Archive for the suicide Category

Suicidal Couple Meets at Alcoholics Anonymous


Bail for Assisted Suicide Suspect

A man who allegedly took part in a heroin suicide pact and helped his girlfriend die of a drug overdose has been granted bail.

John Christopher Walmsley, 33, faces charges of aiding and abetting suicide and supplying a drug of dependence. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Police allege Walmsley and his 25-year-old girlfriend formed a pact to kill themselves in late December last year.

Walmsley allegedly bought six doses of heroin, each weighing about 0.25g, and the couple injected themselves with the drug.

The woman died, leaving behind a young daughter, but Walmsley survived and has been in custody since his arrest in April.

The ACT Supreme Court heard yesterday Walmsley’s girlfriend had not been a drug addict but had been abusing alcohol when she met the man at Alcoholics Anonymous.

Read the rest… The fact that the man had no business in AA to begin with will come as no surprise to anyone.


h/t Sally!

This Simple Program

I am so very sorry for your loss, but your husband may not have given his AA sobriety a chance to work. — from the comments section of this story:

New details emerge in officer’s suicide

A medical examiner’s report reaveals additional information in the suicide of Officer David Hall.

The 41-year-old veteran San Diego Police Officer had been battling alcoholism and was depressed because he believed he would lose his job for a DUI hit and run crash he was involved in earlier this year.

In the report, investigators say Officer Hall was specifically worried about an upcoming hearing regarding his DUI case.

And before his suicide he didn’t leave behind a note. In fact, he didn’t give his wife Michelle or three kids any indication he was about to shoot himself in the backyard.

Which he did at about 9:40 that morning, as his kids slept inside their Linda Vista home.

Of course,  Hall had been mandated to attend AA meetings.

I had been sitting on this story, because I am conscious that making this connection between AA and suicide is dicey, and opens us up to accusations of hysteria. The connection is obvious to those with long years in the program and who have been to the funerals. And it seems obvious that the concepts of powerlessness and permanent, progressive disease — not to mention lifelong meetings — are a recipe for disempowerment and despair. They’re also a recipe for binge relapse.

So, I’m really interested in the statistic cited in this article: Continue reading This Simple Program

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

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.

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.

Slate on “Surviving Straight, Inc.”

Please go read Steven Slate’s piece on the new documentary about the “troubled teen” industry, created by survivors of the Straight, Inc. nightmare. He makes the connection between what some might consider a sort of isolated issue and draws a very clear line to the addiction recovery movement whose psychotic mythologies influence our culture so profoundly.

Here’s Steven Slate’s article. It is essential reading. When you’re done, please friend it:

Surviving Straight Inc, a Controlling Approach To Addiction Treatment Brings Disastrous Consequences

I wanted to also point out that one of the creators of Surviving Straight, Inc. started a website that we linked to in the blogroll. Troubled Teen Industry is a powerful resource and a compelling read.

[UPDATED]: I guess Steven and I were writing posts for ST at the same time, and I just happened to hit “post” before he did! Sorry, Steven… I scooped you on your own story.

Steven Slate says:

As of now, distribution plans for the movie are up in the air, and they’re submitting it to festivals. One thing that may help is making noise about it on the net, and showing that there’s demand for it. I don’t know the best way to do that, but here’s where to start:

The film’s website:

Troubled Teen Industry:

Reddit Troubled Teens:

I can’t stress how much these people have put themselves on the line by making this film and appearing in it. Along the way, one of the filmmakers even received a message ominously taped to his door which read “You won’t survive Straight Inc.” I’d hate to see their efforts go to waste. I don’t know the best way to support them, so I’m just starting by spreading these links around and talking about the movie with the means I have at my disposal. Many of the abusive methods of Straight Inc are still in use in Therapeutic Communities all over the place, and this stuff needs to be stopped.



Outside Issues

Patient Advocacy Group Works on Blueprint for Change

On Feb. 11, Anonson’s husband finally agreed to go to emergency at Calgary’s Rockyview Hospital after months-long arguments from his family that he needed help. Shayne Anonson had a history of alcoholism and had tried to kill himself several times, including in 2002 when he was hospitalized and put on anti-depression medication.

When he tried to run away from the emergency ward, his belongings were taken and he was given full-time security to keep him safe, his wife said. But when the hospital emergency became overcrowded, he was shuffled into a reclining chair and the security disappeared, he said.

Several days later, he was transferred to a regular medical ward rather than the psychiatric ward. The hospital treated his physical illness and his alcohol withdrawal, not his mental illness, Terri-Lee said. Expert advice wasn’t available because it was a long weekend, she said.

“It is my belief that as soon as they were aware that he had a history of a drinking problem, any mental-health issues were irrelevant,” Terri-Lee said. They said there was “nothing that an in-patient psychiatric unit could do that an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) session couldn’t.”

Her husband was allowed to keep his overnight bag, filled with disposable razors, a cellphone cord and his belt. On Feb. 18, he hung himself in the bathroom with a hospital transfer belt used to move patients with mobility issues. During his stay in hospital, he was never visited by a psychiatrist or psychologist, except for brief assessments.