@whizz_dumb I wouldn't use the word boilerplate. The process of the AA program - which is the 12 Steps, which has been re-purposed for help in a thousand different things (Over-eating, living with an alcoholic, drug addiction, etc.) and actually come from the 4 Absolutes of the Oxford Group - asks you to take the approach that you MIGHT/MAY/COULD be wrong about any number of things you think. The way she put it, though, is in her own words, original, and beautiful.
@Bloodrocuted @blushingflwr Thanks this was helpful! I know what it's like to see your misfortunes sent up by society like it's no big deal - I'm a recovering alcoholic and there is a lot of comedy about "that drunk" and it does hurt to watch, especially because I am constantly trying to convince myself it IS a disease and it's NOT my fault. Getting the other message makes sense.
It's a great point about all of our "avoiding being the victim," stuff. I think there's the healthy thing of "how can I not even be at risk for this again" that gets unhealthy when it's "how did I cause this to happen to me?" I think a lot about our desire to control our world and it's that desire that makes us blame ourselves for what happens TO us. If we're to blame, we still have some control.
And I recently lost a friend (to an overdose) and there's been no end of replaying what I could have done differently and how I could have (and failed to) stop it. I get that, too. Thanks for helping understand why this happens. It's terrible and I wish it wasn't what our brains did. I'm hopeful that our society can grow up about this stuff and maybe be more compassionate as a whole. Then again, maybe that's too much to hope for.
First of all - amazing article. Thank you Maya for sharing, this was fascinating and helped me understand where a girl who's saving herself is coming from (the assumption is that she's been beaten into repression - but it doesn't sound like you have been at all).
Okay, as a guy weighing in here, I have a question - why on earth does a woman's mind ask the question "was it my fault?" people don't think it's their fault in a lot of similar situations. If you got hit by a car, you'd blame the driver and probably press charges even if you shouldn't have been in the road. So, maybe you were in a situation where it happened and you put yourself there. Still, you are the VICTIM and these creeps deserve to be punished, yet so many rapists get away with it because women feel to blame, or somehow a part of the event, when they're not.
And I'm not even saying that men don't have a similar reaction hearing about a woman in that situation. My brain always asks me "was she complicit?" and it's so terrible I shove that to the side immediately - but WHY DOES THIS THOUGHT EVEN ARISE? What inside of us wants to blame the victim in these events? It's awful. Getting raped isn't a reflection on YOU. I'm sure that these cops must be so brokenhearted that they can't catch these guys and put them in jail because of this phenomenon. Everyone wants these guys put away. Is there some way we could prosecute them without putting the victims through more pain? Is there a solution to this?
I think what this post has told us is how interested Hairpinners are in TV shows about cupcakes. Networks, take notice!
They must have caught the fever on Pinterest.
Let's watch THE LOVE MOB
@Drink All the Coffee Hey I just saw this! Good luck with you move...did you find any good meetings? I'm a man in Boston so I can't say I can be of much use - but as someone who was a using alcoholic in NYC for a while, you have a much better chance in that city if you stay sober.
I plan to propose with a twist tie. My mom & dad actually never got rings, they got rocking chairs instead, which is an adorable symbol of growing old together - it was also a great thing to make fun of them about as a teenager.
So I am an alcoholic who recently celebrated 3 years of sobriety. I have spent the last few days reading this post and the comment section (I have never, ever gotten to the bottom of a comment section on the internet, so I can only assume about 3 people ever will read this).
After hearing so many people asking and answering questions about AA, I can't help referring back to the book that the group is based on for a more accurate assessment than most people can give out of the blue.
On whether AA is the only option:
"...he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded by you, his wife, or his friends. If he is to find God, the desire must come from within.
If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us. But point out that we alcoholics have much in common and that you would like, in any case, to be friendly. Let it go at that."
On the perception of an alcoholic by others:
"How many time people have said to us: "I can take it or leave it alone. Why can't he?" "Why don't you drink like a gentleman or quit?" "That fellow can't handle his liquor." "Why don't you try beer and wine?" "Lay off the hard stuff." "His will power must be weak." "He could stop if he wanted to." "She's such a sweet girl, I should think he'd stop for her sake." "The doctor told him that if he ever drank again it would kill him, but there he is all lit up again."
Now these are commonplace observations on drinkers which we hear all the time. Back of them is a world of ignorance and misunderstanding. We see that these expressions refer to people whose reactions are very different from ours."
On who is an alcoholic:
"Moderate drinkers have little trouble in giving up liquor entirely if they have good reason for it. They can take it or leave it alone.
Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason, ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention.
But what about the real alcoholic? He may start off as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some stage of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink."
And later it says:
"...certain nonalcoholic people who, though drinking foolishly and heavily at the present time, are able to stop or moderate, because their brains and bodies have not been damaged as ours were. But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly any exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience."
On AA success rate:
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average.
There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest."
On how alcoholism as an illness affects everyone around it:
"An illness of this sort and we have come to believe it an illness involves those about us in a way no other human sickness can. If a person has cancer all are sorry for him and no one is angry or hurt. But not so with the alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all the things worth while in life. It engulfs all whose lives touch the sufferer's. It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents anyone can increase the list."
This is the absolute coolest public conversation on the subject I've ever heard. The Hairpin is my girlfriend's favorite site ever - constantly we have the experience of something that happens to us is on-line here within the hour - and this article was no exception. There are definitely some hard parts of dating across the drinking line, but there are also some serious joys.
When it comes to the issue of alcoholism, I really feel that if you or a loved one hasn't gone through it, it's probably best to tread lightly and I applaud you guys for doing that.