90’s Film “Swimming With Sharks” w/Kevin Spacey


It’s “Shark Week.” And I’m back out in the water, crawling my 1 1/2 miles with a back brace on to prevent me from aggravating my spine twisting my torso too far when I turn right and left for a breath of air.

Little by little, we lose things we love and adjust, accept and move on. I’m the worst, constantly trying to ‘have iot all,’ as my health deteriorates. lololol! I need to go back to AA and practice “Acceptance” and  “Life on Life’s Terms.” Did those faces trigger or seem punitively grim to anyone else? Or am I the only one?


Anyway, movies like these, (and I’ll bet you never heard of “Swimming With Sharks),” helps me with chronic pain. Maybe cuz it’s my favorite topic: Hollywood Studios and the machinations taking place behind the walls.

It was an indie film and did not get wide distribution. I lived in LA when it came out and also when the film “Affliction” was released, featuring Nick Nolte, Willem Dafoe, Sissy Spacek and the late James Coburn.  Family alcoholism and mental illness passed on and one in a small town in Maine. The bitterly cold climate was a perfect counterpoint to the simmering rage between brothers over ‘who fucked up the worst’ similar to Bloodline. These are Indie films with A-listers.

What does that tell you about Hollywood, Money And Power?


I taking on the ‘powers that be’ trying to address a side effect of antipsychotics that’s mostly covered up.

It’s a movement disorder. I have it.  If I say what, I’m afraid you’ll split. But it’s important. It may be rarer than we thought but it’s real. People at risk or showing early signs need to know.

Deal? Help me? Click and/or comment on this little story if you think we can help each other…. and I’ll find out who you are and we can talk about whatever. On WP, we do that, or at least that’s my experience.


More Shark Week Shit


I swim in ocean. For a long time, over an hour.  I see sharks. This is a Hammerhead. Perfect for Shark Week. Attacks in Florida are on the rise but something else will kill me first. (Statistically speaking).

I love to swim. If I were to die of a shark attack I’d at least of died doing something I love. And I love swimming. I can crawl a mile between 1:10 and 1:45 minutes and that’s in the ocean. It is aggravating to my back but all exercise seems to be. I come outta the florida ocean a brand new woman, filled to the brim with the euphoria caused by endocannabiniods, not endorphins, which are too large a molecule to pass the blood brain barrier and get you high. Can you believe we thought that bit with the endorphins all those years?

Anyhow, I’m at the store today and see a magazine with a big picture of a hammerhead with it’s mouth, it’s cavernous jaw wide open, teeth long, many and sharp. Ok, fine. Do you want me to buy this? I look at price. It’s over 11 bucks, with tax.

What is it about Sharks that gives us that shivery feeling and made Steven Speilberg of Jaws an overnight sensation. We’re scared but we still go in the water.

When I first moved here, I saw a shark in pursuit of an ailing Mantaray. He was black and white, a round body of contrasts, sort of like the high contrast Kosher black and white cookie you get at a deli. (I do miss Nate and Al’s in Beverly Hills and their tongue sandwich with Russian and Cole Slaw on Rye bread).  You could see the two beasts going at each other in the clear water of the breaking surf, you know, when the wave is at its’ peak. They shut down the beach. More recently I ran across a four foot spinner shark. He saw me and quickly reversed direction and ran away.


Washington Post re: Prince, Buprenorphrine, barriers to access, stigma


You guys….there’s a story here and it’s bigger than we know. There’s a better drug for pain, and we have no knowledge of it and even less access to it. Prince was going to go all the way to California for it. You know what killed Prince? He ran out of time and stigma. I’m having some of the same problems. The side effects are killing me. I take less than prescribed. Somedays I excruciatingly don’t take any in order to keep my dosage down. But the side effects. Buprenorphrine is cleaner, doesn’t go through your digestive tract, doesn’t burden the kidneys and even has a ceiling on how much it can affect or slow down your respiration, so it’s way safer. What is the deal????????????????? No one is talking.

By Maia Szalavitz


May 9

Maia Szalavitz is a journalist and author, most recently of the forthcoming “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addictions.”

Prince performs at halftime of the Super Bowl in 2007. (JEFF HAYNES AND ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Prince’s greatest music hit the radio while I was going off the rails during my own opioid and cocaine addiction. The young man who gave me my first injection was a massive fan and played “Kiss” for me around the same time he introduced me to the needle. I was soon hooked on both Prince and injecting.

That’s why it hit me especially hard when I learned that this musical genius’ overdose death occurred a day before he was due to start treatment. This tragedy makes clear that what likely killed him, and is killing so many others, is not just addiction itself, but the stigma we attach to it and, even worse, to the most effective treatment for it.

If we really want to stop the overdose epidemic, we need to get serious about providing the only treatment known to reduce the death rate by 50 percent to 70 percent or more: indefinite, potentially lifelong, maintenance on a legal opioid drug like methadone or buprenorphine. The data on maintenance is clear. If you increase access to it, death, crime and infectious disease drop; if you cut it short, all of those harms rise.





