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No bad deed goes unrewarded

I spoke earlier with a friend of mine. They have a daughter, around 20 or so, who's led a pretty rotten life. She's had several brushes with the law, repeated drug problems (including several stints in rehab), and has a baby by her ex-pusher (I'm sorry, ex-boyfriend). She's in rehab again, and doing fine -- but she's done fine in them before.

They were all excited, though. The daughter had just been accepted into a special college program for "recovering addicts." All her costs will be covered, and in two years she'll have an Associate's degree in treating addiction.

I was happy for them, too -- at first. But then I started feeling annoyed.

For years, this kid has screwed up and lived an incredibly selfish, self-centered, and self-destructive life. And while she has paid the price for it, a good chunk of that check has been paid by others (in emotional, financial, and legal ways) as well.

And what's the consequence for this? A free ride in college.

This reminds me of a recent plan announced by Massachusetts' governor, Mitt Romney. They are planning in introducing "sobriety schools." These schools will be specifically geared towards students recovering from addictions, in response to the statistic that 90% of high schoolers who pass a recovery program relapse when they return to school. So the new idea is to set aside an entire school just for these kids, where they can have a better chance of escaping the tendrils of their addictions.

Again, it's sympathy for those who have made bad decisions, and helping them find their way again.

But what occurred to me was that these actions, while highly admirable, have price tags. And such resources are finite.

So while we're giving scholarships and making special schools for kids who have already demonstrated their ability to make bad decisions and screw up their lives, we're not doing such things for kids who haven't screwed up. Those kids that have lived by the straight and narrow, followed the rules, and busted their asses to excel.

Whenever it's budget time at the schools, it seems that one of the first victims is always the "gifted and talented" programs. Those that can do wonders are cut loose, left to find their own way past mediocrity. Meanwhile, even talking about curtailing the programs for the underachievers, the addicts, the timewasters brings about howls of protest and threats of lawsuits.

And so while I'm happy for my friends and their daughter, I have to wonder about that nameless, faceless kid who's not getting her slot in college -- the kid who managed to say "no" to drugs, to crime, to out-of-wedlock children, who could use a reward for their good behavior, who could use a sign that playing by the rules and doing what's right has its rewards -- and has to wonder if using heroin for just a little while might have been a better career move than studying those extra hours.


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Comments (51)

Contrary to your claim, I d... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Contrary to your claim, I don't ever recall G&T programs being singled out by a school district when the budget got tight. I don't buy it, Jay.

And in the case of the "sobriety schools," do you know that the per-student costs are higher than any other school? It seems to me that it would be relatively easy (for someone who does this stuff, not a total incompetent like me) to design a program with similar costs which emphasize the sobriety aspect.

And how is any of this gonna keep my sober, hardworking, reliable G&T kid out of college?

And lastly, a multi-faceted approach to reducing drug abuse would seem to work better than one that focuses on just one method. We should no more depend solely on punishing the offenders than we should limit our efforts to helping the addicts, or depend on educational efforts before and during the years where kids are most at risk of being tempted into using drugs.

Dunno, Jay, usually I agree with most everything you put in your posts; this time, I don't agree with hardly any of it.

I've heard this arguement b... (Below threshold)
epador:

I've heard this arguement before, JT. Only problem is it is cheaper to get these folks off the dole and into a job with benefits that pay for rehab instead of us paying for it the next time. Except, of course, we're paying for it in the costs of the products and services we buy that do offer this service. Just like our health insurance rates go up for all the tobacco and obesity related illnesses... Hmmm. Maybe you have a point there... ...or should we be offering scholarships to everyone who quits smoking and gets their BMI under 26?

[sorry, by sarcaster is stuck on curmudgeon, ask -s-]

I don't know that the cost ... (Below threshold)

I don't know that the cost of these programs is so much the main point (although, it is a point) as the fact that we are essentially rewarding bad behavior while at the same time letting good behavior go unrecognized. If they are awarding scholarships to former users, then someone else is footing the bill. And if this kid is taking up a slot at a school with their scholarship, then yes, they maybe causing another kid, who behaved themselves, to look for another college.

