Archive for 1 October 2011

Pop Culture and Powerlessness

One of the things I find so maddening about this ongoing conversation about AA is that it’s like trying to get a floaty out of your glass with your finger, or a piece of shell out of a cracked egg: You can see it plainly, but as soon as you get close to it, it slips away. Deconstruction theorists would have a great time exploring how meaning in AA swirls around a complete void. Take God, for instance: Clearly, faith in God is essential to AA. It’s right there, all over the steps and all over the Big Book. God is in the slogans. And many non-believers have had the experience of being told that without God they wouldn’t succeed or survive.We hear stories about sponsors instructing pigeons to believe in Good Orderly Direction or Group Of Drunks until they can graduate to believing in God. Drunkalogs usually begin with protestations of atheism and end with a spiritual awakening. And if you surf around the recovery blogs, you’ll notice that they are unabashedly religious. Hazelden’s “Thoughts for the Day” are, too. We see this. But there seems to be a consensus among AAs to deny it with the vehemence of a cheating spouse, and the spectacular display of gaslighting keeps people coming back, despite their best instincts.
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