Where alcoholics can drink themselves to death
Marion Hagerman, 54, is a chronic alcoholic who lives at a "wet house," a state-funded residence where he's allowed to drink.
May 6th, 2011
07:38 AM ET

Where alcoholics can drink themselves to death

Learn more about the controversial "wet house" concept for dealing with chronic alcoholics this Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET on "Sanjay Gupta, MD."

St. Paul, Minnesota (CNN) - It's been over seven years since Marion Hagerman has spoken to anyone in his family.  As he huddles behind a parked trailer on a cold early spring day, Hagerman reflects on his life, and recalls what led him to this moment.

"This is my lifestyle," says Hagerman, 54, while sneaking a swig of what he calls "wash," or mouthwash - a cheap way of getting intoxicated. "It ain't much, but this is what I have.  It sucks. "

He says he held a steady job for 20 years, before his addiction to alcohol took over his life.  Today, Hagerman lives at St. Anthony Residence in St. Paul, Minnesota, along with about 60 other late-stage alcoholics.

St. Anthony, which receives funds from the state and is operated by Catholic Charities, is known as a "wet house" because Hagerman and the others are allowed to drink on site, with some caveats - including no mouthwash.

"It's not bad. I got cable TV," Hagerman says.   "You can't drink in your room, but you can drink. You gotta do it outside."

The theory is that it's better to allow these guys to drink in a safe place than to end up on the streets and in the city's emergency rooms, jails, and detox centers.   At St. Anthony, they have access to nurses - and doctors if the situation warrants - plus on-site case managers to aid in their addiction. Ideally, St. Anthony's counselors want the residents to sober up - but they realize that there isn't a strong chance of that happening.

St. Paul isn't the only city that has a "wet house"-style residence - Seattle was one of the first cities to put this concept into practice in 2005, and Memphis is considering building one, too.

Another argument in favor of the concept is that it saves money.   Each St. Anthony's resident costs about $18,000 a year to house and feed, about $1,500 a month.  A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that if these men were out on the street, it could cost over $4,000 a month in incarceration, shelter and sobering center use, hospital-based medical services, publicly funded alcohol and drug detoxification and treatment, and emergency medical services.

But the idea of allowing alcoholics to drink is antithetic to the basic tenets of addiction counseling.

"We feel that that it's never too late, and that even if the alcoholic doesn't want help, doesn't mean that their drinking should be condoned or in any other way enabled or facilitated," says William Cope Moyers, public advocacy executive director for Hazelden addiction treatment centers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region.

"I see the wet house model as a model that enables the addict in the alcoholic to continue those destructive patterns."

Moyers, who is the son of well-known journalist Bill Moyers, has chronicled his own struggle in his book, "Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption."  His opposition to the wet house concept is commonplace among addiction counselors.

St. Anthony Residence program manager Bill Hockenberger calls the wet house a "harm reduction model," instead of a treatment center.   He says by giving these men a home - men who have all gone through nearly every treatment numerous times - it gets them off the streets.

The added comfort of having a place to call home at night and the dignity that restores in the men in return, he says, leads men to drink less.

"They didn't want to be an alcoholic," he said. "A lot of them just didn't have a choice in the matter ... this provides safe secure housing for those most in need. We are in business to do the humane thing."

Hagerman, like a lot of the other St. Anthony residents, says he'd like to eventually leave and find a job. But he feels like he's stuck.

"No I don’t want to stay there, I'd like to get a goddamn  job and get the hell outta there," he says.  "Jesus Christ,  I turn 55 in September,  I'm getting old.   Who wants to hire a 55-year-old man?"

Like a lot of the residents, Hagerman's addiction to alcohol not only keeps him out of a job - it keeps him away from his family, too.

Just weeks after he learned his brother Jerry died from a heart attack, he learned that another brother, Mike, is in the hospital, dying from colon cancer.

I give him a ride to the hospital, where he visits Mike and sits down with his other brother, Ray, for the first time in seven years.

It's an awkward conversation, as Ray talks about Marion, seated next to him, as if he's not even there.

"It's like we did kind of wash our hands [of] him when our parents died," Ray says.  "We weren't going to take care of him.  I'm glad to see that he's still alive because none of us were sure if he was.  Always looked on the streets to see if I would see him somewhere."

Ray says isn't sure what a "wet house" is, but seems to be OK with the idea.

"I don’t think he's ever gonna stop drinking," Ray says.

"No, no, I'm not going to," Marion responds, as if to remind Ray he's sitting right there.  "My lifestyle keeps me alive."

"Yeah it also keeps you separated from everybody in the last years of their lives," his brother says.

The day after the visit, Mike succumbs to colon cancer.

"It's my life.  That's as far as it goes," Marion says a few days later, as he seeks to numb himself from the pain of his loss.  "I live here. Look at this?  Do you think I’m happy with this situation? No, I can't stand it. But I have nothing else to do."

Watch Sanjay Gupta MD Saturday at 4:30pm and Sunday at 7:30am ET. For the latest from Sanjay Gupta MD click here.

soundoff (2,435 Responses)
  1. Rae

    To me that looks like a Listerine bottle he's drinking from. That must be a very horrible life.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rae

      Oops, my mistake, I didn't read that part before posting, sorry.

      May 6, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
    • WaitWhat

      At least his breath will be minty fresh when his liver gives out.

      May 6, 2011 at 10:46 | Report abuse |
    • Junior

      Yeah, you probably should read the whole darn story, or at least past the first paragraph, before jumping to conclusions and commenting. The guys first quote is its mouthwash, plus the ADA logo on the front of the bottle is a dead give away.......

      May 6, 2011 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Listerine?!?!?! He can't afford Listerine. That's a bottle of Equate, Walmart brand listerine in a family size bottle. What a degenerate. Sad thing is his brothers died before him.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • baatman74

      So, do any of you read the story, or don't you know that Listerine is a mouthwash, and one of the best to get high from? Comment: We dumb down schools, we dumb down alcoholics, we dumb down qu–rs, we dumb down everything and wonder why there is no personal responsibility out there....

      May 6, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • observer

      You mean the "part" below the heading. That's called the article.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
    • Logan

      Typical addict, all about themselves. Dude blow your brains out already, instead of committing sucide slowly! WIMP!!!

