Saturday, December 29, 2012

What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

Now, I have to admit that like a lot of ex-drunks and pillheads, I never spent much time thinking about New Years Eve. (Or Christmas, or Labor Day, or Arbor Day for that matter.) After all, in an addiction it's just another day, right?

Happy (Sober) New Year! | The Fix:

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Very Merry Christmas! (Now get another day!)

Night Before Christmas – Big Book Style

‘Twas the night before Christmas, we were all in the club, 
Enjoying a meeting, instead of a pub. 
The ashtrays were clean, and the coffee was made, 
The Big Books were out and then we all prayed.

When out in the lot, there arose such a clatter,
We all jumped up to see what was the matter.
The Chair with his Big Book, and I with my smokes,
Headed outside to find these two blokes.

They came inside and sat at a table;
And said that they’d chair, as soon as they’re able.
To start with, they said, “It’s more than not drinking;
It’s doing your best to have God fix your thinking.”

“First Things First!” and the slogans we used,
Help keep the newcomer from getting confused.
Step 1 is a start, they said we should know,
But after Step 2, we’ll be all aglow.

We make a decision when we got to Step 3,
Step 4 was a bit tough, we all could agree.
Step 5 is the one where we let it all out,
And after Step 6 and 7, we’re left with no doubt.

When we got to Step 8, we made our full list;
And then with Step 9, we have to persist.
After Step 9, more promises ring true;
We didn’t just make that up, right out of the blue.

After that, it’s on with the rest;
The things we must do, to be our best.
They put on their coats and got ready to leave;
A very good end, for this Christmas Eve.

As to their names, we only could guess;
Must have been Bill W. and Dr. Bob S.
The two men hopped into a ’35 Ford,
And as they pulled out, one of them roared:

“We leave this message, for our sisters and brothers:
Trust God, clean house, and be of service to others.
And for all of you people, I just want to say:
Have a nice Christmas, and don’t drink today!”

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Seems to be some misinformation in Delaware County, that a straight Democratic vote will exclude Obama. Untrue. President Obama is top man in the Democratic Party. A vote for the Democratic Party is a vote for President Obama.
And before anyone starts crying partisanship, let me assure you I would post the same note if the issue was misinformation about Romney. If it isn't clean, it's not an election!

It's a Beautiful Day for Voting!

So Vote.
You will feel less like a wind-tossed leaf, and more like a force of nature.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A real "Comeback Kid"

There's a chapter in the Basic Text of N.A. entitled We Do Recover.
Here's the story of a young man from my alma mater, Msgr. Bonner High School, who does indeed recover.
Read it, and be inspired!

Getting back into baseball helps Bonner grad Kluka beat heroin, turn life around -

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sobering Summer Stats from SAMHSA:

First time use of alcohol, marijuana, alcohol tobacco and just about everything else goes way, way up in the summer months.

●● First-time use of most substances peaks during
the summer months of June and July
●● On an average day in June, July, or December,
more than 11,000 youths used alcohol for the first
time; in other months, the daily average ranged
from about 5,000 to 8,000 new users per day
●● On an average day in June or July, more than
5,000 youths smoked cigarettes for the first time;
in other months, the daily average ranged from
about 3,000 to 4,000 new users per day
●● On an average day in June or July, more than
4,800 youths used marijuana for the first time,
whereas the daily average ranged from about
3,000 to 4,000 in other months

 Source: SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUHs), 2002 to 2005 and 2006 to 2010
(revised March 2012).1. Number of Adolescents Younger than 18 Using Alcohol for the First Time on An Average Day,
by Month: 2002 to 2010

The NSDUH Report is prepared by the Center for Behavioral Health
Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ), SAMHSA, and by RTI International in
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. (RTI International is a trade
name of Research Triangle Institute.)
Information on the most recent NSDUH is available in the following
Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2011). Results
from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary
of national findings (NSDUH Series H-41, HHS Publication No. SMA
11-4658). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Truth Behind the Bath Salt "Epidemic" | The Fix

Nearly a year ago, The Interventionist ran a piece on Bath Salts, long before the present epidemic of "Flesh-Eating" stories in the popular press. In this recent article, The Fix goes beyond the hysteria to a somewhat more rational understanding of this latest so-called drug epidemic:

The Truth Behind the Bath Salt "Epidemic" | The Fix:

'via Blog this'

Monday, June 25, 2012

Intervention With A Small "i"

"Do you think we should talk to him?"

