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redshark63
01-26-2007, 12:00 PM
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070126/SPORTS0104/701260370/1129/rss15

'My alcoholism cost me '

Once an All-Star pitcher, later a Tigers radio voice, Lary Sorensen is trying to put his life back together.



Lynn Henning / The Detroit News


CLINTON TOWNSHIP -- He had two dreams growing up as a no-frills, working-class kid from Macomb County. Lary Sorensen wanted to be a big league pitcher. Secondly, but not secondarily, he wanted to be a baseball radio announcer, a man who one day might do what one of his heroes, Ernie Harwell, did so famously.

If only life had leveled off, jet-airliner-style, for a man after two dreams were realized. If only the dreams had not given way to the nightmare, which reached its most ghastly stage two years ago as Sorensen sat in a state prison in Baraga, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

"It was more like, 'How could I have let my life get so far out of hand to have gotten here,' " said Sorensen, sitting on a sofa in the simple apartment where he lives, alone. "I'm just fortunate I didn't hurt anybody -- except, of course, my family and those who expected more of me."

Left unsaid is that he had hurt someone else: himself.

An ex-Tigers radio broadcaster who pitched in the majors from 1977-88, Sorensen has been free since June 7, the day he completed a three-month stretch of boot camp at Saline as the last phase of a long sentence -- his court-ordered punishment following a sixth arrest for drunken driving.

More gratifying to him than the nearly eight months that have passed since he was paroled are the two years since Sorensen last had alcohol. Not that those months at three state prisons can be dismissed.

During his final stage, at the Saline boot camp, Sorensen was at the mercy of "corporals" designated to ride roughshod over men who intentionally are broken down and prepared for more disciplined lives on the outside.

He was up at 5 a.m. and in formation with other boot-camp residents. During the day, he chopped wood for the facility's furnaces. He washed dishes and worked in the prison laundry. He lost 40 pounds in 90 days, in part due to the 3-mile runs he had to complete with a corporal's spurs in his side. He was treated no different from the hundreds of other occupants, all but one of whom was younger than Sorensen, who now is 51.

"It was a place where, 'You do everything we say the second we say it,' and where you ask permission to do anything else," Sorensen recalled. "Literally, if you didn't ask permission to speak in the right way, they'd make you drop and do push-ups.

"But it was good for me. It re-instilled some of the self-discipline I had lost."

On top of his game

A decade ago, Sorensen was soaring, at least professionally. He was color man on Tigers radio broadcasts, paired at the time with Frank Beckmann. Sorensen had worked on ESPN telecasts, as well, which became the natural career progression for a man who pitched for 11 years in the majors and who had been a star at L'Anse Creuse High in Harrison Township before accepting a baseball scholarship at Michigan.

By spring of 1998, his job with the Tigers abruptly was gone, quashed by his drinking. By 2003, he was in jail for the first time. A divorce from his wife of 24 years, Trish, preceded a 2005 prison sentence that had been promised in 2003 by Judge Richard Caretti if Sorensen ever again drank and drove. Fourteen months after he was released from the Macomb County Jail, he was arrested again after driving into a ditch and bearing a blood-alcohol content of .30 -- nearly four times Michigan's legal limit.

"My alcoholism cost me a marriage, my family, my job and lots of friendships," Sorensen said this week. "It's not an unusual story. The insidiousness of the disease is that I sat there in jail every night for 30 nights (in 2003) saying, 'Boy, I'll never do that again.'

"I kept thinking I was smart enough to handle it. I don't think that anymore."

Sorensen says his drinking turned toward an addiction late in his big league career, which ended in 1988, the year he turned 33. He had broken in with Milwaukee in 1977 following a three-year career at Michigan and had early success with the Brewers before heading for shorter stays with St. Louis, Cleveland, Oakland, the Cubs, Montreal and San Francisco.

He was glib and personable and quickly found a niche behind the microphone, first with ESPN on its College World Series broadcasts. He ultimately turned to radio full-time as the first morning anchor on WDFN 1130, which debuted in 1994. By '95, he was in the Tigers' radio booth with Beckmann, who had been brought on following the departures of Rick Rizzs and Bob Rathbun.

Finding a reason to drink

All the while, alcohol's noose was tightening. In 1992, Sorensen had his first drunken-driving conviction. Over 12 years he would be arrested six times for drunken driving and have his driver's license suspended nine times and revoked four times.

"To me, the most dangerous thing was that I found any reason to have a drink," he said. "If I did something good, I wanted to celebrate. If I did something bad, I wanted to drown it. Pretty soon, you're in a cycle."

Although he showed up for work regularly -- even when he began his early-morning shift at WDFN -- Sorensen's alcoholism was being managed in the classic style of some alcoholics who compartmentalize their addiction. Co-workers might not necessarily have known he had a problem. In fact, he broadcast Tigers games for three years before bad moments -- most in the hours well before or after a broadcast -- became intolerable. Then-manager Buddy Bell was one person aware Sorensen had a problem and urged him to get help.

