February 21, 2021

"When I’m rolling, I just want to breathe deeply and enjoy it. The simple act of breathing can be extremely pleasurable."

Said Carl Hart, chair of the Columbia University psychology department, quoted in "Columbia professor: I do heroin regularly for ‘work-life balance’" (NY Post).
At 54, the married father of three has snorted small amounts of heroin for as many as 10 days in a row and enjoyed it mightily – even if, as he recalls in his new book “Drug Use for Grown-ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear” (Penguin Press), he’s experienced mild withdrawal symptoms “12 to 16 hours after the last dose.... 
Hart, who studies the effects of psychoactive drugs on humans, finds his use of the narcotic to be “as rational as my alcohol use. Like vacation, sex and the arts, heroin is one of the tools that I use to maintain my work-life balance.” 
His reason for coming clean about doing opiates and the like is to advocate for decriminalizing possession of recreational drugs. The book makes the case “that the demonization of drug use – not drugs themselves – [has] been a tremendous scourge on America, not least in reinforcing this country’s enduring structural racism,” according to the publisher...

97 comments:

rhhardin said...

He acts less white on drugs.

tim maguire said...

I’m not sure his personal drug use is helpful to his argument, but I fully concur with his conclusion—the war on drugs has been far more destructive to our society than drugs could ever be.

Mark said...

“that the demonization of drug use – not drugs themselves – [has] been a tremendous scourge on America, not least in reinforcing this country’s enduring structural racism,”

Effectively calling Black people a bunch of dope addicts would seem to be, in a rational culture, the more racist view.

Howard said...

Milli-dosing

David Begley said...

China Joe will get right on it. Issue an Executive Order.

Great comment by rhhardin.

Howard said...

Good call, Mark. I'm sure Blacks prefer being jailed for petty offenses to the deep hurt of friendly fire reverse racism.

What really matters are your feelings of persecution from false memes like structural racism.

jaydub said...

Wait, the Post is trying to tell me the entire faculty at Columbia is not on heroin? Okay, then Smarty, explain Mattress Girl.

Howard said...

I find the simple act of breathing can be extremely pleasurable following underwater induced hypoxia.

Humperdink said...

The new and improved Timothy Leary.

From Wiki: Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an American psychologist and writer known for his strong advocacy of psychedelic drugs.

gilbar said...

the married father of three has snorted small amounts of heroin for as many as 10 days in a row and enjoyed it mightily

and The Fun Part IS: EACH TIME he does it... He has to use JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE
And More
And MORE
AND MORE

gilbar said...

drug tolerance... It's not a design flaw... It's a Feature!

Lurker21 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shouting Thomas said...

Life long pro musician here...

Yeah, a whole lot of people take drugs, particularly opiates, because it feels so damned good.

In the case of musicians, opiates really get you in the groove.

I played with addicts who always showed up for the gig and did their job.

What happened to their lives over the long haul... I don’t know. We’ve all got our own crosses to bear.

Mark said...

There is a distinct progressive and racist trend of linking all manner of personal and social destructive behavior with race.

Shouting Thomas said...

The only thing that will put a stop to the black school to prison pipeline...

Is for black men to stop committing so much violent crime.

Lewis Wetzel said...

So he wants to decriminalize the drugs that he uses.
But this is not a selfish desire, because decriminalizing the drugs he likes to use will be a blow against "structural racism."
A brand new, fresh idea from 1973!

Lurker21 said...

The writer who calls himself Theodore Dalrymple (a former prison doctor) says that heroin doesn't hook people so much as people hook heroin. That is to say, they really have to to get hooked and put a serious effort into it, and then they are physically addicted. But if you find yourself trying really hard all the time to get more heroin, aren't you already hooked - psychologically if not yet physiologically?

jeremyabrams said...

People should be free to use non-addictive drugs, but if a drug is addictive, you're not really free to use or not use. Even so, I'd criminalize sale but not use, and addicts not convicted of other crimes should be handled as suffering from an illness.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Tim maguire said...

I’m not sure his personal drug use is helpful to his argument, but I fully concur with his conclusion—the war on drugs has been far more destructive to our society than drugs could ever be.

Oh, legalized drugs could be far more destructive.
Drugs addicts don't break car windows to steal the change in the console because drugs are expensive or hard to get. They do it because they are drug addicts and they don't care about anything but the next fix.

commoncents said...

