Archive for February 2010

aa on the tv

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This past fall, when I saw Joseph Fiennes alternately sitting in an AA circle or hitting a flask in FlashForward, I had to admit recovery is officially trendy in tvland.

Alcoholism has always been used in film and tv, sure, a common gimmick to add depth to a character or even drive the plot: will he get images sloshed and fail to save the world because he is in a blackout? There is of course the Mad Men extreme, where alcohol and its abuse is not only a factor in the stories but a crucial part of the scenery. Then we have the (legacy) tortured Sipowicz, whatsername in Prison Break, Bubbles in The Wire, (who lands Steve Earl for a sponsor, how cool is that?) and more than one character in Brothers. Who am I forgetting? Oh, damn, the daddy of them all, Denis Leary’s peerless Rescue Me.

I thought back to Otis, the hapless townotis-from-mayberry drunk on Andy Griffith. TV alcoholics were formerly portrayed, if at all, as sloppy buffoons. There’s a drunk in the Simpsons (wait! didn’t he get sober?), and I think Al Bundy had some issues. Lately, TV series addicts and alcoholics are often the protagonist and usually somewhat sympathetic. At least what I’ve seen, which is detailed above.

So what? I guess it’s kinda cool. I’m glad. If addiction has a place in tvland, so do meetings.

Two points I couldn’t work in above: 1)TV writers of the world, meetings are essentially never held in a church sanctuary. 2) Intervention and Celebrity Rehab just aren’t a part of my world. I know nothing about them.

cross-posted from liminal screeds


Written by xty

February 28, 2010 at 14:50

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This morning I attended an AA meeting online. It was tedious and trite. Over half of the time was the 60-70 (fluctuating) members typing “thanks!” or “Hi Bill!” and announcements of who was entering of leaving the room. The other half was the sharing portion. The topic was Willingness in Recovery. Cool! I thought! Something I have been talking about etc.!


About 5 folks shared, consisting of ” I had a hard time with willingness, then I became willing, now I’m sober 20 years.” “F2f” meetings have a great proportion of this sort of vague testimony as well, fine. I prefer them because there are actual people there, the flow is much better, and the chances of hearing something with a little more body is pretty high. Yes, that was just one meeting, but I don’t feel terribly drawn to try it again. If I do, I’ll let you know.

Written by xty

February 27, 2010 at 10:23

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just quit?

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working the steps seems to require the same – if not more – presence of mind, strength of will, and capacity than Just Quitting does.

via Just Quit? « Stinkin Thinkin .

I ran across the above blog when I did a tag search on wordpress for aa. I have to agree with a lot of what I saw there, except there’s one crucial difference – I still “believe” in AA and want it to be part of my sobriety.

Yes, AA has the same success rate as Doing Nothing. Maybe I’m brainwashed but Doing Nothing scares me – even though I achieved my only years-long abstinence after I stopped attending AA.

Perusing the blogroll of Stinkin Thinkin I ended up at a site (or two) that had several articles and links about Controlled Drinking and Alcoholism Is Not A Disease. I had to run, very fatal sounding stuff for me to consider. I’ve been me my whole life and no part of me can concede that I am not sick as hell when it comes to alcohol. I mean, the only reason Controlled Drinking caught my eye was as a possible route to intoxication.

I digress. AA is about the steps, no way around it. And folks die to avoid them. Will I? I might if I don’t unlearn certain received notions, or unless the supernatural rescuer fixes me. The most progress I can claim today is that I am willing to concede that either of those is possible.

Written by xty

February 27, 2010 at 10:03

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email to R 2.23.10

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Yesterday I spontaneously dug around quite a bit on the interwebs reading “subversive” literature, alternative to 12 step stuff, and have re-read the small book recently.

This is good to see other folks articulate some of the aspects of aa and its hard to avoid received notions that cause me trouble – I’m not crazy.

Having looked at it, I see petulant resentment, misrepresentation, intelligent observation, sensible extension, the whole gamut. The Orange Papers to SMART Recovery.

Once again I reach the conclusion that “It’s all true,” and, that I’m on the right track. That like everyone, I am unique. So like you describe, the two-pronged plan is where it’s at for me, to specifically repair my life and spend the second half truly alive. The 12 step model and “thoroughly following the path” are something I believe in, and there is some conflict there (it occurred to me it’s possible that I haven’t taken the first step completely yet, that’s why the troubles, then I thought that is utter bullshit I am step one incarnate let’s move along here folks there is no perfect quantifiable step metric for me to worry about right now) and that’s okay. The conflict is about what thoroughly following the path ends up looking like for me. The AA program doesn’t exactly fit, and some of it is counterproductive or even bad for me, it really is not one-size-fits-all. But everything about it would have one believe it is. So how can I believe in something and not follow it? I’d like to join the Catholic church, but I can’t and won’t because I don’t believe being gay is a sin. There’s gay folks in the Catholic church; I won’t be one of them. At least not right now.

The tools on the SMART recovery page are good stuff; I’m familiar with the ideas, and got a lot out of randomly reviewing some stuff on that site. Coupled with the support of AA other outside ideas and systems, like, for example, Buddhism, RBT, running, medication, it could work.

At least when I’m feeling pretty good and I’m thinking and all this cerebral self analysis seems profitable and I can have some hope that “things” will be “better” soon. No problem. But, I do not always have control of my faculties, eh? I get pretty black, and have impulsively drank enough to never think “I got this thing” again.

Written by xty

February 25, 2010 at 17:22

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take two

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Take two on the blog. Since the last post I went back into detox and through treatment again at the same facility. (That would be take, I don’t know, 45?) This, then is the entry where I come back and point out how amazing it is that I can write about how glad I am I’m not in a treatment center and run myself right back into one less than 2 months later.
My inclination is to skip all details, or outline everything in a ridiculous post, and I think erring on the conservative side seems right in this case. Relapse is familiar ground, part of the process, etc. This is simply the icebreaker entry that I have been putting off, so I can maybe get back to it.
I often think it’s pointless to codify all this mental self-absorption, anecdotes, theories really, becasue it’s all transient and really because I can’t prove it ever mattered or ever will. It’s all transient and it may just be completely irrelevant if I understand anything that’s ever happened. (Except, of course, The Great War.) I’m going to do it anyway as a sponsor (1 of 2; they are named R and S) suggested it after observing my writing can make sense from time to time, whereas I talk in circles most of the time.

Written by xty

February 25, 2010 at 13:01