Monday, October 02, 2006

Leave the drunks alone

Ex-congressmen Mark Foley is the latest public figure to give alcoholics a bad and undeserved name. While he didn't explicitly blame his dirty IM-ing on his "disease," he did check himself into alcohol rehab right after resigning his position.

He is following the lead of fellow disgraced representative Bob Ney who brazenly linked
alcoholism to Indian swindling.

Of course Mel Gibson started it all -- although I have to admit Gibson's paranoid expression of ethnic resentment was at least in-line with the behavior of some of the alcoholics I've known.

Still, I can't help thinking these headline-grabbers are just using "rehab" as a way to avoid the accountability spotlight without being accused of going into hiding.

Fair enough. I'd want to run and hide too. But what effect is this going to have on real alcoholics? A couple months ago I'd be reluctant to lend an alcoholic my car, but I would have been fine with letting a 16 year old relative intern at their place of business, and wouldn't have thought twice before introducing an alcoholic to my good friend Chief Spinning Wheel.

Now? Not so much.

Alcoholics already have enough problems with the falling down and the pissing themselves. Do they also need to be associated with all of society's ills?

I say no. But it's really up to the alcoholics to govern their own ranks. I do fear the inclusiveness that is preached to the twelve-steppers in recovery leaves them ill-equipped to do so, and this alcoholism thing is going to become the go-to out for all public misbehavior

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