Why Louis Theroux is Clueless about Addiction and Alcoholism
like almost every other would-be Drug War reformer on the planet
hen Louis Theroux saw a young alcohol addict outside a London hospital, he mused: "What struck me was the sense of impotence I felt about how to help him. I only hoped he could find his way back to happiness and sobriety."
Louis fails to realize that it is the Drug War which renders us impotent in treating alcoholism because it outlaws all the psychoactive medicine that might be of real help to the alcoholic. That impotence is reinforced by our Christian Science focus on sobriety as a goal, thanks to which the patient is only considered "cured" if they are using no psychoactive medicine whatsoever (with the possible hypocritical exception of dependence-causing Big Pharma tranquilizers). If we thus counsel the addict both to foreswear medical godsends and to strive to achieve a state of completely drug-free sobriety, it's little wonder that we feel impotent when it comes to truly helping them. We might as well just tell the alcoholic, "Let go and let God," and then move on to the next alcoholic who is waiting for our "help."
The sane alternative to this Christian Science prescription for alcoholics and other addicts is to treat them with strategically chosen psychoactive medicines with the goal, not of making them sober (i.e. drug-free) citizens but rather of helping them to wisely use precisely those substances that allow them to succeed in life rather than to fail. That should be the goal in treatment, after all, not to turn the addict into a good Christian Scientist who dogmatically eschews the use of all psychoactive medicine whatsoever. To enforce the latter goal is to ignore the needs of the addict and to turn their experience into a morality tale, instead, a narrative that follows the usual drug-warrior party line: a person is entrapped by evil substances, turns to God (or a higher power) , and finally realizes that he or she can do all that they need to do in life by becoming completely sober. Most Americans would be shocked by such Christian Science advice when it comes to physical disease, yet we feel justified in enforcing those same Christians Science principles by law when the goal of treatment is to expand or improve one's mental outlook.
Author's Follow-up: April 3, 2023
Besides popularizing MDMA, Alexander Shulgin has synthesized hundreds of drugs that could cheer up the alcoholics and help them screw their heads on straight, especially when employed therapeutically with the help of a pharmacologically savvy shaman or empath. It is really a crime that all substances of this kind are illegal -- it means that curing alcoholism is illegal. In the age of a Drug War, we do not want to help alcoholics, we want to make them "sober" as that term is hypocritically defined by western society. We want the alcoholic to go through hell so that we can turn their plight into a morality play, whose moral is that we should all turn to the Christian god for help, the god whom we conveniently disguise as a "higher power," of course.
The Links Police
Do you know why I pulled you over? No, if anything you were navigating too slowly. No, I just I wanted to tip you off on some additional essays that touch on the subject of addiction and drugs:
You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.
A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.
The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.
It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)
If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.
PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company