Filling the Void: interviews about quitting drinking and using
(available from Doris Press)Super inspiring! A great resource for people trying to quit. Not spiritual or straight-edge. 8 interviews with people who have quit drinking and/or using. Frank discussions and stories about the positive and negative roles drinking/using had in their lives, why they decided to quit, what they struggled with and how they managed to do it.
interviewees include Erick Lyle (Scam zine), Artnoose (Ker-bloom zine), Cindy (Doris zine), and John Geek (The Fleshies). Interviews conducted by and edited by Cindy and Caty Crabb
(via Doris Zine Blog)
Normally I dislike interview zines, but this one contained some of the realest shit I’ve read so far about alcoholism/addiction, recovery, and relationships (friendships, families, and intimate partnerships). Pretty much all of the zines I’ve read about recovery seem to rely heavily on AA/12-Step and/or straightedge as the only way to “get better,” and gloss over just how difficult & painful it is to quit. (I’m not anti-AA, etc.; I just don’t think it has to be the only option & I’m super critical of a lot of aspects of 12-Step programs.) I guess I can see how it would make sense to want to avoid opening up about all the terrible shitty parts of addiction and recovery, but still I really value the strength/vulnerability of actually discussing how hard it is and how awful it is, in addition to how awesome it is to stay sober. So many stories I’ve read seem to reduce the process to “everything sucked, I hit rock bottom, went to AA, and then everything got better” like magic & that’s not always how it is…
& especially important to me are the stories which discuss in depth all the convolutions of relationships & emotions & confusion, specifically when it comes to individuals in abusive/addiction partnerships. It’s hard to write about the reality of this stuff because, to me, so many abuse stories are like, “and then I left them and it was difficult but I was empowered as fuck!” — which is of course valid and which is often the only way… but I don’t relate to that attitude completely and I struggle a lot with writing my own experiences since some of them are what I would suspect are feminist no-nos… like not leaving, or like staying in a relationship and using self-care and (actual) harm reduction and therapy and supportive family & friends to cope with and overcome and stop abusive behaviors. Because compassion, empathy, patience, self-preservation, boundaries, compromise, righteous anger, forgiveness, etc. are not always so cut-and-dry. Sometimes I feel like my hope (and occasional evidence) that abusers can change in a positive direction and don’t necessarily need to be totally ostracized and torn apart is like some terrible weakness I have but also I’ll be damned if I’m merely nothing but a naive, brainwashed statistic who “doesn’t know any better.” (Like I don’t define myself as victim because in my experience I am pretty sure I always made choices on whether and when to stay or go, and not claiming victim, to me, is a way of acknowledging my personal responsibility.)
Anyway this zine is a good resource and I’m glad it exists. My alcoholic-attempting-recovery friend also said it was the most inspiring and honest thing he’s read so far, and we have read a ton of recovery literature ranging from zines, self-help books, AA material, etc. It was also inspiring me to get my ass in gear, stop crybabying about how I haven’t published anything in five years, and just start telling my own story, dammit.