Category Archives: Drug Addiction

Strawberry Field of Dreams

Nothing turns off an addict like feeling judged and nothing fuels active using like shame. So why is it that those are the main arrows in the quiver? A well meaning Darrel Strawberry made some very inflammatory comments about Doc Gooden, and while the intention may have been “tough love” my sense of this is, it didn’t help.
Darrel Strawberry & Doc Gooden

The Pathology of Addiction

After Gooden missed a personal appearance, Strawberry called Gooden a “complete addict junkie” reinforcing all the negativity that addicted folks are bad people. While the behavior certainly is frustrating, it is the pathology. Expecting someone in active addiction to act differently is like complaining the lake is wet. When someone is in the mire of addiction, their behavior will be poor. That doesn’t mean Gooden should skirt consequence, quite the contrary. It may be the consequence that brings him to a point of being willing to try. What he doesn’t deserve and what won’t help is a public flogging, asking Gooden to wear sac cloth and ashes for his “sin”. Addiction isn’t sin, it’s pathology. Not to mention: “get thee to a nunnery” Mr. Strawberry.

There is no zealot like the converted. One of the problems with modern recovery is that people who have stabilized take leave of empathy and compassion for an evangelical mission. Like the tea party, that road is too narrow for many people. Strawberry sits in judgement of his buddy because he “won’t listen”. That may be true or it may be true that the message Strawberry delivers doesn’t resonate with Gooden.

So what would be better? Compassion goes a long way. “Doc says he missed the event because of a health issue, that is true. My best guess is the health issue of which he speaks is addictive disease. My hope is Doc reaches out for help, if not from me, then from someone”.

Strawberry has a very specific brand of faith based recovery. Which is great, but only if it’s great for you. Often times faith based people feel at odds with science based advocates. The truth is, we are closer than we think. Isn’t scientific inquiry and working toward knowledge a God given gift? Even the AA big book says “we know but a little”. Certainly God would expect man to put in some effort toward understanding.

I don’t think Strawberry meant any harm, I think he meant to help his buddy the best way he knows. More than anything, when public people demonstrate dynamics in a large scale media forum, it offers the culture a chance to have a dialogue. The dialogue here is: what does tough love really do? If it’s the way to go, why are the rates of recovery so abysmal? One of the unyielding tenets of recovery is “when nothing changes, nothing changes” and that’s what we do. We yell, we shame, we judge all with the intent that the addicted person will “come to their senses”. Logic never applies, so stopping that tactic would seem prudent at this point.

Doc Godden has a long history in his sparring with addiction, it’s widely known. What Strawberry did do well was bring the issue into honesty, he didn’t enable and that’s a great strength when trying to slay this beast. One of the best helps is forming an alliance, and “junkie” won’t do that. Strawberry is living in fantasy if he thinks it will.

Prince and the (Addiction) Revolution

Prince and Opiate OverdoseAfter months of speculation, there was an official announcement made today. Prince died of an opiate overdose. Sad to be certain that a great talent and seemingly a great man was cut down at a relatively young age. To some, this is a character indictment. To me, this is the sad outcome of a deadly disease. My empathy is deep and wide for his family and fans. 114 other people died of an opiate overdose the same day Prince did. America’s fantasy of a “drug free America” is killing people. It is time to let science and medicine take the reigns and leave shame, judgement, and incarceration as a distant memory and a hard lesson learned.

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Jamie Moyer: Going for the Perfect Game Against Addiction

Jamie Moyer Helps Children Cope with Loss
Jamie Moyer defies logic. In a youth focused game, he was 50 when he pitched an MLB victory. For most professional pitchers, their gift peaks in their late 20’s and an extreme outlier would be in their late 30’s. Now and then, someone will crack 40. Unheard of is 50. Moyer and his wife Karen are deeply committed to service. They have adopted children and given them a home when there weren’t other options. Their concerns for disenfranchised youth extends beyond their own home and into an arena that many never bother to consider. What happens to children who lose a parent to addiction?

Helping Children Cope with Loss Due to Addiction and Overdose

For years I was a therapist in residential rehab and I always felt we didn’t pay enough attention to families, specifically children. SAMHSA reports “6 million American children are living with a parent in need of treatment” ( That translates into the cycle of addition that is difficult to break. Children steep in alcoholism become alcoholics or marry them, keeping the dance alive and incubating the next generation of substance addled people. Lost even more deeply, are kids who lose a parent to overdose. With 115 deaths daily due to overdose, there are vast numbers of children largely living in shame and secrecy about the demise of their family.

Jamie and Karen Moyer want to change all that. They have a foundation that finds summer camps focused on grief and loss for kids. It’s an oft overlooked issue and major challenge. A few years back, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Jamie Moyer and I am happy to report his foundation is alive and growing. The overdose problem has a ripple effect, one we are ignoring. Well done Moyers, we should all be grateful for you.

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