home
RSS
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 (2,434 Responses)
  1. Paola Sachleben

    http://dol.deliver.ifeng.com/c?z=ifeng&la=0&si=2&cg=1&c=1&ci=2&or=7549&l=28704&bg=28703&b=37275&u=https://cashp41j1.blogthisbiz.com/5471909/rv-body-shop-can-be-fun-for-anyone

    June 2, 2021 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Maura Mazique

    https://rspcb.safety.fhwa.dot.gov/pageRedirect.aspx?RedirectedURL=https://andresq04c5.blog5.net/41722582/5-essential-elements-for-printing-company-near-me

    June 2, 2021 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. dab tray

    Dab Padbest dab pen45 Degree Joint Vs 90 Degree Joint Ash CatcherThe bag is held closed by strong velcro as well as a rubber lined zipper that keeps smells locked inside. The inside has two roomy mesh pockets with enough space for your stash as well as a lighter, a hand pipe, and even a snack. The inside of the pouch also has 100 carbon lining, making the smell-proof security even stronger.

    https://inhalco.com/blogs/guides/how-to-use-a-nectar-collector

    June 2, 2021 at 01:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jose Ibasitas

    http://etracker.de/lnkcnt.php?et=mjVFaK&url=https://lorenzoi71s1.pointblog.net/Getting-My-Google-Marketing-Experts-To-Work-38597977

    June 2, 2021 at 02:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jack Mccommon

    Outstanding post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic? I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Bless you!

    http://www.justjared.com/flagcomment.php?el=https://cli.re/aDaNzW/

    June 2, 2021 at 02:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. all rv repair

    http://www.cs.odu.edu/~mln/teaching/cs518-f08/?method=display&redirect=http://www.hootnholler.net/new-texas-lawsuit-accuses-biden-administration-of-threatening-states-health-care-funding-to-force-medicaid-expansion-the-texas-tribune/

    June 2, 2021 at 02:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. double helix water

    Bong Coasters & Bong Padsbong cheap14mm 45 Degree Showerhead Ash Catcher By DiamondThe bag is held closed by strong velcro as well as a rubber lined zipper that keeps smells locked inside. The inside has two roomy mesh pockets with enough space for your stash as well as a lighter, a hand pipe, and even a snack. The inside of the pouch also has 100 carbon lining, making the smell-proof security even stronger.

    https://inhalco.com/blogs/news/what-is-a-dab-rig-and-how-to-dab

    June 2, 2021 at 02:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. prostar collision center

    https://dmca.com/Protection/Status.aspx?ID=edc817fd-d796-4c84-abb8-d1cb5b2e3719&refurl=http://oranoosedu.ir/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-research-paper/comment-page-1923/

    June 2, 2021 at 02:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. honeycomb glass screens

    Dabpadznectar collector dab45 Degree Joint Vs 90 Degree Joint Ash CatcherThis is because the ash catcher would make your piece top-heavy, increasing the likelihood of an accident and breakage. On the contrary, massive bongs are usually paired with large ash catchers to keep the aesthetic consistent.

    https://inhalco.com/products/expandable-silicone-bong

    June 2, 2021 at 04:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. bong adapter

    Dab Padglassblunt14mm 45 Degree Tree Perc Ash CatcherThis is because the ash catcher would make your piece top-heavy, increasing the likelihood of an accident and breakage. On the contrary, massive bongs are usually paired with large ash catchers to keep the aesthetic consistent.

    https://inhalco.com/collections/one-hitters

    June 2, 2021 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. dab vaporizer bong

    Dabpadzcheap one hittersDiamond Glass 18mm 45 Degree Showerhead Perc Ash CatcherThis is because the ash catcher would make your piece top-heavy, increasing the likelihood of an accident and breakage. On the contrary, massive bongs are usually paired with large ash catchers to keep the aesthetic consistent.