      May 6, 2011 at 11:38 | Report abuse |
  2. Kevin

    I think a lot of the counselors have no real personal understanding of what a hardened aged alcoholic is like. They wish that their methods can help but they almost never do. You could keep experimenting and trying the same thing over and over and leave them on the streets... But if it is safer and cheaper to give these people some dignity and sense of worth, instead of dying on the streets, then how can you really argue against it? And if one person can be saved, its worth while. Its a last chance – but its better than no chance.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • thejerr

      do you know how "smert" you sound right now... wow

      May 6, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
    • kim

      the church and state is funding the facility, meaning our money from taxes and what we give to the church is funding the church, which basically means we're enabling everyone in there. I don't know if the counselors are all recovering, but if they are, they completely understand. if not, then your'e right, they don't understand. letting them drink in the facility is no safer than keeping them on the streets; either way, theyre killing themselves. if they want to do that, let them. you can't help an alcoholic/addict who doesn't want to help themselves. this facility is ridiculous adn just enabling the alcoholic.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
    • mark

      Kim.Do you think that the clean needle program enables drug attics?You may think iIm getting off topik but think about the simularities.The Wet House and Clean Needle programs both save the tax payers Millions.Yes we still have to contribute some tax dollars to the programs but not nearly as much as the costs we would have without these programs.
      Now I must point out that while I do not believe in any god I am not anti religion.Many people turn to church for support in trying times in there lives .Faith has its place in our country and I am glad that we we have the freedom for religious diversity andthe good that these people do for even the non believers like me.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
  3. Abby C.

    As the adult child of an alcoholic I applaud St. Paul and those who have made this wet house possible. Listen, it is all nice and happy to sell the idea that "it is never too late" and that all alcoholics eventually will stop drinking when they "hit bottom". Hate to do a lot of bubble bursting, but that just isn't true. My mother has lost her job, her friends, and 99% of her family because of her drinking. She has stage 3 liver disease, mid-stage alcoholics’ dementia and a long list of other medical issues. She was recently hospitalized (and sobered up as a consequence) and when asked by the doctor and mental health professionals if she wanted to stop drinking her response was "NO!” She is well aware of her health issues and knows that every sip is a nail in her coffin. She does not care. So I have, in a sense, made her a wet house of her own. I make sure she does not drive, and that her alcohol is brought to her. She can drink all she wants without being a risk to others. Just like some people with cancer can’t be cured, some people with alcoholism simply can’t beat the disease. Providing them with a safe setting to live out their final days is about the only thing we can do.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mike

      If anyone else has something to say about this I am directing them to your post, it must be challenging for you but I do believe your response to the article and your compassion to your own mother is on point!! Well put

      May 6, 2011 at 10:46 | Report abuse |
    • thejerr

      well said

      May 6, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
    • Snookums

      Hi Abby C.

      I feel you've made a difficult but wise decision. I hope you have support from hugging people. If not, consider yourself hugged. Peace to you and your family, including your mom.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
    • PattyattySFV

      I feel so bad for you, it's emotionally brutal to see your parent live like this. I think you have made some peace with the situation though which is good for you and your soul. Most families shun or disown the drinker but sometimes accepting the situation like you have is better and I think braver too. I am a recovering alcoholic and had been disowned by my children. If I wanted my family back I had to stop and I did and my heart goes out to those who are so deep into the drink that they can't make that decision. I know you suffer from this vile disease but you are very brave and caring to watch over your mother. You're a good girl Abby and somewhere you Ma did good. I wish you peace and strength to carry on.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • terrix2000

      Thank you. You care without judgment. I admire you.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
    • kim

      i second the above responses abby. so sad that you've had to deal with this. i'im not for the wet house, as i mentioned above, but if you have a friend or family member and there's no hope to getting them help, then keeping them safe, such as you do, is all you can do. sad but true.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
    • Junior

      Brilliantly stated. You end all debate on this subject. As a Single Father raising 4 and a 7 year old daughters due to their Mother struggling with the same disease for 3 years now, I feel your pain and applaud your efforts.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • Friend of Bill

      As a member of AA, it's hard for me to say that I agree with you, but in certain cases, you are right. I hope you can find the peace in yourself that has eluded your mother.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
    • Charlene Deaver

      Abby, you are an awesome person. The world would be such a better place if everyone had your compassion and understanding of a difficult situation. You will never regret that you stood by your mom in her greatest time of need. Happy Mothers Day to you and your mom.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • MannyHM

      I'm not only impressed but I commend you. You protected a lot of people who might have been harmed by your mother by making the place a 'wet house'. You did your best. I'm sure you prayed and prayed, beg and beg for any effective cure for your mother. There are no guaranteed cures with this illness. I know because I've worked with addiction from more than 10 years and I ended up with more questions than answers. I believe they can be allowed to drink in a rationed manner as long as they're not involved in putting others at risk. I know that they're always putting themselves at risk but if they can be convinced to minimize it (Harm Reduction), I think it would be the lesser evil.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
    • elysummers

      Abby, a very touching story. Another important point is that an alcoholic, just like any other addict, won't quit until THEY want to. No one can make them quit, no amount of counseling. God bless you in your efforts.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
    • philygrl

      as member of AA for 35 years I have mixed feelings about your story. On one hand I understand the pain since my own parents were alcoholic, but as a recovering person myself I believe as long as we are breathing and do not have full blown dementia, there is hope. I hope your Mom is someday able to reach out for help. I added you both to my prayer list.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • Michele P

      My brother, 51, was in the same situation. We buried him three weeks ago and it filled me with frustration, sadness and anger that such an amazingly talented guy could drink himself to death. Going through pictures of him during his lifetime was truly heartbreaking. Over the past several years our family and so many of his dear friends tried to help him, but in the end he was more afraid of not drinking than he was of dying.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
    • bilbo

      My deepest sympathy goes out to you-
      but I am afraid that you have fallen into the enabling pit and believed the lies and manipulations of a drunk:
      "it's a disease, I can't quit, if you loved me you would understand"
      All unture statements.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
    • cc

      what your doing is enabling your mother in her addiction, you may as well just give her a gun. well done.

      May 6, 2011 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      When my friend was about eight years old, her mother's liver was failing from her alcoholism. She gave up two children under the age of ten and a chance at redemption for alcohol. Your mother's drinking may be fine for you, but try telling a five year old that their mother has chosen a bottle over them and is dying...

      May 6, 2011 at 17:32 | Report abuse |
    • Abby C.

      To those who say I am "enabling" my mother. I am also the same person who has taken her to rehab 4 times and the I am the same person who sees who come out and drink within hours. Plain and simple she is not going to stop and I would rather prevent the death of a innocent person, who she kills while drunk driving in pursuit of her booze, then stick my head in the sand and "hope" after 20 years of drinking she decided to change. As I said before alcoholism is a disease, whether people want to recognize that is their choice, and I happen to have a relative that simply can't beat the disease. If she were dying of cancer I would provide for her care and comfort. To me this is no different. Or would you rather it be YOUR loved oned she kills while drunk driving.

