Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

by

David Foster Wallace

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Alcoholics Anonymous, a recovery program with a distinctive ideology that requires total abstinence from all Substances, submission as a necessary part of sobriety, meetings in which people share stories so that others may “Identify” with them, and the selection of one’s own personal “Higher Power” that can be turned to in prayer. Spinoffs include NA and CA.
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AA Term Timeline in Infinite Jest

The timeline below shows where the term AA appears in Infinite Jest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 38
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
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Both Pat Montesian and Don Gately’s AA sponsor say that Gately should take a lesson in “patience and tolerance” from Geoffrey Day,... (full context)
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...sex worker who is now exceptionally “prim.” Gately himself is 29; before he became an AA devotee, his Substance of choice was oral narcotics. Today Pat is interviewing three potential new... (full context)
Chapter 43
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8 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment Interdependence Day Gaudeamus Igitur. Most Boston AA meetings are speaker meetings, meaning that members of a particular group come and speak at... (full context)
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
...same cliff’s edge,” where the choice is between death or sobriety. In a sense, every AA meeting is like a “reunion” for survivors of the same disaster. Newcomers are often skeptical... (full context)
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
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AA newcomers find themselves obeying the instructions of older members as if they have no will... (full context)
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...of sobriety, he was comforted by telling everyone present at the meeting how he thought AA was “horseshit.” After this, older members would come up and pat him on the back,... (full context)
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...meetings drunk are tolerated as long as they don’t cause too much disruption. The Boston AA groups have about a dozen “basic suggestions,” which are comparable to the “suggestion” that someone... (full context)
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...new to sobriety who have horrifying, traumatic dreams. Gately himself once had a dream about AA whose meaning was almost embarrassingly obvious, and it was at this point that he finally... (full context)
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...better reception because what he’s speaking his own truth. Irony is not tolerated at Boston AA meetings, and neither is blaming one’s addiction on some particular factor or other. A young... (full context)
Chapter 44
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Back in the main narrative, a woman speaks to the AA meeting about how she was not able to quit crack even while she was pregnant... (full context)
Chapter 47
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...he feels ashamed that he still doesn’t have any sense of a Higher Power. While AA members are allowed to submit to whatever God they choose, Gately wishes someone would just... (full context)
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When AA members talk about how everything gets better through abstinence and recovery, they fail to mention... (full context)
Chapter 49
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Boston AA members compare the meetings to a cake mix: it doesn’t matter if you understand how... (full context)
Chapter 51
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Like AA, NA meetings end with the members holding hands in a circle, reciting a mantra, followed... (full context)
Chapter 54
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...the Union of the Hideously and Improbably Deformed, and mentions the similarities between U.H.I.D. and AA. It is revealed that the person Joelle is talking to is Don Gately. She tells... (full context)
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...is still in his first months of sobriety, always walks back to Ennet House from AA meetings, despite the fact that he has a car and could easily catch a ride... (full context)
Chapter 57
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...comments that he can understand why addicts say that cocaine is the “Express Elevator to AA.” Lenz mentions how he has been scouted as a male model, but didn’t want to... (full context)
Chapter 58
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...Alcohol Recovery House, Enfield MA, On and Off From Just After the Brookline Young People’s AA Mtng. Up to About 2329h., Wednesday 11 November Y.D.A.U. In the transcripts from these “interfaces”... (full context)
Chapter 66
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...girls do not realize this, this order of nuns could easily be an analogy for AA. Meanwhile, to her surprise, Joelle is beginning to find her trips to the NA-spinoff Cocaine... (full context)
Chapter 73
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...for attachment, and fantasizes about a lifetime of love and commitment with Joelle. In Boston AA, seducing new members is seriously frowned upon because newcomers are so vulnerable. Gately feels disgusted... (full context)
Chapter 74
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...him taking addictive substances in order to ease his own suffering. Gately tries to draw AA on his notebook and is now desperately gesturing at it. He wants Francis to intervene,... (full context)
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Gately suddenly feels hugely sorry for himself and resentful at the AA concept of a loving God. The nurse comes back in and McDade and Diehl leave... (full context)
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...in order to protect herself from the A.F.R. A man named Mikey speaks to an AA meeting, telling a story about when he behaved rudely to his sister, prayed about it,... (full context)