Harden Up Zac Guildford and Roger Hall

Roger Hall says that we have to raise taxes to prevent drunks from what they do so well; (being drunk), and in order to pay for the cost of their medical misadventures:

Roger Hall: Tax best weapon in booze fight:

“Recent failed attempts from the Government to find fresh sources of tax (car parks, smartphones) show it is still desperate for revenue.
So why not the obvious: increase the tax on alcohol.”
Well, Mr Hall. Where do we start? You just cannot save people from themselves. And yes it is regrettable that we smoke tobacco or cannabanoids, drink and get fat.  But if you engender a prohibition type environment either through taxes or an outright ban then you end up with the drug culture of Mexico or even worse,Wanganui, New Zealand.

With this approach, you actually prime the population with the message that people are too screwed up to help themselves or grow through a period of mindless immaturity just as previous generations did. 
Almost overnight, you end up with a culture of drunks and infantile pseudo grown ups who think that “fessing all”, is the path to salvation.

Queue Zac Guildford; the latest to ‘fess up and take the “First Step”.
“All Black Zac Guildford has for the first time publicly admitted he is an alcoholic after being reinstated by the NZRU today.
Guildford has breached the time held AA principle of anonymity in order to not get booted out of the rugby arena:
A brutally honest Guildford told a packed room of media in Wellington he had finally accepted he had a mental illness that includes “addictive tendencies”.
The Crusaders and All Blacks wing answered simply “Yes” when asked if he was an alcoholic.


“He would be attending AA meetings among other things as he continues his recovery and hoped to be playing for the Crusaders ‘‘as soon as possible’’.” 

What a dick. If you’re an alcoholic and in AA then you don’t publicly disclose your or anyone elses affiliation with AA.
One reasoning is that if you relapse you give the message that AA doesn’t work.
But best of luck to Guildford. If he is a real alcoholic then or any kind of ‘aholic then he faces a battle that saw a friend of mine die fitting on a lawn in Wellington following an overdose of pills and booze.
However, part of me is skeptical with regards to the nature of Guildford’s battle. There is a tendency these days to put everything down to “addiction”, when in reality, addiction can be averted by just Hardening The Fuck Up”.

If you are questioning yourself as to the nature of your habit,  read the following, an awesome example of the inner monologue of addiction by that perennial wordsmith: Stephen King:

The Dark Tower V
Wolves of Calla. Stephen King

Chapter III: The Priest’s Tale (New York)


It was the drink, that was what he came to believe when he finally stopped it and clarity came. Not God, not Satan, not some deep psychosexual battle between his blessed mither and his blessed Da’. Just the drink. And was it surprising that whiskey should have taken him by the ears? He was Irish, he was a priest, one more strike and you’re out.
From seminary in Boston he’d gone to a city parish in Lowell, Massachusetts. His parishioners had loved him (he wouldn’t refer to them as his flock, flocks were what you called seagulls on their way to the town dump), but after seven years in Lowell, Callahan had grown uneasy. When talking to Bishop Dugan in the Diocese office, he had used all the correct buzzwords of the time to express this unease: anomie, urban malaise, an increasing lack of empathy, a sense of disconnection from the life of the spirit. He’d had a nip in the bathroom before his appointment (followed by a couple of Wintergreen Life Savers, no fool he), and had been particularly eloquent that day. Eloquence does not always proceed from belief, but often proceeds from the bottle. And he was no liar. He had believed what he was saying that day in Dugan’s study. Every word. As he believed in Freud, the future of the Mass spoken in English, the nobility of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, and the idiocy of his widening war in Vietnam: waist-deep in the Wide Muddy, and the big fool said to push on, as the old folk-tune had it. He believed in large part because those ideas (if they wereideas and not just cocktail-party chatter) had been currently trading high on the intellectual Big Board. Social Conscience is up two and a third, Hearth and Home down a quarter but still your basic blue-chip stock. Later it all became simpler. Later he came to understand that he wasn’t drinking too much because he was spiritually unsettled but spiritually unsettled because he was drinking too much. You wanted to protest, to say that couldn’t be it, or not justthat, it was too simple. But it was that, just that. God’s voice is still and small, the voice of a sparrow in a cyclone, so said the prophet Isaiah, and we all say thankya. It’s hard to hear a small voice clearly if you’re shitass drunk most of the time. Callahan left America for Roland’s world before the computer revolution spawned the acronym GIGO—garbage in, garbage out—but in plenty of time to hear someone at an AA meeting observe that if you put an asshole on a plane in San Francisco and flew him to the east coast, the same asshole got off in Boston. Usually with four or five drinks under his belt. But that was later. In 1964 he had believed what he believed, and plenty of people had been anxious to help him find his way. From Lowell he had gone to Spofford, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. There he stayed for five years, and then he began to feel restless again. Consequently, he began to talk the talk again. The kind the Diocesan Office listened to. The kind that got you moved on down the line. Anomie. Spiritual disconnection (this time from his suburban parishioners). Yes, they liked him (and he liked them), but something still seemed to be wrong. And there was something wrong, mostly in the quiet bar on the corner (where everybody also liked him) and in the liquor cabinet in the rectory living room. Beyond small doses, alcohol is a toxin, and Callahan was poisoning himself on a nightly basis. It was the poison in his system, not the state of the world or that of his own soul, which was bringing him down. Had it always been that obvious? Later (at another AA meeting) he’d heard a guy refer to alcoholism and addiction as the elephant in the living room: how could you miss it? Callahan hadn’t told him, he’d still been in the first ninety days of sobriety at that point and that meant he was supposed to just sit there and be quiet (“Take the cotton out of your ears and stick it in your mouth,” the old-timers advised, and we all say thankya), but he couldhave told him, yes indeed. You could miss the elephant if it was a magicelephant, if it had the power—like The Shadow—to cloud men’s minds. To actually make you believe that your problems were spiritual and mental but absolutely not boozical. Good Christ, just the alcohol-related loss of the REM sleep was enough to screw you up righteously, but somehow you never thought of that while you were active. Booze turned your thought-processes into something akin to that circus routine where all the clowns come piling out of the little car. When you looked back in sobriety, the things you’d said and done made you wince (“I’d sit in a bar solving all the problems of the world, then not be able to find my car in the parking lot,” one fellow at a meeting remembered, and we all say thankya). The things you thought were even worse. How could you spend the morning puking and the afternoon believing you were having a spiritual crisis? Yet he had. And his superiors had, possibly because more than a few of them were having their own problems with the magic elephant. Callahan began thinking that a smaller church, a rural parish, would put him back in touch with God and himself. And so, in the spring of 1969, he found himself in New England again. Northern New England, this time. He had set up shop—bag and baggage, crucifix and chasuble—in the pleasant little town of Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine. There he had finally met real evil. Looked it in the face.
And flinched.

My favourite phrase:
“It’s hard to hear a small voice clearly if you’re shitass drunk most of the time.”

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