Tag: Addiction

Movie Review: Hellraiser (2022)


A couple weeks ago, Hulu released a reboot of Hellraiser. There hasn’t been a good Hellraiser movie since the first one and that came out before I was born, so it was strange to have any interest in a new installment. Stranger still to suffer even a bit of anxiety over how good it would be. After nine bad sequels, what harm could one more do?

The information we got before release was heartening. Attached to direct was David Bruckner, a notable horror director whose previous work (The Ritual, The Night House) has gone unseen by me but has received enthusiastic reviews. One of the producers was Hellraiser creator Clive Barker who hadn’t been involved with the series since the fourth entry, Bloodline, and when the trailer for the ninth, Revelations, included his name took to Twitter to complain, “If they claim its [sic] from the mind of Clive Barker, it’s a lie. It’s not even from my butt-hole.” (Dimension Films later removed the reference to him from the trailer.)

The reboot’s budget hasn’t been made public, but assuming it’s even a modest Hollywood production would make it more expensive than several of its predecessors put together.¹ This was not a slapdash job to hold onto the IP nor was it an unrelated script retrofitted to include Pinhead² as many of the direct-to-video sequels were reported to be.

The Date of My Last Drink


I am posting this on my 10,000th day of sobriety. My hope is that this post may shed some light on the mindset of alcoholics and addicts, that it may help in reaching desperate people, and those around them. There is a solution!

This is my experience and observations. I do not speak for A.A. as a whole, or other individual members.

Adoption & the Journey to Healing


It was on Tuesday, June 13, 1967 — 54 years ago yesterday — that a nineteen-year-old girl gave me the precious gift of life.

Then, from a place of love and fierce protection, my birth mother gave me the precious gift of unselfish love and made the tough choice of allowing someone else to raise me as their own, in the hopes that I’d have a better life than she believed she could provide.

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An article in Wired says: The future of virtual reality is far more than just video games. Silicon Valley sees the creation of virtual worlds as the ultimate free-market solution to a political problem. In a world of increasing wealth inequality, environmental disaster, and political instability, why not sell everyone a device that whisks them away […]

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Adrienne Iapalucci is a stand-up comic, podcast host, and Bridget’s “spirit human.” She and Bridget discuss how their dysfunctional childhoods are probably what led them to stand-up in the first place and what keeps them grinding long after most normal people would quit. They talk addiction, the stand-up scene in NYC vs LA, their shared belief that things will always get worse, and why they both default to dark comedy the darker things get. Adrienne tells stories about working for a collections agency, Bridget shares how she learned the lesson you should never read someone else’s journal the hard way. They discuss how comedy has changed in today’s political climate and wonder if it’s better to achieve massive success with the wealth that comes with it only to watch it all slip away, or to live a moderately successful life being able to do what you love, but never “making it.” Stream or buy Adrienne’s latest album Baby Skeletons.

Johann Hari (Chasing the Scream, Lost Connections) sits down with Bridget to discuss the rise in depression, anxiety and addiction in society, particularly during Covid, and what that means about their underlying causes. Through extensive traveling and research for his books, Johann has explored the idea that the roots of all three are not just biological, but also psychological and social, and that we need a more complex approach to treatment in order to address all three aspects of these ailments. In a deep and wide-ranging conversation, they discuss loneliness, tribalism, how Portugal solved its heroin crisis, how Cambodians treat depression, the rising wealth disparity in our society, how junk values have taken over our lives, homelessness, competitive victimhood, and why social media is to having a social life what porn is to having sex.

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So I watched this (sort of) documentary on Netflix called The Social Dilemma, and I’m wondering if anybody else here has watched it and has any thoughts on it. Its structure is commentary from various individuals who were involved in in social media companies, and a (less successful imho) parallel illustrative story.  And also Matrix […]

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Misty M (If They Have to Behave for You To Be Okay, You’re Screwed) and Bridget discuss the pros and cons of virtual 12 Step meetings in the time of quarantine. They cover why people in recovery might be uniquely qualified to handle the ongoing global crisis, avoiding using the pandemic as an excuse to relapse, trying to feel sane in insane times, and Misty’s optimistic prediction about when we will get back to normal. They talk about everything from practicing intimacy with yourself without running away, to dystopian YA novels, why reality is a simulation, their favorite conspiracy theories, and why neither one of them is looking forward to the flood of books and movies about the pandemic that will be showing up about a year from now.