    https://inhalco.com/collections/honey-straw

    June 2, 2021 at 05:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Ram High Top Van Repair

    https://www.partner.pccomponentes.com/servlet/effi.redir?id_compteur=13365084&url=https://heartiste.net/double-bagger-3/

    June 2, 2021 at 05:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Hong Vanvickle

    https://go.onelink.me/v1xd?pid=Patch&c=Mobile20Footer&af_web_dp=http://keegane71w3.actoblog.com/4991118/the-single-best-strategy-to-use-for-social-media-marketing-near-me

    June 2, 2021 at 06:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Dwayne Byrge

    When I initially commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!

    https://za.zalo.me/v3/verifyv2/pc?token=OcNsmjfpL0XY2F3BtHzNRs4A-hhQ5q5sPXtbk3O&continue=ocrvfleetservices.com

    June 2, 2021 at 06:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Loren Paysen

    It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

    https://s2.shinystat.com/cgi-bin/shinystatv.cgi?TIPO=26&A0=0&D0=21&TR0=0&SR0=https://cli.re/xreEQe&USER=Pieroweb&L=0

    June 2, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Touring Van Repair Shop

    http://lain.heavy.jp/lain/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=http://puntosoficialesshimano.com/archives/4450

    June 2, 2021 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Gerard Sammartano

    I think this is among the most significant info for me. And i'm glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

    https://airvpn.org/external_link/?url=https://website.com

    June 2, 2021 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. rv generator repair near me

    http://rspcb.safety.fhwa.dot.gov/pageRedirect.aspx?RedirectedURL=http://nylonmag.de/we-love-wehende-volants-von-mint-berry/

    June 2, 2021 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. rv repair centers near me

    http://www.astro.wisc.edu/?URL=http://www.hootnholler.net/video-owasso-young-boy-starting-power-washing-business-koki-fox-23/

    June 2, 2021 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Wilfred Yanos

    A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I do think that you should write more about this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but usually people do not talk about these subjects. To the next! Many thanks!!

    http://dol.deliver.ifeng.com/c?z=ifeng&la=0&si=2&cg=1&c=1&ci=2&or=7549&l=28704&bg=28703&b=37275&u=https://kylern81r9.popup-blog.com/4022692/sprinter-repair-near-me-for-dummies

    June 2, 2021 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Video Marketing Business

    http://www.matomex.com/dir/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=1406&url=https://quotenearme.com

    June 2, 2021 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. rv service orange county ca

    Very good article. I will be going through many of these issues as well..

    http://www.brooklynohio.gov/TRK/C/3p6zZpKrM9Y=/X/ClickTarget.aspx?url=http://www.rawxstudios.de/vista-film/

    June 2, 2021 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Ivory Sayco

    https://reddit.app.link/?channel=mweb_branch&feature=xpromo&campaign=xpromo&$og_redirect=https://claytonj71t1.bleepblogs.com/6258960/examine-this-report-on-repair-shop

    June 2, 2021 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Morris Amott

    Definitely consider that that you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be at the net the easiest thing to take into account of. I say to you, I definitely get irked whilst folks consider concerns that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as outlined out the whole thing with no need side-effects , other people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

    http://www.ahewar.org/links/dform.asp?url=https://cli.re/wrYZz2

    June 2, 2021 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Tomas Baumiester

    It is really a great and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this useful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    http://sangokumuso.lib.net/redirect.cgi?https://website.com

    June 2, 2021 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rv interior remodeling near me

    Aw, this was a very good post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a really good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

    http://etracker.de/lnkcnt.php?et=mjVFaK&url=https://ingenieurleistungenreiter.com/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=4&t=1340&limitstart=84940

    June 2, 2021 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. box truck repair

    http://qatar.vcu.edu/?URL=nicobart.com/essay-composing-restrictions-instantly/

    June 2, 2021 at 23:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. temecula tv repair

    I really like looking through a post that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

    http://www.marcellusmatters.psu.edu/?URL=indeplus.com.ar/index.php/component/k2/item/15-hdc-tm300ec-k/15-hdc-tm300ec-k?d=q&start=240040

