Document 226992

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3384 115
Matt desperately wanted to end his nightmare,
but it seemed so hopeless!
Then Todd told him about . . .
Judith McClerren Torvik
att looked at his half-empty suitcase
open on the bed and the neat stack of
laundry beside it. My bus leaves in less
than an hour, he told himself. Reluctantly he arranged his clothes in the bag, noticing
how simply the packing went. A lot different than
it was at home a few weeks ago, he mused.
But then just about everything seemed less complicated here. Matt had come to love these summer
visits with his dad. Once he had accepted his father's marriage, he had come to love his new family too. There were people here he could talk to,
who really listened, and there was space enough
to be alone when he needed it.
At home it was just Matt and his mother, and
she wasn't really around much, or so it seemed.
When she did want to talk, it was usually after she
had been drinking for several hours. Her speech
was garbled, and she did all the talking. He remembered how angry and frustrated he became
during those sessions and how guilty he felt for
feeling that way. She would look so helpless and
frail, and he'd put her to bed.
The next morning she wouldn't remember much
about the night before. Her eyes avoiding his, she
would offer the same tired apology. "I'm sorry,
son, I really am. I didn't mean to hurt you. Can you
Sometimes it was easier for him to withdraw into
his room and escape those evenings. It wasn't much
of a life, that's for sure. Probably that's why Dad left,
he realized. But somehow Matt felt responsible;
after all, somebody had to look after her. He questioned how well he was doing at the job. It had been
three years now, and things didn't seem to be getting much better. Until recently he had thought no
one else in the world shared his problem.
Matt sat down on the bed, and his thoughts
drifted back to that afternoon early the previous
spring when he had noticed a flyer with bold yellow letters posted on the door of his school's counseling office: DO YOUR PARENTS HAVE A
PROBLEM? The flyer stated that weekly Alateen
meetings offered help to young people whose parents abused alcohol. Last names were not used, it
said. Matt copied the information and went to his
first meeting a few days later.
What he learned that night came as a bitter surprise. The Alateen group told him he could do
nothing to control his mother's drinking. The truth
was, they said, he was powerless. Anger welled up
inside him. How desperately he wanted to end his
nightmare, and now it seemed so hopeless! He felt
cheated and betrayed and wondered why he had
come in the first place.
Leaving the meeting, Matt felt a strong hand on
his shoulder. He turned around to see a short,
athletic fellow wearing an' orange football shirt
that didn't hide his enormous biceps. "It's Matt,
isn't it?"
Matt half nodded.
"Just wanted to welcome you to the group. My
name's Todd. Coming back next week?"
"I doubt it," Matt admitted. "There doesn't seem
to be any answer here for me."
"Yeah. I hear what you're saying. I saw you look
kind of puzzled when Jerry said we're powerless
over our parents' drinking." Todd placed his heavy
load of books on the table. "But we really are powerless, you know. There's nothing we can do to stop
them." He paused and looked squarely in Matt's
eyes, "But miracles do happen in this program."
"Miracles?" Matt asked. "What do you mean?"
Todd's smile broadened. "I mean that your mom
can stop drinking."
LISTEN • January 1984 • 3
ail frowned, wondering if this guy had left
his brains in the weight room. "I thought
you said I'm powerless. Now you say she
can stop."
"It's like this. The day your mom decides she
wants to stop drinking is the day you'll see a miracle." Todd's eyes were sparkling now. "It happened to my dad."
"And in the meantime I just hang around and
watch her destroy herself?"
"Negative. The other half of the miracle has
something to do with you. You see, the day you begin to believe she will make that decision to get
better, you'll be helping her miracle become a reality."
"Sounds kind of weird to me," Man murmured.
"First, just believe that it works. Because it does.
You see it happen around here all the time. Keep
coming back and you'll see." Todd slipped a piece
of paper into Matt's unwilling hand. "If you want
to talk more, call me."
Matt pulled the hood of his sweatshirt over his
head and pushed open the door. The damp April
air felt fresh and soothing. He started to jog the
few blocks home.
This stranger, Todd, and his tale of miracles
had unleashed a great anger inside Matt. It was a
shock to come across the childish notion of miracles now at sixteen. The days of Mom and Dad
and birthday parties were gone forever. He knew
he couldn't climb back into that kind of fantasy
any more than he could climb back into his size
eight Little League uniform.
The rain began, and Matt was relieved. Any
passersby wouldn't see the tears he could no
longer hold back. He pulled down the soggy hood
of his sweatshirt and raced the rest of the way
home, his agile step in rhythm with the sad song
of the wind.
Matt was breathless when he reached his house.
He leaned his head against the back door and
gripped the knob tightly without turning it. For
what seemed like hours he stayed outside, his
sobs competing with the thunder.
The phone rang long and hard inside the house.
He turned the knob, let himself in, and grabbed
the wall phone in the kitchen.
"Matt? Glad I caught you! This is Todd. You
know, we met at the Alateen meeting tonight."
"Oh, yeah." Matt wondered what this guy
wanted now.
"I thought you'd like to know we're getting a
group together at Jerry's house on Saturday to
watch the Chicago Blitz play the Michigan Panthers. Wanna join us?"
"No. Can't make it. I'll watch it here at home."
"If you change your mind, give me a call. We're
planning a great time. Jerry's dad used to play with
the Bears, and he sure adds a lot to the event."
"This Jerry. Is— I mean— does his dad have a
problem? I mean, does he drink?" Matt was surprised his question slipped out.
"Used to. Matter of fact, Jerry's mom did too.
They haven't for a long time now. Probably four or
five years I guess."
"The truth is, I—" Matt ventured cautiously,
"I've got to stay close to home. Saturday's sometimes a bad day for my mom."
There was a silence on the other end. "Sure."
Todd went on, "If you change your mind, though,
you have my number."
Man felt the conversation about to end. "Uh,
Todd, you said something tonight," Matt drew a
long breath, "about miracles."
"About what?"
"Miracles." Matt could feel his heart beating
faster. "Didn't you say something about miracles?"
"Oh! Miracles!" Todd said. "Sure! Happens all
the time. In the program, I mean."
"Well, I've been thinking about that. But I don't
know much about them. Only thing I remember is
Matt walked into the living room
and found his mom just as he had
left her earlier that evening-horizontal on the couch, sound asleep
with a half-empty glass balanced in
her hand. He stood over her limp,
frail body and surveyed this
stranger who was his mother.
what a teacher I knew once told me."
"What did she say?"
"It was a long time ago. But I think she said
something about looking beyond."
"Looking beyond and seeing good?" Todd asked.
"Yeah! That's it. Seeing good." Matt was relieved that this fellow on the other end knew what
he was trying to say.
"That's it." Todd continued. "See, it's easy to
look at your mom's problem and get all caught up
in it. If you get stuck in how bad it looks, you can't
see any possibility that it will get better. Your
mom picks up on your attitude; she buys your
hopelessness. It's just a crazy merry-go-round.
"I understand how you feel responsible too," he
continued, "but that doesn't help you or your
4 • LISTEN • January 1984
LISTEN (ISSN 0024-435X) is printed monthly by Pacific Press Publishing Association, P.O. Box 7000, Mountain View, CA 94039 U.S.A. Second-class postage paid at
Mountain View, California. For the U.S.A.: one-year subscription, package plan, $24.00. To countries outside U.S.A.: one-year subscription, package plan, (US) $25.00. January 1984.
"What do you mean by that?"
"I mean you've got to let your mom's problem be
her problem. Before she can let go of it, she's got to
know she owns it. If you're carrying her problem
around for her, she will never get the impact of it
for herself."
"That's what you mean about powerlessness,
about my being powerless?"
"Right. But remember the miracle. You play a
part in that. The day you totally let go, the day you
begin to see beyond her problem to the possibility
of her getting well, that's the day you help your
mom's miracle become a reality."
"I'm not sure I know how to do that." Matt felt
his enthusiasm wane in its infancy.
"Just think back," Todd encouraged. "Hasn't
there ever been someone in your life who saw
through your mistakes? Somebody who knew you
could succeed when you felt like a failure?"
Matt remembered how his dad had helped him
overcome his fear of trying out for the baseball
team. "Sure. My dad helped me with something
important once."
"Whatever it was, I bet he didn't do it for you.
But he probably helped you see how you could do
it for yourself."
"Yeah," Matt said. "You're right about that."
Matt knew he would never forget how excited he
was when he risked enough to try. That spring he
had made pitcher. Deep inside, he knew it happened because his dad knew it could happen.
"It works, Matt," Todd assured him. "Remember
that. It works."
Matt placed the receiver on the hook. He walked
into the living room and found his mom just as he
had left her early that evening—horizontal on the
couch, sound asleep with a half-empty glass balanced in her hand. He carefully slipped the glass
from her hand, pulled the afghan over her, and
gently tucked a pillow under her head. He stood
over her limp, frail body and surveyed this
stranger who was his mother.
"If I ever needed to believe in miracles," he whis-
pered to his mother's sleeping form, "if s now. But
how can I see anything other than what I see in you
now? How can I believe that you'll ever be well?
They tell me I've got to look beyond your hopelessness now and see you getting better. That will take
a miracle. If these miracles really do exist, though,
I want one. I really do want to believe in you
again, Mom."
A quick tap at the door intruded on Matt's reverie and brought him back to his father's house.
He zippered his bag, noticing the clock. "Wow!
Got to go!"
The door swung open and Amy, his stepsister,
plopped onto the twin bed opposite Matt. "Sorry to
barge in like this, Matt, but I just found out I can't
go with you to the station. Mrs. Cony needs me to
watch the baby while she takes Stacy to the doctor." Amy smiled at Matt, but with sadness in her
eyes. She was a pretty girl. Just now she looked a
lot like her mother with her dark auburn hair
pulled up in a pony tail.
"Dad's waiting for you in the driveway." She
reached for Matt's hand. "I'm going to really miss
you, Matt. Everyone will. I wish you could stay
with us always."
Matt and his father said their good-byes at the
station. As he watched his dad drive slowly away,
Man knew his father shared the sadness of his
leaving. He stood quietly at the gate where his bus
was to arrive any moment. He had ambivalent
thoughts about returning home. Yet he had a tiny
bit of peace deep within. His mom's problem had
ceased to overwhelm him. He had a little bit of
hope now.
Suddenly, he heard his name shouted over the
crowd. He turned toward the gate entrance and
saw Amy running toward him waving something
in her hand.
