How To Speak Addiction : Rough Translation A daughter — and reporter — discovers an uncomfortable truth about her mother's alcoholism. She travels to the other side of the world to find out if there's a better way to treat addiction.

How To Speak Addiction

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Hey, Gregory here. Before we get started, just a few things - if you're enjoying this latest season, please tell people you know. Maybe write a review. It really helps the show get the word out. And second, this next story - it's about addiction, how people talk about it to their friends and to their family. It's a topic that may be sensitive for some listeners. And we are not using the names of people in AA programs to respect that group's desire for their members to remain anonymous.

For Julia Simon, this all started with the birthday cakes.

JULIA SIMON: The birthday cakes - they're a part of Alcoholics Anonymous in LA.

WARNER: Specifically.

SIMON: Southern California, yes. So every year you're sober, you get a birthday cake to celebrate how many years of sobriety you have.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: They have a pianist who plays "Happy Birthday" when you get a birthday cake.

SIMON: This is my mom.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: It's just, you know, Hollywood - kiss, kiss on each cheek.

SIMON: I remember when I was in high school, she was going to AA. And she would invite my dad and my brother and me to go to these celebrations.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: There are lots of sober celebrities. They have a buffet. And the rest of AA makes fun of Southern California for it.

SIMON: Yeah. So we went and gave her a birthday cake. And this was something that we did a few years. And then, for me, it just became something that I resented doing, and I didn't exactly know why.

WARNER: You didn't know why you resented it at the time.

SIMON: No, I didn't.

So this is through my 20s.

WARNER: Right. So were you living with her?

SIMON: I wasn't living at - with her. But when I'd visit her - say my dad and I were watching TV downstairs - we'd hear things crashing above us. Is it just that my mom's really, really clumsy? Is it that she's really tired? We all thought it might be a medical condition, and we brought her to doctors.

WARNER: Julia couldn't figure it out. And then one night, her mom did go to the emergency room. Her dad brought her in after she was thrashing around in her sleep. The doctors did all these neurological tests. It took hours. But the only problem they found was the alcohol in her blood.

SIMON: The reality was that she was secretly drinking. For seven years, she was drinking and lying about it.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: So I have to say thank you so much for talking to me in the first place and...

SIMON: It was about a year later that my mom and I sat down to talk about this.

WARNER: Where did it take place?

SIMON: It took place in my uncle's study.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I don't want you - this chair to squeak.

SIMON: I brought my microphone. Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Do you mind if I sit on the floor?


We ended up sitting on the floor 'cause the chairs were squeaking.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Maybe it'd be easier if there was a microphone in my face.

SIMON: Oh, OK. Well, I...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Do you need...

SIMON: Yeah. I need this for me. If...


SIMON: So can...


SIMON: She said OK. I'm not going to put anything out there without consulting you.

I'm curious how it felt to receive the cake when you were drinking.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: It felt - I - you know, I met your dad auditioning for a play. There's a part of me that's an actress. I was acting sober.

SIMON: I have always kind of thought of my mom as a really terrible actress - you know, just, like, kind of a lot of, like, hand movements and, like, big facial expressions. And so I made a joke about this. I was like...

You've never been a very good actress (laughter) - no offense.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I know. I know. That's why I gave it up a long time ago. I know. I know.

SIMON: Yeah.

But then I was talking to her about the fact that when we'd go out to dinner and there'd be something on the menu that had rum in it, like some dessert...

You know, if you accidentally had a bite, it was this whole production and...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: And you say I'm not a good actress? Sorry. I mean, I did that to look like I was sober, Julia.

SIMON: Yeah. So you really - oh, OK. You were pretty good then (laughter).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I mean, it was very disingenuous.

SIMON: But why didn't you tell anyone? We could've helped you.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Because it was more important to me to keep up the illusion that I was sober. I was committed to looking like I was OK.

SIMON: I guess I just - I guess - I'm just trying to see if I wrote a question that might help me phrase this. I mean, did it bother you that I didn't want to go to the cake things?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I don't know, Julia.

SIMON: If you - if it did, it's OK.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I really don't know.

