“A New York Needle Exchange Program in Action”: Sarah Beller

at The Fix: Around 6 pm on a spring evening, I walk with Hector Mata through an area of northern Manhattan known as “the Zig-Zag," sculpted by the off-ramps of the George Washington Bridge. We pass a playground, go down through a woodsy area, slip through a hole in a fence, and step into a clearing next to a highway. We see cushions, blankets, a makeshift tent and a near-human-sized doll. A real woman is sitting against a stone wall."That's Chris," says Mata. As she hears us approaching, s … [Read more...]

Speaking of Endurance

His-and-hers perspectives on chronic relapse. Strong stuff. She: I met my husband, Jimmy, at my very first AA meeting. I stumbled into the 14th Street Workshop, bloated and reeking of booze from the night before, in my pajamas. I hadn't showered in days, and I was wary of the people in the room. I didn't trust anyone.Jimmy recognized that I was new (it wasn't hard to spot), and he put out his hand to shake mine, welcoming me and giving me a meeting list. I don't remember much about that … [Read more...]

Ask Your Doctor If Solidarity Is Right for You… or AA, CBT, LOL

I have a lot of small thoughts about this piece at The Fix about the similarities and differences between cognitive behavioral therapy and the 12 Steps. I don't know that these small thoughts come together into one big Voltron thought, so I will just put them out there in a list. As always, my opinions are worth exactly what you paid for them.First, although this post will focus on what's left out of the article, I want to make clear that I'm basically pro-CBT and I know several people who … [Read more...]

From Henri Nouwen, “The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom”

Simply start by admitting that you cannot cure yourself. You have to say yes fully to your powerlessness in order to let God heal you. But it is not really a question of first and then. Your willingness to experience your powerlessness already includes the beginning of surrender to God’s action in you. --via … [Read more...]

“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...]


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