CODA-PLUS LESSONS FOR HEALING SOCIETY
© 2004 Lloyd Kinder
Welcome to Coda-Plus! [Formerly CodaPlus.org]
Email me at LKINDR@yahoo.com .
We have 20 years of experience, but some folks learn more or less in 20 years than average. While it's necessary to have established procedures for efficient action, it's also necessary to avoid getting into ruts, so the status quo has to be questioned constantly (almost). This is part of Responsibility, which is the only means to Prosperity for all.
Our mission is to do all we can to promote world peace, freedom, cooperation, love and prosperity for all.
The Coda+ Lessons will help to get started. So will this: http://www.freewebs.com/codaplus/cooperation.htm.
And the Online Book, Ending the Abuse of Power [next page], gives lots of evidence of the extent of abuse in society and some methods to help reduce and end abuses. How can there be meaningful prosperity when abuse continues to be widespread [and largely unrecognized]?
ALOHA! Lloyd Kinder
3. STRESS REDUCTION
4. SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION
6. ENDING POWER ABUSE OR CLASSISM & RACISM
7. GROUP INVENTORY
10. MORE RESPONSIBILITY
11. END THE ENABLING OF TRAUMA AND DOOM
12. POWER ABUSE - DOES IT SPELL SOCIETY'S DOOM?
13. ENDING THE ENABLING OF POWER ABUSE
1. Lesson 1. RESPONSIBILITY
[Some word definitions are given in these Lessons to help young people's understanding. Advisors should explain during group meetings or discussions any other words that seem likely to be unclear to some.]
Two books should be owned by everyone:
1. The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, from AA [called the 12 & 12]; and
2. Parent Effectiveness Training, by Thomas Gordon [also called P.E.T.].
Read especially Step 4 on Moral Inventory in the first and the Chapter on Active Listening in the second.
In reading and doing the following Lessons, you may mark anything that seems noteworthy, unclear, or wrong.
And you may send your comments or questions to me at LKINDR@yahoo.com.
The questions and statements here may be useful for 4th Step Group Inventory. [See Lesson 7]
Responsibility is doing what needs to be done in order for everyone to have a better life.
Each person's responsibility increases with experience. At birth we have no responsibility at all.
As we learn to crawl and talk and walk, we're given much more responsibility for moving ourselves around and for verbalizing our needs and wants.
As we learn to do small tasks for ourselves, we're given those responsibilities too.
And we're happy to do them, because they're part of growing up and being like an adult.
EDUCATION [John Holt: Instead of Education]
How is it that after a few years in school, most of us begin to dread the responsibilities of learning?
Is it because we're not ready for some of those "learning" chores yet?
Are our studies too fast for us, or too slow?
Do we need more time Playing with what we've learned so far already?
Are our more advanced learning Games [lessons] too complicated, or senseless, or "boring?"
Has school become too confining? Do we lack freedom, excitement, or affection?
It seems that only a few students enjoy school, but most of them too seem frustrated often.
As we're hurried along thru the grades, do we become "mind-numbed robots?"
Do we learn to take on new responsibilities when we're not really ready?
If so, are we really being responsible, or just pretending?
Do we give up being really responsible for ourselves and learn to let authorities, or others, or whims, or moods, make our decisions for us?
War prisoners pretend to be dumb around their captors in order to seem too incompetent to do tasks.
Acting dumb gives them some freedom from undesirable responsibilities.
Dominant classes naturally come to believe their captives really are dumb, as well as lazy and mischievous.
This is how dominant classes become racist or classist toward captive peoples and regard them as inferior.
It's also how adults come to see some kids, when treated like prisoners, as dumb, lazy and mischievous.
Kids and other captives, who are forced in this way to act incompetent, in trying to get out of undesirable tasks, often come to see themselves as truly inferior, or incompetent, as well.
INSENSITIVITY [M. Scott Peck: People of the Lie]
Anyone experiencing misery for long periods becomes insensitive to one's own and other people's suffering.
Lack of freedom, excitement, or affection for long periods produces misery and probably insensitivity too.
For many kids, home or school probably seems like prison and makes them miserable and insensitive.
Most adults who were raised similarly are then insensitive to kids' and others' misery and even their own.
Insensitivity means lack of awareness, so abuse is done to oneself and others unknowingly.
Abuse is any guardian's, or one's own, actions that harm a person physically, mentally, or morally.
Neglect may be considered abuse if it results in similar harm.
Guardians are those in authority over someone, regardless of age.
WHAT IS RESPONSIBILITY?
We're responsible for doing for ourselves what we can and for taking care of ourselves.
We're responsible for doing for others what we can, that they need but cannot do.
We're responsible for helping ourselves and others to become more responsible [improvement].
We're responsible for not harming ourselves or others, as far as possible.
We're responsible for taking on proper responsibilities as we get ourselves sufficiently prepared.
We're responsible for being sensitive to our own feelings and those of others.
2. Lesson 2. SENSITIVITY
WHAT GOOD IS SENSITIVITY?
Sensitivity tells us when something is right or wrong with ourselves or others.
Sensitivity means sensing how we feel ourselves or how others seem to feel.
If we had no feelings at all, emotional or physical, we'd all soon let ourselves die.
There'd be no reason to avoid harming ourselves or others.
We wouldn't care, because it wouldn't hurt and we wouldn't care if anyone died or left us.
Natural pain helps persuade us not to harm ourselves or our loved ones.
Natural pleasure helps persuade us to improve ourselves and our surroundings.
As was stated in Lesson 1, when long exposed to misery, people become fairly insensitive.