SIMON: My mom keeps saying that she doesn't know.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Now, Julia, I really...

SIMON: She doesn't remember.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Because the alcohol impaired my memory.

SIMON: I'm trying to ask her basic questions, and I'm not hiding my impatience.

Same thing.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I don't know what you're angry with me about. If you'd like to explode at me, go ahead.

SIMON: I'm not angry at specific things. I'm angry at the lying, which is just one humongous seven-year period, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I know that I lied to myself.

SIMON: You lied to me.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I lied to everybody, Julia. But I lied to...


WARNER: Honesty is a big part of AA - honesty with yourself, honesty with others. And as Julia struggled with her mom's lies, she started to feel frustrated at AA. She wondered if those birthday cakes, those public celebrations of success, had somehow trapped her mom in a place where she felt like she needed to lie. Now, this is not, I should say, how her mom sees it. She does not blame anyone in AA but herself. Looking back, Julia thinks she became a journalist, in part, because of a feeling that it was hard to get the full truth from her mom. And so with her mom in recovery and her reporter's notebook in her hand...

SIMON: First, do you mind telling me...

WARNER: Julia started calling up rehab programs around the world...

SAM NUGRAHA: My name is...

WARNER: ...To find a place that might have actually detected her mom's lies.

NUGRAHA: This place.

SIMON: The first time we talked on the phone, you said something to me that - I was like, oh, yeah, I definitely want to talk more to this guy. You were like, you know how Indonesians smile and they're not really smiling?

NUGRAHA: Yeah, because the cultures tells us we have to be polite. When we don't know the answer, then we have to smile. When we feel threatened, we have to smile. I mean, lying is part of the business (laughter).

WARNER: I'm Gregory Warner. And this is ROUGH TRANSLATION, the show where we go to far-off places with stories that hit close to home. So much of the way we in the U.S. talk about addiction treatment starts with coming clean about your past. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving the problem. So Julia Simon wanted to know, what might addiction treatment look like in a place where the culture is telling you to put a rosy face on things? Today, she takes us to Indonesia to seek out some answers for her American mom.

We're back with ROUGH TRANSLATION. And if we started this story with Julia's mom in LA lying to make herself look like she was fine, the first person Julia's going to introduce us to in Indonesia is someone whose whole neighborhood is conspiring to lie for him.


SIMON: Ridwan (ph) is addicted to heroin. He's been in and out of jail. He's HIV-positive. He tells me he's slept on train tracks. But before any of this, Ridwan was a kid growing up in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

So we're walking down a very skinny street, and there are all these flags, a bunch of...


SIMON: ...Birds in cages - oh, another motorbike.

These narrow, narrow streets - they actually call them jalan tikus, which means street of the mouse. Everybody's very close together.

Oh, they live in here? Hello.

AINI: (Foreign language spoken).

SIMON: (Foreign language spoken).

Ridwan's family lived in houses side by side - six brothers and sisters.

Hello. (Foreign language spoken).

Ridwan's big sister Aini (ph) says when Ridwan was a kid...

AINI: (Foreign language spoken).

SIMON: ...He was always with a book. He was a nerd.

You said he was very smart.

AINI: (Foreign language spoken).

SIMON: And then he entered middle school. She says that's when he went a wild way. When Ridwan was a teenager, he went to what he calls a prison for children, like juvie.

RIDWAN: (Foreign language spoken).

SIMON: But then he'd get home leave.

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) Every time I got a free time to go back to my home with my mother, my neighbors always asking me, like, how's your school?

SIMON: How is your studying going, the neighbors would ask...

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) How's your (foreign language spoken)?

SIMON: ...In the pesantren, your boarding school?

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) So I realized that, wow, my mother tried to keep secret what happened about me.

SIMON: Yeah. Why? (Foreign language spoken).

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) My family - my grandfather - he's a role model in my neighborhood.

SIMON: Ridwan's grandfather was an Islamic scholar. His father was a leader at their local mosque. So part of their house is the mosque. It's like you come in with green and carpets.