Prince was supposed to see a doctor, known for using buprenorphine to treat addiction, just a day after his death. But most patients — even most celebrity patients — do not actually get this sort of evidence-based care.

Indeed, most people concerned with opioid addiction don’t know that they should be looking for maintenance, or they avoid it thanks to the stigma against long-term medication treatment — research shows that maintenance patients experience prejudice and discrimination from family, friends, health care workers and employers. Even I perpetuated the stigma myself in the past, in an anti-methadone op-ed in the 1990s. At the time, I thought that simply having experienced addiction qualified me as an expert and incorrectly relied on anecdote, not data.

For both methadone and buprenorphine, access is highly limited. Only 30,000 physicians are licensed to prescribe buprenorphine, but most who are licensed don’t prescribe it and each is currently limited to seeing 100 patients. When used for addiction treatment, methadone is regulated to an extraordinary degree — it’s illegal to prescribe outside of those rundown clinics, and NIMBYism keeps them located in poor neighborhoods.

Minneapolis fans: Prince’s legacy ‘will live on’

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One day after music icon Prince was found dead at his suburban Minnesota compound, music fans were still in shock, as memorials grew. (McKenna Ewen/The Washington Post)

To top it all off, the 12-step support groups that addicted people are urged or even required to attend as part of treatment often see people on maintenance as not “really” in recovery.

These practices are deadly. We’ve got to get over the idea that medication for opioid addiction simply “replaces one addiction with another” and doesn’t count as getting better. To do so, we need a far better understanding of what addiction really means.

In many people’s minds — due to concepts popular in the ’70s and early ’80s — addiction means physically needing a substance to function and becoming physically ill when deprived of it. From this perspective, the biggest barrier to quitting is suffering through the nausea, pain, shaking and diarrhea that accompany withdrawal. And, from this point of view, people who are on maintenance treatments are actually “still addicted.” But this definition of addiction was dropped by experts long ago.

One reason this view fell out of favor was the rise of crack cocaine. Cocaine and stimulants, like methamphetamine, don’t cause physical withdrawal symptoms — if addicted people suddenly stop taking them, they don’t get physically ill. However, they absolutely experience irritability, anxiety and craving that is every bit as intense and likely to lead to relapse as that associated with alcohol or opioids. This makes stimulants like crack highly addictive.

Though we tend to think otherwise, physical withdrawal isn’t the main barrier to abstinence; instead, craving and the sense that drugs are essential for emotional survival are at the core of addiction. In my own case, I put myself through withdrawal from heroin addiction at least six times. Never once during these attempts did I relapse while ill. Instead, I returned to drugs after withdrawal illness had passed — not because I felt physically bad, but because I had convinced myself that “just once” would be okay.

So what is addiction if it isn’t defined by tolerance or withdrawal? Psychiatry, through its diagnostic manual, the DSM, sums it up as compulsive behavior that recurs despite negative consequences. This means that maintenance helps users conquer their addiction by replacing addictive compulsion with physical dependence.

Craving, obsession, intoxication and consequences are gone; tolerance and steady dosing mean that patients are not impaired and can drive, care for families and work. What remains is a physical need for the substance to avoid withdrawal.

And such dependence isn’t harmful, per se: We’re all physically dependent on oxygen, food and water, and some of us (like yours truly) are physically dependent on antidepressants or other types of medication. If the consequences of physical dependence are positive, it’s not addiction. Which is why I don’t sit around dreaming of Prozac, yearning for my next dose, taking more and more and hiding my obsessive behavior.

Of course, like any other addiction treatment, maintenance doesn’t always lead to recovery. Indeed, as with abstinence-only treatment — though at a lower rate — relapse is the most common outcome.

Importantly, however, unlike in abstinence-only treatment, patients benefit from maintenance even during relapses. That’s because, whether or not people continue taking other drugs in an addictive fashion, the tolerance provided by maintenance pharmacologically makes overdose death much less likely.

The ongoing use of other drugs during relapse explains why so many people see maintenance as a failure and maintenance patients as being constantly high — but retaining relapsers in treatment is a feature, not a bug. It reduces mortality, disease and crime and keeps patients in health care.

Unfortunately, most families and friends of addicted people don’t understand this. They tend to seek abstinence-only inpatient rehab because maintenance is stigmatized, and the media rarely highlights its dramatic reduction in mortality. Instead, we hear about relapse or people selling their maintenance medications on the street. Ironically, that street market exists primarily because we don’t make maintenance accessible enough. Maintenance drugs wouldn’t be valuable if people who wanted them could get them, whether or not they are ready for abstinence.

Prince’s death was awful enough. A man lost his life, we lost a great artist — and we also lost the chance for him to model and destigmatize the best treatment we currently have for addiction.