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Is this a ^feminist^ issue?

(57 Posts)
Jingo62 Sun 12-Jun-11 18:51:32

stinkin-thinkin.com/2011/06/11/why-addiction-recovery-should-be-a-feminst-issue/comment-page-1/#comment-61899

Or do I just go into overdrive whenever I read of 'blaming the victim'?

Trills Sun 12-Jun-11 19:01:42

Is this a feminist issue?

Q: Are boys/men having to think about/deal with this shit?

A: No - then it's a feminist issue
A: Yes but not nearly as much - then it's a feminist issue
A: Yes - then it's not a feminist issue specifically but that doesn't mean it's not important

(some proper feminists will be along in a minute to either agree or to tell me that I've got it wrong somehow, but it seems like a good rule of thumb to me)

MrsKarbonara Sun 12-Jun-11 21:29:25

Crikey. Thanks for posting this Jingo. Have just read through the link. Interesting to me on many levels and seemingly yes definitely a feminist issue. I am quite stunned by how little I actually knew about this. Why stunned I don't know, I feel like the more I learn in this life the more I realise just how damn little I know.

One more thing to get angry about my friends.....

sunshineandbooks Sun 12-Jun-11 21:50:27

Wow! I had never even thought about this side of it (though I often wondered what alcoholic atheists do).

Definitely worth thinking about.

dittany Sun 12-Jun-11 22:25:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AyeRobot Sun 12-Jun-11 22:30:34

Was going to mention the "To the Wives" section of the Big Book which is one of the points in the link. It's quite surreal.

I've got loads to say about this subject, but it'll have to wait till tomorrow as I have matchsticks in my eyes.

Snorbs Sun 12-Jun-11 22:45:08

AA's Big Book was originally written in the 1930s. The "To The Wives" section was written by Bill W himself (a man whose dodgy behaviour extended way beyond his boozing) and not by his wife Lois even though he claimed that it was.

Jingo62 Mon 13-Jun-11 11:04:44

It was the lecture to a victim of child abuse that really rattled me. (Although the victim was a man). Blaming the victim is the calling card of the abuser.

But I do think it is a feminist issue. I don't see why women put themselves in this environment. I suppose they are desperate.

OilySnatch Mon 13-Jun-11 11:06:29

What is the 13th step?

Jingo62 Mon 13-Jun-11 11:10:41

The first step is admitting that you are 'powerless'. That is bad enough. It is the opposite of all psychology. The opposite of positive affirmations. When I had some therapy (Cognitive-behavioural) I looked at the negative beliefs I had about myself (without even realising) and learned to reverse them, or 'unlearn' them.

OilySnatch Mon 13-Jun-11 11:20:28

I didn't realise positive affirmations were supposed to be good for you. I thought the first step was simply admitting you needed help?

Those recovery programmes have always seemed a bit weird and cultish to me, have been to an open AA meeting with a friend which was interesting and emotional.

Jingo62 Mon 13-Jun-11 11:34:51

Oily, I mean a more sensible version of Alan Partridge looking in the mirror and saying to his reflection, 'GO TIGER'. For work I have done some NLP courses and one thing I got was to remember a time in my life when I felt really powerful and successful and to 'anchor' that feeling. And before I had to do a daunting presentation I would (bit embarassing this) stand in front of the mirror and play really inspiring loud music ('Stand, by REM, since you ask) to really boost my self. And it worked for me. [smile]

OilySnatch Mon 13-Jun-11 11:39:36

Oh yes, I like that sort of thing - making lists of things I have achieved and remembering how it felt at the time. They're not the longest lists in the world but they do help to counter the 'I am completely incapable of anything useful' type thoughts that are ever willing to surge up from nowhere.

Less keen on the 'let's pretend everything is fantastic and I don't have any character flaws' school of positive thinking.

Snorbs Mon 13-Jun-11 11:44:32

The "13th Step" is when someone in AA starts a relationship with someone else in AA. It happens so often that it's become a cliche. Incidentally, there are women-only AA meetings.

The "powerlessness" thing is odd. I'd only heard of it in direct relation to powerless over alcohol as that is what the first step says. As I understand it the idea behind it is that many alcoholics will battle for years in trying, and failing, to control their alcohol intake.

