“Amends,” My Novel About Reality-TV Rehab, Is Available in Paperback

now! A month in rehab would be stressful enough without a television audience. When the ramshackle cast checks in for "Amends," a new reality series about alcoholism and recovery, they don't know if they've been cast as villains or potential redemption arcs. Over the course of the show they learn what God sees when he shuts his eyes, how to appreciate the comforts of hallucination, and what it looks like when a wolf fights a troll. A conservative journalist woos a homeless Ethiopian visionary. … [Read more...]

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“Love Is a Losing Game”: I review an Amy Winehouse documentary

for AmCon: It’s impossible to describe Amy Winehouse’s voice. Crackly, crimson, fractured and sultry: That’s just the scratchy surface. “Amy,” the new documentary from director Asif Kapadia, delves into the jazz chanteuse’s troubled life and early death, but never forgets to show us Winehouse’s talent and craft—and her gentleness.“Amy” plays like a defense brief. There are villains: Winehouse’s father Mitchell, her husband Blake, and the paparazzi. The movie takes Winehouse’s own narrative a … [Read more...]

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Are You Drinking With Me, Jesus?: Benedict Options and Recovery Communities

This is part of a series on the "Benedict Option." Part one, part two, part three.I mentioned that I was struck by the number of people at Libresco's "Benedict Option" discussion who were in recovery themselves, or who had some close contact with recovery communities. I don't want to make too much of this, really--I know more people are in recovery than I realize, and Leah's thing was pretty much the opposite of a representative sample. But if we're wildly speculating on what people with … [Read more...]

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“‘Force is the Best Medicine’: How America Overdosed on Drug Courts”

by Maia Szalavitz:...If doctors were to deviate this far from the standard of care in treating patients, they would face malpractice judgments and, in extreme cases, criminal prosecution. But drug court judges face no such accountability, even though they generally acknowledge that addiction is a disease and make final decisions on which treatments are permitted. “A judge’s decisions cannot be mucked about with unless they’re illegal or a total abuse of discretion,” says Peggy Hora, a retired … [Read more...]

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Prurient Solidarity

(I am all about the sexy post titles today.)There's this thing I do, where if I know or suspect that you have a let's say intense and troubled relationship to drugs or alcohol, I will immediately think your art is better, your writing is more insightful, your skating is more sublime, you are cooler and funnier and more physically attractive. If I start to catch that scent from you I will start sniffing, and if my suspicions are confirmed my estimation of your personal awesomeness will … [Read more...]

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“Haunted Hollywood”: I watch “Maps to the Stars”

for AmSpec: Part of the reason David Cronenberg’s new Maps to the Stars is so engrossing is that it’s two kinds of movie at once. The surface is all brutal Hollywood satire, the child star who only eats red Skittles and the washed-up actress demanding that her assistant fetch her Xanax and Kozy Shack pudding. This stuff is breathtaking: the massage therapist who helps his scantily-clad clients work through child abuse (“I’m going to press on a personal history point now”), the hateful cheek-kis … [Read more...]

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David Carr, RIP

I now inhabit a life I don't deserve, but we all walk this earth feeling we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn't end anytime soon.--The Night of the Gun I've noticed in reading the tributes to David Carr that he used the word "caper" a lot. He talked about life--sobriety, work, marriage, parenting--like it was a carnival, like it was something he was getting away with. His book, which obviously you should read, is one of the few "addiction memoirs" which make … [Read more...]

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