Re: Bye-Bye to the >H Right Wing ->Drugs & addicts

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Thu Feb 14 2002 - 18:49:46 MST

Vanessa Novaeris wrote:
> this exchange is somthing... So I apologize if my contributions right now
> are limited only to my personal experience.
> 2 months ago I tried to kill myself (& nearly succeeded). snip...
> And so, "recovery"
> just came out of nowhere & bit me in the ass. Needless to say, the education
> I have gained throughout this process has been priceless. But one thing
> emerges as an indesputable fact from all this - No one can get sober unless
> they *WANT* to.

First, I want to say your post is excellent, thanks for sharing, I'm
glad you are still alive, and I hope you stay sober. Any time you want
to talk, feel free to email me....

> I agree with Mike Lorrey that:
> <<the claims that drug use is a 'victimless crime' is notas black and white,
> slam dunk as many legalization proponents would liketo claim. Having been in
> the trenches of dealing with addicts, the damage they do ALWAYS extends
> beyond themselves as individuals>>
> But that's about where it ends for me.
> So my only point of contention with Amara would be this: don't be deceived
> into thinking addiction is a victimless crime. Legally, perhaps, that may
> usually be the case, but the mental, emotional, & financial damages
> inflicted upon others can be devestating enough to qualify as victimization.
> Other than that, I think you are totally right on in your evaluation.
> The FACT of the matter is that you cannot force an addict/alcoholic to get
> clean. Nothing in existence can keep the afflicted from that next hit or
> drink or whatever EXCEPT their own free will to *choose* to stop. S/He will
> require assisstance (sometimes a great deal) to carry out this choice
> completely, but the *choice* by necessity must be freely & willingly made by
> the addict of his/her own accord.

I totally agree with the idea that the state shouldn't be involved in
forcing the individual to get clean. I never said it should.

People involved in discussions on this list are very often operating
from very different frames of reference, and as such affronts are often
taken where none is intended, and impressions are often given when none
were proffered (or inverse of what was assumed by the reader).

For example, as a libertarian, I still see there being room for *some*
minimal sort of coersion of the individual by a state or competetive
power brokers/insurance providers withing a mythical libertarian world,
for example, an insurance provider selling PPL policies in an ungoverned
area will still be free to set their own premiums for the sort of
policies their customers want. If a customer can't afford the policy
they want, its just too damn bad, and they WILL have to accept what is
offered for what they can afford, no matter who competes in the market
for their business. That is still coersion.

However, in the present discussion, I am NOT talking about a mythical
libertarian society, I am dealing with present day society, here and
now, and the things I would prescribe for this society are far different
than I would prescribe for a libertarian one, for the very simple reason
that a large percent of present day American (and the rest of the world,
for that matter) population are unwilling and/or incapable of living in
the sort of libertarian society many of us dream of.

That being said, Vanessa is entirely right to say that the choice to get
sober has to be up to the individual addict, however, that doesn't mean
that those who are dependent upon that individual in any way should be
left in the lurch to take the loss if the individual addict isn't ready
to get sober. Whether living in todays society or in a libertarian
world, the others involved have rights too, rights which frequently are
far more important than the individual addicts 'right to choose' to stay

In this area, a properly constructed asset forfeiture regulation, either
as a government statute or merely as a performance penalty clause in an
insurance contract, would take the addicts assets in order to satisfy
the debts of the addict: to their children and spouse, to their
creditors and business associates, etc. much as a bankruptcy proceeding
seizes the individual's assets when the individual declares that they
can no longer be responsible for their debts.

By choosing to remain addicted, the individual is making a de fact
declaration of abdication of responsibility of their debts to their
dependents and creditors.

> This stands in stark contrast to the idea posted by Mike:
> >Are you advocating that an addict has a greater right to get high and
> >drive their kids off a cliff than their kids have to continue living?
> [This is just nonsense & inappropriate]
> >Such individuals are no longer freely acting adult citizens.
> I disagree. They are indeed freely acting and their action is to use. Just
> because you think they are wrong in their decision doesn't mean that they
> are not freely making it. Not all junkies *want* to get sober & my feeling
> is that if they don't want to put in the effort when given the opportunity,
> then they are fucking themselves. The State need not waste money or
> resources on people who continue to make the *choice* to use.

