“Is this supposed to be a serious article?” Good question. A lot of people eat too much. Are they ‘foodaholics’? Solved with 12 step? Is 12 step a universal solvent? Or, like duct tape, which fixes everything?
i remember the “what is AA/12X12” question being bandied about on eric’s ‘recovering from recovery’ blog (freedomfrom12steps.blogspot.com — well worth a gander, even though it hasn’t been updated for quite a while).
one of the most willfully stupid answers was, “AA is a book.”
that got me crazy. then it got me thinking.
after some time, i came to this answer: AA/12X12 is a brand — just like coca-cola, bmw, sony, ibm, etc. it isn’t any one ‘thing’ so much as it is a dummied-up, thoroughly immune from scrutiny umbrella label for all things (and no things) done under its rubric.
AAWS exists to sell books to ‘treatment’ facillities & maintain some kind of order out of the official ‘meeting’ structure chaos (oh yeah, & sell books & collect dues from them). for any other nitwit with a medical degree, a background in therapy or social work, or just some off-the-rack tale-of-recovery-woe/redemption, it’s a brand association for selling your particular line of bullshit (e.g., dr. dave & bill).
i think even the american general public views as comical the proliferation of ‘[fill-in-the-blank] anonymous’ groups & the uncanny (if utterly improper, ineffective & illogical) way the ’12-step approach’ can be retro-fitted to apply to any issue. the overwhelming tide of ‘the 12 steps for …’ self-help books pumped out by popular publishing houses seems to have greatly subsided since the beginning of the century, but there’s always someone willing to make a go at it … & win valuable prizes (e.g., bucky sinister & his comic/toughguy approach to 12-step in the recent “get up!”).
but it’s really all just the same old bullshit — a hackneyed try at re-booting a tired brand. mcdonalds wants to eat into the starbucks market share so they start offering up ‘mc-lattes’ or some such crap. AAWS has kind of painted itself into a corner in that it can’t really reinvigorate their product line internally. but what they can do, is “have no opinion” regarding any other idiot’s regurgitation of 12-step blah blah blah.
as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad press. dr. dave & bill are snake-oil salesmen of the lowest order. still, as long as they keep the 12X12 in the public eye they advance AA’s brand recognition.
Sonofabitch! I am throwing a freaking tantrum over here. I have tried twice to compose a response to this “brand” issue, and both times have lost my post.
I’ll try again, but here, I’ll past the response I tried to post in the comments of frick and frack’s lastest article. Lemme preface it with a little TMI by saying that I have suffered from an eating disorder my whole life. It’s a beast. And I was cured overnight by 5 mgs of lexapro. Over night. This is not common, but until that happened, I was convinced that I had some deep emotional issues and all kinds of therapy to go through. And it turned out to be a chemical misfire. So, in response to the question “Is this supposed to be a serious article”, I wrote:
No, it’s not.
12-Step programs are not equipped to deal with bona fide eating disorders. It is beyond irresponsible to direct people with severe eating disorders into 12-step, and, further, conflating overeating, or poor eating habits, with anorexia, and lumping them both into the “spiritual solution” category. It is egregiously negligent. — as only fundamentalists can be so negligent.
Eating disorders are akin to serious, fatal OCDs, and they need to be treated comprehensively and individually and intensively, by those who know what these disorders are all about and who know how to help.
If you are otherwise healthy, but are having a hard time making the lifestyle change toward more nutritionally balanced diet, then you have the power to change that, and there are many resources available to you. You do not need to admit you’re powerless over it, and commit yourself to a lifetime of meetings.
If you have an eating disorder, however, please go see someone who knows enough about this monster of a disorder to treat your specific manifestation. While both anorexia and bulimia are both eating disorders, they cannot be treated the same way, because they are, in fact, very, very different.
AA and other 12-step people will tell you that these programs are not treatment. AA, for example, is not supposed to “get you sober” they will tell you — it’s there to support you in your sobriety.
So, I am completely gobsmacked by the fact that these guys would speak with glib authority about the subject of eating disorders. Eating too many candy bars or stuffing your face at a state fair is not a disease. And suffering with a real life-threatening eating disorder requires so much more than a 12-step program can offer — they require treatment.
This is outrageously irresponsible. Please, if you are suffering from an eating disorder, seek accountable treatment. Please.
I will be stunned if this response sees the light of day.
I’m so in for our new column. I can be all, “You don’t say, Dr. Speedy!” and you can go, “Yeh, hey, why don’t you kiss my ass.” And I’ll say, “Well, since you put it like that, it reminds me of the time my cat told me…”
Oh, look, your post squeaked in there, too. I guess their editors are having a coffee break.
Brand. A good word for it. In a lot of ways, it is a brand. Or, 12 step as duct tape. I think that works.
“AA is a book”. Very witty. In a way, he is right; that is about all that it is. One can do the 12 steps at home. One does not actually need a sponsor or AA meetings.