Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Many Roads, One Journey

"Many Roads, One Journey" is a book by Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D. about the reasons AA may not be a fit for some people, especially women and minorities, and alternatives that are becoming available for them. Dr Kasl writes in the introduction,

"Many Roads, One Journey is for all people, but it is essentially positioned from the perspective of women and minorities, for it is their reality which has so often been omitted in approaches to overcoming addiction and dependency. Thus it gives support to people who want to follow or create new models of healing, and can be used to increase everyone's sensitivity to the beliefs and perspectives of others."

She proposes a program of sixteen steps of empowerment. They are as follows:

1. We admit that we were out of control with/powerless over alcohol (or whatever), but have the power to take charge of our lives and stop being dependent on substances or other people for our self-esteem and security.

2. We came to believe that God/the Goddess/Universe/Great Spirit (or whatever) awakens the healing wisdom within us when we open ourselves to that power.

3. We make a decision to become our authentic selves and trust in the healing power of the truth.

4. We examine our beliefs, addictions and dependent behavior in the context of living in a hierarchal, patriarchal culture.

5. We share with another person and the Universe all those things inside of us for which we feel shame and guilt.

6. We affirm and enjoy our strengths, talents and creativity, striving not to hide these qualities to protect others' egos.

7. We become willing to let go of shame, guilt and any behavior that keeps us from loving ourselves and others.

8. We make a list of people we have harmed and people who have harmed us, and take steps to clear out negative energy by making amends and sharing our grievances in a respectful way.

9. We express love and gratitude to others, and increasingly appreciate the wonder of life and the blessings we do have.

10. We continue to trust our reality and daily affirm that we see what we see, know what we know and feel what we feel.

11. We promptly acknowledge our mistakes and make amends when appropriate, but we do not say we are sorry for things we have not done and we do not cover up, analyze or take responsibility for the shortcomings of others.

12. We seek out situations, jobs and people that affirm our intelligence, perceptions and self-worth and avoid situations or people who are hurtful, harmful or demeaning to us.

13. We take steps to heal our physical bodies, organize our lives, reduce stress and have fun.

14. We seek to find our inward calling, and develop the will and wisdom to follow it.

15. We accept the ups and downs of life as natural events that can be used as lessons for growth.

16. We grow in awareness that we are interrelated with all living things and we contribute to restoring peace and balance on the planet.

For more about Charlotte Kasl and the Sixteen Step program visit her website at:

Women for Sobriety was founded by the late Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. Women For Sobriety is both an organization and a self-help program for women alcoholics. It is, in fact, the first national self-help program for women alcoholics.

Women For Sobriety has been providing services to women alcoholics since July, 1976. The WFS "New Life" Program grew out of one woman's search for sobriety. (See Turnabout: New Help for the Woman Alcoholic.) Now hundreds of WFS self-help groups are found all across this country and abroad.

Based upon a Thirteen Statement Program of positivity that encourages emotional and spiritual growth, the "New Life" Program has been extremely effective in helping women to overcome their alcoholism and learn a wholly new lifestyle.

Don't like all those steps? Don't believe in a Higher Power or a Great Spirit? Well, there's a program for you, too. It's known as Lifering Secular Recovery and is based on three simple principles: sobriety, secularity and self-help. The motto in LSR is, "We don't drink or use, no matter what." The LSR website is a vast resource of information, chatrooms, e-mail lists and meeting resources.

This is not an exhaustive list, just some of the programs I've come across in my years of seeking a sober life. I attained six years of continuous sobriety with the AA program from 1988-1994. For many years after I relapsed I was unable to make the same good use of AA so I began searching for alternatives. The lesson I take from this is that if something is working for you, don't mess with it!! I now use a combination of AA and LSR for support. This blog is about all the other things I do in my life to support sobriety. I have continued to struggle with relapse and I will continue to have as my goal long-term, stable sobriety.

I'd like to hear from you. What do you think about those sixteen steps? If you're a member of AA (I know you're out there!), what is it about that program that works for you? What other things do you incorporate into your life that support your recovery? Any Women for Sobriety members out there? LSR friends, please chime in.

Saturday I'll tell you about herbal infusions to calm the nervous system, tone the internal organs and generally make you feel good all over.


jennifergg said...

wow angela! thank you for sharing this have so much knowledge, and i want to learn!!!

#3 spoke so strongly to me...

Matthew said...

I am a member of AA who stumbled across your book not in search of a substitute, but another view point. Excellent material for those who can't grasp the core of AA's message. Which is simple. Rid yourself of poison. Become your true self. be happy. enjoy life. Show others how you did it. Thats my take anyway. I'm not dependent on the group and enjoy my life guilt free. I take what I need and contribute my two cents when needed. The rest falls away. There is a cultish essence to AA but I steer clear of that. My spiritual path extends far beyond AA but it starts there. Life is beautiful and not meant to be spent in church basements. Isn't that where they used to bury the dead? Keep up the good work.