Well, my whole point here, that nobody seems to be even comprehending,
is that because the drug compromises the addicts thought processes
physiologically/neurochemically, the addict may *think* they are making
their choices freely, but they are in fact making their choices subject
to the compulsions of the drug addiction, which is *exactly* like mind
control. Is the manchurian candidate freely choosing the act of
assasination they commit? LSD, for instance, IS a drug that has been
used for mind control. Expecting it to NOT act as a mind control when
used privately is really really dumb.

> Reason wrote:
> >Anyhow. "War on *" = stupid. Not even evil, just stupid, stupid, >stupid.
> >We live in a sick, controlling society that encourages denial >and a lack
> >of responsibility, can't look beyond tomorrow, curtails >freedoms for idiot
> >reasons and looks more and more like the worst of >Europe. Career
> >politicians are a major source of stupidity, popularity >contents are no
> >way to run a society.
> EXACTLY! In fact, accepting responsibility for ones own actions, (past,
> present, & future) is literally the first step in treatment of addiction.
> Addicts cannot get sober without first taking full responsibility for
> themselves & their condition. That's mostly why AA & NA have such monumental
> success - completely voluntary, totally self-supporting, based on tolerance
> & open-mindedness, & absolutely free from any State or religious doctrine -
> compared with many state-funded programs (including prisons) that function
> with the sole purpose of pulling in funding (State employees need to get
> their jobs *somewhere).

Yes, the individual IS responsible, because they chose to take that
first dose, but responsibility and actual control while impaired are
entirely different things.

> as Amara pointed out:
> >I do not find your Means acceptable. Once you tell the government
> >that it's OK to throw someone in jail or take their property because
> >of some behavior that is not harming anyone else, but that you find
> >unacceptable, then what comes next? Firing them, evicting them,
> >denying them credit, stripping away their civil rights, and the list
> >goes on without end. If a person chooses to diminish their lives
> >by using some drugs, then they have every right to do so.
> >All drug use carries a risk, and the risks are varied. As an adult,
> >each makes his/her own decision as to whether to expose themself to
> >that drug, and one measures the potential good/harm against their
> >own personal form of measure.
> Even without interference from the State, an addict can manage perfectly
> well to destroy & lose everything of value in life. Therefore, the
> rehabilitative benefits Mike cited from such losses can be preserved. For
> example, just within the timeframe of my treatment, I have been forced to
> drop out of school in my senior year, I was evicted from my apartment in DC,
> I lost my scholarship, my partner, my job, blah blah blah. And none of this
> involved the State - I managed to destroy my life by my own hand & all the
> consequences I faced were a DIRECT result of my own decision to use. I think
> this is immensely important because there was no scapegoat - I could NOT use
> the State as the fallguy for my demise & so I was forced to accept total
> responsibility for the actions, MY actions, which brought me there. I fucked
> myself up big time & I deserved everything I got - I had it coming. For this
> reason, I think it is ESSENTIAL to the rehabilitation of the addict that the
> State NOT be involved on any level. I cannot stress this point enough. The
> individual MUST take full & total responsibility before reaping any benefits
> from treatment.

If the individual is free of dependents and debts, then I entirely agree
with you. I disagree, though, when it comes to dependents and debts, the
state (or your PPL provider, in a libertarian setting) does have an
interest in looking out for the interests of others who are dependent
upon you being a productive member of society.

Lets look at a hypothetical situation, lets say I am driving while high
and hit another car, causing damage to not only my car, but the other
person's car and injuring them and my ex-wife and two kids who are in
the back seat of my car, but my ex-wife has just gained full custody of
them and I've lost all parental privileges and responsibilities. I'm
unemployed and uninsured, and I say, "I'm high and can't pay for the
damages anyways cause I've got no job." I do happen to own a $200,000
house outright. If the state says "huh, well, we're gonna seize your
house and sell it to pay for the damage you did."

Can I, the addict, STILL blame the state for taking my house? Is what
the state did WRONG?

Furthermore, by seizing that last crutch in my life that was enabling my
addiction, namely having a decent place to live so I could kid myself
that I wasn't really at 'rock bottom' yet, so I "wasn't ready" to get
sober, didn't the state (or the insurance company, or the courts, or
whatever) help me along to decide to get sober, while protecting the
EQUAL interests of others involved?

and don't say this is 'nonsense and inappropriate'. I've seen situations
like this or exactly like this in the lives of many addicts.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:39 MST