No one, though, pushed harder than Trish, who wanted him in a recovery program..

"I went, but I fought it," Sorensen said. "I kept fighting it. I kept saying the right things, but I wasn't doing the right things."

On the day in 2003 when he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation, Caretti, the Macomb County circuit judge, said to him: "I cannot caution you in stern enough terms that any violation of your probation will be dealt with harshly. You will bypass county jail and go directly to prison."

Caretti followed through after Sorensen's arrest in December of 2004. The sentence in March of 2005 was 23 to 60 months in prison, with credit for 99 days served.

When he was freed in June, Sorensen settled into a new life that hardly was liberating. He wore an electronic tether -- a monitoring device recording his location and blood-alcohol content -- as he began a minimum-wage job at McDonald's at 11 Mile and Gratiot. Minus a driver's license (he cannot reclaim it until at least after his probation period ends), he rode a bike 45 minutes to his evening shift at McDonald's and rode it home at midnight.

Working his way back

He now has a new part-time job, behind the counter at a self-storage facility a mile from his apartment (a major league pension is his fundamental means of support). To get there, he must either hitch a ride, walk or ride his court-approved electric scooter, which tops out at 20 mph. He can't enter a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol. His eating-out options on most days are Ram's Horn and Panera Bread, two alcohol-free restaurants within walking distance of his apartment. He uses the same modes of transportation to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings three nights a week.

Nothing about his new life strikes Sorensen as demeaning, or even humbling. Rather, he is grateful for the chance to rebuild a relatively young life, and even more for what did not happen during his worst days. He never had the horrific drunken-driving accident that has destroyed so many lives.

"More than a disease (his alcoholism), I broke the law. And when you break the law, you pay the price," said Sorensen, whose voice has its old broadcast-booth energy.

Patrick Corcoran, a Macomb County parole agent for the Michigan Department of Corrections, oversees Sorensen's probation and is pleased with his progress -- on multiple fronts.

"The first thing Lary has done is internalized the fact that drunk driving is a crime," Corcoran said. "It may not, in some minds, rank up there with murderers, but a drunk driver is nothing but a .38 waiting to kill a family. I think he's come to that realization."

Corcoran oversees formal support systems that accompany a man on parole battling alcoholism. There are "partners" who act as watchdogs. There are AA sponsors, as well, and Sorensen gives endless credit to his sponsor, whom he declines to identify.

Then there is family. When Sorensen leans against his sofa, smiles and says, "Life is good," he is talking about a second chance with relationships that suffered horribly when he was drinking, driving and, finally, imprisoned.

Trish was the person who picked him up on the day he was released in June at Saline. They talk each day. He speaks each day, as well, with his son, Mark, a junior at Michigan State and one of the Spartans' top pitchers, and his daughter, Laura, 24, who works in Ferndale.

"I think he's worked hard at becoming a father again to his two children," Corcoran said. "He's done a good job of that. The same with his ex-wife. They're communicating as a family unit, which is good. All of that is going to help him build for the future."

Sorensen is even back in the radio business, albeit not on the level he knew a decade ago. This past autumn, he hooked up with Michael Patrick Shiels, formerly producer for the late J.P. McCarthy's iconic WJR 760 morning show. Shiels is morning anchor on the Lansing-based Michigan Talk Radio network (10 statewide stations), which was happy to have Sorensen's expertise during the Tigers' World Series run.

Sorensen will fill in as host next month when Shiels vacations.

"He is very good and very steady," said Tim Hygh, general manager for the Michigan Talk Network. "It's not fun getting up that early and doing morning radio, but Lary is so energetic, and so insightful. He's not missing a beat. Every tool that was in his tool chest before (prison) is there today."

Long road ahead

Sorensen is thinking about going back to school -- to Michigan, where he is a bit more than a year shy of getting his degree. He wants to revive his broadcasting career. He also is coaching teams and individuals at The Hitting Zone, an instructional baseball complex at the State Fairgrounds directed by ex-Tigers player Dave Bergman.

Mostly, however, Sorensen hopes to reconstruct a life that begins with restoring a trustworthy man to his family and friends.

If only it were as simple as making a pronouncement, a vow, that it would now happen following all the misery and imprisonment. If only he could vanquish alcoholism, his disease, his omnipresent challenge.

"I try not to get too excited," he said this week, biting into a fried-chicken salad at Ram's Horn. "I've had periods in the past when I felt like I could do anything. Then, (alcoholism) jumps up and bites you. I don't want to have that happen this time.

"I'm taking my sobriety and recovery very seriously. It doesn't mean I laugh any less in life, or that I'm any less of a smart (aleck). But I want to keep a certain amount of fear in my life. I want to keep reminding myself every day that I've got a lot of fences to mend, and a lot of proving to do."

