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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. BORED

    This story would be interesting if Ira Glass and the This American Life crew hadn't covered it already. CNN, totally ripping off public radio.

    May 6, 2011 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. angelaD

    Very sad. And no I don't like that tax payer money gets spend like that. But they are still humans and we have an obligation to help. Maybe help so that they can help themselves...

    May 6, 2011 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. It's Sad

    It's really sad when government spends money on ridiculous things such as this where your allowing people who have ruined their lives to addiction to continue their addiction without any "REMORSE". There are so many other problems in this country where money can be spent fixing, and this is what we DO!!!!

    May 6, 2011 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. InDallas

    I'm curious if Marion will be kicked out of the "house" since he's swigging mouthwash, and, therefore, breaking the rules?

    May 6, 2011 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Anti Catholic

    These "Wet Houses" are merely "Death Camps"! Instead of using gas chambers, they are using Listerine! This says a whole lot about the Catholic church!

    May 6, 2011 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anti-Hyperbole

      Seriously, DEATH CAMPS. Anyone who is seriously willing to compare an area where alcoholics can drink to places where over 10 million people were killed does not understand the magnitude of actual horror and is also probably 5. Are you 5? Do you want a cookie? Parroting whatever your bigoted daddy said is tough work, you must be tired?

      May 6, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse |
  6. Orphaned by alcohol

    Both of my parents died of complications caused by alcoholism before my 26th birthday. I don't care if these people are better off in wet houses than on the street – they need help for their addiction, not enablers. If they're going to die from their disease, fine, but they shouldn't have help doing it. It's no different than assisted suicide... we threw Jack Kevorkian in jail for "murder" for doing the same thing.

    May 6, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Traveler

    Maybe if they were raised Muslim this terrible disease would not have taken over their lives and they would not be at a wet house? Being that alcohol is forbidden in that religion.

    May 6, 2011 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Myra A Barnett

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    May 6, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. tkessler

    What a depressing place that's gotta be...

    May 6, 2011 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. xray

    figures it would be the catholics who would set something like this up

    maybe they could put a home for paedophile priests next door– call that one the 'wet dream house"

    May 6, 2011 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anti-Hyperbole

      Yes there are bad, reprehensible priests there who should be locked up, and yes there was a cover up. I don't support what happened or the cover up, but that doesn't change the fact that the majority of Catholic people and even priests are good, just like the majority of people are good even though there are bad amongst us. You sir are being narrow-minded to dismiss a 1 billion person strong organization based on the actions of a few horrible people.

      May 6, 2011 at 19:32 | Report abuse |
  11. Ex Boozer

    As clearly stated, the purpose of this approach is to save municipal money, not to rehabilitate anyone. It is sad to see a society give up in this manner. To AA bashers: AA is for those who want it, not those who need it. Don't you just HATE those slogans? Unapologetically, AA is working for me even though I don't care for much of the rhetoric.

    May 6, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Kyle

    As an alcoholic myself reading this story made me very sad.

    May 6, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. cpc65

    I thought this was an article about the State of Tennessee or Kentucky.

    May 6, 2011 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Fred

    They'd do better switching to some sort of opiate. And they'd be far more productive and if given a supply to meet their needs could even get healthy again and do something with their lives. Because the reality their in is beyond hideous.

    May 6, 2011 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. cpc65

    Isn't this sort of like assisted suicide? So if somebody has a terminal illness who is in constant agony, it's not legal, but if they're an alky it's fine and dandy?

    May 6, 2011 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. pua

    Pardon me, but I don't give two whits about any of these people. I don't care what you call me. It's a choice they made as adults and continue to do so and are reinforced by good intentioned but mislead people who think it is perfectly ok to allow them to wallow in their addiction, while providing them a place to do so. THAT is idiocy in my book.

    You're only supporrting it because these people aren't on your front stoop drinking and dying. Truth is that if that were the case, they would become instant issues to you in your fantasy world.

    May 6, 2011 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. daveinohio

    Let's extend this idea to serious drug users too. Put them in a controlled environment, give them all the meth, coke, or heroin they want, and let them kill themselves. Think how much money we can save! They'll be dead in a few days, but they'll die happy!

    We can call the place "Darwin House", because it will weed out the weak and stupid!