"Matt! Matt! A letter came for you! I was afraid
you'd be gone before I got here!"
Matt noticed the return address on the letter; it
was from his Aunt Laurel in Minnesota. He tore
open the letter and gazed intently at the words.
His mother had been admitted to a hospital for
treatment of alcoholism. She would be there for
six weeks. Aunt Laurel and Uncle Rob had made
the arrangements. Then he read the last line, the
most important: "Your mother wants to do something about her illness, Matt. She has made a decision that she wants to get well."
"Is everything all right, Matt? Are you OK?" Amy
studied her stepbrother earnestly.
Matt looked at her, his eyes sparkling. "Do you
know about miracles, Amy? Let me tell you about
LISTEN • January 1984 • 5
You can have
Why do some people have all the luck?
Take Mark for instance. He's a big, good-looking high-school senior. Mark drives a
Chevy and always has money in his pocket. Pure luck.
Or is it?
Sometimes what we call luck is
school goals for himself. He has
vantage of opportunities because
really a combination of things
planned a good future and is
they have been preparing themthat add up to success. Things like working hard at accomplishing
selves all along for the chances
setting goals, being ready, workthose plans. He knows he'll have
they felt could come their way.
to do his homework and listen in
ing hard, and taking chances.
My brother Mike got lucky at
If you investigate these areas
class, but he is willing to pay the
his job—or so it appeared. The
and apply them to your own life,
price for the future objectives that
boss gave Mike the most soughtyou could have the same kind of
he has laid down.
after job in the hydraulics-machinluck Mark has.
Do you think Norm's going to be
ery assembly shop even though
luckier than Bill this year? I do.
he was there the shortest amount
• Set Goals.
One reason Mark and many othOf course, we should also set
of time.
ers like him have what they have is goals for other areas of our lives
Lucky? Not really. Mike studied
because they set goals. They plan
such as work, athletics, and famevenings two days a week at
to get what they get. They're not
home. No one asked him to. No
just lucky, although it may look
Without goals, a person may
one paid him to. He prepared
that way to a casual observer.
say, "I'll do some exercise." Howhimself for the job so that, when it
Anyone who wants to get someever, he never does any because he
was available, Mike was ready.
thing out of life has to sit down
doesn't have specific plans for
and plan realistically what he
his exercise.
You too can be ready for opporwants to do and what he can acI have another friend, Ken, who
tunities that may come along. Do
sets goals for the amount of exeryou play football? Are you ready
Several years ago Mark knew he
cise he wants to get by running and in case the quarterback gets inwould want to own a car when he
swimming. Ken says, "I'll run fifjured and can't play out the seaturned sixteen and obtained his
teen miles a week and swim twenty son? Do you play baseball? Are
driver's license. So he planned
laps a week." He has specific, mea- you practicing your pitching in
ahead of time to save his money.
surable goals. Then he follows
case Fastball Freddy slips on the
He figured out how much a year
through each week to be sure to
mound and breaks his leg?
he would have to bank in order to
meet the goals that he has set.
Be ready.
buy that Chevy.
Ken's neighbors look out their
• Work Hard.
His planning ahead worked out,
windows and say, "Isn't Ken lucky
Another way to be successful
because today he is driving into have the time to go jogging."
(but seem lucky) is to dig in and
stead of bumming rides like many
Then they turn back to the TV set
work hard. There are too many
of his friends do.
and complain that they're so out
people who don't know what that
Setting goals is exciting, and it
of shape.
means. They think that good
We know Ken's luck is really a
can work in all areas of our lives—
things come to others by chance.
commitment to fulfill his goals. If
even school! Sometimes we do
Not so! Anyone who has done anyyou set goals, you'll begin to acpoorly in school because we don't
thing important and lasting has
set goals for the grades we want or
complish those important things
had to put forth extra effort and
the classes we want to take.
in life that you thought only the
hard work.
My friend Bill never sets any
lucky people could do.
Liz entered college this fall. She
goals. He takes whatever grades
• Be Ready.
always looks nice because she
are given to him (usually poor
One way to be a lucky person is
dresses well and is happy about
ones) instead of setting goals for
to be ready for any opportunity
being in college. Some people think
earning good grades that will
that could come along. Many sucthat Liz is lucky. I know better. Colmake him eligible for better
cessful people seem to be "at the
lege wasn't given to Liz. She's a
classes and, later on, a good job.
right place at the right time." They
hard worker and has what she has
On the other hand, Norm has
seem to be lucky. In reality, most
because she's worked for it.
taken the time to set realistic
of these people are able to take adFor several summers before en6 • LISTEN • January 1984
tering college Liz worked at a
Mister Donut as a waitress. She
slipped out of bed at 4:30 a.m. every day in order to arrive at work
for the 5:00 a.m. shift. Now at college, about seventy-five miles
from home, Liz pays her tuition
out of the money she saved from
rising early and working hard.
And she earns her spending
money by doing the same thing—
waitressing at a donut shop.
If you want to get ahead in life,
you too have to make up your
mind that you'll work hard. Working hard is a habit that can be
learned. Don't fight it! Learn the
habit and reap the benefits.
Another friend of mine, Scott, at
age twenty owns a big motorcycle
and a sleek Firebird. Others may
accuse Scott of being lucky, but I
know why he has what he has:
hard work.
Scott worked summers and
weekends at a fish plant near his
home. He banked most of the
money he earned the hard way—
by sweat and perseverance—when
most of his friends were lazing
around at the beach or sleeping
late at home. Scott outworked the
competition and kept his job when
economic hard times sent many
of his seniors to the unemployment lines.
People who work hard seem to
have all the luck.
• Take Chances.
Go out on a limb. Try something new. Don't be afraid to fail.
Luck comes to those who dare
to try something new and risky.
Take chances.
My brother Mike owned and operated a successful service station when he was only nineteen
years old. Many of his friends
thought he was crazy, at his age, to
take on all the responsibilities of
hiring help, buying supplies, finding business, and working long
hours. The station had compiled a
terrible history of failure through
the previous managers. The oil
company leased him the building
with the idea that he could do no
worse than those who went before. The company was surprised
and thrilled at his success.
Did Mike have any doubts when
he started? Of course! Did he know
that his age was against him? Of
course! He realised his chances of
survival were slim, but after planning it out on paper, he realized
that he had at least a chance of
making it. So he signed on the dotted line. He never regretted it.
Don't be afraid to fail. Failure
is always a possibility, but some
people let that possibility tie them
to a secure—but unfulfilling—life.
Recently I saw a show on TV
which featured a female disc jockey
who had become the rage in her
city. Different? Not if she were
twenty-five years old. But this
woman was sixty-five! She had
been invited to do a show and, of
course, she could have failed.
Sixty-five-year-old disc jockeys
haven't always been the rage. But
she tried. She didn't let the fear of
failure stop her from at least trying
something new and different.
We can all learn something from
this Grandma D.J.
Don't be afraid of failing. It's always a possibility that we will get
fired or put down or lost or hurt.
But if we let that fear stop us from
getting involved, we'll never know
the joy and rewards of succeeding.
Let's face it, there's no such
thing as luck. What looks like luck
is a combination of many things
including setting goals, being
ready, working hard, and taking
Do these things and you'll have
"luck' galore in '84.
NOT .111.17 MOM"
At first it was just another assignment. When
Mary Wolfman's boss at DC Comics in New York
City asked him to write a series of comic books that
would show readers the harmful effects of using
drugs, Mary took on the project with little further
"Prior to this assignment," he says, "I knew almost nothing about drugs. I wasn't interested; I
didn't take them, so I didn't care. Since then I've
learned an awful lot about drugs, and this knowledge has affected me greatly."
Mary Wolfman is one of DC Comics' many staff
writers. DC Comics produces those superheroes that
appeal to kids and adults alike—in forty different
comic books a month. Their popularity is unquestioned. The Superman comic books, for example, are
published in forty countries around the world.
This kind of popularity is what the President's
Drug Awareness Campaign was looking for when it
first proposed that its war on drugs might use comic
books as a weapon. It seemed like a
natural place to begin. What better medium could you find to reach kids with
the message that drugs are dangerous?
Furthermore, comic books have an
unusually high "pass-along" rate.
"Each comic book," Mani points out,
"is read by six to ten people."
For that reason Dr. Carlton Turner,
special assistant to the President for
drug-abuse policy, contacted DC
Comics to see whether they would be
interested in undertaking such a
project. He asked for the production of
three books, one each for fourth-, fifth-,
and sixth-grade readers. And DC Comics took up
the challenge.
"Back about 1968 we had a comic book that featured a superhero named Speedy, who had given
up the use of drugs," Mary recalls. Speedy was also
a member of a group of teenaged superheroes
called the Teen Titans. So DC decided to use the
8 • LISTEN • January 1984
Teen Titans as the characters for the books that
the government was asking for.
In the past three or four years, Teen Titans has
become the company's hottest-selling line of comic
books. "They outsold Superman, Batman, and
Wonder Woman, and that's part of the reason the
Teen Titans were chosen for the drug books," Mary
says. "Their popularity, plus the fact that they're
teenagers, cause young readers to relate to them
better in the stories."
So Mary Wolfman began to research the topic of
drug abuse. First he visited Carlton Turner's office
in Washington, D.C. Dr. Turner showed him lots of
material, saying that it contained the information he
wanted the kids to have but that none of the material had accomplished its purpose.
"This material had been sent out to kids in the
past," Mary says, "but the problem has been that
kids just wouldn't read it. The government wanted
us to produce a book that a kid would want to read.
Kids naturally enjoy comics with their exciting stories and pictures, and you can give a good message
along with it."
Next Mani visited the psychiatric
ward of a hospital, where he spoke
with young people ranging in age from
eleven to twenty-three who were hospitalized because of drug abuse. "It
was a heartbreaking situation," Mani
recalls, "because some of the kids
there had their lives totally ruined."
He visited a detoxification center and
a meeting of Straight, Inc. [a rehabilitation program for drug users] and listened to as many as 300 young people tell about how drug abuse had
affected their lives.
"I got the information and the language and the
emotions," Mary says, "and then I started work on
the book. I tried to put all this material together in
terms of an exciting story, because if the story isn't
read, it doesn't matter how much information I give.
I didn't want to give percentages and cold, hard
facts, saying 'Don't do this.' "
The stories in the books are taken directly from
the experiences of young people Mary interviewed.
