Archive for the Huffington Post Category

There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane

Last night HBO debuted the titled eponymous documentary about Diane Schuler, the wife and mother who killed 8 people in a head-on crash while going the wrong way on the Taconic Parkway in 2009. The autopsy of Mrs. Schuler showed that she was seriously impaired by alcohol and marijuana at the time of the crash and witnesses said that her driving looked so purposeful that it seemed like she wanted to kill herself.

Her husband emphatically disagreed, placing blame for the autopsy results on bad medical work. He engaged a separate reading of the toxicology reports and then refused to believe they were accurate.
Her family believes that the drinking was situational at best, and she indeed had no history of missing work, was a high producer and an overscheduled mom.

There was no evidence that she regularly drank, and the kids in the car thought her behavior (the title of the film comes from the words of the call made from her niece to her brother-in-law during the trip) was “strange.” In fact it was so strange and out of character for her that her husband and police went looking for her.

The forensic psychiatrist who reviewed her files and spoke to the family says that Mrs. Schuler was in physical (she had a severely abcessed tooth) and emotional (her father left her at nine) and that she took a drink to stop the pain. The drink didn’t stop the pain, and she took another and another and another. The marijuana, which she used “to help her sleep,” impaired her judgment and the results were tragic.
I watched it last night and would agree, from a cinematic standpoint, with the author of this review http://tv.nytimes.com/2011/07/25/arts/television/theres-something-wrong-with-aunt-diane-on-hbo-review.html?ref=dianeschuler#

Naturally, the story itself has spouted a fountain of opinion from the 12 step community, using the death as an object lesson for the need to understand the “codependence” of Mr. Schuler and how alcoholic Mrs. Schuler was.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-tian-dayton/diane-schuler-the-sad-leg_b_251835.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/chayefsky/diane-schuler-secret-alco_b_258560_29242278.html
http://www.oprah.com/packages/community-conversations.html
https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=145699801561

Since the surviving members of the families killed in the crash are suing Mr. Schuler, I would expect this sad story to be in the papers for a long time. I would also expect the thumping of more drums from the 12 step communities, making the crash about them and adapting the circumstances as an object lesson to teach us all that AA solves everything.

I Don’t Know How I Missed This…

I’m sure most of you saw this already, but a month ago, Stanton Peele — who somehow manages to survive as a representative of sanity at the Huffington Post, which seems to be crawling with recovery crackpots — published a piece called: “What’s Wrong with Sentencing People to Addiction Treatment?” Peele offers six objections, which rightly boil down to: it’s ineffective, illegal, and it’s a waste of resources. (I added a couple of my own to the comments, but I can’t use my handle, “friendthegirl,” there, because they seem to have blacklisted it after my engagement with the 12-Step Buddhist.)

I think that our Keep Coming Back series is one tidy answer to the question. And by the way, here’s another Keep Coming Back entry:

AZUSA, Calif. — Investigators say a Southern California woman killed in a rollover freeway crash had stopped in a bar for drinks before hurrying out to get ready for a court-ordered DUI class.

The California Highway Patrol says Lidia Kopach, who was convicted of drunken driving a year ago, consumed two vodka drinks and split two pitchers of beer at a Monrovia bar before the deadly crash at 2 a.m. Thursday on Interstate 210 in Azusa.

The Pasadena Star-News says Kopach told 24-year-old Daniel Martinez, who was slightly injured in the crash, that she needed to get home and for some sleep because she had to attend a court-ordered DUI education class on Thursday.

(Lucky thing for Kopach, she lives in Greg Lester’s neighborhood. There’s no such thing as coincidence!)