Help Is Available In The Rooms


Like Anna Loeb, a lot of people get in trouble over alcohol.  Or drugs.  Or both.

howard finkelstein

Howard Finkelstein Got Help

The wife of state Senate candidate Nick Loeb, who was arrested for DUI a week ago while driving home from a Boca Raton nightclub after midnight, is innocent until proven guilty.  She could be the victim of an overzealous cop.

Still, she needs help.  A lawyer will help her  in court.

If  she needs help with her personal life, she’ll find it In The Rooms, where recovery takes place.

The arrest of Loeb, a beautiful socialite, validates the truth: No part of society is immune from abuse problems.

When I was covering the Legislature in the late 1970’s, one of Broward’s major issues was finding money to build Interstate-595.   The House transportation committee was crucial.

The vice chairman was from Broward and was supposed to help birth the new highway. But he was missing meeting after meeting.

I asked him, “Why? Either he felt remorse or I hit him where it hurt.

He confessed that he had a problem handling alcohol. 

For me it was a great story, a banner headline in the Red Star Final and some attention from the insular Tallahassee press corp. 

For him, it was the end of his Broward political career. In the next election, voters sent somebody else to the House.

He was unfortunate to get caught.  I wrote about him only because his liquor intake was threatening one of Broward’s key goals. I overlooked a lot of others.

In Tallahassee then, far from the prying eyes of constituents, liquor flowed freely usually on a lobbyist’s tab. Several members of the Broward delegation were outright drunks.

 The Legislature was controlled by Panhandle state Senator Dempsey Barron, who set the state’s agenda during boozy late-night get togethers held in his office.

One year somebody I can’t remember who sent a case of liquor into the press gallery on the final day.  There were probably some loopy stories written that day.   

Liquor fueled the Legislature.  It was my first real experience with alcohol abuse.

Not my last. After all, I was in the newspaper business.

A few years later a boozed up reporter was fired.  The management knew about his alcohol problem. They tolerated it and had placed him on a very early schedule because, editors said, he was “unreliable after lunch. But one day he came back after lunch, got in a fist fight and was escorted out of the newsroom…for good.

Red-faced guys on the desk would drink triple vodkas for lunch, then go back and edit stories. One editor would regularly stay out all night drinking and sleep on a couch in the office.

A reporter repeatedly came in with cuts on his face from bar fights. A reporter was thrown out of a Las Olas tavern after drunkenly exposing himself to diners (You didn’t read that in your daily Fort Lauderdale paper).

Then in the Miami Vice 80s, drugs hit the newsroom.  There were sometimes more people snorting coke in the Men’s room, then using the facilities.

Most of the substance abusers I knew back then overcame the problem by themselves. They matured.  Got married and had kids.  Moved on.

Others needed help.  They needed to go In The Rooms. 

In The Rooms is a phrase used extensively in the recovery community. Since participation in many treatment programs is anonymous, a patient will just refer to Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings as “In The Rooms.  For instance, if they discuss somebody they met at the meeting, they might say, “I met him in the rooms.

Public Defender Howard “Help Me Howard Finkelstein has been In The Rooms.  He is very candid about his past problems with cocaine.

So has Broward Circuit Judge Giselle Pollock.  She was once drowning in a river of vodka before cleaning up.

There is always help for them or you In The Rooms.

Now the worldwide Internet recovery community, operated from Broward, is sponsoring a Rally For Recovery scheduled September 12 at Miami’s Bicentennial Park.  The schedule is here and it sounds like fun.

Finkelstein and Pollock are keynote speakers. As compelling as Finkelstein and Pollock can be, the real draw of this rally is Eric Burton and The Animals.

I saw the act years or so ago at the notorious Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami. It is where Jim Morrison of The Doors was arrested for exposing himself.

I remember it as being uncomfortably hot and having to sit in metal folding seats. But the music was great.

And I wasn’t high. So maybe I would fit in at next week’s rally. 

Maybe I’ll see Anna Loeb there.

3 Responses to “Help Is Available In The Rooms”

  1. Giselle says:

    You should write how Giselle Pollock had to endure attacks on her recovery from that witch Ellen Feld she ran against and beat. Too bad Feld later became a judge.

  2. Willie Shear says:

    Finkelstein wears his recovery like a badge of honor and included his membership in AA in his political brochures. Isn’t that against the rule? Howard is a phony who probably still is involved with drugs and alcohol. He has ruined the PDs office and turned it into his own political vehicle. Once a druggie, always a druggie.

  3. Pat says:

    That witch Ellen Feld beat incumbent judge Julio Gonzalez who had the highest bar poll rankings.
    Broward voters didn’t vote for a mullato named Julio.
    Broward’s legal community has an obligation and a duty not to let this happen again.