Flourishing After Addiction with Carl Erik Fisher

Flourishing After Addiction with Carl Erik Fisher

Addiction psychiatrist and bioethicist Carl Erik Fisher explores addiction and recovery from the widest possible diversity of perspectives: from science to spirituality, from philosophy to politics, and everything in between. He interviews leading experts in areas such as psychology, neurobiology, history, sociology, and more--as well as policy makers, advocates, and people with lived experience. A core commitment of the show is we need more than medicine to truly understand addiction and recovery. The challenges and mysteries of this field run up against some of the central challenges of human life, like: what makes a life worth living, what are the limits of self control, and how can people and societies change for the better? These are enormous questions, and they need to be approached with humility, but there are also promising ways forward offered by refreshingly unexpected sources. There are many paths to recovery, and there is tremendous hope for changing the narrative, injecting more nuance into these discussions, and making flourishing in recovery possible for all. Please check out https://www.carlerikfisher.com to join the newsletter and stay in touch.

Episodes

March 27, 2024 56 mins

One of the great gifts of being out in the world talking about addiction and recovery is I get to meet so many fascinating and talented people working on these issues. This is one of my deepest motivations for writing and speaking about my own experience; to connect with other values-aligned writers and thinkers. One wonderful recent example is the fantastic writer Laura Cathcart Robbins, our guest on this latest episode of the Flo...

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In this episode of Flourishing After Addiction, I had the honor of speaking with Bruce Alexander, a towering figure in the field of addiction theory. As regular Rat Park readers will know, I named this newsletter after Bruce’s iconic experiment in the 1970s, honoring not just that experiment, but also the decades of contributions he’s made since to the broader understanding of addiction as a deeply human phenomenon.

Now t...

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As a bonus for this special episode with the artist Erin Williams, author of What’s Wrong? Personal Histories of Chronic Pain and Bad Medicine, I got permission to post some of the illustrations from her new book, What’s Wrong? Personal Histories of Chronic Pain and Bad Medicine. Head over to my Substack page to see those. You won’t want to miss them.

Erin Williams is the author and illustrator of ten books, including What...

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Dr. Ray Baker is a distinguished leader in the field of addiction medicine and a person in long-term recovery from addiction. This episode of Flourishing After Addiction particularly resonates with the theme of the longer-form writings I’m starting to post about frameworks for making sense of recovery, so I’m grateful to have the chance to talk with him.

A highlight of the conversation is Ray’s insight into the various pro...

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In the latest episode of Flourishing After Addiction, I am thrilled to be exploring the intricate relationships between addiction, recovery, pain, and embodiment with Margo Steines, a writer and person in recovery with a deep understanding of these themes.

Margo Steines holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Arizona and serves as a faculty member in their acclaimed writing program. Her work, including he...

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Shame and self-stigma can be powerfully limiting and harmful, and they are especially common among people with addictions. We’ve discussed on prior episodes of the podcast that there may be valuable and wise forms of shame, but psychotherapy research has also shown that the wrong sort of relationship to shame can also inhibit growth and stand in the way of recovery. So for this episode of Flourishing After Addiction, we dive into t...

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For this episode of Flourishing After Addiction, I wanted a guest who could offer some insights into the journey of seeking help for addiction and recovery. What is going wrong with our systems and services, and where can people actually find care? Brian Hurley is the ideal person to help us with these questions, with his extensive experience as a practicing addiction physician, President of the American Society of Addiction Medici...

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Valerie Mason-John (Vimalasara) is a writer, Buddhist teacher, a person in recovery, and the founder of Eight Step Recovery. In this episode of Flourishing After Addiction, Vimalasara shares their transformative journey, beginning with childhood in an orphanage and evolving through various addictions, with a particular focus on their struggle with bulimia, to arrive at their current role as a spiritual teacher and author. Their sto...

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Clancy Martin is a philosopher, an author, a recovering alcoholic, and the survivor of more than ten suicide attempts. His new book, How Not to Kill Yourself, is a chronicle of his suicidal mind, and—of particular interest to us here—an investigation of the ways his suicidal thinking functioned like an addiction. We dive into all that and much more in this week’s episode of Flourishing After Addiction

One of Clancy's central ...

