The devastating effects of addiction on physical/emotional health and social functioning have been meticulously catalogued, but far less attention has been given to its toll on character and the role character reconstruction plays in the recovery process. A recent rereading of David Brook’s The Road to Character has spurred this reflection on character and addiction(……)

Historically, alcohol and tobacco (nicotine) were not considered within the American cultural understanding of “drugs” due to their socially celebrated status and aggressive promotion by the alcohol and tobacco industries. The failure to recognize alcohol and nicotine on par with other psychoactive drugs produced many strange and catastrophic anomalies within addiction treatment and recovery communities.(……)

Knowledge about the effects of addiction on families and the family recovery process has grown exponentially as a result of scientific studies and cumulative clinical experience. Among the most important conclusions to date that can be drawn from this body of knowledge are the following.  1. Alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems spring from diverse influences; unfold in(……)

When that doctor asked me, ‘Son, how did you get in this condition?’ I said, ‘Hey sawbones, I’m just carrying on an ole family tradition.’ –Hank Williams, Jr., Song Lyric, Family Tradition.  The intergenerational transmission of addiction and related problems has been documented for more than two centuries. Put simply, the children of alcohol and(……)

Dr. John Kelly and colleagues just published (Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 181, 162-169) a landmark survey that measured the prevalence and pathways of alcohol and other drug problem resolution among adults living in the United States. Major findings from this study include the following. Recovery Prevalence The just-published Recovery Research Institute (Massachusetts General Hospital) survey(……)

The social stigma attached to addiction and addiction recovery inflicts innumerable harms to individuals, families, organizations, and communities. Two people in recovery recently emailed me sharing quite different dilemmas—each flowing from stigma-induced caricatures of addiction and recovery. In the first instance, people had no difficulty believing the individual’s addiction story because of his numerous, and(……)

One of the most difficult challenges facing the historian is evaluating a series of linked events while they are still unfolding and while their long-term import remains unclear. That is a challenge I regularly face in recounting recent threads within the evolving fabric of addiction treatment and recovery in the United States. This brief essay(……)

Advocacy movements require transforming highly personal stories into the collective narrative of “a people.” Merging the individual stories into a larger collective mosaic allows people with shared characteristics and experiences to see their past and future as part of a larger drama. As Marcus Garvey suggests, individuals become a people only when connected to their(……)