Through cases of addiction in my family, I have been in contact with recovering addicts and their relatives since 1995. Since 2010, I have voluntarily been supporting people with problems of substance abuse, eating disorder, and their relatives in their recovery. Since 2017, I am pursuing research about these disorders and offer my service to those seeking help in Beirut. I have come to view addiction, including the eating disorders anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating, as family or systemic disorders: On the long run, they affect all family members/both partners in a close relationship, also the ones who do not themselves show any substance abuse or eating disorder. For the latter, the problem can become as devastating and life-threating as for their addicted relatives/partners, and over the frustrating routine of such a relationship it becomes increasingly difficult to tell behaviour from response, and choice from compulsion. In such desperate situations, many people have found relief in a so called
12 Step program, as I have witnesses many times, and as is documented by these organizations themselves ( see AA, Al-Anon, NA and OA), as well as through academic research (e. g. Krentzman, Amy R. et al. 2010. How Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Work: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives. In Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 29 (1), pp. 75–84; and Donovan, Dennis M.; Wells, Elizabeth A. 2007. ‘Tweaking 12-Step’: the potential role of 12-Step self-help group involvement in methamphetamine recovery. In Addiction 102 (suppl. 1) pp. 121-127).
An orientalist and political scientist by education, I have been teaching and researching in the academic humanities for over sixteen years, from 2001 to 2018, at renowned institutions such as the Orient-Institut Beirut, the Georg Eckert Institute, the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in Essen/Germany, and at the universities of Bochum - where I earned my masters and doctoral degrees - Halle, Marburg, and Tübingen. Between 1992 and 2002, I have been working as an assistant nurse on a psychiatric ward of the LVR Klinik Bonn, and as a language teacher in different private and public institutions.