I love a debate, especially... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

I love a debate, especially when I get to take the opposite from my normal position. :)

Okay, Maureen, we don't send these recovering addicts to the "sobriety" school, where they would not only learn how and receive support to stay sober, but learn how to help others in similar straits.

So we just leave them to their own devices, where they continue the downward spiral of addiction, conviction, dry out, slide back into addiction, conviction...you get the idea.

So you think that's better than teaching and helping them to get and stay sober?

That's not what I said. Wh... (Below threshold)

That's not what I said. What I said was why are we giving them something for free and NOT giving things to the kids that didn't do drugs? Are there scholarships out there that are specifically for students that have never done drugs? Because if there are, I'll shut up. :) This program is all well and good - if it works - but frankly, I think they should get jobs and foot their own bills. It should be a loan, not a freebee.

Seems to me if the sobriety... (Below threshold)

Seems to me if the sobriety school works, the grads become law-abiding taxpayers.

And as a result they're helping to pay for the program.

If it works.

Well, I contend that is<... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Well, I contend that is what you said, but nevermind.

I'll concede that it's a damn shame if stuff gets taken away from some deserving, hard working student, especially if it's my kid. ;) But more to the point, it helps all of us to help those who have succumb to the vortex of drug addiction to overcome and succeed. So to me, it's a matter of trying to find the right balance. Because even if helping that addict deprives my kid of a college seat (which I really have a hard time seeing), my kid (and me, and you, and our neighbors, and...well, you get the idea) will derive some benefit from turning that addict's life around.

But that's the tough part, and we'll never get it exactly right. I think we have to keep trying to find the right balance, and it's going to swing in favor of one or the other while we strive to find the sweet spot.

And then the goal posts get moved, and we have to start over. Ce la vie!

If it works indeed. ... (Below threshold)
B Moe:


If it works indeed. Another factor is how does the cost of an education compare with incarceration? I would like to think there is some work/study deal involved also, idle hands and all. I have had substance abuse problems in the past myself, and keeping really busy was key in kicking every one of them. Well, except cigarettes, I had to almost die to kick them.


Problem is we're through mo... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Problem is we're through money and opportunity at someone that may not make it once they leave the schools. So we end up with that money spent and nothing to show for it. We end up with a lower income sober person now trying to help support a lower income addict. Essentially there will be less money for scholarships in the future.

Sympathy is fine and good, but you don't steal someone else's future to make another person feel better. Its not practical and its not right.

Where are all the moonbats ... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Where are all the moonbats accusing conservatives of being heartless, cruel, generally despicable human beings?

I'm with boyd.Come... (Below threshold)
Mark:

I'm with boyd.

Come on folks, this program takes nothing away from the motivated, hard working, gifted and talented students. Their scholarships are not being diminished, and they are so self-motivated they find their own rewards.

On the other hand, compare the costs of treating an addict and transforming them in to productive members of society against the costs of supporting them as addicts, whether in or out of jail, and their offspring, for the rest of their lives. It sounds like a good gamble and a bargain to me.

Also, before you race to accuse them of being self-centered and knowingly making bad decisions, etc., you might want to spend a second or two to consider the overwhelmingly painful emotional problems or needs that led to the addictions in the first place. I don't know an addict who intended to be one, or enjoyed the road to get there.

Somehow I question the wisd... (Below threshold)

Somehow I question the wisdom of putting a bunch of kids with similar problems all together like that. Yeah, they need support from people who are going through the same things, but on the other hand not being exposed to the "real non-addict world" means they are still going to have the same adjustment problems when they graduate as they would when they got out of a normal treatment program, except now they have a degree. That's nice and all, but it doesn't help them adjust to the real world any better. Seems like it would instead be a better option to set up programs at existing schools where they'd be around a lot of normal kids as well.

Well, it all depends on you... (Below threshold)
robert:

Well, it all depends on your point of view.

