Economic Update: Addiction, Capitalism, and 12 Steps

On this week's show, Prof. Wolff provides updates on car loans, sales showing falsity of "recovery" claims, airline profits vs service, the G-20 meetings coordinate global austerity, July 4 and capitalism, and the...READ MORE


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  • Jeffrey Latham
    commented 2017-07-20 18:25:39 -0400
    Professor Wolff -

    I was just fortunate enough to see, on Youtube, you interview with Dr. Harriet Fraad concerning 12-step programs, their advantages and potential for improving society, in general, if applied on a more general basis, beyond only the realm of drug, alcoholism and other addictions. As a veteran of 17 years’ experience with AA (which saved my life), I have long thought that the “Program” would be and excellent course of self-study for the general population. Your and Dr. Fraad’s analysis focused on alienation resulting from economic (class?) inequality. I had never before thought of that and had not heard it emphasized in people’s sharing in meetings but it makes a lot of sense. I would add a more personal, individual aspect that I found to be the root of my personal addiction: Conscience. As a result of the inventory I conducted on myself (Step 4), I found that I had suffered a vicious cycle of actions that induced personal guilt, drinking to avoid having to come to grips with that guilt that altered my consciousness and resulted in further unacceptable behavior, leading to further, increased guilt that had to be drowned with alcohol.

    I wonder at our society that not only imposes vast inequalities but necessitates participation in demeaning occupational circumstances, to futilely attempt to overcome that inequality, or just barely keep one’s head above water and survive. Working under those circumstances seems to me to be a perfect jumping-off point for substance abuse, either to avoid having to cope, mentally or emotionally, with the day-to-day grind that so many are forced to suffer, under the authority of relentless pressure and un-thinkable abuse or to quell the consequences of negative thoughts and actions resulting from the work environment. Just the fear of losing an unhealthy job is enough to warrant finding “a friend in the bottle” when none exists in any other reality.

    This does not only apply to underlings but to supervisory authorities as well, for how can someone occupy a position of demeaning proportions without experiencing, to some extent, guilt themselves. There is no less alcoholism and drug abuse among executives and managerial professionals. They have consciences too, that need to be anesthetized and ignored to continue participating in what has become the normal business environment.

    To end, I fully and enthusiastically support your proposition that the 12-step program could be a valuable, nay, I would say, essential training for all.

    Thanks – jeff