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Posts tagged "Alcoholism"


Mike Tyson Works the Steps

Mike Tyson may honestly be my favorite person in the world. Case in point: the amazing press conference he held last week after making amends with Teddy Atlas. As far as context, Teddy Atlas was a key assistant to Tyson’s trainer/adopted father Cus D’Amato when Tyson was coming up in the early 80s. In 1983, Atlas and the 16 year old Tyson had an altercation after Tyson allegedly harassed an 11 year old female relative of Atlas’s. Atlas put a .38 caliber handgun to Tyson’s ear and told him that he would kill him if he ever touched any member of his family again. The incident led to Atlas’ dismissal from the Catskill Boxing Club, and he was told he was no longer welcome in D’Amato’s home or around any of his adopted children. Cut to 30 years later and a ringside meeting. Talk about a “no spin zone”, ht BJ:

Click here to watch the equally jawdropping follow-up interview. And for more on Step 9 via Seinfeld and our own Grace in Addiction, go here.

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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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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Another Week Ends: Recovering Francis, Present Shock, Silicon Valley Solutionists vs Pessimistic Germans, Internal Gutters, The Pull, iPhone Police and Steve Brown

Another Week Ends: Recovering Francis, Present Shock, Silicon Valley Solutionists vs Pessimistic Germans, Internal Gutters, The Pull, iPhone Police and Steve Brown

1. Not knowing much (at all) about Pope Francis, maybe you were as pleasantly surprised as I was to read David Brooks’ irenic column about “How Movements Recover”, in which he articulated a philosophy and approach quite near and dear to this mocking-heart:

Augustine [of Hippo], as his magisterial biographer Peter Brown puts it, “was deeply preoccupied by the idea of the basic unity of the human race.” He reacted against any effort to divide people between those within the church and those permanently outside. He wanted the church to go on offense and swallow the world. This would involve swallowing…

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Donuts and Engine Coolant By the Side of the Road

Donuts and Engine Coolant By the Side of the Road

Another incredible and seasonally appropriate section from Mary Karr’s Lit, her memoir about getting sober (and many other things). Dev, it should be noted, is her son. Talk about broken vessels. We are beyond excited and honored that Mary will be joining us at our upcoming conference in NYC (4/18-20):

Prayer isn’t patching up the marriage yet, though applied to small problems from time to time, it sometimes yields up a feasible idea.

Stranded without child care once, I figure out after a prayer — it comes to me — that I could slip Chris, an ex-hooker from the [halfway] house, a…

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Grace in Addiction: Getting Worse Is Getting Better?

Grace in Addiction: Getting Worse Is Getting Better?

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

“Although people do sometimes have a sense of peace with God… nevertheless, in a given situation it is not so much peace with God that is the true mark of the Holy Spirit at work, but birth pangs.” -Christoph Blumhardt

Another image of God’s work in a person’s life comes from John’s Gospel: “The wind blows wherever it…

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Cracked Actors, Self-Propulsion, and the Will of God

Cracked Actors, Self-Propulsion, and the Will of God

The second preview from our publication Grace in Addiction: The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody. This one comes from the chapter on Step 3 (“made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him”), pgs 64-69:

“Let me give you a truth that can make all the difference in the world: almost everything you think about doing to make something better is wrong and will only make that something worse… Trying harder doesn’t work.” -Steve Brown, Three Free Sins

Step 3 calls for a confrontation with the “unspiritual” life…

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Now Available! Grace in Addiction: The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody

We are beyond excited to announce the release of our new publication, Grace in Addiction: The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody by John Z! Years in the making, this book is the most substantial–and dare I say practical–project that Mockingbird has ever done. The official blurb goes like this:

Church basements are curious places. Playing host to the vibrant world of Twelve Step Recovery, they witness the sort of healing and redemption that would make those on the ground floor proud, and maybe even envious. Yet despite the Church and Alcoholics Anonymous both being in the business of bringing “hope to the hopeless”, the two worlds seldom seem to interact. Packed with vivid illustrations, good humor, and practical wisdom, Grace in Addiction attempts to bridge this divide and carry the unexpected good news of AA out of the basement and into the pews–and beyond! Highly recommended for anyone who has struggled with addiction, knows someone who has struggled with addiction, or spent any time living and/or breathing.

*Not to be confused with the Grace in Addiction pamphlet that Mockingbird published in 2010. That one provided some of the basis and inspiration for this one, but it was 30 pages, as opposed to 285!

To read an excerpt of the introduction, go here. There are also some preview pages available on Amazon–where the book is available for purchase–though please note: Mbird receives quite a bit more revenue if you order directly from CreateSpace.

ORDER GRACE IN ADDICTION TODAY

Another Week Ends: Randy Travis, Prayer Book Poetry, Sanford's Tutorial, Ethical Blind Spots, Breaking Bad, Bernie, Glorious Ruin and Cville Conf Update

Another Week Ends: Randy Travis, Prayer Book Poetry, Sanford’s Tutorial, Ethical Blind Spots, Breaking Bad, Bernie, Glorious Ruin and Cville Conf Update

1. An amazing, amazing article about Randy Travis appeared on The Atlantic, trying to make sense of the country singer’s hellish year. You may know that in August he was booked for a DUI after being found naked on the side of the road (his truck in the middle of a nearby field), and then last week he was jailed following a fistfight outside a church. Writer Anthony Easton looks at Randy’s dramatic ups and downs via the two most tried and true narratives about alcoholism in country music: you’re either delivered by God or you die. Easton notes how…

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The Counterintuitive Wisdom of the Twelve Steps

The Counterintuitive Wisdom of the Twelve Steps

In 2010, Mockingbird published a little pamphlet called Grace in Addiction: What the Church Can Learn from Alcoholics Anonymous, and the response was so positive that we decided to develop it into a full-length book, Grace in Addiction: The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody by John Z. The book is a winsome, practical and theologically astute introduction to the Twelve Steps, and is recommended for anyone who has struggled with addiction, knows someone who has struggled with addiction, or spent time thinking about the subject (and/or breathing). What follows is a hefty chunk of the introduction:

On a Friday…

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Ernest Hemingway and the Failure of Art

Ernest Hemingway and the Failure of Art

From Paul Johnson’s amusing and enlightening book Intellectuals, a lengthy summation of the tragic façade that was the life of Ernest Hemingway:

“Why did Hemingway long for death? It is by no means unusual among writers. His contemporary Evelyn Waugh, a writer in English of comparable stature during this period, likewise longer for death. But Waugh was not an intellectual: he did not think he could refashion the rule of life out of his own head but submitted to the traditional discipline of his church, dying of natural causes five years later. Hemingway created his own code, based on honour, truth,…

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