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) That's why my neighborhood tried to keep it secretly. They're afraid they humiliate my father and grandfather. (Foreign language spoken).

SIMON: You're saying they actually knew.

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) Everybody notice it.

SIMON: Ridwan's neighborhood is kind of known for all these printing shops. And when Ridwan's addiction got worse, Ridwan was stealing the equipment from them.

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) I sell it to someone else, and the money - I use it to buy drugs. And one day, the owners of the printing agency come to my home.

SIMON: The owners gathered to talk to his dad.

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) They told my father, if your son needs some money, why don't he just work with me? I can give him a job.

SIMON: So even when you stole from them, they didn't say it. I'm translating, and he's saying...

RIDWAN: (Foreign language spoken).

SIMON: ..."Everything has to look good. Everything has to look like everything's OK."


SIMON: In Indonesia, there's this one word that captures this idea.

SIMANTUPUNG: It's more like malu.

SIMON: The word is malu.

SIMANTUPUNG: Like, if you don't want to feel ashamed, stay away from trouble.

SIMON: There are a lot of definitions for the Indonesian word malu.

But malu - the word malu also means shy, doesn't it?

My interpreter Barmin and I would go back and forth about it.

SIMANTUPUNG: Malu - like, shy - like...

SIMON: Wait. Malu, malu and malu are different words?

There are even instructional videos aimed at Western businesspeople on how to deal with malu culture.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Conflict avoidance - most Indonesians value maintaining the appearance of harmony at all costs, saying yes when they mean no.

SIMON: On Java, which is the most populous island in the world, you have all these different languages and ethnicities and religions. This is extremely useful, you know? Like, you can keep things chill with malu. When I lived in Indonesia, I felt like malu was sort of this glue that helped stick people together, especially living in tight quarters. But Ridwan says when it came to his addiction, he found malu confusing.

RIDWAN: (Foreign language spoken).

SIMON: He uses a word - bingung - that means confused, bewildered, at sea because it almost didn't seem to matter to people if he was sober or not as long, as he pretended to be sober.

WARNER: Ridwan and his family were not alone in this. Actually, around the time that he was struggling in the '90s, there was a flood of drugs into Indonesia from different parts of Southeast Asia. And the country's response was mostly either mental hospitals or jail. Indonesia still has some of the harshest drug policies in the world - death sentences for dealing or producing drugs. And at first, one of the only places that offered anything like rehab was a program founded by Joyce Djaelani Gordon. She translated the "Big Blue Book" of AA into Indonesian.

JOYCE DJAELANI GORDON: (Foreign language spoken).

WARNER: And she struggled to interpret some of the Christian concepts of 12 Steps for Indonesia's Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists.

DJAELANI GORDON: I didn't want the 12 Steps to be too much of a certain religion.

WARNER: She and her husband, an American - David Gordon - felt like they were doing something new in Indonesia, encouraging people to speak openly and honestly about their addiction.

DJAELANI GORDON: David, as an addict and - can say, you know, I'm an addict, so there's no point in lying with us.

DAVID GORDON: At that time, there was only one government recovery center in the whole country.

WARNER: So when people like Ridwan landed in Joyce and David's program, with its confessional approach, that was also confusing and bewildering.

NUGRAHA: We call it American culture.

SIMON: Sam Nugraha is the guy I called up in Indonesia before my trip, and he went to Joyce and David's program.

NUGRAHA: Because it's very American when people saying out loud their feelings to strangers.

SIMON: He still remembers the shock of going to his first group meeting.

NUGRAHA: They always introduced themself by telling, hi, my name is X, and I'm an addict. And the group immediately respond, hi, X. Like, what's going on? (Laughter).

SIMON: Was this just, like, kind of mind-boggling to just...

NUGRAHA: Absolutely. I was scared, to be honest, because it's twisting everything that you believe. In our culture, we are not supposed to expose our shortcomings to other people. We are not supposed to tell our feelings.

SIMON: All his life, Sam had been taught that his individual pain - it's not so important to talk about.

NUGRAHA: Just man up (laughter).

SIMON: And this guy tells him...

