Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is President Bush suffering from untreated alcoholism?

Republican Politics, American Style
Published in Metro Eireann on August 2nd 2007 By Charles Laffiteau

In last weeks column I neglected to mention one other political motivation for President Bush’s refusal to yield or seek a compromise with opponents of his domestic and or foreign policies (including the Iraq war). That is because this political motive is also closely linked to what I believe his personal motives are.
Bush’s long-time chief political adviser, Karl Rove, is a firm believer in the notion that a politician should never show any signs of weakness. That means politicians should take strong action, never appear to be indecisive and if they have to change their positions on an issue, they should do so gradually and on their own timetable.
In other words, if you don’t know what to do in a given matter, take the action which appears to show you are both powerful and in complete control of the situation. Never admit you were wrong or made a poor decision, because there will always be others around who can be blamed if things don’t work out the way you want them to, and use “Spin Doctors” to portray any and all changes in political policy positions as being absolutely consistent with your long held moral, political and religious beliefs.
This particular school of thought is also quite popular with other national politicians around the globe and has proven to be a remarkably successful political philosophy for many of its adherents. But it also fits nicely with what I believe underlies President Bush’s personal political motivations. This is based in part on my own personal observations and experiences, because I grew up with a father who suffered from untreated alcoholism and I believe that George Bush suffers from the same disease.
The parallels between the President’s public (and what is known about his private) behaviour and that of my own father are remarkable. Both my father and the President have always appeared to be unflappable in public and rarely if ever displayed their tempers or anything other than a fairly agreeable disposition in public. But in private this was another matter entirely.
My father’s temper was legendary among those of us who had to live with him at home and so is President Bush’s within the walls of the White House. My mother and siblings would warn each other when Dad was not in a very good mood, which was usually a sign that he wasn’t drinking but wanted to. It is a well known fact that White House staffers regularly issue “weather reports” regarding the President’s bad temper and erratic mood swings so other staffers will know when it is or isn’t an appropriate time to bring issues to his attention.
The President reportedly stopped drinking after waking up with a bad hangover following his 40th birthday party in 1986. The fact that he recognized that he wasn’t able to drink moderately explains why he stopped drinking completely. My father also stopped drinking for periods of days, weeks, months or years, during which time his anger and mood swings became progressively worse. What I learned from this is that abstinence may arrest the physical addiction to alcohol, but does nothing to treat the other mental aspects of the disease.
Alcoholics who are abstinent but not involved in a recovery program exhibit many of the same mental attitudes and behaviours that I witnessed in my home and have also seen exhibited by President Bush. Like my father, President Bush sees the world as “black and white”, “good versus evil”, “kill or be killed” and makes all of his decisions based on this internal perspective. An untreated alcoholic must adopt such rigid perspectives because it is the only way they can maintain control over their external environment.
Like my rigidly Catholic father, President Bush truly believes that God has chosen him and that everything he does is strictly in accordance with God’s will. Any admission of mistakes or flawed judgements might lead to the collapse of the wall that they have built around their thinking to protect themselves and their view of the world. Untreated alcoholics like my father and President Bush, are actually the opposite of the powerful, self assured and decisive images that they project. Alcoholics are basically good people who have extremely low self esteem and suffer from extremes of fear and self doubt. Without a recovery program they are unable to deal with their many fears and self doubts, which is why they must build a cocoon around their reality or else they fear they will have nothing.
There are also symptoms of alcoholism that I have seen before with my father and now in the President, which lead me to believe that he may be secretly drinking again. Like my dad, Bush has “fainted” while watching TV and fallen off the couch while sleeping. He has shown up in public with bruises on his face consistent with falling down while under the influence. White House staffers report that the President’s mood swings have become more pronounced, his internal meetings have been cancelled more frequently and staffers are increasingly afraid to risk his wrath by telling him things they know he will not want to hear.
There is nothing anyone can do if the President is suffering from active or untreated alcoholism. An alcoholics’ sense of denial is so strong that they will deny that they have the disease no matter how many doctors tell them they have it. They can recover from the mental aspects of the disease, not by remaining abstinent, but by first admitting to themselves that they are alcoholics and by becoming willing to follow the advice of those who have recovered from this disease. My father finally admitted he had the disease, but was unwilling to follow the suggestions of other recovering alcoholics. Despite my many disagreements with President Bush’s policies and decisions, I hope that he will one day find the recovery from this disease, which eluded my father. After all, like my dad, President Bush isn’t a bad person; he is simply a sick man.


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maxi said...

PRESIDENT George Bush is suffering a from untreated alcoholism, an American psychiatrist has claimed.

In a new book, Professor Justin Frank says the US president exhibits classic signs of being a paranoid schizophrenic.

The study, based on Bush's public appearances and medical records, claims it leads the president to believe he is omnipotent and able to operate outside the law. And it says he could be driven by his medical condition to invent and then destroy enemies to demonstrate his power to the world.

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