"One of the main stories is about a girl who had to
take drugs to go to her brother's funeral," he says.
"This was based on the experience of one of the
kids that I spoke to." In fact his research uncovered
some new information for Marv.
"I don't take drugs and never have," Mary says.
"The only knowledge I had of drugs was based on
how they were pictured in the media. Most of those
pictures were wrong, as I found out. When the assignment was first given to me, I expected to feature
a kid going through withdrawal, screaming and
ranting and raving.
"But we found out that the drugs that most of the
kids were taking do not cause those kinds of withdrawal symptoms. My perception of drugs was that
they drive you crazy and make you jump off a building. That's what is often shown on TV shows. Most of
the clichés I'd heard were incorrect. So it didn't make
for an easy story to write." He pointed out that it is
difficult to show visually in a comic book such things
as biological effects, disinterest, and lethargy.
As a professional writer, however, Mary sees
such effects as disinterest and lethargy as extremely
dangerous. "I'm completely against drugs because
I have to be in tune with my own mind and cannot
allow my mind to be distracted by anything. I'm
appalled by anything that alters your mind or makes
you think slower.
"From the writers I've seen who have taken drugs I
would say that drugs are anything other than
imagination enhancing. Most of those people have
no imagination at all, it seems to me."
The need for imagination is clearly evident in producing a comic-book series that will help to prevent kids from taking drugs. "What we're hoping
with these books," Maw says, "is not so much to
approach the kids who are already on drugs, but to
approach the ones who don't take them and to try
to convince them not to start.
"What I've done," Maw says, "is to use each
book as a concept. The first one, for fourth graders,
pictures kids by themselves and how they relate to
each other. The second book, for sixth graders, is
kids and school and how the drug situation affects
them in school. The third book will be family oriented, and that's for the fifth grade."
Each of the three books is intended for classroom
use. A teaching guide and poster is included in the
total package, as well as a Certificate of Heroism for
each student who participates in the campaign
and signs a pledge not to use drugs.
Although these three books were originally
planned to appeal to fourth through sixth graders,
Mary feels that they will appeal to teenagers and
adults as well. "The thought that comics are purely
Superheroes fight drug abuse in The New Teen Titan comic
book, written especially for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders.
for young kids is wrong," Maw says. "The majority
of the mail that comes into Teen Titans comes from
high-school-age, college-age, or older. The comics
that I write tend to be for older teenagers and up."
If these first three books are successful, Mary
suggests that ultimately there may be up to ten
books, ranging in appeal up through senior high
school. "If we do this," Maw says, "we would have
to change the orientation of the material somewhat. A lot of high-school teenagers have more
knowledge than I would concerning drug taking."
And the books do seem to have become immediately popular. Two million copies have been printed
of the book for fourth graders. They were sent initially to 35,000 randomly selected schools in the
United States. The fifth- and sixth-grade books
have been available for only a couple of months, so
it's too early to assess their impact.
No matter what the impact of these books is on
the millions of fourth through sixth graders across
this country, however, it has been keenly felt by
Mary Wolfman himself and those who know him.
"My wife and I joined a group to combat drug use in
one of our local schools," he says. "This project
has come to mean a lot to me."
LISTEN • January 1984 • 9
LISTEN interviews Patricia Mutch,R.D.,Ph.D.
What kind of substance is caffeine?
Caffeine, known chemically as a methylxanthine, is
a very frequently consumed drug. Probably the most
common sources of caffeine for human consumption
are coffee, soda pop, tea, and cocoa or chocolate. Many
young people take it also in stay-awake pills and
headache-relief tablets.
How does caffeine act upon the human body?
Caffeine is a stimulant. It acts upon the central nervous system and results in an increased wakefulness
or aroused state, making the person feel more awake or
have a more excited frame of mind. It does not, however, improve mental function.
Caffeine has other effects on the body. For starters,
it is a cardiac stimulant. That is, it makes the heart
beat faster and stronger. It also stimulates the stomach to secrete more acid and thus can be irritating to
the stomach.
In addition, it has a diuretic effect, which means it
causes a larger-than-normal loss of body water
through the kidneys so that a person who drinks a caffeine drink may excrete more liquid than he consumes. So caffeine has a somewhat dehydrating effect
on the body.
Caffeine also increases the levels of glucose (sugar)
and free fatty acids in the blood, which cause a surge
of energy, making the user feel like he can do more.
But this feeling is at the expense of the reserves of
these nutrients that the body normally draws upon for
There are some other things that caffeine has been
associated with in certain research studies that warrant mentioning. Caffeine is what is known as a
mutagenic agent. That means it can alter the genetic
material in ways that are usually not positive. Because
of this mutagenic property, it has been speculated
that caffeine may increase the risk of cancer. Certain
types of cancer such as bladder cancer have been
linked with caffeine consumption, most notably in animal studies but also somewhat in human studies.
In addition, concern is mounting regarding the effect
of caffeine during pregnancy. The March of Dimes
has warned all pregnant women to avoid consuming
caffeine in large quantities, and the Food and Drug
Administration has encouraged pregnant women to
quit consuming it altogether during pregnancy because caffeine intake has been linked with birth defects in animals.
Then you'd say that caffeine affects many or maybe
even most of the systems of the body?
Yes. It has a much wider impact than just on the
central nervous system. And while those people who
are marketing caffeine-containing products are not
willing to admit that there might be a relationship between caffeine and these problems, I think the person
who's trying to live a healthful life-style will avoid a
drug which is coming under as much suspicion as is
Let's take a closer look at some of these effects. You
said at the beginning that caffeine has a stimulating
effect. Can't this be helpful?
On the surface that would seem to be the case.
Studies have shown that caffeine's stimulating effect
does improve the performance of people performing
manual tasks. It does not improve mental performance
In addition, caffeine drains the body's energy reserves. And after the caffeine has been metabolized or
broken down there is usually a letdown period in
which the user is more tired than he was before, because he used a crutch to get over being tired or needing sleep in the first place.
Itake it then that you don't advise the use of stayawake pills for students preparing for exams?
Beyond keeping a person awake, caffeine adds nothing positive to the preparation for exams. To the contrary, there is one side effect which has been shown repeatedly to accompany caffeine use which many
students aren't aware of, and that is that it causes a
general state of anxiety along with the stimulation.
The caffeine causes a person to feel more anxious and
more nervous. So a student who has used caffeine to
study for an exam and who is already worried about
the exam may become even more worried because of
having taken caffeine
And you say that caffeine adds nothing to a person's mental sharpness or memory?
All the research indicates that caffeine does not improve memory, comprehension, or the ability to function on a test. Some students think that if they use
caffeine to stay up late and study, they will remember
the material they have gone over. But many times
when they go to actually take the test, their general
anxiety blocks their remembering things that they
learned. So they would have been better off to have gotten a good night's sleep and let their bodies rest so
that the next day they could remember what they had
Patricia Mutch is currently professor of nutrition and director of the
undergraduate program in dietetics
at Andrews University in Berrien
Springs, Michigan. She obtained her
Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of California at Davis in 1972
and is a member of the Michigan
Statewide Nutrition Commission
and a registered dietitian with the
American Dietetic Association.
You mentioned that caffeine is found in a number of
drinks. How prevalent is this drug?
Caffeine is found in so many things that people consume that it is getting to be something you have to
look for to avoid. Besides being found in coffee and
tea, it is found in many soft drinks as an additive.
How much caffeine are we talking about here?
The amount of caffeine in coffee and tea depends
on the way they're made. Coffee made with an automatic drip method will have about 180 milligrams in
a six-ounce cup, which would be a normal cup. If it's
percolated it will contain about 125 milligrams, and
if it's instant coffee it will contain about fifty-four milligrams.
Similarly, tea that has been brewed for only a minute
will have about twenty-eight milligrams in a sixounce cup. But if it's gone for three to five minutes it
will have about forty-five milligrams per cup. So the
strength of the brew influences how much caffeine is
The amount of caffeine found in a twelve-ounce can
of soft drink is about the same amount that would be
obtained in a cup of instant coffee or a cup of tea, between thirty-three and fifty milligrams.
Soft drink manufacturers have added it to give people a little lift, and many soft drinks contain it. You
have to look on the label to know whether it's there or
Aren't a number of soft-drink companies beginning
to shy away from adding caffeine to their soft
Yes. Because of the research that is being done on
caffeine and the undesirable side effects which it has,
there has been a trend on the part of knowledgeable
consumers to avoid caffeine drinks and to purchase
soft drinks which do not have caffeine added. As a result, some of the manufacturers have made a point of
saying in their advertising that a drink does not contain caffeine and never has contained it. Other manufacturers are bringing out new drinks that are caffeine-free.
You mentioned a moment ago that caffeine is also
in cocoa. How does the amount of caffeine in cocoa
compare with that in coffee?
There's a much smaller amount of caffeine present
in cocoa products. A cup of hot cocoa as it's usually
made will contain only about ten milligrams of caffeine.
A one-ounce portion of chocolate candy or baking
chocolate would contain thirty to forty-five milligrams of caffeine, depending on the other ingredients.
That's about the same as a caffeinated soft drink. I
think the concern with chocolate products would be
more with the quantity that's consumed. A person
who's a "chocoholic," as we call them, could be consuming a significant amount of caffeine.
12 • LISTEN • January 1984
Let me ask a rather practical question. If a student
regularly drinks caffeinated soft drinks and then,
come exam time, takes a caffeine pill to stay awake,
would that pill do the job or would he have to take
several pills to have the same effect? In other words,
does the body develop tolerance to or get used to
caffeine's effects?
Yes. People who consume caffeine regularly develop a tolerance to it so that they don't recognize its
effect on them. Only when they stop drinking
caffeinated drinks do they notice its effect.
Caffeine seems to be addictive, but whether that
addiction is due to a person's desire to repeatedly feel
the effect it produces or whether there is an actual
chemical addiction isn't clear. But there are definite
withdrawal symptoms in the individual who is no
longer getting the caffeine he's used to.
Do you feel that a person drinking only soft drinks
could become dependent?
I would think so, because if he drinks very many of
these soft drinks in a given day, he could easily get
enough caffeine to become dependent. It's not uncommon for a teenager—especially one on a diet and
consuming diet pop—to consume six or more cans of
his favorite soft drink in a day.
Caffeine causes a person to feel
more anxious and more nervous.
