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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Two very well-spent hours, IMO! I wonder how Italy and Spain look in terms of rates of anxiety and depression. I feel like the US “default” mental health setting is probably much worse also.

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I have no idea but my guess is “less than us.” ♥️

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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

I’m like most Americans... completely smitten with the idea of European life ... but after getting sober, my brain still whispers “pssst still poison” when I witness even the most chic of Europeans drink.

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Same ♥️

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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

100% on the “still poison” thing- you could also substitute this logic with “smoking cigarettes” and it checks :)

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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

I never really thought about it before reading this, but this wistfulness Americans have to cheerfully imbibe with every meal like Mireille Guiliano--it mirrors the struggle a lot of us go through individually watching people in our lives seeming to have a cool, detached relationship with alcohol. "We should just be more chill about teenagers drinking" sounds kinda like "I should just stop drinking during the week." Like you say, it's such a vast web of issues, and we want so badly to make it less so.

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I think just like the culture that generates the levels of addiction we have, the desire for silver bullets and simple fixes is OF that. I don’t know if that makes sense but yes. Thanks Randall.

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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

I could not agree with you more. Love this newsletter by the way, Holly.

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Thank you Karyn ♥️

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As a person who works in addictions related to trauma- this whole thing is spot on. Our higher rates of addiction here have more to do with lack of social, mental health and medical supports. People get ptsd more when they don't have adequate care post trauma. Higher ptsd rates = higher rates of addiction.

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100 percent. Thank you.

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Okay throwing up 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🇬🇧 my countries flags where I grew up. Yes not Italy but hey we were part of Europe for many years. Off my fucking face at 13. Being served up alcohol at 13 in said pubs (yes I am 59 years young but hey hey hey!!). Never have I seen such abuse of alcohol in the UK. Been in CA / States for nearly 30 years. I still think UK is far worse. I don’t know I just think glorification of alcohol on any terms is fucking with us all. Love this piece 💜🦋🌻🙏

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Yes!!! The UK is worse than the US!! Thank you and thank you. ♥️

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Came here to say exactly the same thing, from a Scottish 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 perspective. Drinking to get drunk is the clear winner when it comes to ways to drink there. The government even introduced “minimum unit pricing” for alcohol as a way to ban Happy Hour and other such promotions, in an attempt to stop the (legal) alcohol equivalent of those apocryphal drug dealers who give away their wares at school gates.

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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

The Notre Dame piece really hits the nail so squarely on the head. Growing up in the Midwest tailgating and drinking with your parents is such a specific stitch in the fabric of the glorification of alcohol that so many people struggle with.

Also, the glamorization of how "Europeans drink" reminds me of "The French Paradox" (as you noted) and the basic idea that we are just flawed at the core - can't eat right, can't drink right, can't raise our kids right... but everything that's happening around us is a-ok. Great article, love your writing.

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What Teds doing at Notre dame with that class has already made such an impact; it’s a pretty specific culture, almost impenetrable it feels. Students this year from it started sober tailgating. And yes, totally. It’s such a western thing to be constantly finding ways we fail.

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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

One of the things I appreciate about your work is how sociologically grounded it is. This, along with your tone, allows me to incorporate these ideas into my classes, where appropriate. It’s so true that capitalism is both a general economic principle that impacts us globally and something that gets tied to a specific time and place in unique ways and with varying consequences.

I haven’t thought about Guy Debord since grad school; thanks for the podcast suggestion!

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Monica I really appreciate this comment. Thank you. I’ve listened to that podcast a few times and I started reading society of the spectacle; very impactful especially for right now.

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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

I’m also reading Confidence Culture on your recommendation. To your point, there are so many aspects of U.S. society and culture that shape our unique relationship to addiction and thus, what recovery looks like like at both the macro and micro levels. I love thinking through it all in relation to my own body and life--honoring your work as bringing me into this part of the conversation--and also that of our society and species.

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SAME.

