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Old 03-25-2018, 12:21 PM
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JeffreyAK
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Steven, you completely lost me. Would you agree that there is an amount of substance that could alter one's decision making? I mean here, ability to make rational choices, as rational as you be able to make if you were not under the influence.



Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
That was in response to soberlicious saying: "Would you agree that there is an amount of substance that could alter one's decision making? If you agree that there is an amount, how can one know that amount?"

(sorry but I don't know how to reply with both those quotes showing up as quotes)

JeffreyAK's response assumes that people don't make bad/irrational/troubling/non-optimal choices while sober. There are people who choose to drive recklessly while sober. There are people who engage in violence while sober. There are people who do all sorts of awful things while stone cold sober.

Drunk drivers know they shouldn't drive, whether for the fact that their reaction times and sensory perception may be impaired, or the fact that they'll be dragged through hell if they get caught. But they say "screw it" and drive anyway. They rationalize how they'll get away with it, or how they'll do it safely because it's a short ride on an empty road, or whatever.

Considerably less drunk driving happens now than in the 80s when the big efforts against it started. It's down by something like 50%, even with lowered limits and dramatically increased enforcement (which should reveal more drunk drivers). Did 50% of drunk people stop having their *judgment* impaired by alcohol so that they can now choose to call a cab?

I'm highlighting the term judgment because I think we need to clarify what we mean by the term. Do substances impair our sensory input and processing of that input so that it's harder to judge when to hit the brakes or turn a steering wheel or speed up or slow down or whatever? Absolutely. And they can impair our abilities which might fall into a realm of judgment for all sorts of activities. I think "judgment" is often used to refer to the problems we have with physical activities while intoxicated. But the term "judgment" is also used to describe "moral" choices - whether or not to hit someone, cheat on a spouse, call the cocaine dealer, or even have another drink. I don't think it's right to conflate these two sorts of "judgment."

In The Freedom Model we discuss this conflation, to say that these "moral" choices aren't rocket science or even as tough as parallel parking. If you've agreed to monogamy, it takes no special level of cognitive functioning, -and in fact very little other than to just know that you yourself are in a monogamous relationship- to not cheat. There is no "judgment" involved in terms of some kind of tough logical reasoning, rigorous fact-gathering, and intense mental problem-solving process. We call these matters of judgment, but they aren't. You don't need to be Einstein, and in fact you can fall on the exact opposite end of the mental ability scale as Einstein and still not cheat on your spouse. It takes no "judgment," even thought the choice to cheat falls in the realm of choices we refer to as "poor judgment."

And I'd say the same about calling the coke dealer so you can keep the party going, or having the Nth drink that people always tell me they know will put them into a blackout before they take it.

Anyways, we often demonstrate "poor judgment" with or without substances. We needn't postulate pharmacologically "impaired (moral) judgment" to explain these choices. We also shouldn't conflate these types of choices with those that do take some lightning fast reasoning and fully engaged cognitive ability (like operating heavy machinery).

ETA: I will address the issue of "lowered inhibitions" a little later when I have some time. It is also covered in The Freedom Model.
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