You can reach Lynn Henning at (313) 222-2472 or lynn.henning@detnews.com.

Charles Liston
01-26-2007, 01:34 PM
Well, good luck. Like he says, at least he didn't kill anyone yet. If he had, you'd have to question a system that allows a guy 9 suspensions and 4 temporary revokes, without permanent revocation. I get nervous just reading about people like this, the odds seem to be pretty heavily against a permanent recovery. Some of these guys are out there right now, behind the wheel, on the route that you take home from work.

GartenSpartan
01-26-2007, 01:40 PM
Six DUI's is pretty amazing. Hopefully he really wants to help himself now because that is the only way he will be able to beat his problem. It sounds like he is finally on the right path though.

Mudman
01-26-2007, 01:43 PM
I get nervous just reading about people like this, the odds seem to be pretty heavily against a permanent recovery..
The odds are...As a recovering addict and alcoholic (14+yrs clean and counting) I realize a little of what he is going through and what a long difficult road he must be traveling. It took me ten years of futile attempts before I managed even a month clean. With the addictive personality I am stuck with I turned to my true love, baseball, to distract and fill my time. I truly believe that being an addicted fan of this game saved me!

tiger337
01-26-2007, 01:51 PM
Well, good luck. Like he says, at least he didn't kill anyone yet. If he had, you'd have to question a system that allows a guy 9 suspensions and 4 temporary revokes, without permanent revocation. I get nervous just reading about people like this, the odds seem to be pretty heavily against a permanent recovery. Some of these guys are out there right now, behind the wheel, on the route that you take home from work.

Recovery is doable but you're right that the odds are not in favor of it.

People like that also scare me. I think our daily commute is probably the most dangerous thing a lot of us do each day. You just don't know who is out there.

Charles Liston
01-26-2007, 02:03 PM
I realize a little of what he is going through and what a long difficult road he must be traveling.

That's great for you, and you're probably right about baseball having something to do with it. Out of curiosity, is he unusual for so persistently driving his car? What I mean is, is it possible to have the problem but still be cognizant of the fact that you shouldn't be driving?

Oblong
01-26-2007, 02:44 PM
Is he really an alcoholic? I know it's getting technical but he sounded like a guy who just liked to party a lot and couldn't understand the danger in it.

I liked him on the broadcasts with Frank. I knew something funny happened when he left.

Mudman
01-26-2007, 02:59 PM
Out of curiosity, is he unusual for so persistently driving his car? What I mean is, is it possible to have the problem but still be cognizant of the fact that you shouldn't be driving?
At first I was aware of the costs (court, job loss time, fines, eventual divorce Xs 3, etc) and was afraid to drive but after a while I forgot just how expensive it was and went right back behind the wheel. I was fortunate that I was only picked up three times. I did find out that Plymouths and telephone poles don't mix! As I wrote in the into to my first book Mudhen Memories "The only two constants I had in my life were the love of my mother and my love for baseball" All proceeds from that went to The Baseball Assistance Team (BAT) to help former players with proven needs. This present addiction has allowed me the opportunity to meet many players, collect tens of thousands of autographs and attend, on average, 120 games each year...the only drawback is the hotdog diet, lousy stadium coffee and a reintroduction to silverware every Thanksgiving.

DaYooperASBDT
01-26-2007, 05:19 PM
Is he really an alcoholic? I know it's getting technical but he sounded like a guy who just liked to party a lot and couldn't understand the danger in it.

I liked him on the broadcasts with Frank. I knew something funny happened when he left.
I'm thinking you have to do an awful lot of drinking to rack up 6 DUI's !!

Biff Mayhem
01-26-2007, 05:42 PM
I liked him on the broadcasts with Frank. I knew something funny happened when he left.

It was a sudden departure that's for sure.

I distinctly remember Frank saying this a lot back then: "I hope you enjoyed the broadcast if not the results".

Brent
01-26-2007, 06:19 PM
I read every word of that story this morning. I can relate with his wife, since I'm married to an alcoholic. It's a nightmare living with someone that is a trainwreck. My wife got her first DUI 3 weeks ago and has already done 3 stints in rehab. Currently, she's in the hospital because she fell on the pavement (no icy pavement here in GA) and broke her chin. Now if she could only stay sober long enough to sign the divorce papers, I'd be relieved.

eastside billee
01-26-2007, 06:29 PM
So sorry to hear that Brent! Hopefully my prayers will help.
People can recover. My best friend did after 30 years of being a
big time loser drunk. He's now married with children, job and a life.
There was a lot of pain to him and by him along the way.
I can relate to the Sorenson story. Hopefully, he's better now
and can possibly broadcast again one day.

Tyrus
01-26-2007, 08:20 PM
Is he really an alcoholic? I know it's getting technical but he sounded like a guy who just liked to party a lot and couldn't understand the danger in it.



