Recovering with Holly Whitaker
#27 Whose idea is this

#27 Whose idea is this

a voice memo on the anonymous authorship of the internet, etc.

Hellloooo! I recorded this voice memo about ownership of ideas and art being stolen ten days ago and then didn’t publish it. I’m not exactly sure why, I’m either worried about the content (that it could be taken out of context, that it doesn’t have enough to do with recovery, that it requires more nuance and sensitivity than I can give it, that depending on identity this is an entirely different conversation) or that it’s not my medium (me solo riffing verbally feels very shakey!!). Either way, I’m not sure about it but I’m publishing anyway because I like it.

I’ve added this little survey for you to take about whether you want more of this kind of thing (audio) and how often. The survey also has an option to ask me anything for an upcoming post.

A few notes before you listen to the episode.

  1. I am covering this topic because working with the energy of “that’s mine!” is one of the most challenging things for me. I do not like how it makes me feel when I think someone has (or when someone in fact has) stolen my idea or not given me credit or whatever. Recovery, for me, means deep self-awareness— noticing what hooks me—and the whole ownership thing over ideas is a place where I’ve done considerable development (because I’ve had considerable opportunity to be totally hooked by it). If it feels like it's not relevant because you’re not an artist, etc., I think it is: “That belongs to me” underwrites a whole universe of our individual and collective suffering. (E.g., colonialism, materialism, capitalism, white supremacy, etc. etc. etc.) It’s a thing I want to dismantle within myself, a thing I think about a lot, a thing I wanted to bring here.

  2. After I recorded this I thought a lot about ideas that were core to my work that either I believed to belong to everyone (as in, “so given they always existed”), or in some cases believed I was “first to”; below is a list of extremely under-acknowledged influences that shaped my work and the existing conversations about the War on Drugs or Big Alcohol or Sober Curiosity or Women & Drinking, etc. Etiology (the root, where something came from) is something I am forever fascinated by so if you have any resources to add to this list, please either put them in the comments (if you are a paid subscriber) or send me an email.

    1. Harold Johnson’s book, Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People and Yours was written in 2015 and predated the entire “alcohol is shit” movement

    2. The largely unknown history of harm reduction work (very queer!) which laid the foundation for compassionate care. It’s the original sober curious.

    3. The Wellbriety movement which (to my knowledge) was the birthplace of culturally competent care, at least in recovery spaces (also thank you to Jessica Hoppe for writing about Wellbriety in her piece The First Step to Recovery is Admitting You Are Not Powerless Over Your Privilege, which is how I found out about it)

    4. The Black feminist origins of self-care

    5. This book I still haven’t read (it’s in a very big stack that haunts me) that submits prohibition “wasn’t reactionary but revolutionary” and includes the untold influence of many non-white leaders of the day and their contribution to prohibition. It also repaints Carrie Nation’s legacy.

    6. Charlotte Kasl, Jean Kilbourne, and Ann Doswett Johnson wrote seminal books on the intersection of patriarchy, feminism, marketing, alcohol addiction, and women and they rarely get credited for it

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Ten Things Right Now

A song that makes me the happiest, a podcast that made me concentrate, all the TV I’ve loved, single ladies getting richer, kids rejecting their parents drugs, tequila as your therapist’s therapist, and kitties.

  1. A few charities I supported this week: GEM for flood relief in Pakistan, and Feed The Streets (direct outreach in LA, this is one I give financial and time commitment to). Both are excellent organizations that need support if you’re looking for a place to stick your .

  2. “To be an honest human being is to be in a state of tension, is to be in a state of ambiguity. We feel the effects of this ambiguity and our knee jerk response is to recognize a lack In ourselves, and if only we could come up with a philosophy then we’ll be complete as people. What if we’re never meant to fill that lack?” This podcast on Simone de Beauvoir’s book The Ethics of Ambiguity is 🤯 (I had to listen to it three times to understand ten percent of it). Thank you Bailey for the rec

  3. This song without fail makes me love life

  4. Canada is changing its alcohol consumption (drinking) guidelines. Currently, the guidelines set a max amount of ten drinks per week for women and fifteen for men. The new guidelines would set TWO drinks max per week for all genders as low risk drinking. This is a very big deal.

  5. Women Who Stay Single and Don’t Have Kids Are Getting Richer (as in, even richer than single men). This got me thinking about the podcast I recommended in last week’s Ten Things, in which Elizabeth Gilbert mentions that heterosexual marriage makes men richer and increases their life span and makes women poorer and decreases their life span. It’s worth listening to just for that (first ten minutes)

  6. Even Paris is getting into NA wine

  7. The Backward Law. I got this link from Haley Nahman’s newsletter and I found these statements felt true to me. It made me think of the A Course In Miracle statement “Giving it is how you keep it” which I also find to be true and which feels in line with today’s topic.

  8. “No one likes to do the same drugs as their parents did” One of my friends saw a billboard that showed a tequila bottle captioned “therapy for your therapist” and he got sad about how far we have to go and another of my friends reminded him how far we have come with this Vice article on How Alcohol Lost It’s Cool

    Lo Siento billboard in Santa Monica
  9. I watch a lot of TV and movies and I never talk about it so here goes the best things I’ve watched this past year (from memory in absolutely no particular order). The Farewell, Station 11, The Leftovers, Broadcast News, Don’t Look Up (and okay basically every post-apocalyptic film), Everything Everywhere All At Once, 20th Century Women, Euphoria, Insecure, Only Murders in the Building, Gentleman Jack, Severance, The Patriot, Encanto. I am pulling out of House of Dragons because it’s ruining GOT, I was deeply disturbed by The Rehearsal, and while I appreciated what Flight Attendant was trying to do for sober people they need to tone that character down a smidge.

  10. This NYT article, Ask a Flight Attendant, made me wonder why tf we still serve alcohol on flights. We stopped allowing people to smoke because of second hand smoke, and we know second hand drinking is far more damaging and fatal (domestic violence, sexual assault, homicide, child neglect and abuse). Seriously, why.

    Q: Do you keep track of how many alcoholic drinks a person has during a flight? When do you decide to cut someone off?

    A: I do keep track. I start making mental notes once someone has had three to four alcoholic beverages. I consider the length of the flight and how the person is handling themselves before I decide to step in. Red flags are increasing aggression and demands, excessive slurring or just getting very loud. The effects of alcohol are actually felt more strongly in flight because of the decreased oxygen levels. I have cut off several passengers in my career, and it almost never goes well. Almost everyone argues and insists they are fine. If things escalate, we inform them it is against federal law to be intoxicated on an aircraft and that law enforcement will meet them when we land. That usually solves the problem.

  11. on a lighter note! (Courtesy, Emily McDowell)

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Recovering with Holly Whitaker
A podcast about substances, behaviors, sobriety, addiction, recovery (so, everything).