So a student who has used caffeine
to study for an exam and who is already worried about the exam may
become even more worried because of having taken caffeine.
What are the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal?
For one thing, people have a hard time staying
awake because they've become accustomed to staying
awake as a result of the stimulation of the caffeine.
I have known individuals who have been given
decaffeinated coffee unknowingly who were not able to
finish out the workday because they could hardly
hold their heads up after being accustomed to drinking
regular coffee. They've become so dependent on that
stimulus to keep the body moving that without it they
become sluggish and find it difficult to function.
Another withdrawal symptom is headache. The
headache goes away when the sufferer drinks a
caffeinated beverage.
What's the best way for a person to kick his caffeine
First, he should recognize that there are going to be
withdrawal symptoms, although they are not severe
symptoms such as what one has with smoking or narcotic drugs. He should accept that he's going to have
headaches and plan to get rid of his headaches with
aspirin or other traditional means. He should realize
that he's going to be sleepy and should plan to quit
his habit at a time when he can rest, such as on a holiday or over a weekend. He should allow twenty-four
to forty-eight hours for his body to metabolize the caffeine that's present in it. Drinking six to eight glasses
of water or juice a day would also help to flush the caffeine out of his system.
What relationship does caffeine have to other drugs?
If a person uses caffeine, will he be attracted to
other drugs as well?
In my research I've been pursuing the possibility
that caffeine increases the desire to drink alcohol.
There is a fair amount of evidence that people who
smoke and drink also consume more caffeine than the
average person, so that the consumption of nicotine
and alcohol goes along with caffeine consumption in
many cases. But we don't have concrete evidence that
there's a causal relationship, that is, that the caffeine
consumption causes a person to consume other drugs
as well.
Studies conducted with rats do show that some rats
seem to be susceptible to caffeine—that when they are
given caffeine they increase their voluntary intake of
alcohol. In my laboratory we're trying to discover what
the effect of caffeine is on the brain that would create
an increased desire for alcohol, because normally animals will not drink alcohol voluntarily.
Among the many theories for the causes of alcoholism is one which says that certain individuals have
pathways in the brain which predispose them to become addicted to alcohol. We think there may be a relationship between caffeine's effect on those pathways
and a subsequent desire for alcohol in the person
who has a predisposition. That would explain why
some animals show a willingness to drink alcohol
while others do not.
I would say that a person who knows that he is
susceptible to alcohol might do well to avoid caffeine.
There are alcohol treatment centers which do not give
the patients caffeine-containing beverages while they
are in the treatment phase.
Does a person who consumes both caffeine and alcohol increase the possibility of her child being
born with birth defects?
We know that alcohol is a factor in birth defects because there's a collection of birth defects known as the
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome that occurs in some cases
where pregnant women have drunk alcohol in the early
stages of their pregnancy. Because caffeine is also
suspected to cause birth defects, I think the possibility
that the two consumed together would have a greater
impact on the fetus is a very important consideration.
I've been doing some research on this, and my studies seem to indicate that the effect of the two drugs together may be synergistic; that is, when combined,
their effects are multiplied rather than just added.
Is there a relationship between caffeine and nicotine? So often coffee and cigarettes go together.
They certainly are consumed simultaneously in
many cases. But I'm not familiar with any research
that has been done to show that one stimulates the
other. It may be that people who are nervous smoke
cigarettes to calm their nerves, and the nervousness
may have been created in part by the caffeine they're
drinking. So there could be a relationship there.
What do you think of decaffeinated drinks?
Decaffeinated coffee and decaffeinated tea still contain other substances which are still a matter of concern. However if a person feels he must have a hot beverage and wants to drink something that is commonly
available, then a decaffeinated beverage would be preferable to caffeinated. But I think he would do even better to stick with fruit juice and water and not consume
either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee or tea.
In summary, Dr. Mutch, what would you advise teenagers regarding caffeine and caffeinated drinks?
If they are going to consume soft drinks, they
should read the label. There are brands which don't
contain caffeine.
I think substituting fruit juices for soft drinks would
be good not only because of the caffeine problem but
also because fruit juices contain more nutrients than
soft drinks. Soft drinks contain empty calories that
don't do anything positive for the body. Plain water is
also a very good beverage.
I don't see any reason to consume either caffeinated
or decaffeinated coffee and tea. A person in a social
situation today almost always has an alternative to
those beverages.
Finally I certainly feel it's wise to avoid using caffeine as a stimulant to stay awake, especially for the
student, because what the body really needs is rest,
and giving yourself a good night's sleep is likely to
yield better results than going in with shaky hands
because of artificial stimulation and a lack of sleep.
Just one other point here. Drinking coffee or tea is
a social custom in most places. Do you feel that this
is one area in which the teenager should make up
his own mind for his own good rather than following
Yes. I think young people today are giving a lot more
attention to their health than ever before and are realizing that they are responsible for their own bodies. As
a result, social custom is changing.
Caffeine is a drug, a fact many young people aren't
aware of. Because of research now being published,
many people are deciding against using caffeine.
They're asking for juice or some soft drink without
caffeine instead. So you no longer need to feel all by
yourself and out of it if you don't have coffee. If this
trend continues, that may soon be the customary or
social thing to do.
LISTEN • January 1984 • 13
It has been six months and one day since I took my last drink.
Six months!
During that period (it seems like six years) I have
been more aware of colors, family, nature, friends, and
myself than ever before.
For the first time since I started drinking, I am aware
of how really good food tastes. Spaghetti and garlic
bread. Salads. Hot apple pie with ice cream.
Before, in the haze of my alcohol-fogged hours and
days, I wasn't aware of eating. I must have eaten—you
have to, to live, don't you?—but I wasn't aware of it.
We were in Phoenix when I went on my last drunk. I
still remember parts of it, although I'm sure I'll never
remember all the crazy, dumb things I did while under
the influence.
It started at the Press Club, where I went to have
"one with the boys." At least that's what I told my
wife when I called her from the newspaper office. She
knew better. She realized that the "one" would turn
into many. And it did.
From the Press Club we traveled to a nightclub.
There the entertainment was riotous (a comedian), and
there was more drinking. Wine. Beer. A shot on the
We stopped at one other place. A country-andwestern joint, I think. And then somewhere along the
way I got sick.
I don't know how I got home that night. My friend
Dave was driving, and fortunately for us we weren't
stopped by the local authorities. If we had been, neither of us could have passed the Breathalizer.
Why did we do it?
The hangover the next day was monumental. I was
sick, literally, for two days and recovering for two
more. And for what? A couple of hours of elevated
Too expensive, friend. Much too expensive a price
to pay.
Experts on drinking and alcoholism know about
the damage drinking does to the human system—the
liver, the kidneys, the heart, even the lungs. And especially the brain, not to mention the stomach.
I was damaging my heart and other vital organs.
Taking a chance on being killed in a traffic accident or
arrested for drunk driving. For what?
A few hours of elevation.
14 • LISTEN • January 1984
One of my good friends in Phoenix is a physician
who also runs marathons. He's quite a runner, he and
his lovely wife. They believe that exercise leads to
good health. Neither of them drinks or takes drugs.
"Running is a high," he likes to say. "By staying in
good physical condition and running on a regular basis, you'll elevate your consciousness to a high you
had never thought possible."
I decided to test that theory. To me it was a theory.
To him, of course, it was a reality since he had been
doing it and proving it for years.
About thirty days after I took my last drink (thanks
to Alcoholics Anonymous, a caring pastor, and my
own self-determination) I started running, half a mile
a day. Then I increased it to a mile a day. Finally I
got up to three miles a day.
At the same time I started working out in a local
health spa and gym. Two or three times a week I would
go down to the health center and go through a dozen
exercises to strengthen my legs, chest, arms, and upper
Today I'm no Charles Atlas or Rocky—who is?—but
I feel ten times better than I did when I was drinking.
Make that twenty times better.
I never used to be able to look myself in the eye
when I was shaving. I felt too guilty, I guess. I'd shave
in the shower, and I don't have to tell you fellows that
I suffered a few skin nicks in the process.
There is no more of that. I look in the mirror these
days, and I like what I see. The guy looking back is
smiling, confident, whistling a tune. He is loved by
his children and his wife, and in return he can love
them, because he first learned to love himself.
Six months and one day of sobriety.
I still go by the old bars. They don't have the old allure anymore. The shine has gone out of them. I see
them for what they are: tinseled hellholes, destined to
take a person to the depths of his soul, promising him
the world and giving him instead an empty bottle that
must be filled and refilled and refilled.
My friends see me at work. "Still not drinking," they
say, smiling. Some try to make me break my resolution. "Just have one after work for old time's sake." I
say, "Thanks but no thanks." I remember those old
times. They aren't worth remembering.
I guess the best advice of all came from my uncle.
When I was a kid, Uncle Ott told me, "Don't develop
bad habits. Habits are hard to break." He knew. He
had developed some in his youth and had finally
shaken them, but they had taken their toll.
My uncle was right about habits. The only ones
worth developing are the good ones. Work habits. The
habit of being honest. The habit of being dependable.
My son is twelve years old; my daughter, eight. I
marvel at their clear eyes, their clear skin, their openness, and the affectionate ways we have as a family.
We're not afraid to express our feelings to one another, because we care.
After my last drinking escapade, I remember my
kids asking me—begging me—not to drink again. I
wasn't bad to them when I drank, but they saw what
it was doing to me. Their "Please don't drink, Daddy"
and "If you love us, you won't drink" had an effect on
They made me want to bring out the best in myself.
When a person has a drinking problem, his entire
life centers on booze. If he isn't drinking it, he's
thinking about it. Even when he feels good, he knows
that he can feel better just by taking one little drink.
It's a lie, of course. Demon Rum tells the lie, and the
imbiber believes it.
Six months and one day.
In another six months it will be a year. It doesn't
sound like much, does it? But believe me, it is.
Each morning when I get up I tell myself, "Today is
the first day of the rest of my life."
I intend to live without alcohol. For the rest of my life.0
elr 1- 4 *4
iw Francis A. Soper talks to Football Great
From memories of his
many encounters on
the football field,
Carl sees comparisons he can make to
his present life.
Not many football players can boast of a record
that includes All Pro five times, six pro bowls,
nine conference championships, and four super
This is the professional record of Carl Eller,
who also was All American twice as a university
player, Rookie of the Year as he began his professional career, and twice his league's Most Valuable Lineman. For fifteen years he played as a
Minnesota Viking, a member of the team's famed
"Purple People Eaters."