You'd think after his 6th or 7th arrest, he might start seeing the danger! :silly:

Seriously, it sounds very much like he had the disease. In the story, Lary recalled how one time after he was arrested, he sat in jail thinking, "I'll never do that again." And yet he did, again and again.

It's difficult for me to sort out my feelings about folks like this. Yes, alcoholism is a disease, and I have the utmost compassion for anyone struggling with it. But it's different than someone who has a traditional medical condition.

Let's say a guy with epilepsy is driving a car, and he has a seizure that causes him to lose control of the vehicle and kill someone. Should he be charged with a crime? A lot of people (including me) would say no.

But if an alcoholic drinks too much and kills someone with his car, most people (including me) would say he should go to jail.

Then again, assuming the guy with epilepsy knew about his condition, you could make the case that he also should be held responsible, because he got behind the wheel knowing there was a chance he could endanger others.

ToledoTigerFan
01-26-2007, 08:23 PM
I had a friend who drank a lot. He was drinking regularly by the time he was 13 and was probably an alcoholic then. Before he had a drink, he had the normal gaze of a confused teenager. After he had a sip of alcohol, his whole expression changed. The look in his eyes and his body language indicated he was complete when he had alcohol. It was like a soothing internal massage to him. He was meant to drink.

He drowned in his sister's pond at the age of 19. He was drunk at the time.

Corky
01-26-2007, 09:01 PM
He drowned in his sister's pond at the age of 19. He was drunk at the time.


Norm Cash went out that way according to rumor. Fell off a boat and hit his head and drowned.

Sad sad sad. We have several relatives who are alcoholics and a neice who recently OD'd and almost died (2 weeks in ICU). It hits all over, so far Lisa and I are lucky in terms of our brood but that can change at any time as there is a history of alcoholism in the family.

Oblong
01-26-2007, 10:33 PM
Maybe I'm interpreting things wrong but I always thought an alcoholic referred to people who had a physical need for it. A friend of mine's little sister had it. She was 16 or 17 and she'd open up mouthwash in grocery stores. It's not a desire to get drunk or to have fun or to even drown in your sorrows. Your body has an addiction to it and you don't realize it until you have your first drink.

I'm thinking there's a distinction between addiction and alcoholism. You can be addicted to booze in the same way you can be addicted to food, drugs, sex, porn, etc. and they each have their own way of destroying your life and each are powerful addictions. I'm not saying one makes you warrant more compassion either.

What I'm using as a reference is my cousin. We never knew that he really drank. He'd have a beer or drink at gatherings but nothing unusual. Then one day he came over to tell us he was dying. He'd have bottles stashed throughout the house. He wasn't doing it to get drunk or because he was upset over something. His body just needed it.

ToledoTigerFan
01-26-2007, 10:52 PM
That's how my friend was. He couldn't not drink. He was powerless when it came to resisting alcohol.

His whole family was a bunch of drunks and he was the youngest. His one sister died young, too. Liver disease. Dad, heart and liver disease. Mom, cancer, but she, too, had liver disease. His older brother was a drunk and was always getting into bar fights. As far as I know, he's still alive, but I bet he won't see 60.

redshark63
02-07-2008, 10:41 AM
ANOTHER Setback. I really liked the guy as a player and broadcaster.


http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080207/SPORTS0104/802070359/1129/rss15
Driving toward disaster

Ex-Tigers broadcaster in jail

Fred Girard / The Detroit News

It was 3:12 on a Saturday morning, Feb. 2, when Roseville police officer Brian Dobrzycki approached a gray 1998 Ford (http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080207/SPORTS0104/802070359/1129/rss15#) parked on the shoulder of I-696, near I-94, a man slumped unmoving over the steering wheel.

Dobrzycki hammered on the windows and the windshield to no avail, and called emergency medical services. Moments after they arrived the man stirred, and eventually was able to unlock his door.

Dobrzycki identified him: former All-Star pitcher and Tigers announcer Lary Sorensen. He was dead drunk -- nearly literally so.

"I'm just happy he's not dead and he didn't kill someone else," said WJR talk-show host Frank Beckmann, who was Sorensen's broadcast partner in the Tigers' booth in the 1990s. "This whole story is just a tragedy."

EMTs rushed the 52-year-old Sorensen to St. John Macomb Hospital, where he was diagnosed with alcohol poisoning. Tests determined his blood alcohol level to be .48 -- six times higher than the .08 threshold for drunk-driving convictions in Michigan.

"Wow!" was the reaction of Dr. James Langenbucher, an associate professor with the Center of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University. "That's what we call an 'LD-50' -- a level that's above the lethal dose for 50 percent of the population."

As of late Wednesday, Sorensen remained in the Macomb County jail, awaiting a caged van to carry him back to prison.

Saturday's arrest was Sorensen's seventh drunk-driving incident, and he still is on parole from his sixth offense.

