Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Alcoholic Story

This week, in the Frankfurt area, a case wrapped up in court.  The basic description of the episode is that "Joe", an asylum-seeker, lived in a immigration center in the Frankfurt region.  "Joe" returns back one evening to the center.....goes into tirade....tears up the place....causes a fair amount of damage, and cops come to arrest "Joe".  I should note that the same cops looked at "Joe's" room in the center and found some inappropriate things (I'll get to this detail later).

So the German judge had the whole thing explained to him.  You see...."Joe" has a alcohol problem, and was fairly drunk when he did all this tirade business and damage.

Maybe "Joe's" attorney thought this would all help to explain things and settle the episode.

The judge finally says 'enough', and says that "Joe" needs to go to the German version of Alcoholics Anonymous.  "Joe" basically says that he didn't think that would work, and he didn't really care that much for treatment.

The judge then can do it the easy way, or we can put you into a full-scale in-patient situation and you don't come out for a number of weeks.

I sat there pondering over this.  "Joe" isn't a German, and I'd take a guess that "Joe's" German language ability on a scale of one to at best a three (my humble guess).  These Alcoholic Anonymous meetings tend to get chatty and wordy.  You can imagine "Joe" just sitting there in a group of twelve Germans, and mostly getting ten-percent of the whole discussion.

The judge will ask for an evaluation in a couple of months, and the AA-chief will respond that "Joe" attended but no one thinks that he got much out of the episode....because "Joe" doesn't speak that much German.   What the judge does next is anyone's guess.

So, we turn to the inappropriate stuff in "Joe's" room.  It's all right-wing extreme stuff....stickers, music, etc.  I should note, "Joe" is from a society which would be typically the target of right-wing extremism.  So the cops asked "Joe" about this.  All "Joe" could say was that he used the stuff to jab psychologically at  other residents of the immigration center.

I came to the end of the story and had this odd question....which the cops and judge apparently didn't want to ask.  For the amount of alcohol that "Joe" was consuming daily (he appeared to me to be a daily binge drinker)....."Joe" needed cash.  The immigration folks aren't paying much on pocket money per month.  To be a heavy drinker like "Joe" is talking about.....daily.....then in an average month, you'd need at least 150 to 250 Euro....even for the cheap stuff.  Where exactly is "Joe" getting the money?

Germany has this one odd feature about life, which most 'new' residents aren't that familiar with.....everywhere you look, there's alcohol.  Beer, wine, cognac, fruit-beer, ale, Gin, Ouzo, vodka, whiskey, Tequila, etc.

I can remember arriving in Frankfurt in 1978, and coming to grasp that there are literally thousands of various choices of alcohol to consume.  Unless you sat down and really used some common sense, you'd easily end up like "Joe".

Maybe "Joe" will get some benefit out of the AA meetings and curtail his drinking habits.....but I kinda doubt it.

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