Once they admit to themselves that they cannot reliably control how much they drink, and that once they start drinking they are powerless to stop, that then opens the way to the realisation that the only sensible option is to simply not drink. I'd not heard of it advocated as an all-encompassing approach to all aspects of life except in terms of a "take care of your own life, let other people take care of theirs" kind of thing.

For what it's worth, I'm coming at this from the viewpoint of someone who attended Al-Anon (the friends and family offshoot of AA) for quite a while and who knows a number of people who attend(ed) AA. I found Al-Anon quite helpful but I didn't buy into all of it nor was I ever pressured to do so. I do know that Al-Anon meetings do vary in tone and content quite a lot and so I'd be astonished if that wasn't the case in AA.

Jingo62 Mon 13-Jun-11 11:49:37

I've not come across that one! (off subject slightly OS. I have seen/read clips of Sarah Ferguson doing her 'therapy' on Oprah. It's all about how hideous and awful she is. Wince. Apart from doing it all publicly it seems the opposite of moving on and not dwelling on the past and building self-esteem and being as positive as possible about the future. That is what I call disempowering).

Jingo62 Mon 13-Jun-11 12:01:41

(That was a response to OS, not to Snorbs)

OilySnatch Mon 13-Jun-11 12:07:19

Not sure if the 13th step is an inducement or not. Not, probably.

Jingo, somewhere between dwelling on how rubbish one is and, at the other extreme, positive affirmations is where I'd like to be. Apart from when I revel in self loathing of course.

Jingo62 Mon 13-Jun-11 12:15:32

GO TIGER! I will be back late tonignt.

HerBeX Mon 13-Jun-11 16:28:42

Hmmm, very very interesting article. I've always wondered why AA is so uncriticised in mainstream media. It works for some people but it's by no means the be-all and end-all of recovery and apart from its very dodgy premise about powerlessness over alcohol, it also puts a whole load of people off I think, who might benefit from recovery, with its insistence that you have to stop drinking altogether. That's just not true. I remember reading somewhere that a third of alcoholics recover to such a degree, that they actually go back to being social drinkers, which isn't something AA likes to admit. And also, its insistence on people standing up and breast beating, doesn't work for everyone.

I can only assume that so many people in the media are part of the fellowship, that they are reluctant to criticise it.

AyeRobot Mon 13-Jun-11 22:06:06

Right, I've read the link in the OP and I am blown away by how spot on the author has got the recovery movement. Absolutely nailed it. The Orange Papers go into a lot more detail, but I think friendthegirl has perfectly captured the nuances that are sometimes missed in other commentary. And of course, the feminist take, of which I don't think I ever really read anything.

I am not a drunk, but my ex was and I immersed myself in al-anon and an on-line recovery community for a while. I just typed out a big rant about the whole thing, but deleted it because I think it was for my own catharsis more than anything.

What I will say is that I think that the 12 Step movement is a relic, rehabs are are con, and the many of the messages and a lot of the people within the programmes are anti-women and certainly anti-feminist, although there is a veneer. I wonder whether it is because the predominant life experiences brought into 12 Step groups are highly gender-stereotypical. Reading the recovery boards is reading the patriarchy in action. Hell, the one I was on even had an ex-drunk male moderator (on a female dominated board for people dealing with mainly male drunks), who nipped in the bud any kind of disagreement with variations on the phrase "Calm down, ladies, this isn't very becoming." Because that was the 12 Step way. I got booted out not long after he was made mod.

Luckily for me, the whole experience (with my ex and with the recovery community) was what brought me to feminism, so no hard feelings. grin

AyeRobot Mon 13-Jun-11 22:14:21

Oh, and we've been spotted!

<waves to the STers>

HerBeX Mon 13-Jun-11 22:18:40

STers?

AyeRobot Mon 13-Jun-11 22:21:27

From the link on the OP, HerBeX. It's called Stinkin Thinkin. There's a link back in the comments.

HerBeX Mon 13-Jun-11 22:22:36

Oh I see

<Waves. Checks we've got enough milk in for tea.>

NormanTebbit Mon 13-Jun-11 22:28:20

AA helped a friend of mine. She is three years sober, medal, goes to meetings religiously. It helped her.

Privately I have wondered about aspects of it, it seems she will have to keep going, but never asked her about it for fear she would relapse.

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