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Thirteenth stepping is a predatory practice that is shaped within a background of systemic sexism.
Living in a culture where men are accorded enormous authority about virtually everything, is it any surprise that many women who are early in their sobriety or struggling with relapse would look to men as experts or guides?
AA is not the Masons where, outside of gatherings, you keep in touch with code words or secret handshakes and conspiratorial ‘assistance’. AA lives by the distilled wisdom contained in the proverb, motto, and slogan – not ‘theory’. and Dr Bob, founded AA in Akron, Ohio, in the 1930s, when even to have stopped drinking was shameful – evidence of past ‘moral weakness’. The Serenity Prayer Few have heard it before they first attend an AA meeting, but once it's in your life it never leaves.
Keep it simple Supposedly the last words of AA's founder, Bill W (ilson). ‘Perhaps the Day after Tomorrow’ another proverb promises. But the rules have relaxed since the patriarchs, Bill W.
Occasionally, very occasionally, it’s a different story. Chips with everything AA is crazy about chips – or 'sobriety coins'. No two groups are the same Because AA is self-organising at the grass roots level, groups define themselves differently. Others are ‘participation meetings’, where everyone has a chance to share. There are men only meetings, women only meetings, and meetings for any variety of LGBT. Or so meetings like to chant at the end of the session, after reciting the Serenity Prayer. But it’s a refrain in the fellowship that AA works better than aversive medicine (the dreaded antabuse, Ebola in tablet form), white coats (cognitive intelligence therapy), or sermons from self-appointed experts who’ve never themselves been there but know all about it (which, alas, includes most of the medical profession. Nowadays, while sitting on appointment committees, I've seen personal statements in which the job seeker says they’ve been through AA (to counteract any mention of their drinking days in confidential letters of reference). God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.
Looking back, I was sort of following that rule, but I should have done it much sooner.The place where, as the joke goes, they won’t even let Swiss born Roger Federer join the tennis club. Sharing is not conversation One of the first things newcomers have to learn is that ‘cross-talk’ – meaning dialogue, talking ‘to’ others in the group, during a meeting – is a no-no. The others listen, carefully reflecting on your spilt entrails, like Roman soothsayers. Dialogue leads to argument and argument, before you know it, leads to quarrels. For newcomers they’re coloured leather (or its imitation). It’s flown away, I like to think, to help others embarking on a life without what they thought they couldn’t live without. AA is not, oddly, all that focused on alcohol Only the first of the 12 steps (the admission that you can’t control the stuff, or yourself when you’re drinking) touches on it. I’ve been to meetings at universities where the IQ is stratospheric. At AA-Gstaad it was espresso coffee and Lindt chocolates to help the millionaires on their path to ‘recovering’. They do not respond (other than with a formal ‘thank you, John, for a wonderful share’, or whatever). Others where there’s a guy just out of prison sitting on one side of you and someone who really ought to be there on the other. The second is that the legal system has been using AA as a shortcut or substitute for effective treatment.As Willenbring states it, “Mandated AA attendance is a lazy and destructive substitute for providing truly effective treatment, which also needs to include up-to-date treatment for mental health disorders and social support of (emphasis original).” There is no doubt that the legal system contributes to the creation of dangerous situations for many people who are vulnerable. As a moral philosopher and feminist, I see this tragic case of Eric Earle’s murder of Karla Mendez Brada as an extreme instance of a more common phenomenon that is deeply gendered.
Oh, the boys…with their smoky breath and ironic t-shirts and tattooed forearms, waxing philosophical about life and spinning tales of desperation, desecration and finally redemption. I could easily branch off`into horror stories about how I was 13th stepped by program quasi-gurus who had double-digit sobriety while I was just stringing days together.