Why I Don’t Follow The 12-Steps, And Never Will

Recovery without 12-steps is very, very possible-on bettysbattleground.com

Late last week, I had an article published on STAT First Opinion called “By shunning medication-assisted therapy, 12-step meetings are making the opioid crisis worse.” I encourage you to read it if you have not already, because in this post I’m going to cover some topics not discussed in that article, and some of the controversies that have arisen because of that article.

So many people left comments telling me that I should “read the literature” before making this commentary. Well, of course I read the literature. It is insulting that anybody thinks I was just spouting off my opinion without doing actual research. And the fact is, this wasn’t a blog post. It was published by a respected third-party. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that STAT is in the business of publishing random stuff that isn’t researched. I had a conversation with my editor about some of the more controversial points made here, and we verified everything and were careful to word statements intentionally. This was not written on-the-fly. I did a good amount of research for this piece, and anyone who believes NA does not have an official stance on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) should read Bulletin 29.

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The “Opioid Crisis” Is Not A War Against Pain Relief

Why are some chronic pain patients furthering their cause by putting down ours? -bettysbattleground.com

I just encountered a disturbing phenomenon. Maybe I’m the last kid on the bus to notice this, but apparently there’s a sect of chronic pain patients who are opioid crisis deniers. They feel that the deaths of drugs users is inconvenient to their cause. I’m guessing there are tons of these bubbles across the internet, but the 12,000+ strong one I came across on Twitter was headed by a Stanford educated doctor named Thomas Kline.

The tweets these people sent were fairly rambling and incoherent, especially those by Dr. Kline himself, but from what I could gather, they think the lives and deaths of addicted people are inconsequential, and the cause of their own woes. The sad part is, chronic pain patients and people in addiction recovery (or active addiction) have a common enemy, and if we banded together instead of engaging in this petty insane bullshit, maybe we could crush it. The enemy, of course, being STIGMA. Unfortunately, as long as Dr. Kline keeps spewing his pseudoscience to the sycophantic followers that need to believe him with all their souls, that community will never happen.

I’m not bashing chronic pain patients. Many chronic pain patients are on the same page as me. For those that I’m referencing in this post, I don’t blame them. It’s intoxicating to be part of a highly stigmatized population and then to find someone who speaks loudly in your favor, says everything you need said, and is willing to stand up and fight for you. If that person then skews facts and figures in your favor, why wouldn’t you defend him? I don’t blame the patients. But I do blame the doctors.

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An Untold Story From 9/11

methadone dosing during 9/11-on bettysbattleground.com

When the first airplane hit the Twin Towers, I was thirteen years old. It was still early in Seattle, and I was getting ready for school. I heard about it on The End, the local angsty rocker radio station. It was still new, the events were still unfolding, and information was patchy. They said New York had been bombed.

I have family in New York, and in bordering parts of New Jersey. Several aunts, and my Abuelita, at the time. So when I heard New York was being bombed, they were the first people I feared for. When the records were corrected, when I learned airplanes had crashed into one targeted area, far from my family, I was relieved. That was the first emotion I felt in response to 9/11. Others would come, but relief and gratitude were my first.

A lot of people lost loves ones during these attacks. Every Muslim-American lost rights and dignities that day for which they still struggle. I don’t know exactly what happened that day. Was it a terrorist attack? Did the government do it? Or if the Bush administration didn’t actually plan the attacks, did they allow the terrorists in? We know for certain that they ignored intel that could have helped prevent or ameliorate the devastation caused. In the end, whatever happened, a lot of families were left irreparably broken, and our country lost the easy hubris upon which we’d built our empire.

Those stories belong to other people. I didn’t lose anyone to the 9/11 attacks. My city wasn’t directly affected; my skyline wasn’t shattered. I was too young to fully feel the impact on the nation, at least at first. The stories of loss and pain and heartbreak are not mine to tell, but while I was researching my recent article on dosing during disasters, Joycelyn Woods, executive director for National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery and long time New Yorker, told me a different kind of 9/11 story, which I’d like to share with you today.

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