PFLAG 2020 Brisbane Summit: Dr Wendell’s prognosis
By Miles Heffernan
Booze, Pingas, Charles, Crack, Meth, G, Tabs, Mary Jane, Whiz, K and Hammer
These are the nicknames on our dance card that some of us catch up with daily, weekly, the odd Sunday before a public holiday or for just a splash at new years.
Are we turning to our party treats for a sense of fun and adventure? Is it a harmless pregnant pause into an otherwise dreary week of all work and no play? Do these pills, powders, potions and elixirs make us better lovers, friends and communicators? Or are they a creeping lantana on our already bruised psychology, whose presence is felt more strongly on a Tuesday than that vacant euphoria between 3am and 4am on a Sunday?
At the recent Q News 2020 Summit, Doctor Wendell challenged our belief these party treats are a requisite wing man to our weekend (or our daily routine). He is asking us to question why we find ourselves munted?
Is it because that it just the way we roll? Dr Wendell suggests “we need to dispel the notion that we need drugs or alcohol for fun. Let’s have a good time and remember it. Let’s connect with our friends, not to be disconnected”. Do we embrace overindulgence (perhaps a hearty chortle at your mate’s G-nap) – He was sooo McKenney’d last night?
Or should we cut away the varnish and come to terms with the fact it is garden variety escapism where being smashed is easier than facing the demons of being different? In doing so, are we perpetuating our own oppression by being drunk and drug-addled? Do our feelings of rejection, failure and secrecy overpower honesty, smothering openness, connection and self worth on the canvas?
Asked another way, are we better at being smashed than those who prefer the more traditional John Howard endorsed ‘man and woman’ unions? Some argue that we leave them in the dust.
What alternatives are there to the sweet caress of your 20th Bacardi Breezer? Where can we go where excess isn’t the norm? When does a night end without being loose that is not about as entertaining as a game of canasta with your favourite stamp collector?
These issues, with no easy answer, were grabbed with both hands by Dr Wendell’s session on Drug and Alcohol Abuse? This is not about being a nanny state Dr Wendell stresses. “The best person who should decide what is the appropriate use is the person themselves, weighing up the pluses and the minuses, and cutting out the denial of those minuses” he suggests.
Some of the outcomes that Dr Wendell’s groups came up with were:
Regulating and legalising the supply of illicit drugs for better control and harm minimization and to disconnect drugs from the profit of crime and the ongoing guarantees of crime that goes with the supply.
Develop new vehicles for socialising that are both fun and drug and alcohol free or moderately used;
Better access awareness of the resources that are available already to support people who abuse drugs and alcohol;
Social policy of inclusion and creating a genuine reduction in discriminatory values and therefore pushing self sabotage out the door;
Assisting people to find their own true moderation;
Addressing self worth and self accepting issues and having support mechanisms to reduce the desire to escape.