I’m bemused… Remember that Darren Littlejohn piece on the Huffington Post? I posted about it below, and called it “Takes One to Know One” in reference to the title of the piece in question, “The 12 Steps: An Antidote For Celebrities and other Narcissistic Addicts.” As someone who misses every opportunity to shut up, I went after it in the comments section.  So, I expect that if I’m going to do the old “you’re projecting” thing, I’m going to get it right back, which I did. And I totally asked for it. And when I got it, I asked for some clarification from the commenter who diagnosed me, because I thought it would be interesting to hear an AA explain to me how I had proven myself to be a narcissist via the content of my posts.

Here’s the sub-thread in question:

Andrew Chapman says:

Through some strange events I was asked to lead a 12 step meditation group in Kansas City MO. I can honestly say that without spiritualism involved in my 12 step program I would not be successful. I have tried in the past and it did not work.

If you do or do not like 12 step programs you should at least know that there are those who use them and they help. I use mine with my Buddhist meditation, medication, and therapy. I have never been happier in my life.

If you are not willing to use stereo-types do describe different races, political views, or religions I think it is unfair to stereo-type 12 step programs based on what your perception of a couple of groups may be like. There are different type of groups for different type of people. Not just NA,SA,AA but socially as well.

I say:

Andrew, as someone who doesn’t like 12 step programs, I do want to make it very clear that I do not begrudge anyone their path. My intenent  in criticizing AA/12-Step is to ultimately see innovations in addictions treatment, which has been stymied by the fact that the 12-Step model is generally perceived as the only way. Look, if you write to a mainstream advice columnest [yes, I spell bad] about addiction, without any deviation, they will direct you to AA. They’ll even help you find a meeting.

You know, as an [and grammar double bad] 12-Step advocate, you are in the majority. And, while you’re admonishing critics to check their stereotyping, your position as a member of the majority, makes this argument sound a lot like those rich old white Christian dudes who complain that they’re being discriminated against.

What I want to see is for AA to take its rightful place, as a religious entity that is right for some, and make way for some real innovation in addictions treatment.

Montgriz says:

You have drawn a conclusion of AA that is at odds with reality. That isn’t unusual. Still, I have noticed that every treatment program, every rehab center, exposes their clientele to daily AA meeting and step studies…..even shrinks and medical people. I know of no AA affiliate or group that holds it as a religion. That is your own perception. It is incorrect at best….but, really, does it matter? For those who want a better life free from substance and behavior abuse, AA offers a complete way to that….no one forces anyone to do anything….it is about personal choices, and ironically, your views are very much along the narcissistic views that oftentimes prevent a happy recovery for many…..

I ask:

Montgriz, Would you be so kind as to explain to me how my “views are very much along the narcissistic views”? I am genuinely interested to know what I said that brought you to that conclusion. If I am behaving narcissistically, it would be a big favor to me if you’d point out how.

Montgriz responds:

 You fail to truly understand the basics of the 12 program as they were meant to be. Only a narcissistic person would want to make demands like AA should take its place like a religion”…AA is most definitely not a religion. Neither does it endorse any…I fear, your own attitudes and projections are at play here. And, thus, you are narcissistic in wanting AA to fit your own expectations…..in reality, AA would not agree or disagree with ;you…if you are sober or clean, good for you, whatever works, but for the vast majority who want more than sobriety or being clean, AA offers the way as no other program can……good luck to you….it isn’t easy fighting a senseless and pointless fight…..keep it simple…

(Montgriz generously left out the “stupid” at the end there.)

When I say I’m bemused, it’s because Montgriz’s diagnosis in the last comment earned a “HuffPost’s Pick” – a giant check mark – which I guess means that it added something of value to the overall discussion. I saw this comment yesterday, without the “HuffPost’s Pick” flag on it, and was content to let that be the last word on my mental pathology. I mean, how the hell do I know I’m not a narcissist? And who is Montgriz to diagnose me, anyway? But I was genuinely curious about how Montgriz came to this conclusion, and it seems that one of the symptoms of crazy is that you don’t know you’re crazy – so who am I to argue? I mean, if someone sees evidence of narcissism in my behavior, I really can’t prove them wrong just by arguing about it. I didn’t ask just so that I could take issue. I was just wondering if I said something that was narcissistic. So, well enough alone.

But, the response got a “Pick” and what want to know is how a liberal blog – one that would surely never post a piece arguing that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools or that one’s religious beliefs should influence public policy – would find Montgriz’s response to me worth a nod, by any standard of debate. I don’t know what their “Pick” policy is. I looked, but couldn’t find (probably didn’t look hard enough). I assume, though, that their policy is even-handed: comments are “Picked” based on their contribution to the discussion, despite whether or not they toe the party line? Idunno. Are the “Picks” picked because they align with the editors’ beliefs, or because they inspire discussion? And regardless of which one is the case, how does this one comment satisfy the requirements? And I noticed that not a single critical poster earned a “Pick.”

What is going on over there?

Yeah,  I’m getting all bent-outta-shape over a random message board thing, and taking advantage of my public forum here to snit about it. It’s a little embarrassing. But despite my narcissistic tantrum, I do think it’s absolutely reasonable to question the Huffington Post on its faith in mainstream 12-Step programs, considering HP’s general anti-corporatocracy leanings, because if any entity in our country is a faith-based monopoly, in need of serious reform, it’s the 12-Step industry.

ftg