That's a question comes up in many intervention planning sessions that always seems to take me by surprise. It shouldn't but it does. The dialogue that follows goes something like this:

You've never talked to him about his drinking?
Not really.
How come?
Well, I tried to. My son and daughter tried, too. And Uncle Bobby. (There's always an Uncle Bobby.)
What happened?
Well it was after the wedding, before the twins were baptized, etc., etc., and then he was doing better, and...well.....anyway it didn't really happen. Nothing happened.

Here's why. It's tough to talk to someone you love about something that's painful. It's even tougher when you are worried that you might make things worse. And if your feelings are raw and close to the surface, like on the morning after some particularly bad night, it's like playing with dynamite.

It adds up to a Trifecta of procrastination. So here are a couple of things to do if you are planning to talk to your loved one about their drinking or drugging:

  1. Be clear and specific, not general. It's not "you drink too much", it's "last night when you came in I smelled liquor on your breath and you were unsteady on your feet."
  2. Say what you want. There's a big difference between "I want you to behave yourself" and "I want you to try and cut down on your drinking, and if you can't, see a professional for some help."
  3. Don't shame or blame. I could write a chapter on that, and one of these days I will. For now, don't do it. 
  4. No drama. Once the voices raise, the cause is lost. For now, anyway.
So, unlike Mr. Wizard said, go ahead, kids and feel free to try these at home. If it works, great! I am very happy that you need no other help.

If not, give me a call or text at 484 431 2931, or email me at

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Have A Good Time, But Remember....

Nobody likes fun more than me. That's a fact. Ask anyone who knows me.

I'm one of those freaks, the party actually started after I stopped drinking!

Which explains why it is hard for me to write about some concerns that parents should rightfully have about their children during the hazy, lazy days. I mean, who wants to be Debbie Downer, right?

But the reality is that in the summer when the school year is over and the rules are relaxed, the time is right for fighting, and dancing in the streets, usually fueled by alcohol.

Swimming, boating and car accidents related to alcohol increase exponentially. As do DUI arrests. And don't get me started on pot and pot busts. Let's just say that the wrong people (usually kids) smoke the most pot during the summer and get arrested   more than anyone else. No fun.

So like the old song said, have a good time but remember.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crazy, Mixed-Up Pot Laws

Copyright Delaware County Daily Times
A guy gets busted for growing pot in Darby, the town next-door to mine. It's a funny story, almost.

His house got robbed, the police were called. Investigating the robbery they discover a bunch of pot plants and a seriously decent growing system. The guy goes to jail. You can read the whole story here: Delaware County Daily Times.

It is kind of funny, in a Harold & Kumar way. Robbers become the allies of the cops, the guy who got arrested described himself as a "retired horticulturalist."  One of the cops was amused that he had a shrine to the Blessed Mother in his basement. "Maybe he was praying for a good grow," the cop said.

Where it's not funny, is that the reputed owner of the plants and the growing operation is looking at charges of possession and possession with intent to deliver. Both are felonies, and with the reported volume of marijuana, big felonies. In Pennsylvania, that is.

In 14 other states, it would have been perfectly legal. Well, maybe not perfectly legal, in some there would have been a fine if he exceeded the number of plants he was allowed.

In our neighbor state, New Jersey, there is a determined effort led by Governor Christie to move drug crimes out of the prisons and into the treatment and recovery community, provided they don't involve another more significant crime.

Personally, I believe that victimless drug crimes do not belong in jail to begin with. And I believe that home-grow entrepreneurial types should be regulated and taxed, and there should be serious consequences  if their product ended up in the wrong hands. Specifically the hands of someone under 21 years of age.

I am sure that there would still be enough profit for a budding horticulturalist of the ethical variety make a living while playing by the rules.

One that prays to the Blessed Mother, perhaps.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Loving An Addict.

Psych Central is one of those wonderful online clearinghouses filled with information on many mental health issues. This video by Daniel J. Tomasulo and Marie Hartwell-Walker gives some good and practical advice on Helping Someone With Drug Or Alcohol Problems:

Please let me know if this information was helpful, either by leaving a comment, or contacting me confidentially at

Monday, May 7, 2012

Welcome, Delaware County Times Readers

I am happy to join the family of bloggers linked to the biggest daily news source in Delaware County. The Daily Times is the "go-to" page for finding out what is happening in our corner of the world.

