This Website will be devoted to essays and insights related to diversity, addiction/recovery, psychological growth issues, global perspectives, the disenfranchised,  aesthetics, and cultural values. The core value streaming throughout the essays I write will be about returning to our innocence, which sometimes requires a trauma, a jolt, an invasion of the “other,” or a paradigm shift.

Many of my comments will sometimes reflect a more radically progressive approach to an idea. At other times, I may very well see some healthy alternatives in a more reactionary, conservative approach. There will be few areas, if any, that I hold sacred, taboo territory.  In that sense, everything will be up for grabs.

I am also interested in international film narratives, stories whose voices are too often left out of the more powerful voices of the international film industry. They have much to teach us about aesthetics, cultural values, and morality.

For those wishing to participate, enjoy the ride!

John T. Marohn

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Alcohol Recovery, a Personal Overview

A hand locked to glass of alcoholI used to believe there was only one kind of alcoholic, with several variations:

  • The guy sleeping in a small entrance cove of a store, at two in the morning, with a near-empty wine bottle tucked inside his stained trench coat.
  • The guy, with blood-shot eyes, standing in front of a seven-eleven, asking me for loose change so he can “buy a piece of pizza.”
  • The guy, with hands trembling, sitting on the steps of an urban church, stopping passers-by telling them he needs gas money to visit his mother in hospice.
  • The barroom story-tellers spinning out their lazy-tongued tales of resentments against a boss, an ex-girlfriend, or all the corrupt Washington politicians in bed with Wall St.

Continue reading

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The Battle of the Classes

Modern Technology, the Great Equalizer

Business man holding smartphone with chart symbolsIf you were to ask the average person what makes something modern, they would probably point to the latest Smartphone or to video streaming.

Modernity is usually associated with some kind of scientific discovery or technological device—vaccines, the automobile, high-speed air travel, MRIs, iPhones, the flat screen. Continue reading

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Technology Ain’t Everything

Group of young hipster friends playing with smartphoneMost people probably associate modernism with state-of-the-art technology. We have obviously come a long way from the dial phone to the Smart Phone; from the tv console to the flat screen; from the wait-to-have-your-photos-developed to an instant iPhone video that can be utubed all over the world. And now we can just go to our Kindle and Nook and place an order for our daily newspaper, our favorite magazine, and whatever novel is on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Did I mention going to Amazon.com or Netflix to buy, rent, or stream a movie?

In so many ways, technology has also been the great class leveler. It has produced new social-conversation sources like Facebook and Twitter, venues that all levels of society can hook into. And any American (some would say “fool”) can respond to an article online, reinventing the sometimes scary notion that “everybody has a right to an opinion.” Continue reading

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Do or Think?

The Introvert/Extrovert Dilemma

Stone sculpture of Socrates.A friend of mine once said that most people thought of him as an extrovert. He confided in me that he was faking it to compensate for his shy nature.

When I look back at my own psychological MO, I would also have to say that I played at being sociable throughout most of my adulthood. My more dominant side was drawn to ideas, the inner life, books, and—as a writer—observations.

Yet I chose a profession, teaching, where I had to be constantly on point—talking, explaining, analyzing, synthesizing, even negotiating. I was also very vocal at faculty senate meetings and even ended up being the teacher’s union president. So much for a shy, retiring, sensitive introvert I prided myself on being. Continue reading

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It’s Tribes All the Way Down

At some point in our evolution as humans, we were all squatters. There were no nation-defining boundaries. Whether you’re a creationist or an atheist, the earth arrived, life started, and then humans began flowering.

Those humans stayed where they were born or wandered far and near, to hunt, to live, to settle, often near a body of water where people could use the water to drink, to clean, to fish, or to transports goods and people.

One thing was for sure in our evolution: humans gathered in communities—in hillside caverns, in make-shift enclosures, in villages and towns, and eventually cities. If we were to create a fast-forward cartoon, we might start with mud huts, straw huts, cave-dwellings, stone domiciles, homes made of wood, brick and stucco homes, then buildings of steel and glass. Continue reading

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Good News

I recently was told that I don’t have to return for another colonoscopy for ten years.

Sounds like good news, right?

Well, my friends, human nature, being what it is, we can always find some chip in a dining room table, some flaw in otherwise perfect facial skin.

My immediate thought was simply, “Jesus, I’ve got ten years to sweat this thing out. Anything can happen in those ten years. I could get cancer. Then what? I’ll have to get chemo. All my hair is going to fall out. I’ll have to make out a living will. How will I be able to shit? What kinds of foods am I going to be forced to eat? Who’s going to take care of me?” Continue reading

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Non-Theists in Alcoholics Anonymous

“God” is mentioned a little over one hundred and thirty times in the AA Twelve-and-Twelve book, a book that lays out all the steps with in-depth commentary about the meaning of those steps.

There can be little doubt that the co-founders of AA, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, were deeply steeped in the 1930s orthodox Christian notion of that God.

In all of the AA literature, God is always male. And “He” is portrayed as an intervener, a grace-giver, a miracle-worker, a creator, and a caring, non-judgmental patriarch. Hell and Heaven may be absent from the literature, but an activist, intervening divinity is vividly present as a kind of divine co-partner and activist healer of the recovering alcoholic and addict. Continue reading

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Sex and the Old Guy

(I dedicate this Blog Post to Joan Rivers, the comedic master of the irreverent, the bawdy, the unseemly. RIP, Joan)

I am divorced. I’ve had many post-divorce and diverse relationships. I have also had a few live-ins. Some time ago, I just stopped having long-term relationships. I remain single.

That’s about it, for now, anyway.

Mind you, I’m a post-Social Security guy. I was born the year of Pearl Harbor (Google it). I grew up believing Bing Crosby should have been a priest; that a field of bushes were the only private places where mom and dad would never find me and my friends touching each other when we were kids; that a lay-away wasn’t about sex; that “girly magazines” had a reason for being. Continue reading

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Twelve-Step Program, Another View

In my city, there’s a cadre of AAers who treat the program as a ritualized boot camp and see the steps as a military-like list of prescribed mandates, rather than “guides to progress.” Within this model, sponsors tend to see themselves as drill sergeants commanding the uninitiated through the twelve steps.

The Twelve-Steps Sequence, a Natural Order or a Human Construct?

There are also many who believe the sequence of the steps reflects a kind of natural order of events for recovering alcoholics and addicts in the program. Each step is seen as an inevitable awakening-like process, even though the order of the steps reflects a strong theological bias, particularly in the second and third steps—the “came-to-believe-in-a-power-greater-than-myself” steps I call them.

Those specific steps are placed early in the program suggesting that nothing in the program can be accomplished without some kind of “higher power” guiding those in recovery through the process of the program. According to this more traditional view, some recoverers call this higher power “God,” with grace-giving abilities capable of transforming behavior and attitudes. Continue reading

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