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Thursday, August 30, 2012

81

Jane Velez-Mitchell on Addiction and Disease


Over at The Fix, a personal take on being both a cancer patient and an alcoholic.

81 Comments / Post A Comment

fondue with cheddar

Wow, Jane Velez-Mitchell. You tell 'em.

While addictions may have started because of poor choices*, once they take hold they make changes to your body and/or brain, at which point is IS biological.

*I say "may have" because some people become addicted more easily than others. One person may make reasonable choices and become addicted, while another may make poor choices and not become addicted.

Cat named Virtute

Ooh man, can we also copy this on things like anxiety and depression? I am so tired of being encouraged to magical think myself functional again.

fondue with cheddar

@Cat named Virtute Really. I was depressed for a few years, and my ex husband actually thought he could get me to "snap out of it".

Drink All the Coffee

@Cat named Virtute WORD. Any chance you'd be interested in writing something about that for my mental health zine, Against the Flood?

Also, Harriet the Spy + Weakerthans reference = <3

Craftastrophies

@jen325 Episode #5,783 in 'Crafty hates jen325's ex husband'

fondue with cheddar

@Craftastrophies Haha, you're the best. My boyfriend is an avid fan of that show. There was a new episode last night when I came across his old livejournal post where he announced our separation to everyone (I was on there looking for an exact quote to reference in a Hairpin comment).

fondue with cheddar

@Craftastrophies By the way, it's been awhile since I've seen an episode of "jen325 hates Crafty's ex husband" or "jen325 hates Crafty's mom". Those are always interesting.

EternalFootwoman

@jen325 I'm new to watching this show, but I think I will be a big fan.

fondue with cheddar

@EternalFootwoman jen325's ex husband: the "man" everyone loves to hate!

I was going to give you a brief synopsis but it's hard to be concise because there was just so much drama and terrible behavior. He carried on a long-term affair with a mutual friend (who married her high school sweetheart during the affair), but that's not even the worst of it, it's just the easiest part to communicate. He seemed like a nice guy on the surface (to everyone, not just me) but he was such a slimy, cowardly bastard.

EternalFootwoman

@jen325 If that's not the worst of it, call me an official member of the "I hate jen325's ex-husband" club.

Craftastrophies

@jen325 Maybe they'll run a marathon soon? Popcorn for EVERYONE!

fondue with cheddar

@Craftastrophies Marathon? Popcorn? Why am I so confused? I did have a very exhausting day yesterday so my brain isn't running on all cylinders.

Craftastrophies

@jen325 Marathon of the episodes of "Craftastrophies hates jen325's ex" and "jen 325 hates Crafty's mum".

They sell them in a box set.

fondue with cheddar

@Craftastrophies Dude...if that were an actual product I have no doubt it would be a hit.

barefoot cuntessa

I just nearly cried. After watching someone you love slowly self destruct because he is trying to assert his will over something he clearly has no control over, this struck a cord. After 8 years of sobriety, and nearly as many trying to control his drinking, my dad is going to meetings every day and is finally back on a path of sobriety.

fondue with cheddar

@barefoot cuntessa Wow, I'm so glad to hear your dad is on the right path. Best of luck to him.

glow bug

well & diplomatically put, Jane

Fiddle dee dee

Interesting that she says she could run marathons and work 12 hour days but could not quit drinking, like that would be some kind of puzzle. It seems to me that working 12 hour days and running that much might indicate a tendency toward addictive behavior.

EternalFootwoman

@Fiddle dee dee But they're also things that require some willpower. So a lot of people will say, "S/he does all these other things and trains for marathons and works really hard, so why can't s/he stop drinking?" The answer, of course, is that s/he is addicted to alcohol and can't just will that addiction away. And, as you point out, running marathons and working a lot are things that are rewarded by society, though they are both behaviors that may or may not stem from a healthy place.

Craftastrophies

BOOM.

See also, describing dealing with cancer as a 'battle'.

EternalFootwoman

@Craftastrophies Ooooh, yeah, this is something that annoys me a TON. I think a lot of the language used for talking about cancer implies (or outright says) that if you have enough willpower, you will live. I've actually heard people say that so-and-so's inspirational story of surviving cancer made them sad because they wished their mom/sister/friend had been able to fight that hard. Ummm, what?!

Craftastrophies

@EternalFootwoman Rage.

I mean, I think it's supposed to give people control and agency. But if you don't HAVE control and agency over a biological thing that is eating away at your body, telling someone they do is just one step from blaming them.

Can't we celebrate people's strength and tenacity without making it their own fault if they die? Apparently not.

Fiddle dee dee

@Craftastrophies Absolutely, it makes me crazy.

And it's also okay not to be strong and tenacious when faced with serious disease. There's nothing wrong with being sad and afraid in a scary situation like that.

Also, I think sometimes there is a culture of "fight fight fight", no matter what, when sometimes the best option for quality of remaining life is to stop fighting.

@ EternalFootwoman Makes sense. I think it is a bit charged for me, as I know some compulsive runners/workers. I might be the latter at times. No danger of too much running though!

EternalFootwoman

@Fiddle dee dee I think you make an excellent point--our society has a real problem with end-of-life care. I think the resistance to hospice and palliative care comes from the same "Fight cancer! Fight harder!" attitude. We like to think we can do anything we work at, if we work hard enough, and that is just not true. Particularly when you're "fighting" something like a mass of cells that has no agency or goal other than to grow.

Craftastrophies

@EternalFootwoman I wish I could remember where I read this last week, but it was some article on a cancer survivor's experience and she said 'you don't fight cancer. Cancer fights you.' I thought that was apt.

fondue with cheddar

@Craftastrophies It is apt, indeed. It's definitely not something anybody can overcome. There are tons of factors that determine whether or not a person can survive a bout of cancer. Just because lots of people survive it doesn't mean everybody can.

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