    May 6, 2011 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Skeptic

    Can you get drunk off of Listerine?...because that ain't liquor he's swiggin (Booze isn't "ADA Accepted")

    May 6, 2011 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. bc

    Wow! Save a few bucks. So many misinformed about addiction. They used to lock up alcoholics once they became bad enough in insane asylums and prisons. The detractors here of any program that has helped literally millions recover from a horendous disease, need to do a bit more research. I speak to people all the time that drink. I find many not in the program and I have no business dealing with them. One writer here talks about how they drank more when they were attending AA meetings. Sounds to me like he is not following the steps, so it did not work as he did not work the program.

    For the naysayers, before you open your mouth you should know what it is you are talking about. AA is not a religious program though many in the rooms of AA help to perpetuate the myth. All one would have to do to find out the truth of the 12 step program and how it should be practiced is read the first 146 pages of the AA Big Book. There are millions of people in around 284 countries that have found a way to live a good and solid lifestyle through the 12 step programs. So read the book, and then if you feel the same way still, figure out why or how is it that millions of lives have been saved and turned around....bc

    May 6, 2011 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anti-Hyperbole

      That's good but I just think you should know, there are only 195 countries.

      May 6, 2011 at 19:34 | Report abuse |
    • Claire

      If it is not a religious program, then why is God mentioned by name throughout the steps and the Big Book (and by the way, it's the first 164 pages you are talking about, not 146)? How can it not be a religious program when the fundamental premise of the program is that the individual is powerless over alcohol and therefore requires the intervention of God in order to be sober–and that, only one day at a time? How can it not be a religious program when nearly every meeting includes a recitation of the Our Father?

      Anyone who is confused about this: GO to an AA meeting and see for yourself. Just the first 15 minutes should suffice.

      May 7, 2011 at 15:38 | Report abuse |
  20. Misternomer

    That's Listerine!

    May 6, 2011 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. starbuck

    cool

    May 6, 2011 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. TruthHurts

    We are messing with natural selection here. Darwin is turning over in his grave. Let them die, survival of the fittest has always worked.

    May 6, 2011 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anti-Hyperbole

      I love natural selection, very good theory, but nature couldn't predict man would discover booze.

      May 6, 2011 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
  23. Doodlebug

    When my ex would not stop drinking, and was arrested at the holiday time, I had to work an additional job when he was arrested for being drunk in public. He lost his job when he got out and I had to beg for his job back. He lost it again for drinking on the job. I worked around the clock, and had enough. The day myself and my daughters (5 young daughters) moved out with a few belongings, I had a small stroke. No family for me to depend upon, no one for me. Since 2002 I have been struggling – as my ex lost the home, lost everything and bill collectors came after me and garnished me past where I could not survive, I had to go chap 13 and pay back $550 a month. Four years later I still receive no funds from him and he continues to stop by, asking me for help, getting drunk in my living room when I did take him in. In the end the only thing he cared about was himself. My health is not good, all these years I worked so hard to pick up the slack, even getting part of my BA (I had to drop out due to my mother's death and then got behind). It has been a total nightmare but you know I guess it is so nice to see that all this time my ex has places like this where he is enabled. And no I cannot get $ out of him because he simply works jobs where they pay him under the table. So who is there to help me and my daughters? You know who? Me – the parent that does not drink, does not smoke and thanks for the years of working myself into the ground, might live much less longer than my spouse who still drinks .... and blames it all on anyone he can, but himself.

    May 6, 2011 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Dr. Bob

    Edward,

    No matter what anyone writes in an effort to persuade you that God, or whichever name you prefer to use for the imaginary being in the sky, does not exist, will be beaten down, torn appart and ridiculed by you. You are a believer, with unwavering faith in a book written by men, for men, in a time when men ruled, and blamed women for everything that ailed them in their life. Much like today unfortunately. You have your own drug, the opiate of the masses, and you are an incurable addict.

    Robespierre.

    May 6, 2011 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Anthony

    My Mother was an alcoholic for most of my life. When she drank alcohol she smoked and the smoking contributed to her Cancer. When she had the Cancer removed she started drinking again and she drunk so much that she didn't realize she was killing herself so she started smoking again. Cancer came back with vengence and finally took her life. I don't drink alcohol as much as I did when I was in the military and if I can say that within the last 10 years I had a case of beer that might be close. Pray that this man finds the help he needs soon!

