Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Sober in New Orleans": Some reader reactions

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 11:15 AM

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Our cover story this week, Jules Bentley's essay on "Sober in New Orleans," created an immediate and passionate reaction — both pro and con. Some readers praised Bentley for telling his own story as honestly as he could, while others thought it a one-sided look at what sobriety could be.

We're still collecting comments (and would like to hear yours, if you care to email us), but here are a few takeaways from email, web comments and social media. We've redacted the names (except in tweets, which all come from publicly accessible Twitter feeds).

Emails:

So as I read the newest Gambit cover story I was at first entertained, then shocked and frustrated. I understand that might actually be the intention of the author and I actually feel the composition, minus the overall message, is very well written. But it is in the delivery of this message you lose me, and I feel I will not be alone in this matter. To stereotype, misinform, and brew such negativity in an area where life or death is on the table just seems in bad taste. In my experience when someone is looking for a change, reaching out for help to get sober, hearing things from your newspapers authors opinion that "considers people who don't drink to be psychological cripples...uptight, or constitutionally weak, deliberately dull" can be debilitating and scary. In my experience words like this could cause people to drink who where looking for hope and help, which can lead to suffering and death, not to be dramatic, but it's the truth. 
I found your article on Alcoholism in the city insulting to someone who does not drink in this city. Alcoholism is a serious disease and your article seems to have been written by ONE individual that has not seeked treatment and is a dry drunk. New Orleans has SO much to offer that does not revolve around alcohol. I am so offended that I think you need to send an apology to the sober community which is HUGE in this city. 
Jules Bentley's article on being sober in New Orleans was foolish and juvenile. Anyone who quits drinking and hangs out in bars is bound to be miserable. That's akin to being a binge eater and hanging out in the bakery. For those who are truly alcoholic, this article is a disservice. Any drunk who has recovered knows that alcoholics have loads of fun without drinking. Where do they learn how to do that? AA. There is a huge difference between being dry and being sober, the subtlety of which is lost on Mr. Bentley. There is the recovering alcoholic, who can go to bars and see music and have a good time. Then there is the dry drunk who is glum because he/she wants badly to drink and cannot. That is a bad place to be.
Under the jump: more reaction from web comments and social media.

Comments:

Sober life in New Orleans can be so much fun. You will actually remember the amazing music acts you go to see and the parties you attend, you won't constantly battle the consequences (killer hangovers, financing a drinking/drug habit, ruined relationships, bruises and broken bones, steadily declining physical and mental health, the list goes on), you don't have to use the porta potties at jazz fest every 5 minutes, you don't wake up on the sidewalk or in OPP, you have tons of fun activities to do in a vibrant community...this city does not, contrary to popular belief, revolve around alcohol. That's just what the tourists think. Is everyone drunk at the second line outside your house on Sunday? Take a closer look. 
I am a rehab counselor, and the article above was the story of many clients I have spoken with in New Orleans. It is all about opinion, and life experience. One persons sobriety may be hell in New Orleans, and others not so much. Many of the clients I had opted to leave this city entirely. Just because you don't agree doesn't make it false.
So it seems that every single person is different. Some stop drinking with no problem. Some fight it for their entire life. I guess it all depends on how much has alcohol grabbed you by the boo boo, and how well you can keep fighting it. The opinion of one person seems useless. We need a lot of opions,and then we can develop a "mean" so to speak.I love New Orleans, its people, ways, culture, bars, music etc, yet I hate alcohol. I hope this article gets lots of feed back since it will be educational for me.


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