We don't become completely insensitive usually, but fairly insensitive.
Our conscious minds can only hold relatively small amounts of experience.
Our subconscious can hold much more, so any repetitive experience tends to become subconscious.
That is why repetitive or ongoing misery makes us insensitive to the suffering of ourselves and others.
We can access much of our subconscious feelings, but it generally requires guidance and much practice.
Moral inventory of the 12 Step program can help access the subconscious.
This and similar practices can help restore our sensitivity to better understand ourselves and others.
MALE & FEMALE CULTURE [Deborah Tannen ...]
It is said that male and female culture tend to differ quite a lot, tho some members of each have traits of the other.
The male culture is said to have been occupied largely with hunting in ancient times.
The female culture is said to have been involved with gathering food or gardening and with home life.
Effective hunting required that males be quiet and stealthy and suppress emotions so as not to scare prey off.
The home life of females benefited from talk and emotional sensitivity.
The frequent talk of women helped to keep away predators and pests.
Their emotional sensitivity helped women better care for the kids and adults of the group.
Males learned to cooperate thru hierarchy and competition, with the most experienced being dominant.
Females learned to cooperate thru sensitive talk and equality, but with some subtle hierarchy based on experience.
Male hunting abilities seem to have led them to learn war against other tribes, and to learn domination.
The traits of ancient times seem to remain largely in effect in modern time, but are in great need of modification.
It is responsible for everyone now to learn emotional sensitivity and try to understand each other's differences.
It is responsible for guardians to be sensitive to the conscious and subconscious feelings of dependents.
Parent Effectiveness Training and Moral Inventory greatly help to develop such sensitivity.
SENSITIVITY DIALOG [Thomas Gordon: Parent Effectiveness Training]
Love would cure much of the world's suffering.
Love means respect and respect means being sensitive to others' concerns and feelings.
This requires meaningful dialogue, but it doesn't mean solving other's problems.
Respectful dialogue usually helps others start their own solution process.
Acrtive listening is a simple way to show and build our own sensitivity and practice respectful dialog.
It is used when someone expresses, verbally or nonverbally, a negative emotion of fear, anger, sadness etc.
It involves paraphrasing what the concerned person expressed and avoiding roadblocks to communication.
Active Listening helps build understanding.
Effective Sharing is similar, but expresses our own feelings to others.
ROADBLOCKS TO COMMUNICATION [Gordon]
Roadblocks to communication with someone are roadblocks only when that person has a problem.
When the person doesn't have a problem, the same kinds of communication are less likely to be roadblocks.
Some of the Roadblocks are: criticising, blaming, name-calling, questioning, reasoning, advising, commanding.
When a kid is frustrated because another kid won't play what he or she wants, you can say by Active Listening:
-Are you sad [or "frustrated," if old enough to understand] because X won't play your game?
-or: You seem sad because X doesn't want to play your game with you.
The formula for this kind of effective dialog is: paraphrasing The person's Feeling + What it's about.
This is called Active Listening and it can be in the form of a question or a comment.
Active Listening as a question is different from the questioning that becomes a Roadblock.
Questioning that doesn't follow the Active Listening formula is a likely Roadblock.
That is if it doesn't ask the person's feeling or what it's about.
Roadblock question examples would be: Why don't you find something else to play?
-or: Do you want to hear a funny story? -or: Who died and made you King?
Active Listening shows sensitivity, while Roadblocks show insensitivity.
Most of the time it takes only one Active Listening response to "solve" a kid's problem.
That's because their problem is mainly fear, which is due to lack of affection.
And Active Listening shows sensitivity, which shows affection, respect, love, or caring.
Much of the time adults aren't in the mood to be sensitive to someone else.
We're in a hurry to get something done and don't want to be interrupted.
Having grown up fairly insensitive, we don't appreciate the value of sensitivity to others.
To be responsible as adults is to be sensitive to ourselves and others, but it takes practice.
Adults [and kids] can have practice sessions pretending to have problems and using Active Listening for them.
LOVE IS POWER. [Jean Liedloff: The Continuum Concept] & [Alcoholics Anonymous]
Emotional stress is fear; and Fear is a feeling and false belief of insecurity, which is confusion.
Affection, or love, is security and shortage of affection is insecurity, which is confusion.
The emotional or feeling part of fear is a warning that false belief is present.
Stress, or fears, or false beliefs of insecurity, can be relieved via moral inventory [12 Steps, Step 4].
Stress, fear and confusion are due to shortage of affection and are overcome by sufficiency of affection.
This is the Power of Love.
This is why it's necessary to come to believe in a loving higher power [Step 2].
Groups caring about individuals are expressions of such higher power.
The love of an individual is insecure, because individuals are mortal.
The love of a higher power is secure love, because higher power is immortal.
A group is a higher power than is an individual. A family or a class is a group too.
Loving Groups whose love survive thru generations are sources of secure [immortal] affection.
HIGHER POWER [William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience] [Step 2]
A Religion, charity, self-help group, caring organization [or God] can be one's higher power.
By sensing such secure love we get a realistic sense of security.
The sense of such higher power helps relieve stress, which helps clear up confusion.
Remember, "higher power" doesn't have to mean "God;" it's each person's choice.
Reducing confusion means clearer thinking, which make it easier to recognize and correct false beliefs of insecurity.
All negative emotions involve false beliefs of insecurity, which is fear.
Such false beliefs of insecurity cause us to condone wrongdoing.
Unselfish affection inspires us to correct our wrongs.