    May 6, 2011 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • U-no-who

      I just lost my mom to alcohol. I believe she was hoping to die and she managed to do it, but not how you might think. She had what may have been a stomach bug or reflux (not a hangover) and she threw up and ruptured her esophagus, causing her stomach to back flow and poison her system. She would not go to a doctor until she was forced. By that time the infection had gotten so big it collapsed her lung and she also got pneumonia. Alcohol corrodes the esophagus and this isn't an isolated incident...it happens a lot. I really think people who turn to alcohol secretly want to die, which makes it harder to think about quitting.

      May 6, 2011 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
    • dj

      good luck to you, i will keep you in my prayers. i too, quit drinking about 14 years ago....life is good. the best luck to you and remember; people care.....dj

      May 7, 2011 at 02:15 | Report abuse |
  26. 4WONDERLAND

    NO ONE IS SAVING THESE PEOPLE
    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. OR would that be saving Money. Shame on CATHOLIC CHARITIES and shame of Minnesota!!

    May 6, 2011 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • daveinohio

      Did you read the article? These people have been forced into treatment programs time and again, and it just didn't take. Some people just want to drink themselves to death, and be left alone. The assistance is there if they choose it, but the coercion is dropped.

      If a person chooses to kill themselves, you really can't stop them. At least this way they have a roof over their heads until they kick the bucket.

      May 6, 2011 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
  27. J Coventy

    wow, these are the longest comments I've ever seen on here...

    All I'd like to add is, as long as he's getting toasted, at least his breath will be minty fresh!

    May 6, 2011 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Smokie91

      I would LOVE to leave my job for a pot smoking center. Have that invented that yet? I'll bring my own playstation and twinkies.

      May 6, 2011 at 19:56 | Report abuse |
    • Vince

      What I don't get is that he has lost two brothers to cancer and heart disease....whether right or wrong...he's managed to out live half his siblings....I'll toast to that...

      May 6, 2011 at 20:04 | Report abuse |
    • Rabbi Malachi

      Ha ha. Good one!

      May 6, 2011 at 22:08 | Report abuse |
  28. Starschmuck

    "who the *blank* are you jobless losers ... asks "Starbuck" ... immediately we all know who this guy is. Likely a jobless "loser" with nothing but hate and time on his hands to make anonymous comments on the internet.

    May 6, 2011 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Baruch

    If the Us would adopt a Harm Reduction model instead of being punitive towards addicts and alcoholics, a lot would change. Look at Holland as an example of a country where Harm reduction has reduced addiction rates and alcohol related deaths.

    May 6, 2011 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lana G

      What about the harm the addicts cause, creating victims driving drunk etc. Don't be so nice or so blind!

      May 6, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      Lana, you are the blind one. Reduction in alcoholics= reduction in victims. DUH.

      May 6, 2011 at 22:05 | Report abuse |
  30. Lana G

    My auntie had a husband who decided it would be easier to become a wino and give up on the marriage the job and the kids; at first she played it kind and patient; but coming home from work one night, and finding him passed out on the porch next to his bottle of wine, she picked up the bottle and smashed it over his head !

    When he woke up and realized what happened,the humiliation and embarrassment moved him to give up drinking, he joined the veterans of foreign war, and got a new and better job. Worked for that guy!

    May 6, 2011 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. no profit there

    I'm no fan of Catholicism or Christianity but reimbursement by no means = profit. Reimbursement, by definition, means getting paid back: no more, no less. Give this particular organization a break. They do seem to be offering people a place to stay regardless of their habit. It's rather non-judgemental and allows people to decide what they wish to do, which also means the residents are responsible for their choices. Drunk and relatively safe IS better than drunk and causing mayhem.

    May 6, 2011 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. jayden

    Get off the sauce! There's still time. Your life is not over yet. Plenty of people are worse off than you and have jobs. Step outside of yourself and see how low you've sunk.

    May 6, 2011 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. jessicaber

    I am a Latter Day Saint. I have never heard of this until now. Wethouses sound evil and should not be condoned.

    May 6, 2011 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ian

      I am not, like most others. Tell us how YOUR religion is remotely relevant, why you feel the need to foist your faith on others, and finally, why you disagree, or is it just because your church tells you to?

      Try reading the relevant chapter in Malcom Gladwell's book "What the Dog Saw", come back and tell us without spouting your faith what you think then.

