walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_Get Up_, Bucky Sinister

Subtitled: A 12-Step Guide to Recovery for Misfits, Freaks & Weirdos

This was a Christmas present from my friend R. No, I don't think she (or anyone else) thinks I need to Sober Up, altho I did spend NaNoWriMo writing a memoir-y ramble about my issues with books, which at the time revolved around how I was not actually enjoying reading any more but still felt compelled to do it. A lot. In the wind up of that not-really-a-novel-but-let's-pretend, I came up with a series of things to do to address the problems that writing had exposed and have been working on that list since, and will continue to do so. The issue which prompted it (not enjoying reading) is fully resolved. You may argue that facebook gaming is just a substitution and we can then settle into a nice little debate about whether that's true and, if so, whether that's a problem or not.

In any event, Bucky Sinister is a PK who wanted to be a preacher himself, but unfortunately burned out on God at 17, so no go on that career plan. His description of his first shot at an all-you-can-eat-shrimp dinner in combination with the religious life he described and then his problems with alcohol made me Really Believe that there's such a thing as being born an addict. Goddess this guy has an addictive personality. Anyway.

There's a lot about this book to like: it moves along at a good clip, it is more or less what it says it is, the author has some interesting stories to tell. He's an atheist, so that's nice, altho he still has a lot of reflexively assholish ideas left over from his fundamentalist upbringing. In fact, you could make a very strong case that the guy is sort of a fundamentalist about recovery; he's absolutely evangelical. I suppose that comes under the heading of, "Duh, much?"

The most meaningful critique I've seen of 12 step as a way to go through recovery (and I've read more than a few) is that it assumes a particular model of addict that is much more likely to be accurate for men than for women, particularly in its focus on breaking down pride/focusing on humility as key to recovery. The critique I read made the case that many women addicts have sort of an opposite program, and need a less boot-campy approach, and more of a support them in putting the pieces of themselves back together, develop some healthful self-love and pride of self, and appropriately prioritize their own needs. OTOH, it would be easy to do a reframe and go, maybe that's what they all need, and this is really a beat-the-crap-out-of-them vs. nurture them thing.

Saying that this isn't a book that's for me is sort of missing the point; it was a present, but it wasn't intended to be for me, except in the sense of helping me understand another group of people. And in that sense, it is relatively useful. Enough of the stories involve the San Francisco street poetry scene to give a sense of that community, which is kind of cool, and quite a few of the stories in one of the later chapters are told to make the point that if you want to succeed at something with a lot of competition, behavior can _really_ make the difference.

It is kind of funny, tho, that the PK who wanted to grow up to be a preacher eventually did: he's a sponsor who loves his meetings.
Tags: book review, non-fiction

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