      May 6, 2011 at 18:32 | Report abuse |
    • Cinnasue71

      Abby you must have a somewhat good relationship with your mother. I cannot say the same thing about my father. Due to his addictions we have all been cut out of his life without cause or explanation. When we tried to understand, he got mad. When we tried to overlook it and just love him, he got mad. Mad all his life but I have come to the realization that even without the alcohol and prescription drugs that he might have still been mad. One good thing has come from this – we, the children and grandchildren, has seen what kind of havoc this can play on a family and steer clear of the behavior that caused us all to be ostracized and deemed not worthy of our father's love.

      May 7, 2011 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Screw the church

      May 7, 2011 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
  4. Mineyours

    I hate alcoholism period! My cousin just passed away last Saturday due to complications of the liver..she had it all..a house, family, 6 figure salary and she threw it all away due to alcohol..she left behind 4 adult kids and alot fo debt..house was in foreclosure..bottom line.alcohol is just a way to cover deep rooted problems from childhood, such as abuse, depression etc..my cousin never want to see a therapist to get to the root of her problem..last time i saw her was three weeks before she passed..in diapers laying in her bed with her belly swollen like she was pregnant due to the fluids build up in her system..she had finally stop drinking while she was in the hospital..but it was too late. Folks, get help if you suffer from alcohol abuse..if you drink everyday after work or routinely even if tisn on the weekends..you have a drinking problem..stop being in denial..thats how my cosuin started.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kim

      you can drink everyday and/or on the weekends. and be fine. it's what happens as a result of your drinking that makes you an alcoholic. just passing some knowledge..

      May 6, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
    • JENNA

      Alcoholism is not a disease. Drinking alcohol is a choice, just like choosing to do drugs, choosing to smoke, choosing to over eat, etc. Hopefully the thousands/millions of people who drink to excess decide to stop and/or decide to get help.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:29 | Report abuse |
    • Friend of Bill

      Jenna – doctors have disagreed with that view for decades. If you know better, you best be a doctor or someone with formal research in the field. If you are, you will know better.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
    • Lala

      That is not true. There is actually a science behind this. Your liver can process a certain amount of alcohol per hour and if you are not going over that amount there are no ill effects. Also, it is a proven fact that one alcoholic beverage per day has health benefits for human beings. Moderation is the key.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
  5. Bob S In Austin

    I am amazed at the comments here. We call ourselves a Christian nation, yet we seem to forget His message. His ministry to the woman at the well as a perfect example. She was a woman who many would simply write off, but He had a message for her. Yes, he told her to sin no more. But the point is we are supposed to reach out to the poor in spirit, then let God do the rest.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Natalie

      We are not a Christian nation. We never were.

      May 6, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      You might call this a Christian country but "we" may not. It's like everything in this country – you have a choice. Religion is not for everyone and pushing it on others can actually drive people away. If there is a God – he has a plan and therefore there is no reason for you to pass on the message. This dude (and many others) have a problem they are struggling with. God can't save him – only he can save himself. If he chooses not to – that should be fine with us.

      May 6, 2011 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
    • Bob's god

      Your god is dead.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
    • screamingcandle

      We don't call ourselves a Christian Nation. We are a nation of laws that happens to have a majority of Christians.

      THIS, by the way, is what we get when we only look at the financial cost of things. THIS is what we get from a neo-conservative Ayn Rand approach to society.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
    • Goyim

      My Jewish wife and family want to know who the "we" in your statement is....

      May 6, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • Junior

      Natalie- you may not be a Christian (nor am I), but whether you like it or not, America is a nation founded on Christian believes and values. Our fore-fathers also allowed for freedom of religion, allowing those like you to worship anyway you like. At the end of the day, this is a Christian nation. Assuming you are employed, open up your wallet and loot at any form of US currency you may have. See where it says “In God We Trust”? Christian Nation. Remember being in school and being asked to say these words: "one nation, under God, indivisible, for liberty and justice for all"? Christian nation. Have you ever watched a presidential address, no matter if a Democrat and Republican was in office? The closing words are always "My God Bless America"? Christian nation.

      You my friend, are an imbecile.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:24 | Report abuse |
    • Seraphim0

      Actually, Jr., you are incorrect. And on the Founding fathers- Look it up sometime, you might be surprised. And I mean, really look it up. Don't take some website or a friend of a friend or some opnionated person's word for it. Additionally, the pledge of allegience was not written until MUCH later in our history- in the fifties or sixties, I believe. As for "in god we trust" on our currency- you also see a pyramid. Does that mean we build pyramids or are an egyptian nation? Our currency and even some city design runs heavy in occult images.

      Just... do some looking before spouting off your mouth.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
    • imbecile

      Junior, Our money doesn't say in Jesus we trust. Jews believe in God. Muslims believe in God. We are a nation of mostly believers from many faiths. Loosen your mental grip a bit.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • mark

      Not Christian beliefs and values.:::Religious Freedom and Taxation Without Representation

      May 6, 2011 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      God and Jesus are make believe and the whole story is fabricated by the Church and the bible was re written time and again for the purpose of extending it's control. The Church has stomped on every aspect of pagan religions and make them to fit how they want religion to be. If you don't believe Christians push their beliefs on other why won't they let get and lesbian couples get married, why does the pope refuse to admit that abstinence isn't the answer and that condoms are the answer? The Church sure does want you money, after all, they need to live a certain way.

      May 7, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
  6. Corbijn

    As a former counselor its true that a person cannot be forced to turn their lives around, they have to do this on their own. I don't see anything wrong from this approach. I've seen too many people BS their way through counseling while an apathetic therapist blows sunshine up their backside; this too enables a person and helps to push them away from any therapy. In the end all one can do is be a human being to people in hard and self-destructive situations. One can try as hard as they want but its the individuals who has to change, and before this they have to want to change. Recidivism for these guys is around 90%, most of the time its because they are being forced to feel guilt and shame over what they do. Some are not going to change so you have to choose the lesser of two evils in a way. One has to also try to understand that some of these people have real addictions that they cannot control. I'd rather live in a society where these individuals were not kicked to the curb and at least had a place where they can be taken care of. There is nothing wrong with being a human being towards another human being.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Janine

      Wow.. Well said ..

