So I was clean and back in real recovery with
a sponsor I trusted. It felt good. I felt safe. Fucked up, but
safe. I still feel that way today. I don't mind. I accept myself
however I feel today. But I don't take any shit from my detractors.
That has stopped. Love me, accept me as I am or goodbye. Real
freedom. I will see you in court.
C. Life in recovery - Attempts to resolve the
disasters caused by others' misinterpretations of my addiction
and accepting the responsibility for my mistakes and my recovery
- and not taking responsibility
for the mistakes, disasters and discrimination caused by others,
but having to deal with them nonetheless:
Most assholes say, "You are responsible for
it all. You brought it all upon yourself." Please already!
Does a leukemic make his wife divorce him, the judge fine him,
the DEA steal his car and put him in jail to get treatment there,
partners to fire him, authorities to discriminate and abuse him,
doctors blame and punish him for relapses, and anyone else to
take advantage of his tragedy for their own selfish needs and
prejudices? No. So, why should I be responsible for these peoples'
actions? I'm not and I refuse to accept that. Love me, love my
disease, not just the pluses but the pluses and minuses. Otherwise,
what is love? Take your responsibility for your actions, one of
which is being involved with me in the first place. Don't tell
me you didn't know I was an addict when you met me. Everyone knew
I was a recovering addict, even my patients, many of whom I helped
get into recovery.
My addiction didn't ruin my career. The NYS Health
Dept. did that. One of their demands to me is that I take responsibility
for their destructive actions. That's one of the paradoxes of
this "take responsibility" bull shit. They want me to
take responsibility for their illegal and discriminatory behavior.
Thus, they get off the hook for being destroyers. That's what
they're demanding; that I take them off the hook for being bigots.
If I don't, no license.
Moving on: I finally had a sponsor and immediately
surrendered my recovery to him. What a relief. I was now free
from the power of the disease which always had me make terrible
decisions for myself. I had a decision consultant and his word
was final. I was safe from my disease. My life turned around completely
at the point, not that I didn't make more mistakes but I didn't
take them seriously and could recoup rapidly from them.
The first disaster that I lived through was in
5/92 when I received a letter from the prosecutor of the health
dept., the one who threatened to turn me over to the DEA if I
didn't get straight. Now she wanted to revoke my medical license.
For public safety reasons? No. As punishment for being such a
bad addict. This was quite simply put when my lawyer told her
I was in recovery and would be no trouble any longer to her and
should get probation or suspension, but not revocation. The prosecutor
said, "Don't mistake this hearing for a restoration hearing,
it's a revocation hearing. He's here for punishment, period."
This is public safety?
You see, revocation is like capital punishment
to a doctor's career. You can apply for restoration, but they
don't have to restore your license unless you can prove to them
that you deserve it. This means that if they don't want to, they
will never restore your license. They just say you didn't prove
you deserved it. The basis for this is, as I've said before, purely
subjective. There is no way to prove you deserve it because there
are no criteria for this, much like joining a fraternity or a
country club. Just a lot of blah blah blah. "Too bad. You
didn't prove to us that you deserve it. You only proved that you
need more punishment."
I went to the hearing and was clobbered by rumors,
innuendoes, nursing notes from detoxes about "drug seeking
behavior," questions about the order of protection, why this
and why that. My sponsor and therapist came to the hearing and
vouched for my sincerity and recovery. They were abused and ignored.
The hearing was for show, not for gathering information and making
a decision. The decision had already been made. The hearing was
for punishment and they knew beforehand what that punishment would
be. They only did the hearing because they had to, and to get
testimony from me to misuse and misinterpret, testimony to mold
into a "reason" to revoke my license. That was the reason
they were there and that's what they did. That was accomplished
with maximal pain to me and cost me $5000 for the lawyer who did
absolutely nothing. What could she do? It wasn't a trial and there
was no cross examination, voir dire, or evidence arguments. All
evidence against me be it hearsay, or from confidential medical
records was admissible, and my evidence was ignored. Kangaroo
court. So, that was that. Revoked. There was a nonappeal appeal,
if you know what I mean. That was swiftly rejected by the higher
authority. I was apparently able to appeal the case in court,
but was never made aware of that remedy. So much for lawyers.
