Tag Archives: Treatment

Ryan Lochte, Booze Just Isn’t For You

Ryan Lochte and Alcohol AbuseIn a refreshing respite from Trumps latest gaff, the news cycle was dominated this morning by something else. Unfortunately, it’s was a sad tale of scandal involving Ryan Lochte and two other young men from the U.S. Olympic swim team. Its seems that after some kind of issue at a gas station after a night of partying ended in a fabricated story about being held at gunpoint. A convenient way to sweep poor decisions under the rug and blame bad behavior on a dire economic condition in Brazil. Clearly this was a situation that got out of hand and the intention to get out of it, went awry.

Ryan Lochte’s Pattern of Alcohol Abuse

Lochte has a history of these types of incidents. He has previously been arrested for disorderly conduct and public urination. None of this displays inherent criminality, it’s low level stuff, but as a famous athlete, his stakes are higher and scrutiny is closer, making the behavior worse. One of the diagnostics for a substance abuse issue is “consequence with a willingness to do it again”. So in other words, if it were a bad decision and a young person learned their lesson, it’s not really pathology, it’s youth. The treatment plan for being 19 is being 25 and we all have to take our lumps with that experience. That’s not what Lochte is facing.

At 32 years old, Lochte no longer gets the latitude of “young and dumb”. There is a clear pattern of things going wrong when alcohol is added to his composition. This latest debacle is part of a larger pattern where Lochte acts in ways he wouldn’t in the absence of drinking and partying. Most concerning in the unfolding story is Lochte seems to have led younger teammates then left them holding the bag. That’s the integrity of someone who is actively impaired with a drinking problem. It’s unlikely, though possible, that Lochte has organic mental illness that would lead him to these situations. It’s more likely that when he drinks, these things can happen. That is what alcoholism is. That’s the definition of it. Most are looking for volume and frequency to explain the pathology and that’s only a small data point. More relevant is what happens when someone drinks.

Finding Help for Alcoholism

At the moment the media is consumed with what happens in Rio. Once this unravels, it’s very likely that the public flogging of Lochte will begin. Does Lochte deserve this? Partially he does, he acted poorly and needs to be held accountable. He also deserves empathy, he meets criteria for alcoholism and that requires treatment and compassion. Shame only fans the flame. Perhaps Lochte should speak with teammate Michael Phelps who, after numerous consequences, went into treatment and it seems to have worked, he’s doing well and is vocal about his recovery.

Were Lochte my son or my charge here is what I would advise he say and do: “I have had numerous consequences when I have been drinking. While I am not asking for my behavior to be excused and am willing to accept the consequences, I will be entering treatment to learn more about my relationship with and reaction to alcohol”. Clear, simple, and appropriate. Give me a call, Ryan, I can help you out.

Narcotic Detection Dog, Empirical Knowledge Matters

Narcotic Detection Dog

The image of a police dog invokes riot control or something intimidating. When I suggested to my staff that we get a narcotic detection dog for Williamsburg House, they found it “one of Joe’s crazy ideas” and it was, but not without value. The first hurdle was to find an appropriate dog which was actually a matter of grace. Mik, had a career as a narcotic detection dog in Texas until funding dried up and they ended their canine program, leaving Mik in a kennel at the training facility. Without his “working collar” he is a very sweet, very well trained lab, friendly to anyone who offers petting. We weren’t anticipating the added bonus of Mik becoming a house mascot, wildly popular among residents.

Mik is trained to detect any narcotic, from prescription medications to street drugs, he will be able to detect the presence of it. While this can come off as policing, we use Mik’s ability as part of the therapeutic process. We can’t deal with a problem if we are just speculating about the problem. What Mik does is brings all of the questions in self doubts and self deceptions into honesty. Speculating that a loved one may or may not be using is wheel spinning and won’t help move from fact finding into action. When we bring Mik into the field, we can empirically tell someone if there are narcotics in the space. When the doubt is removed, it allows people room to move from speculation into action.

We had received no less than five calls from a worried mom of a young adult. “I just don’t know if he is using again, he says he isn’t.” While the idea of a narcotic detection dog screening took a bit of time for her to process, the result yielded a large amount of heroin in the young man’s room. It was stashed behind an electrical switch plate. Moms snoring in rooms just cannot compete with the nose of a dog. The end result was we were able to help that family get that young man to treatment.

Without the aid of Mik, that family would have been left in worry and wonder. The time that was spent figuring out what was going on could have ended in a lethal dose of heroin. When it comes to battling addiction guessing never pays off. With Mik, we never do.

Read More About Mik:

Is Sex Addiction Real?

Sex Addiction
We hear much about sex addiction in the modern world. It’s an overused and little understood area of addiction. Make no mistake, humans can develop addictive behaviors that are directed at almost any risk/reward behavior and sex is no exception. Like with many addictions, people get caught in the idea of volume and frequency as the diagnostic indicator but the truth isn’t so much in how much or how often, but in the impairment. Without impairment, there is no diagnosis. With sex as an addictive behavior, context is a large piece of the puzzle and boundaries are very individual. If one’s religion believes sex outside of marriage is wrong, then there is impairment for a single person who engages in sex. This isn’t the case for most people. Taken out of a religious context, sex outside marriage can be seen as a normal, health experience. A newly divorced man’s current sexual activity would be impairing if he were still married. The standard is ever changing and so it is very difficult to diagnose and treat.

Isn’t “sex addiction” just an excuse for cheaters and liars?

As with any addiction there is a massive behavioral element to it. Many, if not all, addicted people can magnify the “disease” concept to their benefit and sex addicts are no exception. That doesn’t mean the illness isn’t real, it is, but it is also something that can be manipulated to the benefit of the individual. Sometimes old people rely too heavily on their walker because it serves them in gaining sympathy and attention. It doesn’t mean they don’t need the walker.

There is help, hope, treatment and success with sex addiction. Like any other addiction, it is highly unlikely it will correct based on a promise. There are many treatment centers that have sex addiction tracts and some that specializes exclusively in the treatment of sexual behaviors. It’s an uncomfortable road for many people to walk and as with any addiction, very hard on the family. Often times, sex addiction is intertwined with other addictions so selecting the best treatment is a critical piece of the puzzle.

You can see more on sex addiction in this interview: