THE BEAST I LOVED – INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT DAVIDSON

 

Before abuse hot lines and safe houses were widespread, June Briand shot four bullets into her husband’s head and was sentenced to fifteen years to life. This is the shocking true story of survival—and the intense bond June shared with her pathologically violent husband, a monster who physically and sexually tortured, degraded and dominated her so relentlessly that she refused to believe he was dead even after she killed him.

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW, CLICK THIS LINK

What kind of woman would slay her own husband? What kind of man would drive her to do it? Why didn’t she just leave him? Based on hundreds of hours interviewing June Briand, speaking with her lawyers, and poring over countless pages of court transcripts, police and hospital records, and interviews of virtually every key person involved with this case, the author explores those difficult questions while exposing the twisted dynamics of a relationship that enslaves a woman—and drives her to kill the beast she loved when she was finally out of hope, out of time, and out of her mind. At once terrifying and maddening, heartrending and ultimately exhilarating—including an unforgettable glimpse inside a maximum security prison—THE BEAST I LOVED is a book you won’t soon forget.

Praise For THE BEAST I LOVED: “As gripping as THE BURNING BED.” —John Saul, New York Times Bestselling Author Robert Davidson Author Robert Davidson “A superbly written, riveting—often horrifying—story urgently needed for our time. Davidson—with a reporter’s eye for detail—delivers a powerhouse page-turner about the limits of what a human being can endure…and still come out victorious.

With mesmerizing suspense and the heart-stopping twists and turns of a fast-paced crime novel, here is an important book that ensnares the reader from the first page, and should be read, then read again.” —Susan Page, bestselling author of If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single? and Executive Director of the acclaimed San Miguel Writers’ Conference “The book is gripping; it reads like the best of mystery novels and the reader cannot wait to find out what happens in the next section or chapter. It is an excellent supplemental reading source for the upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses I teach on Family Violence. The author does a superior job of getting the reader into the mindset of a woman experiencing both the battered woman syndrome and learned helplessness…The outcome is totally unpredictable and a reader would be well-advised to avoid the temptation to turn to the end in order to learn the final outcome.” —Raymond Teske, Jr., Ph.D., Professor, Criminal Justice Center, Sam Houston State University Filed Under: eBooks, New Releases, Print Books, Robert Davidson, THE BEAST I LOVED, True Crime, True Crime Books Tagged With: best true crime books, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Murder, murder book, Robert Davidson, THE BEAST I LOVED, True Crime, True Crime Authors, true crime book, true crimes, truecrime

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Freedom to Hyperlink! Read this and be incredulous.

Hey, did you see the story in the newspaper about…..?  You didn’t? Oh, it is kind of interesting. I’ll send you the link.

When we say “link” we mean hyperlink.  You click on it, and it takes you to something.,  Example: Here is a link to Burl Barer’s brilliant website.

My friend Leonard Buschel shared a hyperlink to a news story about Sovereign Health having problems, and Sovereign is suing Leonard for $100,000! They are not suing the newspaper for the story, they are suing Leonard for bringing the story to my attention, and the attention of anyone who reads his weekly Addiction/Recovery e-bulletin,

He didn’t write it, he didn’t publish it, and even if he had, this is still America where we have freedom of the press and freedom of speech — that’s why in the USA, Fox News can just make up stuff and have our President re-tweet it .

But Leonard Buschell links to an undisputed news story in the Orange County Register, and he gets sued for $100,000.

That is not only absurd, it is dangerous.  Your freedom to share, your freedom to read, your freedom to hyperlink is under attack.

Let me tell you something — there is a story on a website that insists that I am part of the George W Bush/Saudi Royal Family/Nazi Conspiracy.   I had never heard of such a thing until I read the story.  It is both stupid and nonsense. Am I insulted by it? Yeah, but so what. I’m not a private person, I’m what is known as a “celebrity” and a “public person.” That means that I don’t have the same right to privacy and protection that you do…by being a “public person” I can expect attacks, insults lies and BS.  And if you link to that story about me being a Nazi co-conspirator, (As a Jew, I found that doubly insulting) I am not going to sue you for $100,000…..so why the hell does Sovereign Health think it can sue Leonard?

