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“People use drug/alcohol agencies in the same way they might use a lamp-post;….” John B.Davies Centre for Applied Psychology University of Strathclyde.

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Presentation on theme: "“People use drug/alcohol agencies in the same way they might use a lamp-post;….” John B.Davies Centre for Applied Psychology University of Strathclyde."— Presentation transcript:

1 “People use drug/alcohol agencies in the same way they might use a lamp-post;….” John B.Davies Centre for Applied Psychology University of Strathclyde Glasgow.

2 “…for support rather than illumination.” Source: Huff, D. “How to Lie with Statistics.” Pelican, “People use statistics in the same way a drunk man uses a lamp-post. For support rather than illumination”

3 Therapy….the search for a reason that works for all concerned…

4 Part One. Drugs and Identities. Myths and media.

5 Gossop. “Living with Drugs” (1982) Still a classic. Still fresh and new; and still somewhat alarming for many people. “The addict is often a fiction even to himself.” (p 195)

6 Models of drug use 1: The tortured genius. Gauguin; Van Goch; Turner etc Any jazz musician who was any good; plus a lot of very bad ones. Freud Keats. Numerous authors. A question for you: Who was it said “Nothings a problem till the working classes start doing it.”

7 Models of drug use 2. ‘The noble savage’. William Burroughs. Hunter S.Thompson. ( “Naturally, one would hesitate to recommend drugs, violence and insanity to anyone…all I can say is, they’ve always worked for me.”) Charles Bukowski J.P. Dunleavy

8 Models of drug use 3. The sick celebrity (aka the ‘good for business’ model). Any number of ‘celebs’. Treatment as part of a business plan; as an act of atonement; as an attempt to regain former status…all posh/rich. KATE MOSS, MELANIE GRIFITHS, JENNIFER CAPRIATI, MEL GIBSON….

9 Part Two. Drugs and loss of identity. The more mundane reality.

10 Models of drug use 5. Unremarkable and sad. This is most common form. It has no goal other than drug use itself. Social-class related. Solution: harm reduction.

11 WHY? The nature of audit. The nature of the problem. What other solution is there? Why quit? If I quit, will the world get any better?

12 Personal illumination is social; its an action. Art Pepper John Coltrane Bill Evans Jimmi Hendrix Wynton Kelly Miles Davis Chet Baker

13 We need to ask the question, “What are these people famous for?” They’re primarily famous for what they did; not just for being drug users. Note 1: YouTube Art Pepper. “You go to my head” Note 2: Why are they all men?

14 You can think of your own drug- using high achievers. Hunter Thompson Julie Burchill (“…addiction is for wimps who cant cope…”) Diego Maradonna George Best Gordon Cruickshank

15 We can’t all be world class at something, but we can be something. But to me, just being a drug user or an ex- drug user doesn’t seem to be a functional social role. Surely there’s other things a human being can aspire to?

16 Why do agencies so often produce people whose own self- definition, and hence their definition by others, is “addict” or “ex-addict”; as if that was their only defining feature?

17 What are the consequences? Sidelining people. Divorcing them from the roots of their own behaviour. Containment Self-obsession?

18 Why do so many people never leave it behind? Someone who has had pneumonia does not become simply “an ex-pneumonia sufferer”.

19 Which proposition is most true? “Once you quit you’re better or at least recovering.” OR “Once you quit you’re back to square one.”

20 OK. So I’ve quit. NOW WHAT, OH MIGHTY COUNSELLOR?


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