      Or just go ahead and hide behind the church's apron strings, clucking at "the bad guy" . . .

      May 6, 2011 at 19:59 | Report abuse |
    • mark

      Yo jessicabar; This is an article about alcoholism. It has nothing to do with religion. Yours or others. Somehow you and many others in the comments have decided that God needs to be in the conversation. I suggest you all take your God somewhere else. It distracting and time consuming. Thanks.

      May 6, 2011 at 20:45 | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      This article has everything to do with religion. Look @ paragraph #4–"St. Anthony...operated by Catholic Charities". Get it - the Catholic Church. Also, with many religions drinking is done in moderation. Respect your body.

      May 6, 2011 at 22:50 | Report abuse |
    • mark

      Yo Mary, As you can see, "Thomas" with his "I overcame by bad habits by getting on my knees and praying to Heavenly Father for help" advice he's just selling religion as THE solution. Preaching that prayer will give a person the strength to overcome a serious addiction is simplistic and again, pushing the God thing. That, and the other comments pushing the solution that somehow God can help you is what I'm protesting. No one person has any right to tell another that God is the answer to overcoming alcohol addiction. Especially if God doesn't even exist!

      May 7, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse |
  34. anon

    cyanide pills would be a lot cheaper

    May 6, 2011 at 19:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Spike

    Its way to easy to get hooked on the stuff, and way too hard to come clean…
    Any way you look at it, Alcohol is addictive; on top of that it’s a depressant...
    Two nasty side effects for the price of one… (Three if you include the hangover)
    Has anybody asked if the corporations who make the stuff can chip in a few bucks for the local re-hab clinic?

    May 6, 2011 at 19:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mk2

      Spike, thats actually a real good idea man, seriously....

      May 6, 2011 at 22:46 | Report abuse |
  36. Thomas

    I think this is a terrible idea. I speak from experience. When this guy says he has no choice, he's completely wrong. YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE. I overcame by bad habits by getting on my knees and praying to Heavenly Father for help. I got that help. The devil wants you to think your life is over, and that you have no choice. No so. YOU CAN CHANGE. I know. Of course it is not easy, but it CAN be done. Where is your desire? Our desires dictate our priorities, our priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. Jesus said to cleanse the inner vessel first. It's all about control. YOU control your desires, priorities, choices, and actions. YOU do. Talk is cheap. AA is ok, but it's really just war stories. You must EXERCISE your FAITH that you can do this. The power of the atonement of Jesus Christ is powerful enough that you can sever this habit at will if you will TRUST in the Lord to help you. He loves you and knows your pain. He felt it for you and everyone else. He knows all of what you feel. PRAY for the desire to stop and then act on it. You have to believe in yourself, that's it's over and this is all that is left for you. IT'S NOT. That is the devil speaking to you and trying to keep you down. Don't listen to him. YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE, ALWAYS. Your own faith and desire to get out of this mess and your faith in Jesus Christ will help you do this. Don't ever give up. That's what the devil wants you to do. Just give in and have a few drinks every night. NO. The more you say NO, the stronger you will be able to resist and one day you will wake up and say: "Hey, I feel great...I don't need a drink." It's all up to you and your own will. The physical will take care of itself as you turn down the volume, but don't fall for the lie. As long as you are alive and on this earth, you can do anything with the help of Jesus Christ. This house that you are staying in is a just a political ploy to not help you at all. It's to say money for those in power. YOU are the one in power. Take control of your life and decide to stop drinking. I know you can do it. You want to get out of there, right? This is how you do that. Press forward my friend. You are a son of God. Think of that for a moment. A son of a God. He wants you to be like Him and He is willing to give you all the help you need. So come unto Christ. He loves you and will help you. He will even send Angeles to guide you in making correct choices. How can you fail? YOU CAN"T.

    May 6, 2011 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daddy Needs Cough Medicine

      You don't always have a choice. These people chose and chose and chose, they did their best and finally struck-out. No everybody wins the big match, we aren't all winners; things do happen from which a mortal simply cannot recover.

      God sometimes deals people bad hands. There are any number of reasons why a person loses economic viability in their fifties. God does not judge them–so, who do you think you are that you do?

      Jeebus would be the first to turn their water into wine.

      May 6, 2011 at 22:46 | Report abuse |
  37. cc

    At the end of the day, you can hold your head high. Keep fighting the good fight. You should be proud of yourself for caring for your family.