Sovereign Health should be ashamed of itself for what appears as nothing more than a petty harassment lawsuit, but it is really much more — it is an attack on freedom of the press even though they are not going after the newspaper. It is an attack on your right to read, your right to share and probably a hell of a lot more.

Leonard says: I am being sued for $100,000 by Sovereign Health of California. Deposition is Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 10am in Newport Beach. Are there any whistleblowers out there courageous enough to come forward to get this place shut down? To prevent any more clients from suffering and other innocent individuals from being abused? This has been going on for almost 3 years. The pressure can be overwhelming at times. Please consider advertising in the Addiction/Recovery eBulletin to keep free speech alive. https://addictionrecoveryebulletin.org/the-lawsuit/

 

The Barer Report: National Addiction Foundation:

 

The following Op-Ed feature is by award-winning investigative journalist Burl Barer.  Mr. Barer has been pro-active in the support of effective prevention and treatment of alcoholism and addiction since 1973 when he served on the Seattle Mayor’s Task Force on Drug Abuse Treatment and Prevention. Often outspoken and admittedly opinionated, the views expressed are his own and intended to foster further conversation and increased dedication to honesty and integrity in the Recovery Industry.

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Thousands of dedicated professionals from diverse disciplines devote their lives and careers to the treatment and prevention of addiction, and they do so with sincerity and the highest standards of professional ethics.  The recent highly publicized scandals involving unethical and/or illegal practices are neither common nor acceptable to most addiction service providers. These scandals impact the entire recovery community by undermining confidence in, and respect for addiction treatment providers and mental health professionals.

One recent revelation of wrongdoing involves “Patient Brokering” or “Body Brokering.”   A widespread method of Patient Brokering uses online websites with toll-free numbers that ring call centers offering to help the suffering person get into appropriate treatment.  There are two similar, yet distinct techniques used by online Patient Brokers as explained by addiction expert and ethics advocate, Paul Hokemeyer, JD PhD.

“First, an independent person or organization creates a generic treatment ‘help’ web site that directs people to a generic toll-free treatment helpline. These phones are typically manned by young people, often only several months in recovery with no clinical experience. The caller, usually the person seeking help or a family member, is asked generic questions and then told they are being ‘assessed’ or ‘evaluated’ by the ‘specialist’. Eventually, a referral suggestion is made to a specific treatment center.”

In truth, what is really happening, explains Dr. Hockmeyer, is that the person seeking treatment – a sales lead – is sold to the highest bidder. “Numerous treatment centers are paying for these leads. Never mind that the caller has not actually been evaluated or assessed for their necessary clinical needs and never mind that the treatment center purchasing the leads are admitting patients that often are clinically inappropriate for their center. It is simply a tactic to put heads in beds. “

The second situation involves a similarly generic website and toll-free helpline, but this time the website and phone number are not owned by an independent party selling a “lead,” but rather owned by specific treatment centers in collusion filtering patients to their own doors.

This brings us to the National Addiction Foundation, self- described as dedicated to helping people with issues of mental health and/or the medical condition of addiction connect with appropriate and affordable treatment options.   The NAF has more red flags than the NFL

“We did have a name change,” confirmed Wendy Hart, Secretary of the National Addiction Foundation. “We were first called the National Assessment Foundation, but the new name more accurately reflects our primary concern and the scope of our services. I am happy to say that we have received our official status as a registered not-for-profit corporation in the State of California.”

As of January 22nd, 2018, the Office of the State Attorney General database of registered non-profits had no entry for the National Addiction Foundation. It is possible, of course, that the online database has simply not been updated. The Foundation’s website has a button to push to make donations. Two donations to the foundation were made as part of my research, but no receipt noting the tax-deductible nature of the donation was provided.

The National Assessment Foundation is registered in California as a small business under the designation of a “club” with three to five members. The President of the National Assessment Foundation/ National Addiction Foundation is Aaron Hart Brower, who, according to public records, is also is the primary contact person at Recovery Bridges, LLC, and Laguna Detox in Costa Mesa.

This raises potential issues of perceived conflict of interest and brings us back again to our concern over “accurate assessment” being an evaluation of your insurance, not your medical condition.