He was sentenced to 23 months to five years in prison after driving his car, littered with empty beer cans and one still-cold, half-full one, into a ditch off a Chesterfield Township road just after midnight on Oct. 30, 2004, according to police records. His blood alcohol content that time registered .31.
He was still on a three-year probationary sentence from a September 2003 conviction on the same charge. An electronic tether monitoring his location and blood alcohol content had been removed only the month before. Sorensen finally was sent to prison.

According to Corrections records, he reported to Jackson Prison's intake (http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080207/SPORTS0104/802070359/1129/rss15#) facility in April 2005, and by late July had been transferred to one of the toughest pens in the state, the Baraga Maximum Correctional Facility in the Upper Peninsula. Sorensen was with a group of other low-security prisoners who serve the food, cut the grass and perform other duties at Baraga, where the state's highest-security inmates reside.

Eight months later, in March 2006, Sorensen was accepted into the prison system's military-style boot camp at Chelsea, a high-intensity program for nonviolent offenders whose sentencing judges agree to the placement. Like all male prisoners, his head was shaved.

For 90 days he rose at 5 a.m., worked hard all day, took anger-management and substance-abuse classes at night, lights out at 10 p.m. Not even a visitor or a phone call for the first six weeks.

Michigan has "truth in sentencing" laws that require inmates to serve out their entire minimum sentence. The only exception is for those who successfully complete the boot camp -- they're paroled the day they finish. In Sorensen's case, that was June 6, 2006, five months early.

All he had to do then was report weekly to his parole officer, and keep off the booze.

Sorensen couldn't do it -- although he tried, performing community service, baring his soul in talks to East Detroit High students and at Salvation Army meetings.

According to Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan, however, a parole officer walked into Sorensen's apartment unannounced last May, and found him drinking. A tether was placed on his leg again for another six months.

In November, records show, Sorensen admitted that he had been drinking on weekends. He was sent to an urgent, all-day relapse program, reenrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous and his parole was extended for six months.

Marlan said the parole officer acted within his discretion in not sending Sorensen back to prison after either of those incidents.

Now Sorensen is awaiting transport back to Jackson Prison, where the parole board will rule on his case within 45 days. The board could keep him in prison for as little as another three months, or until his original maximum sentence ends Dec. 12, 2009.

Sorensen is "a person who had many opportunities in life," said the judge who originally sentenced him to prison, Richard L. Caretti of Macomb Circuit Court. "He's now thrown all those opportunities away."

Sorensen still faces serious charges for Saturday's arrest that could result in years more behind bars. Because his car's engine was off, and there was no key in the ignition, however, he could be charged with nothing at all.

Sorensen pitched for the University of Michigan before his 11-season pro career with seven teams. He was an AL All-Star in 1978. He became an announcer for the Tigers in 1995, and quit in June 1998 for undisclosed reasons.


You can reach Fred Girard at 313-222-2165 or fred.girard@detnews.com

Oblong
02-07-2008, 10:59 AM
Jesus, I read the first post thinking that was the new story. As I read teh story I rememberd reading it last year so I checked the date. Then I think "I hope the bumping post is good news".

I firmly believe that this is a disease and not just a guy who ignores warnings and doesn't care. Addiction is powerful.

Edman85
02-07-2008, 11:27 AM
I am as sensitive as anybody to the problems of addiction, but Larry Sorensen needs to be locked up for a long time before he hurts somebody.

One Man's Fool
02-07-2008, 11:30 AM
Oblong and Edman are both right. It is a disease, but it's a disease that makes Sorensen a danger to those around him. He needs to be locked up for the sake of everyone else.

After seven DUIs, let's be honest. He's not getting this under control.

michiganbob2
02-07-2008, 11:46 AM
Oblong and Edman are both right. It is a disease, but it's a disease that makes Sorensen a danger to those around him. He needs to be locked up for the sake of everyone else.

After seven DUIs, let's be honest. He's not getting this under control.

Very sad. But, true

jackson_cannery
02-07-2008, 11:47 AM
I read the first post thinking that was the new story. As I read teh story I rememberd reading it last year so I checked the date. Then I think "I hope the bumping post is good news".


I was going to type the exact same thing.

DaYooperASBDT
02-07-2008, 11:58 AM
Addiction is a powerful demon, and a disease. I was addicted to starchy foods for most of my adult life, and gave them up completely, once I reached 340 pounds.

I feel very badly for Lary and he will be in my prayers. He will have to be jailed or tethered indefinitely, for public safety, that's a given.

I'm no doctor, but I've known many heavy drinkers in my own family, and strongly believe that alcohol is usually self-medication for other underlying issues like depression. But in this case, even the best doctors in the world can't fix Mr. Sorensen unless he truly wants to change his lifestyle.

What a terrible shame, to see such a personable and talented person lose it all this way. It's a fate worse than death.

