From Abracadabra to Zombies
reader comments: codependency
6 Jul 1996
Since the 70's, the number of family counselors has grown by 50,000. Educated in social work, pastoral training, women's studies, with a very strong anti-patriarchy orientation, we now have a psychological model that sees abuse and addiction behind every curtain. Both addiction and abuse have been redefined to include almost any touch in the one case, or any consumption in the other. I suspect that men in particular have been labeled in this new scheme of things as unfit fathers in divorce procedings. In the 12 step framework, one is either in denial or recovery. There is no other state. Similarly, one is either an enabler or a controller in the codependency model. Both are all encompassing systems, based on simplistic assumptions.
Fires are fed by the puritanical and "spiritual" bent of much contemporary new age social thought, particularly in California. Feminist psychological theory adds its own ingredients to the mix with the notion that the only way to "recovery" is through group grope identity as victims. Sex therapists and psychiatrists speak against the metaphor of addiction, only to be subject to witch hunts. The 12-step framework is firmly entrenched in social and legal institutions in the US, despite the fact that AA only claims a 10% success rate. The framework delegates context to a matter of derivitive concern, so that poverty or unemployment or other social conditions become secondary.
Another question is what defines addiction. This psychological notion of addiction, as opposed to the physiological, came up mid 70's. Do we now have more alcoholics than before? And if so, why? Because we have redefined the term? Or is it simply a device of a very powerful social force and medical industry?
We live in a very effeminate culture with little respect for the truth or for the men who would speak it. Have AA and the codependency movement become new sacred cows? I suspect they have.
Katherine Carroll Craven