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Lem said...

Rh is a treasure.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Professor Hart makes a compelling argument for the criminalization of alcohol, vacation, sex, and the arts.

Sebastian said...

"decriminalizing possession of recreational drugs"

I thought alcohol and caffeine were already decriminalized?

We're not saying destructive crap like meth, cocaine, and heroin is "recreational," are we?

And what does pot recreate, exactly?

Temujin said...

Just looked over photos of the homeless villages growing and taking over blocks in and around Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco. These are places where the cities have provided places for the users to get needles, supplies, and allow them to do whatever they need to do under the caring eye of the city. Including shitting where they sit when they're too messed up to even move off to a building stairway to do it. (nice town, San Francisco).

I'm thinking we are not exactly "demonizing drug use" and that this professor, like so many in his field, is completely and utterly full of shit and loves the sound of his own voice.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I imagine that the first thing that we will see, if drugs were legalized, would be a far greater addiction rate in the poor and the young. It's nice to talk about drug treatment programs as a cure for drug addiction, but drug treatment programs are expensive and have a high rate of relapse.
The amount of heroin, cocaine, etc., consumed by casual, intermittent users is small. The bulk is used by drug addicts.
The usual end game for a junkie is prison or death. On the way to prison and death, there are a thousand tragedies. Families are alienated, there are thefts, abuse, and self-degradation.
I once knew a recovered addict -- he had a meth lab in a trailer in the California desert, spent years in prison, the whole nine yards. He told me to never trust a junkie because all of the things you think you would never do -- steal from family, sell your body, betray your friends -- they've already done, and even if they have recovered, it's easier for them to do these things again than it is for you to do the first time.

Mark said...

"decriminalizing possession of recreational drugs"

Simple possession (and thus use), as opposed to sale and distribution, etc., is already largely de facto decriminalized in the sense that in many/most places, a first-time offense will be dealt with in a diversion program involving drug treatment, thereby avoiding a conviction on the record. Subsequent offenses for the common user may result in a conviction, but again, the goal is treatment, not punishment, even if that treatment must be coerced by incarceration.

Mark said...

However, in addition to decriminalization of drug use/possession, now on the progressive agenda (it never ends, does it? everything always leads to yet another step, the eternal journey of PROGRESS) are laws that would prohibit prospective employers from asking about or doing background checks for prior drug convictions. After all, there is no good reason for an employer to want to know if their job applicants (or current employees) are strung-out junkies who not only are in a diminished mental state but are a greater risk of taking sick days and other negatives.

Oh yeah, and employers asking about prior criminal history is racist, say the progressives who have seized power everywhere. (You knew that was coming.)

Mark said...

places where the cities have provided places for the users to get needles, supplies, and allow them to do whatever they need to do under the caring eye of the city

AND, a century after San Francisco, et al. outlawed opium dens, places like Our Nation's Capital and neighboring Maryland want to bring them back with government-funded resources.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Seems like it's working pretty well in San Francisco.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Crack babies are a novel societal approach as well.

BUMBLE BEE said...

We should all pursue Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

gilbar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gilbar said...

a modest proposal, to solve Most of our problems

Legalize recreational drugs!
Create Government Centers; where people can go, and take ALL THE DRUGS THEY WANT!
Make it so that; you just go in, slip your arm into a machine, press a button: And, DRUGS!
Let people push the button; as often as they want, and as many times as they want
Have a cleanup staff (or, Better yet! Robots!!) to clean up the stalls

People say there's too many people that are homeless drug addicts...Laying on the street
People say there's are too many people that are homeless drug addicts
People say there's are too many people that are homeless
People say there's are too many people

My solution (finally!) Solves ALL THESE PROBLEMS!!

Another old lawyer said...

If we decriminalize, can gov't no longer underwrite the users? No free needles, no welfare, no entitlements, no public housing, no paying for rehab, no shots to revive after overdose, etc.? Or are the rest of us going to be expected to help pay for their choices and the almost inevitable fallout?

Too many times the 'I should have the right to make that choice for me' crowd want others to help pay for the choice and then bear the costs of the consequences.

BUMBLE BEE said...

A fitting tribute to his employer!

Francisco D said...

Temujin said ... I'm thinking we are not exactly "demonizing drug use" and that this professor, like so many in his field, is completely and utterly full of shit and loves the sound of his own voice.

