Friday, September 10, 2010

Alcohol/addiction harm to others: The case for candidate John Willoughby

The case for John Willoughby as candidate for Congress in the State of Hawaii.

For several years, I have been explaining to public officials and politicians that, as one who has recovered from alcoholism, who has attended thousands of recovery meetings, who has helped dozens in their recovery efforts, and who has researched and written on the history and origins of Alcoholics Anonymous, just how much harm I am now seeing among the people hurt by alcoholic and addictive behavior. Not the alcoholics and addicts. We know about them. But about the people they harm.

Who are they? Mothers, aunts, siblings, offspring, grandparents! Unions, businesses, schools, health care facilities, teachers, law enforcement personnel! Schools, prisons, jails, emergency rooms! Military, veterans, bosses, laborers, partners! Coaches, athletes, sports teams! Doctors, dentists, clergy, teachers, professors, laborers, children! Vehicles drivers, accident victims, insurance companies! Abandoned families, abused spouses, abused or abandoned children!

These folks are not necessarily alcoholics or addicts. They are the people who are hurt by the activities of alcoholics and addicts--by store break-ins, embezzlements, petty thefts, burglaries, robberies, drunk driving, loss of employment, physical and mental abuse, divorce, child endangerment!

Sending alcoholics and addicts to jail, to prison, to rehabs, to treatment, to drug courts, to counseling, to doctors, and to clergy. Even intervention. None of these efforts to cure alcoholics and addicts take account of, or marhsall our resources to defeat the problems the alcoholics have caused to others.

Tonight I had a long talk with John Willoughby here in Kihei-Wailea on Maui. I knew that John was a decorated military person. I knew he was a man of faith. I knew he was a family man. I knew how he emerged as an "amateur" among the professional politicians, but has been at every single function--and more--that I have attended in the last several months. He was determined to make his way--newcomer or not.
And he's well qualified. Now his time has come. He needs to win in the primaries, and he needs to defeat the incumbent congresswoman.

I explained to John again how much I was concerned about the harm that alcoholism and addiction have caused to 75 million American families--huge spending on research and pharmaceuticals; huge spending on law enforcement and prisons; huge spending on health care; huge losses of time by laborers, unions, businesses, partners, employers, huge misery in families.

Then I learned that, as a military officer, John had worked with alcoholics and addicts in rehabilitation efforts. He saw hands-on how tough the problem was. He saw the harm inflicted on the military and on families. He saw the frailty of focus just on treatment to the detriment of the innocent members of society continually harmed by those abusing alcohol and drugs and engaging in reckless and hurtful behavior.

Can one Congressman help? This candidate can! He cares. He reads and studies. He listens. He believes. He talks to union leaders, clergy, public workers, teachers, and families. He has listened to my plea. And I think John Willoughby can bring a breath of fresh air to a Congress riddled with habits of spending money, taxing citizens, putting out markers for local oddities, and devoting themselves to campaigning. John is an idealist as well as a man of action. In 20 years of research, I have not seen even recovery folks do much more for and with Congress than plead for research money, plead for facilities, plead for laws favoring alcoholics, plead for drug war money, and all the rest. John can and will do better! And I just went to the polls and voted for him. I hope you will too.

1 comment:

Chaz said...


Good points. So often we hear alcoholics (and other addicts) express at meetings "I don't want to go back out... I will probably die".

While this is true, it is incomplete and short-sighted. To me it speaks clearly from the selfish nature of the alcoholic.

The alcoholic is only one of a great number of people who may suffer and die if the alcoholic remains active or goes back out.

In fact, if the alcoholic dies and alcohol-related death, chances are he is getting off the lightest. His family and sociciety will probably be left with pain and a mess to clean up that will last far longer.

One sober and recovering alcoholic or addict has a huge effect on our society. Damage control if nothing else.

Glad to hear our local candidate has a meaningful awareness of this.