“Demons in Exile”: Marc Maron on Addiction

Lots of stuff I liked here. I don’t buy sentences of the form, “Addicts/alcoholics are all [negative generalization]” (because I’m defensive of other people, not because I think those generalizations are especially untrue about me personally) but other than that, good for him. Not sure if I still need to notify you all when there’s cussing, but yes, there is.

…Slate: A big problem for psychiatrists when it comes to understanding addiction is that there are many of us have no experience with it on a personal level. So sometimes there’s a built-in disconnect between the treater and the patient.

Maron: Well, yeah, because you guys are just taught to medicate and suggest things. [Pauses.] Have you even read The Big Book?

Slate: No…

Maron: Why not?!

Slate: I know, I should… I treat people who swear by it and I haven’t even looked at it.

Maron: Yeah, see, that’s the thing with all you guys. Most therapists have never read that fucking book. But you send people to A.A. meetings, don’t you?

Slate: I do.

Maron: But you have no understanding of what the program is! I can’t understand why it’s not assigned to you guys.

Slate: That’s a really good point. Looking at my shelf right now I see The Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications of Psychopharmacology, but books that people in recovery actually use were never assigned to me. I could read them on my own but they’re not part of the curriculum.

Maron: I think a lot of you guys see it as some sort of goofy spiritual system. But there’s a certain brilliance to it. The program uses very simple language, so it works for people who are geniuses or for people who are morons. And it works everywhere—there are programs going on in rooms all over the world and the feeling in all of them is the same. The emotional hunger, the need, the selfishness—it’s all the fucking same! Everybody in those rooms has been to hell and back twice. They’ve fucked up so much that now they’re these demons in exile.

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