The Foundation maintains high visibility via social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The Foundation’s official website has not been updated since Spring 2017 when it was already claiming non-profit status.  The website provides two phone number for free consultation. The number linked to receiving “Accurate Assessment” took me directly to the main switchboard of the Southern California Treatment Center.

The Foundation’s website kindly assured me that everyone at the National Addiction Foundation is in recovery from issues of mental illness and/or addiction. The rehab industry is the only business that touts having mental illness and/or addictive disease as positive reassuring qualifications.

The website doesn’t say: “Mentally ill drug addicts are standing by to take your call,” but the “about us” section has no information about the people behind this “Foundation” other than that they have all faced the conditions of mental illness and/or addiction.

Do we also want eye doctors with vision problems, oncologists with cancer, or a cardiologist with heart disease?

The upbeat and dedicated young woman answering the toll-free number for “Accurate Assessment” in November 2017 was exactly as Hokemeyer described:  she recently completed drug treatment, had no clinical training whatsoever and was honestly eager to share recovery.
Q: “When doing the free accurate assessment,” I asked, “do you use the ASAM Criteria?
A: “What’s that?”

Q: The standard of “Accurate Assessment” protocols is The ASAM Criteria –guidelines that give clinicians and care managers a way to standardize treatment planning and determine where patients are placed in treatment, as well as how to provide continuing, integrated care and ongoing service planning and management. With the ASAM computer-guided interview, the interview may be conducted by any properly trained team member. Are you one of those properly trained team members?
A: “No, we just ask the client what their problem is and what kind of insurance coverage they have.”

Uh-oh.

Wendy Hart, Secretary of the National Addiction Foundation, was friendly and cooperative in clarifying issues and answering questions when we recently spoke.

“We do use the ASAM Criteria,” explained Hart, “in a modified form. Many of the questions are the same, As the people answering the phone are not clinically trained, we didn’t want to burden them with too much, but yes, it is very important to know exactly the situation and condition is of the person calling. We take great care to make sure we suggest appropriate treatment options.”

Q: Why does the National Addiction Foundation’s phone number for accurate assessment ring the general switchboard for the Southern California Treatment Center?
A: Everyone at the National Addiction Foundation has a vested interest in the recovery industry in one way or another. We are all recovery professional working together in the best interests of those who call us. But we do not automatically send people to the treatment centers where we work. Oh, no. We are far more personalized and thorough than that. We give the client a list of at least three treatment centers that meet their needs,
Q: Do treatment centers pay you a referral fee or bid on your clients?
A: Absolutely not. We do receive donations from treatment centers but there is no quid pro quo. Treatment centers donate to us because they like what we are doing.
Q: Do the treatment centers you recommend have doctors on staff to treat the medical aspects of addiction?
A: Well, all rehabs should have a medical doctor who knows about addiction on call in case you have to take someone to the hospital. Simply having a nurse, especially one who has no training in dealing with addiction is not sufficient.

Conclusion: At this time, I am regretfully withholding endorsement of the National Addiction Foundation because of two significant issues described by Hockmyer in The Underbelly of Addiction Treatment: A look at the Unethical and Illegal Practices of “Saving Lives” published in March 2017 by the Maryland Addiction Recovery Center.

  1. The misleading use of the term, “accurate assessment” – it implies medical/psychological assessment when it is an evaluation of your insurance coverage.
  2. The direct connection between the Foundation and specific treatment centers in which members of the Board of Directors may have a financial interest and/or employment.

Both issues will hopefully be corrected or significantly modified in the near future.

If you or a family member has concerns regarding issues of mental health or questions regarding drug dependence and/or addiction contact a board-certified medical professional with a specialization in addiction.

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Burl Barer is an Edgar Award winner and two time Anthony Award nominee with extensive experience consulting rehab facilities and programs on matters of ethics and client-driven, internally referenced recovery. Barer also serves on the Advisory Board of Writers In Treatment.

 

Drug Dealer’s Big Score: A World Famous Film Festival

His senior year in high school, Leonard Buschel decided to sell drugs and shared this idea with his mother. We doubt it went anything like this:

“I’ve decided upon my career path: I like smoking pot and I’m real good at math. Oh? Don’t you think I should? Yes,the risks are high, but so am I, and beside the hours are good.

“If you must sell drugs, be a dealer to be trusted, and watch your back — you don’t want to get busted!”

