A 12-Step Program for a Nation Addicted to Greed, Racism and Misogyny
~It is never too late to be what you might have been. George Eliot~
Decades ago, Jeanice flopped down on my couch, entering my home uninvited as was our open door custom. I smiled at her as she asked, “Who do you know who is an alcoholic?”
I grimaced. “No one,” I said.
“Yes, you do. I’m an alcoholic,” she stated bluntly. “Who else in your life is an alcoholic?”
This was before the scourge of addictions had hit our nation in full and before anyone openly spoke of such issues.
“No one,” I said.
“What are they teaching you in that medical school about alcoholism?” she demanded.
“Nothing,” I said.
“Well, then, get your shoes on, you are going to an AA meeting now,” she firmly blurted and I headed to get my shoes on, wondering what I had just gotten myself into.
Off we headed and the meeting was amazing. I learned so much and Jeanice introduced me kindly and respectfully to the group and explained why she had brought me. I was uncomfortable but curious and they all appreciated my being there to learn.
She then set me up to attend a generic 12 step meeting program for 6 months. I went, diligently, and learned more about myself than I could have imagined. Most of all, I realized the medical system’s approach to health was missing a massive piece. The giant elephant in the living room. It changed my career and I am so grateful to Jeanice for teaching me.
Now, we, the United States, sit in a stinky abyss of Nazis and white supremacists, sexual predators, and corrupt criminals, all in open sight. We have sunk, like the untreated family of an end-stage alcoholic, to the lowest place.
We have hit rock bottom. It’s time for us to seek treatment.
Alcoholism is a family disease. Our racism, misogyny, and greed is a ‘family disease’, too, in the sense that our nation has behaved much like co-dependent family members when it comes to seeking treatment and healing. Making up stories and lies to cover the truth of the foundation of racism, misogyny, and greed which drove us.
Just like the family of an untreated alcoholic, we became co-dependents of the racists, misogynists, and corrupt oligarchs. Because we knew they would throw a tantrum if we pushed back, we allowed their vicious behavior to stand. We just worked harder. We just believed in the lies we told ourselves. And it got worse, and worse, and worse, drip by drip.
We, like family members of alcoholics, developed anxiety, depression, and shame at epidemic levels related to our nation’s addiction to racism, misogyny, and greed.
We unsuccessfully attempted to isolate ourselves as families with the disease often do. We isolated in our homes, on the street with our earphones, with our decisions to separate and divide from the community, from other nations. The “non-joiners.”
We neglected our children, our elderly, our homes, our assets, all in the name of maintaining the appearances we thought we should have.
We abused. Oh, the abuse we suffered and inflicted. Our jails are full and still the cries of “jail them!” rang from the rooftops. We could not abuse enough to satisfy this hole. We allowed people to make massive fortunes abusing when we could no longer do it enough ourselves.
Alcoholic families often have low levels of emotional bonding, expressiveness, and independence. Likewise, our nation became a nation of locked doors, unknown neighbors, and fear of our own community members. Halting glances instead of warm hello’s. The sickness grew and grew and grew.
Homes of alcoholics are often left in disrepair due to the chaos. Likewise, we have torn down our earth’s protections, destroyed its beauty, denied animals normal habitat, and fried it with CO2. Our home is standing on its last leg, yet still, we do not act. It’s on fire and we do not grab the hose to put it out. It’s a really deep sickness.
Issues like child care often become inflamed in alcoholic families as the taker-alcoholic can not or will not participate. Similarly, the demand for a 2 parent working situation inflamed the need for quality child care and family leave, yet we fought about it without resolution. Our kindness has left us.
We blamed. Blame became the name of the game. Who could we point the finger at next? ‘Lazy’ black communities? Mexicans with ‘calves like cantaloupes’? ‘Terrorist’ Muslims? ‘Slutty’ women having babies? ‘Slutty’ women without babies? ‘Disease carrying’ immigrants. ‘Dangerous’ homeless? Veterans? The poor, the dirty, the crying… we blamed them all, one by one.
Alcoholics often spend all the family’s money. Like that, we allowed the greedy robber barons of our time to take all the money and ferret it off to distant shores to feed their yacht addiction, never to be seen again. We were so desperate to not reveal the lie, we let them take ALL the money of our middle class, lovingly built after WWII with the joy of a free nation.
Even in the midst of the biggest crisis our nation has faced since the Civil War, the robber barons seek to steal the relief money to carry it off to their private islands. Even in the face of their own demise, they cannot stop themselves from the theft. Their humanity has left them, replaced with insatiable greed which is destroying us all. The stories we tell about “technology” or “innovations” or “scaling size for better results” are all mainly lies. The answer is right in the palm of our hands. Or minds. Or hearts, as the case may be.
It’s time to seek treatment, it’s time to heal. We have hit rock bottom. We need 12 STEPS.
STEP 1: Admit that we, (in addition to other great and noble qualities), are a racist, misogynist, violent, greedy nation and that our lives have become unmanageable.
STEP 2: Come to believe that a higher power can restore us to sanity. In the case of our democracy, that higher power is the goodness and power of having EVERY voice heard, the collective goodness expressed. For when every voice is heard, the results are excellent. When only a few corrupt voices are heard, we suffer. The Greater Power is the combined power of love and intelligence in us all.
STEP 3: Decide to turn our will and our lives over to the greater good. To participate every single month in our democracy and our community without fail. Trusting that the results will be fine and good. Giving POWER, through our words, acts, and intentions, to the best and highest of our nation. And trusting that if we each do our part, the result will be astoundingly excellent.
STEP 4: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
STEP 5: Admitting to our nation, ourselves, and the world the exact nature of our wrongs.
STEP 6: We stand ready to humble ourselves and allow these defects of character to be removed through the actions of our civic duties and our humbleness toward the rest of earth.
STEP 7: Humbly intend that our shortcomings will be removed. To stand firmly in a new vision of what “America” stands for. To speak it, to live it, to intend it.
STEP 8: Made a list of all persons, groups, and nations we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. Including our Mother Earth.
STEP 9: Made direct amends to such people, groups, nations, or earth wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Make amends for what we have done. True, honest, heartfelt, effective amends.
STEP 10: Continue to take personal and national inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it.
STEP 11: Sought, through individual processes of meditation, ritual, communing, or whatever type of deep connection we can devise in an inclusive way, to improve our conscious contact with our emotional and spiritual essence. To seek to open hearts and minds to the power of oneness.
STEP 12: Having had an awakening of our core spirit, we carry this message to other nations, to remove corruption, greed, and hate and to commit to these principles in all our affairs.
I ask that suggestions for honing this be put out to each other, to have a deep conversation. That we devise not only a plan to heal the disaster we are in but to consciously, with thought and caring, plan and vision the world we want to have going forward.
We have hit rock bottom, the time to heal is now. Namaste.