Oblong
02-07-2008, 12:04 PM
Oblong and Edman are both right. It is a disease, but it's a disease that makes Sorensen a danger to those around him. He needs to be locked up for the sake of everyone else.

After seven DUIs, let's be honest. He's not getting this under control.

Yes but getting it under control is the whole point. The problem isn't discipline or will power. It's not motivation. It's a chemical reaction in the brain. Yes locking him up would help everybody else be safer from him but at that point all we're doing is just containing him. What about the others who've yet to get a DUI but have the addiction? What about the addictions to things that don't result in DUI's? I think you can't differentiate between addictions to gambling, drugs, alcohol, sex, or whatever. I think people have the addiction disease and for whatever reason they latch on to different things. Eventually they'll come across teh thing that triggers it.

I had a cousin who was the nicest and most gentle person you could know. Very caring. One day he shows up at my parents house (he was their cousin) looking ghostly. He was there to tell us he was dying of liver disease. He was an alcoholic and it destroyed his body. He never got a DUI or beat his wife or anything. He just drank and drank and we never even knew it. At family picnics he may have a couple of beers, nothing unsual. But late at night he'd go in his basement and drink vodka all night long. That's when it hit me. Until then I just figured it was weak people looking for some medical reason to justify their appetite. I don't believe that anymore.

Tyrus
02-07-2008, 12:13 PM
I agree totally with Oblong. It's the exact same thing with drug abusers.

Sure, if they can't get a handle on their addiction, they need to be locked up.

But the question is how to define "locked up."

Should they go to Jackson Prison, where they run the risk of getting beaten/raped every day? That sure as hell isn't going to do much toward helping them beat their addictions. Quite the contrary -- when they get out of that hell-hole, they're more likely to turn to drugs/alcohol to cope with what they had to deal with in prison.

That's not to say people with substance abuse problems who run afoul of the law nonviolently should be sent to a day camp. But they should be sent to a clinical organization, not a punitive one.

Oblong
02-07-2008, 12:17 PM
unfortunately that doesn't fit with a society that seeks vengeance more than treatment for these issues.

DaYooperASBDT
02-07-2008, 12:26 PM
It's both. You have to treat the disease, but the person has to have the desire to get better. I doubt you can "cure" alcoholism, but with a combination of treatment, and the person's personal desire, it can be beaten. He definitely can not be allowed any opportunity to drive a car, probably ever again.

Edman85
02-07-2008, 12:31 PM
Oblong and Edman are both right. It is a disease, but it's a disease that makes Sorensen a danger to those around him. He needs to be locked up for the sake of everyone else.

After seven DUIs, let's be honest. He's not getting this under control.

http://www.ladyofthecake.com/mel/saddles/images/church.jpg

Avery Johnson is right!

Rebbiv
02-07-2008, 12:59 PM
I have been sober for over 20 years as of last June. Despite not having tasted alcohol in over 20 years, I am still an alcoholic. It is called "controlled" remission.

I have never had "one beer" in my entire life. It was either all or nothing. Alcoholism is a disease that tells you that you don't have it. As with most addictions, there is the denial. There is no real denying you have epilepsy. Also, any sane thoughts are gone after alcohol enters my system.

As an alcoholic, I am responsible for my behavior and actions. Even when I was still drinking. And to think people who have serious epileptic seizures aren't responsible for when they are behind the wheel is missing the point. It isn't about "rights" or anything. It is about public safety. People who are prone to serious epileptic seizures should also have their driving "priviledges" suspended or revoked.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

DrWho17
02-07-2008, 01:26 PM
Is he really an alcoholic? I know it's getting technical but he sounded like a guy who just liked to party a lot and couldn't understand the danger in it.

I liked him on the broadcasts with Frank. I knew something funny happened when he left.
Depends on what your definition of alcoholic is. If you get busted once, they call you an alcoholic, and make you confess to being an alcoholic, even if you occasionally drink. To me that's not an alcholic, an alcoholic needs to be physically addicted to it, not just be someone who gets busted a lot when they go out partying. Sorenson may have been physically addicted though, .38/.30 are pretty high, takes some good tolerance to still be functional up at those levels.

Oblong
02-07-2008, 01:38 PM
I didn't realize I repeated my "cousin" story in this thread. Once I saw the original post was old, I scrolled down to the end. I'd say Lary either has the disease or just doesn't give a crap anymore.

One Man's Fool
02-07-2008, 01:38 PM
There are addicts who can respond to treatment successfully to remain sober. Lary Sorensen clearly is one of those addicts who cannot or will not.

Locking him up at this point is not designed to help him. It's designed to protect society from him.

DrWho17
02-07-2008, 01:47 PM
There are addicts who can respond to treatment successfully to remain sober. Lary Sorensen clearly is one of those addicts who cannot or will not.

Locking him up at this point is not designed to help him. It's designed to protect society from him.
Definitely, although the Parole officer didn't do him any favors by letting him off on his previous two violations, while out on Parole.