“Busted? Oh no, that wouldn’t be fun, chased by the cops, and a life on the run, and what about fatherhood if I have a son… or two?”

What would Moses do?

Moses was chased, not chaste, and neither was Buschel…he and his pals raised all kinds of hell.  Then, one day, not wanting to be arrested, Leonard ran off to where his urine was tested — Betty Ford was the name of a President’s wife, and she was so drugged up it caused national strife. (Her hubby, too, was a recalcitrant drinker but she took the heat so he wouldn’t look like a stinker)

Three days and one step later, Leonard had an epiphany for the better. “I don’t need all this drug-addled strife, in fact, I think I can really enjoy life. I will follow my passion — cinema is in fashion – so I say, no more puffing and gulping my way to a stupor! I’ll have a film festival, won’t that be super?”
Super indeed and like Topsey it grew — larger and larger, so what could he do, but take it worldwide where it became a hit too!


Now filmmakers line up by the door eager to be part of Leonard’s Big Score — Recovery in all of its forms, from halfway houses to Ivy League dorms.  Festival #9 was a thrill for the audience and the projectionist, proving Leonard Buschel a recovery exhibitionist.

This year’s festival was as good as ever, and #10 next year will be even better.

Women Do NOT Have Friends for Life; Men Have Guys they Know.

We profess love for our friends, but often what we think is “love” is not love, nor even true friendship

“…the love which sometimes exists between friends is not (true) love because it is subject to transmutation; this is merely fascination. This kind of love is originated by the accidental conditions of life. This is not love, it is merely acquaintanceship; it is subject to change. Today you will see two souls apparently in close friendship; tomorrow all this may be changed. This is not love; it is the yielding of the hearts to the accidents of life. When that which has caused this ‘love’ to exist passes, the love passes also; this is not real love.”  – Abdu’l-Baha

What we call love and unity are simply acquaintanceship and situational familiarity.

There is great wisdom in the advice, “Beware of those who would be your friends too soon.”

Oh how often indeed have I invested relationships with a depth that exists only in my own longing.

Children create imaginary friends. Adults create imaginary friendships.   Both reveal the tenacity of our human desire to connect and stay connected, even with those with whom the connections were, in the final analysis, ephemeral and fleeting.

What is the basis of lasting friendships?

Being worthy of the trust of others is the basis for all lasting friendships

 

 

INSIDE THE RUSSIAN MAFIA

In my many years as a true crime writer and investigative journalist, I know that the best cops can think like criminals, and sometimes they are the same people. The recent book Betrayal in Blue exposes the blatant criminality of Michael Dowd and Ken Eurell when they were in the NYPD. Those guys could think like criminals because they were criminals.

I’ve also learned that most law enforcement officers and agents are fundamentally incapable of thinking as if they were major mobsters or small time crooks. That’s good news for them and their families. It is the very lack of criminal mindset that hinders investigations and often has well meaning and dedicated detectives spinning in circles. [here comes a mixed metaphor/simile mash-up for which you must brace yourself like Jerry’s Kids on Labor Day Weekend]..and chasing red herring down a dead end street into a box canyon constructed of false assumptions and erroneous preconceptions.

When it comes to any organized or disorganized crime investigation, you are blessed if you can get someone on the inside to teach you what’s real and what’s media hype, criminal exaggeration or the cops having it all wrong to begin with.

Example:

More than thirty people were charged by federal authorities in a massive illegal gambling, money laundering, and extortion scheme tied to Russian organized crime, according to an indictment in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York.

The operation allegedly involved two criminal organizations, which catered to millionaires, billionaires, and poker pros.

That sounds interesting – how about this?

Miami becomes ‘Little Moscow’: FBI says Russian mob eclipses Italian Mafia in South Florida

Who is going to know more about the Russian Mob than someone who was raised on Russian, and born into the world of international crime? Stanley Nechayev meets that criteria, he even lives in South Florida, and has enough symbolic body art to validate his career.

Stan won’t talk to just anybody. I’m not just anybody. I’m the legendary Burl Barer, and he talks to me.

He would also talk to Howard Lapides because Howard survived 89 days with Paula Abdul, and that earns the respect of anyone who has lived life on the edge,

Listen this Saturday 2pm Pacific Time / 5pn Eastern Time when a retired Russian mobster who is a loyal listener of our show, joins us on True Crime Uncensored.

