I dealt with a man at the police station today who is an alcoholic.  Unlike most addicts I come across he accepted he had a problem and genuine appeared to want to change but also recognised that he isn't capable of doing anything about his problem alone.

The first response of many people when they think about addicts is to say either that they decided to do the drug and so they brought the addiction on themselves or that the addict should do something to sort themselves out.  In reality, neither of these ideas is helpful.  First, whether the person brought it on themselves or not is irrelevant insofar as them beating their addiction is concerned.  Secondly, it's often not so easy to simply do something about it.

I am quite fat.  I need to lose weight.  I know how to do this.  Eat healthily and cut down on the booze for a while (I'm writing this with a pint in hand waiting for a takeaway delivery).  In reality it's not that easy.  I ate a lot of healthy foods a couple of weeks ago and lost half a stone.  I then had what seems like not very much bad food at all and put most of the weight back on last week! 

If I'm completely honest, I don't really like chocolate that much.  But, I know there's some in the kitchen and I know that come the morning there won't be any left.  When I eat chocolate I usually feel a rush as I bite into it followed by an urge to eat it until it's all gone.  I know why this happens, because the chocolate is associated with pleasure and reward and so activates the reward centres in my brain causing a release of dopamine.  This is exactly what happens when a drug addict uses his or her drug.

If I can't give up eating like a fat bastard then imagine how hard it must be for somebody who is addicted to alcohol or drugs.

I gave this chap some homework to do from the police station, namely call some agencies and see if they can help him find temporary accommodation, normally a client who isn't really motivated will get annoyed by this suggestion.  But, this fellow was straight on it the moment we left the consultation room. 

The problem he has is that all of the agencies who might be able to help are closed for the Easter break.  To be honest, when they are operating they aren't much use.  He will be produced in court tomorrow morning and I can guarantee that there will be nobody there who can help him find a place to stay.  The upshot is likely to be that he is remanded in custody, misses the opportunity to continue the work he has already started and is released in a month with his will to fight his addiction shattered.

I've said this before and I'll say it again.  We, as a nation, have the choice of deciding to accept that people become addicts and telling them that it is their problem or actually investing resources into fighting addictions and preventing people from becoming addicts in the future.

Real investment (by which I don't mean huge sums of money spent shotgun fashion as seems to be the case with much of government spending) targeted in the right places coupled with meaningful changes to the law will do more than anything else to reduce crime across the board.

PS just so we're clear, if you want to criticise the typos that certainly exist in this blog then feel free and, to answer you question, no I don't usually bother to proof read these things - I already told you I have been in my hand and a takeaway en route... a fat man's gotta prioritise!


  1. So that's why my speling and grammer sometimes goes to pot.

    Only mine's a malt.

  2. Two weeks ago I couldn't spell "lawyer", now I are one...


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