TALK #1: HOW TO WEAR YOUR LABELS
Many argue that the word “addict” is offensive; they say that labels keep people from achieving what they’re meant to and stigmatize those who would thrive if they weren’t being penalized by some pejorative identity. In this presentation, I explain why I disagree and how I believe that it’s only through using the addict label that we can destigmatize addiction. I argue that we shouldn’t be trying to avoid certain words but bringing them out in the open so that we can change the public perception of them. I explain how labels can help us to thrive.
Attendees will be able to evaluate and discuss if the recommendation to not use the word addict—including the recent AP suggestion that journalists use the phrase “person with addiction” instead—helps or hurts the cause. They’ll be able to compare my argument about the benefits of using the word “addict” to the many arguments people make that we must eradicate the word from our vocabulary altogether and see the potential pitfalls of that philosophy. They’ll be able to examine their own labels and share them with the world, in turn giving other people who may be struggling permission to do the same.
TALK #2: HOW TO FALL IN LOVE (WITH YOURSELF)
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the way romantic relationships are portrayed in the media isn’t representative of how they play out in real life. Rather than being glorious experiences filled with a succession of fairy tale moments, real relationships involve compromise, hard work and, above all else, honesty. That’s not to say that they aren’t also filled with glorious experiences and fairy tale moments — just that the less-than-pleasant aspects of romance aren’t always emphasized out there in world. So it’s no wonder that many people aren’t sure how to navigate these waters.
Falling for Me author Anna David has spent years advising people about sex and relationships (as the sex, dating and relationship expert on G4’s Attack of the Show for three years and also on The Today Show, The Talk, The CBS Morning Show and various Fox News shows). Through that, she discovered that every question she fields is, at its core, about honesty. Whether people are asking about how to reveal interest, ways to break up, faking orgasms or anything else, the answer always comes down to figuring out the truth as well as the most comfortable way express it.
Her lecture, “How to Fall in Love (with Yourself),” is the result of that realization. As she sees it, people struggle in romantic relationships for two main reasons: one, most of us were never taught how to have healthy relationships and two, we over-value our egos and thus our perception of what happens. Through examining her own history, David learned that she’d spent so long focusing on the other person in her relationships and what she believed that person’s behavior meant about her that she’d never looked at herself. And so she put together 8 steps, culled from Buddhist principles, Vedic principles, recovery principles and what she calls “getting in enough pain that you’re willing to change” principles, for people to follow.
Her live show (and subsequent book), True Tales of Lust and Love, allowed comedians and writers to follow this process—and participate in one of LA’s biggest phenomenons at the same time. The performers in this much-heralded storytelling show publicly broke through their barriers and fears so that they could tell the truth about the painful, educational and sometimes just funny experiences they’d had in romance.
David’s program, “How to Fall in Love (with Yourself),” walks audience members through the process of taking themselves out of the victim role, having the sort of relationships they want and making themselves the hero or heroine of their stories.
TALK #3: SURVIVING & THRIVING IN AN ADDICTIVE SOCIETY
In the past decade, admissions to recovery programs have increased 143% for students between the ages of 18 and 24. And yet few schools have adjusted their curriculum to address the increasing need for information about addiction and recovery. Anna David takes the information gleaned from her own experiences with addiction—which she’s been able to share through best-selling books, numerous TV appearances and hundreds of published articles—and break down how addiction starts, develops and ends. Through anecdotes that are relatable to addicts and non-addicts alike, David tracks the part low self-esteem, family of origin and genetics play in addiction as well as the role of self-esteem in young people everywhere. The talk is for those with burgeoning addictions, the loved ones of addicts and anyone who wants to learn how to better cope in a society that’s always gunning for more, more, more. It’s designed to help college students conquer self-defeating insecurities, deal with family members who are addicted and take the shame out of mental illness, addiction and self-doubt.
In over 16 years of sobriety, Anna David has published six books, many of which have explored addiction: the novels Party Girl (Harper, 2007) and Bought (Harper, 2009) and the non-fiction books Reality Matters (Harper, 2010), Falling for Me (Harper, 2011), By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and True Tales of Lust and Love (Counterpoint, 2014). For two years, David was the Executive Editor for the addiction and recovery site The Fix and in 2013, she created TheAfterPartyGroup, which includes a website, rehab reviews and hit podcast focused on recovery. She’s covered addiction and recovery exhaustively in her articles for, among other publications, Time, The New York Times, The LA Times, Details, Women’s Health, The New York Post, Premiere, People, Us Weekly, Maxim, Vanity Fair, Cosmo, Redbook, Self, Stuff, TV Guide, Teen Vogue, Variety, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Salon. David has also discussed addiction on The Today Show, Hannity, Dr. Drew, Jane Velez-Mitchell, The CBS Morning Show, Showbiz Tonight, The Talk, Attack of the Show and Red Eye, among many other programs.
FEEDBACK FROM PREVIOUS BOOKERS:
“Anna’s candor in sharing her story of battling addiction challenged students to critically reflect on the choices they make in their lives. Her story invites honest dialogue and deep transformation of heart, mind and soul. Students were riveted.”
––Anthony Nicotera, Adjunct Professor, NYU Silver School of Social Work
“Anna captured the attention of our students with her honest, insightful, and thought provoking recount of her personal struggles with alcohol and drugs. Thankfully this wasn’t your typical anti-alcohol & drug lecture, and because of this, students were engaged from beginning to end.”
––Laura Singletary, Student Programs and Leadership Coordinator, Whatcom Community College