|OUR 12 STEPS
& SOME HELPFUL QUESTIONS.
1.We admitted we had been overpowered by the spectacle-- that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.Came to believe that only by empowering ourselves could we restore ourselves to sanity.
3.Made a decision to reclaim our will and our lives from the spectacle as we understand it.
4.Made a searching and fearless personal and social inventory of ourselves.
5.Admitted to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our subjugation.
6.Were entirely ready to get off our asses and subvert.
7.Humbly asked others for mutual aid in our struggle against the spectacle.
8.Made a list of all accomodations we had made to the dominant culture, and became willing to strive to create better ways to organize our lives.
9.Made direct action to subvert the spectacle wherever possible, except when to do so would injure ourselves or others.
10.Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11.Sought through meditation, agitation, relaxation, masturbation, gyration, demonstrations, defacement, parody, subversion and satire, to improve our conscious contact with the world around us as we understand it, preying only on the spectacle, and not on it's individual slaves.
12.Having had a personal and social awakening as the result of those steps we tried to carry this message to other poor suckers (of whom there is one born every minute), and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Only you can decide whether you want to give A.A. a try-
whether you think it can help you.
We who are in A.A. came because we finally gave up trying to control our consumption of spectacular, commodified culture. We still hated to admit that we could never consume safely. Then we heard from other A.A. members that our culture is sick. (We thought so for years!) We found out that many people suffered from the same feelings of guilt and loneliness and hopelessness that we did. We found out that we had these feelings because we had the disease of consumerism.
We decided to try and face up to what the spectacle had done to us. Here are some of the questions we tried to answer honestly. If we answered YES to four or more questions, we were in deep trouble with our consuming. See how you do. Remember, there is no disgrace in facing up to the fact that you have a problem.
Answer YES or NO to the following questions.
1 - Have you ever decided to stop consuming spectacular culture for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?
Most of us in A.A. made all kinds of promises to ourselves and to our families. We could not keep them. Then we came to A.A. A.A. said: "Just try not to consume today." (If you do not consume today, you cannot get brainwashed today.)
2 - Do you wish people would mind their own business about your consuming-- stop telling you what to do?
In A.A. we don't tell anyone to do anything. We just talk about consuming, the trouble it gets us into, and how we can all stop. We will be glad to have you join us, if you want to.
3 - Have you ever switched from one kind of media to another in the hope that this would keep you from getting bored?
We tried all kinds of ways. We got rid of cable. Or just watched PBS. Or we did not read daily newspapers. Or only cruised the internet on weekends. You name it, we tried it. But if we consumed any culture with advertising in it, we usually felt that itch to consume creeping in.
4 - Have you had to have an eye-opener upon awakening during the past year?
Do you need a transaction to get started, or to stop shaking? This is a pretty sure sign that you are not consuming "socially."
5 - Do you envy people who can consume selectively, without going into a trance?
At one time or another, most of us have wondered why we were not like those lucky people who really can take it or leave it.
6 - Have you had problems connected with consuming during the past year?
Be honest! Acknowledge that if you have a problem with the dominant culture and keep on consuming, it will get worse -- never better. Eventually, you will die, just like everyone else. Find a quiet place, sit, breathe, and meditate on the inevitability of death; yours; everyone's; everything's. It is only by removing ourselves as much as possible from the social cycle of sale and resale that we can lead meaningful, fulfilling lives. The only hope is to stop compulsive consuming.
7 - Has your consuming caused trouble at home?
Before we came into A.A., most of us said that it was the people or problems at home that made us bury ourselves in the spectacle. We could not see that our consuming just made everything worse. It never solved problems anywhere or anytime.
8 - Do you ever try to get "extra" media at a bar or club because you do not get enough?
Most of us used to have a "few" before we started out if we thought it was going to be that kind of party. And if spectacular culture was not served fast enough, we would go some place else to get more.
9 - Do you tell yourself you can stop consuming any time you want to, even though you keep getting hypnotized by it when you don't mean to?
Many of us kidded ourselves into thinking that we consumed because we wanted to. After we came into A.A., we found out that once we started to consume, we couldn't stop.
10 - Have you had to work, or go to school, because of your consuming?
Many of us admit now that we told friends we "had to work" lots of times when the truth was that we were working voluntary overtime , or pursuing that advanced degree to make more money to keep up with our credit card debts.
11 - Do you have "blackouts"?
A "blackout" is when we have been consuming spectacular culture for hours or days which we cannot remember. It all just blurs together into one big light-skinned, gym-bodied, sparkly-toothed, affluent, sports-car driving blur. When we came to A.A., we found out that this is a pretty sure sign of spectacular burnout.
12 - Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not compulsively consume spectacular culture?
Many of us started to consume because consuming made life seem better, at least for a while. By the time we got into A.A., we felt trapped. We were consuming to live and living to consume. We were sick and tired of being used and suckered. In A.A. we help each other to reclaim our lives from the spectacular juggernaut.