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Posts tagged "Alcoholics Anonymous"

Richard Rohr Goes to an AA Meeting in Albuquerque

Richard Rohr Goes to an AA Meeting in Albuquerque

America’s favorite Franciscan dropped a doozie of a daily meditation the other day, one too relevant not to pass on. It is drawn from his book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps. Here’s the lion’s share, but you can read the full text here, ht JE:

The spirituality of the Twelve Steps is another important part of my wisdom lineage. Although I have never formally belonged to a Twelve Step group, I have learned much from people who are in recovery. I truly believe that the Twelve Step program (also known as Alcoholics Anonymous or A.A.) will go down in history as…

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Any Woman’s Blues

Any Woman’s Blues

Literary portrayals of Alcoholics Anonymous are notoriously difficult. The primary challenge being, how do you write about “the program” without sounding either corny or patronizing. It doesn’t help that word people have such an allergy to the slogans and platitudes that populate AA. Anyway, I’m always on the lookout for effective depictions, and recently had to opportunity to ask someone who knows about such things if they were aware of any good ones–other than Infinite Jest, that is. Her answer surprised me. She told me that if I hadn’t read Erica Jong’s Any Woman’s Blues, I should consider it, that…

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Singing Love Songs to Addicts (and Earth People, Too)

Singing Love Songs to Addicts (and Earth People, Too)

Been a while since we checked in on the world of addiction. Back in January The Huffington Post ran an article with the transparently baiting title of “The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think” that went viral. I think we mentioned it in a weekender. It was the work of Johann Hari, a controversial British journalist and author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. In June Hari gave a TED talk–embedded below–based on the same material, in which he stresses the social factors that…

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The Hope For Some Kind of Sinners Anonymous

The Hope For Some Kind of Sinners Anonymous

Better late than never: This past week I came across a remarkable (and remarkably witty) article by Helen Rittelmeyer Andrews, published last January, on the subject of “AA Envy” that seems almost ripped from the pages of Grace in Addiction. Andrews explores why Alcoholics Anonymous gets a free pass in contemporary society when pretty much every other organization/movement that talks openly about “moral failure” and abstention from traditional vices inspires ridicule, contempt or indifference–at least in elite metropolitan circles. Indeed, if NY Times articles like this one are to be trusted, then the inventories and amend-making and low-as-you-can-go anthropology (and monergistic…

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All The Things David Foster Wallace’s Parents Said to Him

All The Things David Foster Wallace’s Parents Said to Him

I’ve been making my way through Conversations with David Foster Wallace, and as expected, it’s chock-full of interesting exchanges. You also get to witness a certain evolution in his thought. Anyway, three favorite quotes thus far would be the following. The first comes from an interview with Salon in 1996, post-Infinite Jest:

“It seems to me that the intellectualization and aestheticizing of principles and values in this country is one of the things that’s gutted our generation. All the things that my parents said to me, like ‘It’s really important not to lie.’ OK, check, got it. I nod at that…

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If Someone Steps on Your Toe, Say, “Excuse Me”: Resentment and Everyday Life

If Someone Steps on Your Toe, Say, “Excuse Me”: Resentment and Everyday Life

Our weekly Breaking Bad post will be up tomorrow morning, but for now – addiction just can’t be put on hold. A story of resentments, forgiveness, meat-cleavers and self-reflection, from John Z.’s Grace in Addiction:

“Imagine a guy named Gary and another guy named Levar. Gary and Levar are not great friends, but they are – or rather used to be – acquaintances. Now they hate each other.

Here’s what happened. Both Gary and Levar are smokers. One day Gary found himself sitting next to Levar in the library at their college. Gary noticed that Levar had a fresh pack of cigarettes sticking…

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Short Story Wednesdays: “Where I’m Calling From” by Raymond Carver

Short Story Wednesdays: “Where I’m Calling From” by Raymond Carver

If Alcoholics Anonymous really is a model for the Church, then Raymond Carver has some of the best ecclesiology around! This time we turn to a story from his Cathedral collection about addiction, love, empathy, and (just maybe!) redemption. To read along, go here.

The next morning Frank Martin got me aside and said, ‘We can help you. If you want help and want to listen to what we say.’ But I didn’t know if they could help me or not. Part of me wanted help. But there was another part. All said, it was a very big if.

The story opens…

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Another Week Ends: Geistless Zeit, Tony Soprano vs. Walter White, Coach Taylor as Gentleman, Netflix’s PRISM, Marriage Apps, Hemingway, and Christianity as Marketing Label

Another Week Ends: Geistless Zeit, Tony Soprano vs. Walter White, Coach Taylor as Gentleman, Netflix’s PRISM, Marriage Apps, Hemingway, and Christianity as Marketing Label

1. To start off, Henry Allen over at The Wall Street Journal describes a contemporary cultural inertia he’s felt. An ironically self-described ex-“Ziggy Zeitgeist”, he’s now in limbo, the cultural doldrums, ht VH:

Now I am disquieted. It’s not that I see things changing for better or worse, for richer or poorer, or even not changing at all. It’s something else: The most important thing in our culture-sphere isn’t change but the fact that reality itself is dwindling, fading like sunstruck wallpaper, turning into a silence of the dinner-party sort that leads to a default discussion of movies.

Is some sort of cultural entropy…

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Bebopping, Scatting, and Step Nine Apologies (to Costanza)

Bebopping, Scatting, and Step Nine Apologies (to Costanza)

Some angel of the Lord put together the Costanza-12 Steps storyline from “The Apology” episode of Seinfeld and who would we be if we didn’t post it here. So rich and hilarious, featuring a great cameo from James Spader and touching on a gazillion of our favorite themes, from scorekeeping to repentance and forgiveness, recovery, motivation, self-sabotage, etc, and ending with a scene of public condemnation of “law-breaking” that backfires to an almost New Testament degree:

Perfect opportunity to plug the Step 9 section of John Z’s Grace in Addiction: The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody:

Amends are…

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It Came From The (Church) Basement: Addiction, Grace, and Alcoholics Anonymous

Here comes another video from our NYC conference, this time from John Zahl. In addition to some deep wisdom, it features what was hands-down the best joke of the conference.

You may download the recording of this talk by clicking here. And you may order a copy of the book that the talk is based on by clicking here.

The Place Where Roger Ebert Didn’t Look For An Argument

The Place Where Roger Ebert Didn’t Look For An Argument

I was saddened yesterday to hear that Roger Ebert had died. Like many of my generation, I grew up watching him and Gene Siskel talk movies and do their thumbs-up-or-down routine on TV, probably my first public role models for cultural criticism of any kind. Ebert gave you permission to have an opinion–a strong one–about a movie, yet also didn’t seem consumed by loftiness. At least, not completely. You could disagree with another person and still be generous to them; it was clear that he and Siskel were friends. Plus, you always got the sense that he genuinely liked movies,…

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Grace in Addiction: Stanley Runs Into Barbed Wire

Grace in Addiction: Stanley Runs Into Barbed Wire

Continuing with our series of previews of our recent publication Grace in Addiction: The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody, here’s a section from the chapter having to do with Step 7, i.e. “Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.”

An important part of parenting comes when the parent makes a mistake. Perhaps tempers flare in a regrettable way. Or maybe a crucial decision turns out to have been a misstep. Maybe the parents move their child into a new school that proves to be a poor match, and the child has to switch back later. God’s grace is…

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