|Eleventh Step Groups||
Eleventh Step Groups are organized groups that help A.A. members who share a religious/spiritual commitment pursue continued work on Step Eleven: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” Two of the oldest Eleventh Step groups are the Calix Society and Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent People and Significant Others (JACS). Eleventh Step groups exist within A.A., and also exist as adjuncts to A.A. participation (White, 1998). The latter provide an arena to work on the Eleventh Step with others who share one’s religious faith. Emancipation/emancipated (See Freedom from Slavery)
Emotional Sobriety is a phrase coined by A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson (1958) to describe a state of emotional health that far exceeded simply the achievement of not drinking. Wilson defined emotional sobriety as “real maturity . . . in our relations with ourselves, with our fellows and with God” (see Wellbriety).
Empowerment is the experience of having some power and control over one’s own destiny. Within the recovery context, there are two quite different relationships to power. Among the culturally empowered (those to whom value is ascribed as a birthright), addiction-related erosion of competence is often countered by increased grandiosity and preoccupation with power and control. It should not be surprising then that transformative breakthrough of recovery is marked by a deep experience of surrender and an acceptance of powerlessness. In contrast, the culturally dis-empowered (those for whom this value has been systematically withheld) are often attracted to psychoactive drugs in their quest for power, only to discover over time that their power has been further diminished. Under these conditions, the initiation of recovery is often marked by the assumption of power and control rather than an abdication or surrender of such power. This point is well illustrated by the first statement of Women for Sobriety (“I have a life-threatening problem that once had me”), and the “first act of resistance” of the Afrocentric model of recovery pioneered by Rev. Cecil Williams in San Francisco (“I will gain control over my life”). In Williams’ words, “a black person hears the call to powerlessness as one more command to lie down and take it” (1992, p. 9). Similar sentiments can be found in Native adaptations of the Twelve Steps, e.g., Step Two: “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could help us regain control” (Coyhis, 1999). Empowerment is inspiring, horizon-raising, energizing, and galvanizing. The concept of empowerment applies to communities as well as individuals. It posits that the only solution to the problem of addiction in dis-empowered communities lies within those very communities. Empowerment occurs, in part, when people impacted by addiction cast aside their victim-hood and become active players in the healing of themselves, their families and their community (see Hope-based Interventions and Resistance).
Enabling in the addiction treatment/recovery arena, the act of “enabling” has come to mean any intervention that, with the intention of helping the alcoholic/addict, inadvertently results in harm to the enabled and the enabler. It is thought that actions that protect the person not yet in recovery from the consequences of his or her drinking/drugging increase the likelihood of continued addiction. The concept led family members and counselors alike to fear accusations that they were “enabling” or had become “enablers.” That fear escalated even further in the late 1980s. At the peak popularity of “codependency,” the most basic acts of human kindness toward others were framed not as evidence of compassion but of psychopathology.
Enmeshed Style (of recovery) refers to the initiation and maintenance of recovery while almost completely sequestered within the culture of recovery. Such enmeshment serves to isolate individuals from the culture of addiction and can also, at least for a time, isolate them from the larger “civilian” (non-addicted, non-recovering) culture.