NUGRAHA: You are as sick as your secrets.

SIMON: You're as sick as your secrets.


SIMON: So Sam finally stands up in one of the meetings, says, hi, I'm Sam. They say, hi, Sam. It felt good to say it out loud. And Sam embraced this approach. He made it through the 12 Steps. He graduated from client to peer counselor.

Looking back, Sam does remember some things that didn't work. Like, this one time, he told this painful story about his father. The other Indonesians in the group - they started taking what Sam said in the meetings and throwing it back at him.

NUGRAHA: When it's here, that means it's become publics...

SIMON: Oof (ph).

NUGRAHA: ...Domain. Sometimes they use that when they talk to me. Like, you have dad issues, something like that.

SIMON: He had daddy issues.

NUGRAHA: The concept of group therapy is new with our culture.

SIMON: It broke the rules about malu - these rules about staying discreet.

NUGRAHA: It's quite difficult to practice sharing, honesty, open mind and willingness - you know, those things, those slogans they have in 12 Steps. It's really difficult.

SIMON: Yeah.

NUGRAHA: That's when I think, yeah, the traditions, the regulations of the meeting is confidentiality. But in practice, it's up to the people who hear the stories.

SIMON: It was when Sam was working as a counselor that he really started questioning the program. He had this one client who did everything he was supposed to do. When he relapsed, he admitted it. He came back. He talked about his flaws. And Sam would try to help him.

NUGRAHA: By help means to get him out of drugs. That's what I have in my thought.

SIMON: And he did help him. The guy graduated the program. He went out into the world. And then he overdosed.

NUGRAHA: And that's actually give me - get me thinking, what was wrong? I mean, what can prevent him from dying?

WARNER: Sam wondered, what if preventing people from dying was more important than keeping them honest and sober? So Sam started his own program with a different approach to sobriety and a different approach to lying.



NUGRAHA: And then we go inside.


SIMON: It's so beautiful. Like, you can see the mountains and it's...

So Sam's program is called Rumah Singgah PEKA. Their motto is, when the world rejects you, come here. The rehab is run out of this peach-colored house in the mountains of Bogor, an hour south of Jakarta.

Look at - who are these dogs?

NUGRAHA: These are also addicts.


SIMON: What are they addicted to?

NUGRAHA: Human, I suppose. These are the grandma...

SIMON: Some clients do cognitive behavioral therapy, others methadone. There's job training.

NUGRAHA: We do not decide what's best for our clients. The client have to decide what's best for them.

SIMON: Do some of them keep doing heroin just, like, once a week or something?

NUGRAHA: Yeah. Some of them are still using.

SIMON: They can't use on the premises, but Sam does allow patients to use drugs or drink alcohol while still in the program. It's the first rehab like this in Indonesia, but it's part of this school of thought called harm reduction. Harm reduction can mean lots of different things. It can mean giving people clean needles to do drugs. It can mean prenatal clinics designed for people addicted to drugs or even, in some places, supplying you with small amounts of the drugs that you're addicted to. And these programs do provoke strong reactions. When Sam's clinic opened up, his neighbors attacked him for his approach.

NUGRAHA: You just keep people using drugs. You're a new dealer in town.

SIMON: You're a new dealer in town?

NUGRAHA: I'm the new drug dealer in town. That's what he said. You're just, you know, helping people to keep using drugs.

SIMON: The way Sam sees it - the way a lot of harm reduction people see it - addiction is a disease, like diabetes or anything else.

NUGRAHA: There is a change in the brain's structures, even the brain's function.

SIMON: You know, part of - well, maybe the main reason why I'm interested in addiction is 'cause of my mom. And...

I told Sam about my mom - how she was in AA and sober, but then how she started drinking again and lied about it.

Like, how do you see that?

NUGRAHA: It's very humane. I mean, human are fragile, right?

SIMON: Do you think AA is forgiving enough to people who are sober for 10 years and then suddenly are back to square one?

