Colonialism Isn’t Just a River in Egypt, You Know: “A Fan’s Notes”

on white supremacy as a form of “I like thinking about it” addictive denial. All the racial stuff in this book is really fascinating. IMO this specific passage gains power from the cartoonishness of the black characters–they’re fantasy figures dancing through the sickened imaginations of the (also cartoony) white man–although at least one of the [Read More...]

Today’s Themes: Gallows Humor and Vodka

A round-up of what I’ve been reading. “Missouri Considers Lifting Lifetime Food Stamp Ban for Former Drug Felons.” Missouri is one of 10 states that currently has a lifetime ban on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for anyone convicted of a drug-related felony, but they could soon be amending their policy. The harsh ban [Read More...]

What Keeps Mankind Alive: 1995 Theological Vampire Flick “The Addiction”

“All sin tends to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation.” –possibly Auden? Attributed to Auden, anyway. For a while now I’ve been trying to hunt down Abel Ferrara’s ultra-artsy, not-on-DVD vampire movie, The Addiction. It’s on YouTube again now–see it before it vanishes!–at a link you can find [Read More...]

Too Much Harmony: “Water by the Spoonful,” A Play About Friendship, Dissonance, and Humiliating Identity

Last night I saw Quiara Alegria Hudes’s Pulitzer-winning Water by the Spoonful at Studio Theatre. It uses dissonant jazz as a metaphor for the disjunctions and collisions in our own lives, asking whether these discordant notes will ever resolve into harmony. The show tells two parallel stories: A young vet with PTSD fights with his [Read More...]

“This Is the Beginning of the End of the War on Drugs”: Maia Szalavitz

at the intriguing new site Substance: For anyone interested in addiction and drug policy, the last year or so has been the most fascinating period in recent memory. Having kicked heroin and cocaine in 1988 and written about the subject ever since, I can’t remember a time when public opinion and actual policy have changed [Read More...]

Today’s Saint: John of God

Patron of the sick. Here’s a painting by Murillo: and here’s the obvious Shane McGowan contribution: [Read more...]

Bet You Can’t Read Just One: Addiction/Recovery Link Round-Up

“International Geographic”: I discovered that a lot of conditions which are simply a part of being an alcoholic are magnified by living in a foreign country. For example, the feeling of being terminally unique. In the town where I lived, I actually was extremely unique. There was nobody else like me. I got long stares [Read More...]

Addiction and the Politics (and Poetics) of Personal Responsibility: me at AmCon

a listicle, and for some reason I saved the best stuff for the end, so feel free to hate me: There’s a narrative that comes up whenever addiction is discussed publicly nowadays: the narrative in which the disease of addiction essentially replaces a person’s free will. The barroom-wisdom version of it is the old line, [Read More...]

Five Things for Thursday

What I’ve been reading. “Why Young Sexual Assault Victims Tell Incoherent Stories.” When my alarmed parents sat me down to draw out every detail of what had happened, trying to construct a timeline and zeroing in on specific actions and body parts, I was terrified by their seriousness. The conversation was such an important one [Read More...]

Seth Mnookin on Relapse and the Ghost World

One truism of addiction science is that long-term abuse rewires your brain and changes its chemistry, which is why triggers (or “associated stimuli,” in scientific parlance) are major risk factors for relapse. But these changes can be reversed over time. Walking past the apartment where my dealer used to live didn’t make me want to [Read More...]