One way to think of this is to consider the billions we are now spending on the war on drugs, and the billions more for the jail time.

Best I can tell, this is wasted money since it is not working - one can buy what one wants. Some would argue even that it is counterproductive. If we grew the stuff legally in, say, Florida, the price would come down and so would the incentive for the mafia, the cartels and the gangs.

Like prohibition, where there is a will, there is a way. The same goes for meth, illegal aliens, and Marlboros. We never learn. Black markets be springing up all over the place.

So, if someone wants to waste a little money working on the demand side, hey I'm all for it.

This is not to compare rewards for Jane the junkie versus Pauline the perfect. It is rather, to compare methods to work on the drug problem.

Even if both methods fail as I suspect, I would rather the money be spent on education than another raid in the Columbian jungle.

Government and taxpayers ne... (Below threshold)
Philip:

Government and taxpayers need to stay out of it. Good intentions mean nothing to an addict/alcoholic - theirs or yours. They are self-centered beyond understanding to mere mortals. But it is helpful to consider the possibility that they are sick people - not bad people. You may react strongly in the negative to this idea but the evidence is compelling (might this not be the very definition of a stigma?). Gifts are exactly the wrong way to go as just a little time with this program will show. Just don't blame the addicts/alcoholics for its failure while they are told their problems stem from "badness". Badness has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Mark, let me repeat one thi... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Mark, let me repeat one thing you said:

"...they are so self-motivated they find their own rewards."

So it's OK to appear to "reward" bad behavior, while letting those who behave properly can be safely slighted, because they'll make up for it on their own? To me, that smacks of "equality of results," which is a hideous perversion of "equality of opportunity." It's "all will be made equal," rather than "all are born equal." It's norming, where the low end are boosted and the high end is neglected in order to level off -- and in the process, cancel out the efforts of the high end. And it's "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" -- one of the greatest advancements towards destroying individual accomplishments and, indeed, individualism entirely.

Damn, this is why I call myself a "reactive" thinker. I had all those thoughts when I was writing the original piece, but couldn't find the right words and the right way of working them in. Thanks, Mark, for catalyzing them in me.

J.

Reminds me of the parable o... (Below threshold)
meep:

Reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son...but in that case, it was a father feasting the return of his wayward son, not the government.

I have no problem with private organizations deciding to concentrate their efforts on those who have screwed up. I think that if the govt is going to mess around in this area, they need to figure out what the incentives here are (and if, like with old welfare, it will simply encourage more of the same bad behavior), and if the programs proposed will actually do the work. The reason I'm sceptical about govt programs is that if you fall out again, then you wasted the money of some faceless govt department - not much there for guilt. When it's a private org (like a church), the people have a right to nag you.

Who better to teach about d... (Below threshold)
LJD:

Who better to teach about drug abuse than some one who has been there?

...and who says the good kids don't get rewards? That's just stupid. They're smart enough to get into college, public or otherwise. They take student loans if they need them, and because they have their act together, they repay them with their lucrative careers.

Should they have a free ride? Here's the real mindbender: Would they be as sucessful if they did not have to earn it?

<a href="http://www.aclearv... (Below threshold)

Raina - Thank you for pointing out the obvious. You put a bunch of kids who habituously (is that a word?) make bad decisions to gether and they learn from each other how to do it better...

Although LJD brings up a good point, the best teacher is one who has credibility. The rehab kids they go one to teach (after graduation) will believe them, they won't be mocking them under their breath.

But I agree with Meep, there are private organizations whose purpose is to rehab these kinds of kids. And those programs work (apologies for no links, it amounts to an assumptions I suppose).

Show me a gov't program besides the military that works really well, and efficiently, and I will be shocked. I love the stuff gov't does, like protecting me and paving my one-red-light town road (although they could be done by now, its been three years!) and such, but they are not designed for this sort of stuff...