    May 6, 2011 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Patti

    It costs $1,500 a month to house and feed one person? Seriously?
    Room and board for 1,500 a month must be some pretty nice digs or else Catholic Charities is making a bundle off this program.

    May 6, 2011 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      Patti, if you do the math, that's $50 a day for 3 square meals, a roof over his head, not to mention counseling, medical care, cooks, site maintenance, tv/phone and other utilities, etc. Do you think you spend less than 50 bucks a day on yourself for those things? Probably not.

      May 6, 2011 at 21:36 | Report abuse |
  39. Thomas

    You can stop your drinking too. Just have faith my son. Such anger from a loving person such as yourself. my. God bless your to change your heart. He can help you with that as well.

    May 6, 2011 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. unowhoitsme

    Some of you missed the point of the article. These alcoholics are DYING. The Catholic Charities are giving them a place to die "peacefully". No one else wants or cares about them. We will never know the hard lives that some of these people have experienced that turned them to alcohol to "forget" their problems, because we haven't experienced their lives. Some people go through Hell while "living" here on earth. Have some compassion.

    May 6, 2011 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sally

      I was raised in an Alcoholic Abusive House! A HOUSE! It was never a HOME! Let them ALL DRINK THEMSELVES TO DEATH IN A GUTTER!

      May 6, 2011 at 23:18 | Report abuse |
    • mark

      Yoo-hoo Sally- Angry much? You really need psychiatric help. You're gonna have a heart attack way too soon without it. 🙂

      May 7, 2011 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
  41. Captain Hindsight

    I'm glad that this is state funded. Now I know where I'm gonna be living in 20 years.

    May 6, 2011 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Stanton

    Hey Doodlebug it's nobodys fault but yours for staying with your ex for so long and then helping out the loser afterwards.

    May 6, 2011 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. anonymous

    You know, if these individuals want to drink themselves into the earth, so be it. It's a choice they made and a choice they can die with.

    May 6, 2011 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. chgn66

    Anybody else notice he is drinking mouthwash? Unless the ADA has started endorsing tequila...

    May 6, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. rob2tall

    I too was an alcoholic until I had a near fatal bicycle accident with a nasty TBI.I reformed and have been sober since 1997.Alcoholism much like tobacco is an addiction not a disease as claimed-you dont catch alcoholism you acquire the addiction by being insecure and turning to alcohol. There is a cure but its expensive-around $25k or more and Schick Hospital in the Seattle area does work! The catholic church ought to save its moola and ship all its drunks there to get cured!

    May 6, 2011 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daddy Needs Cough Medicine

      Are you me?
      Did God bless you with knowledge of all things?
      Ever consider that you could be wrong?
      Is it your right to push your values onto me?
      Do us all a favor and look-up 'ignorant' in the dictionary.

      May 6, 2011 at 23:18 | Report abuse |
  46. DB

    Starbuck, the first post here has his own issues, Lack of compassion for your fellow humn beings to also showing lack for your own self.
    I was like this guy Marion at one time. I was a drunk, a drug addict and did not pay support for my 2 children. I felt sorry for myself, just like Marion. Life seemed like a dead end and just like Marion I did not care if I died, I actually would have perferred it to living the life of misery I was in.
    One night I looked in mirror to finally got honest with myself. I made myself a promise that I would quit it all and get my life back. I asked God for help ( no I am not born again or a Bible thumper) The next morning I called an old friend looking for work, he told me stop by a job nearby, they may be looking for someone he told me. I went by the job (construction) the foreman gave me a chance and told me that there would be NO drinking on the job. I said fine, at lunch I found out that all 5 guys on the job were members of AA. I have not had a drink since that day. Almost 16 years ago ! God does answer us, we just have to have our ears open for the reply.
    Marion I have something to tell you. Stop being sorry for yourself and get yourself a job, any job. The only way your life will get better is if you quit drinking. I wish you a long slow road to recovery, your life will get better than your wildest dreams. Best of all you will start to like that person you see in the mirror !

    May 6, 2011 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • J

      Good for you brother! I ike to hear about a person who improves themselves by thier own actions. Be proud.

      May 6, 2011 at 20:34 | Report abuse |
    • Wilsondog

      DB.. wow!! that is so awesome.. talk about God coming through people.. 5 people in AA at your job.. i too am in recovery / AA.. best thing that ever happened to me!

