This month's issue of Psychiatric Annals presents a series of articles on the forensic aspects of substance abuse, guest edited by Norman Miller, MD. Because of the association of alcohol and substance abuse with violence and fatal accidents, the question of personal responsibility is raised, despite evidence that these behaviors are secondary to medical disorders (perhaps even biological diseases). The importance of court-mandated treatment is stressed in this series, based on evidence of reductions in recidivism with treatment, whether voluntary or not. In my opinion, we need more demonstrations of treatment's effectiveness to more strongly make the case for its greater availability.
Another summer is coming to an end. It was great, but it went by so quickly. Although fall is probably our best season, it has a bittersweet aspect, as expressed in "September Song." Some among us may have returned to face some harsh realities that developed over the summer. Somehow, the sense of abandon may wane, the denial that seems the same as happiness thins, and life's problems assume a more stark shape as one becomes conscious that fall is easing in.
The cycle of the seasons of life continues. We can live our reality tempered by the notion that a happy life is not feeling good all of the time, but fully experiencing life in the most positive way possible. I'm going to relish the fall, and enjoy nature and my good health, even without the denial that summer nourishes. I'll deal with what I can, giving it all I've got, and leave the rest to "The Force." I'll follow the wisdom of singer Shirley Horn in her classic performance of the Artie Butler-Phyllis Molinary masterpiece "Here's to Life" as she tells us, "I've learned that all you give is all you get, so give it all you've got." Have a full fall.