I am a recovering addict ... (Below threshold)
Anabel:

I am a recovering addict and I am going to college. First of all, we (addicts) are people, don't stereotype us. We are like any other human being on this earth. Yea, so we made some bad decisions and messed up our lives to the point of rock bottom. There are people that make mistakes and keep making them and there are people that make mistakes and learn from them. I, for one, have learned from my mistakes and I want to become an addictions counselor to help other addicts. Addiction is a disease! It is not curable. We have to live with this for the rest of our lives. It may not be easy but some of us do make it. Something I learned in rehab is that we don't have drug problems, we have behavioral problems. Drugs are a symptom of our behavior. Quitting drugs is the easy part, it is changing our behavior that is hard. And obviously if we want to go to school, that is a change. Because if we were still out there using, we wouldn't be sitting in a classroom trying to get an education to better ourselves. My point is, we have the right to go to school just like anyone else, we are not bad people. Don't compare us out. Besides, who are you to judge Anyone? That is our Higher Power's job.

Rewarding bad behavior tend... (Below threshold)
Dan S:

Rewarding bad behavior tends to result in more bad behavior. This, though camoflaged under a cloak of prevention of recidivism and justified as "cheaper in the long run," is just rewarding bad behavior. Those of good behavior are not eligible for the benefits (which a free ride to an associates degree certainly are).

A better use of the money is on front-end prevention. An even better use of money is leaving it in the tax-payers' pockets. If they want to individuals help these cases, let them make that choice.

Just another insidious tentacle of big government worming its way into more extensive control.

You guys are jumping on Jay... (Below threshold)
Jim:

You guys are jumping on Jay as if he had said these programs should be shut down. That's not at all what he said. He even praised them as being good things... and then he said "I was happy for them, too -- at first. But then I started feeling annoyed." He went on to point out the irony of providing special benefits for people who screwed up but not for people who did not screw up. He didn't say throw these programs away, he just pointed at the situation.

Yes, yes, I know how (if they work) these programs save society money in the long run and we should rejoice over the return of the prodigal son, etc.

Still... Jay is right about the annoyance factor here. I have felt similar annoyance at various times and have gone about grumbling that I should have robbed a few convenience stores and stuffed various substances up my nose or into my blood stream and then I would have been eligible for various special programs and preferences. No, I didn't really mean that, I wouldn't have traded my non-criminal, non-junkie life for any such reward -- and yes the people who had chosen to screw up their lives need some kind of help when they finally decide to go straight else they will continue to be a drain on society -- but that is does not mean that we can't see the irony in that people who stay away from crime and drugs get to pay taxes to provide scholarships to help those who have been indulging in those things.

(Oh, and Byron, you are wrong about G&T programs not being cut. When school systems hit budget crunches they cut athletic programs, arts programs, and G&T programs -- the public protests loudly, votes for more taxes, and the athletic programs get restored. Services for spec. ed. students are protected by law. G&T programs are viewed as not needed because "these kids will always rise to the top anyway.")

I for one agree, Jay you ar... (Below threshold)
Sharon:

I for one agree, Jay you are sterotyping. No one is rewarding bad behavior or good behavior,its giving someone an opportunity to better themselves,how can you judge someone you know nothing about? There are many who go to college that was paid for by their mommies and daddies and they still didnt do anything with their education,so should we sterotype these people, what about the ones that are obese or those that are black,again should we sterotype those as well? so why sterotype against those that are recovering from drug addiction?what I am trying to say here Jay, is we all make mistakes in life, its learning from the mistakes and moving on to make a better life for ourselves,remember drug addiction is a disease,no one sets out to become a drug addict just like no one sets out to become an alcoholic or a diabetic.

sharon

First of all, I hope that y... (Below threshold)
kevino:

First of all, I hope that your friend's daughter is on the road to recovery. It is a very hard road, but it can end well.

I see several facts here that should be pointed out. First of all, she's been in rehab several times before, and that is not unusual. Even people who want to recover can hit the wrong triggers at the wrong time and relapse. Even worse are those who enter rehab because they are pleasing others or the "spin dries", people who go to recovery simple to detox enough to reduce the amount of drugs they need. They "relapse" immediately. I hope that this time around, this individual got the message. (It does happen.)