Fears tend to make us irresponsible. Affection tends to make us more responsible.
Sadness or depression is a false belief of aloneness.
Higher power is always with us, so we are never alone.
Fear of our higher power is due to false impression of our higher power [See LONELINESS in Lesson 3].
Religions sometimes call false beliefs darkness, while the truth is called light.
Seeing false beliefs as false then is shining light into darkness, so the darkness of false belief disappears.
This is what we can expect from doing Moral Inventory, described in the 12 Step program.
3. Lesson 3. STRESS REDUCTION
STRESS, CO-DEPENDENCE & ABUSE
Stress, esp. emotional stress, is the number one cause of poor efficiency in any group.
This is because stress often interferes with task-related thinking, performance, physical and emotional health etc.
Effective stress reduction therefore increases efficiency, productivity, morale and prosperity.
Unhealthy and ineffective responses to stress include abuse of substances and abuse of power.
Power Abuse ranges from physical or emotional abuse to crime [and war]
Power abuse is common among both Substance Abusers and Co-Dependents.
Co-dependents are those who are psychologically dependent on or submissive to abusers.
Co-dependents are estimated at over 90% of the population.
Signs of potential power abuse include traits of frequent insults, criticisms, or anger, pride, grandiosity, selfishness, jealousy, demands, threats, hatred, violence, chronic stress, excessive drinking or drug use.
Signs of potential co-dependence are traits of submissiiveness, tolerance of abuse, over-dependence on others, being irresponsible while pretending to be super-responsible, perfectionism, naivete', fearfulness, nervousness, worry, phobias, substance abuse [which includes junk foods, esp. carbohydrates], exhaustion, facade, shyness, unassertiveness, self-disrespect, confusion, or dishonesty.
Most power abusers also have some degree of co-dependence.
CAUSES OF STRESS [Dr. Clancy McKenzie: http://www.drmckenzie.com]
The cause of stress is any subconscious false assumption or insecurity about dangers, identity, or relationship
These assumptions usually begin in childhood, when we're very naive.
If such false assumptions were not subconscious, they would be easy to correct and the stress would end.
As was said in Lesson 2, continuous misery tends to go into the subconscious, and so do the underlying assumptions.
Most people have traumas in early childhood, which cause these false assumptions of insecurity.
Separation trauma in early childhood is just as serious to kids as is major combat trauma to soldiers.
Such traumas tend to recur in later life, if similar events recur, such as losing a loved one, esp. thru a breakup.
When people understand the repetitive nature of early trauma, they're usually able to cope much better.
Early traumas often recur in adolescence as Schizophrenia, Major Depression, or earlier as Autism.
The kinds of trauma that can lead to these conditions include:
physical or emotional problems of the mother during pregnancy, birth problems, circumcision, separations due to sickness etc, emotional separation due to parent's problems or diverting attention to another sibling, problems worsened by sickness, injury due to accidents or drugs or medical treatments, e.g. vaccines containing mercury etc.
CO-DEPENDENCE & ABUSE PREVENTION
Preventing Power Abuse, Substance Abuse and Co-dependence requires reducing stress [i.e. insecurity].
There are many stress reducing techniques, but only a few, at most, deal effectively with the causes of stress.
This is the key to permanent stress reduction and increased group and individual efficiency.
Subconscious false assumptions underlying stress can be made conscious by asking questions.
Ask questions about your negative emotions, because these emotions are created by stress.
The negative emotions include fear, worry, anger, loneliness, boredom, shame etc.
Emotional feelings are like physical feelings: both are signals that either harm or healing is occurring.
While physical pain or irritation signals harm is occurring to the body, emotional pain or irritation signals harm occurring to the mind.
Pain and irritation can also occur during healing, but it should be diminishing over time.
Pain killers should be used very little, if at all, as they make us unaware of harm that may be occurring.
Subconscious false assumptions cause mental harm and emotional pain, much like harmful physical conditions cause bodily pain.
So subconscious false assumptions are harmful mental conditions.
Becoming aware of the falsehood behind emotional pain makes it easier to find the truth, which is simply opposite of falsehood.
And the truth automatically restores mental well-being and sets us free of emotional pain.
STRESS REDUCTION METHOD [from the 12 Steps]
A good way to proceed with stress reduction is with these short steps.
1st, check for tense muscles in the body and relax them and breathe more deeply.
[Step 4a] Stay alert to negative emotions or stress and occasionally stop to think about it when it strikes, or sometime during the day when there's time, and write briefly about the following.
[4b] Name the primary negative emotion that comes with the stress.
[4c] Ask what assumption, belief, or view is connected to this emotion [Check under next section: General False Assumptions].
[4d] Ask what there is about this assumption that's likely to be false.
[4e] Consider what is the opposite of the false assumption that is probably true.
[Step 7] Ask your subconscious to let go of the false assumption and remember the opposite truth.
[Step 10] Repeat the process as long as stress continues to return.
The subconscious false assumptions should become clearer with each practice of this procedure.
The following pointers may help you recognize your false assumptions.
GENERAL FALSE ASSUMPTIONS [with Step 4]
The several classes of negative emotions involve general false assumptions that are typical of most people.
Reading this below can help clarify subconscious assumptions involved in your stress.
The classes of negative emotions most common to stress are fear, anger, loneliness, boredom, shame and guilt.
Sometimes more than one of these emotions are involved.
FEAR - is the primary negative emotion, as it is usually involved in other negative emotions as well.
It includes worry, nervousness, fright, confusion etc, in other word, Insecurity.
The main assumption we make when we have fear is that something may cause us unbearable harm or pain, which would result in disaster.
