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Let’s Learn: What is Your Story of Addiction?

Hosted by Reimagine

Join four writers from diverse experiences and fields as we shine a light on the ripple effects of addiction on family, friends, and communities and the opportunities to carve out spaces for grief, growth, and radical change. Register now!

In this lively panel discussion, a diverse group of speakers who have authored recent books on addiction will share their first-hand accounts of addiction struggle. Emphasizing scientific-based research, trauma-informed care, and lived experience, these writers will provide insights on shame, hiding, and disclosure. Infused with humor, sorrow, and candor, their discussion will explore the impact of addiction and recovery on one’s friends, colleagues, family, and communities and resources for rebuilding lives.

Meet renowned neuroscientist and recovering addict Judy Grisel who offers surprising ways to combat today’s addiction epidemic. Engage with Laura Cathcart Robbins, host of the podcast The Only One in the Room, who shares her journey to sobriety and self-love amidst privilege and racism. Learn with poet and memoirist Jane Wong about her father’s gambling addiction, her mother’s love and care to sustain the family, and the crumbling American Dream for today’s immigrant families targeted by casinos. And understand how historical research helped psychiatrist Carl Erik Fisher with his own addiction crisis that nearly cost him everything.


Carl Erik Fisher, MD, is an addiction physician, bioethicist, and person in recovery. He is an expert in addiction and recovery who has sought to make sense of topics like self-control, suffering, and behavioral change across an unexpected variety of topics and fields: not just science and medicine but also history, spirituality, philosophy, politics, arts and literature, and more. Through deep investigations of these surprising perspectives, Carl seeks out the ideas and practices that help all people flourish in their lives.

Dr. Fisher is the author of the nonfiction book The Urge: Our History of Addiction: a history of addiction from Ancient India and Greece to the present day, interwoven with his own experiences as an addiction psychiatrist at Columbia and as someone in recovery himself. It was named one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker. He is an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, where he studies the role of neuroscience and psychiatry in society. He also maintains a private psychiatry practice focused on addiction, with a special focus on complementary and integrative practices like the evolving science of mindfulness and meditation. He also is the host of the Flourishing After Addiction podcast, a deep-dive interview series exploring addiction and recovery. @drcarlerik

Judith Grisel, Ph.D., began researching the use and abuse of recreational drugs during adolescence. After hitting bottom and getting clean and sober in her twenties, she went on to earn a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. Today, as a professor at Bucknell University, her research is focused on understanding why some people are more prone to substance use disorders than others.

Judy was drinking and using other drugs by the time she was 13. Within a decade, she'd been kicked out of three schools, became homeless, contracted Hepatitis C from sharing needles, and lost the respect of virtually everyone she knew, including herself. Faced with the choice between an early grave and abstinence, Judy reasoned that a better understanding of the neural substrates of substance use disorders might provide an alternative to self-destruction. Today, she's been clean and sober for over three decades and is a renowned neuroscientist and teacher. In 2019 Judy published a bestselling book, Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction, which has since garnered a worldwide audience.

Laura Cathcart Robbins is an author, freelance writer, speaker, and host of the popular podcast The Only One in the Room. Her new book Stash: My Life in Hiding – named a best memoir of 2023 by Elle – vividly documents her journey to sobriety and self-love amidst privilege and racism. She has been active for many years as a speaker and school trustee and is credited for creating The Buckley School’s nationally recognized committee on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice. Her recent articles in HuffPost and The Temper on the subjects of race, recovery, and divorce have garnered her worldwide acclaim. She is a 2022 TEDx Speaker and an LA Moth StorySlam winner. Currently, she sits on the advisory boards of the San Diego Writer’s Festival and the Outliers HQ Podcast Festival. She lives in California. @LauraCathcartRobbins

Jane Wong is the author of the memoir Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City (Tin House, 2023). She also wrote two poetry collections: How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James, 2021) and Overpour (Action Books, 2016). A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships and residencies from the U.S. Fulbright Program, Harvard's Woodberry Poetry Room, Artist Trust, Hedgebrook, UCross, Loghaven, and others. She grew up in a take-out restaurant on the Jersey Shore and is an Associate Professor at Western Washington University. @paradeofcats Photo: Gritchelle Fallesgon

About Reimagine and the Series "Addiction, Harmful Habits, and Healing"

Reimagine is a nonprofit organization catalyzing a uniquely powerful community–people of different backgrounds, ages, races, and faiths (and no faith) coming together in the hopes of healing ourselves and the world. We specifically support each other in facing adversity, loss, and mortality and–at our own pace– actively channeling life's biggest challenges into meaningful action and growth.

Most of us have unhealthy habits – repetitive actions and practices that we know we should stop but are difficult to give up. Some bad habits are mild, and some are severe. Many of us must also deal with addiction. Unlike poor habits, addictions are complex diseases that can take control of our behavior, destroy interpersonal relationships, harm entire societies, and most often require treatment and lifestyle changes to manage.

What are the root causes of harmful habits, negative behavior patterns, and addictions? What kinds of losses do people with addictions and their caregivers experience? How can we support loved ones whose grief over addiction cannot be fully expressed due to stigma and shame? How can we create more space to process the collective grief of the opioid epidemic and other related public health crises? What tools and resources lead to transformation and lasting change?

In this three-part series, speakers from various fields – neuroscience, psychiatry, art, mindfulness, and spirituality – address the harmful effects of food, alcohol, drugs, and gambling and identify pathways toward love, health, and healing.


Talk, Panel, & Conversation
Caregiving Grief Healthcare Science Social Justice & Race