What I also see is someone who is in rehab getting a scholarship. Giving scholarships to people who made mistakes but have demonstrated their desire to work hard and put their lives back together is an idea that I support. People entering rehab need to have hope. One of the toughest problems you'll find with hardcore addicts is that they hit a point where they give up. They don't see a way out; they don't see any future. Frequently there is a key momement when they went over the edge, and many literally say, "F**k it." In fact, I can think of several people that I have met over the years that should be given those kinds of opportunities. However, these are individuals who have truly faced their lives, accepted responsibility for the damage that they have done, lived humble lives working ordinary jobs, and are grateful for every minute. I don't think that a person currently in rehab has demonstrated that kind of commitment.

In addition, college life has certain temptations and probably takes the recovering addict away from the fixed schedule and access to other recovering addicts. Without learning the proper skills, recovering addicts and alcoholics that are thrown into the general population frequently fail. College is probably a tougher environment. Anabel is right: recovering addicts are changing behavior, and that is one of the toughest things anyone can do. It takes real commitment, and I'm not sure college is the best place place in the world to do that.

Concerning the idea of "rewarding bad behavior". Recovering addicts have demonstrated real courage. Going through the process is very, very difficult. Simply put, a commitment to recovery is good behavior.

Anabel: good luck to you. I hope that your life is blessed, and I hope that you can teach others some of the things that you have learned. Whether you choose to teach as a career or not, you have a lot to offer. Take care.

I agree too. Afterall, we ... (Below threshold)
Donna:

I agree too. Afterall, we are all broken in some way and some need more help than others but that doesn't mean that those who don't get the help are better or worse off. In many cases, there are a lot of people who need help but choose not to seek. So, if you want the help and seek it then fall short(as we all do time and again) then get up and try again. I don't knock those that will continue to do better for themselves or try to improve themselves but I do find fault with those that do nothing. There are tools out there for all of us whether it be seeking higher education, loosing weight, stop smoking, improving self esteem-they just need to seek it.

Jim, you need to read bette... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Jim, you need to read better and think harder:

1) My name is Boyd, not Byron. Close, but no cigar. :)

2) There are two areas where you can't tell me I'm wrong: my experience and my opinion. I'm telling you what I've experienced. You're telling me I haven't experienced it. Who do think is wrong here?

Good luck to your friends d... (Below threshold)
ICallMasICM:

Good luck to your friends daughter. Another success story from the Church of Victimology.

Having had a previous career in CJ and counseling one reason that the recidivism rate is so high is that rehab programs are so poorly designed and do little to prepare addicts to return to society. They couldn't function in society to begin with so the idea is to make them responsibility free. Sobriety schools will be equally ineffective long term but what counts is that do gooders feel good and addiction counselors have jobs. Great going Mitt.

Why oh why do persons have ... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Why oh why do persons have to do drugs? it will eventualy make them sick WHY DO YOU THINK THEY CALL IT DOPE?

Without stereotyping, I'd l... (Below threshold)

Without stereotyping, I'd like to say to Anabel, Good Luck.

You didn't tell us if oyu are attending college on your own dime, your parents dime, or the gov'ts, but you're right. Addicts can change, and it is the behavior that got you into trouble, not simply the drugs.

I don't think anyone here is advocating "no second chances". Instead, I believe everyone is saying that those second chances should be doled out a little more selectively than the original post described.

Also, Kevino rightly points out that college life is strife with ugly temptations that a recovering addict should avoid, or only enter into with a strong support network.