NUGRAHA: I think the program - yeah. The people - it's depend - depend on the group of that people. People who are in the group could think, like, oh, he's a loser. You know, many people feel ashamed when they slip and they use again. And then they don't want to admit because it gives that feelings of, I'm being a failure. It should be like, I still need more help.

SIMON: Why did the 12-step program not work for you?

Remember Ridwan, the guy who grew up on those narrow streets, whose neighbors lied on his behalf?

RIDWAN: (Foreign language spoken).

SIMON: When I asked him about his experience in AA...

Why did it not work?

RIDWAN: (Foreign language spoken).

SIMON: He doesn't blame AA. He says he's the one who failed the program.

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) I myself, who do want - didn't follow the rules - I always tried to not following what my mentor said to me.

SIMON: In the end, he felt he couldn't be honest with his sponsor, just like my mom. Now Ridwan's in Sam's program.

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) My ultimate goal - to be a clean person.

SIMON: Ridwan's coming to him with feelings of failure and shame.

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) Guilt to myself.

SIMON: And Sam needs to get past all that in order to reach him as a client.

RIDWAN: (Foreign language spoken).

SIMON: Ridwan says Sam once saw one of his photos on Instagram - a photo of him with a girl.

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) Sam look in it. And Sam asked me, is that your girlfriend? I said, no, it's not my girlfriend. Actually, it's my girlfriend. She is my girlfriend. But I would try to keep it secretly.

SIMON: He lied. He thought Sam would tell him to break up with his girlfriend because there are rules about relationships in recovery.

So you lied to him. Did he know you were lying?

RIDWAN: (Foreign language spoken).

SIMON: He knew. You think he knew.

Ridwan says Sam tells his clients, if you start with a lie, you're stuck with it. But when Sam says this stuff, he's gentle about it.

NUGRAHA: Of course (laughter). That's part of our job.

SIMON: He calls it teasing.

RIDWAN: (Through interpreter) Here in PEKA is - everybody knows when you are lying to other person. They call you, you are playing a game. If you start playing - if you start the game, you are the one who going to finish the game.

SIMON: Sam is like, OK, I'll play the game with you. And whenever you want to end it, I'm here.

A few months after I went to Indonesia, I called up Sam to hear how he was doing.

OK, so I'm recording. Is Ridwan still with you?

NUGRAHA: No, he's not.

SIMON: He told me Ridwan was back to using drugs. He was back to his old business.

NUGRAHA: I heard that - I think he's - might be in trouble again.

SIMON: Oh, no. Do you - do - who - where did you hear that from?

A part of me hoped, as the daughter of an alcoholic, that maybe Sam did have the solution, that maybe in the mountains of Java, I'd find a program that just figured it all out.

NUGRAHA: (Laughter) It's not like that.

SIMON: When it comes to relapse, Sam's results are pretty much the same as everywhere else.

NUGRAHA: Absolutely. I mean...

SIMON: But he measures not on whether people get sober, but on their quality of life.

NUGRAHA: Their opinion about their lives.

SIMON: Whether they're holding down jobs, whether they're healthy, how their relationships are going.

NUGRAHA: It's 26 questions.

SIMON: Not only is Sam's program growing, but he's consulting with the Indonesian government. He's doing trainings across the Asia-Pacific region.

When I got back to the U.S., I thought a lot about what I learned from Sam. Of course I wanted my mom to have a program like Sam's. And, in fact, she's seeking different kinds of help now. She's in a relapse prevention program. She's learning about the science of her addiction. She's taking a low dose of an antidepressant. But I realized there was something I learned from Sam that wasn't even about my mom. It was more about what I could do - a new way to talk to her.

So yeah. So basically, with Sam, there's this...

First, I wanted to tell her about malu.

People want everything to look OK. Yeah. Do you have a thought?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I - well, in certain families, it's also a malu culture.

SIMON: My mom basically jumped in and was like, oh, yes, yes. I know this culture.

Do you think a little bit like your family?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Right. No, everything was fine.

SIMON: And I'm coming back, giving her a book report. And she's like, yeah, I know. And then I told her what Sam's doing with malu, this way of talking to people.

