Guinevere Gets Sober

Recovery news, reviews and stories, by Jennifer Matesa.

Sober Life: Eminem’s Sober Interview with Rolling Stone

Update 4/23/2018: Eminem celebrated 10 years sober a couple days ago by posting this photo to his Instagram feed.

An example of how opioid addiction does not wreck a person’s neurology for life. We heal.

Eminem-sober


[Originally published 11/19/2010]

Standing in Whole Foods’ checkout line last night, and there was Eminem on the cover of Rolling Stone, nose peeking out from his (shady) hoodie.

Eminem Rolling Stone 2010

I shelled out. Eminem is currently the music industry’s bestselling and most visible recovering addict. From the glimpses I got waiting to buy my pork chops, I could see that his recovery from addiction was the first subject discussed and the subject most referred to throughout the interview. That, and his kids, and his work.

So I thought I’d share a few tidbits with you guys, in case you’re interested. Because I know you’re interested. Lots of you land here looking for “Eminem sobriety” or “does Eminem go to meetings.”

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Is It Easy to Quit Suboxone?

Some of you may know I’ve gone back to graduate school to get licensure to be a therapist. Here is an actual statement made in my textbook in the chapter about substance-use disorders:

[Buprenorphine] does not produce the physical dependence that is characteristic of heroin and can be discontinued without severe withdrawal symptoms.

Statements like this one make me turn into the Tasmanian Devil inside.

Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 11.05.47 AM

Look, Suboxone saved my life, okay? There is no other way I could have detoxed off fentanyl—what other person do you know who has been on fentanyl for 4 years and lived to tell the tale?

But I had the good sense and sheer luck to take Suboxone for less than 3 months, and at doses much lower than the high-dose therapy that’s common in the U.S. Thank god I had ordinary recovering people rather than doctor, researchers, or expert talking-heads looking out for my welfare—I was tempted to stay on it long-term, because I’d been on major opioids for so long that I didn’t think I could do without them. And whatever the textbooks and “experts” might say,

buprenorphine is a major opioid.

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Tom Petty OD’d On Fentanyl. And Other Drugs.

Petty02

Some people think fatal ODs have nothing to do with pain management—they think virtually all people who OD either bought street drugs or stole from other people’s prescriptions (“Medical use surely increased access to the drugs—but the people who got hooked tended to do so while using medication that was either prescribed for someone else or otherwise distributed illegally”). But damn, we keep hearing stories that show this is not true.

For every prominent person whose opioid abuse started with real pain, you can bet there are hundreds or thousands of people whose names have not been on marquees who started abusing drugs while seeking relief from what has increasingly become known, in coverage of the opioid problem, as “legitimate pain.”

The Los Angeles medical examiner today announced autopsy results for Tom Petty, who was found dead last fall:

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Recovery Coaches Need Accountability.

holding hands

Years ago when writing a story for one publication or another about addiction, I had the pleasure of interviewing William White, a researcher and clinician whose experiences with healing addiction go back to 1969. Since then, I’ve followed his blog, which invariably offers cogent and thorough analyses of questions and problems in addiction treatment and the fostering of access to healing. And since he has followed these questions for nearly 50 years, his perspective is unmatched.

Today he published a blog on the quality and need for supervision of recovery coaches.

He investigates a couple questions I’ve been asking myself for a long time, about these two support functions: the question of “ownership” of the person seeking help, and the question of accountability.

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A Sober Thanksgiving.

(Originally published Nov. 25, 2010)


My sister is here for Thanksgiving with her family. We have eight people in the house, and half of them are kids. They’re staying for a week.

A week is a long time to have house-guests.

Especially if you have been raised in an alcoholic family and one of your deepest habits is making your life feel safe by making it the same every day.

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

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