Full transcript available here: WiW75-MistyM-Transcript

Bridget and Cousin Maggie share their tips for working from home, and for dealing with the depression and anxiety that might be ratcheting up as we face the unknowns Covid-19 is bringing to our lives and society. They discuss why you should be choosy about the media you consume, how sharing your emotional load with friends can help and allow other people to be of service to you, finding the small silver linings and bright sides of this situation, and why you shouldn’t be like Jared Leto. Ever. The Walk-Ins Welcome format might change for a while as having guests on the podcast will be more difficult, but for now, enjoy this extended check-in.

Christopher Rufo joins Brian Anderson to discuss drug addiction and homelessness in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Skid Row, the subject of Rufo’s story from the Winter 2020 Issue of City Journal, “The Moral Crisis of Skid Row.”

“They call Los Angeles the City of Angels,” writes Rufo, “but it seems that even here, within the five-by-ten-block area of Skid Row, the city contains an entire cosmology—angels and demons, sinners and saints, plagues and treatments.” To address the growing public-health crisis, progressive activists and political leaders have relied on two major policies: “harm reduction” and “housing first.” But despite nearly $1 billion in new spending, more people are on the streets than ever—and the crime and addiction are getting worse.

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Years ago I wrote a post asking (half seriously) if there was a recovery group for people addicted to Ricochet. I got a great response, some people asking why would I want to be cured. (I wasn’t sure whether they were teasing me or were serious.) But I’ve thought a lot about my time on […]

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Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, stops by to talk about screen and tech addiction. He and Bridget discuss the billions of dollars that go into keeping us looking at our screens, from game app design to, story formatting, to rolling from one episode into the next. They talk the evolution of binging, the fragmentation of our attention spans, the dopamine overloads we’re being doused with, and the difference between wanting and liking. If you’ve ever been stuck down a YouTube rabbit hole at 3:00am wondering why you didn’t go to bed hours ago, Adam offers some answers and some tips for setting boundaries and breaking unhealthy habits.

Full transcript available here: WiW54-AdamAlter-Transcript

Should We Just Let Them Die?


I just logged onto our computer system at work to see what our patient list is looking like and if there have been any emergency surgeries this weekend. I noticed something peculiar about the bed assignment of one of our young patients. I opened a nurse’s note to discover that just two days after we operated to repair one of the heart valves that had been damaged by this patient’s IV drug use, the patient was discovered using IV drugs while in the bathroom.

Of course, they deny any wrongdoing but the evidence is overwhelming. I have no idea how this young person’s life will turn out after the follow-up visits are done, but I can say the chances are they will end up like so many of our other patients that require open heart surgery because of their drug use — dead.

With the Woo Review, Bridget introduces her audience to all things New Age. From astrology, to tarot, to sound baths, to reiki, Bridget shares her hippie side with her listeners.

This week’s guest, Anne, discusses her addiction to psychics and how over the course of two and a half years she spent an estimated $60,000 on psychic readings. Anne covers how she got started, why being in love with a musician kept her going back, how her psychic was a force for positive change, but ultimately how her addiction to psychics became a replacement for a higher power in her life. Bridget shares her own psychic abilities, how she learned to hide them young, the time she realized she was being haunted by a ghost dog, and her own spiritual journey of finding God when she went off Twitter for Lent. Both recovering alcoholics, they delve into a deep discussion about addiction in general, the bravery of people in 12 step programs who must confront harsh truths about themselves every day, self-actualization, owning your own story, and wrestling with the fact that even if you come from privilege it does not mean you’re not entitled to your pain – everyone’s pain is relevant and unique.

