Aspen’s state of denial | AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s state of denial

Dear Editor:

Having been the clinical supervisor of the old detox in Glenwood Springs, “Mtn. Rivers,” and then a deputy for Pitkin County working in the jail in Aspen for a span that covered about 10 years (1980-89), I would like to comment on the ongoing denial and illness of the valley.

Pitkin County and the rest of the valley rank at the top of the suicide list. Domestic violence. And substance abuse. And looking good is all that matters. There are four barriers to wellness. Health/ wealth/ youth/and brains.

The past 32 years I have been working in all these areas. Substance abuse and denial affects all these areas. And the umbrella that covers them all is “entitlement” and “we are as sick as we are secret.” A prominent folk singer from the area was a victim/perpetrator of all these but is considered a hero.

Another wealthy man who I was a chauffeur for in Aspen had those problems and it was kept quiet because of his place in the community. I hope someday that folks understand that it doesn’t matter how rich/smart/healthy/young you are or how good you look.

Suicide/domestic violence/substance abuse are very democratic diseases and will visit anyone at anytime. Please love your fellow valley residents enough to hold them accountable for their illness and behavior and encourage them to get help. I send my best wishes to you all for a realistic approach to the wellness of future generations.

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Renick Stevenson

Denver