It is a shame that you are ... (Below threshold)
Lisaq:

It is a shame that you are not looking outside of the typical bubble. Alot of time addicts have never been given a true, healthy opportunity to recovery. Maybe they had childhood abuse issues, raised where drugs were the norm. Yes I am sure families may have tried in various ways but maybe the damage was already done.... Good Lord, if this works, and someone makes changes in their life and is able to give back to others- what is the complaint... I wish people could see a bigger picture when looking at addiction..... there are reasons, not just "the kid didnt say no to drugs"

Jay,Maybe I didn't... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Jay,

Maybe I didn't say enough. Gifted and Talented kids are rewarded handsomely. I have three (out of four) in my house, and they're contantly lavished with praise and recognition by the school and other organizations. I am confident two of the three will earn full rides to college. They deserve the rewards, and I think they're appropriate. My point, however, is that they would do equally well even without the rewards. My girlfriend and I don't have to worry much about these three, except perhaps for burnout (they're almost TOO motivated).

The fourth kid is a different story. She is probably twice as intelligent as the "gifted and talented" kids, but is not motivated and extremely bored. And, to say she is a rebel is an understatement. If there is one with the potential to follow the footsteps of your friend's daughter, she's the one. She's the challenge. She's a great kid and she has a lot to offer society, but channeling her energy and creating an effective system of rewards and punishments is difficult. If she does run into trouble and later decides to turn her life around, I hope there will be a system in place to let her know it is never too late, and that second chances are possible. In the meantime, I'm doing everything I can to prevent her from going astray in the first place.

Also Jay,I don't k... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Also Jay,

I don't know what your experience is with either drugs or addiction. But you sound a little judgmental and willing to forever write people off for their past problems. Am I accurate?

This is a sore subject for me. I have three older male cousins who died from drug addiction. I also have a former sister-in-law who kicked heroin about 15 years ago and went on to raise a great family. Each of them started out experimenting with the usual recreational drugs as teenagers--just like probably 95 percent of us reading this blog. The difference is they had deep rooted emotional problems, from whatever cause, that made them more dependant on the escape and comfort benefits. They were confused, hadn't decided on clear goals or a career path, and seemed lost. Before they realized it, they were addicted.

All four were VERY bright people, and they were the type of person who would do anything to help a friend, or even strangers. The three guys were extremely, extremely, hard workers, but the girl was almost too young to work during the depths of her problem. Everyone loved all four--they were not dregs of society. I doubt anyone considered any of these people "self centered" even in the depths of their herion and other addictions. (Of course, nothing would stand in the way of a fix, but then they'd be busy helping others).

Each of these people deserved a second chance. Fortunately my former sister-in-law did kick drugs, found a good job, divorced her addicted rock star husband, and started a family with someone else. In fact, she has two kids in the "gifted and talented" program in Oregon.

Also, her addicted rock star drummer husband is now clean and attending college (no, its not Tommy Lee).

Boyd, sorry to get your nam... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Boyd, sorry to get your name wrong -- blame it on memory failure after reading the intervening comments -- please accept my apology.

And no, of course I can't tell you what your opinion and experience might be. I was trying to tell you what my experience had been and, in my experience, G&T programs frequently are cut in times of budget stress under the theory that gifted and talented students will do well without any special enrichment programs.

Maybe things are different in Texas, but while living in New York State for many years and in Rhode Island for the past decade, my observation has been that what I said about the tendency to cut G&T programs (after first cutting library budgets and arts programs) is the typical scenario.

I will admit that in the school district in which I live, G&T programs are not as likely to be cut. This is because there is extremely strong and vocal support for them (not unusual considering that there are many university faculty members sending their kids to our schools). However, this is -- in my experience -- an exception to the usual way of the world; you are far more likely to find the community demanding full funding for the football team than for advanced placement calculus.

You are truly a dimwit. Be... (Below threshold)
jonnyz:

You are truly a dimwit. Before you leave the Milky Way galaxy entirely, recall that your friends' daughter is going to obtain a degree to treat addiction. That’s a big one. It's as worthless as a degree in philosophy, which degree itself is a one-way ticket to the ivory tower. She’ll barely make minimum wage the rest of her life. So quit your sniveling, sanctimonious whining you loser. You’re pathetic. Now, I’ll have to go and vomit so at least I’ll have a slightly better taste in my mouth. Ugggggghhhh.

johnnyz,perhaps it is you w... (Below threshold)
sharon:

johnnyz,perhaps it is you who needs to go into rehab,you are an insult to the people who read the articles on this sight,when writting sentences try to use some intelligencec,tact and passion,or do you carry a grudge because perhaps because you didnt take the opportunity that was offered to you to better yourself?and you have an issue with what someone makes! at least they have a job,whats your excuse!

