This week, Laura is in conversation with psychiatrist, bioethicist, assistant professor at Columbia University, and author, Dr. Carl Erik Fisher. Dr. Fisher, through his long career, extensive research, and personal experience of being in recovery, shares the critical truth that addiction has spanned history, and is something that exists in all of us, with no bright line that separates us from them. He explains that approaching addiction recovery in that dichotomous way is at best ineffective and at worst dangerous and deadly. He offers that simple solutions like a War on Drugs, more law enforcement, and cutting off supplies don’t address the reality that drug problems arise from multiple intersecting causes like systemic oppression, the failures of the American health system, pharmaceutical empires, and the lack of basic human rights and needs like housing, healthcare, and education. Together, he and Laura discuss how addressing addiction can not come from control or eradication which don’t get to the root of the problem. Instead, we need to look at addiction from a place of inquiry, curiosity, and self-compassion, and with an acceptance that suffering is a part of life, which allows us to develop coping skills and psychological flexibility, and to find support and community – and a path to recovery. 

Whether listening to the depth and breadth of Dr. Fisher’s knowledge through this conversation, reading his exceptional book, or keeping up with him through his own podcast, we believe everyone has something meaningful to learn from him.

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About Dr. Fisher

Carl Erik Fisher is an addiction physician, bioethicist, assistant professor at Columbia University, and author. He also maintains a private psychiatry practice focused on addiction. He is the author of the nonfiction book The Urge: Our History of Addiction, published by Penguin Press in January 2022. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Nautilus, Slate, Scientific American MIND, and elsewhere. He also is the host of the Flourishing After Addiction podcast, a deep-dive interview series exploring addiction and recovery.

Show Notes & Links


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