What's wrong with this assumption? 1] Nothing is truly unbearable; 2] all pain can be relieved or prevented.
The main reason we think pain can be unbearable is that we have felt alone and unloved.
This will be covered further under "Loneliness."
We can find safe ways to face the false assumptions behind our fears to see that they are false.
The opposite of the assumption that pain can be unbearable or unpreventable is the fact that all pain is bearable and or preventable.
Note to subconscious, "Pain is not unbearable or unavoidable, so take away my exaggerated fear.
Help me learn to prevent the harm or pain I fear. Let me be at peace.
Start by relaxing all of my unduly tense muscles. Let me get whatever help I need."
Since feeling loved reduces pain appreciably, we can seek to feel loved by God, or a higher power, or by associating with loving people.
ANGER - includes feelings of hatred, resentment, frustration, irritation, annoyance, impatience, revenge, jealousy, bitterness etc.
The general assumption with anger seems to be that we've been cheated and that we deserve or need to get even.
The fear behind anger is that we will experience unbearable harm or pain, if we don't get even, or right a supposed wrong.
The false aspects of anger assumptions are, either that we've truly been wronged, or that we need to right the wrong in a way that hurts someone else.
The truth, which is the opposite, is usually that we aren't really so easily wronged, or that we need not hurt someone in order to right a wrong.
Note to subconscious, "Let me not readily feel wronged over trifles and let me not think a wrong can be righted by hurting someone.
Let me find healthy ways to right wrongs."
LONELINESS - includes sadness, depression, despair, aloofness, blues, blahs etc.
The assumption behind loneliness is that we are alone or separated from loved ones.
The opposite of this is that we are never alone. God or good and or loved ones are always with us.
The fear is that getting too close to God or love will cause unbearable pain or discomfort.
If we believe in God or good, we may fear that, if we get too close, God won't let us have any fun or relaxation.
The opposite of this is that our "higher power" wants us to have fun and peace so we can better share love with others.
HP wants to be our best friend and to give us the best advice we can get, not to be our dictator or prison warden or slave driver.
Note to subconscious, "Let me know that I'm never alone, that love is always with me and always ready to provide comfort and friendly, wise, helpful advice."
BOREDOM - which may go as far as sadness, depression, and or despair, has the assumption that we are in need of excitement.
The fear is often that nothing may be truly exciting, or that nothing is meaningful.
What is usually false in such assumptions is either, that we really need so much excitement [it can easily be a crutch to avoid other subconscious fears], or that a physical feeling like boredom may become permanent and unbearable.
The opposite of this, which is often the truth, is that anything can be exciting, or everything can have meaning.
This feeling of boredom is often a result of poor eating habits which don't provide good nutrition, due to too much junk food, or drugs, or abusing substances, or not enough pure water.
Meaning in life can be hard to detect if our brains are in a fog from bad habits.
Also, meaning can often be found by doing more for others and dwelling less on our own obsessions.
SHAME - includes feeling ashamed, embarrassed, degraded, violated, shy, guilty etc.
The main assumption in shame etc seems to be that we appear to others to be unacceptable in some way
And our reaction is to try to escape as quickly as possible.
The fear is often that we will be reduced in status and be less appreciated or loved by others.
Anger often accompanies shame, especially when we feel degraded.
The false aspect of these assumptions is that we are unacceptable.
The opposite, which is the truth, is that we are always acceptable, even if our bodies are unattractive or we have a moral debt that we need to pay.
GUILT - is one negative feeling that can stem from either false assumptions or from truth.
False guilt is based on any false assumption, which claims that we are guilty of something, when we're not really guilty of that. Someone has wrongly persuaded us of our false guilt.
Instead of being guilty of that thing, we're guilty only of having false guilt.
But we need to be careful about guilt, because real guilt tells us we're guilty of something that we really are guilty of.
And when we find we're truly guilty of some wrong, we need to make every effort to right that wrong as soon as we are emotionally healthy enough to do so.
If we have fear about making amends for wrongs done to anyone, we need to address that fear before we can carry on with effective amends.
Many of us find that the one we've wronged the most is ourselves and the way to make amends to ourselves is mainly by letting go of our subconscious false assumptions.
Regression is reverting back to emotional false assumptions.
Does every vocation and every group and institution need the 12 Steps to prevent people's regression?
They probably need the basic elements of the 12 Steps, especially moral self-exam and amends.
Self-exam and amends are as important for entire groups as for individual members of groups, according to Peck.
Groups also probably need problem-solving or conflict resolution dialog with all groups with whom they have any social relationship, in order to prevent power abuse.
One of the best methods of problem solving seems to be the P.E.T. Type 3 method.
Consensus decision making also seems to be important, because it prevents majorities from dominating or abusing minorities.
4. Lesson 4. SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION
POSITIVE VS. NEGATIVE PEER PRESSURE
Lesson 3 on Stress Reduction and the 12 Step program will help end or prevent Substance Abuse.
But it helps as well to have countermeasures against negative Peer Pressure.
Intervention and Positive peer pressure seem to be among the best such countermeasures.
Positive peer pressure includes 12 Sterp groups and CodaPlus groups etc.
The FUN PROJECT is an experimental effort to provide positive peer pressure in other settings.
Everyone in the public eye is a potential role model for young people.
Society and groups need to discourage negative role models and reward or encourage positive ones.
Groups need to develop leaders to be positive role models [See LEADERSHIP in Lesson 10].
With mass education, popular peers increasingly have become role models.