      May 7, 2011 at 00:35 | Report abuse |
  47. falafelbrain

    You have got toe be kidding me. I can't afford to put my three year old in pre-school, despite the fact that my husband and I both work full time. There are weeks when our mortgage takes precedence and I have to budget our food so strigently that it sucks. I am middle class America, busting my ass for nothing, lucky to have a job at a company that has frozen raises since the day I was hired over two years ago. But these low lifes get to live free on the dole for 18 grand a year. Really. What a country.

    May 6, 2011 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KS

      Yeah the economy sucks and you can blame the government for that. They spent over $1 TRILLION on wars just in the past 10 years and shipped all our manufacturing jobs to China! Housing these guys is a drop in the bucket.

      May 6, 2011 at 22:08 | Report abuse |
    • roddychristian

      Disgusting. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. These are people willing to drink mouthwash, solvent alcohol or anything to get alcohol into their system. They are often extremely mentally ill with no one to care for them. I have a friend who works in the wethouse in Seattle. It is a sad place, full of death and dying. If it weren't for this place, these people would be living in our jails and emergency rooms, being transported by ambulances and police officers. They would be sleeping in the doorsteps of the business you must suffer to budget to buy from. They would be frightening your children in the local park. They would clog our judicial system and cost the community many times more than the cost of their tiny, sad room at the wethouse. You're married, you have children. The government gives you huge tax reductions because of the family you chose to have. Your children get a free education. You live in a community served by public systems that you pay nothing for. You benefit from society and no one hates you for it. These people deserve a little compassion and a thoughtful, caring solution to their suffering. You should kiss your kids tonight and hope that none of them develops such a problem. I'm sure when these people were small children they never imagined their lives would be so horrible.

      May 6, 2011 at 22:12 | Report abuse |
    • m

      Yo Roddychristian; Well put! Bravo! 🙂

      May 7, 2011 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
  48. James in Canada

    Is the church making a profit out of this? If they are, then it wouldn'r surprise me they would make some money of the unfortunate. The Cathollic Church is a crock!

    May 6, 2011 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Experimental??

    All of the commments are based on individual opinions, so care or not care, to each his own. A big hoorah for providing a place for end stage alcoholics. I do however wonder about the new drug they are coming out with to help addiction...maybe these guys would want to be the trial group to help others...just a thought...

    May 6, 2011 at 20:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. hopeful mom

    I am so angry!!! Of course alcoholics have a choice YOU choose to drink or You choose not too....that's it plain and simple. You want to know who didn't have a choice, my 6 year old daughter didn't choose brain cancer, nope no choice there. So stop your freaking crying put down the alcohol and stop wasn't the life you have. It is such an insult to my daughter!

    May 6, 2011 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alice

      Guess what? I've had cancer AND I'm a recovering alcoholic. I didn't choose cancer and I certainly didn't choose the hell of alcoholism. I've worked so hard to overcome my addiction that your rant is an insult to me. So shut your ignorant mouth. I wish your daughter well but I'm sorry she has such a stupid mother. THAT'S it plain and simple

      May 6, 2011 at 21:25 | Report abuse |
    • KS

      Basically everyone has a choice but maybe some are born and/or raised to be weaker than others, down on their luck, depressed, etc. Some problems can literally drive people to drinking. And think about how easy alcohol is to buy and how much the makers spend to push it on us. You can't watch a sports event on TV without seeing beer commercials and there's bars in most every town.

      May 6, 2011 at 22:14 | Report abuse |
    • Alice is a jerk

      Alice - what a hateful comment toward "hopeful mom." Guess what - You DID choose to drink and YOUR OWN CHOICES let to your alcoholism. You have nobody else to blame, and it's ridiculous that you are comparing it to cancer. So, you "had cancer," and now your all better? What, did you have a cancerous mole removed? You are an idiot if you think that your alcoholism is comparable to a little child battling cancer. That's truly a victim. You are only a victim of your own choices.

      May 6, 2011 at 22:18 | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Unfortunately, my father and other relatives drank. I looked at their lives and thought I have a choice not to do this. My sister thought it was "cool" to do this. She is very bitter and resentful towards me and all the people who chose not to drink.

      May 6, 2011 at 23:03 | Report abuse |
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