INSIDE THE RUSSIAN MAFIA

In my many years as a true crime writer and investigative journalist, I know that the best cops can think like criminals, and sometimes they are the same people.  The recent book Betrayal in Blue exposes the blatant criminality of Michael Dowd and Ken Eurell when they were in the NYPD. Those guys could think like criminals because they were criminals.

I’ve also learned that most law enforcement officers and agents are fundamentally incapable of thinking as if they were major mobsters or small time crooks.  That’s good news for them and their families. It is the very lack of criminal mindset that hinders investigations and often has well meaning and dedicated detectives spinning in circles.  [here comes a mixed metaphor/simile mash-up for which you must brace yourself like Jerry’s Kids on Labor Day Weekend]..and chasing red herring down a dead end street into a box canyon constructed of false assumptions and erroneous preconceptions.

When it comes to any organized or disorganized crime investigation, you are blessed if you can get someone on the inside to teach you what’s real and what’s media hype, criminal exaggeration or the cops having it all wrong to begin with.

Example:

More than thirty people were charged by federal authorities in a massive illegal gambling, money laundering, and extortion scheme tied to Russian organized crime, according to an indictment in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York.

The operation allegedly involved two criminal organizations, which catered to millionaires, billionaires, and poker pros.

That sounds interesting – how about this?

Miami becomes ‘Little Moscow’: FBI says Russian mob eclipses Italian Mafia in South Florida   Stan2

Who is going to know more about the Russian Mob than someone who was raised on Russian, and born into the world of international crime? Stanley Nechayev meets that criteria, he even lives in South Florida, and has enough symbolic body art to validate his career.Stan tats

Stan won’t  talk to just anybody.  I’m not just anybody. I’m the legendary Burl Barer, and he talks to me.

He would also talk to Howard Lapides because Howard survived 89 days with Paula Abdul, and that earns the respect of anyone who has lived life on the edge,

Listen this Saturday 2pm Pacific Time / 5pn Eastern Time when a retired Russian mobster who is a loyal listener of our show, joins us on True Crime Uncensored.  

How I was restored from insanity to eccentricity

Due to a combination of ADD and what my neurologist termed a “massive traumatic brain injury in infancy,” in order to function “normally,” I require stimulants. lots of them.  I take enough stimulants by prescription to launch a space station — the older I get, the more I need  My doctor wanted to move me from my current stimulant to Methamphetamine (yes, it is a real legal medication)

I knew for years that stimulants focused me, slowed me down and increased my attention.  If I didn’t have them, I was scattered, erratic, and so depressed that, as one specialist told me, “a good mood to you would be suicidal depression to anyone else.”

I took stimulants from the street and they worked. When my family found out, they insisted that I stop.  I stopped and then I was told that they could tell I was on drugs because I was spacey, erratic, couldn’t focus etc.  So, I went back on them and was praised for doing so well.  It was crazy.

Two weeks before I entered Beit Teshuva, November 2004, I was living just off Crack Alley between Sherwood street and the Commercial Center, home of the Las Vegas Lounge, aka the transgendered center of Sin City.

I had been without my mental health medication since losing my insurance Oct 30th 2003, I was being evicted from my apartment for playing loud Mariachi music at 6 am every morning. (a false accusation, I assure you), my former roommate had stolen my identity and looted my bank accounts of every cent and committed bank fraud in my name. I was broke, mentally unstable, and had just walked downstairs to find my dog, Isis, performing oral sex on a girl named “Froggy” while a 19-year-old prostitute from Texas was shooting Heroin.

I didn’t invite any of these people over, and I had no idea they were in my home until I went downstairs

Not wanting to appear inhospitable, I nonetheless objected to this get-together. My appeals fell on heavily medicated ears.Due

“Don’t get uptight,” croaked Froggy, “We’ll hit the house. She pointed to her purse on the couch arm. “There’s a quarter ounce there. Take it. It’s yours.”

I took it, turned, and went back upstairs to hide under the covers

Within the next few days, my Mariachi motivated eviction on the horizon, I moved my remaining valuables into the closet of someone else’s apartment down the street, and then stood in front of Sunrise Hospital and prayed with total sincerity.