That revocation is now a dead issue because it is way too late
to do anything about it by law. Who was there to tell me about
We desperately need a central hub for information
and advocacy, but none exists. None exists. Not one. Not the national
council on alcoholism or any of the countless other groups purported
to advocate for addicts. They all have their own agendas and these
agendas have very little or nothing at all to do with helping
addicts. They seem to help everyone but the addicts. I have established
The National Association for the Advancement and Advocacy of Addicts,
The N4A, for such a purpose, for all addicts. For the addicts.
The N4A still has only one member. My website, www.hypoism.com,
has the N4A brochure and its reasons d'๊tre. Check it out.
My life at this point revolved around recovery,
living and enjoying my life, my kids, probation, financial battles
with friends who went bankrupt on me or refused to repay loans
I stupidly made to them while addicted, the divorce, and visions
of license restoration way in the future, if at all.
Out of the blue, one sunny afternoon, out back,
birds singing, smells of newly mowed lawns wafting through the
breeze, I began to write. Writing led to reading which led to
more writing. About addictions. Questions, thoughts, ideas, insights,
some knowledge, lots of bullshit (superstitions, pseudoscience,
lies, myths, outright nonsense and psychobabble). What a mess.
I started from the beginning to look at my addiction and addiction
in general. Neurobiology, evolutionary psychology, behavioral
genetics, addictionology, biology of emotions, how the brain works,
how the mind works, how addictions work and what they really are,
instincts, decision-making, feelings, and genes. How do they lead
to addictions? What is an addict? What is the pathophysiology
tying it all together. This activity continued over the next seven
years and resulted in a paradigm and a book about the paradigm.
Could this be the real disease behind all addictions we have been
searching for? It was so exciting. I was enthralled. I was smart
enough to do this and had the training to be able to sort out
the shit from the wheat. It built upon itself. I was led by the
nose into the reality of addictions. The dark ages of addictionology
and misperceptions of addictions and addicts were being ended,
day by day. Friends typed it for me. Friends drew pictures for
me. It grew and matured into a complete and global paradigm of
addictions related to the brain mechanisms which have evolved
over millions of years to deal with animal instincts and decision-making.
It involved genetic diversity of genes making up this system.
It made sense, was simple, and involved all addictions in a single
package. It answered all my questions and put the jigsaw puzzle
of addictions and other peculiar addict difficulties into a very
pretty and concise picture. I sent it off to addictionology publications
and wasn't too surprised when it was rejected out of hand, not
even questions or discussion. Why not? It was heresy. It had the
potential to put a lot of addictionologists, therapists and rehabs
out of work. I finished the book anyway. It was and still is a
marvelous undertaking. The work is continuing. The book and its
implications have kept me alive and still does. I have found my
Then, there was bridge, the motorcycle, the boat,
gardening, guitar, my kids, golf, kayaking, hiking the Tetons,
WFUV, and continued medical education. 10 years of vacation with
pay. Life was good but quite frustrating during the times I had
to deal with the medical license, criminal justice system, others'
bankruptcies, and the people standing in my way to being restored
to full citizenship.
By law, I was allowed to request a restoration
hearing from the Ed. Dept. in a year. I waited three years so
that I would be finished with probation and be secure in my recovery.
By then, all ducks would be in a row, so I thought. To my increasing
dismay, however, there was a lot more sadistic discrimination
The Committee for Physicians Health (CPH): An
offshoot of the NYS Medical Society to deal with doctor addicts,
monitor their urines and recovery and eventually write a letter
to the NYS Dept. of Ed. if I fulfilled their requirements for
reinstatement. Remember, I had been kicked out of the program
in 1991 by Dr. Blum for not going to Mississippi for the 8 month
rehab. In late 1992, I received a call from the CPH in Albany.