Well yeah. There is that.

However, he deserves credit for seeking to end Whiteness and structural racism with his drug abuse.

MadisonMan said...

This seems like it would be a liability issue for Columbia.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Lou Reed said it best... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZNizh1Vp_Y Just like Jesus' Son

Freeman Hunt said...

I used to think decriminalizing drugs was a good idea. Seeing how things are playing out in cities where drugs have been effectively decriminalized has changed my mind.

wild chicken said...

Haha, I knew this was coming. What's so special about cannabis that legalization should apply to it and it alone?

Esp when it's so much stronger than the old seeds and stems we got back in the 60s.

Put the cocaine back in Coke! Laudanum for all!

mockturtle said...

Being black means he is exempt from censure.

alfromchgo said...

Made a movie about people like him but without a tenured substantial paycheck, oh yes;
Panic in Needle park.

LYNNDH said...

He's a Junkie. Nothing else to say.

J. Farmer said...

I am not sure what in this story, other than the frankness, is supposed to be fresh or insightful. It's long been known that the majority of people who try an illicit drug will not go on to develop a pathological dependence on it. Addiction is a very complicated phenomenon and rarely is it a discreet disorder involving a user and his drug of choice, as the so called "brain disease model" would suggest.

Hart has been advocating decriminalization for years. He is a big believer in the narrative that the war on drugs was a racist assault against black males.

Michael said...

I bought stock in a company named MindMed. It is doing clinical research on the use of MDMA and Psilocybin for drug resistant depression. One company among several doing this work. Not sure the professor’s experiments count as science but I hope he has good hiding places for his stash. Would not want to be one of his suppliers.

Research into the efficacy of psychedelics was paused, regrettably, for fifty years after the LSD hype in the late 60s and early 70s. A terrible blow to research at John’s Hopkins and other research centers. The government has relaxed a bit and research is again underway on what I bet will be significant medical uses of these materials. Bought MindMed at 68 cents. Trading near 4 dollars. Pure luck.

Dan from Madison said...

I didn't even know you could snort heroin, that's how far out of the drug loop I am. And I am very happy about it.

J. Farmer said...

@LYNNDH:

He's a Junkie. Nothing else to say.

Why isn't everyone that drinks an alcoholic? I'm not a big legalization advocate, but one problem with the legal-illegal dichotomy is that it obscures the fact that the most harmful drug in our society, alcohol, is not only legally available, but its use is celebrated and encouraged.

William said...

He knows that it's not habit forming because he uses it every day and rarely feels any withdrawal symptoms. He's continuing in the fine tradition of that trail blazer Freud who advocated frequent and copious doses of cocaine as a cure for civilization and its discontents.....There are lots of high functioning alcoholics, and I guess it's possible to integrate opiate addiction into a successful life, but the odds are against it.....I had demerol for a procedure once. It was mildly pleasant, but nothing compared to Jack Daniels. What was radically different was the hangover the next day. It was the most profound and bleakest depression I have ever known. Perhaps junkies aren't looking for the high but seeking to avoid that black hole that comes upon them when the drug wears off.

rcocean said...

Well as long as he doesn't smoke cigarettes. 'cause that's unhealthy. BTW, I see some making the dumb boomer argument and comparing Heroin to Alcohol. That's too stupid to even address. When's the last time anyone ever cooked with heroin? Alcohol has been enjoyed for thousands of Years. The Greeks drank Wine - so did Moses.

Openidname said...

America is so structurally racist that a Black man can be the Chair of the Columbia University Psychology Department. With enough money to support a heroin habit.

mikee said...

His problem isn't that he's maintaining his public activities successfully up to the present while snorting heroin. That is amazing performance while taking a mind-altering drug. His real problem is twofold. First, nobody will ever know if a thing he does, he says, he writes, is coming from him or from the heroin high. And eventually it will be the heroin running his life, not him. Fire his ass as an example to the others.

alfromchgo said...

What did Jesse Jackson once say about the beneficiaries of the black experience?

Quaestor said...

Discover the history of heroin, and understand why Professor Hart is full of shit.

Francisco D said...

As a generally libertarian kind of guy I have problems with massive drug legalization.

It is not the Carl Harts of the world that I worry about. Successful people can manage all kinds of addictions. They can usually bear whatever costs those addictions might entail.