    June 2, 2021 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Service Van Repair Shop Near Me

    After looking into a number of the articles on your blog, I truly appreciate your technique of blogging. I book marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my website as well and let me know what you think.

    https://dir.tetsumania.net/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=3267&url=https://diplingpaedmediatorreiter.eu/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=4&limitstart=65580

    June 3, 2021 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. rv furniture companies

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It's the little changes that make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    https://nanostandards.ansi.org/banner_click.php?id=2&url=http://ingenieurleistungenreiter.com/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=4&t=140&limitstart=86000

    June 3, 2021 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. the truck shop orange county

    http://services.nfpa.org/Authentication/GetSSOSession.aspx?return=http://5starhomebusiness.blogacep.com/2791891/top-rv-repair-shop-secrets

    June 3, 2021 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Al Bocchini

    Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this short article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    https://rspcb.safety.fhwa.dot.gov/pageRedirect.aspx?RedirectedURL=https://jasperj70n8.blogsumer.com/4067589/5-easy-facts-about-dodge-sprinter-repair-near-me-described

    June 3, 2021 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. class c renovation

    After going over a number of the articles on your web site, I truly appreciate your way of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my web site too and tell me what you think.

    http://park3.wakwak.com/~yadoryuo/cgi-bin/click3/click3.cgi?cnt=chalet-main&url=http://raisingcolorado.com/2014/03/whereilivedwednesday-our-first-house.html/comment-page-98

    June 3, 2021 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Video Marketing Experts

    http://yellowpages.sj-r.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=curtismelancon.com

    June 3, 2021 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Mercedes Sprinter Brake Caliper Repair Kit

    https://mediasecure.de/wp-content/plugins/wp-js-external-link-info/redirect.php?url=https://www.fleetservicesocrv.com/

    June 3, 2021 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Tires Los Angeles

    http://www.windsurfingnz.org/rssfeeders/wnzrss.php?url=https://rvmarketingexperts.com/

    June 3, 2021 at 05:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Remodel Los Angeles

    http://ml-ny.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=newrvowners.com

    June 3, 2021 at 05:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Technician Los Angeles

    http://www.brain-performance.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.customcampervans.com

    June 3, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Ford Van Repair

    There's definately a lot to learn about this topic. I love all of the points you made.

    http://www.jollypix.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.commercialvanrepairshop.com/

    June 3, 2021 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Collision Repair Orange County

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up plus the rest of the site is very good.

    https://asi.ru/bitrix/rk.php?goto=https://ocrv.tv

    June 3, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. temecula collision center

    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now 😉

    https://www.aidbc.com/Redirect.aspx?destination=http://oc-rv.com/

    June 3, 2021 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Sprinter By Keystone Slide Repair

    http://ithacas.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=commercialrepairshop.com/

    June 3, 2021 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. SEO Marketing Companies

    Great article. I am facing some of these issues as well..

    http://www.genedillard.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=internetmarketingoregon.com/

    June 3, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Content Marketing Agencies

    http://swiss-travel.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ppcpostfalls.com

    June 3, 2021 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. tadalafil medication

    best research tadalafil vidalista tadalafil reviews best research tadalafil

    June 3, 2021 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. ambulance companies in orange county

    http://nationalfostercaremonth.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.tv

    June 3, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. rv parts orange county ca

    http://judyjames.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.org/

    June 3, 2021 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Sound System Orange County

    http://stinalisa.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.org/

    June 3, 2021 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. camper inspection near me

    Your style is so unique compared to other folks I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this page.

    https://www.domainsherpa.com/share.php?site=https://www.ocrv.mobi/

    June 3, 2021 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Blinds Riverside

    I love reading through a post that will make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

    https://www.responsivedesignchecker.com/checker.php?url=ocrv.life&width=1400&height=700

    June 3, 2021 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39

Leave a Reply to vardenafil vs tadalafil vs viagra which gives better erection?


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.