Many descriptive words can be applied to the
career of this defense specialist on the gridiron—
spectacular, successful, brilliant, unparalleled.
Think up some more—they'd fit.
All this is in the past. Now Carl is in the midst
of a second career, as it were. This one is not as
spectacular in physical action. It is not covered
widely by television cameras. It doesn't hit the
headlines every week, nor does it attract millions
of fans.
His second career has come about because of
his participation in "my fifth super bowl," as he
calls it, a struggle against chemical addiction,
which led to a personal victory for him.
Much publicity these days is being given to the
use of drugs by athletes. Reports appear frequently of drugs being used by athletes either to
enhance their performance or for other reasons.
Speculation is that half of the players on some
professional teams are drug-involved or drugdependent.
Carl Eller's "fifth super bowl" has inspired him
to provide help for those facing the same problems which brought him such trouble or, if possible, to help them avoid these problems in the
first place.
Carl is special consultant to the National Football League on alcohol and drug abuse, a position which assumes greater importance as the
sports world comes to grips with drug problems.
He also is director of the National Institute of
Sports and Humanities, which develops programs for schools, communities, and businesses
on these same problems.
"Phase One of my program," says Carl, "is to
help the troubled person and if necessary get him
into treatment. Also we want to provide the methods whereby people in responsible positions can
identify the symptoms of drug use and know
what needs to be done."
Phase Two of Carl's second career has to do
with primary prevention. "We are trying to get
people to avoid these problems simply by making proper decisions in their own lives. We think
the basis for this is to develop a balanced lifestyle in which they show concern for all areas of
their lives, not just getting involved with chemicals."
In using the expression "balanced life-style,"
Carl refers to several major aspects of life, such
as family relationships; choice of career, especially for young adults; mental care and development; spiritual concerns; the earning of money
and its management; and physical care for the
body in terms of weight, exercise, nutrition,
chemical use or nonuse—in other words, basic
Speaking from his own experience that eventually led to his "fifth-super-bowl" struggle, Carl
Eller stresses that it's difficult for a young person, even an adult at times, to look beyond the
present and to put his life into perspective for the
"This is what I see particularly in athletes," he
says. "Because they put so much emphasis on
developing themselves physically in an effort to
become professional in ability, they tend to forget other very important areas of their lives."
And this principle applies not only to athletes,
but also to youth in general. On this, Carl observes, "I would say that they have to realize that
there's not just one area in life to be concerned
LISTEN • January 1984 • 17
"There were many times I made bad decisions, and of
course I suffered from those decisions because I didn't
exercise good judgment."
with. For example, they may concentrate on having friends and being popular or on enjoying a
good time. But there are other areas they have to
be responsible for, and knowing they can handle
all these well is what brings the true joy and excitement of living."
From memories of his many encounters on the
football field, Carl sees comparisons he can
make to his present life. He doesn't hesitate to
compare the big forward line of the opposing
team to some of the challenges he faces today.
The question comes to his mind now as it did
then, Am I going to be able to compete successfully and to meet that challenge and do it well?
All of which requires preparation beforehand.
How does a player get ready for the big game? "I
prepared myself all during the week. I had to
know I'd done everything necessary in order to be
ready. It's not something you can do as you go
into the game."
How about getting ready to lose? No, says
Carl. "You never prepare yourself for losing. You
don't think about it. You should never go into
anything with the idea you're going to lose. Just
that attitude prevents you from doing everything
you can to win."
Carl knows, however, that in sports there are
always losses as well as victories. In the four
superbowls his Viking team played, they always
came up on the short end. "Losses for me were always hard to bear, but I think they helped me
prepare for the next encounter. Even in defeat, if
you know you've done your best and have given
your all, there are no excuses needed for that."
Also out of his own experience and his gradually increasing involvement in drugs during his
playing days, Carl Eller recalls some of the effects on himself and his playing ability.
"Some of these effects were in my relations
with my teammates, and these were rather sporadic. The physical effects came later in my career. I lost strength; I was not able to do the
things I had done in the past. My performance on
the field really suffered."
He's not sure that he could tell a difference in
playing ability between a drug user and a nonuser based on any one game, but, Carl says,
'There was a difference if you looked at them consistently. Sometimes the guys who were using
18 • LISTEN • January 1984
played well and sometimes they didn't. I know
that was true in my case. The guys I knew on my
team and around the league who didn't use were
consistently better performers, whereas my performance was more up and down."
A life characterized by drug use, Carl recalls, is
a life increasingly based on feelings. "If I wanted
to feel good, drugs helped me do that. But I began to feel that things were OK when actually
they weren't. I came to the place where I could ignore things when they didn't go well. In other
words, I lived for the moment. What was most
important was how I felt now. And if I didn't feel
well now I'd just take a chemical to bring that
feeling back."
A frequently held opinion by drug users regarding the negative effects of drug use is that "it
can't happen to me." Carl developed this feeling
as he achieved some success as an athlete. "I began to see myself as someone different and
unique, and that nothing was going to happen to
me. I avoided those possibilities as long as I
could, until eventually they had happened. Then
I could deny them no longer. There were many
times I made bad decisions, and of course I suffered from those decisions because I didn't exercise good judgment."
In his drug experience Carl remembers exactly
what he started out with. His "drug of entry" was
alcohol, and he says that with this drug it is
much easier to get involved with other drugs. "I
"When I started out, I used chemicals because I chose to.
It was a decision that I made on my part. I used chemicals because I thought that they would make me feel better, that
they'd get rid of my problems, that I could fit in with my
peers—all these things.
"Eventually, using chemicals was the only way I knew to
cope. I was at a point where I had to use chemicals. I didn't
have any choice. I had to use chemicals just to live with myself.
"As I began to learn about what I had been going through,
what had been happening to me, I also learned that the
chemicals had not solved my problems. In fact, they created a
lot of problems I never would have had otherwise. And the
chemicals didn't make me feel good anymore. Instead they
were bringing me tremendous amounts of pain. Instead of
fitting in with my peers, I ended up terribly alone. At this
point, the choice was either to go to treatment or to end up
dead. I certainly believe that.
"I believe that the chemical dependency disease is progressive; it's primary; it's chronic; and I believe it's fatal."
think it starts at the alcohol level, which is generally associated with young people, because it's
accessible and inexpensive. They begin to feel
they can handle it, and they move on to other
drugs. Finally they're willing to try some of the
real hard stuff."
Why do people use drugs? Carl says it's usually to be sociable, at least at the beginning.
However, the more drugs used and the deeper a
person gets into drug use the more lonely he feels
and detached from other people.
"The reason for this is simply that the relationship is with the drug, not with other people. You
can lose family, you can lose friends, but you
still have the relationship with the drug. You rely
more and more on the drug until eventually it's
just you and the chemical."
In his own experience Carl ended up feeling
"terribly alone." He knew that drugs had not
solved his problems; in fact, they created a lot of
problems he wouldn't have had otherwise. "At
this point," he recalls, "the choice was either to
go into treatment or end up dead."
An important part of that recovery process,
Carl says, had to do with what he calls the "spiritual dimension" of life. Here's how he describes
it: "I became quite successful. I began to rely on
the fact that I could do all things myself. Well,
there came a point in my life where there were
problems I couldn't handle. I didn't know where
to go.
"I came to the realization that there's a power
greater than I am, and that power was able to
handle my drug problem. By myself I couldn't
turn around and walk away from my chemical
"I think that as long as we hold ourselves re-
sponsible for everything that happens to us or for
anything that happens outside, we're setting ourselves up for tremendous frustration. We have to
accept the fact that there is something greater
than ourselves. To me that's the spiritual essence."
Carl Eller makes it plain that he doesn't want
to be involved in another "fifth super bowl." Once
that victory has been won, he wants no repeat of
the struggle. "It was really painful for me. The
last thing I want is to go back to that. For a time I
had an occasional desire to use drugs, but not
anymore. The reason is that I'm enjoying my life
now. I'm receiving the benefits of being sober. I
don't need chemicals."
When asked the question as to how he celebrates success without drugs, Carl is quick to answer, "I feel good every day basically. I'm grateful for the things that maybe didn't mean so
much to me before.
"You know, it's something to be alive and to be
healthy. That to me is worth celebrating. I have
my family—that means I have people who love
me and care about me. I've also learned to share
myself. I can give of myself to them, and they do
the same to me.
"I'm able to share some of my unfortunate experiences with other people in the hope they will
benefit from them. I feel like a good person. I
don't feel like I'm deceiving people. I don't feel
like I'm cheating or that I'm lying, as I was doing
when I was using drugs. I just feel that I have a
place in the world and that I'm fulfilling it."
So Carl Eller, super-bowl hero, sums up, "I remember my first super bowl, but I also remember
my last super bowl, which was my victory over
chemicals. This enables me now to be a whole
person and to celebrate just being alive.
'For me that is my greatest victory. That's why
I call it 'My Fifth Super Bowl.' "
Chemical DependencyA Disease
Types o Ch cats
Carl Eller is making his vital message to athletes and highschool students especially graphic in a new thirty-threeminute, full-color film entitled My 5th Super Bowl. Available
also on videocassette, the film was produced before a live
audience. Carl tells of his own experience, describing how
his chemical dependency began by drinking with highschool friends and developed into a thousand-dollar-perweek habit that nearly destroyed him. This film helps people
recognize the symptoms of chemical dependency in friends,
teammates, and loved ones and offers hope to anyone involved in this serious health problem. For information on
prices and how to order the film, write to Carl Eller, My 5th
Super Bowl, 428 Oak Grove Street, Minneapolis, MN 55403.
LISTEN • January 1984 • 19
20 • LISTEN • January 1984
"Probably the worst drug of all is marijuana. This is
true in many ways, though maybe not physically or
emotionally. But most of our young people are smoking grass with the opinion that it's harmless. Now,
I'm talking about grammar-school kids who are smoking. They think it's an innocuous drug that doesn't do
anything to you, that makes you feel good."
Speaking is Deputy Inspector Donald White, commander of the Nassau County, New York, Narcotics
Inspector White and his officers work hard to stem
the flow of illegal drugs into this Long Island suburb
of New York City. It is a war they know they cannot
fully win—only a fraction of what comes into the
county is seized by police—but they keep working anyway. They labor not only to lock up pushers but also
to help people caught in the web of drug abuse.
