‘Halloween’ Actress Jamie Lee Curtis Approaches 20 Years of Sobriety
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‘Halloween’ Actress Jamie Lee Curtis Approaches 20 Years of Sobriety: This Week in Addiction and Recovery News


Jamie Lee Curtis, who’s currently reprising her role as Laurie Strode in the sequel Halloween, noted that “everything changed” when she got sober. The 59-year-actress told the Chicago Sun-Times that she endured a crippling alcohol and opioid addiction shortly after filming the hit comedy A Fish Called Wanda in 1987. “My memory of [Wanda] is that I cried every day to and from work. Not that I laughed, not that it was super-fun, nothing,” she recalled. “My memory of [the movie]was leaving my sleeping 6-month-old daughter, going to work an hour away and then working 12 hours, sometimes more, and then an hour back, often to a child asleep again. And that was like the beginning of it all for me.” She’ll be sober 20 years in February, noting that her sobriety was “a big, big acknowledgment that I could not do all of the things I was trying to do.”

‘Roseanne Conner’ Dies from An Opioid Overdose

In its premiere episode Tuesday night, ABC’s Roseanne spinoff The Conners wrote off main character Roseanne Conner with an opioid overdose. Comedienne Roseanne Barr, who played Conner on and off over the course of 30 years, was fired from the hit revival after a racist tweet in May. (Her character succumbed to an opioid addiction last season.) Given America’s opioid epidemic, some critics applauded the creative decision as realistic and relevant. Barr, however, released a public statement saying the choice to kill off her character “lent an unnecessarily grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.” Actor Michael Fishman, who plays D.J. Conner, acknowledged that the decision would polarize viewers: “The tone of the way she passed away was related to last season,” he said. “When you listen to our producers, they really wanted to take a real crisis that’s happening in our country and find a way to give voice to that. I know that the reaction to that is going to be different for different people, but what we’ve always tried to do is tackle big topics and be very honest about them.”

Writer Conducts Two-Year Experiment to Break Social Media Addiction

Harvard Business Review ran a piece Thursday from writer Sarah K. Peck, which detailed her two-year attempt to break a crippling social media addiction. “Over the last two years, I conducted four different experiments to monitor my own behavior, implementing trackers and blockers in order to better understand how social media usage affected my productivity,” she wrote. “My goal was to see if by interrupting my daily behavior I could change my ‘default settings’ and have more time for deep, focused work.” Her first experiment, she said, involved removing all instances of social media (“no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn”) for 30 days. In addition to reading more books than normal, patterns of use became clear to her: “I saw where in the day my tiredness emerged and when I wanted to use the platforms for research or actual connection.” She next tried an experiment where she restricted her social media use to specific times of the day, calling it a “game changer”: “I got so much more done on my biggest projects by having dedicated focus hours, and also knowing that there was a scheduled break in my day coming up.” The third experiment involved restricting her social media use to a “happy hour,” though she suddenly found her interactions with social media apps “less exciting” with fewer dopamine rushes. Her final experiment involved a 24-hour period where she had zero access to social media, thanks to tech blockers. “By limiting my access to social sites, I created a pattern disrupt that allowed me to reach out to more friends, read more books, and go deeper into work that mattered,” she concluded.

Opioid Addict’s Obituary Goes Viral

It’s rare for an obituary, of all things, to go viral on social media sites, but that’s precisely what’s happened with the heartbreaking, inspiring obituary for 30-year-old Madelyn Ellen Linsemeir. Described as “hilarious, warm, and fearless,” Linsemeir sadly struggled with drug addiction after being introduced to OxyContin at a high school party—a relationship “that would dominate the rest of her life,” the obituary said. While she was the mother of a 4-year-old boy, she lost custody due to a relapse. “During the past two years especially, her disease brought her to places of incredible darkness, and this darkness compounded on itself, as each unspeakable thing that happened to her and each horrible thing she did in the name of her disease exponentially increased her pain and shame,” the obit said. It implored readers to educate themselves on the disease of addiction, as well as providing hope to people who are similarly struggling: “If you yourself are struggling from addiction, know that every breath is a fresh start. Know that hundreds of thousands of families who have lost someone to this disease are praying and rooting for you. Know that we believe with all our hearts that you can and will make it. It is never too late.”

Prince Harry Delivers Mental Health Message

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan visited farmers in the Australian town of Dubbo, where a drought is currently devastating both crops and lives. During a speech on Wednesday, Harry acknowledged the high suicide rates in the town—especially among the young men there. “We know that suicide rates in rural and remote areas are greater than in urban populations and this may be especially true among young men in remote regions,” Harry said. “But outside all of that here’s what I also know. You are one huge community and with that comes an unparalleled level of internal support and understanding. All you need to do is to ask for it. Ask your neighbor, your peer, your fellow farmer is literally right around the corner. Chances are they may well be suffering too and will relish the opportunity to either listen or talk themselves.” Fittingly, as he delivered his powerful, optimistic message at the Dubbo community event, much-needed rain began to fall.

Scientists Push for Medication-Assisted Treatment

According to leading scientists and many peer-reviewed studies, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has long been considered a hugely effective tool against addiction. Unfortunately, most rehabs and treatment centers don’t cover the cost of MAT. According to Business Insider this week, a brand-new initiative is underway to “grade” treatment centers on the basis of whether they provide access to drugs like buprenorphine, methadone or naltrexone. “People ask me all the time, ‘well, aren’t they just substituting one drug for another?’ The answer is no. These are evidence-based treatments and they work,” said Patrice A. Harris, the chair of the American Medical Association’s opioid task force. In places where methadone and buprenorphine are offered, for example, the number of fatal overdoses regularly fall as sharply as by 50%. One person in the Business Insider piece perhaps put it best: “Medication-assisted treatment saves lives. You can also just call it ‘treatment’ and drop the two words in front of it.”

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About Author

Paul Fuhr is an addiction recovery writer whose work has appeared in The Literary Review, The Live Oak Review, The Sobriety Collective and InRecovery Magazine, among others. He is the author of the alcoholism memoir “Bottleneck.” He's also the creator and co-host of "Drop the Needle," a podcast about music and recovery. Fuhr lives in Columbus, Ohio with his family and their cats, Dr. No and Goldeneye.