I have watched the case of Efren Carrillo with compassionate interest. As a local psychotherapist specializing in addiction, I may have a slightly different perspective to present: Mr. Carrillo is a great role model—for us and for our children.
We have in our community and culture widespread drug and alcohol abuse. Who among us has never had a friend or family member touched by addiction? This is something every child has watched in some form. And if not addiction, every family has, at one time or another, experienced a situation that was not their best moment; any of us can recall, with discomfort, these moments. Who also has not been affected by sexual assault or abuse in some form, another subject we like to whitewash with shame and secrecy?
Mr. Carrillo has presented us with an opportunity to teach our children, and to remind ourselves, that we are human. Humans are flawed. We do things to excess, we abuse the power we hold, we behave and speak in ways that are hurtful to our loved ones and others. Part of the beauty of our humanity is that we are able to reflect on ourselves (or have our foibles mirrored to us by someone or something outside us). We have a new start each day, when we can become honest about our shortcomings. We have a chance each day to look at the ways our attempts at self-care were hurtful and ineffective.
Shame. Judgment. No second chances if you make a mistake. Is this what we want to model for our children? If we teach this, we teach our children to lie and hide and hate themselves.
Efren has provided us all an opportunity to teach our children and ourselves that it is not our mistakes that define us or our families. What defines us is how we take responsibility for our weaknesses, how we reach out for help, how we confess our humanness, how we resume our work and fill our role in the family and community despite having messed up badly, and how we make amends and go on to do it differently.
I don't know if Efren will be able to maintain his sobriety, but I believe he deserves a chance. I believe it serves our community to allow our children to watch shame turn to grace—to give them a chance to know they aren't the only ones that have had shameful events in their families; to know that they can and will make terrible mistakes in their lifetime; and, most importantly, to know that from that place of vulnerability, humans make meaning of their suffering and bring something beautiful to the world.
As we have all witnessed at one time or another, addiction is a complicated beast. I wish Mr. Carrillo recovery and the victims of his behavior an amends that brings healing.
Palm Drive Plan
West County needs Palm Drive Hospital—it is a matter of life and death. Instead of a hospital managed by a politically minded and distant district board, the new West County community hospital can be well managed by the professionals who provide the services—doctors, nurses and local business people. A well-written plan, the capital and the creative will of the people served by the hospital are all in place or well on their way.
The district board has failed, but pride stops them from letting others do the job. The individuals who steered the hospital toward the abyss should not be the ones who decide its ultimate fate. Please contact the district board and ask them to rescind the foreclosure, or resign. There are competent professionals ready to step in.
In the article "Killer Corn" (April 16) the author refers to corn as a vegetable. Corn is a grain. Most Americans eat too much processed corn products in the form of snack food, junk food and fast food. Let's not forget that high fructose corn syrup (associated with the increase in obesity and diabetes) is added to most processed, packaged foods. Fresh corn, on or off the cob, is the best bet.
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