      May 6, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse |
    • Snookums

      I've used alcohol intentionally to help me through the days over feeling emotional pain that was disabling. I loved the altered reality, but did not like the damage being done to my body, mind, and, ultimately, spirit. Counseling was a life saver; still is. My counselors and I worked together, but I took the steps toward a happy life. I'd love to visit that altered reality again and again, but I won't because of the damage that will ensue in a myriad of ways. Life is really, really hard at times, but not all the time. I feel the best we can do is to be loving, then problems with living might not be so difficult.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
    • Innocent Bystander

      Wow, you are an amazingly insightful person. I could have used a therapist like you when I was trying to overcome my alcoholism.
      Believe me people, AA is not for everyone. I really gave it my all to fit in, but it just didn't work for me. BTW, the people aren't very nice, in spite of what you all may have heard about the welcoming arms of AA. And I did try plenty of different meeting, thanks.

      April 10, 2012 at 00:02 | Report abuse |
  7. driveby

    Alcoholism is 1) chronic-it doesn't go away, 2) progressive- it always gets worse, never better. 3) Fatal.
    By the grace of God I am sober 12 years but will always be 1 drink away from destruction.
    If alcoholism is a disease, it is one of the body, mind and spirit and the personal and collateral damage is devastating.
    I don't know how the experiment described in the article will turn out, but with the most effective treatment programs reporting a success rate of only 1-5 percent, seems like it's worth a try.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hits Home

      Congrats on your 12 years. Bless you. 🙂

      May 6, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • Bree

      Congrats on your sobriety!! That's awesome!

      May 6, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse |
    • What the....??

      Congrats on your sobriety!!

      May 6, 2011 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
    • kim

      i'm recovering as well, and i love it.. but for me, had i had a place like a wet house, i would have not stopped. i needed consequences to help me to stop drinking.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • ro8589

      Congrats on your sobriety! I am going on 14 years (in June) sobriety from drugs and alcohol. To people on these comments that are judging - don't judge, have a little empathy and compassion.

      May 6, 2011 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
  8. notour;

    As anyone with any kind of addiction can tell you, to get clean you have to remove yourself from any environment where drugs are used. So the idea that some of these people will eventually sober up while others continue to drink around them is absurd.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Flounder

      I sobered up on February 26th 1999- was and still am a bartender. You don't know what you are talking about.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
    • kim

      totally agree with you notour.. flounder for you that works.. but not for me. if i were a bartender i'd pick up again. stop being so closed minded.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • kim

      totally agree with you notour.. flounder for you that works.. but not for me. if i were a bartender i'd pick up again.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      notour; People only get over addictions when they really and truly decide they want to. Even then some people cannot do it because of the physical dependency. I think the point of these wet houses is that there are many people who will never want to quit. If the will is lacking, its pretty unlikely they will get over it. These wet houses are designed to help people who will never stop. And if maybe a handful of people like Flounder are able to quit, and those that are not are in a safer place, what is the harm? Addiction is different for everyone and you may have seen traditional treatment and counseling work and often times it does, but not always. There has to be some alternative to the streets for people who simply do not respond to traditional approaches. No one likes the idea of being an "enabler" but the truth is for some people the only way they will ever stop is if they become determined to do so. At that point, all we can do is try to be there for them and keep them safe with the faint hope that someday that will happen. Addicts living on the street is all too common and from that point on, they really stand very little chance. Providing them with a place to sleep and talk to people is a better situation for everybody than more addicts living on the streets.

      May 6, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
  9. Indian

    Alternatively you guys can try vipassana meditation which helped millions to get rid of their addictions.


    May 6, 2011 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Cathy Johnson

    I have often wondered whether this approach might make sense. The idea that it is cheaper as well as more merciful is an interesting one.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. mike

    I dont believe this is sad or wrong, we are all born with free will. Ultimately we can make our own decisions and just because someone chooses to live outside our own realm of what is right and what is wrong does not make this sad. As "Joe" stated about working in the Hospital.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JC

    @ Spaghetti Monster – Take your hatred of religion elsewhere. I'm getting sick of all this talk of brainwashing. I don't know what is worse – religion or people crying about it.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Blaqb0x

      Answer: Religion is worse

      May 6, 2011 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
  13. dave

    Hurray for enablers!

    May 6, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. phoenix

    if your a drunk your a psycho if your sober your psycho, mix wine with a little water timothy 1 and make sure you eat meat or pasta.praise the lord and pass the shiraz.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. SJ

    Brainwash or mouthwash, either is hogwash.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. JORO

    Mr. Not wanting to be hard on you here.... But, you are right, it is hard to get a job at age 55. It is impossible to get one when you are 55 and a chronic alcoholic. maybe at age 55, what you need to do is make the right decision.
    As far as the "wet house concept"; I think it is a good thing as long as it saves money.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Dean

    You are proof that "you just can't hide stupid".

    May 6, 2011 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ron White

      The verb is "Fix", You can't fix stupid...
      Stop plagiarizing me!

      May 6, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
  18. Alexis

    HI Dave, if the catholic church is funding this endeavor THEN IT IS ABOUT RELIGION. Why is ti the faithful never want to be held accountable for their actions. they always run away like cowards and hide behind the bigotry defense even though the faithful have pushed bigotry against women, gays, interracial marriages and of course their speicality, pedophilia.

    Criticism of the faithful's sickness is not bigotry. IT IS THE TRUTH AND IT IS NECCESSARY.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nate

      Just looking for a reason to bash belief. You simply can't accept the fact that some people really do care for strangers. It's okay, we still love you.

      May 6, 2011 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
    • Kathleen

      Wow big words for someone with 4th grade spelling. Good luck with that trying to look intelligent thing you got going....

      May 6, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • Sugarland

      If you'll read the article again you'll see that it says the program is state funded and operated by the church. It appears to me that the tax payers are footing the bill for people to buy alcohol.

      May 6, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • Simple

      They are footing the bill to house them, not purchase booze. They found it's cheaper than tax payers footing the bill for the police to pick them up, take them to detox or emergency or whatever. So either way, the money is being spent, do you want more to go towards this or less?

      May 6, 2011 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
    • Kay Double You

      "They are footing the bill to house them, not purchase booze."

      Likely the people buying the alcohol in whatever form are not working but subsisting on DSS, SSI, or some other taxpayer funded assistance.

      May 6, 2011 at 21:51 | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Where in the article does it say that the program buys the booze?

      May 6, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
    • brent

      I believe the article referred "mouthwash"

      May 6, 2011 at 18:15 | Report abuse |
    • Kristen

      You are right, it is about religion. Every one of these people are God's children. The Catholic church teaches us to hate the sin and love the sinner. It is true that the men (and the world) would be better off if they stopped drinking. BUT...repeated attempts at rehab have not helped. Sometimes throwing money at a problem is not the answer. Maybe knowing that God loves them, no matter what, will help them finally feel secure enough to face their demons and suceed.