At fifty-three, Inspector White is a grandfather and
veteran of thirty years in police work, fifteen in narcotics. One of his undercover officers is Eddie, thirtythree, a veteran of twelve years in police work, mostly
in narcotics. No pictures of Eddie are allowed so drug
dealers can't identify him as a cop. His youthful looks
have often helped him to pose as a drug abuser and
make drug buys leading to arrests.
Narcotics work is full of frustrations, with only occasional rewards. Says Eddie, "Frustration is a neverending problem. Many of our youth today grow up in
a drug-oriented atmosphere. This hinders their growth
both physically and mentally, so much so that many
of them don't survive to see their twenties. Many of
them die in automobile accidents from taking drugs.
Families are torn apart by drug problems. So I view
narcotics as the menace of our society."
Inspector White's feelings are very similar. "I'm frustrated because I go back to the days of the sixties
when a bust for a nickel bag of marijuana in Nassau
County was a decent arrest. Now we're buying
pounds and kilos of it, including kilos of cocaine.
"We do get rewarded, however, in several ways. For
Eddie and many of the guys that work with him, making a good case or taking down a big pusher is a reward. Maybe the courts don't sentence him forever, but
we hurt him because we took his drugs away and it
cost him financially."
Inspector White speaks fondly of one success involving a buddy's sister who became a heroin addict
and prostitute at eighteen. "We got her into a program. She ended up not only kicking the habit but also
getting her master's degree and teaching. I went to
her wedding. She is raising a family. She's turned out
to be a beautiful, normal kind of lady. If she had continued in her way, she would have been dead from an
overdose or from all kinds of different diseases that
go with drug abuse."
Both officers see parents as part of the problem.
Parents often are confused about drugs, and when
their kids see the confusion, the kids know they can
get away with their drug use. For this reason the police
try to work with schools, PTAs, and parent groups to
educate parents about drugs.
An additional complicating factor is parents who
either are or have been abusers themselves. Says Eddie, "The kids from the sixties are heads of families
now where the use of marijuana and soft drugs is almost acceptable to them as parents. It is creating tremendous problems for law enforcement."
Undercover work can be dangerous. Eddie knows
it, and so does his wife. She knows what goes on and
has to deal with the fear that one night her husband
might not come home. "I've been in the hospital a couple of times from being assaulted," Eddie says. "One
particular time a guy ran me over with a car on a fivepound marijuana deal. He was arrested for twentytwo felonies. He rammed an Old Westbury police car
and put me in the hospital. He got three year's probation."
Eddie describes some undercover operations. "I
had an investigation of a particular bar. I walked into
the bar and noticed a line at the back of the bar near
a table. Two women were selling cocaine openly, right
out on a table in the back of the bar. So I got at the
end of the line. When it was my turn I said, 'I'd like a
gram of coke.' They opened up their pocketbook. No
one knew me in this bar. It was like one big, happy
family. These people would come in, and half the bar
would line up with fifty- and twenty-dollar bills in
their hands. These people were there only to sell cocaine. This went on for approximately two months until I had gained their confidence. We ordered up a
package. They were very prompt people. They came
right back to the bar. We weighed it up, money was
exchanged, and they were arrested."
Eddie says that was an unusual case, that you don't
often walk into a bar and find people selling cocaine
Leads on suspected drug dealers come in various
ways. Some investigations can be made in person.
Others have to be made using various observations in-
"One particular time a guy
ran me over with a car on a
five-pound marijuana deal.
He was arrested for twentytwo felonies."
cluding court-ordered wiretaps and other sophisticated surveillance techniques. As the drug dealers
have become more careful, the police have had to become more adept at investigating.
Eddie tells of a man who was selling cocaine from
his place of business. "In the midst of selling certain
objects he would stop, and we would go into his office where I would buy drugs. As the investigation es-
LISTEN • January 1984 • 21
calated, he was locking me in a bathroom, then slipping the drugs under the door. I would knock on the
door, and he would let me out. Then I would exchange the money. In that particular case we got to
where we were making ten-thousand-dollar drug
buys, and it culminated with two arrests. There the
people were much smarter. They inquired a lot more.
I had to have a good story."
Inspector White says the dangers that police will
get hurt are real, not so much because they are police
but because the drug dealers are afraid of being
robbed. "I have ten thousand dollars; you have ten
thousand dollars' worth of drugs. Each of us is para-
"What we have to do is band
all the young people together that are antidrug and
have them use peer pressure on the ones that are
using, instead of vice
noid about being ripped off. After all, it's very difficult
for you to go to the police if you have ten thousand
dollars' worth of cocaine and somebody steals it from
He further states that many larger dealers have their
own surveillance people for protection. Some organized criminal elements involved in drug trafficking
have people who specialize either in setting up other
drug dealers for rip-offs or in killing those who ripped
them off. The police get caught in the middle.
Some drug busts require months of hard work; others come easily. Eddie tells of two patrol officers who
responded to a complaint concerning a suspiciouslooking man leaning on a fence. "He told them he
had birdseed in a paper bag he carried. The two uniformed officers went a little further with their investigation, and the net result was an individual with fiftyfour ounces of pure cocaine. Now, that cocaine can be
whacked—cut or increased—to at least double the
fifty-four ounces. You're talking $500,000. And that's
for cocaine that could be as low as 12 to 15 percent
pure. It fluctuates between 15 and 33 percent until
you get to the major dealers, and then you are talking
pure cocaine, up to 89 or 90 percent pure. That basically is as pure as you see it—just like it comes off the
With cutting, Eddie says the enticement to deal in
cocaine is great. "The profit margin is tremendous
and, unfortunately, the risk of apprehension and incarceration is small. That's the problem in a nutshell."
22 • LISTEN • January 1984
Besides cocaine, both officers see major problems in
the use of other drugs, in particular quaaludes, especially mixed with alcohol. "They're made in clandestine laboratories, mainly down in South America,"
says Eddie. "They're not made under laboratory conditions; they're not sanitary. They come up here, and
you'll have teenage girls and boys take one or two on a
Friday night. They'll drink some wine; they'll drink
some beer; they'll forget how many they took; they'll
take two or three more; and it will kill them."
Inspector White describes quaaludes manufactured
for prescription use as containing a precise amount
of methaquaalude. However, illicitly produced pills are
seldom so carefully made. "We had a case in which
we confiscated big vats of quaalude powder of varying
potency that was all mixed up together. Instead of
getting a one-third dose, a young person could get a
full tablet or one with nothing in it at all." Police
seized over 900 pounds of the powder—enough to
make millions of tablets. "The legal maker stamps
the number 714 on the pills for identification," White
adds. "However, the number 714 on the pill is no
guarantee of getting a pure product."
Both officers work hard on the enforcement end of
the narcotics problem but feel the real solutions lie in
the home and school. Says White, "The chances of a
habitual marijuana smoker using another drug is
probably 100 percent. Somebody who smokes marijuana on a daily or weekly basis is going to try another
drug, and that leads to more. I think it is very hard for
our young people, particularly with peer pressure, to
avoid using drugs. They have to be strong. Drug users become their own group. The young people that
don't use drugs are by themselves.
"But we're seeing a trend now, according to surveys,"
he continues, "where marijuana use is going down in
our schools. I think what we have to do is band all the
young people together that are antidrug and have
them use peer pressure on the ones that are using, instead of vice versa."
Eddie sees involvement by parents with school projects and other activities as effective deterrents. "I
think the basic problem lies with our family system today. The majority of individuals we are coming
across in our investigations are coming from divorced,
separated homes. I think if parents put more time in
with their kids during the early teen years—fourteen,
thirteen, twelve—keep them involved in sports, keep
them involved in programs, and spend time with them,
that it will have a lot of effect on what we get in the
later teens.
"Children that are heavily involved in sports, Boy
Scouting, 4-H, and extra-curricular activities in
schools—we really don't get those people, for some
reason. We usually don't get the family that is active in
the community with their youth. I really believe that if
parents spent a bit more time with their kids, even if
they became good listeners, a lot of the problems and
the individuals that we come across would be averted."0
Ask a friend
I'm a high-school senior who's
been going steady with the same
girl since we were both in ninth
grade. Most of the time it's been
great, and we've talked about getting married. But lately I've been
wondering what it would be like to
date someone else. I want to
break up, but I don't want to hurt
her. And what if I decide to come
back and she won't have me?
As personal as your problem
feels to you, thousands of people
like you are facing the same decision.
I can't tell you what to do. I
don't have to live with your decision.
But I can help you look at the problems and possible solutions, so that
you can choose the solution that
has the best chance of working and
is not too costly nor painful.
If you break up with your girl
friend you are both in for a lot of
pain. After four years you have probably become "addicted- to each
other. There is just no way for you
to avoid your own pain and grief,
nor to avoid giving your girl friend
pain and grief, which in this case
will be worse than your own because
she is feeling abandoned by you
and has no backup boyfriend to substitute for you.
Sometimes we stay in relationships that don't make us happy or
actually are destructive because we
want to avoid the pain of separation. Even though you are wanting
out, you know what you have in
this relationship, you don't know
what a new one will be like. So you
will tend to stay in your "comfort
zone" because it's risky to try
something new.
Life is a constant push/pull cycle
in regard to risks. We look outside
our comfort zone and are pushed
toward something new and attractive, but when we move out, fear
of the unknown pulls us back to
where we know what to expect.
Sometimes we make some very
costly decisions that we wish we
hadn't made.
You are probably thinking now
that deciding to go steady at fourteen and staying with it for four
years wasn't such a wise decision.
And, if you break up, it may well be
that she won't take you back. It's
possible that she may realize, as
you have, that she has outgrown the
relationship. Although she may feel
abandoned now, once she gets over
that feeling she may be as relieved
as you to get out of the relationship
and into something new which
fits" her better. Then you will feel
The four years during which you
have been going steady are the
most change-packed years of life.
You may not realize it, but you are
both drastically different from what
you were when you first began
Physically, you both look different. Mentally, you are deciding on a
career, how and where you want to
live—vastly different thoughts from
a freshman's thoughts of the future. Spiritually, the values you held
or rebelled against at fourteen are
different now. Socially. you should
now be more comfortable with
yourself and not so dependent on
one special person to tell you that
you are OK.
So the girl you fell for four years
ago is not the same girl you now
know, any more than you are the
same guy.
