Accounting for Ourselves – A Review and Interview

incredible interview on why analyzing restorative justice practices in community response to sexual violence is critical.

Aid & Abet

6bAccounting for Ourselves – A Review and Interview

How do restorative and transformative justice processes work in practice?

In April, the anarchist collective CrimethInc published a new pamphlet critiquing accountability processes and suggesting ways forward. “Accounting for Ourselves” is not an introduction to accountability processes, nor to the concepts of restorative or transformative justice, but an attempt to evaluate the current implementation of these concepts in political subcultures.

My interest in this topic has come from participating and supporting friends and comrades in this work over the last ten or so years. Accountability processes attempt to put many of my values into practice—mutual aid, respect, direct action, a DIY ethic, an acknowledgement that “crime,” safety, harm, and support are complex. Accountability processes haven’t been a perfect solution, however, and many of the participants I know have left these processes frustrated. At the same time, a lot of the…

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Anne Sexton

I haven’t posted in some time, but found this little nugget worthy of sharing.

The Addict by Anne Sexton

Creativity as Mental Illness

Really curious to hear what other people think about this article.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19959565

Let me know.

Gaslighting

This is a painful thing that happens when relating to addicts. People in recovery also have a lot of other people in their lives at varying levels of use/recovery, and and I think having discussions and awareness about this is important.

For a little insight into what gaslighting is, read this article.

Holidays are a hard time for folks who are sober. Here is a vote of love, confidence and courage as we hit the New Year!

Remember others are welcome to submit to this blog, anonymously and by name. Thanks for the feedback people have given – it has helped me realize that this is a vital forum and that people have a lot they want to say. I appreciate hearing people’s experiences even if they are not meant for public consumption, so I am glad for those who have reached out to me.

katyotto@gmail.com

Harm reduction and addiction

There are some incredible harm reduction organizations out there. For folks unfamiliar with the concept, there is a great overview of the idea behind harm reduction here. This process has also been referred to as harm minimization. The idea is to meet people where they are in their use, practice or suffering, and to attempt to provide safety and relief in baby steps. I first learned of this methodology because of the brilliant organization Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive in DC. Condom distribution is a harm reduction strategy. So is needle exchange. In Philadelphia, where I now live, there is a harm reduction-based organization Prevention Point.

People hold varying opinions on harm reduction as a public health and wellness strategy. While doing some research for another project, I recently stumbled onto this organization, dedicated to harm reduction in treating alcohol addiction. I hadn’t thought much about harm reduction in alcohol abuse. I can think of some ways in which it could work, but some of the greatest harm alcoholism inflicts, besides car accidents, violent incidents, and general health issues, are relationally based – domestic violence, emotional abuse, neglect, poor communication, sexual violence, infidelity (mixed in with dishonesty, confusion, and dangerously lowered inhibitions), boundary violation, etc. To this end, I don’t know how much harm reduction strategies could do unless they really encouraged low-level alcohol content consumption. For those hurt by alcoholics, even the idea of seeing them with a drink can be disturbing.

I am, however, interested in people brave enough to engage these kinds of dialogues. I noticed HAMS (Harm Reduction for Alcohol) had advertised this conference, from November 15-18, 2012 in Portland, OR. It is organizing by the Harm Reduction Coalition based in New York City, a group that also shares regular podcasts such as this one. Interestingly enough I had just heard about Gabor Mate, interviewed on today’s podcast, through my bandmate and best friend who bought a book by the Hungarian man on his work.

Interested in other people’s perspectives and thoughts.

Recovered addicts and being close to those using.

I just had what I think is a pretty sound and viable realization.

For people who used to use, being around a person who is still using is almost like a sanctioned and supplanted way to use yourself. You talk to them, you interact with them – you FEEL drunk being in relationship with them (or high, etc.). A great friend and I once agreed that we were more experience junkies than sex/love/substance addicts. Sometimes addiction is about escape from the mundane, from the painful, from the scary. I have wondered why it is hard for me to pull away from people who have less resolve towards evicting substance use from their lives – but I am now thinking that my own predilection towards engaging personally and closely with folks may be its own addiction.

What keeps going through my head though is the phrase – talking to you makes me feel drunk.

I have never thought of this before.

A List of Top Ten Musicians Who Were Heroin Users.

I include this link not in celebration of their use but of their creative work, and with a sadness at what could have been had they recovered and lived.

The greatest fight of your life might be your fight to get sober.

For any woman who has ever loved the wrong man.

Kill All Redneck Pricks

KARP LIVES!

I saw this incredible, powerful documentary film a few hours ago. I was not that familiar with the band, but am a big fan of Big Business and was interested in it. I did not know the story of guitarist Chris Smith and his battle with addiction, anxiety, suicide attempts and terror.

His quotes in this film were incredible to me. I was honored to share a few words with him after the screening.

If this film comes to your town, go see it. If it is isn’t, bring it for a screening. Seriously, I am moved – and in the midst of some pretty painful realizations and feelings about exactly how dark and painful addiction can be, and how awful it can make creating and dreaming and loving and living.

For all of you who struggle to quiet the fire in your mind – keep fighting. To Chris, at a professed 5 years sober – much respect and kinship.

Breathe. And pray magic/play music.

Love of mine.

I miss you tonight.

Fear is the heart of love.

I was there, in the ether. You sink inside and I am left with only depleted oxygen.

I do hear it, the arias, and I understand.

I wish you weren’t scared.

If I had the strength of ten thousand men…

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