Educating Desire

Autobiographical Impressions of Addiction in Alcoholics Anonymous

Series:

This impressionistic autobiographical inquiry is an attempt to connect the personal with the socio-historical—addiction with Addiction; it is also an attempt to demonstrate that knowledge production can be generated through radically non-traditional means. Narrative serves as method and methodology in a mostly first person account of a fictional open AA meeting. A suspicious hermeneutics is applied to addiction, to AA, and to the phenomenon of total medicalization, which the author and narrative finally succumb to, in the interest of questioning common sense assumptions about these themes, and as jumping off points for literary and philosophical exploration.
Highlighted is the semi-fictionalized storied nature of reflected upon lived experience—the personal telephone game of (Paul Ricoeur’s) narrative identity—and the role of institutions like AA in grafting onto lived experience new narrative forms that allow for new ways of structuring self and identity.
All the made-up aspects of the narrative—the multi-tracked narrator’s voice, shifts in point-of-view, and the semi and sometimes totally imagined characters encountered at the meeting and elsewhere—are the fiction the author makes of his personal history as an addict and newcomer in AA, which complicates the relation between knower and known (author and reader) while enriching and enlivening the narrative, drawing the reader into a literary representation of imagined and lived experience.

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Readership

Educational Researchers and their students

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