“Clinical Sentiments”

This chorus ultimately gives way to “St. John of Gods” as an alternative mantra.  St. John of God is a psychiatric clinic in a southern suburb of Dublin, run since 1882 by the religious order of that name. Though it offers a range of services, it is best known for alcoholism treatment. The legend of the original St. John of God, a 16th-century Portuguese monk, holds that following a dramatic conversion experience, he was locked up in an asylum for the insane and mistreated.  This inspired him to … [Read more...]

Addictions and Corrections to the Minutes

See what I did there?Anyway, I have a whole lot of random notes or clarifications about that earlier post and no real organizing principle for them, so I will just throw them out here in a list.* I think I expressed myself poorly earlier, since some people seem to have read the initial post as saying, "With some addictions you need to treat underlying physical or emotional factors first, so that you can point out to the person that their real needs are spiritual." This isn't what I meant … [Read more...]

The Twelve Steps and/as/vs. Religion

There is no way I will regret writing this post!Anyway, Helen Rittelmeyer has a provocative piece called "The Language of Addiction Takes Over," which makes a bunch of great points despite an underlying framework I think may be wrong. Some of the great points: "The religious novel is in eclipse, but the recovery memoir has never been more popular. Recovering addicts show up in high-brow shows like Enlightened, middle-brow shows like The West Wing, and low-brow shows like Prison Break, almost … [Read more...]

“You think you hold the high hand; I’ve got my doubts”

This works best as an Easter song at the end of its album, but here you go anyway--I love this. Probably listened to it for the first time sober ever on Holy Thursday. Had to clean 14-month-old spilled drinks off the CD but it spun just fine.(I just tried looking up this album at The Fix because I was sure they'd put it in one of their "best albums about addiction/recovery" lists, but the search engine said, MOUNTAIN GOATS--Do you mean MAINTAIN GOALS?) … [Read more...]

“David Foster Wallace and Samuel Taylor Coleridge Had a Lot in Common”

Helen Rittelmeyer: The biggest difference between Samuel Taylor Coleridge and David Foster Wallace is that by the time cardiomyopathy took Coleridge’s life in 1834, at the age of sixty-one, the consensus was that he had died too late. It’s not that no one engaged in rueful speculation about the masterpieces that would go unwritten, it was just that they’d done it years before, when it became clear that addiction and lack of professional discipline had made further serious literary output from Co … [Read more...]

“The Loneliness of the Addict Activist”: Maia Szalavitz

at The Fix: It’s hard to convey the sense of crisis felt by people using IV drugs and facing AIDS in the early ‘90s: In New York, at least half of needle users were already infected—at least 100,000 people—and there was no treatment, let alone cure or vaccine, in sight. The presence of death was always palpable. As was, for me, a deep frustration that most people in recovery seemed unwilling or unable to do anything about it.While gay men had ACT UP street activism and Gay Men’s Health Crisi … [Read more...]

Sweet Smell of Success

I just watched a commercial for... something involving "4G," not sure what... which showed a man talking to a small group of little children. "Which is better: playing basketball in a huge stadium, or playing basketball in a little driveway?""Stadium!" a little girl answers."Why is that?""Because there's more room for the fans!""Do you have a lot of fans?"She thinks about it and then says, "Yes!""Do you believe in yourself?"Now she looks like this grown man is maybe … [Read more...]


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