Johnnyz, I am the o... (Below threshold)
Anabel:

Johnnyz,
I am the one that the article was written about in the first place. You are entitled to your own opinion, but let me say, I have looked into the addictions counseling field and I know how much money I will be making and it is not so much that I am doing it for the money. I want to help other addicts. And that is all that matters. I have a passion to do this, not become a millionare.

'I want to help other addic... (Below threshold)
ICallMasICM:

'I want to help other addicts. And that is all that matters. '

As someone with a CJ and counseling background I would recommend against it. You should worry about yourself first and extricate yourself from it. I worked with a number of former addicts who went into counseling and they all relapsed.

Sharon, your assault on the... (Below threshold)
jonnyz:

Sharon, your assault on the English language, syntax and structure included, as evidenced by your horrifically feeble attempt to reply to my post, suggests too few of your brain cells are on the playing field. Try again, and give me the smallest reasons for supposing you can string together words on a level suggesting matriculation from grade school.

To the author’s subject, who also replied to my post. You simply underscore what I have said. First of all, I want to emphasize that I have a very high opinion of your pursuit. The author seems to forget your life experience is uniquely essential to the value of your degree. Of your inherent determination to help others and of the honesty of your dedication, there is no possible doubt. However, and I say this to you most respectfully, my point about your earnings is that you will likely not make much at all in your chosen career, so why should anyone complain about your free ride to an associate’s degree. It’s a huge tempest in a teapot, much like Sharon’s post. BTW, Sharon, are you single?

johnnyz I am not getting in... (Below threshold)
sharon:

johnnyz I am not getting into an arguement with you, I have a problem with someone who comes off with such insults on others,but has no idea of who are what this person is,how hard they have struggled to over come their addiction. Personally I dont mind opinions,but perhaps this article was a mistake,there are simply too many avenues to take from this one topic, such as free education,stereotyping and prejudice. I have seen people go thru 4 and 5yrs of college and not do a thing with the education they were blessed with,I have seen those go to college on scholarships and make something of themselves, perhaps it might be better to say something positive to those that have the guts and courage to pull themselves out of the pitfalls of drug addiction,alcholism among other addictions to make something of themselves. And last there is nothing wrong with being a addictions counselor where some have seen relapse I have seen many succeed, one counselor I know quite well has been clean for 24yrs,wow,what an inspiration.

It's just too bad she cheat... (Below threshold)
moseby:

It's just too bad she cheated Darwin ...

Sharon, you didn't answer m... (Below threshold)
jonnyz:

Sharon, you didn't answer my question.

Moseby, perhaps it's ok to plagiarize when you don't have an original thought anywhere inside the white matter of your head, but at least expand on this cheating Darwin thing. That way we can see if the finger points back at you. Btw, moosehead or moseby or whatever, the subject is loosely premised on the issue of whether it's ok to give free rides to college for such ones as a recovering addict so he, in turn, can obtain a degree to counsel fellow addicts. Our rocket scientist who wrote the article thinks not. By way of example, he would frown on the FBI hiring an Internet gunslinger to help the agency track down other rogue gunslingers, thinking it would somehow reward his bad behavior. That's why I can call the author a nutbrain, because of the fact of the direct logical disconnect infecting his thinking. (Is the author a regular at this site?)

Mark:Thanks for shar... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Mark:
Thanks for sharing your story, and good luck with all of your kids. It sounds as though your family has been through a lot, but you've got some very special kids, there, and that's great. I'm sure you're doing everything you can.