The problem is with the unmotivated HS senior who finds it easy to snort heroin or coke or MDMA as a remedy for the tediousness of his HS experience. It is the same issue with all kinds of young men and women who have no sense of direction and feel no reason to develop marketable skills. We (society) wind up taking care of them for most of their lives.

Do we need a massive increase in those types of people?

stlcdr said...

Not seeing the argument that illicit drug users - or addicts - are productive members of society.

Earnest Prole said...

Just like Sherlock Holmes.

Rosalyn C. said...

Scott Adams has talked about his drug use and how it significantly contributed to his most successful ideas. But he cautioned people not to do drugs because they only work in rare situations where the people are able to balance the effects of the drug with their own addiction tendencies. He thought it was important to be honest about the subject and have an adult conversation.

Roughcoat said...

Will somebody here call Farmer on his dumbbell assertions?

I don't want to do it, I'm taking a knee on this one.

J. Farmer said...

@mikee:

First, nobody will ever know if a thing he does, he says, he writes, is coming from him or from the heroin high.

In what way would something coming from a "heroin high" not be coming "from him"? Are you saying that the validity or reliability of any statement he made would be questionable? The effects of heroin are primarily on mood and less on cognition, beyond what's typically described as "drowsiness."

And eventually it will be the heroin running his life, not him.

Why is this eventual?

J. Farmer said...

@roughcoat:

Will somebody here call Farmer on his dumbbell assertions?

I don't want to do it, I'm taking a knee on this one.


Yes, please, by all means. Not that I don't always love when people tell me how obviously wrong I am while simultaneously saying they don't have the time, interest, or inclination to actually explain what I am wrong about, but dialogue is so much more constructive than monologue.

Roughcoat said...

Point that thing at someone else, Cliff. I'm staying at the other end of the bar.

Yancey Ward said...

I think drug use should be decriminalized, pretty much always have, but I am under no illusions about what the effect will be- many more addicts and deaths.

It won't be long, however, before "I use meth and PCP to enhance my work/life balance."

Rabel said...

1. What's with the fingernails?

2. “There aren’t many things in life that I enjoy more than a few lines by the fireplace at the end of the day,”

A few Lines? Either his supplier is cutting him hard or the part about "a small amount" is BS.

3. The first rule of illegal heroin distribution is that you don't talk about illegal heroin distribution. Keep your head down Professor Hart.

rcocean said...

I thought most of the boomer losertarians had died off, but I guess they're still around.

Lurker21 said...

I pictured him the way one would usually have pictured a fiftyish (White) psychology professor back in the day: portly and balding and in tweeds. Then like a fiftyish Black professor would have looked: stout and balding, though maybe not in tweeds. Now I see a picture of him and his dreadlocks and earrings and I wonder if it's the heroin use, or if 50 has really changed.

This confession looks like part of his efforts to become a "public intellectual," that is an annoying, know-it-all talking head on TV.

rcocean said...

Note to commentators. Its oK to just say you're "X" nobody cares about your qualification that you're "a little bit of X" - it just makes you sound weak and effeminate.

rcocean said...

I've noticed fewer and fewer people starting out with:

As a libertarian,...

Thank god.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Roughcoat said...

Will somebody here call Farmer on his dumbbell assertions?

Which of Farmer's assertions are particularly dumbbell? I don't know that I agree with him regarding the alcohol = illegal drugs, but I do agree with his assertion that addiction is a complicated issue. I've seen it up close with a family member and you can't just boil it down to someone being a lazy bum who wants to get high all time.

Scott Patton said...

Was on Rogan #1593
In 8 or 10 years, maybe he'll be doing the rounds promoting his new book "I Was an Academic Junkie in Denial".
To be fair, he sounded well educated, intelligent, lucid and sincere.

Scott Patton said...

Mental health problems seem to precede addiction and substance abuse. There's a Health and Human Services Behavioral Health building I pass frequently. When there are people or groups of people standing/waiting outside, many or even almost all are smoking cigarettes.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Scott Patton said...

Mental health problems seem to precede addiction and substance abuse.

That's been my experience. Addictions can be rooted (and often mask) mental health issues and usually begin when people no longer have the ability to cope with what life throws at them.
Hart may have just been lucky that he hasn't developed a full blown addiction, yet.

FullMoon said...

I have heard more than one former heroin addict say quitting smoking was more difficult.