“God, unless you have a better idea by 7 pm tonight, I’m going to do whatever it takes to be admitted to the psych ward.”  I was serious. I had tried everything to get the medications required to keep me somewhat sane and neither suicidal nor dangerous to others.  Nevada mental health refused me because “If you don’t take them, you can sell them.”

“I don’t want to sell them, I want to take them. I need them.”

“Sorry, we are forbidden to give anyone those precise medications.”

Well, It was approaching 7 pm, and I was ready to start smashing windows and babbling like a crazy person. Hell, the cops won’t shoot me, I’m not Black.  At 6:45 pm my brother, Stan, called my cell phone. He’d been talking to my friend John Hill whose daughter recovered from her drug related problems at Beit T’shuva, a rather wacky odd-ball rehab run by a former felon turned Rabbi, his wife, and a crew of real life certified professionally trained counselors.  Would I go? Sure, but I have to talk to them first because there are two things I need assurances of, or I’m opting for the psych ward.

  • Don’t try to break my denial of my alcoholism, because I don’t drink, can’t stand the smell of alcohol, and I have a fear or drunks. from having been sexually abused by a guy with booze on his breath when I was 15. I went to a rehab in the 80’s where I was forced to lie and say I was an alcoholic. It was a dreadful experience, and I wouldn’t want to relive it.
  • Help me get my mental health medications from a real psychiatrist

Okay, I’m ready to go to L.A when my transgendered pal, Adele, asks if she can walk my dog. Sure. She walked the dog and came back without her.  Apparently, she left the dog as collateral for some meth she wanted on credit. She wouldn’t give me a straight answer on ISIS’s whereabouts, and I had to leave Las Vegas without her.

My first day at Beit T’shuvah could have been a disaster. I desperately wanted to do everything right, pay attention, and be the exemplary “student” or whatever I was supposed to be.  I’m sitting in some group and someone is talking and I’m trying to pay attention when I get the first warning signs of a seizure – not a grand mal, but the little ones that don’t last long, but knock me out cold.  They are going to think I’m nodding off from drugs, or that I’m not paying attention. I left the group and went up to my bunk and lied on my bed. When a counselor, Adam Mindel, came up to ask me why I left the group, I told him tearfully that I didn’t want to be humiliated by having s seizure.  I was braced for insults and berating…but he said, “Oh, Okay. I understand. You just rest till you feel better.”

Wow.  That was cool.  Then they assigned me, my own professional counselor.  This was an answered prayer. I feared some bombastic judgmental ex-drunk drill Sargent out to bust my denial and all that crap. Nope. I got Leonard Lee Buschel. Thank you, God!

Leonard was exactly what I needed. Someone who listened, rather than waiting for the opening to inject aphorisms and rehearsed catechisms from the Oxford Group via Bill W.  We had a conversation, like two guys with similar interests and backgrounds will do when they meet.

We also were among the few adult males in the building who didn’t utilize “Fucking” as the English language’s universal modifier. In fact, while working in the kitchen I replied to a question from a “senior resident“ in a most polite and courteous manner. “Don’t fucking talk to me like that,” objected the equivalent of an upper classman, “I’m not some fucking intellectual like fucking Leonard Buschel.”

“I fucking concur with your fucking self-appraisal,” said I, mustering all my fucking sincerity.

I got my psychiatric meds, a custom crafted program of exactly what I needed emotionally, and best of all I got Leonard Buschel as my counselor.  I never felt like he was trying to “fix me” or “change me” from whom I was prior to showing up there.

In the years prior to my Las Vegas meltdown, precipitated by a surprize divorce from my wife of 29 years, I established a firm and unassailable reputation for integrity as one of America’s premier investigative journalists. I entered the rarified ranks of such luminaries as Agatha Christie, Mickey Spillane, Quentin Tarantino and Jack Olsen when I won the prestigious Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America and was nominated twice for the Anthony Award at the World Mystery Convention. In both my private and personal life, I am, in the words of Secret Service Special Agent Lyle Workman, “A man worthy of trust.”

Of the many joys of having Leonard as my counselor, the most encouraging one was that he trusted me. This is very significant because many people, even counselors, can fall victim to assuming that everyone in a rehab is a liar and a thief.