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Judson Brewer ("Dr. Jud") is a renowned addiction psychiatrist and neuroscientist who has spent over two decades studying the mechanisms of addiction and the effects of mindfulness on behavior change. On this episode of Flourishing After Addiction, it was great to talk with him about some extraordinary connections between the science of addiction and contemplative practice.

 We talk about Jud's own experience with pan...

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Zach Siegel is one of our most respected and prolific journalists on addiction and drug policy. He is also a thoughtful, introspective soul who thinks deeply about his own history of opioid addiction. In his many writings, he has often referenced that personal history, but he's never really had the chance to tell his own addiction story from start to finish. Until now! Listen to this episode of Flourishing After Addiction to h...

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A little over 40 years ago, Dr. Steven Hayes experienced his first panic attack—when he was a young assistant professor in psychology, no less! In the intervening years, and drawing in part on his own recovery from panic disorder, he developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and produced a huge body of work that has revolutionized our understanding of human language and cognition. Today, he is one of the most highly-cited scholar...

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In the weeks prior to this episode, the story broke that the UK’s Middlesbrough clinic, which offered a pioneering Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT) program, is slated to close because of budget cuts. Patients were allowed to self-administer medical-grade heroin (officially, diamorphine) under medical supervision. One of the key scientific studies that supports this intervention is the RIOTT Trial—“Randomised Injectable Opiate Treatm...

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As I’ve written before, Beth Macy has an extraordinary gift for encapsulating our nation’s greatest challenges in gripping, intimate, and wise stories of everyday American struggles. She is a bestselling author of several books about addiction, inequality, and justice, and it was a great pleasure to talk to her about her latest book, Raising Lazarus, on this latest episode of Flourishing After Addiction. On a personal note, I’ve en...

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Dr. Ayana Jordan is a renowned expert in addiction and other mental health conditions, newly recruited to NYU to an endowed professorship for her fascinating research. For this episode of Flourishing After Addiction, I was excited to talk to her about new frontiers in her research, such as incorporating spirituality and health equity in addiction medicine. What I was not expecting was for her to share so openly and courageously abo...

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Dr. Jeffrey Guss sits at one of the most fascinating and unusual intersections in all of mental health: between psychoanalysis, addiction treatment, and psychedelic psychotherapy. I wanted to have someone on the show to talk more about the “paradigm-shifting” nature of psychedelic psychotherapy: what that means exactly, and at a macro level, how this kind of therapy might provide some perspective on our current paradigms, like othe...

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Melissa Febos is one of our most accomplished memoirists and essayists, a passionate and fiercely honest writer who, across several of her works, has often discussed her own path through addiction and into recovery. (Among her many, many accolades, she is the recipient of a 2022 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and a National Book Critics Circle Award.) I was thrilled to talk with her on this latest episode of Flourishing After Add...

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From quite early in her life, Peg O’Connor felt a “double dose of shame” - from her lesbian identity on one hand, and her struggles with alcohol on the other. Her drinking problems almost got her expelled from high school, but instead she was able to stop. In her view, philosophy helped her immensely to get and stay sober, especially considering how she was not fully on board with traditional religious views or with Alcoholics Anon...

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One important vision I have for this podcast is to share diverse experiences of addiction and recovery. How people write about it, yes, but even more importantly, the nitty gritty of how they made sense of their own addiction and found their way to recovery. Today’s guest, Holly Whitaker, is a fierce, passionate, and incisive writer who has charted an adventurous path out of eating disorders and addiction.

Holly is perhaps best know...

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Taking care of our relationships is a crucial way we take care of ourselves and the wider world. Some of the most common questions I get in my clinical practice and from listeners are questions about how to navigate relationships in addiction and recovery: couples, parents and kids, or otherwise. So I wanted to have a clinically focused episode about this important issue, and it was my great pleasure to talk with my good friend and...

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