Story Hour with Bridget Phetasy is a segment where Bridget reminisces with cousin Maggie and tells stories explaining who she is and how she got here. Full transcript available here: WiW16-StoryHour2-Transcript

This week Bridget delves into her long history with addiction and her 20 year journey to sobriety. Learn how Bridget went from being a straight A student on the path to an Ivy League school, to a heroin addict in rehab at age 19. She talks about hitting rock bottom on a trip to LA, kicking heroin in a mental ward, and seven months in “boot camp” rehab in downtown Minneapolis. Hear about the mental back-flips she performed to convince herself that she wasn’t an addict as long as she stayed away from heroin, because she didn’t want to give up her one true love – marijuana. She discusses her resistance to AA, going sober for a year to prove she didn’t have a problem, a second emotional rock bottom and her eventual surrender to the idea that she’s an alcoholic two years into her five years of sobriety. If you’ve ever wrestled with addiction, sobriety, or loved someone who has, Bridget’s take on 12 step programs, struggling with the “God stuff”, dogs as a higher power, and having an open-minded view of sobriety, might help. It’s a long one, but it’s worth it!

Is Addiction a Sin or a Disease?


I had another conversation that went like this. A man from church tells me of his daughter who got clean in AA. He admires the twelve steps but says that he has a disagreement. AA thinks that alcoholism (or the many other 12-step ailments) is a disease that needs to be managed through meetings and program for the rest of her life. The church thinks it is a sin that needs to be repented of towards a deeper cure in Christ.

I’ve also heard the conversation the other way. Someone in the rooms talks about his addictive disease. He rejects the moralistic teaching of the church and the idea of sin. He has come to believe that the god of his understanding doesn’t judge and pretty much accepts him the way he is.

When the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous spoke of addiction as a disease they were attempting to describe what was not understood in the 1930’s. The popular assumptions of the day were that if someone was a drunk, they were weak and were morally deficient. But this flew in the face of people who were strong and moral in every aspect of their life except in this one area. In their addiction, they were fighting on an unfair playing field.

Addiction, Homelessness, and Healthcare


I’m really tired today after coming off of working three days in a row. That may not seem like a lot to the regular work-a-day folks, but when you’re in healthcare, the hours are often long and arduous. I’ve worked about 40 hours in the past three days, and I work in a busy Emergency Department in Portland, OR. Every day that I worked, the ED was on divert — meaning ambulances were directed to not come to us because we were so busy.

When I left work last night, there were 30 patients in the waiting room. Many had been waiting three to five hours just to be put in a room; the wait time to see a physician after being roomed was even longer. Staff scurried about looking haggard, pulled in a million directions. At one point I counted 17 patients in the department that had been admitted to inpatient services waiting for a bed, but since the hospital was full they continued to board in the ED. Multiple patients were there with mental health crises that had landed them with psych holds.

In Banter’s sixth installment of the “Bridging the Dignity Divide” series, Chris Karpowitz and Jeremy Pope joined the show to discuss the results of the third annual American Family Survey, cosponsored by Deseret News and Brigham Young University. The survey covers a range of issues facing American families today, including economic challenges, cultural concerns, health care priorities, immigration, and addiction. Karpowitz and Pope are codirectors of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at BYU. They participated in the survey release event at AEI, hosted by AEI Senior Fellow Karlyn Bowman. The link below will take you to the full event video.

About the “Bridging the Dignity Divide” Series

This week on Banter, Representative Greg Walden (R–OR) joins the show to discuss the opioid epidemic and how Congress is addressing the crisis. Rep. Walden is the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He keynoted an event at AEI hosted by AEI Resident Scholar Sally Satel on addressing the opioid epidemic.

This is the first installment of a series on “Bridging the Dignity Divide.” Over the next six weeks, Banter guests will address topics such as ending the opioid epidemic, expanding career and technical education, reintegrating the incarcerated into society, and promoting work and family formation to overcome poverty. This series is part of a broader institutional push to help close the dignity gap by creating a culture and economy where everyone is needed. The links below provide more information on AEI’s work promoting dignity.