ~ Huffington Post

I’ve said it before, but you rock JL.

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Alkynaut: Rock Bottom is a Long Way Down

July 16, 2009

Alkynaut: Rock Bottom is a Long Way Down at The Discovering Alcoholic

Today marks forty years since the blast off of Apollo 11 that sent Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins on a journey to the moon. Even today the feat still is considered the epitome of man’s achievements; what can one aspire to after achieving such lofty heights? Not a rhetorical question for the now recovering alcoholic Buzz Aldrin who has penned a memoir of his meteoric fall from grace in Magnificent Desolation.

In addition to offering my sincere congratulations to all the Apollo 11 crew for their achievements and longevity, I would like to make two points about addiction. First, Mr. Aldrin is an extremely accomplished man; cadet, fighter pilot, scientist, and one of only twelve people ever to set foot on our moon, his long struggle with alcoholism and depression is testimony to the fact that addiction can strike anyone regardless of their strength, intelligence, and strength of will. Secondly, regardless of what has happened in the past whether it be astounding success or gripping failure, there is always something to look forward to in recovery.

Here’s a TDA salute to the whole Apollo 11 crew… but especially to Buzz- the aptly named alkynaut who has shown us that recovery is the ultimate journey!!

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(R) Stands for Recovery, but so does (D)

July 7, 2009

Bipartisan Recovery at The Discovering Alcoholic

Republican John Sullivan (R OK-1) and Democrat Patrick Kennedy (D RI-1) returned to Washington this week after serving their full term in another kind of “office”… rehab that is. Sullivan is the alcoholic and Kennedy is the addict- but we all know sometimes it’s just a case of first available. I say that not to be crude but instead to illustrate the fact that no matter what our station is in life…when drinking, I’m just an alky and so are they. The polarizing politics of today have got me sneering at both political parties, but I will give them both a TDA Salute for owning up to their problem and speaking out on the subject.

I wish upon them a bipartisan recovery, may it foster better judgment n Washington on both sides of the aisle.

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He Died… Sober.

May 18, 2009

Original Pic by aprillynn77 now at The Discovering Alcoholic under creative commons attribution license

25 years of sobriety, to the uninitiated this may sound unimpressive or just bland, but to me and others in the recovery community it is a milestone to be celebrated- one few achieve. So reading this tribute to the recently deceased Theodore D. Jump at Baltimoresun.com I knew most would overlook the mention of his sobriety in light of his other achievements, but to me it was by far the most notable point. To me, his achievements as a veteran, teacher, husband, and scholar are made that much more impressive by the fact that he did all while struggling with alcoholism and the mental issues that often accompany this chronic disease.

So in honor of his achievements in life I would like to offer a somber TDA Salute to a man I never knew, but who I think would have found solace in the epitaph … he died sober. Rest in peace Mr. Jump.

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Art

Art Alexakis of Everclear at The Discovering Alcoholic

April 30, 2009

 Art Alexakis at The Discovering Alcoholic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When interviewing the lead singer of a popular band the main topic most likely to be covered is music- right?  But everyone knows the name of the game here at The Discovering Alcoholic, we talk about addiction and recovery… so what was I doing interviewing Art Alexakis of Everclear? 

 

It all started with a story by one of our contributors who wrote a blog about Art and Everclear with the ulterior motive of trying to get me out to the Schaeffer Crawfish Boil where they will be playing this Saturday.  I tend to avoid concert crowds, it has less to do with the drinking that usually accompanies such venues than the fact that my idea of a good time usually involves more intimate settings and close friends.  So when Art’s most pleasant agent contacted me about setting up an interview, I felt sort of out of my element.

 

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Drug Court Graduation Ceremony

April 16, 2009

Original pic by CarbonNYC now at The Discovering Alcoholic

I will be speaking at the Shelby County Drug Court graduation tomorrow and have been asked to emphasize recovery… now that’s a topic I can sink my teeth into! Obviously, I knew just the right spot to find some material on the subject. After congratulating the class on their success I intend to address the lure and danger of backsliding now the threat of jail and weekly drug tests no longer exists. Then touch upon the fact that a recovery routine is anything but confining, and that good recovery habits can open up a whole new world of opportunity and travel. I thought it would be best to end on a hopeful note of healing for the family with emphasis on avoiding potential stumbling blocks and maintaining recovery priorities.

Less than half of all applicants make it through this program of extensive tasks and treatment, so here’s a well deserved TDA salute to the graduates!

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TDA in Japan: TDA Salute to Café Anna

March 6, 2009

TDA Salute to Café Anna at The Discovering Alcoholic

Walking into Café Anna I knew immediately it was going to be pleasant surprise, a little slice of southern comfort in snowy Otaru. Maybe it was the Gone with the Wind movie poster or just the gentle smile of Anna, the proprietor, regardless I knew I had found a place I could relax. I certainly needed a good sit down and hot beverage after a trek through the blustery business section of Otaru to find a currency exchange bank- a task more daunting than I had first thought. Yes a taxi would have been quicker (warmer), but I enjoy the exploration and learning process.

Anna made the best coffee! Burr grinding the beans one cup at a time, warming the classic cup with boiling water from an antique kettle she then filled a French press with the same- she was pouring my cup as the timer she obviously didn’t need went off. While enjoying the coffee I started to look around the narrow shop and noticed a collection of vinyl records. She explained they were from her father and invited me to thumb through the selection. Dating from the 50’s through the 70’s she had some classics- Andrews Sisters, Satchmo, even disco era ABBA and Diana Ross. More informed than most Americans, Anna pulled out a classic movie clip of To Kill a Mockingbird when she found out I was from Alabama… I think she must fancy the Cary Grant type.

Recovery lesson here? There once was a time that travel to a new place would have meant just a different place to pass out. In recovery, one can find the most rewarding experiences and wonderful people… and find out what savoring life really means.

So here’s a TDA Salute to Anna and her café, look her up if you are ever in Otaru.

PS: Anna has a blog, click here to go to the Café Anna blog.

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A Well Deserved Military TDA Salute

February 22, 2009

As a veteran, recovering alcoholic, and advocate, it gives me great pleasure to formally honor Roy Foster a founder of Stand Down. “Stand Down is a multi tiered program that assists and supports male veterans who are struggling with addiction and have become homeless as a result of that struggle”, the program has helped over 900 veterans since opening its doors in 2000. Read the CNN story and watch the videos here, I am in awe at Mr. Foster’s determination- actually going out and tracking down veterans that need a home and help. So here’s a well deserved TDA salute to Roy Foster, a fellow veteran, recovering alcoholic, and advocate who through action exemplifies McArthur’s famous words, “duty, honor, country.”

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