alcohol and caffeine

Sponsors and Sponsorship

In the early days of AA, the fellowship was really anonymous. The only way you even found out that there was such an organization was to have someone invite and escort you to a meeting. This person was your sponsor, and became responsible for showing you the ropes, making sure that you got to meetings, and so forth. Later on, after Bill Wilson wrote the Steps and they were adopted by AA, sponsors began guiding their “pigeons” (as newcomers were called back then) through the process that has since become pretty-much standard for all 12-Step groups.

Over time, the relationship of newcomers and sponsors has changed a bit, but the essential idea behind sponsorship has not. A sponsor is a person with substantial sobriety or clean time, who agrees to help a newcomer through the steps. And that is all a sponsor is, as far as the fellowships are concerned. He or she may become a friend and mentor in other respects, but the principal responsibility remains the same — to insure that the “sponsee” makes it through the first few months of sobriety with the skills to continue on the path to recovery. [Read more…]

Feds Declare Alcohol/Caffeine Products Like Four Loko Dangerous, Illegal

“FDA does not find support for the claim that the addition of caffeine to these alcoholic beverages is ‘generally recognized as safe,' which is the legal standard,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, the FDA's principal deputy commissioner in a written statement. “To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern.”…

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Four Loko Manufacturer Ingenuous At Best, Liar At Worst

An article in today's New York Times includes a remark by Jaisen Freeman, a founder and the managing partner of Phusion Projects, which manufactures Four Loko, the caffeinated alcoholic beverage that has been banned (so far) in three states because of its demonstrated high potential for alcohol overdose and poisoning.

He stated, “We still believe that combining caffeine and alcohol is safe – if that weren't the case, Irish coffees and rum and colas would be under scrutiny as well.”

The fact is — and we can assume that Mr. Freeman knows this as well as anyone — a 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko at 12% alcohol contains five times as much alcohol (2.82 ounces) as the average rum and coke or Irish coffee. (The 6% version contains only two-and-a-half time as much.) And, while even a heavy drinker might take two or more hours to consume five drinks, the sweetened “alcopop” Four Loco is frequently chugged, and nearly always finished in far less time than that.

So, is Mr. Freeman simply ignorant about the stuff he produces, or is he — ah — bending the “facts” to his own purposes? ¬†You be the judge.