They may have been stretching it a bit. Have seen people fail multiple times trying to quit smoking, while others succeed on the first try, without artificial aids.

Also have know casual users of meth and cocaine as well as formerly normal people turned degenerate through addiction.

Anything in moderation and different strokes for different folks.

Time will tell how the marijuana legalization turns out. One advantage is that the smokers might not be exposed to street dealers who tend to have other drugs available.

Skippy Tisdale said...

Being over 60 and formerly exceptionally athletic, I have been prescribed opiates on occasion over the years for things like recovering from total knee replacement. Don't like them at all. Have been prescribed Oxycodone, which is known as "Hillbilly Heroin". Terrible stuff; pain is the better option.

However, back in the early 80's a friend of mine had a family of Laotians move in across the street. Black tar opium was considered medicinal with Laotian culture. Believed to be a cure-all for whatever ails one, I was told by the Laotians that if Rock Hudson had smoked opium, he's have been cured.

So out of curiosity, I bought a gram of black-tar opium and I have to admit it, despite hating synthetic opiates, I would gladly smoke opium until the cows came home. And then after that, I'd smoke some more. Nothing like it. Can't even describe it.

Skippy Tisdale said...

Esp when it's so much stronger than the old seeds and stems we got back in the 60s.

Which makes it safer as one needs to smoke less to get the desired outcome.

FullMoon said...

So out of curiosity, I bought a gram of black-tar opium and I have to admit it, despite hating synthetic opiates, I would gladly smoke opium until the cows came home. And then after that, I'd smoke some more. Nothing like it. Can't even describe it.

You had easy access to it but did not continue smoking. The difference between you an an addict.
I kind of suspect that given the opportunity,an addict will find their drug of choice . Ya gots your alcoholics, speed freaks, heroin addicts, uppers, downers street drugs and 'scripts.

FullMoon said...

Esp when it's so much stronger than the old seeds and stems we got back in the 60s.

Which makes it safer as one needs to smoke less to get the desired outcome.

Yeah, but removes opportunity to plant the seeds cups and put on the windowsill in order to grow your own-this time for sure..

Mark said...

Time will tell how the marijuana legalization turns out.

Growing up in the 70s-80s in Ann Arbor, where it was decriminalized (only a five-dollar civil offense, which even that was not enforced), we had a lot of burnouts in junior high (that's 12/13 to 14/15 years old).

Time has already told.

FullMoon said...

The high school graduation rate of Ann Arbor, MI was 97.10% in 2018.
The percent who did not finish the 9th grade of Ann Arbor, MI was 1.00% in 2018.

Roughcoat said...

I do agree with his assertion that addiction is a complicated issue. I've seen it up close with a family member and you can't just boil it down to someone being a lazy bum who wants to get high all time.

It is not complicated. What it is, is difficult. Immensely difficult. It's like what Clausewitz said in On War: "Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult." That applies to addiction. And I do not "boil it down to someone being a lazy bum who wants to get high all the time."

The path to serious addiction or even dependency is straightforward ... and simple. But fraught with difficulty, which intensifies the further down that path one goes.

Bunkypotatohead said...

The dose makes the poison.
You just need to be able to control the dose. /sarc

Roughcoat said...

I too have seen addiction up close with people I knew well. I lived in Boulder, Colorado in the late 60s and early-to-mid 70s. That town was swarming with addicts.

And I am an alcoholic. My path to alcoholism was not at all complicated. It was a step-by-step process, one drink at a time.

I haven't had a drink in 25 years, except for transubtantiated win at mass. I quit on my own, cold turkey, no AA. But it took me awhile to get to the point where I could do that.

It was not easy. But neither was it complicated.

Roughcoat said...

win = wine

Mark said...

The high school graduation rate of Ann Arbor, MI was 97.10% in 2018.

Yes, a high rate of participation trophy/diplomas. Having been to many HS graduations there, the rate of graduates receiving some kind of honor or ribbon or graduating with distinction is about 70 percent. The one I went to a couple of years ago had over 90 percent of the graduating class standing up for some special mention (which was kind of a you're-a-lousy-piece-of-shit spotlight on the kids who did not stand -- all of them Black, BTW).

The kids graduating the last 5-10 years in Ann Arbor have been the absolute GREATEST OF ALL TIME. Tom Brady is a whiny-ass p*** next to them.

