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Self-narrative, addiction, and self-acceptance

Here come two posts, the first one is more of an idea, the second a suggestion for practicing what the idea is about. My question for today: How can we (who struggle with addiction) reconcile our radically different self-narratives, some of which seem so ugly, and arrive at self-acceptance and self-compassion? We know that self-anger, […] (Read the rest.)

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Ben isn’t back and A Beautiful Boy isn’t so beautiful

I seem to have become a movie critic.  A month ago I posted on Ben is Back and yesterday I watched A Beautiful Boy on a flight home from San Francisco. And what I get at the end of each movie is a big fat nothing. There is no conclusion, no understanding, no ground from […] (Read the rest.)

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Ben is Back — or is he?

Yesterday I watched “Ben is Back” — a recently released feature film about a heroin-addicted young man (Lucas Hedges) and his heroic and tenacious mother (Julia Roberts) who tries her best to keep him “clean.” Ben is around 20 years old (at which age I too was also shooting heroin). He scams a trip home […] (Read the rest.)

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Substance (not just substances) in addiction

The word “substance” may have a double-meaning when it comes to addiction. The basic meaning is obvious: the substance is a chemical that we want badly and pursue relentlessly. But the second meaning of “substance” is suggested by a well-documented phenomenon: the parallel between substance addictions and behavioural addictions. The feelings, actions, and brain changes […] (Read the rest.)

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Addiction: Narrowing brains in narrowing environments

The paper I recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine (linked here, summary linked here) detailed my best arguments against the disease model of addiction. But it also explored new territory, and that’s the topic of today’s post. I emphasized (as I have for years) that addiction is learned. It is not a […] (Read the rest.)

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