It had moved their from Lake Success and there was a new Medical
Director, Dr. Mansky, a recovering addict and psychiatrist. The
call was from Dewveal Williams, a counselor there who wanted me
to pay a $251 bill for previous urines I hadn't paid for. He seemed
nice, so I confronted him with, "How about helping me get
my license back instead of being a bill collector." He said,
"Gee, I didn't know you wanted your license back." "Yup,
sure do." "OK, I'll ask Dr. Mansky what to do."
"OK. I'll send a check." I paid the bill and he called
me back with the deal. I had to get evaluated by their shrink
out here on Long Island. I told him I didn't trust shrinks, they
always want you to go to therapy, the last thing I wanted to do.
A.A. was doing just fine and I had just reviewed the literature
on psychotherapy in addictions for my growing book and there was
no benefit whatsoever shown unless you believed in it. Good for
shrinks, not for addicts. We made a deal. So I could protect myself
against indiscriminate mandated psychotherapy, I would talk to
the shrink and review her recommendations. If I didn't think it
was a fair appraisal, I could find another shrink for the evaluation
without her sending the report to the CPH. He said fine. She said,
"NO." So I found a board certified addiction shrink
at L.I.J., Dr. Selzer whom my sponsor told me he had heard speak
and had a good grasp on addictions and besides, was not biased
for psychotherapy or "medication." I called him and
he agreed to the deal. Wow. A shrink with integrity. He evaluated
me and found that what I was doing was fine; continue as is. Cleared
for the CPH. And the CPH accepted his evaluation, so I thought.
Three years later I would discover they hadn't fully accepted
it. I think they never expected me to stay sober long enough to
need their letter of approval so let they me stay until I mess
up again. Of course I didn't mess up, so their real motives were
later revealed to my horror.
Not that bad, but long-5 years. I had five probation officers
during that time. Four were good people. One was a sadist, and,
if my instincts are correct, a recovering alcoholic to boot. This
guy accused me of using every visit. He told me what he would
do if he caught me. He questioned me about my car, my house, and
other financially connected issues as if they were bought with
"drug money." "I was living pretty good for a drug
addict felon," he would say. He visited my house unannounced,
as they are allowed to do, but with an attitude like, "Where's
the dope?" By this time three plus years had gone by, he
informed me that, "We just made a contract with Glen Cove
Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program. All my drug addicts are going.
You must get evaluated." My hair stood up. I had completed
my treatment requirement set by the judge years ago and believed
myself clear from that abuse. "If you don't go I will violate
you," he followed. Here we go again-mandated psychotherapy,
or else. He knew I was fine. He was busting balls. I called my
lawyer to start objections in court. He advised me to go to the
evaluation and see what happened. I went. First was the director
who loved addicts so much and wanted to help. I told her I was
fine and my life was fine. "Oh, we will help you so much.
Please give us a try." I said I was fine14
The shrink I had to see knew nothing about addiction.
He just wanted to know how much and how often and which drugs.
The psychometric psychological tester had three days of testing
for me to go through. I went to the first, but that was it. I
called the lawyer and said to write a letter to probation requesting
out, now. He told me to get my own shrink evaluation.
This was 1995 already. I called Dr. Selzer again
and told him my plight and that I needed an expert reevaluation
and a new letter. He saw me and found me still sound and recovering
well. No need for psychotherapy, etc. He wrote the letter to my
lawyer who put together a complaint against the probation officer.
I had to sit through a visit after that and was he pissed. Stern
intimidation, but I hung in there and the complaint was resolved
without having to go before the judge. In fact, the next visit
was the last with this guy because he retired soon thereafter.
My last probation officer was a mench, and by that time I applied
for early release from probation so I could move ahead with my
license restoration without the burden of probation hanging around
my neck. That was granted---so goodbye Uniondale and probation.
One down and still a few to go.
Reinstatement of medical license:
This is the last of the areas in my life to be
straightened out and is turning out to be the most difficult and
discriminatory of all. The entire process is run by administrative
law, the kind of law that stimulates "going postal."
