“Sublime Recovery and Banal Recovery”: I’m in AmCon

sketching: This week I’m preparing to go to the 10th National Harm Reduction Conference (which I’ll be reporting on for TAC), and also reading for the first time David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The conference and the novel offer strikingly different narratives of addiction and recovery–both of which are gaining cultural ground in different ways. more … [Read more...]

From “Infinite Jest”

[Gately's] respected and well-liked by almost all the residents, which the House Manager says causes the veteran Staff some concern, because Gately's job is not to be these people's friend all the time. --from the description of the drug rehab halfway house; it's weird reading this book after having read so much about abusive and just pointless "treatment" at similarly 12-Step-only, non-research-based treatment centers in the real world. It's presented with wry irony here, but that … [Read more...]

From “Infinite Jest”

Of course--the Crocodiles dig at each other with their knobby elbows and guffaw and wheeze--they say when they tell Gately to either Hang In AA and get rabidly Active or else die in slime of course it's only a suggestion. … [Read more...]

“Most People With Addiction Simply Grow Out of It–Why Is This Widely Denied?”: Maia Szalavitz

because it's boring? But no, this is a great reason for both friends and governments not to immediately leap to, "Maybe you have a problem and need help," when somebody has their first realization that they have maybe strayed into 1 Party 2 Many territory. I've made the over-interventiony mistake at least once (I think it's fairly normal for those of us who actually did need to completely quit drinking/using) so it's worth keeping in mind that most people who think, "Whoa okay, I need to get it … [Read more...]

From “Infinite Jest”

Exec. Director [of Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House (sic)] Pat M. is due in at 0900 and has application interviews with three people, 2F and 1M, who better be showing up soon, and Gately will answer the door when they don't know enough to just come in and will say Welcome and get them a cup of coffee if he judges them able to hold it. He'll get them aside and tip them off to be sure to pet Pat M.'s dogs during the interview. They'll be sprawled all over the front office, sides … [Read more...]

From “Infinite Jest”

The 'base [freebase cocaine] frees and condenses, compresses the whole experience to the implosion of one terrible shattering spike in the graph, an afflated orgasm of the heart that makes her feel, truly, attractive, sheltered by limits, deveiled and loved, observed and alone and sufficient and female, full, as if watched for an instant by God. … [Read more...]

From David Foster Wallace, “Infinite Jest”

But so some E.T.A.s [=students at Enfied Tennis Academy]--not just Hal Incandenza by any means--are involved with recreational substances, is the point. Like who isn't, at some life-stage, in the U.S.A. and Interdependent regions, in these troubled times, for the most part. Though a decent percentage of E.T.A. students aren't at all. I.e. involved. Some persons can give themselves away to an ambitious pursuit and have that be all the giving-themselves-away-to-something they need to do. Though … [Read more...]


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