Rebbiv
02-07-2008, 01:48 PM
Problem Drinker = stops drinking...problem(s) goes away

Alcoholic = stops drinking...problem(s) are still there


Also, there is a certain amount of mental obsession. Meaning, when not actively engaged in drinking, alcoholics tend to think a lot about their next drink (when, where, etc).

lesgoblu02
02-07-2008, 01:48 PM
Instead of locking him up, how about one of those house arrest ankle deals?

Let him drink his life away in the comfort of his own home.

DaYooperASBDT
02-07-2008, 02:17 PM
I have been sober for over 20 years as of last June. Despite not having tasted alcohol in over 20 years, I am still an alcoholic. It is called "controlled" remission.

I have never had "one beer" in my entire life. It was either all or nothing. Alcoholism is a disease that tells you that you don't have it. As with most addictions, there is the denial. There is no real denying you have epilepsy. Also, any sane thoughts are gone after alcohol enters my system.

As an alcoholic, I am responsible for my behavior and actions. Even when I was still drinking. And to think people who have serious epileptic seizures aren't responsible for when they are behind the wheel is missing the point. It isn't about "rights" or anything. It is about public safety. People who are prone to serious epileptic seizures should also have their driving "priviledges" suspended or revoked.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert EinsteinThank you for explaining this about a thousand times better than I could ever hope to.

One Man's Fool
02-07-2008, 02:20 PM
Instead of locking him up, how about one of those house arrest ankle deals?

Let him drink his life away in the comfort of his own home.

Doesn't he deserve to be locked up after seven DUIs?

lesgoblu02
02-07-2008, 02:27 PM
Doesn't he deserve to be locked up after seven DUIs?

But isn't house arrest essentially "locking him up" without having to put him into the already overcrowded prison system? I do think he needs to be locked up. I just think there is more than one way to do it.

DaYooperASBDT
02-07-2008, 02:37 PM
Looks like we're slowing moving toward a political discussion, but allow me to say that judges do need to start being more innovative in sentencing. Michigan spends way too much to house guys that could be on work release, on tethers, etc. In my humble opinion, he's been punished plenty, and has punished himself to boot. The key now is public safety, in this case. And a tether does seem like a reasonable solution.

One Man's Fool
02-07-2008, 02:51 PM
But isn't house arrest essentially "locking him up" without having to put him into the already overcrowded prison system? I do think he needs to be locked up. I just think there is more than one way to do it.

I think someone with as much potential as Lary Sorensen to kill another human being should be in maximum security. An ankle tether doesn't cut it.

chasfh
02-07-2008, 03:11 PM
I agree totally with Oblong. It's the exact same thing with drug abusers.

Sure, if they can't get a handle on their addiction, they need to be locked up.

But the question is how to define "locked up."

Should they go to Jackson Prison, where they run the risk of getting beaten/raped every day? That sure as hell isn't going to do much toward helping them beat their addictions. Quite the contrary -- when they get out of that hell-hole, they're more likely to turn to drugs/alcohol to cope with what they had to deal with in prison.

That's not to say people with substance abuse problems who run afoul of the law nonviolently should be sent to a day camp. But they should be sent to a clinical organization, not a punitive one.

+1


unfortunately that doesn't fit with a society that seeks vengeance more than treatment for these issues.

+1


There are addicts who can respond to treatment successfully to remain sober. Lary Sorensen clearly is one of those addicts who cannot or will not.

Locking him up at this point is not designed to help him. It's designed to protect society from him.

+0.5

I agree that Lary Sorenson needs to be remanded into custody. I also believe that the custody should be one of healing and help rather than one of punishment, even if it looks like a total longshot that he will get clean and sober as a result. I also agree that the way our justice system is structured, he'll probably get hard prison time instead.

I believe this is an issue of "can't" rather than "won't". If alcoholism has a biological or genetic basis as does a disease -- and there's plenty of evidence that it does, which the AMA recognized over 50 years ago -- then locking him up punitively makes as much sense as locking up an AIDS patient or a heart disease patient punitively, reasoning that their behaviors are what put them at risk for their diseases as well.

I totally agree that society needs to be protected from Lary Sorenson and he should be in custody. I just can't believe a stretch in Jackson is the answer, because he would come out much, much worse off than he was going in, and then what?

DaYooperASBDT
02-07-2008, 03:18 PM
Corrections <> Correction

markmeista
02-07-2008, 03:25 PM
Revoking/suspending his license still enables him to be out there on the roads. He just risks getting caught. He needs to be locked up.

FloridaTigers
02-07-2008, 04:05 PM
I've been around many alcoholics, whether they are family or friends, and it really is a dibilitating disease. Alcoholics don't usually ask for help and finally give in until they've really hit rock bottom. It is truly sad to see stories like this.

Rebbiv
02-07-2008, 04:58 PM
Actually, anyone just needs to cite Bob Probert.