This kind of law pushed Ferguson over the edge and caused the
mass killings in Garden City, NY on the LIRR. This episode has
been mistakenly used as an example of an isolated instance of
a schizophrenic "lone madman" who had a gun going berserk
and using it indiscriminately. No. He was thoroughly discriminated
against in a disability hearing where he was told he wasn't crazy
enough to need disability. Well. I guess he proved them wrong.
His administrative endeavors were ignored after the maylay because
it's easier for the "public" to blame a "madman"
than deal with systemic administrative discrimination that deeply
hurts people who have no recourse but to act out their frustration.
We wonder about Littleton, Colo. and Waco/Oklahoma City? And,
how can this occur all over the country? It must be the TV and
video games as well as bad parents? No. No one looks at the society's
inability to deal with conflict resolution involving people with
diverse ideas, beliefs, and even behaviors as a deep seated cause
of violence. OK, don't. I'll tell you from my experience-administrative
law can really piss you off. It can twist you into a ball of frustration
and rage. Moreover, because of the secrecy of their proceedings,
the general public doesn't know what's going on behind their closed
doors (they're not open like the courts). Moreover, there is no
accountability whatsoever unless you are able to file an antidiscrimination
lawsuit that costs a million dollars or so to complete on your
own. This has not yet been done.
Administrative law is not really correct. It really
is "administrative lawlessness." It is established by
law. Then it makes its own laws to govern its administrations
and the poor suckers who are involved. It incorporates none of
the legal rights of ordinary citizens including voir dire for
juries and panels, rules of evidence, inadmissibility of hearsay,
rumor and innuendo, cross examination of witnesses, false accusation,
misinterpretation, expert testimony, etc. It does include remarks,
beliefs, discountings, slurs, misrepresentations and lies or anything
else they want that suit their agendas. Besides, any appeals you
may have are done within their system. Moreover, they take as
long as they want for you to exhaust their process before you
can appeal outside their jurisdiction. And, you can't appeal their
decisions until you're done with their prolonged administrative
process. It is much like being caught in a whirlpool.
This type of law runs the CPH and the Health and
Ed. Depts. of NYS.
up where I left off a couple of pages back, the CPH accepted the
evaluation of Dr. Selzer. For the next two years all went well.
One day, however, I received a call from Mr. Williams. He informed
me that he had quit the CPH and was moving on to head an addiction
program in Syracuse, NY. He had transferred my case to a colleague
and told me that I had full advocacy from the CPH and to go ahead
and apply for license restoration with Dept. of Ed. I wished him
well and waited to hear from his colleague about the letter of
advocacy. In the mean time, I submitted an application for license
Soon thereafter I received a call from Mr. William's
replacement. It wasn't the person to whom he had referred me,
but a different counselor altogether. This person whom I will
leave nameless told me not only did I not have their advocacy,
but that I was basically starting over from scratch. He was decidedly
a recovering Uncle Tom and a sadist, one of the worst I had ever
encountered in my addiction experiences, much like the sadist
probation officer. I've described this incident along with their
insistence I get a psychiatric evaluation from their shrink, Dr.
Labins, and the outcome of that in footnote 5, so I won't go through
it again except to say that treatment and psychiatric abuse issues
surfaced similar to, but worse15 than what had occurred
at the end of my federal probation - mandated psychotherapy and
betrayal. Out of nowhere and for no reason given, my advocacy
process was to start over. I was furious. I asked for Mr. Williams
phone number and was told, "He's no longer your counselor,
I am. We don't give out forwarding information." I subsequently
found Mr. Williams in the Syracuse job and told him what was transpiring.
He grimaced and agreed to write a letter saying that when he had
left his position with the CPH my advocacy was in the bag, that
I had fulfilled all CPH requirements, and that I was advised by
him, with Dr. Mansky's approval and advise, to apply for restoration.
I have that letter, for what it's worth. I appealed to the NYS
Medical Society for help. They sent me back to the CPH for an
appeal of their demands. I had the appeal and, of course, lost.
Because you can't get restoration without their approval, I swallowed
my pride and went with their demands, but was horrified and enraged.
GO TO PAGE 5, THE LAST OF THIS ARTICLE.