Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Okay, the past matters! Alcoholics and Group Status

Some time ago I posted that the past didn't matter. I was wrong.  It does matter, and is far less idyllic than a rosy./implicit picture that we're a good mixture of those things which we were exposed to, the experiences and people we've known and know, and how the world has generally treated us, with a strong focus on our parent's behavior.   Indeed, the past is a constellation of miscellaneous treatment and our emotional response, combined with the stories we've told ourselves about that past to find solace, and, always, consonance with our own self-perception.  Of course, like always, self-perception is highly skewed toward the groups we do or don't belong to, or perceive ourselves as belonging to, and the group of alcoholics is no different in this sense, nor the strive for idiosyncratic zeal and individual rigor, all in an attempt to "truly" be group members, and not fakers.   All of this is pasted over with an ethos of acceptability, or egalitarianism, as if we don't judge each other, when we do, and harshly. Group status protects us from the judgment of other groups and judgment is part of group coherence: we feel contempt for outsiders and connected to insiders.  As an added layer, it is probable that our alcoholism has affected us uniquely in that it brought us both insider and outsider status to coveted groups, and at times, in one evening!  Damnit it feels cool to be unique and to belong.

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