Hi, I’m Stercorius and I’m an Addict

HI STERCORIUS.I was in Russian class, trying to describe a character from a movie I watched recently. "Он наркоман," I said--he's a drug addict."Он страдает от наркомании," my teacher corrected me. He suffers from addiction.I was reminded of being at last year's Harm Reduction Conference, where you'd sometimes hear about the need to stop saying "addict" and start saying "person struggling with drugs," or similar variations. At first I was all, Oh come on, please let me speak English a … [Read more...]

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“Humiliating People With Addiction Is Not Treatment”: Molly Fogel

at Substance.com:I could fill volumes with all that I saw. There were other situations where patients walked around with signs around their necks, saying, “I’m a loser,” “I’m nothing,” or “I’m not worth caring about.” The “transgressions” that earned these sanctions included getting in an argument with a more favored client, yelling at a case manager and getting high. There was little compassion in this place, and little-to-no therapy. Individual therapy was not permitted, although I’m still … [Read more...]

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Kathy Shaidle’s Poetry, Old and New

So I took part in this year-end books roundup with AmCon, and once again told everybody to read Kathy Shaidle's 1998 poetry collection, Lobotomy Magnificat. You can get a longer review from me here but really, it's a short book, why not throw it in your basket?Shaidle replied; I thought this bit was esp interesting: "A lot of people see 'compassion' in my poetry and other early writing that I simply don’t think is there. I think they’re seeing what they want to see."She also noted that he … [Read more...]

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“Will Work for Meaning”: I review “Two Days, One Night”

at AmCon: The most tense scene I saw in any movie this year was Marion Cotillard leaning against a blank wall gulping from a bottle of water.Cotillard is playing Sandra in “Two Days, One Night,” yet another must-see from Belgium’s Dardenne brothers (“The Kid with a Bike,” “Rosetta,” “The Child,” “The Son”). Sandra is waiting for the results of a vote taken by the employees of Solwal, the company where she used to work. When the movie opens she has barely, partially overcome a severe depressi … [Read more...]

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Hey Look, It’s the Prayer My Spiritual Director Warned Me About!

Nathaniel Torrey on the Litany of Humility, which I super love although I also appreciate the fact that almost every reference I see to it includes some kind of Grizzled Local Tells Teens Not to Go in the Woods kind of warning. For me it helps me trust & rely solely on God--it reassures me that even if all my own schemes and people-pleasing strategies fail, God will love me. I think the worry is that the prayer can be misused to reinforce feelings like, "I don't deserve love." Fortunately … [Read more...]

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Like That Scene in “Love and Rockets” Where They’re All Slapping That Woman: I watch “He Who Gets Slapped”

A silent movie in which Lon Chaney, Sr plays a scientist whose work is stolen by an evil Baron who's also seducing his wife. Due to the public humiliation he becomes a clown (yes) who goes by the nom de cirque "He Who Gets Slapped." You can guess what his routine is like. After many years of reenacting his public disgrace for the entertainment of the crowd, he may have a new chance to love and hope--but will his heart be broken yet again?I saw this at AFI, where the music was done by the … [Read more...]

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“The Gift Shop of the Dead”: I Visit the Museum of Crime and Punishment

for AmSpec: For the past twelve years I’ve volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center serving mainly low-income women in the District of Columbia, and I’ve noticed something about how our clients talk: Nobody ever says “prison.” Boyfriends, husbands, fathers, sons were never “locked up,” “in jail,” or “serving time”; they were always “incarcerated.” There is an unexpected poignancy to the bureaucratic term—a lacy Latinate word suffused with so much pain, as if standardization and abstraction coul … [Read more...]

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