I thought it was time for a reminder that there is another way. Here are the 16 Steps of Empowerment. Designed for addiction but can apply more generally. Empowerment rather than followership. Because I accomplished safety and health in rehab, I know it’s possible. However many years ago… I have gone through my rehab binder. A breath of fresh air! Self-affirming language, language of resiliency… Grounding over catharsis, self-acceptance over insults, creativity over scripts, personal power over followers/leaders, coping strategies over saviours… Resiliency and boundaries over roles. 

Perhaps the purposes of shadows and fantasies are that we need to have some unknown. Zizek states that the worst thing that can happen is for fantasies to come true. Their power and meaning lies in being unreachable. In focussing so much on the darkness and the void, we miss what’s right in front of us and the pleasure of just being grounded in the moment. Of just being alive. Simple words like resiliency and empowerment are a different sort of water. I forgot how thirsty I was. 

The 16-Steps

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.


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