Alexander DeLuca, M.D.
Ana Kosok's Report
on MM at the 4th National Harm Reduction Conference: "Taking Drug Users
Seriously" - Seattle, December 2002
(MODERATION MANAGEMENT) ON THE 4TH NATIONAL HARM REDUCTION CONFERENCE|
The 4th National Harm Reduction Conference, Taking Drug Users Seriously, was held in Seattle from Dec 1-4, 2002. Alcohol was more prominently featured than it ever had been in this field before. MM was prominently featured in the alcohol discussions.
You should know that the Harm Reduction Coalition has been an elder sibling to MM. HRC and director Allan Clear gave us a place for our meetings when the Smithers Institute simultaneously threw us out and fired Dr. Alex Deluca. That was in the summer of 2000. Since then, they have given us office space too. Sometimes we can afford to pay them a little something for rent, sometimes we can't. There is always shelter for us with them.
At the last Harm Reduction Conference, in Miami in 2000, MM was invited to present a workshop; MM Board members Marc Kern, PhD, and Andrew Tatarsky, PhD, and me, your faithful DrummerWoman, went down there and got an enthusiastic reception. As I recall, 2 new meetings grew out of that presentation.
This time we were asked to do another workshop. Cannon and I decided to do one on How to Start an MM Meeting. Rudy Hoeltzel, leader of the longest running MM meeting in Morristown, NJ, has a wealth of material on how to advertise a meeting, so he joined us as a 3rd presenter. I wanted a panel of MM meeting facilitators, so we had a panel of 3 others too: Marc Kern, Aloha Dave, Anita from Seattle, for a total of 6 facilitators.
The audience was sparse, but I was pleased that the 6 of us were interacting with the audience much as we do in live meetings. Karen C was there to support us. Ceara, now on the list, and about to start a meeting in Portland was there.
It looks as though 2 other meetings will grow out of this workshop, 1 in Seattle for homeless men, and 1 in Brazil, to be led by a psychiatrist. He will translate our materials into Portuguese.
The next big thing we did was have a booth. Paula, the Lady of the Conference, had told us MM could have a non-profit booth months ago. We combined resources, MM and all our supporting professionals. This booth represented Moderation Management, AND we sold Patt Denning's new book, Practicing Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, AND Andrew Tartarsky's new book, Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: A New Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Problems. We were to have been able to offer Responsible Drinking by Rotgers, Kern, and Hoeltzel too, but the publisher never delivered the books, so we had no supply to meet the demand.
IN ADDITION, Marc Kern's designer wife Brandy made us 3 big and lovely banners so "Moderation Management" was high above the crowd. AND Marc brought us 100 black t-shirts with the MM logo in white on the back, all extra large, $10 each. AND Marc brought us bags full of buttons, "Moderation in All Things, Aristotle, circa 350 BC" and "Beverages are Alcoholic, Not People." These were $2 each. AND Marc generously donated a few cartons of his book Take Control Now. AND Cannon had made up a new member's booklet just for the conference, $2 each. AND we had supplies of the Leader's Handbook.
We made up fliers advertising the MM workshop described in Part 1, and also for the Major Session, Taming Demon Rum, Effective New Strategies for Problem Drinkers (more on that later), and also for Patt Denning's workshops, and also for our MM meeting. We took names and cards. We put out dishes of M & M's (Jennifer's idea from last year in San Francisco) to attract chocolate hungry conference goers. The booth was staffed continuously by Cannon. Anita, Aloha Dave, and Karen C were also there many long hours. Karen C bought us flowers, just as Weasel had done last year.
The booth also served as a spot for everyone to Meet The Authors. Lines were forming to buy books, get them signed, and chat with the authors. At times there were 4 people working the booth and it still wasn't enough.
What I liked the best: All of our professionals, Patt Denning, Jeannie Little, Marc Kern, Andrew Tatarsky, Fred Rotgers, Reid Hester, and Rudy Hoeltzel had a common endeavor in the booth, a place to meet, interact, share ideas--and get hugs from us.
What I liked second best: there was so much happening at our booth that I began to hear the answer to questions that started "where can I get a....": "Just go to the MM booth."
THE MAJOR SESSION
Four well-known folks combined to give one major session on "Taming Demon Rum: Effective New Strategies for Problem Drinkers." Deborah Lewis of Cornell spoke on New Ways to Reduce Binge Drinking on College Campuses. She had some great photographs to go with her presentation. Dr. Fred Rotgers presented Marc Kern's Moderation Management, What it is and Who is it For ( as Marc was called back to LA for a hot radio show). Fred also presented Responsible Drinking, A New Self-Help Program. Finally, Reid Hester spoke on Internet and Windows Applications for Problem Drinkers: Help as Close as Your Computer. I was the moderator for this major session, which task mainly consisted of flashing little signs at the speakers saying "5 minutes," "3 minutes left."
This session was well-received and well-attended.
OTHER MM ACTIVITIES
On Tuesday night--thanks to Aloha Dave's tireless efforts to find us a free room--we had a comfy two hour jam session. Fred Rotgers had just flown in from Italy, but he joined us for the entire time, as did Reid Hester. There were other Seattle MMers--ErikEskimo and Gardner B. We all get very little face time together so we all really let the fur fly, and aired many concerns. That was followed by a Seattle MM meeting led by Erik. And that was followed by a group dinner, at which I disgraced myself by
throwing all the bread at Gardner B. (I was tired.)
There was a major track throughout the conference, Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, at which all of our professionals who were present presented, some several times. I got to meet dynamic and passionate Chicago MM facilitator Helen Redmond.
WHAT I LEARNED
I have a long way to go to truly understand and deliver Harm Reduction. National Policy is important and I want to learn more about it. If we had money, I would like for our facilitators to get more training. Political differences--gender differences, sexual preference differences, drug vs. alcohol vs. HIV vs. sex workers, etc-- will always appear, but the feeling of community and working together is far stronger.
P.S. At the beginning of the conference, all the names of the registered participants scrolled down a giant screen. One name appeared that struck me. It was DAVID JONES. That was the real name of our dear, departed Weasel.