Mark said...

(putz)

Mark said...

Meanwhile,

Ann Arbor Schools Latest To Stop Giving Failing Grades During Pandemic
By Tom Gantert | December 26, 2020


and

Ann Arbor Almost Alone in Refusing To Reopen Schools
350 doctors and psychologists there demand schools reopen; evidence ‘undisputed at this point’
By Dawson Bell | February 11, 2021

Goldenpause said...

I wouldn’t want my college student son or daughter to be within a country mile of this “educator.” Will Columbia continue to let this guy teach undergraduates after his coming out party? Oh, I forgot. This is the sophisticated Ivy League.

FullMoon said...

The high school graduation rate of Arlington, VA was 94.10% in 2018.
The percent who did not finish the 9th grade of Arlington, VA was 3.90% in 2018.

Joe Smith said...

Wealthy folks, especially those who can maintain their job performance, can afford to use drugs.

Where I live, weed has replaced the martini as the recreational drug of choice.

A craft beer and an edible and you're good to go.

Roughcoat said...

I ate my very first edible a couple of weeks ago. Actually half an edible. It made me hungry and sleepy. So I had a sandwich and went to bed.

Not impressed.

J. Farmer said...

@Roughcoat:

The path to serious addiction or even dependency is straightforward ... and simple. But fraught with difficulty, which intensifies the further down that path one goes.

The path of a bullet from the gun to its target is also straightforward...and simple. That doesn't mean a gunshot wound isn't a complicated problem.

I haven't had a drink in 25 years, except for transubtantiated win at mass. I quit on my own, cold turkey, no AA. But it took me awhile to get to the point where I could do that.

I commend you on overcoming a difficult problem. Do you think there is only one kind of alcoholism and one kind of alcoholic? If so, what do you think separates the severe chronic alcoholic from the functional alcoholic or antisocial alcoholic? Why is it certain people can drink alcohol socially without becoming problem drinkers while others develop a wide variety of pathological relationships around their drinking?


Banjo said...

The state of Oregon this year legalized all drugs, including heroin. But it lags behind the rest of the nation in distributing Covid 19 drugs. It is where the hippy anarchists went after the Summer of Love went sour. I think there is a connection.

Narr said...

No use/abuse distinction?

I toked my first joint in early 1971 up above the backstage, and enjoyed it, and have enjoyed in greater or less abundance over many decades; I liked hashish too, but that's as hard as I got. I use pain pills as and when prescribed, and usually end up with some left over--feeling no actual pain is great, but there's no appeal to me otherwise.

Family and friends have been destroyed by drug and alcohol abuse. My older brother did everything up to and including needle drugs, and OD'd on pills one night in 2004. My next brother, who also struggled with pills and booze, had to help the widow hide the roomful of bottles and the loaded gun he slept with, before calling the ambulance.

But I can't separate their addictions to alcohol or pills. I drank way too much for 15 years but cold-turkeyed myself, and I've seen many other people go both ways--some pull themselves out, others don't--to have any illusions about laws and systems.

The urge to experience altered states is simply too strong in our species for prohibitions to have any but marginal effects, and for that matter there's mountains of money to be made. ("All the money in the world spent on feeling good." Ry Cooder IIRC)

Narr
Nice to see the wisdom of my man Clausewitz cited

Marcus Bressler said...

J.Farmer asked: If so, what do you think separates the severe chronic alcoholic from the functional alcoholic or antisocial alcoholic? Why is it certain people can drink alcohol socially without becoming problem drinkers while others develop a wide variety of pathological relationships around their drinking?

I can only speak to this from my own experiences as a recovering alcoholic with 27 years sober this coming April. A marriage counselor made a mistake when she told m, with my then-wife present, that I was a "functional alcoholic". That was because I had not suffered any physical or (apparent) mental problems up to that date, because I had been successful in the different career paths I had chosen (also hardly ever missing a day of work), and was able to maintain a job, a marriage, a family, friendships, running marathons, and writing professionally. Bet my wife didn't think I was functional. My marriage was falling apart by my denial of my problem (in a space of over a decade, there were only three days I failed to consume alcohol, and not sparingly). So the answer to your first question is "the progression of the disease". I hit a fairly high "bottom": arrested, without injury or harm to myself or others, for DUI with a BAC of .16. To date, I have never found it necessary to pick up another drink -- with a reliance on my Higher Power, a spiritually-based 12 Step program, and the people in that fellowship.
The second answer is that some people have a gene or genes that make them predisposed to drink alcoholically. That is, a mental obsession to want to drink and once a single drink is ingested, a compulsion to continue where "normal social drinkers" would stop. There are many cases of men (and some women) that rarely drink for most of their lives, usually due to work. Then they retire, and start imbibing. The previously non-imbibing fellow then drinks alcoholically after a slow start and in a short time, winds up in jail, an institution, or dies.
It's not a long, drawn-out explanation from my POV, but it's the short version.

