16 Steps for Discovery and Empowerment, Charlotte Kasl

Charlotte Kasl, author of Many Roads, One Jouney, a critique of the limitations of the 12 steps, came up with a sixteen step process for discovery and empowerment (listed below).  You can check out her website for more information here:  http://charlottekasl.com/16-step-program/

These still might be a bit too ‘steppy’ for some ex-XA people but they are a really good starting point if this is your first departure from the 12 steps.  They are loving, gentle, compassionate and wise.  When people leave 12-step and start to deprogramme, they are anxious about ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ or losing the gains they have made whilst (in spite of?) they have been in ‘recovery’.  They may come to own these gains at a later stage, but in the beginning it’s normal to feel insecure.

When I first read these steps, nearly ten years ago, a lightblub went off for me and I never, ever listened to ‘Chapter Five, How it Works’ from the Big Book in the same way ever again, I was always mentally editing them to fit with the worldview opened up to me by Kasl.  It’s impossible to keep that mental tension up indefinitely, particularly in the face of all the other dreary things wrong with the 12 step world.  So in the end, I had to leave.

Of Kasl’s steps, number 10 is my personal favourite: 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.

There are now 300 groups based on these steps in the United States.  So a definite alternative if you are looking for support but don’t want to go back to AA.


Charlotte Kasl’s 16-Steps to discovery and empowerment

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  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 hierarchical, 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 intelligence, strengths and creativity, remembering not to hide these qualities from ourselves and others.
  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 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  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 our growth.
  16. 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.


The GirlScout

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