      May 6, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      Why is it that the Catholics (in particular) expect to be forgiven for every "sin" they commit yet expect to be compensated for the sins of some others (priests). Oh yeah, it's because they are all hypocrites.

      May 6, 2011 at 19:09 | Report abuse |
  19. Jail

    Here is the best way to sober them up, Jail. I know they still sneak things in the jail but at least it will be alot harder to do. My argument is if they can not stop drinking themselves to death and have been through countless programs then lets put them in jail where they can sober up by force. Maybe have a new program where they are not with the normal criminals and actually can work and do other things. My friend did of a drug addiction, I tried everything I could. He couldn't stop, if I would have called the police he would have been forced into jail and sobered up for at least a little while.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • but then what?

      OK say we put them jail, they stop drinking because they can't get their hands on it. Great for the time that they are in jail, but what happens when they get out??? Can lock them up and toss the key.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:21 | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Maybe you missed the part of the article which mentioned JAMA's suggestion that incarceration was more expensive than a wet house. If you don't care about alcoholics as human beings–your post indicates that you do not–why spend so much more money on them? And why subject them to a short term "solution" that has the potential to turn them into criminals in the long run? I think you just posted to post and didn't think very hard about what you're saying.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
    • Dena

      I guess you're not aware that someone who consumes a large amount of alcohol daily can die from quitting cold turkey. People can suffer seizures and heart attacks and die and that is why it is best for them to have medical supervision in a detox centre when they stop using alcohol. The body and brain undergo central nervous system and hormonal biochemical changes. The central nervous system starts to require the substance to keep itself in a homeostatic state and even when someone stops, the central nervous system still remembers that pattern like it remembers riding a bicycle. So trying to talk about addiction as if it's only about willpower and choices is misinformed and results in cruelty like what you suggest here. It

      May 6, 2011 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
  20. Joe

    Amazing!! With this kind of crap staring us all in the face, our government STILL won't let us smoke marijuana!! Amazing!

    May 6, 2011 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      I want a "Green house" I want to get stoned out of my mind!

      May 7, 2011 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
  21. bes

    I'll be staying in The Kennedy wing.....

    May 6, 2011 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mr tibs

      Yeh..me too the beachfront sounds nice..I like the part about gettin loaded on the taxpayer's dime..sounds inline with family tradition..

      May 6, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
  22. brian

    When it said a place where acoholics can go and drink.. i was hoping a warm fun place
    not a sad mouthwash drinking place

    May 6, 2011 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kardiac

      Drinking is no longer fun for these guys. It doesnt make them feel good only less bad.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
  23. What the....??

    Read the article again. This is not about religion.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mary

      You are right. It is not about religion. The Catholic Church helps many in their outreach programs.

      But no one can help a drunk.......the Church is saving the tax payers thousands. My alcoholic ex gets support from the SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM!!! All the TAXPAYERS PAY FOR HIM!!! MEDICAL, DENTAL, VISION, MENTAL HEALTH VISITS!!
      The Catholic Church is paying for it. So what!! They are saving you money. Now if we can only get Uncle Sam to stop paying the rest of the dead beats!

      May 6, 2011 at 22:13 | Report abuse |
  24. What the....??

    @ Dean – You are 100% correct

    May 6, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. DontPretend

    This is stupid, and a complete waste of tax-payer money. In a time where our country is way-beyond broke, how can it be justified to spend money that already doesnt exist on facilities like these so that worthless bums can sit around and drink themselves to death?! All of the staffing and property overhead, plus free room and board?! Ridiculous!

    I know I am going to get a bunch of pansy remarks from a bunch of bleeding-hearts, but why don't you people just foot this bill yourselves through private funding and quit milking the people who actually contribute to society for their hard-earned money to support worthless bums? If you want a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to allow these wastes of natural resources to end their miserable lives...build a friggin gallows and let them hang themselves.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Don_J

      ...I'd sure love to be around when you or your family need help...

      May 6, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
    • Umm did you read the article?

      I guess you missed the part where the AMA found that it is around 2.5 times more expensive to handle these chronic alcoholics through current methods (jail, safe houses, sobriety programs etc.). Don't spout diatribe about this program being such a burden on society when other programs are worse, and funding isn't going to just go away. People are trying to find ways to make their lives better and give them a shot and save money at the same time!

      You honestly can say you'd rather just let them die? Don't dare say you're a Christian then, though judging from your bleeding heart comment, I'm guessing you're a teabagger, which means 98% chance of being "religious" (I think calling you a Christian would just be so offensive to real ones).

      And by the way, I think anyone, right or left, would rather be a bleeding-heart than have no heart at all, such as yourself.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
    • kim

      right you are DontPretend. as for you others... seriously?/ try helping an addict/alcoholic first and see what a waste of time it can be in some cases. if they don't want to stop, they won't. there's no use helping them. we can only help ourselves. classic enablers you are.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
    • Umm did you read the article?

      Kim, methinks you aren't so bright. There are two options that are reailstic (because as I said, funding isn't going to go away). Either do this and spend a lot less, or go with the traditional methods of public care and spend more. Don'tPretend missed the point of the article because he/she is so angry about the economy or something of that sort. I was trying to shed some light.
      You calling us enablers, well, doesn't really make much sense and I'm guessing you didn't actually read what I wrote.

      May 6, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • Don_J

      ...actually Kim, I can see what a waste of time it is trying to explain to you that these are people who have problems and that it could very easily be you or yours. Yeah, what a waste.

      May 6, 2011 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
    • Wilsondog

      actually don i do have a problem.. it's called alcoholism. and ya know what helped me? consequences from my drinking. being kicked out of my house and living with people that supported my drinking by letting me live rent free so i could spend my money on alcohol and slowly kill myself. getting DUIs and being in a car accident... i think if i had lived in a wet house, I would not be sober today. as for Ummm... try being with a chronic relapsing alcoholic.. it's very frustrating, and makes you angry.. but you would n't know hat would you. its so easy to say we need to do the "Christian" thing by helping these people and keep them safe. I see it from both sides. you obviously dont'.

      May 7, 2011 at 01:38 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      The AMA is corrupt looking into the past and you will see just HOW corrupt.

      May 7, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
  26. Adam

    This is a great idea. It keeps them off the streets in a controlled setting, and out of our jails. As the guy they interviewed for the article stated, it sucks living in a wet house. But it is better than living on the street. And it is better for society as a whole to keep people with a fatal disease off of the streets.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. john

    you are so full of hate. Do you just sit in the wings and wait for any article that even comes CLOSE to mentioning religion so you can sprout fangs and jump on it? nobody care about your trite tirade and the term "spaghetti monster" is so overused its like a members only jacket. why are you so proud to be abusive?

