Monday, February 03, 2014

Ian Thorpe found dazed, confused on a Sydney, Australia street - He has elected to go to rehab

Confronting addiction is commendable, rehab is a courageous decision, being honest about it helps others.

I am just going to come out and say this: Australians feel intense shame over the "A-word", the other "A-word" and finally the "R-word" Read as Alcoholism, Addiction and Rehab. Look how Ian Thorpe's mouthpiece aggressively tries to keep alcohol or drug abuse out of the story.

Read between the lines from this article:
SYDNEY (AP) -- The manager of Olympic swimming great Ian Thorpe says the five-time gold medalist is in rehab after being found disoriented on a Sydney street early Monday morning by police responding to a call from residents.

James Erskine told the Australian Associated Press that Thorpe was affected by a combination of antidepressants and the painkillers he was taking for a shoulder injury.

Police spoke to Thorpe after residents near his parents' home in Panania in Sydney's southwest reported a man allegedly breaking into a van. He was taken to Sydney's Bankstown Hospital for assessment and was later transferred to a rehab facility.

''He is in rehab for depression,'' AAP quoted Erskine as saying.


As mentioned above, the hospital sent him to a rehab center and NOT a depression treatment center. Is that a red-flag or what?

Huge drinking culture in Australia and that can't be denied. 8% of the population has been beaten up or assaulted by a drunk and other alcohol related statistics there are just as dismal. Australian consume as much alcohol as Russians and even their beer ads in the United States brag how big their Beer cans are.

Australian Alcohol Stats: [Link]

So, we just lost Academy Award winning actor Phillip Seymore Hoffman over the weekend after he was found dead with a needle in his arm and perhaps as many as 50-bags of heroin under his bed.

Here are some quotes from users and ex-users about being an addict:

"All any drug amounts to is tweaking the incoming data." -- William Gibson

"I ain't no preacher but drugs have killed a lot great men" -- Neil Young

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge..." -- Edgar Allen Poe

“Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self esteem.” -- Kurt Cobain 
“Selling my soul would [have been] a lot easier if I could just find it.” -- Nikki Styx from The Heroin Diaries
“I think if you were Satan and you were settin around tryin to think up somethin that would just bring the human race to its knees what you would probably come up with is narcotics.” -- Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men 
“Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.” -- William S. Burroughs


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your article I am a swimmer also, and have dealt with disabling depression and/or the side effects of antidepressants throughout my life. I love swimming, been a USMS competitor, but most of all swimming has preserved my sanity.

I read Ian's autobiography, This Is Me, last year. As I follow the developing story over the past week, it is disheartening to see Ian's bold confessions from his book be taken out off context to make juicy headliners.

Please note that the Hofffman was admitted for rehab in 2013, and is no longer with us. Of all times, this is one when Australian media ought to quietly shelter Ian as he walks through this. For anyone who has not experienced the ongoing depression, we know this is a crucial time for him.

Tony Austin said...

I have a close friend in the USMS that swims for the same reasons. He told me it's better than Prozac but he has to keep swimming.

The stats for life long sobriety after rehab are very low. (emphasis on life-long. Apparently people need "tune-ups".

I think the best way to shelter him is to commend him and let him heal.

Anonymous said...


As Tony said above, "I think the best way to shelter him is to commend him and let him heal."

Spot on! And this is what AA will do, they will welcome him with open non-judgmental arms.

Tony Austin said...

Thank you, I am very flattered.

Though I am not an expert I too think social support post rehab in the form of Alcoholic Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous and other socially oriented groups that provide support and assistance post rehab are vital.

I just found out that the town I border is one of the hubs for American heroin marketing & distribution. In that town there is also a liquor store on every corner.


Last night Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air replayed two interviews with Phillip Seymour Hoffman. the man was accessible, humble and self deprecating. He shared some brilliant insights on how to approach a part and really illustrated how every drug death is a loss. This guy was only half-way through his career.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,

I think your alcohol statistics are incorrect. I understand that there exists a stereotype in the US that Australians are excessive drinkers, but the data suggests otherwise.

The following page lists alcohol consumption using the most recent data from the World Health Organisation.

Australia is ranked 44th, with the average Russian consuming 50% more than the average Australian. Australia has lower consumption than Hungary, South Korea, Portugal, Ireland, UK, Denmark, France, Austria, Finland, Spain, etc.

This of course doesn't mean that the level of alcohol consumption in Australia is acceptable, but it isn't perhaps as severe as you imagine it to be.

As for "Australian" beer ads in the US, that has no connection to Australian drinking culture. The brands sold in the US are virtually non-existent in Australia. The large beer cans are not sold here. The beer is sold by a multinational corporation, the advertising is commissioned by a non-Australian company and produced by a non-Australian company for an American market.

I'm sorry for all the criticism, but one further point. Rehab does not necessarily imply alcohol addiction. Other possibilities could include reliance upon prescription painkillers used to treat lingering injuries. We don't have enough information at this stage, and we're not entitled to such information, so I think it's unfair to make accusations of alcoholism or really anything right now.