News of Wes Thomsen’s sudden passing reached me Saturday afternoon at a wedding. I found myself struggling with the juxtaposition of beginnings and endings, joy and sadness — and, ultimately, future versus finality.
I’m going to remember Wes in innumerable ways: his ready smile; his unhurried manner; his palpable sense of contentment; his vision and creativity; his deft leadership skills; his deep desire to help those touched by addiction; his amazing portfolio of work at Hazelden Publishing (example here); and so forth.
But I will mainly remember Wes as a friend surrounded by lights and cameras who blessed me with amazing conversations. ✸
Kate Gillette created a GoFundMe campaign to benefit Andrea and Margot. Please give generously.
P.S. A lovely memorial service occurred on October 1st. I appreciated the photographs of Wes, hearing the various recollections and tributes, and the remarkable closing song by Pegtop. A recording of the livestream captures most of this. I’m currently trying to find a stream of “I Believe in You,” a track on Just Us.
But nicotine never really went away. If anything, it metastasized into more insidious social problems.
Teens have been trading traditional combustible cigarettes for “vaping.” Use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco declined between 2011 and 2015. This was basically offset by a sharp increase in the use of e-cigarettes (1.5% to 16%) and hookahs (4.1% to 7.2%). The net net was no change in overall tobacco use (24.2% vs. 25.3%).
With this context in mind, I was in studio yesterday to shoot the third installment of Hazelden’s What You Need to Know series. Opioids and Meth packages are already available for purchase. Nicotine & Vaping, Alcohol and Cannabis packages can be preordered.