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Posts Tagged ‘society’

How I stopped drinking, again – Entry 2

October 5th, 2012

Okay, I’m not in as good a mood about the whole “Psychology Board-quitting drinking alcohol” experience this time… The not drinking alcohol part has not proven to be an issue until now although it has certainly come up a few times, especially around my upcoming anniversary and the question of whether I can sip champagne or not (obviously the answer is no). It certainly brings up the fact that so many of our social ceremonies involve alcohol and whether I like it or not, those notions are part of my view of social interaction. But that is seriously not the part that pisses me off the most.

Here it is – I am going into a helping profession, meant to support those in our society that need help. I myself have belonged to that group and still see someone on occasion, but I think I’ve come a long way in the last 12 years or so. But not only am I now forced to call in every morning (an ordeal for someone with ADHD anyway) and report for testing during work hours, but the payment for these things is absurd! Each test is going to cost between $50-$75 and I will initially be tested 4-5 times per month for a total of $200-$375 per month or $2400-$4500 per year! and that doesn’t include the $1000 per year in probation costs! That means that for a crime I committed 12 years ago, spent time in jail for and served 5 years of probation time, the CA Board of Psychology will now ask me to spend another $10,000-$14,000. Now, I should be able to afford the cost (barely) but here’s the rub the way I see it: These sorts of limitations and expenses are an endlessly  difficult and probably nearly impossible hoop for a whole slew of people to jump through. By placing these sorts of demands on people with a past, no matter how distant, the California Board of Psychology is essentially squeezing out possible clinicians who may have dealt with drug and alcohol issues in the past. Even my Board-assigned probation monitor told me that she thinks this is excessive, but as usual there “isn’t much [she] can do about it.”

Money is the instrument by which we control people in this society, and that issue comes up again and again for me when I listen to rich politicians (yes, Romney) telling us that if we all just paid less taxes and if government just spent less money than we would all be better off. But that’s a lie – government provides services specifically for those of us who can’t afford to provide them for ourselves. Romney may be able to build a private road to any of his many houses but the rest of us need the government to build that road otherwise we’d only be able to drive where the rich allow us to… and they wouldn’t let us drive on their private roads anyway. So government helps the rest of us with education, transportation, food, and health care because its job is to equalize the playing field a little bit. That might seem like a digression, but here:

If people with an addiction or criminal past are made to pay $10,000-$15,000 in addition to satisfying every other requirement to become lawyers, psychologists, physicians, therapists, and more then aren’t we in essence saying to them that we don’t want them in these jobs? Aren’t we telling them that due to their past they are now damaged goods and aren’t really welcome where the rest of society lives? And if we’re telling them that when they try to become part of the helping professions aren’t we also saying that they are either unable to help or that we simply don’t want their help?

Speak softly and carry a big stickIf that is what we’re saying then I think our system is fucked up. If we’re telling a portion of our society that even if they achieve everything someone else has they are not worthy of the same recognition then I think we need to take a long hard look at ourselves. Society survives and thrives because its members play together and help each other out – when we start drawing lines around what people are worth and what they’re allowed to strive for we disenfranchise exactly the portion of society we pretend to want to rehabilitate.

So I’m going to walk through this, proudly and successfully. I am going to stop drinking and I am going to pay the fees. But I am also going to speak my mind and make sure that the injustice and absurdity of the whole thing is heard, even if only by a few thousand dedicated readers. I’ve worked too hard to just turn the other cheek and say thank you. This is my life, I’ve earned the respect they can’t seem to find, and I’m going to claim it.


Posted in:  Anonymous No More, Education, Opinions
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Body image and medicalization: Socially relevant behavioral “addictions” beyond drug use

May 21st, 2011

We know that addiction can go beyond drug use, but are we becoming addicted to making our bodies perfect?

I put “addiction” in parentheses here because I think it’s important to distinguish substance-related addictions from behavioral ones. There’s no doubt that people’s behavior can become compulsive in the same way addicts become compulsive about using, but I’ve seen no evidence that behavioral addictions interfere with brain function in the way that cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates alter actual brain mechanisms.

Still, this recent trend of obsessive plastic surgery is a dual-headed “addiction”, one that is both physical and social.  In many ways, people are now able to change aspects of their being that were once thought unalterable including their own physical appearances. To gain social acceptance, if you have money, you now have new tools!

This may also play a big role for those who are love addicted, at least if they have money… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in:  Education, Opinions, Prescription, Tips
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The ebb and flow of concern about addiction

March 24th, 2010

One of the things about keeping a blog that is focused on a specific topic, is that you get to see how people’s interest in that topic changes.

This blog gets a flood of hits when a celebrity like Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan gets arrested for possession of drugs or a DUI. When someone dies, be it Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, or Michael Jackson, we get an even bigger spike. Sadly, when a new law passes, or if a drug-story makes the front cover of the New York Times or some other large publication, we get a spike too, but not quite as large.

Worrying about addiction when it’s right

All of these things are too be expected; they’re a byproduct of the media frenzied culture we’re all a part of (if you’re reading this right now, you’re part of it too). We love celebrities as a reflection of everything we aren’t, everything we want to be, and everything we’re glad we’re not. Sure, life is great when you have lots of money, fame, and fans, but when you fall flat on your face and the moment is captured by dozens of readied cameras, we’re more than happy to watch, make fun, and secretly revel in the fact that at least our missteps aren’t broadcast worldwide.

But one of the things I didn’t expect as much was the spike in readership towards the end of every weekend.

It should be obvious, right? People get royally destroyed on Fridays and Saturdays, and by Sunday, my biggest readership day, they’re worried about the consequences on their well-being. While drunk, high, or in the middle of a full-blown internet-porn masturbation party, few care about implications, education, or reality. It’s when the effects of all those wear off and that first post-party look in the mirror takes place that we all find our humility, shame, and motivation to change.

I’m not writing this as a criticism, merely an observation. It’s as if even those in the throws of the disease, or those who care most about it, become most concerned when the dust settles a little. Maybe one day I’ll get around to doing some research on the way this translates to treatment. As some of you already know, All About Addiction is about to introduce a new rehab-finder tool that will allow everyone to go online, fill out an assessment form, and get customized placement in one of almost 12000 addiction providers in the United States. I wonder if we’ll see the same pattern – people looking more on Sunday than any other day; trying to right their wrongs with a final plea to god, through their computers, that maybe today is their last day screwing up their lives.

I’ll make sure to get more help on thoe days if that turns out to be true.


Posted in:  Opinions
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