    May 6, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • idjit2442

      There are people who hate for no reason. They are easily identified & best ignored. They have nothing to add to a conversation, & would not know constructive conversation if it bit them. They must live with themselves, which is pretty severe punishment. I feel sorry for such people, generically, but waste no time on them.

      May 6, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
    • snakegoddess

      John, it's not a case of a handful of trolls waiting to pounce on the poor little xians who want so much to help others find their god. It is that there are SO SO MANY of us out here who are sick and damned tired of hearing fairy tales spouted as the cure for all ills.
      Yes, there are that many of us. Get used to it, we are not going away.

      May 6, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
    • Edward

      how do you know it's a fairy tale? are you sure of that? if so, can you please prove it to me so I can stop believing it? I need someone who is a professing atheist to PLEASE give me 100% solid, no doubt about it, proof that there isn't a God. PLEASE someone try.

      May 6, 2011 at 18:57 | Report abuse |

      Do you live in such a bubble that you are unaware of Man and the insanity of his actions? No loving GOD would have created such monsters to rule a world. The worst of the worst are those that profess belief in GOD and Kill those that don't.

      May 6, 2011 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
    • Bruce Heinemann

      remember... God gives us free will... this is how we have the opportunity to face and overcome problems. This is how we evolve to ever higher levels of consciousness, life after life... This is our path and journey that we have chosen for our spirits to live in the physical body... embrace it, judge not others, but show nothing but love and compassion, for each of us have our own challenges to face and overcome in our never-ending journey of spiritual ascension....

      May 6, 2011 at 21:25 | Report abuse |
    • Dave T.

      Edward,this topic has nothing to do with Religion,or the delusional concept of God,but since you asked...here's unequivocal proof.


      May 14, 2011 at 22:05 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I wonder if I could move the Vatican city and be maintenance in there. BIG bucks! BIG BUCKS! I would be able to fix the POPS crapper when it breaks. HOLD CRUD!

      May 7, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
  28. barba

    i think that drinking is bad many people do for feeling better but i doesn't it makes it worst i think everybody can stop

    May 6, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kardiac

      maybe you should consider stopping..............

      May 6, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • Wilsondog

      yeah barba.. you been drinkin? because you sure cant spell and i have no idea what youre trying to say..

      May 7, 2011 at 01:40 | Report abuse |
  29. Mark

    So totally sad.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Purell

    Isn't Listerene kind of expensive anyway? Wouldn't it make more sense to drop $5.99 on a bottle of flavored Burnetts vodka? Yikes!

    May 6, 2011 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. jimbob

    Population control. Darwinism at its finest.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Wzrd1

    You are RIGHT! BAN THESE CENTERS OF EVIL! Let the alcoholic live on the streets, staggering into traffic, causing all manner of legal problems and sucking up tax dollars!
    Just because you do not approve of a Roman Catholic church supporting those who society pushes to the side.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DL

      By allowing it, you're condoning it and in turn allowing it to continue. I don't care what religion is backing this. You think a light bulb will go off and one will say, you know what? I'm done! If they're constantly allowed to keep drinking and know that they have a place to go, what's to stop them from hitting rock bottom?

      May 6, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
    • publicitymic

      It is not your job or the governments to tell these adults to quit drinking. Clearly, given the amount of criminal penalties available to a drug addict or alcoholic, if penalties were the solution addiction would have been solved a long time ago. Some people are wired to self-destruct. If they cannot change this basic programing themselves (many, many cannot) then it cannot be done for them. Let these people drink in peace somewhere out of the public eye where it will cost the state as little as possible. It is sad, but it is the decision they have made for themselves.

      May 6, 2011 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
    • bl

      Ok. then what is your solution? How easy it is to criticize, but offer a solution then. Oh, and "rock bottom" is reative, what is your definition. Offer a solution to the problem of chromic alcoholism, but in the mean time this is a compassionate practicle way to deal eith thwse men.

      May 7, 2011 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      I agree... I really do not see this as a good thing. I know it saves $$ for the community, however, it is also condoning the abuse of alcohol, and giving these poor folks permission to kill themselves and continue on with their unhealthy behavior. There are lots of people who drink responsibly; however these folks at this center, do not. They have a problem. And it does not appear that this place is aiding them to solve the problem.

      May 7, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
  33. mfregoso

    What article did you read? Your post reads like a person that has experienced some loss or dissapointment, but blames God for all the woes of the world. I hope you find peace.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brianebre

      Do you mean the powerless "god" who controls everything by doing absolutely nothing?

      May 7, 2011 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
    • myesh

      Proselytizing by atheists is just as repellent as proselytizing by Christians, except it's pointless when done by atheists. Stop shoving your POV in my face. I believe what I believe and you're not going to change my mind on a bulletin board!

      May 8, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
  34. Dliodoir

    But the state government is involved as well. Does that mean state government kills people? Should state government be abolished? Is everyone who believes in state government an idiot who has been brain washed? The wet house at issue here is the alcoholics equivalent to needle exchange. Are you against needle exchange programs?

    May 6, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. keef

    somebody once probably told him that he's 'powerless to alcohol' and he's buying into it now.......

    May 6, 2011 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. skinny quinny

    As a recovering alcoholic for the past 21 years, I am not sure how I feel about this issue. My first reaction was no. Are you kidding me? However, I might have to accept the fact that some alcoholics will never be sober. It's tragic and and so very sad.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Don_J

    Actually, these men are not “drinking themselves to death”… that ship has sailed; there is no treatment, there is no stopping or slowing what’s killing them, thus the reason for them living in this place. All of the men who live there have already been told they do not have very much time left, and all have been drinking all of their lives. I think it’s very sad but it’s also a very good thing too, because at the very least these men will die with some dignity and some respect, even if that only comes from the others waiting their turn to die, and it keeps them off of the streets. To me, some things are worth the cost.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Spacial

    I can empathize with this person. 23 years ago two of my children were killed, two cousins died in acciedents, a friend committed suicide and my brother fell over with a brain anyuerism. Three years later I was a full blown Alcholic. I stayed in the bottle for 10 years until I made the choice to change my life with the help of something a lot greater then I. I am not religious but I am what I call Spiritual meaning I beleive in something greater that returned me to sanity. If it is God so be it, If it is "The Force" so be it. There is something in the universe that can help you through extremely rough times. I do not care what you call it and it does not have to be religion. For those of you smarting off here I hope you never have to go through such a loss or ever end up addicted. It is a horror beyond comrehension unless you have lived it6.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Misery

      Hey Spacial... I think you are still gud.. as u hav spent your money and did what you want .. I totally respect that.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      REally....I survive an alcoholic spouse...and worse.....but guilt and judgement is what all drunks deserve. The poor me poor me....that's what keeps most of them drinking. Even AA doesn't help them. Alcoholics cause more hurt to others that they can never truelly understand.

