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...]

“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...]

“The Battle for Needle Exchange”: Maia Szalavitz

at The Fix: ...I’ll never forget seeing needle exchange done by activists for the first time, with addicted people almost unable to believe their eyes as strangers risked arrest or worse in some of the city’s worst neighborhoods to try to save them from HIV. People who looked sick, gray and miserable would suddenly light up; those who seemed unreachable would make eye contact and tentatively connect. It was one of the most spiritual things I have ever witnessed.The power of those moments was … [Read more...]

“How Effective Are Tactics Used on TV Shows to Treat Troubled Teens?”: Maia Szalavitz

reports: Terrifying teens by making them lie in coffins, forcing them to spend a night on a frigid street or a bare prison cell— these harsh measures are used in reality shows in an attempt to put delinquents back on the straight and narrow.  But the strategies may make for better TV than treatment. ...It’s not like there’s a shortage of data or any scientific controversy over Scared Straight’s actual results.  In fact, a Cochrane review — the gold standard for evidence-based medicine — conc … [Read more...]

“Why Gratitude Isn’t Just for Thanksgiving”

lol science! But this is a good piece. … [Read more...]

More on the “marshmallow test”

from Maia Szalavitz: ...So, what determines which children will fall among the lucky 25% who can successfully resist the marshmallow? Is it an inherited genetic advantage that produces greater impulse control? Is delaying gratification a learned behavior? Or could children be making conscious choices about this specific task based on similar prior experiences — involving adults who promise better rewards later — of whether waiting really pays off?Researchers led by Celeste Kidd at the Uni … [Read more...]

Ask Maia Szalavitz stuff!

new feature at The Fix: Welcome to my first “Ask Maia” column, in which I shall attempt to answer your questions and other matters drug related. I especially hope to answer personal questions about specific addictions—so bring on your problems. more … [Read more...]