And the role models for these popular students are increasingly media celebrities.
Schools and parents can and should have positive influence on popular students.
Teachers may request that these students become co-Founders of CodaPlus groups to learn responsible leadership.
These groups should have adult supervision, like AlaTeen groups have by Al-anon members.
The meetings should include guest speakers from AlaTeen, Al-anon, Coda, AA, NA and like groups.
CAUSES OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE
What is Substance Abuse?
It is taking an amount of a substance that does harm, physically, mentally, or morally.
Moral harm is deceptive thinking that causes one to be less responsible.
Many substances can cause such physical, mental, or moral harm, even some foods, especially processed carbohydrates.
Addictive substances are those which give a deluded sense of pleasure, or high, or which numb pain.
Common early childhood traumas tend to predispose many or most people to substance abuse, esp. if either parent was a substance abuser.
Lack of sufficient freedom, excitement, or affection causes the pain for which addictive substances are abused.
Providing proper freedom, excitement and affection helps much to prevent or end substance abuse.
For addicts it's usually necessary to have a change of environment, as in a treatment center, for some months.
CodaPlus, 12 Step groups, P.E.T. and the FUN PROJECT can greatly help fulfill the above needs.
5. Lesson 5. CODA, OR CO-DEPENDENTS ANONYMOUS
WHAT IS CO-DEPENDENCE?
Co-dependence is an emotional disorder or "disease" stemming from the addictive process.
The addictive process is an emotional disorder involving compulsion to relieve stress or insecurity by harmful means.
Harmful means of relieving stress are substance abuse, power abuse and co-dependence, which is self-abuse.
Co-dependence and the addictive process stem from unfulfilled social and emotional needs.
These needs include especially freedom, excitement, affection, and cooperation
Shortage of any of these produce stress and insecurity.
Addictive substances tend to produce a false sense of fulfilling the above needs.
Co-dependence produces a similar false sense of fulfillment, but without addictive substances.
The illusion of fulfillment appears to be produced partly by chemical reactions in the brain.
There is no substance abuse or delusion that can really fulfill the above emotional needs.
Only emotional health and healthy relationships can fulfill those needs, as via the 12 Steps.
Following are many of the characteristics of co-dependence. [Schaef: Co-dependence, p. 42ff]
-dishonesty about or denial of one's emotional problems,
-projecting one's faults onto others,
-frozen or distorted feelings due to fear of certain feelings,
-holding on to feelings, like anger, resentment, instead of getting over them,
-being controlling of others,
-confused thinking due to fears,
-obsessive thinking out of desperation for control,
-selfish, naive and immature thinking due to insecurity,
-perfectionism, negativism, judgmentalism, or grandiosity as means to control,
-identifying with other/s due to self-hate
-deceiving others to control their impressions of oneself,
-overdependency on others for security or self-confidence,
-rigidity or stasis due to fear,
-Depression or immorality out of hopelessness,
-caretaking others to feel needed,
-getting sick to get sympathy,
-gullibility due to lack of self-confidence.
Behaviors that trigger or perpetuate co-dependence include:
=urge to control,
=comparing self or loved ones to others,
=not taking responsibility,
=focusing only on the addict's disorder,
=consulting co-dependent "professionals,"
=wanting to solve others' problems, instead of one's own.
RECOVERY FROM CO-DEPENDENCE
Checking the above characteristics of co-dependence can help in the recovery process. [Step 1]
The 12 Step program should be followed, preferably with support of a 12 Step group.
Al-anon is more numerous than CODA, and is generally just about as good for any co-dependents.
If you start or join a CodaPlus group, this can help with the 12 Steps too.
Each CodaPlus group should maintain contacts with numerous nearby 12 Step groups.
A list of these contacts should be made available to all members of the group.
The 12 Steps involve having a caring higher power, taking moral self-exam, making amends for wrong-doing, praying, and telling others about the program.
The higher power can be anything that feels caring and potent, even if it's a "higher self," etc.
What the 12 Steps do is increase moral maturity or wisdom, which is self-improvement.
6. Lesson 6. ENDING POWER ABUSE, CLASSISM & RACISM
DOMINATION & CLASSISM
As explained earlier, prisoners find they must act dumb around captors in order to get some freedom.
Dominant classes naturally tend to think their subordinates really are dumb, lazy and mischievous.
They don't realize that captivity or domination itself forces subordinates to act this way.
Teachers and leaders don't realize most kids' "dumbness" is an escape mechanism from lack of freedom etc.
Most dominant classes become racist or classist toward subordinates, regarding them as inferior.
Those in power come to regard themselves as responsible and superior and they develop false pride.
Pride blinds us to our own flaws, increasing our insensitivity to others.
Insensitivity makes it likely that those in power will abuse others.
Insensitivity is irresponsibility and domination is coercion, which is power abuse.
It is irresponsible to show disrespect toward, and unnecessarily limit the freedom of subordinates.
Such mistreatment makes subordinates act and feel irresponsible.
It is irresponsible and immature for those in power to demand respect from subordinates.
Authorities must first have and show respect for subordinates in order to get and teach respect.
Having respect means treating others as equals, not inferiors.
Dominant classes, those most "successful" and privileged, become the most proud and insensitive.
IGNORANCE AS INSENSITIVITY
Dominant classes are the most prone to being classist, racist and abusive, but usually unknowingly.
"Big Business" is the world's most dominant class. It owns and controls much of the media.
This dominant class has the most influence on government policies, like the IMF [Int'l Monetary Fund].
IMF austerity programs abuse poor nations by putting bankers' interests ahead of those of the common people.