Unfortunately, many times the news is not good. We read stories about crime, about problems in our schools, about the economy and joblessness.

And many times we read stories about drugs.

And addiction.

And alcoholism.

What we don't read about often enough is Recovery.

Yes, people do recover from addiction and alcoholism; from gambling and other forms as well. A national survey estimates as many as 10% of the total population identifies as being in recovery.

In Delaware County, that adds up to about 60,000 people.

60,000 clean, sober individuals.

In this blog I have written about many facets of addiction and recovery for the past few years. I will continue to do so, and invite you to join the dialog.

Welcome aboard, Delco!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Couple Of Thoughts On 4/20

It's that day, again, and though nobody seems to know why or when it started, it's time to fire up. Or e-smoke, or bake some brownies in celebration of America's favorite leafy green substance. Usually this translates into a couple of teenage stoners getting busted by cops, teachers or parents; a handful of news pieces proclaiming  a: pot is the ruination of youth and Western Civilization or b: the miracle drug of the age, bringing bliss, pain relief and a renewed appetite to sick and aging boomers.

It's also a prime market day for purveyors of test-at-home pee kits.

I would like to suggest an alternative.

How about a day dedicated to thinking about our complex, contradictory and generally messed up drug laws, with the intention of actually developing a coherent national drug policy.

When Governor Christie of New Jersey commented against the incarceration of marijuana offenders, the howling and moaning was loud and long. when he put the flag at half mast after the death of Whitney Houston, and had the audacity to say that she had died of a disease, it was worse. Somehow, it ended with him accused of not supporting the police.

All of which serves to explain that we are crazy when it comes to drugs.

We seem to believe that locking everybody who uses, traffics and generally gets high is going to fix things, although thirty years of this has only increased the prison population a thousandfold and stemmed the tide of drugs and addiction not a bit.

Isn't doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result a definition of insanity?

Just a thought, but maybe, just maybe, the decriminalization of marijuana would save the country an estimated 13 billion dollars. Is it conceivable that a legal pot, regulated and taxed like alcohol and cigarettes, would become less likely to fall into the hands of children?

I don't know the answer, but I know that what we are doing is not working.

And this goofy stoner pseudo holiday is as good a day as any to start thinking about doing something different.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Good Drug!

We have one hell of a history with alcohol.

About 4000 years worth, give or take a millennium.

It's what gets us through the rough times and helps celebrate the good ones. It's mentioned approximately 248 times in the bible (more than bless, but slightly less than sin.) It's been the object of numerous crusades, both by prohibitionists who managed to outlaw it by constitutional amendment; and by moonshiners who started an armed insurrection protesting it's taxation. (The prohibitionists won, for a while; the moonshiners lost.)

It's a major cause of death among kids with cars, the drug of choice at all sports events (imagine dancing syringes of heroin during halftime at the Superbowl.) There's a strong chance that if it went before the FDA for approval as a new drug it would get laughed out of the process. Imagine the questions at the trials:

  • Q. And what, exactly does this alcohol do?
  • A. It produces a warm glow and feelings of well being, then proceeds to attack every major organ in the body, leads to cirrhosis, brain and nerve damage and death. Not to mention depression, delirium, DT's and dead weight falls.
  • Q. Hmmmm....this doesn't sound good.
And it doesn't. Yet that warm, good glow is what we crave, and in moderation, what we get. But that doesn't mean that we should overlook the other dangerous consequences.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and the links below are helpful in doing just that, making us more aware of the potential dangers of alcohol use, especially among the young. 

It may be our good drug, but it's still a drug.

For more information, click on these links:

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Long Good Friday

No one could call him an alcoholic.

He stopped drinking every year, for Lent.

No Windsor; no Schmidts. No ice cubes clinking in the glass in the kitchen after he got home from work. No snap and hiss of a pop-top.

From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.


Not a drop.

Although the house was quieter, the woman and the boy found it hard to relax. There was a tension that never found a voice.

He smoked more.

He ate a lot of peppermints. Sometimes at night the boy would hear him walking down the hallway to the stairs, and down the stairs to the kitchen. He could picture him sitting at the kitchen table, smoking.

On the weekends, watching sports, he would make the boy sit with him. He drank soda. He would hold it under the boy's nose.

Smell it, he would say. See? No booze. Tell your mother. Tell her no booze.

