Richard Jackson

Long Reads: Families handling addiction, disaster response, sects

This week’s Long Reads explores effects of addiction on families, lessons taken from Hurricane Katrina and a religious sect based on labour.


My brother’s keeper – Jessie Guy-Ryan (The Verge)

Writer Jessie Guy-Ryan pens a moving tribute to her brother who suffers from alcoholism and addiction. He committed numerous crimes to feed his habit – larceny, breaking and entering and assaulting an officer to name a few. She visits the new type of rehab clinic he has entered called the Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA), a residential program whose key features are that it lasts two years, and that it stops the author’s brother, Zach, from being able to contact his family (at least, initially). This means Guy-Ryan turns up and tours the clinic but isn’t able to actually meet her brother, so after two years of not talking directly they are still unable to reconnect. A dissection of addiction treatment and of how dependence on substances harms both the person with the addiction, whilst tearing their family life apart.


When disaster strikes, museums call in the A-Team – Andy Wright (Atlas Obscura)

The American Institute for Conservation Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) is an informal effort to help museums and libraries protect their historic and culturally significant artefacts. It was born in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which was ten years ago this month and was described as a “wake up call” by Barbara Moore, a 3D object conservator and AIC-CERT member. As long as they do a better job than the elderly lady at the church of Santaurio de Misercordia in Borja, Spain who did a DIY repair job on a 19th century fresco by Spanish artist Elias Garcia Martinez, then that is okay by me.


Children of the tribes – Julia Scheeres (Pacific Standard Magazine)

This article examines the Twelve Tribes, described as a religious sect, but which sounds a lot like a cult to me, as a leader has institutionalised (brainwashed) the followers, restricted their movements, separated siblings and micro managed members’ family lives. Central to the article is that the group have standardised the beating of children with a thin rod under the guise of discipline for anything remotely resembling the activities of what children do; incidental ill manners, playing or, you know, disobedience when forced into what essentially constitutes slave labour. Yep, you read that right. Ex-members have attested to being forced to work 16-18 hour days.

So the article is essential asking, “where do the rights of children begin and that of religious freedom align?”, which is goddamn baffling to me in the 21st century.

Strangely though, the group run a really darling bakery in Plymouth Massachusetts, so all is forgiven I guess.


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