Suppose you were going to buy
a new suit, and you stopped at the
first clothing store you saw and
bought the first suit you tried on.
Now imagine that that was the only
suit you could ever have! No matter
how much you grew or changed
your likes and dislikes, that was
your suit. What a mess!
Relationships are a lot like a new
suit. They are exciting to acquire.
They make us feel good about ourselves—more attractive and admired, and they feel like a perfect
fit—at first. (Sometimes the fit
stays good.) But usually, especially
during adolescence, our growth
makes the fit uncomfortable, and we
end up wanting a new -suit" (relationship).
This is as close as I will come to
giving you advice. Now is the time to
try on a few relationships to see
just which one fits you best. Maybe
the one you now have is the best.
Great. If it also is best for your
friend, don't worry about getting
back together—you will. Probably
you will find a new relationship(s)
which fits the changed you better.
What is happening to you is
part of the growing-up process. It
might be good for both of you to
have a little time and space to figure
out how changed you are. I have a
feeling you will find a way to do this
and avoid giving your friend unnecessary pain.
I suggest you get together and
talk about your feelings and some of
the ideas expressed here. Focus
your energies on solving the problem rather than on feeling bitter
and misunderstood from just talking
about how awful the problem is.
Have a question about friendships,
family relations, drugs and health, or
other teenage concerns?
Ask a friend—Jack Anders, parent,
grandparent, counselor, and social
worker from Silver Spring, Maryland.
Address your question to "Ask a
Friend" LISTEN Magazine, 6830 Laurel Street NW, Washington, DC 20012.
We're sorry, but Jack cannot answer
letters personally.
LISTEN • January 1984 • 23
*With these two pages Listen introduces a new
feature, called "Graffiti," that we think you will
enjoy. Each month it will include several samples
of the writings that our editorial office receives
through the mail from our teenage readers.
We're looking for short, well-written, thoughtprovoking manuscripts—poetry and prose—that
we can share with all of our readers. If you enjoy
writing, send us a copy of something you have
written. We'll try to make room for it. The subject
may be anything that interests teenage readers
and writers.
Listen magazine will pay $10 for poems (no
longer than twenty lines, please) and $15 to $20
for stories and essays (300 to 500 words). Address
your submissions to Gary B. Swanson, Associate
Editor, Listen Magazine, 6830 Laurel Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20012.
Always include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your submission so we can return your
manuscript if we aren't able to use it.
feathery . . .
plush . .
Intoxication— flabby . . .
plastic . . .
—Shan Loughry
Front Royal, Virginia
arme FRisoNER,,
I lie here on this hospital bed. I cannot
move. I cannot speak. Nourishment is
pumped into my veins intravenously. My
family and friends come here to see me,
and I cannot communicate with them. My
body is a prison from which my mind
longs to roam free.
On a fateful night three years ago, I was
on my way home from a party, perhaps a
little drunk. Another car collided head-on
with mine. I can remember vaguely the
ambulance and the numb sensation in my
body. When I awoke, everything was
numb. I couldn't move an inch. My family
stood over me gazing down in pity. I have
been here, on this bed, since that awful
How can I describe my state? It is like
being forced by your mother to lie still and
take a nap when you're not really sleepy. I
want to get up! I want to run, to jump, to
read a good book, to sit by the fire on a
cold December evening, to sit in the shade
and have a soft drink in the heat of summer. I long to feel the touches and caresses
of my loved ones. But most of all, I would
like to speak. I am imprisoned in my own
body. It is worse than death. I would
gladly kill myself, but I can't.
Sometimes my mind wanders far away
from my earthbound body. I have written
epics and novels, composed symphonies
in my mind, but what good is that? I have
no one to share them with, and I soon forget. I just want to die.
And sometimes I think of all the time I
wasted while I was well. I should have
savored every moment, made every second count. But I wasted my time because I
didn't think my days of freedom were
numbered. I never speculate about freedom, because I know I'll never be free
—Rick Moyers
Churchville, Virginia
ptcer-v9eyeelpypo IT ?
As I waited after school to catch the
Friday bus home, classmates invited me to
"I'm skiing tomorrow," I explained.
"You're missing out; better get in on the
fun," Jan advised.
"I've got to rest up," I said.
"It wouldn't hurt you," Jan challenged.
Those words were enough to give a sober person a hangover! It's criminal for
people who know so little about alcohol—
or skiing—to give advice or make dares.
Several in the crowd chimed in. "Everybody does it."
"'Everyone does it' is an insidious slogan," I maintained. "Abstinence is far
more distinctive and dynamic than that!"
When I reached Snoqualmie next morning, an early morning snow had left the ski
lift cables looking like ropes of white
yarn stretching up the mountain.
I went up on the first gondola, skied
across the gap, and began my climb to the
summit—my skis in rhythm: scrish,
scrish, kerplunk; pause. My heart sang to
the beat. Music is inherent in the exhilarating sweep of the glaciered Cascades.
Far below, the outline of Highway 90
spread before my eyes. My mind returned
to the times I had traveled from Wapato
to Seattle with my parents and caught a
glimpse of skiers coursing the
Snoqualmie slalom. I remembered the
hundreds of falls it had taken before I
dared ski from this height.
To the east skiers moved up and down
mountains like fairies skating on marshmallows. Below, where hemlocks hugged
the foothills, friends waited.
I arrived at the summit. Challenge—
there it was: that facing up to untamed reality by the lone, vulnerable self.
Survey. Review. Altitude, like alcohol,
gives a false sense of power and poise.
One not aware of this phenomenon may
react in the high places like a fool.
The secret of a good start can make the
difference. I reset my binding for downhill,
placed my legs close to the wand, and
planted my poles in firm snow. Then, heart
in mouth, I hung like a fixed star at the
edge of space, heaved a sigh, and willed
my feet over the edge. Skis began humming in silent snow.
Aaaaah, uuuuuh, 00000h! Skiing this
high is like riding on the moon!
At full throttle the rattle at the tips of
the skis moves into your boots, into your
knees, all through you. Your whole body
is involved in the effort, straining, fighting.
Vibrations shake like a wild mustang.
The mind blurs with the lightness of a
nightmare. You stand, stand; or your
body is torn like a varmint on the highway.
Mountain silence changes into tornado
roar inside your helmet. Skis splinter silence into rainbow ribbons of sound. One
wonders, one questions: "What if— ?" No
longer are you a speck suspended in
space, but an earthling, clinging to her
mother—loving life and moving at a
speed fast enough to make your life flash
before your eyes.
The steep grade levels out. Almost imperceptibly you draw out of your tuck.
Cheering human sounds blend with the
singing skis. The camaraderie is unparalleled. It makes one feel as great and as acceptable to self as the unbelievable surroundings.
My limbs are limber as a drunk.
Wobbly, I reel. It will be awhile before I
can be sure that my arms and legs will
obey my directions.
Without abstinence, this story—and
the other best stories of my life—could
never have been!
—Melisa Ann Burke
Wapato, Washington
Apparently there is something
ing—a hubcap here, a radio
for the seven-foot bird and
antenna there. Then Oscar, a
meaner than a junkyard dog.
shipped him home to Lambert.
300-pound ostrich, stepped seFletcher Haynes, the owner of a
And Haynes's pilfering probdately into Haynes' life. At an
junkyard in Lambert, Missislems were immediately
exotic animal auction Haynes
sippi, was getting ripped off all
stopped. Nothing has been
attended last spring, he spotted
the time, so he bought two Domissing from his junkyard
the four-year-old bird pecking
berman pinschers. He thought
since. "No one's been brave
at whoever came near him.
his problems would be over.
enough to go in there at
Haynes promptly spent $450
But things still kept disappearnight," Haynes laughs.
26 • LISTEN • January 1984
Jeanne Yates, a Wellston, Oklahoma, third-grade teacher noticed
one day that her
students were
getting bored
during social
studies class.
So she decided
to do something about it.
Because the class was studying
banking, she took the whole
group—twenty-nine in all—to the
local bank, where they applied for a
loan of ten dollars. The third graders didn't really have much in the
way of collateral—a few dolls, a
lamp, a box of candy, and a bottle
of perfume—but the bank decided
to take a chance on the young investors.
The students purchased forty petunias with the money, sold the
plants, doubled their money, paid
off the loan—including sixteen
cents interest—and went back to
the nursery for more petunias.
Within a couple of weeks the pintsized entrepreneurs had made a
profit of $227, which they donated
to the Statue of Liberty Restoration Fund in New York.
Pelicans may be able to fly
gracefully and dive like a torpedo
into the water, but in some ways,
at least, they are just plain dumb.
Too often they clamp their beaks
on fish that are attached to fishermen's hooks. And this lack of
discriminating taste usually leads to
a pelican's death.
But there is hope for the pelicans
of Biscayne Bay in Florida. Harry
and Darlene Kelton, who live on a
houseboat, dip the wounded birds
out of the water and take them to a
nearby veterinarian who donates
his services, stitching up the hapless birds.
Then the Keltons take the birds
home to recuperate in the bathroom or in outdoor pens with children's wading pools. In the two
and a half years the Keltons have
been rescuing the pelicans, they
have returned more than 300 to
their natural environment. Most
were the victims of fishhooks.
New Jersey is really getting
tough with drunk drivers. Michael
Tehan, a college sophomore from
Somerville, was found guilty of
drunken driving—on a bicycle of
all things.
Tehan had been arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest,
and drunken driving. He pleaded
guilty to the first two charges but,
with the aid of an attorney, contested the drunken-driving charge.
The court found Tehan guilty,
fined him $550, and sentenced
him to thirty days in the county jail,
to be served on weekends.
Tehan's defense attorney said,
"It's an issue never [before]
brought before the court." He said
that his client would not appeal
the decision. "It's an interesting
case—interesting, but not worth
spending $1000 to overrule," he
"The presence on the roadways
of intoxicated persons on bicycles
may not entail the same degree of
danger as the presence of drunken
drivers of automobiles," Superior
Court Judge Arthur S. Meredith
wrote. "However, the drunken operator of a bicycle may create situations endangering both himself
and others on the roads."
LISTEN • January 1984 • 27
People who say something turns them on
Nearly drive me out of my skin!
How can they always be turned on
When they're not even plugged in!
—Ruth M Walsh
Martha J. Beckman
The answers to the following definitions all rhyme.