He would tell her when she came in from the store. The woman would say, that's good.

But she didn't smile.

The man said, I gave it up. For Lent.

The woman would say under her breath, for Lent.

Good Friday, they would go to church and do the Stations of the Cross. The man would seem distracted. When they got home, his mood would change. He would laugh loudly, and sometimes suddenly clap his hands together, and say boy, oh boy. The woman would busy herself in the kitchen. The boy wasn't allowed to go out to play on Good Friday, so he would go to his room. He could hear the man talking loudly to the woman.

Lent was almost over. No one could call him an alcoholic. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

30 Million

A story I posted Thursday from reported that 10% of all Americans identify themselves as recovering from an addiction.

That's 30 million people. Think about that: 30 million.

That's more than the combined populations of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.

30 million votes are a significantly higher number than the winning margin of the popular vote in every Presidential election in history.

Sweden, Denmark, Afghanistan, North Korea, Switzerland and Austral; all with populations well below 30 million.

If there is enough of us to win an election, fill a city or populate a country, then how come we are doing such a lousy job of making our presence felt?

Have you heard a politician--just one politician--say anything substantial whatsoever about addiction or recovery? Have you had someone close to you need treatment for a substance use disorder, only to encounter lengthy waiting lists for treatment beds? Or ridiculous admission criteria? Or an insurance company that agrees to the need for treatment but simply refuses to pay?

And that is just one little area. Whether you think about the courts, social approbation, issues related to health and welfare--ask yourself what other special interest group of 30 million people would let itself be so rudely treated. Ask yourself what 30 million votes could accomplish.

30 million. Just a thought.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Serious Anonymous: For those Who Take It All All A Little Too Seriously...

Over-Serious Anonymous
12-Step Program
1. We admitted that we were powerless over seriousness -- that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that only by lightening up could we achieve a state of non-seriousness.
3. Made a decision to turn our constant self-criticism over to our sense of humor and learn to "lovingly and wholeheartedly" laugh at ourselves.
4. Decided to give ourselves a break once in a while, instead of constantly doing searching and fearless moral inventories of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being that our wrongs were often in our heads.
6. Were entirely ready to accept that our characters were as good as anybody else's and possibly better than most.
7. Quit harping on our shortcomings.
8. Made of list of all persons we thought we had harmed and saw that they'd forgotten all the crap we'd blown out of proportion.
9. Quit making amends for breathing air and taking up a few square feet of the planet's surface.
10. Resigned ourselves to the fact we were going to criticize ourselves at times, but would try to stick to our guns when we knew we were right.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to calm down and realize we're not responsible for everything.
12. Having experienced immense relief from these steps, we would try to carry this message to other over-serious people and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.
~Author Unknown

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Before "Epiphany" became a buzzword for the by-products of self-absorption, it was a commemoration of the visit of the Magi to the Christ child. They were also known as the Wise Men. It is thought that there were three wise men. The population of Wise Men may have fluctuated over the centuries, but by now, in the 21st century, I think it's a safe bet there are less than three.

If there was an endangered species list for wise men, the Magi would be at the top.

They have been replaced by the shrill men, the greedy men, and the con men. These men are not an endangered species, nor are they wise. They are not Magi.

They are selfish pricks. And what makes their selfishness especially odious is the pomp and self-righteousness that seems to attend their every selfish act.

Friday January 6th was the Feast of the Epiphany.

It was celebrated in my little corner of the world by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia closing a number of schools. grade schools, high schools. Sorry kids. Sorry teachers.


It was all nicely couched in what we have come to recognize as a sort of ecclesiastical double-talk, the ice coldness of the decision wrapped in a lot of pious talk.

Enough pious talk to make me want to puke.

The fact is that the Church is rich, and wants to stay rich, and closing the schools is a way to do this. If it breaks the hearts of a couple of thousand school kids and tanks a lot of dedicated teachers (most of whom unprotected by any collective bargaining, guaranteed pension or severance) so be it.

It's business. Never mind that a handful of paintings or statues or manuscripts from the Vatican could probably fund Catholic education through the rest of this millennium and into the next. You don't stay rich by giving it away.

So, I guess you could say that a lot of kids, their teachers, their parents, had an epiphany or sorts on Friday. They woke up believing in something, and they will go to bed with it gone.

All over a buck.

It would have made the Magi weep.

Blog Archive