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Just came across this in a catalog I get; it's written by a sociologist and just published this year. In case anyone is interested!

https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538127254/On-the-Rocks-Straight-Talk-about-Women-and-Drinking

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French small town "bar-tabacs" in the morning tend to be full of old men sipping their first "petit blanc" of many that will be consumed throughout the day. They might not perceive that as addiction, but what else is it?

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Ahhh. Yes. Thank you for this point. It reminds me of how in Ted Man dell’s Drunk on Film class (Notre dame link) they watch a film where a guy drinks 20 beers alone and they call that addiction and then a group of guys go out and each drink about 20 beers and they call that fun.

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We in Canada are very like Americans in the way we drink, I think, except maybe more beer.

Yes, the French seem sooo sophisticated to us, but hey, we’re all human and all susceptible to addictive substances.

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I think Canada might be worse? I can't remember but I know it's pretty neck and neck.

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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Hi Holly- You never need the disclaimer about research etc- you are a person who is steeped in the topic of alcohol and addiction. Whether there is a visible bibliography or not, that research has been done by you over the past decade! Also- so excited to see Adam Driver is starring in White Noise! I read that book in a post modern lit class in college and lurrved it. May need a reread before the film! Last also: Im about half way through- The First Bad Man. I love a quirky but believable character and the writing is so dang good. I see parts of myself in Cheryl and I guffawed when she rode the ATV and questioned if redneck activities were the most mindful of all. Eager to see how it turns out and once again grateful for your book recos!

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Thanks Nicole! I did feel like it was necessary to add that since I wasn't really sitting with it and I'm sure I made some mistakes but thank you. I appreciate it. And it's so good! TFBM was a recommendation from Courtney Maum who has a really great newsletter and impeccable taste. https://substack.com/profile/4840171-courtney-maum

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Thank you for the recommendation Holly. I will check Courtney’s newsletter out ❤️

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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Thank you for the share on shopping addiction. I had a behavioral relapse this Black Friday. It was an urge I very quickly answered with spending. Fortunately I noticed what was happening and all items purchased can be returned. I’m approaching a year of sobriety and am starting to look at my history with a lack of impulse control in my life- beginning at a young age. It’s fascinating and a bit sad to discover feelings of loneliness, being unworthy and unloved. Now that I’m sober I’m able to investigate these deeper feelings. It’s good even though it doesn’t feel great.

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I know exactly what you mean. All these things that are masked or outside our awareness float to the surface, it all starts clicking together. The thing about things like shopping addiction are they are so normalized and celebrated. With you.

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I spent my junior year abroad in Madrid and dear god -- American college students are the bane of that poor city's beautiful existence. We are a walking joke and the locals seemed so exasperated by how destructive American college students were. Throwing up in the streets, drinking/partying all night, etc. What were we all escaping from? And this was 25 years ago! I remember feeling embarrassed about it at the time, but I came right back home to a college campus in the US that welcomed and expected the behavior.

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My friend works at an American university based in Rome, and I've stayed near some of the American university housing in Rome, and that culture clash hurts my whole body, probably because I did the same exact thing.

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Nov 30, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

It’s like the whole ‘drink responsibly’ thing - if I could just drink like the French (moderate) I could keep drinking. For me it’s an excuse to keep doing that but it’s hard to control how much you’re drinking, but then you feel like it’s your failings not it being addictive

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Exactly

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I lived in Belgium for ~8 years, where beer is cultural heritage and mostly high octane. Just because the alcohol is ubiquitous does not mean the culture is healthy. I've been to enough parties and seen enough Belgians in their 50s who look a decade older ordering 8% beers at lunch to know otherwise. When I was going, the AA group would hang out at a fucking bar/cafe after meetings, because where else was there to go? A core memory of "Alcohol in Brussels" happened for me when, newly sober on my literal birthday and trying to make friends, some shit faced dude walked up and started harassing the group on the sidewalk at 11am and smashing glassware. So yeah, very healthy atmosphere there in the capital of Europe. (I have immense love for other aspects of Belgium and Europe, but not that part).

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Hello and love from Buenos Aires. And which article contains the QLAW thing? I must be dense

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The (paywalled) Substance article at the head of the main story, it seems.

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