BengalBJ
02-07-2008, 09:43 PM
I was two years behind Lary in a parochial grade school. This must be so difficult for his family. I hope and pray he finds the inner strength to overcome his demons. I don't think the prison system is the answer.

ToledoTigerFan
02-07-2008, 09:48 PM
I was two years behind Lary in a parochial grade school. This must be so difficult for his family. I hope and pray he finds the inner strength to overcome his demons. I don't think the prison system is the answer.

It's not the answer, but as long as he's locked up he's not driving a car. I find that comforting. He's going to end up like my one buddy I described earlier in this thread. He's going to kill himself. Maybe not intentionally, but he's working on a virtual suicide.

mtk1210
02-07-2008, 10:40 PM
I cannot imagine how much and how fast you'd have to drink to register a .48

that is a staggering amount of consumption.

smitchell24
02-07-2008, 10:43 PM
Anyone familiar with what a .48 is the equivalent too? Is that like drinking an 18 pack of beer?

cruzer1
02-07-2008, 10:45 PM
I cannot imagine how much and how fast you'd have to drink to register a .48

that is a staggering amount of consumption.

It takes a lot of practice to get to that much. I could not drink that much, since I'm not much of a drinker.

DaYooperASBDT
02-07-2008, 10:47 PM
This happened to a close friend of my sister's, one of the nicest human beings I've ever known, from the nicest family in town. His parents were true pillars of the community. I'll call him John.

John had a serious weakness for alcohol, and had a number of DUI arrests. One day it finally caught up with him, as he swerved into the shoulder of a major highway and killed a lady pedestrian. By strange co-incidence, she was engaged to become the stepmom of one of my wife's best friends from college. Small world up here.

Anyhow John went to prison for about 7 years for vehicular homicide. We were all sick about it, but understood that he had to go to prison. So at least in Lary's case, action will be taken before the worst happens.

DaYooperASBDT
02-07-2008, 10:48 PM
Anyone familiar with what a .48 is the equivalent too? Is that like drinking an 18 pack of beer?I'll have to look for a calculator. Depends on weight, and how fast you metabolize alcohol, but I'm guessing it would take at least 12 shots of hard stuff within an hour.

lesgoblu02
02-07-2008, 10:48 PM
Anyone familiar with what a .48 is the equivalent too? Is that like drinking an 18 pack of beer?


An 18 pack over 5 hours is around a .24

T.O. Tiger Fan
02-07-2008, 10:58 PM
A .48 is insane - essentially 50&#37; of his blood was pure alcohol. I don't know how a human being can consume that much alcohol without a) passing out or b) dying.

DaYooperASBDT
02-07-2008, 11:00 PM
According to this calculator, for a 200-pound man that would take 26 beers within one hour, or 28 beers over two hours. He wasn't drinking beer.

For 80-proof alcohol, would take 14 shots within an hour, or 15 shots within two hours. Wow.

http://www.intox.com/wheel/drinkwheel.asp

Motor City Sonics
02-08-2008, 04:37 PM
Instead of locking him up, how about one of those house arrest ankle deals?

Let him drink his life away in the comfort of his own home.


If Larry wants to live (and I hope he does, because he seems a likable enough guy), he needs to be in jail. Jail is probably the only thing that will keep him sober.

You don't let him "drink his life away" with an ankle bracelt because if he gets drunk enough (.31, .48?) he won't give a damn about leaving the house and getting in a car.


If numbers like .31 or .48 or anywhere between are consistent, then Larry is not going to be around another 10 years, I would bet his liver is damaged beyond repair. It's very sad.

markmeista
02-08-2008, 04:59 PM
Sorensen should be in jail.

He's an ex-broadcaster. I assume that he has journalism experience. He should use what's left of his skills and write a book about his problems while he's in the slammer. Something to help others from entering his predicament.

BigDaddyTiny
02-09-2008, 12:53 AM
I really hope Lary can get it together, I worked with him at 1270 when he was in sales there and he was a great guy who like most people are fighting some sort of demon everyday. It was great talking with him about just baseball in general. I hope he can get it together. I still remember listening to him and Butch Stearns when 1130 first came on the air as The Fan with Jamie Samuelsen doing updates, hell Van Earl Wright with Jennifer Hammond doing updates right after they were done.

zimm
02-09-2008, 01:16 AM
I cannot imagine how much and how fast you'd have to drink to register a .48

that is a staggering amount of consumption.
as someone who once blew a .438, i have a pretty good idea. for me, it was 27 shots of Jager and Goldschlager in about an hour and a half. i remember drinking them all. but not a lot else... (and no, i wasn't driving)

if he does anything like that on a regular basis, he won't be long for the world. my liver really, really does not like what i used to do to it. fortunately, i was able to tell myself that the time for doing that sort of stuff had passed and it was time to do other things. i pity him, and wonder how he has been able to refrain from taking his own life.