They place more importance on people paying bankers huge interest rates on loans than on people's survival.
Free Trade, Privatization and De-Regulation of public services similarly abuse the common people.
Such policies of the dominant class are thus responsible for much of the world's suffering.
The dominant class's major media obscure these abuses, by rationalizing or by silence.
In the U.S. our media help make us ignorant of most of the suffering in the world.
We become insensitive to others' suffering through ignorance or denial.
When we are ignorant or unaware of someone's suffering, we can't be sensitive to it.
Ending Power abuse requires reducing ignorance and insensitivity and doing Intervention.
Intervention includes recommending Group Inventory to other groups.
Interveners should practice Group Inventory before recommending it to others.
7. Lesson 7. GROUP INVENTORY
REGAINING SENSITIVITY [CODA & Alcoholics Anonymous]
Groups do great evil due to insensitivity. Groups which are successful usually develop false pride.
As was said earlier, Pride blinds us to our own flaws and makes us insensitive to others.
Failing groups also try to rally members with false pride.
They blame outsiders for the group's failings in order to build group loyalty.
Many or most groups abuse people unintentionally, but the effects are just as harmful.
National or group pride has led to the fall of nations and even civilizations via wars, greed and laziness.
No group is immune to the dangers of false pride.
Overcoming class pride, or group pride, insensitivity and power abuse requires Intervention.
Intervention is any communication that helps insensitive groups become aware of their own dangerous flaws.
Insensitive communication with insensitive groups is ineffective and is not interventive.
Sensitivity training or experience is necessary in order to learn sensitive intervention communication.
The 12 Steps teach individuals to do periodic moral self-examination, called moral inventory.
12 Step Organizations also encourage their groups to do similar group self-examination, or inventory
To do inventory is to estimate the good and bad effects the group has on members and outsiders.
Groups do periodic group inventory in order to correct fatal flaws and retain sensitivity.
Inventory is followed by making amends, when appropriate.
The 12 Step program of groups like Alcoholics Anonymous explain inventory and amends well.
This process helps to relieve stress, prevent substance or power abuse and improve relationships.
Power abuses by dominant classes threaten the world's freedom and prosperity.
People and groups can cooperate to draft and elect conscientious, knowledgeable politicians to end power abuses.
We can also provide dominant groups with Intervention literature, or other communication.
8. Lesson 8. PROSPERITY VIA POLITICAL ACTION
WHAT IS PROSPERITY?
Prosperity means everyone having an abundance of things needed to fulfill everyone's needs.
Basic needs include freedom, excitement, affection, cooperation and physical survival needs.
Sensitive Political Action is necessary to provide sufficiency of freedom and physical needs.
This political action focuses on providing for the general welfare of all the people.
It promotes education that fills needs for freedom, excitement, affection, cooperation and truth.
It promotes science that does objective research for truth, free of manipulation by special interests.
It promotes media that are sensitive, objective, honest and fair, unmanipulated by special interests.
It promotes Intervention for all groups to increase sensitivity and responsibility.
Sensitive cooperation is the most effective means of achieving Prosperity.
Effective cooperation involves establishing or joining groups and promoting responsibility.
See prior Lessons for details on responsibility.
Cooperation should include making decisions by consensus, rather than majority rule.
Group rules should include starting and ending meetings at pre-specified times.
They should ask all members to speak only when designated by the leader or facilitator.
A timer should be used to limit each person's speaking to a pre-specified number of minutes.
The position of group leader or facilitator should rotate among experienced members.
It's often best for the group to divide into committees on desired subjects.
After each committee decides on proposals, the group should then vote on each proposal.
The proposal may be modified or made temporary to help reach consensus.
Objectors should be asked if they would agree to give a proposal a try despite doubts.
Active Listening and other P.E.T. methods should be used to improve everyone's sensitivity.
All members should be encouraged to learn the 12 Steps and P.E.T. and join a CodaPlus group.
Groups should do Group Inventory once a month, or every 2, 3, or 4 months. See Lesson 7.
9. Lesson 9. DIALOG FOR KNOWLEDGE SHARING
RESPONSIBILITY TO SHARE
It is Irresponsible to remain ignorant of basic matters on any important subject.
It is Irresponsible to be insensitive to anyone who seeks to communicate, except in emergencies.
In becoming more responsible, we must seek the best media for truth and knowledge.
We must also seek to advance truth and knowledge thru our associations.
Truth importantly includes facts about people's suffering anywhere on earth.
It also includes sensitive discussion of how best to remedy such suffering most effectively.
Every group should attempt to advance such truth and other knowledge effectively.
This means group members share truth and knowledge with each other.
It means groups also share truth and knowledge with other groups.
Knowledge includes science, history, economics, law, language, arts, personal experience etc.
The best knowledge to share is that which has the greatest potential to help the common good.
When groups meet, all members should be given about 5 minutes to share truth or knowledge.
If time is too limited, just one or a few members may be chosen to share at each meeting.
Different members should be chosen for each meeting, so all get a chance to share.
An alternative is for members to print out what they want to share and give other members copies.
Everyone should be free to decide themselves what seems to be truth and knowledge.
Everyone should also be encouraged to comment sensitively pro or con on what is shared by others.
Do good media exist that disseminate important truth and knowledge?
Most media cover some such matters, but most also slant much of their coverage for special interests.
The most important subjects may be Politics, History, Science, Health and Education.
Most media on all these subjects are slanted and considerably dishonest, due to pride and insensitivity.
Science, education, health science and history are very distorted due to special interests.