Jim:
Maybe on the local level programs for the gifted and talented get cut first, but money for drug and alcohol treatment on the state level gets cut first in most states that I know about. The results a tragic and unnecessary. Drug treatment is cheaper that the effects on society (e.g. massive emergency room bills and high costs of crime). MA, for example, slashed drug treatment programs including closing a major detox center the moment Governor Romney had budget problems.

ICallMasICM and others:
I've met a few conselors who relapsed, too, but they relapsed because of the kind of people they are, not the environment. Pressure is everywhere, and the drugs are everywhere. Relapsing is all too easy. And for each cousellor that relapsed, how many didn't relapse because they had others who were looking to them for leadership?

The best friend of an addict is a former addict. That's what makes AA and NA work. The former addict can see through the lies, knows what the emotional roller-coaster is like, and is living the recovery process. And it cuts both ways: there are benefits to the former addict, too. The trials of others will remind them of how far they've gone, and it makes relapsing more difficult when others know who you are and what you do.

Sharon and Anabel:
If this is your chosen career, if it's what you really want to do, then you can make a tremendous positive impact on people's lives. You know what's at stake, and it's a difficult job. You'll have some big wins and big disappointments. The wins will put a satisfied smile on your face for months, and the failures will keep you up at night second guessing yourself. But it's a very important job. Without people with your experience the programs won't work, and it's particularly difficult to get qualified people to work with women.

You won't get rich in that field. Luckily, success or failure isn't measured in dollars. The graveyards are filled with rich lawyers and stockbrokers whose lives never amounted to anything. And I've met a lot of very rich people who never seemed to be very happy.

Best of luck to you.

Sorry - that's rationalizin... (Below threshold)
ICallMasICM:

Sorry - that's rationalizing nonsense - any treatment release conditions would include avoiding addicts and addict environments.

jonnyz: <b... (Below threshold)
moseby:

jonnyz:


Too bad your mother cheated Darwin ...

Moosehead, my earlier use o... (Below threshold)
john:

Moosehead, my earlier use of the word finger was misplaced and certainly incorrect. You pointed your hoof right back at you.

First of all johnnyz,I didn... (Below threshold)
sharon:

First of all johnnyz,I didnt write the Darwin letter,let me set the record straight,this is not a chosen career for me,it is a chosen career for my daughter,whom I am proud of and has earned my trust and my respect back, I know all to well what it is like growing up in an alcohlic family and dealing with a daughter recovering from drug addiction,been there,done that,but I also applaud anabel for having the courage to overcome such tremendous obsticles with drug addiction,no one can understand why people turn to drugs but those that have experienced it,anabel is my daughter,defend her no,inable her,no,but to stand by her in her recovery and her drive to better herself and to love her unconditionally,that I will do. I thank those that have put forth positive suggestions and opinions with Jay's article.

Hey john or jonnyz or porta... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Hey john or jonnyz or porta-john or whatever:

Too bad you're grandmother cheated Darwin ...

(I can go on for ever)

"It's just too bad she chea... (Below threshold)
Mark:

"It's just too bad she cheated Darwin ..."

moseby, you sound like a wonderful person.

Sharon and Anabel,... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Sharon and Anabel,

I wish you the best of luck!

Sharon, Anabel is an absolu... (Below threshold)
jonnyz:

Sharon, Anabel is an absolutely awesome name for your daughter and you have the right to be proud of her. Conquering an addiction will just be a minor footnote to the much greater good she will accomplish with her background, education and future training. Our collective DNA is crumbling. She will be in one of the minority of professions helping to prop us all up. My hat is off. Jay, where is yours?

Bye the way, for those who ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Bye the way, for those who could not see my eyes rolling when I commented to Moseby a minute ago, I forgot to finish the sentence.

"... to run slowly through a meat grinder."

ICALLMasICM:RE: "any... (Below threshold)
kevino:

ICALLMasICM:
RE: "any treatment release conditions would include avoiding addicts and addict environments."
Avoiding addicts as in NA meetings?
What is an "addict environment"? The world is filled with drugs.




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