I will avoid spoilers here and request that any comments remain spoiler free as well.

My wife and I watched the Elton John biopic Rocketman tonight. I was interested in this one mostly for the music, but after watching it, I love the storytelling techniques used.

The directors used two interesting techniques to tell this story. The first was the framework of using a 12-step rehab meeting with flashbacks, which I loved the overall framing this way.

One of my favorite movies is For the Love of the Game, and the the rehab flashbacks reminded me of the framework of nine innings of a baseball game that was used in that movie. It was an interesting and effective framework in both films.

The other interesting storytelling technique used in Rocketman was to use Elton John’s songs within the flashbacks to tell the story. It gave the film a kind of musical theater feel in addition to the rehab framing. At times, the song would be the bridge into the flashback. Other times, the song would be the bridge back into the rehab circle.

Some do not/will not be okay with the handling of his sexuality, and the fimmakers don’t try to pave over it the way the filmmakers of Bohemian Rhapsody did in the case of Freddie Mercury. In some ways this films plays out much like Elton’s story would in an actual 12-step meeting and it’s all laid out as a confession with the good, the bad, and the ugly on display.

Even if you don’t agree with Elton’s life, I still recommend this to anyone dealing with traditional 12-step issues as well as those of us using the 12-steps to work through other areas of our lives. It demonstrates that when we commit to the 12-steps, they actually work.

I again request that any comments remain spoiler free.


Father Martin

Over at Sober Coaches 4 Living‘s blog they’ve got several videos of Father Martin.

I’m not Catholic, but as a long-time 12 stepper, I’ve seen Father Martin’s incredible videos before. This is a real treat and my thanks to the bloggers there for sharing these.

If you’re not familiar with Father Martin, or don’t know where to start, at the very least I recommend this video:

12 Steps of AA with Father Martin.

The Hardest Part of the Twelve Steps

The 12 Steps is a reoccurring theme here for multiple reasons. But first among them is I believe in them and I live by them.

The hardest part of the 12 Steps is Steps 8 and 9:

  • 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Of course, with these two steps the difficulty begins the first time through the steps. Part of the difficulty is not so much Step 8, it’s easy to make the list of people you’ve wronged. Step 9 is difficult in and of itself. You have to swallow your pride and apologize for things you’ve done that hurt others.

Step 9 is further complicated by a couple of caveats in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions: 1.) “There will be other cases where action ought to be deferred, and still others in which by the very nature of the situation we shall never be able to make direct personal contact at all.” and 2.) “While we may be quite willing to reveal the very worst, we must be sure to remember that we cannot buy our own peace of mind at the expense of others.”

I mention this because part of the responsibility of a 12 stepper is a constant inventory and review. For me, it seems like every time I review through these two steps, someone who was on a previous Step 8 list and was unavailable for Step 9 contact suddenly becomes available for Step 9 contact.

And, once again, this happened recently.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.