Our nation [and probably all nations] is like an addict, i.e. like a person addicted to power and substances.
That describes much of the dominant class of any society.
The lower classes of a society are like the addict's family members.
The addict is insensitive and denies doing anything wrong.
The family members are co-dependent and try to cover up for the addict to appear normal.
Sometimes a co-dependent family member will rebel, which upsets the other co-dependents.
Most rebels tend to become addicts or power abusers themselves.
Can you see how various groups in society behave like addicts, co-dependents, or rebels?
Since truth and knowledge are so distorted, much work needs to be done to make it right.
Will you help us do that and help bring humanity prosperity in the process?
10. Lesson 10. MORE RESPONSIBILITY
For kids it's responsible to have few responsibilities, but for adults it's responsible to have many, if properly developed.
Most of us adults did not have properly developed responsibilities, so we remain largely irresponsible.
P.E.T. and the 12 Steps are the best ways I know of to develop responsibilities properly.
Such responsibilities are fun again the way they were in our early childhoods, when we liked being more capable..
When we're not having much fun, we should take inventory, because something is wrong with us.
It may be that we're taking on more responsibilities than we are yet able to handle.
Many of the kinds of responsibilities we try to take on are things we should not really be doing at all.
Perfectionism, false guilt and senseless traditions often cause us to accept such responsibilities unwisely.
In our inventories we need occasionally to review our responsibilities and discard the unwise ones.
LEADERSHIP [M. Scott Peck: People of the Lie]
The most responsible people are leaders and not followers.
Many leaders are immature, but they have the confidence, courage and discipline to think for themselves and to lead.
The most responsible leaders effectively encourage their followers to become leaders.
They encourage followers to develop confidence, courage and discipline for independent thinking and leading.
This is proper leading, which promotes sharing leadership among all members of the group.
This is promoting equality, cooperation, mutual respect, consensus decision making and group inventory.
WHAT IS DISCIPLINE?
Discipline is ordered routine that produces effective and efficient action.
The 12 Steps and P.E.T. are among the best disciplines for developing responsible people.
Other important disciplines include nutrition, exercise, tidiness and reading for knowledge [See KNOWLEDGE SHARING].
Is discipline supposed to be fun, since it's another responsibility?
I would say YES on the basis that fun is anything that feels rewarding.
So how can these disciplines come to feel rewarding?
Doing things in groups is often more rewarding than doing them alone.
So it's likely to be helpful to brainstorm with others to find ways to do some disciplines together in fun ways.
CARRYING THE MESSAGE TO OTHERS
The last of the 12 Steps is practicing recovery and carrying the message of recovery to others who still suffer.
Recovery in this case means regaining emotional health, which allows one to become more responsible.
Each person who begins to become responsible is responsible for carrying the message of recovery to others.
All are free to do this however seems best, but cooperatively is usually better than individually.
Physical, psychological and emotional problems heal quicker when we're more loving toward others. [McKenzie]
Helping others and encouraging them to help yet others is an important way to love they neighbor and heal thyself.
No matter how serious our ailments are, we need to help others in order to help ourselves best.
Fear of ill-health is counterproductive and must be countered with love and faith in the healing process.
Negative emotions must be released, as by moral inventory, and positive ones must replace them to promote healing.
Is this enough responsibility you've gotten us into? Are we having fun yet?
11. LESSON 11.
- IS THE ADDICTIVE SYSTEM SIMPLY FEAR? DOES IT SPELL DOOM FOR SOCIETY?
BASIC HUMAN EMOTIONAL NEEDS
Why do kids in Western culture cry, fight and misbehave? Are these portents of doom for society?
Some people point to declining morality, increasing promiscuity and such, as signs of coming doom.
But the facts that kids cry, fight and misbehave are seldom thought of as similar signs.
Jean Liedloff did not consider them signs of doom, but did see them as signs of a sick society.
This view was forced onto her by circumstances in her travels some 30 years ago.
She came to live for a time in a jungle village with Native Americans in South America.
It impressed and amazed her to find that the kids there practically never cried, fought, or misbehaved.
This seemed so odd to her, that she said it seemed like living among aliens from another world.
She couldn't help but wonder if this might be how kids are when they're raised naturally.
The villagers shared in the care taking of each others' kids.
The youngest, especially those under 8 months old, were held constantly, usually by those who were active.
This fact led Jean to suspect that all kids may need this kind of constant human touch and frequent activity.
To these people there was little or no difference between work and play. All was like play.
In 1975 she wrote a book about the experience and her thoughts, called The Continuum Concept.
In this village, kids experienced abundance of affection, excitement, freedom and cooperation.
I believe these, along with knowledge and physical needs, are basic needs for healthy societies.
12 Step groups, P.E.T. et al are very helpful at providing these needs.
THE TRAGEDY OF COMMON CHILDHOOD TRAUMAS
Dr. Clancey McKenzie [http://www.drmckenzie.com] did and studied extensive research in the 90s and before, which very much tended to confirm much of Liedloff's "continuum concept" ideas.
He found that kids under age 2, who are separated from their primary caregivers for some hours or days, tend to experience their separations or aloneness as traumatic.
He found that the brain function patterns in these kids are quite like those of soldiers who experience major trauma in combat, which resurfaces later in flashbacks called PTSD, i.e. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Similar flashbacks of early childhood traumas occur when kids enter adolescence or early adulthood.
When traumas occur before age 2, the flashbacks in later life are called Schizophrenia.
If traumas occur between about ages 2 and 3, the flashbacks involve symptoms of Major Depression.