"I take it you're new to figure skating, Miss Tudgely?"
Evelyn Mayfield
Can you find forty words in the puzzle below that are associated with space? They may run backward, forward,
vertically, horizontally, or diagonally but always in a
straight line. Circle each word as you find it. The remaining letters will spell two things: the name "Star Trek" fans
give to outer space, and the name of the first female astronaut.
T E 0
C E N 0
Alien, Andromeda, asteroid, astronaut, Big Dipper,
black hole, comet, cosmic ray, Earth, galaxy, gas, infinity,
Jupiter, launch, light year, Mars, Mercury, meteor, Milky
Way, moon, NASA, nebula, Neptune, orbit, Oreol*,
planet, Pluto, robot, satellite, Saturn, Sirius, solar,
space, star, sun [not in the word Venus], universe, Uranus, vast, Vega, Venus
(*A communications satellite)
28 • LISTEN • January 1984
1. A pair of horses
2. Five hundred sheets of paper
3. A ray of sunshine
4. Thick milk
5. A crafty or secret plot
6. A vision in the night
7. The main subject or topic
8. The line where two pieces of cloth sewn together
9. Shine
10. Water heated above the boiling point
11. To think it necessary
12. Too much
13. A loud cry one makes when frightened
14. A body of water flowing along the ground
15. To buy back; to atone for
Ida M. Pardue
The four words below are really eight others—well
Can you unscramble and respell these words so there
are four new words across and four more down? (Hint:
The first word across is scar; the first word down is
Answers to "Rhyme Time"
waapai .91. MOM bl WE9.13S
weep . 1.1. weals •OG weel6 '6 weas .g awalf
weeip .9 maps .9 WE0.10 17 wag .£ WE0.1 •Z Weal
Answers to "Spaced-Out Words"
@P!H Alias ;JaguoJj leu!J all
Answers to "Stirred Words"
S 0 }:1
3 NV1
isten News
Canadian Ski Team Blasted
For Deal With Tobacco Company
A coalition of Canadian health
groups has attacked the Canadian Ski
Association for accepting a five-year,
multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal
from RJR-Macdonald Inc., the Canadian branch of R. J. Reynolds Industries and maker of Canada's secondmost-popular brand of cigarettes.
The coalition, which includes the
Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian
Council on Smoking and Health, and
the Nonsmokers' Rights Association,
wants CSA to cancel its deal with RJR
and find support money elsewhere because the deal would use skiing "to
promote disease."
RJR would sponsor the alpine jumping, freestyle, and Nordic teams. The
cross-country and biathalon teams
have refused to accept the tobacco
company's sponsorship. The crosscountry division, however, has decided
to accept Carling O'Keefe Breweries of
Canada as its sponsor.
CSA's deal with RJR has also been
attacked by the medical team that cares
for CSA's alpine team. Dr. David Stewart, spokesman for that group, said,
"to associate a disease-producing
agent like smoking with a health-producing agent like skiing is terribly unfortunate."
But CSA's executive director, Greg
Hilton, defended the deal, stating that
RJR was the only major company prepared to underwrite the national
"Our job," said Hilton, "is to run
competitions. In order to do that,
we're dealing with a legal company that
employs 1,500 Canadians and pays a
great deal of taxes. It happens to be offering funds at a time when money is
hard to come by."
Responding to Hilton's statement,
Dr. David Nostbaken, director of public
education for the Canadian Cancer Society, declared: "Any fitness organization that is prepared to walk hand in
hand with the tobacco industry in the
1980s has lost sight of its responsibility to all young Canadians and is out of
touch with public opinion."
Beer Sales Level Off
After Twenty Years' Growth
Beer sales in the United States failed
to go up in 1982, the first time in
twenty years such a thing has happened.
And beer sales are unlikely to go up
in the future, according to brewingindustry analyst Robert Natale, quoted
in USA Today. The reasons he cites for
that are stiffer drunk-driving penalties,
higher legal drinking ages in many
states, reduced population growth, and
the older average-age level of the U.S.
Cigarette Sales Take a Dive
After Cigarette Tax Doubled
The brewing industry isn't the only
one whose future prospects are dimming. Cigarette sales in the first quarter of 1983 dropped by 5 percent as
the direct result of Congress's doubling
the cigarette tax in 1982, from eight
cents a pack to sixteen cents. According to the Addiction and Substance
Abuse Report, the tax increase may
prove to be an important health measure.
McDonald's Decides
Not to Serve Alcohol
The franchise owner of a
McDonald's fast-food outlet in Mammoth, California, has decided to withdraw application for a beer and wine license. Issuance of the license would
have made the restaurant the only one
of 6,000 McDonald's outlets in the
United States to serve alcohol to customers, although McDonald's restaurants in Europe have served beer and
wine for some time.
Because of the unique adult customer base of the Mammoth resort
area, the owner, Whitey Andres, had
requested an exception to McDonald's
Corporation policy not to serve alcoholic beverages in its restaurants. But
the announcement that Andres' outlet
intended to serve alcohol aroused the
opposition of Mammoth officials and
residents because it was to be located
only two blocks from a local high
school. Tom Henry, superintendent of
the Mammoth Unified School District,
said that parents were concerned that
teenagers would be employed in the
restaurant and that as many as 400
high-school students would eat lunch
there each day.
"As a result of local opposition,
Andres withdrew his application to
serve alcohol," McDonald's Vice-president Richard Starmann stated. "Our
franchisee decided it was not consistent with the interest of the community
to serve beer and wine. We respect and
support his decision."
More Pregnant Women Quit
Drinking Than Quit Smoking
Pregnant women are more likely to
give up drinking than cigarette smoking, according to a survey sponsored
by the National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the
National Center for Health Statistics.
"One might have expected a greater
reduction in smoking than drinking,"
reported the epidemiologists who conducted the survey, "given the duration
and magnitude of media messages
mounted in the past two decades about
the deleterious effects of smoking
while pregnant, compared with the
more recent and modest messages
against drinking while pregnant."
Says Henry Malin of NIAAA's Division of Biometry and Epidemiology,
"this has shown that, for some people,
it is . . . far more difficult to give up
nicotine than it is to give up drinking."
LISTEN • January 1984 • 29
January 1984
Vol. 37, No. 1
The "Me" Complex
Someone commented the other day that the three most
overused words in the English language are I, me, and myself.
The decade of the 1970s has been called the "me" era, when
people put their own self-satisfaction ahead of all else, a time of
rebellion against the ethic of self-denial.
Obviously this era hasn't ended yet.
Undoubtedly various factors contribute to the development of
an era like this. To put it on a more personal basis, such an era
is nothing more nor less than a massive collection of individual
"me" complexes.
Right here we suggest that one of these causative factors,
perhaps a major one in some instances, could well be the prevalence and widespread use of dependence-producing drugs.
There's no doubt that the longer a person is involved in
drugs, the more introspective he becomes and the more he
tends to develop a "me" complex. The deeper he drops into
dependence on drugs, whatever those drugs might be, the
more self-oriented he becomes.
Of course, people can develop a "me" complex without the
use of drugs. And the more closely they are related to this "me"
syndrome, the more troubles they may encounter and the less
happy and successful they may be in life. But with drugs in this
picture the process may well be accelerated and made worse.
Take the example of a person who is drinking more and more
and is perhaps on his way to alcoholism. The more such a person drinks, the more he expends time, effort, and money on
himself, becoming all the time less aware of people around
him, such as family, friends, neighbors, or business associates.
Such a person puts himself and his wants—and needs, as he
becomes more addicted—before the needs and comforts of
others. He spends his money for himself rather than for home
and family; he orders his time schedule without regard to those
around him. Literally, he has to "do his own thing."
Business time is wasted, family finances are thrown away. Increasingly life centers around himself and his requirements. Indeed, he has a "me" complex.
There are many reasons to avoid becoming involved with
drugs. These reasons may have to do with health, economics,
work, or family. However, one of the strongest and most effective reasons of all is this trend toward selfishness and the shutting out of other people as the drug habit develops.
Editor Francis A. Soper
Associate Editor Gary B. Swanson
Assistant Editor Barbara Wetherell
Audio Services Sherrie Thomas
Editorial Secretary Gloria Meyers
Office Editor Juanita Tyson-Flyn
Art Director Howard Larkin
Design Ed Guthero
Circulation Manager Donald Laing
Customer Relations Henry Nelson
Art and Photo Credits
Cover and pages 17, 27, Ed Guthero/Nery Cruz; pages 2, 5, Jack
Pardue; page 7, Ed Guthero; page 9, DC Comics; page 10, Tim
Mitoma; page 15, H. Armstrong Roberts; page 16, Bruce Reedy;
page 19, Cheryl Johnston Communications; page 20, Darrel Tank;
pages 24, 25, Nery Cruz/Ed Guthero; page 26, Donna Lang; page
28, George Shane; page 31, Joan Walter.
Editorial Consultants
Jack Anders, A.C.S.W., L.C.S.W.; Winton Beaven, Ph.D.;
Carolyn Burns; Don Cooper, M.D.; Robert DuPont, M.D.;
Bruce Freeman; Mervyn Hardinge, M.D., Ph.D.; Rudolph
Klimes, Ph.D.; Donald Mashburn, M.D.; Glen Oetman,
M.B.A.; Irma Vyhmeister, Dr.P.H.; Albert Whiting, M.D.;
DeWitt Williams, Ph.D.
Editorial Office
6830 Laurel Street NW, Washington DC 20012.
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LISTEN monthly journal of better living (twelve issues a year), provides a vigorous, positive, educational approach to the problems
arising out of the use of tobacco, alcohol, and narcotics. It is utilized
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You've seen them. The frosted bottles, the bubbling brew, the beautiful people in city elegance or
the rugged outdoors. Whether a sophisticated
night on the town or a postgame celebration—
alcohol is always there.
Today's advertising often implies liquor and
good times are synonymous. But that's just not
the whole picture.
They don't tell you that alcohol was a factor in
half of the 55,000 deaths on American highways
last year. Or that approximately 50 percent of the
adults who drown are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. They don't mention the broken
homes and lost paychecks.
Young people today are faced with critical deci-
sions in a society where alcohol and drug use is often viewed in a glamorous light.
LISTEN magazine gives the facts on alcohol and
drugs through informative articles and positive
alternatives that can help teenagers make important decisions. If someone you know is making
some important decisions, LISTEN can help.
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