Drug Abusers Delude Selves
Guest Author, Anne Kass, - a retired District Judge of Albuquerque, New Mexico
Art Linkletter once wrote a book, Kids Say the Darndest Things. A sequel might be Grown-Ups Who are Involved in Divorce Say The Darndest Things, especially grown-ups who have alcohol or drug problems.
One father with a severe drinking problem denied that his use of alcohol had any negative impact on his children. He said, "It doesn't bother them. I've been drinking like this since they were born. They're used to it."
Another father agreed to drug testing to prove his ex-wife was, "lying" when she claimed that he was using drugs. The next day he refused to release the test results. He said he had a constitutional right not to incriminate himself. He was right about that. He could not be compelled to provide evidence that would prove his own guilt.
However, the constitutional right against self-incrimination deals only with criminal charges. In civil court the judge is allowed to draw inferences from one spouse's silence if the other spouse presents credible evidence on the issue. When the man's wife testified that he had been arrested for drug possession and that she had seen him use and sell drugs, his silence simply meant her testimony was unchallenged. The only evidence before the court was that he used drugs. When he was told the ruling, he fired his lawyer. He said he reckoned he needed a tougher lawyer.
Substance abusers often blame others for their problems. A better solution would have been for him to enroll in a drug treatment program.
One unforgettable drug case involved a father who insisted that his wife should submit to drug testing for cocaine use. She agreed, but said they both had used drugs so they both should be tested. He accepted the challenge. He tested positive for cocaine. The next day he returned to the laboratory with a quart of milk and a box of Cheerios. He asked to have them tested for cocaine. Sure enough, both the milk and the cereal contained cocaine. He then insisted that someone had sneaked into his house and laced the milk and cereal with cocaine. I couldn't help thinking, "Don't you just hate it when that happens?"
There was other circumstantial evidence that drugs were a problem in this family. Both parents held high paying jobs. They had only one child. They owned virtually nothing, and their home had three mortgages against it. Their credit cards were at the limits. They had no rational explanation for what they had done with all that money. The father's report that only the mother had a problem was not at all reliable.
People who use drugs or alcohol often seem surprised when others question what they say, but one casualty of substance abuse is credibility. These folks can come up with amazing rationalizations for their behavior. Their judgment is so impaired they can't believe it when no one else "buys" their stories.
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