      May 6, 2011 at 22:18 | Report abuse |
  39. Misery

    Stupid pupil encouraging Alcoholics.. that is all I can say.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lasvegasazguy

      stupid pupil huh?

      May 6, 2011 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
  40. Mr Bill

    Interesting...it seems that the non-addicted siblings are dying and this man actively drinks every day and lives on (so far).

    May 6, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Blaqb0x

      Which is why, starting today, I'm taking shots of Bicardi 151 every morning.

      May 6, 2011 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
  41. markus

    Sounds like a great idea. What I would like to know is, with counseling, how many of these people in the "wet" house actually get off the booze and get back into a productive life? Wonder how it compares to treatment facilities, both long and short-term. Might we be surprised?

    May 6, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Stay on Track, Moron

    Spaghetti Monster, you're making all atheists look bad. This story has absolutely nothing to do with religion, and nobody attempted to start an argument of said topic. By trying to start something like that, you make your argument look completely pathetic and irrelevant.
    Please post those comments in better places. Nothing irritates intelligent people more than seeing others who share their same beliefs make fools of themselves by blowing their chances at proper representation.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah

      100% agree with the post by "Stay on Track, Moron". There are some members of every identifying group, whether religious, racial, ethnic, political, etc. that give everyone else in that group a bad name. I happen to be an atheist, though I accept that my beliefs are my own. I do not seek to convert, convince or silence others – in fact, I think regardless of how confident one is in their beliefts, the best thing to do is continue to keep an open mind and reflect upon your beliefs on a regular basis. And I certainly do not try to make every discussion into a debate about whether or not there is a God as some people might. There are radical members of every group. What would really help our society is that if we could all try to remember that the majority of our peers are good people, trying to live their lives as best they can and though we may not share every view with each other, we can still care for one another. As I've said, I am an atheist, but I do appreciate that religious organizations do a tremendous amount of good in their communities and for that reason, I have volunteered with several and donated to some church-run charities as well.

      Very few issues that plague our society are resolved with a "black and white" approach. You cannot simply label the idea of a "wet house" as good or bad, because it is a little bit of both. While I give credit to addiction counselors who help people on a daily basis, they know better than anyone that unfortunately not everyone can be saved or rehabilitated. These "wet houses" are not the equivalent of people giving up on addicts. They are simply trying a different approach because nothing else has worked for these people. Many alcoholics start drinking heavily at a time in their life when they don't feel safe or secure, when something bad has happened to them – they drink to numb the pain in many cases. A place like St. Anthony Residence might help these people feel safe and accepted, which in turn might help them to turn their lives around. But for people who have seen late-stage addictions, they know that this is a better option for alcoholics than the streets, where they really don't have a chance of recovering.

      May 6, 2011 at 14:58 | Report abuse |
    • Lilttle(Not So)OldCat Lady

      Well said, and actually well thought out ... you pretty much summed up everything I have been trying to put in to words since I read the article.
      Some other thoughts (and I apologize for any spelling/gramatical errors)
      I live in Minneapolis, and in fact moved here to go to treatment.
      I am college educated, I grew up in a nice upper middle class home, my parents didn't drink, and I grew up well aware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol (Thanks Nancy Reagan!) but I still became a heroin addict ... I still became an alcoholic. What does that have to do with any thing you ask? Well, sometimes I feel judged by society for being in recovery as being something "less than" as something that does not deserve compassion, something that does not deserve dignity, simply based on the label "addict" that has been assigned to me (by my own choices). Those that never knew me or my story have written me off as "undesireable" because I am one of "those people"
      These "Wet Houses" are not just a place for the men in the story to "drink themselves to death" ... it is so much more, it is a place to allow them to have dignity, to have proper medical care, a "family" ... surely a compassionate, dignified end to life filled with sorrow and pain (fully acknowledging addiction while numbing that sorrow and pain could also be the cause), is prefered to dying alone, under the proverbial bridge only to be buried in an unmarked grave. These men have names, they have faces, they have hearts. I have seen addiction take so many people from my life, and each person that has gone has taken a piece of my heart with them, some of them died alone, some of them were not found for days ... there are people that I wish I knew where they were today.
      There is no easy solution ... you see folks on here writting that we should let them drink themselves to death on the streets – yet I have a feeling that they would be the first to complain about "those people" fouling up their fair city.

      May 6, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse |
    • Frank Mondana

      Well said fellow heretic. One other thing I've noticed, especially with the 12 step programs. Many of those who kick using this method have simply replaced one obsession/addiction with another. I know so many who have quit using AA or similar programs and they are fanatics following "the program". Most will no longer even speak to anyone who drinks and almost view them as evil. I had 2 good friends that grew up with me who will not even talk to me anymore because I criticized AA.
      AA and many other addiction programs grill the black/white philosophy into their members that they no longer see shades of grey. Black/White is so indicative of religious philosophy yet 12 step programs try to hide religion.

      May 6, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • guest

      A true friend wouldn't criticize the very program that is saving the life of that friend. Whether YOU agree with it or not it's working for them.

      May 6, 2011 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      I have read a bit of the comments and debate on whether it is all will power or genetics with no hope for will power to have any impact on the alcoholics consumption. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, although some would argue that will power itself is innate to the person in that it has a largely genetic component. I would encourage those who have become addicts to obtain what assistance they can, and muster what will power they can bring to bear in an effort to overcome their problem as it may mean the difference between life and death for them individually. Now off on a bit of a related tangent. Alcoholism is one of a large myriad of bad traits that are at least partly inherited in our society. At some point we need to have a healthy debate on what will work and what is fair regarding these type issues as our current laws and procedures do not appear to match the biological reality. Persons with many inherently and arguably bad genetic traits are in some cases much more prosperous in that they contribute more genetic material to future generations than the general population. This is, has been, and probably should be a very touchy subject in the U.S., especially given our experiences with the likes of Hitler in World War 2. It is one of my favorite political conventions that all men are created equal, but it is sadly not the truth from a biological standpoint, and this, among other things, must be accounted for if we hope to have a society that will remain stable into the longterm future. The issues largely come from the fact that natural processes that would weed out bad traits, such as those that would lead to antisocial behaviour no longer exist in a prosperous society where an extremely large percentage of the population survives to child bearing years. This, along with evolutions in political, economic, and military abilities may be partly why all prosperous societies before us have not been maintained in perpetuity and have all ultimately failed, often with large population loss. Having long term trends that ultimately lead to collapse is not an option as given current conditions it is possible that humanity as a whole would not survive that. I would like to see everyone with an opportunity to contribute to future generations, and I think a sustainable system could be worked out that would allow for it, but there may not be many future generations at all if bad traits overpower good traits numerically as a long term trend. At any rate if we don't sort it out, nature will do so in its own way unabated. I don't offer any specific solution, but I do recognize the problem and feel that its effects are too important to continue to completely ignore without any debate.

