Abel Pharmboy’s recent post remembering his father is evocative, emotional and an all around brilliant bit of writing. I can’t help but note, DearReader, that his post strikes me hard as a father and as a son. I think it had a similar effect on many of his readers. There is an additional component, though, in that it puts a personal face on the motivations of those of us who work on issues related to substance abuse. It isn’t a collection of incontrovertible data. No. It is a personal anecdote. But pain distributed is pain diffused. And the statistics loose much of their impact this way. This memorial of Abel’s though. This is concentrated. And for those of you lucky enough to never have a substance dependent individual in your lives, perhaps even this is not enough. For many of us, however, only a couple of stories like this are sufficient justification.

When I think back, though, I believe you died some eight years earlier, just after your 50th birthday party. For your wife, my Mom, it was even long before that – she is a saint for staying with you as long as she did – no offense, Dad – and I know she still loves you no matter what.
Our family runs rich with depression and alcoholism but you died exceptionally early; my Dad – the young, fit, handsome fella you were in those pictures with little me at the Jersey shore, at home, or with me in that horrible Easter outfit – had died back then and was replaced for the last eight, ten, fourteen years by someone else.

Go read the rest, this can wait.

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The Research Society on Alcoholism will be holding its 2009 scientific meeting *June 20-24 in San Diego. I have just received notice that they are holding a workshop on grantsmanship on Jun 20th from 9am-4pm. From the email:

The Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) Education Committee is sponsoring a one-day satellite devoted to strengthening knowledge and skills in the grant preparation process. The morning session is focused on the grant writing process. The presenter will discuss crucial aspects of the process, such as laying out the groundwork of an application and avoiding common pitfalls, with the goal of providing new investigators with a better understanding of producing a successful and competitive grant application. The afternoon session is focused on the NIH peer-review process. Investigators observe an updated NIH video of a mock review of how NIH grant applications are evaluated for scientific and technical merit. The overall aim of the mock review is to reduce misconceptions, provide a better understanding of the grant review process, and provide a foundation for how to interpret reviewers comments to develop more competitive applications.
A panel of experienced CSR and NIAAA study section members that represent neuroscience, psychosocial, and/or biomedical (basic) research areas will comment on the mock review and answer questions. The panel will also discuss the thought processes that serve as a basis for reviewers comments, how this varies by grant mechanism, and forthcoming changes in the NIH peer review process. Participants are encouraged to discuss issues concerning the review process with the panel.
To register, please visit http://www.rsoa.org.

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