I think it might help just for reference to list what the twelve steps are, because I think AA and NA have sort of entered pop culture from a US perspective without us really realising how religious it is:
Here are the 12 Steps as defined by Alcoholics Anonymous:
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
Made a list of persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
I have a dear friend who accompanied her alcoholic then-spouse to an AA meeting (I'm not sure how legit that is, but she did), and they both, as atheists, found it really alienating. That's not the problem. The problem is that there wasn't really anything else available.
Emma Hart transcribed it (6000+ words!)
Boy does my spellcheck know some new words now.
The men responsible for these acts of terror weren’t just exposed on the internet to hateful like minds they were also exposed – like all of us – to a far greater amount of messages of liberal tolerance.
So, I don’t really know the answer to this, but I’ve been pondering the dynamics in my own family.
I have three much older half-brothers. We were all raised by my mum, who was a Fucking Saint. ONE of my brothers is a Massive Racist. One. And I’ve often wondered how he could grow up in much the same home environment I did, and be like that.
Part of the answer, I think, is that he was, because of his age, more influenced by my father than I was. My dad was a Massive Racist. (He was born in 1935 and raised in rural Queensland.)
But another part of the reason, I think, was my sainted mother’s rule about Not Making Waves. So when I argued with my brother, growing up, I got told off for making trouble. I was taught that when someone says something vile in front of you, you do nothing. When they were both at my house when my kids were small and I showed Mum a video of her grandson’s class doing a song and he said, “Look at all the [racial slurs]!” she did nothing. She said nothing. And because I was a grown-up, I could say, “I don’t want that language around my kids, shut up or get out of my house.”
I don’t know why he grew up racist and I didn’t. But I do know my mum was wrong. Shut up or get out of my house.
And it clearly does not have these issues to itself. But I saw too many people on social media blaming Christchurch and apparently forgetting in their rage that it was Christchurch that was attacked.
Yeah, I mean, look, we KNOW we're not the ones who were attacked, we're not the ones in the centre circle of the grief chart.
But also, there've been two large-scale losses of life in NZ in most of our lifetimes, and both of them were in Christchurch. The kids locked in their high schools on Friday pretty much have the quakes as their first memories. I won't be the only person here feeling ill every time they hear another helicopter fly over. We are suffering in a different way, we are retraumatised, many of us have untreated mental health problems, and we will need help.
Watching people dancing on pinheads debating whether grieving people are using quite the right words to express their grief is a whole pile of not-helping.
Realise that not travelling alone or avoiding Tinder isn’t any real solution.
Here's one of the many, many things that really irritates me. People object to attempts to centre this discussion on men, and say women should just take "sensible precautions" like never leaving the house under any circumstances, and their reasoning always boils down to the thing they were objecting to in the first place: it's because Men are Trash.
Women shouldn't use dating apps, it's not safe. Why? Women shouldn't get drunk. They shouldn't be out alone. They shouldn't talk to strangers. Why? Because men will Get Them. If the problem was Tinder, then (straight) men would also be in danger using it.
I would really like to see the police and the media buy out of this narrative. If a woman is attacked, just don't ask "What should women do to protect themselves?" I would really appreciate it if 3News stopped running pieces on the Evils of Dating Sites. We don't need to be any more afraid. We really don't.
"wait, Mum is Santa"?
Oh John, I don't know why but I feel really guilty about this.
Emma objected on the basis that participation is not optional
I absolutely did not say that. What I said, before you even entered the thread, was;
I agree that it's well possible to change this situation, of course it is, but the FIRST step is to acknowledge that the imbalance exists, and that the social pressures around it are real. THEN work out, together, with discussion, how your particular family is going to navigate it.
This shit started, for me, when I was ten and considered more capable of helping with Christmas than any of my brothers, who were in their 20s. Oddly enough, I did not have the capacity to sit them all down and talk about it then. Our last Big Family Christmas, my mother was dying. We took her out of hospice for the day so she could have Christmas with all her children and grandchildren, and it was... actually, it was awful. Ever since her death, on the 3rd of January, Christmas has been Extremely Complex for me, emotionally.
I think it's more that if you work a bit on making a less dramatic event you will find it easier to get through. Maybe think of 'don't do christmas" as the aspirational slogan and take small steps in that direction when you can?
I think when the suggestion is "maybe men could pull their weight and help out a bit more", the reply of "Well let's just not do it at all" is... unhelpful. Why? Why is it somehow more reasonable to Destroy Christmas than to spread the load?
Yeah, I was very aware when I was writing this column how heterocentric it was. One of the people I was talking about this to early on on Twitter was Scout, and they were saying how their family-of-birth still, when it comes to stuff like this, codes them as female, even though they've been really supportive of Scout. It's just ingrained. For myself, I am pleased to find that my expectations of my sons are both the same, even though I raised one of them as female. (But those expectations are also... really low. I mean, they're "Yes I will help but you have to ask me to do stuff.") And I also know that some of it is me being all "Look, just stay out of my way so I can this properly".
I agree that it's well possible to change this situation, of course it is, but the FIRST step is to acknowledge that the imbalance exists, and that the social pressures around it are real. THEN work out, together, with discussion, how your particular family is going to navigate it. And don't be all, "Well, you want me to help more? Just ask. Just tell me what to do." Because that is entirely missing the point.