Not be like, you're lying to me - like, I know that you repeated a lie, but kind of - you're shaking your head.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Rather than confront them about being dishonest, let them kind of weave their tale and being patient with them to help them understand what's going to happen if you tell the truth. It's not - it's going to help you. It's not going to hurt you. I am not going to judge you. That's how I - he probably gains their trust so that they can be honest. Is that true?

SIMON: Yeah, you nailed it. So I'm wondering if anyone did that for you.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: No. I - sadly, I - no one did.

SIMON: My mom's still in AA. She won't miss a meeting. She feels like she really needs that support to stay on track. But now she realizes that some of the AA teachings don't work for her.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: There's a prayer about character defects. Do you want to hear that corny one?

SIMON: (Laughter) Sure. Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: My creator, I pray that you now remove from me every single defective character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.

You know, it was helpful till it wasn't helpful anymore.

SIMON: Yeah. They felt a little punishing.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: It feels - especially when we talk about character defects - it feels like that's all I am. Like, there's a character in "Peanuts" - Pigpen - and you never really saw him. It was just, like, a giant tumbleweed of dust, and Pigpen was underneath there. And saying that prayer - you know, take away my - you know, my character defects - that it felt like I am such a flawed human being.

SIMON: A friend of mine from Indonesia told me that malu is being afraid to take off your mask. Even though everyone knows what's underneath it, you still don't take it off. And my mom has this instinct to keep her mask on, even with me.

WARNER: And how do you feel, knowing that?

SIMON: You know what? Actually - it's actually - it's a relief, really.

WARNER: Really?

SIMON: I mean, I'm not going to say I don't have any more anger. I still do have anger. Like, I asked her about that moment where I'm like, you lied to me.

Yeah. In the interview, I said you were lying to me, and you said you were lying to everyone. But, you know, you were lying to me. I know you were lying to everyone, but you were lying to me. And I'm not quite over it.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Whatever I can do to make that better, I would, Julia. I'm deeply sorry. All I can say is that I was lying to myself very deeply. Can I talk to you a little bit about something that I learned in my relapse prevention group?

SIMON: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Well, we were talking about the relapse cycle, and...

SIMON: You know, last time she started telling me about her classes and kind of changing the conversation from the questions that I was trying to engage her with, you could hear the impatience in my voice. I was trying to confront her. And this time...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I was in the grips of a disease.

SIMON: ...I just listened.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: And that can sound like - maybe that's sounding like a cop-out to you. I - that I was lying to continue my disease, to continue my right to drink. And I don't know how to apologize for that.

SIMON: It's OK. I think the thing that's - it's - I hear you. I really do hear you.


SIMON: I do hear you.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: You know what? Take as long as you need.

SIMON: No. But you know I really do hear you. I'm working on getting to - no, I'm...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I feel it. I feel you working hard. I really feel...

SIMON: Good.


WARNER: Today's show was produced by Jess Jiang. Marianne McCune is our editor. And thanks to all of those who lent their ears and their minds to this episode - Laura Starecheski, Lu Olkowski, Sally Helm, Noel King, Yowei Shaw, Michael May, Sana Krasikov, Prodita Sabarini and Nadia Woodhouse (ph). Thanks, also, to interpreter Barmin Simantupung (ph), Siti Farhana (ph), Ferri Kahmil (ph), Laurel McLauren (ph), Gavin Bart (ph), Anna Lemke (ph), Dan Chicarrone (ph), Daniel Fuster Marti (ph) Benjamin Chin (ph), Margaret Scott (ph), Anastasia Tsioulcas, Megan Reid (ph), Bobby Allyn and Aubrey Belford. The ROUGH TRANSLATION high council is Neal Carruth, Will Dobson and Anya Grundmann. Jane Gilvin fact-checked this episode. Greta Pittenger and Katie Daugert helped with research, mastering by Isaac Rodrigues. John Ellis composed music for our show. Mike Crews (ph) scored the episode. Drop us your thoughts or your stories at, or find us on Twitter @roughly. I'm Gregory Warner, back in two weeks with more ROUGH TRANSLATION.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.