December 7, 2001
university study, released
yesterday, says that both drug and alcohol abuse have risen in dramatic
proportions since September 11th.
"I think we have the beginnings
of an epidemic,"
the president of the Columbia University National Center on Addiction
and Substance Abuse was quoted as saying. The study cites "chronic,
unremitting stress" in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks as one of
the underlying reasons for the rise in substance abuse. Furthermore, it
warns that the problem
may be "critically exacerbated" by the stress and the unrealistic
expectations of the encroaching holiday season.
the risk of sounding like a big fat party-pooper here, I would just
like to say:
need a "university study"
to tell us that people have been feeling frightened and depressed and
overwhelmed, ever since the terrorist attacks, and that some of them
have sought release in reality-bending substances ... legal and
otherwise? And that now that the holidays are upon us, like stink on
cheese, the problem is getting ever-so-slightly worse? Gosh. THANK
University Research People! What will you next be 'studying' and
'announcing?' An upswing in firearm sales since September 11th? A
mini-population-explosion, next June 4th? A dramatic rise in the number
of chocolate-related emergency room visits?
this seems like a criminal waste of my valuable taxpayer dollar.
I don't need a university study to explain to me exactly why
so many people are drawn to self-medicate these days.
for instance, I've
had a crummy day. Nothing major: just crap piled on top of crap piled
on top of crap. I didn't sleep well last night ... and then when Idid
sleep, my dreams were all about missed airline connections. We were out
of coffee this morning. My middle child isn't speaking to me, and it's
hurting my heart. I discovered this morning that my former ISP is still
sucking money out of my checking account, even though I cancelled over
a month ago, so I've had to deal with their "Customer Service"
department all afternoon. I made a series of dumb-headed mistakes at
work, one right on top of another, and my boss noticed. Tomorrow is the
office Christmas party, and I'm starting to have a MAJOR
attack of nerves. I'm having a lousy eyebrow day. I have a fresh new
crop of jawline acne. My shoes pinch.
Plus -- in spite of my committment to completely ignore Christmas this
year (or, as I'm referring to it, "That Day In-Between
December 24th and December 26th When I Don't Have To Go To Work")
-- the first of the *holiday stress molecules* are beginning to
infiltrate my protective shield.
( I'm actually finding myself making LISTS. Shudder.)
I'm sitting here right now
-- this very minute -- and I'm thinking about how fun and relaxing and
"medicinal" an ice-cold gin martini with double olives might be, after
work tonight. Or a double gin martini with single olives. Or a bucket
of gin, hold the olives (and
the vermouth, and
the ice ... and toss in a pack of Salem Slim Lights and eight hours in
the Baby Boomer Chat Room, while you're at it). Part of me wouldn't
mind blotting out this day -- along with all of the war news, the
work-related stress headache, the ridiculous department store Christmas
commercials featuring balding over-the-hill 70's pop stars -- right out
of my consciousness for a few blissful, completely dysfunctional hours.
won't, of course. Mainly
because, for me at least, it would create more problems than it would
solve. But I can understand why others may not feel that way.
I don't need a university study to explain THAT.