THEOLDMAN

Marcus Bressler said...

I had a girlfriend who was an intravenous heroin user who OD'ed on me after I brought her home from the hospital from a MERSA infection surely brought on by needle use. When I discovered her, she had stopped breathing and her pulse was fading. I gave her chest compressions and kept her alive until the EMTs got there and it took two shots of Narcan to bring her around. The police took her drugs during the incident (in FL, there is no criminal penalty for drug use or possession in the case of calling 911 for an overdose). When I made it to the hospital ER, she was battling the nurses (wanting to leave) and demanded to know what happened to her drugs. I told her the police took them. She upbraided me and said, "well, you're just going to have to take me to get some more, then" (Narcan eliminates the high as well as rescuing the person from death or possible coma). I said, "naw, I don't think so and walked out."

THEOLDMAN

I have seen a LOT of heroin use by young people. Readers may remember I lost my then 40-year old daughter on September 11, 2019 from complications of a fentanyl overdose. She left behind a 14 year old son and a 8 year old daughter. My daughter smoked it and most likely thought she was getting heroin. I had no idea she was using that, though she had a past addiction to oxys and adderall.
I know a 30 year old who smoke heroin daily and doesn't nod or pass out, and you wouldn't know she was using by her behavior. But she thinks she is controlling her usage. Spends all of her days and money driving around to buy and smoke three to six caps (or "hats") a day. She doesn't want to get dope sick and her parents, with whom she lives, enable her. They give her money, a place to live and eat, and she supplants that with prostitution, which she calls "plays" (what was known in common usage as "tricks"). She has been to jail, and despite coming out clean, goes right back to using. I personally know of six people in the past three years that have died of heroin overdoses. I do a lot of "work" in the recovery field so I come in contact with them all. One girl I knew carried a baby to term with daily intravenous heroin use and had the baby given up for adoption, everything arranged and paid for, including money for her living expenses during pregnancy (read: drug use). I know another two women who recently gave birth to drug-addicted babies from men they did "plays" with. The babies were taken away by the state; no penalty for the mothers.
As you can imagine, I am not in favor of the use of heroin. Famously very addictive (you don't need a "junkie gene" to get hooked), it can be very dangerous and deadly. While I am not in favor of criminal sentences for personal use, it is not a victimless crime and of the many people ordered into rehabs by the judicial system, only a slight handful stay clean and sober.
Oh, and that girl who OD'ed on me? She's on the west coast, doing "Cali Clean and Sober" (suboxone forever) and has been in and out of rehabs since she left me. Was clean from September 1 of last year, went out and got high on January 1, this year, but clean since. I doubt she'll make it, but as of now, no heroin.

Sorry so long

FullMoon said...

"... of the many people ordered into rehabs by the judicial system, only a slight handful stay clean and sober."

Crawling through the AA or NA door broke and suffering gonna have much better chance at success.

RigelDog said...

I am open to the idea of trying a little edible weed when it's completely legal but I am way too afraid to try heroin. Have heard from too many sources that the high is so great that nothing else compares, and you can spend the rest of your life chasing the dragon--trying to recreate that first high, which is always receding further into the distance.

We're just not wired/not meant to have painless, consequence-free mind-altering experiences. No free lunch. What goes up must come down.

Roughcoat said...

Farmer:

Answers:

"I commend you on overcoming a difficult problem."

Me: Thanks.

"Do you think there is only one kind of alcoholism and one kind of alcoholic?"

Me: No.

"Why is it certain people can drink alcohol socially without becoming problem drinkers while others develop a wide variety of pathological relationships around their drinking?"

Me: I don't know. If I could answer that question, I expect I'd soon become a very wealthy man. I don't think about it any more. I don't want to. It's in the past. Gone, baby, gone.