Inside the Mind of a Dry Drunk: George W. Bush and Alcohol
edited: Sunday, August 15, 2004
By Niki Collins-Queen
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, August 13, 2004
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We have all witnessed Bush's affable good humor that both charms supporters and detractors. However there is a gulf between his personality and his policies.
George W. Bush presided over more executions than any other governor in the history of Texas. I had trouble relating to his answer when he told a reporter that he had never executed an innocent person. He was later proved wrong. It would have been better if he had said, "I hope we haven't" or "No innocent person was executed if our justice system worked correctly."
My concerns about Bush have grown since he became President. His Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde personality reminds me of my maternal aunt and mother. Both are life-long addicts one to alcohol the other to sleeping pills. I've seen the devastating toll an addiction can take. My mother was a physician in her late 20s when she began taking sleeping pills. By the time she was in her early 40s dramatic changes had occurred in her body and brain chemistry. My aunt died at age 58.
Bush said he stopped "heavy drinking" at age 40 when he became a born again Christian. If he began drinking at age 18 he drank heavily for 22 years. He says he was never a "clinical alcoholic" but if he had gone to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) he would have learned that "heavy drinking" is the rich man's code for alcoholic. He would have discovered that most recoverying alcoholics say they are not "clinical alcoholics" at first. It is called denial. He would also have learned about the "dry drunk" syndrome. A "dry drunk" is someone who thinks and acts like a drunk although they no longer use alcohol. He would have found out about "stinking thinking" when our judgment and thinking is clouded by years of substance abuse. He would have been cautioned to guard against exaggeration, grandiosity, rigid judgment, impatience, rationalizations, projections, overreactions and paranoia.
The insightful authors Katherine van Wormer "'Dry Drunk' Syndrome and George W. Bush" Harley Sorenson in "Is Bush a Dry Drunk?" and Alan Bisbort in "'Dry Drunk' Is Bush Crying for Help?" believe Bush may be a dry drunk. They say Bush's black and white polarized language—"good versus evil," or "You are either with America or against us" is common among dry drunks and recovering alcoholics/addicts. Because he has demonized Osam bin Laden, Al Qaeda and others he cannot see their motives for attacking America clearly. What if Al Qaeda attacked us not because they hate "democratic freedoms" but because they disapprove of our policies? Policies such as the U.S. troops on the Arabian Peninsula, stealing Muslim oil by forcing below market prices, America's protection of corrupt Muslin regimes, unqualified support for Israel and our wars and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. A senior member of the U.S. intelligence known as "Anonymous" said in his book "Imperial Hubris" that we are loosing the war on terror because the Bush administration will not look at the conservative Muslin's real motives.
We have all witnessed Bush's affable good humor that both charms supporters and detractors. However there is a gulf between his personality and his policies. Why the discrepancy between his words and deeds? He said he would protect the environment but instead he allowed increased arsenic in the public water supply, increased mercury in our watersheds and oceans and MTBE a fuel additive and carcinogen in our aquifers. The three companies that produce more than half of all MTBE have contributed more than $1 million to republican candidates—including Bush. Why does he use opposite words to hide the nature of his actions? He calls his plan to lift logging restrictions in national forests the "Healthy Forest Initiative" and the weakening of power plant pollution standards "The Clear Sky Initiative."
He says he is liberating Iraq but having a military and economic presence there benefits the U.S., the largest U.S. embassy in the world is being built in Baghdad and Halliburton and Bechtel are running everything at enormous profits. While America suffered the disgrace of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal Bush said on Al-Arabiya TV that he is bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq.
He says he's being "careful" with spending but his budget shows the highest deficit in America’s history, jobs continue to leave the country and U.S. companies avoid paying taxes in offshore tax havens. One in seven Americans are currently filing for bankruptcy.
Justin A. Frank, a well-respected Washington psychiatrist, said in his book "Bush on Couch: Inside the Mind of the President" that his misstatements are so frequent that they cannot be dismissed as politics as usual. Frank also asks, "How can our deeply religious president feel free to bomb Iraq and then celebrate the results with open expressions of joy... How can someone so friendly and playful be the same person who cuts funds from government programs aiding the poor and hungry?"
Why has the death toll of the Iraqi civilians, insurgents and terrorists been kept from the American people? Why did the Pentagon only let us to see pictures of planeloads of flag-draped coffins—heading home after pressure? Why does the Bush administration govern in secrecy? Is it to conceal their agenda of corporate favoritism and growth of unchecked power?
Bush's apparent obsession with the "evil doer" Saddam Hussein has the appearance of paranoia—the excessive fear that someone is out to get us and the belief that we can save the world. Fear not faith seems to motivate him. Bush said, "We must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist before they are able to threaten or use weapons on mass destruction against the U.S." Yet America has the most WMD and is the only nation that has used an atomic weapon (World War II) and stands ready to do so again. Bush led America into a massive 100-billion dollar strike-first war on Iraq. His kill or be killed tunnel vision with minimal negotiations has set a national precedent.
Bush would also have learned about grandiosity had he gone to AA. Bush believes that he is possessed with the knowledge of God's Will. Bin laden feels the same way and is just as sincere. Bush reportedly sees his strong alliance with Israel against Palestine as an instrument of God's Will to bring about the Rapture or Armageddon.
Van Wormer talks about his rigid judgmental speeches where he takes on the world in an almost a Biblical sense but his statements boil down to the alcoholic’s favorite phrase "My way or the highway."
All the authors point out Bush's incoherence while speaking away from a script, his unwillingness to talk to world leaders such as Gerhard Schroder and Jacques Chirac when they disagreed with him and his dismissal of the U.N. as ineffective because their resolution about Iraq did not go his way.
Bisbort asks, "Why is Bush so eager to engage in violence?" and "Are the Bush administration, Congress and the Senate his enablers and, if so, the public should become his interveners. He says, "Let's ask questions, demand more than temper tantrums and pouting from the Commander in Chief. Let's do this before it's too late and a dry drunk's dream of glory becomes our nightmare."