The Twelve Steps

Take One, cynically--

  1. We admitted that we were powerless over funding and that our suits and sweaters were tacky.
  2. We came to believe that there was no power greater than ourselves (except for administration), and that we could diagnose insanity quite well in others.
  3. We made a decision to turn our manuscripts over to publishers and convinced each other that we were doing it to increase the sum of human knowledge.
  4. We made a searching and fearless institutional inventory of ourselves and others and devised a calculus to determine where we stood in the pecking order.
  5. We admitted to absolutely no one, least of all ourselves, that we didn't have all the answers, but assumed our divine right to foreordain the questions.
  6. We were entirely ready to have the dean remove as many undergraduates as was institutionally feasible.
  7. We humbly asked him to lighten our teaching load.
  8. We made a list of all persons we had failed to harm, and resolved to neglect them no more.
  9. We made direct injury to such people wherever we thought we could get away with it without loss of dignity or reputation.
  10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we sensed that we might be ever so slightly in the wrong, we blocked and denied it.
  11. We sought through the careful study of memoranda, phatic signals, and body language to improve our ability to read the minds of our academic superiors, hoping only that we could successfully say what they wanted to hear on appropriate occasions.
  12. Having as a result of these steps received tenure, we tried to carry this message to our graduate students and junior colleagues, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Take Two, disintegratively--

  1. We admitted that we were powerless over our academic addictions and that our careers were unmanageable.
  2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could disintegrate us beyond all self-control.
  3. We made a decision to turn our will and our careers into a series of implosions into nothingness.
  4. We drew up a searching and fearless genealogy of our morals and others'.
  5. We told the universe and all therein and thereout just how badly we'd fucked up and been fucked up.
  6. We were entirely ready to be unfucked.
  7. So we were.
  8. We sought out the channels through which we had passed on our pain to others, and let them fall into ruin.
  9. We saw our reflections in others' haunted eyes and flowed into them.
  10. We kept doing what we'd been doing, so far as we were ever aware of what the fuck we were doing.
  11. We stayed connected.
  12. Having lost our selves somewhere along the line, we let our deadness smile on others and so brought them into it too, or not, as the power moved them.

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Forward to The Twelve Traditions.

Copyright 1993 Doug Robinson and Bill Kaul