“Yes, You Can! A Guide to Empowerment Groups”
This workbook guided program based on the writing of Dr. Charlotte Karl and is used in conjunction with her work Many Roads One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps. Originally written in 1985, the steps came “to answer a call within me that asked ‘what is it that will help me heal and become whole as a woman in this culture?” Her steps hold truth and wisdom for us today in 2019.
From Dr. Kasl’s web site:
“16-Steps for Discovery and Empowerment”
“A 16-step empowerment model is a wholistic approach to overcoming addiction (*) that views people in their wholeness– mind, body, and spirit. A fundamental basis of this model is flexibility and an openness which leads to continually ask: What works? Who does it work for? and How can we help it work better? It encourages people to be continually open to new information and not to become trapped in dogmatic teachings. At its core, this model is based on love, not fear; internal control not external authoritarianism; affirmation not deflation; and trust in the ability of people to find their own healing path when given education, support, hope, and choices.
The 16-step model helps people to develop ego strength which is seen as having a healthy ability to be introspective and to ask oneself the questions: Who am I? What do I value, believe and want?
In the 16-step model, addiction is a complex web of social factors, physical, pre-disposition, and personal history. This empowerment model encourages individuals to develop their own internal belief system based on their perceptions and experiences. It is fluid and open to change as the person evolves. It believes that a major task of healing from addiction is to validate the underlying, positive survival goals for safety, connection, pleasure, love, and power. Then to find non-addictive and positive ways to meet those needs. It is also crucial to create a healthy physical balance to prevent cravings.
The 16-step model addresses issues of cultural diversity and internalized oppression stemming from sexism, racism, classism, and homophobia. In this model, the concept of “codependency” is understood as a form of internalized oppression, rather than an addiction to security, in a cultural context as well as an individual problem. In surveys sent to both male and female members of 16-step groups asking for responses, respondents most often listed: improving self-esteem; helping them believe in their own wisdom; giving them permission to be creative; expressing and validating their personal beliefs and feelings; and helping to be more courageous as being the positive effects of a 16-step group.
The 16-step model encourages people to use this or any other model as a springboard to find their own voice. And while it is crucial to acknowledge the power of addiction, this model helps people affirm the power they do have to take charge of their lives and overcome addiction. Developing one’s passion, finding purpose, bonding with others and becoming involved in social change are seen as antidotes to addiction. This approach does not posture itself as the one way or the right way, nor does it make assumptions about the length of time it takes or the path that must be followed.”
- We affirm we have the power to take charge of our lives and stop being dependent on substances or other people for our self-esteem and security.
Alternative: We admit/acknowledge we are out of control with/powerless over ________ yet have the power to take charge of our lives and stop being dependent on substances or other people for our self-esteem and security.
- We come to believe that God/Goddess/Universe/Great Spirit/Higher Power awakens the healing wisdom within us when we open ourselves to the power.
- We make a decision to become our authentic selves and trust in the healing power of the truth.
- We examine our beliefs, addictions and dependent behavior in the context of living in a hierarchical, patriarchal culture.
- We share with another person and the Universe all those things inside of us for which we feel shame and guilt.
- We affirm and enjoy our intelligence, strengths, and creativity, remembering not to hide these qualities from ourselves and others.
- We become willing to let go of shame, guilt, and any behavior that keeps us from loving ourselves and others.
- 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.
- We express love and gratitude to others and increasingly appreciate the wonder of life and the blessings we do have.
- We learn to trust our reality and daily affirm that we see what we see, we know what we know and we feel what we feel.
- We promptly admit to 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.
- We seek out situations, jobs, and people who affirm our intelligence, perceptions, and self-worth and avoid situations or people who are hurtful, harmful, or demeaning to us.
- We take steps to heal our physical bodies, organize our lives, reduce stress, and have fun.
- We seek to find our inward calling and develop the will and wisdom to follow it.
- We accept the ups and downs of life as natural events that can be used as lessons for our growth.
- We grow in awareness that we are sacred beings, interrelated with all living things, and we contribute to restoring peace and balance on the planet.
- * Since the above was written much has changed regarding the language, clinical understanding of and support for “addictions”. As a clinician, I understand “addiction” to more accurately to be a “ritualized, compulsive, self-care strategy” on steroids. This shift in my thinking came as a result of researching Adverse Childhood Environments (ACE Scores), human response to trauma, practicing Nonviolent communication and a single TED Talk “Everything You Thought You Knew About Addiction Is Wrong”.
“Yes, You Can” – 16 Steps to Empowerment is designed such that the group can tweak the 16 steps to address the group’s unique intention. Once formed it will be a closed group lasting 16 weeks.
Insurance – Depending on your insurance coverage we may be able to bill for group work.
Out of pocket – $300 per person = 16 sessions at $10 a session, the cost of the workbook, and rental of space for meetings.
Group forming now for 6 – 8 participants.
Resources by Dr. Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D.:
Women, Sex and Addiction
Finding Joy: 101 Ways to Free Your Spirit and Dance With Life
Many Roads One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps
If The Buddha Dated
If the Buddha Married
If the Buddha Got Stuck
Dear Therapist: Survivors of Abuse Talk to Therapist