This is great. I love Maron’s fearless questioning and the interviewer’s (a psychiatrist) tolerance for vulnerability and honesty:
Slate: How did A.A. figure into your getting sober?
Maron:For practical tools to deal with the addicted brain, the stuff I learned in Alcoholics Anonymous and the community of A.A. just totally worked for me. If you would have told me back then that I wouldn’t desire a drink or that I wouldn’t desire to do drugs at some point in my life, I don’t think I would have believed you. I still have my vices—I drink a lot of coffee and I’m hopelessly addicted to nicotine in the form of lozenges. But those aren’t destroying my life or my health like other things would have.
Slate: It’s not like you’re going to wrap your car around a tree because of some lozenges.
Slate: A big problem for psychiatrists when it comes to understanding addiction is that there are many of us who have no experience with it on a personal level. So sometimes there’s a built-in disconnect between the treater and the patient.
Maron: Well, yeah, because you guys are just taught to medicate and suggest things. [Pauses.] Have you even read The Big Book?
Maron: Why not?!
Slate: I know, I should… I treat people who swear by it and I haven’t even looked at it.
Maron: Yeah, see, that’s the thing with all you guys. Most therapists have never read that fucking book. But you send people to A.A. meetings, don’t you?
Slate: I do.
Maron: But you have no understanding of what the program is! I can’t understand why it’s not assigned to you guys.
Slate: That’s a really good point. Looking at my shelf right now I see The Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications of Psychopharmacology, but books that people in recovery actually use were never assigned to me. I could read them on my own but they’re not part of the curriculum.
Maron: I think a lot of you guys see it as some sort of goofy spiritual system. But there’s a certain brilliance to it. The program uses very simple language, so it works for people who are geniuses or for people who are morons. And it works everywhere—there are programs going on in rooms all over the world and the feeling in all of them is the same. The emotional hunger, the need, the selfishness—it’s all the fucking same! Everybody in those rooms has been to hell and back twice. They’ve fucked up so much that now they’re these demons in exile.
Read the rest here.