A Lesson from Recent Vaping Deaths

Federal officials have tentatively identified the potential source of recently reported vaping-related respiratory illnesses and deaths. The culprit appears to be vitamin E acetate, a substance long used as a nutritional supplement and topical skin treatment but whose oily consistency may make it quite toxic when inhaled via vaping. While these findings are preliminary and…

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Recovery Contagion within the Family

Addiction runs in families, but far less known is the fact that recovery also runs in families. Both of these phenomena have captured my attention in recent decades and been the focus of numerous articles. Scientific studies are unravelling the factors that combine to elevate risk of intergenerational transmission of addiction and related problems. These…

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Toward a New Recovery Advocacy Movement 2000 Redux

I was invited in 2000 to do a presentation for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Recovery Community Support Program grantees meeting. I chose for my topic “Toward a New Recovery Advocacy Movement” and prepared a paper to share with attendees that constituted one of the first descriptions of the rise of grassroots recovery advocacy…

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Partial Recovery

In 2006, Ernie Kurtz and I collaborated on our first paper explicating multiple pathways and styles of addiction recovery. The article was later included in the first recovery management monograph and published in the International Journal of Self Help and Self Care. Included within the paper was a discussion of the variations in depth of…

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Honoring Recovery Ancestors

It is all that we are: history, memory. –Walter Mosely, from John Woman I have been thinking a good deal more than usual about the history of addiction recovery in the United States. Such ruminations are a reflection of my stage of life, but they have also been stirred by recent events, including the recent…

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Parable of Two Programs

Once upon a time there existed two organizations pledged to offer hope and help to individuals and families affected by alcohol and other drug problems. The first, which we shall call Hubris, used its massive communications and marketing machinery to assert its claim as the Alpha and Omega of addiction treatment and recovery support. Hubris…

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Addiction Recovery Without Treatment

A just-published review of the scientific literature on untreated remission from alcohol problems by Richard Mellor and colleagues offers insightful clues about the role of professional treatment and non-treatment resources in the resolution of alcohol problems. Here are some key findings and my take on their implications. Only a small subset of people with alcohol…

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The Irrationality of Addiction Treatment

The most cursory review of the history of addiction treatment reveals a long tradition of inadvertent harm in the name of help (iatrogenic illness). Such treatment insults span bleeding, purging, and toxic, mercury-laden medicines in the 18th century. They include the fraudulent boxed and bottled home cures and the use of cocaine to treat morphine…

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Beyond Recovery Exceptionalism

Oppression involves objectification and rendering the targeted person or group as the ‘other.” That distinctive “otherness” is then conveyed in caricatured images that feed stigma, social exclusion, and, in its most extreme form, genocide. The first task of the social reformer is to illuminate the humanity of those objectified and break down barriers between “they”…

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Health Challenges In Addiction Recovery

The wide range of injuries inflicted on the human body by excessive and prolonged alcohol or other drug (AOD) use have been extensively documented for more than two centuries, but until recently little was known about the relative health of people recovering from addiction. The potential burden of continued health problems in recovery has been obscured…

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