One night, after Leonard’s shift, and before my bed time, we were going to go down the street to the Jazz Bakery.  At the last minute, Leonard had to cancel and said that I had permission to go without him. “If anyone questions you, have them call me for confirmation.”

Sure enough, I was stopped at the door leading out to Venice Blvd.by the new female counselor who asked me “where do you think you are going at this hour?”

“Jazz Bakery,” I said.   “Leonard has given me permission.”

The female counselor shrugged her shoulders with familiar minimum wage incredulity before calling Leonard for confirmation, and then saying, “Well Leonard has a reputation for doing strange things, and I guess he’s done it again. Ok. Go. Have fun.”  The jazz band, by the way, was most enjoyable. Honestly.

After I was at Beit T’shuvah for maybe two weeks,  Leonard gave me a pass to go back to Las Vegas to look for my dog.  The rest of Beit Teshuvah’s counseling staff was drop jawed by this most peculiar deviation from established norms – I was too new to return to Sin City because the Temptations would lead me to a ball of confusion, and I would never return, no never return, and my fate would be unlearned.

Before I left, Leonard gave me his personal Sobriety Pin and asked me to bring it back to him and not lose it.  I promised him I would and as I was getting my meds, it was easy to promise to stay off street drugs, too.

Leonard demonstrated the value of trust and reinforced integrity. I promised to return on the following Monday and test clean when I did. People were stunned that I kept my word — I am a man of my word, dammit.

Leonard’s best advice to me at Beit T’shuvah came at about three months into my four months stay:  “Burl, you thrive around creative productive people, using or not. Illness is more contagious than health. I think this place has too much toxicity for you. I suggest we get you the hell of out here,”

I went from that conversation with Leonard to a meeting with SONY, and came back with a contract for a “tie in novel” to an upcoming motion picture.  Yes, I delivered the novel on time and it did very well.  Leonard and I remain friends, and I’m honored to work with him on the advisory board of Writers in Treatment, producers of the Reel Recovery Film Festivals, and publishers of the highly successful Addiction/Recovery E-Bulletin on which I serve as a truth seeking investigating journalist and occasional contributing editor.

I was blessed, honestly, to have Leonard as my counselor at Beit Teshuva. He rightly perceived that I was neither afflicted with alcoholism or the disease of addiction, and my drug problem was primarily a lack of the appropriate ones rather than overuse of inappropriate ones. – and instead of lecturing me on what to do or not do in my life, he, as a loyal friend encouraged me to successfully make decisions in my own best interest, and in the best interests of those whom I love.  Nobody is perfect.  Perfectionists seldom accomplish anything because nothing is perfect.  Striving for excellence is successful because excellence Is attainable. If excellence were Leonard Buschel’s goal, he certainly attained it.

Copyright 2017 Burl Barer. All rights reserved.

 

Letters such as this make it all worthwhile. A TASTE FOR MURDER

When  Frank Girardot and I wrote “A Taste for Murder,” we knew we were taking several risks. We agreed to write it in a conversational style as we believed doing so would engage the reader more easily.

We also agreed to end the book with our personal commentary based on significant research and our own experiences investigating similar true crime cases where incest and other forms of inappropriate or unlawful sexual conduct played a key role.  We knew this last part was exceptionally risky as truth does not always fit comfortably with people’s preconceptions and we wanted neither to upset nor offend but to enlighten.

Today, Frank and I received the following letter from Carolyne Williams via our publisher, Wild Blue press. 

This book brought the effects of sexual abuse into a scope beyond my previous knowledge. I already knew there were pain and shame connected to the abuse, but not because the victim “enjoyed” anything. That they also experience shame for that is not something I knew about and it breaks my heart. It is truly a “soul murdering” crime.

The Author’s Comments should be a “must read” for everyone. You went beyond “telling the story”. Hopefully, many people have been helped, are being helped, or will be helped because this book was written.

I will highly recommend the book. It shows the remarkable damage done to the personality of the victim.

WOW.  A letter such as this makes all the hard work worthwhile. Thank you,  Carolyne Williams, for taking the time to read, appreciate and share with us,

On behalf of Frank, and everyone at Wild Blue Press who helped put the book together, I express gratitude from the bottom of my heart

Frank Girardot and Burl Barer