culture and illness

Alec Ramsdell a_ramsdell at
Fri Dec 18 13:13:16 PST 1998

---Doug Henwood <dhenwood at> wrote:
> Alec Ramsdell wrote:
> >the "addict" identity
> I don't know much about this, but something bothers me about framing
> as damaged, "recovering" but never recovered. Is there any critique
> of/alternative to this?

It bothers me too, and it's a cornerstone to the med model. Once in treatment all of a sudden one's past changes. Events, behaviours, memories, are all lined up under a master addict narrative, as slipshod as that narrative may be. Retroactively one was born an addict. It's an operational way, I think, of giving the subject some footing.

There's something known as Rational Recovery, which doesn't involve the spiritual trappings of AA. I'm not sure if it involves the essentialized addict. At this point in my reading I still think of Sedgwick's Foucaultian reading in "Epidemics of the Will" in _Tendencies_.

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