      May 6, 2011 at 18:25 | Report abuse |

      I have worked for a drug and alcohol treatment center for over twenty years. I have seen people addicted to alcohol for YEARS recover to live better lives. Will Catholic Charities take money for ANYTHING? Next they will be euthanizing clients to save them the agony of dying of cirrhosis of the liver. Shame on CATHOLIC CHARITIES

      May 6, 2011 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Were you able to save all of them? Shame on you if you didnt. These men werent saved by your CD program

      May 6, 2011 at 22:03 | Report abuse |
    • Cinnasue71

      As the daughter of a lifelong addict I can tell you that you can't save someone who 1) doesn't think that they have a problem, 2) don't want to change, and 3) don't want to be saved. I accept all your opinions here, but when you live the life of a child of addiction, you come to realize that there is a time that you must give up on trying to "save" the addict to "save" yourself.

      May 7, 2011 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • bc

      consider the possibility that you are a bigot and closed minded individual. Perhaps the two friends you grew up with do not care for your point of view and find you as boring as your silly comments stated here and just do not like who you have become as an adult. Think about it and stop placing blame on a program as you may be the problem yourself.....bc

      May 6, 2011 at 18:48 | Report abuse |
    • Claire

      So true. I was an AA member for a while, long enough to know what goes on in that group–or should I say cult. I wish more people would look into the truth about that organization because it is certainly not the effective, feel-good recovery support group it is cracked up to be. Instead, it's more like a cross between Scientology and fundamentalist Christianity.

      May 7, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Sarah, I wish there were more people who felt like you. The world is to full of people thinking that there way is the correct way with no room for people who are different. I am not an atheist nor do I subscribed to any particular religion, I just believe there is something bigger than us in this universe.

      As a recovering alcoholic I have mixed feelings about having a place that is called a wet house. I have been close to death and have seen death because of my addiction. To enable someone to use without consequences goes against in what
      I believe in, but in the end I would rather have them in a safe place than on the street.

      May 6, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
    • Jan

      Nice post, Sarah. You said what many of us are thinking. If rehab or AA isn't working, who's to say that this approach is wrong?

      I worked at Catholic Charities and the issue of religion only came up when our clients asked about it – our mission was to serve people of all faiths, and trust me, as a counseling center in these tough times, we've served lots of people, with and without faith.

      The Catholic Charities therapists come from all lifestyles – in our office there is a former nun, a divorcee, some people are single, some are in relationships,....as well as a pagan, and a couple Catholics, and others who are still thinking about it.

      Our agency has an excellent reputation because of the diverse approaches we can offer as well as plain and simple tolerance. Our office staff know we all have different beliefs and we've respected and embraced those differences.

      Yes, we receive money from the Catholic Church, but we also receive money from the United Way – as a non-profit, we have several different sources of support and need everyone of those sources.

      In agreement with Sarah, most of us are trying to do the best we can with what we have and cooperation and respect are tantamount in achieving our goals.

      May 6, 2011 at 22:49 | Report abuse |
    • sam99999


      May 6, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • hideousdwarf

      As a christian and hearing equally annoying crap from fellow believers, I salute your comment sir

      May 6, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • Atheists are Bitter and Lost

      Hilarious. There is no such thing as an intellectual atheist. The very basis of atheist defies all logic and reason. I can't believe any of them even balance a checkbook or anything else. Why not question ALL OF IT if you can do away with a Designer behind the design? Pathetic.

      May 9, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
  43. markus

    Angry man.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Illeagle-j1

    I am in favor of anyone who wishes to abuse, alcohol and/or drugs, have the right to do so.
    I believe in Darwin's "Survival of the Fittest", those who desire these "Drugs", for alcohol should be used as a drug; will not survive. They are not nor will they ever be productive members of society, they represent a drain on resources to "CURE", them. These people are missing an important gene; the one that says "I am a person, and I shall survive and thrive for "myself, if no one else". Let us as a society, put them on the ice floe and push them out to sea, and go on with our lives!

    May 6, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Survival of the Fittest = CRUEL

      aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand that is why this country is the way it is. People who believe that Darwin bullcrap are the same people who will never adopt, care for the elderly, and basically help others. They are too hateful, selfish, and downright cruel and the religion of Darwin suits them just fine. Too bad when you wake up you will see that you were sadly mistaken and could have lived a better more meaningful life helping others.

      May 9, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
  45. SoSad

    AbbyC good luck, I admire your common sense.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Junior

    Alexis- I've read the article twice and see no reference to religion! This is a MEDICAL story. Simply because it makes reference to this wet house being at St. Anthony's Hospital, a hospital that receives funding form the catholic church, in no way makes the about religion in any way shape or form. Please remove your head form your rectum before commenting.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Illeagle-j1

    What does that have to do with abuse of drugs???
    Or is that what you use to obtain these items??

    May 6, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Misery

    Dumb a$$ ..did u even read the blog ?

    May 6, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Canadian Miss

    . If you can leave free and clear from a treatment center legally when are pretty much dying due to addictions with drugs and booze, why can you not voluntarily join up with a group that makes sure your safe, and have a bed to sleep on at a fraction of the cost it takes for treatment? "Because one is the right way to go and one is morally wrong" Bullcrap! If you are a late stage alcoholic, have been through the treatment side of addiction numerous times, lost everything, family, a home, jobs, etc, the last thing I think these people concern themselves with, is social etiquette. AT least this place gives them some sort of home for them to go to at the end of the day, rather then on the street.

    As for the comment about needles, I had the personal experiance of my toddler reaching down to pick something up off the ground in a park, which I saw to be a needle. Luckily, I got her away from it in time, she didnt touch it. It scared the heck out of me tho, and because of other incidents like what I went through, some not to lucky, the town started the free needle program and left bins in public parks for the used needles to be put into. Since then, the number of needles found lying around has dropped. Having gone through that personally, I ask you, How could you NOT support a program like that?

    Things are not always so easy explained as whats right and wrong, especially when you take a moment to actually -think- on what the issue is.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Misery

    Movitar.. Dumb a$$ ..did u even read the blog ?

    May 6, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
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