If traumas are less severe, or occur later in childhood, flashbacks seem to involve Co-dependence.
McKenzie's research shows that aloneness is just as traumatic for young kids as is combat for adults.
In both cases the person fears that their life may be actually about to end.
Human young are very dependent on elders for survival, so aloneness naturally means grave danger to them.
Traumas become subconscious and form the basis of many fears and unhappiness in later life.
Kids who are not subjected to the trauma of frequent aloneness and similar misfortunes grow up happy.
Many co-dependents and addicts using the 12 Steps uncover their childhood traumas and begin to heal.
CO-DEPENDENCE IS FEAR
Probably unlike Jean Liedloff, I do consider kids' unhappiness as a potential for society's downfall.
That's because a society that doesn't know how or want to raise happy kids to become happy adults is one which is likely to produce many mean and power-mad adults who will find happiness by destruction.
A co-dependent society is unhealthy and if it does not get into recovery the disorder can prove fatal.
The disorder of co-dependence is basically one of trauma-based fear.
All negative emotions are based on fear, even anger, which is fear of getting less than one deserves.
Fear causes anger, confusion, despair, recklessness, not caring about others, and these can spell disaster.
To get a better sense that co-dependence really is fear, ask yourself if it makes sense that all of these characteristics of co-dependence [See Schaef's Co=dependence] could be produced by fear.
Fear [of harm] leads to dishonesty or denial about emotional or relationship problems in oneself or significant others?
Fear [of feelings] leads to frozen, or distorted, feelings, or confused thinking?
Fear [of responsibility] leads to selfish, naive, or immature thinking, or gullibility?
Fear [of change] leads to rigidity, stasis, or holding on to negative emotions?
Fear [of death] leads to hopelessness, depression, carelessness, or immorality?
Fear [of worthlessness] leads to self-hate to identifying with others, living vicariously, or idolizing others?
Fear [of worthlessness] leads to self-doubt to overcaretaking others, or to putting on a facade to hide behind?
Fear [of abandonment] leads to sympathy seeking by pretended ailments, or making oneself sick etc?
Fear [of responsibility] leads to over dependence on others?
Fear [of powerlessness] leads to seeking control by obsessive thinking, grandiosity, perfectionism, negativity, judgmentalism, blaming, projecting one's faults onto others?
Fear [of pain] leads to eating disorders, or overmedicating?
It can then be asked also if fear leads to the characteristics of Power Abuse.
12. Lesson 12 - POWER ABUSE - DOES IT SPELL SOCIETY'S DOOM?
HOW WE CO-DEPENDENTS ENDANGER SOCIETY
We co-dependents destroy relationships, institutions and people unwittingly.
Civilization may be on the brink of self-destruction by war and devastating economic depression.
We co-dependents are primarily to blame for these trends, which may climax soon.
I'll explain how we seem to do this first, then how we can stop doing it and hopefully keep society intact.
We destroy in all of the following ways, collectively, not individually.
We must face these facts if we are to change them and heal ourselves and society.
First, we consistently deny that problems exist in ourselves and others, because we repress our feelings.
-Can problems be corrected if we deny or fail to see they exist?
2nd, our thinking is confused, selfish, naive, immature and gullible.
-Isn't this a welcome matt for corruption, scams, frauds and other parasitic power abuse?
3rd, we wish to avoid change; we're rigid, static; we cling to our negative emotions.
4th, we succumb to hopelessness, negativism, carelessness and immorality.
Immorality is action or inaction that does harm to others.
-Can we end corruption and power abuse if we rigidly avoid change, or give in to hopelessness about it?
5th, we pretend to be unwell and we make ourselves sick to get sympathy or advantage.
-Isn't this selfish advantage seeking a basis of corruption?
6th, we doubt or hate ourselves, living through others and putting on false fronts to hide our "real" selves.
-Can anyone trust us, if we're dishonest, deceptive, or self-hating?
7th, we waste ourselves in obsession, grandiosity, perfectionism, negativity and judgmentalism.
-If no one behaves realistically, conscientiously, or responsibly, can we expect society to survive?
8th, we harm or waste ourselves with eating disorders, overmedicating, risk-taking, gambling, overspending.
How much self-ruinous behavior can exist in society without destroying society?
9th, in the ways listed above, we accept corruption, abuses and self-destructiveness in society.
In The Seriousness of the Addictive Process below, I show that 40% of adults are likely severely irresponsible.
Can a society of corrupt, abusive, self-destructive and greatly irresponsible people survive?
HOW PEOPLE BECOME POWER ABUSERS
Anyone who has power is a potential power abuser, i.e. one who uses power to harm or deprive others.
The greater the power one has, the easier it is to abuse power and the harder it is to be stopped.
The easier it is to abuse one's power, the likelier a person is to do so.
Those who have little power cannot well imagine how easy it is for the powerful to abuse power.
Those who have less power are called dependents or subordinates.
Those who seek to share power responsibly with dependents and subordinates are called authorities.
Those who seek to hoard power and prevent others from sharing it are called authoritarians or dominators.
Subordinates are obliged to act inferior around dominators to avoid confrontations.
Dominators, due to pride, willingly believe that subordinates are inferior and don't deserve to share power.
When we see others as inferior, we automatically see ourselves as better than they, which inflates our egos.
Dominators are thus proud to be dominant and dominance gives them a sense of greater self-esteem.
This false pride is fertile ground for racism, fascism, authoritarianism, oligarchy and much power abuse.
Healthy relationships with others depend on each being sensitive to the feelings and concerns of the other.
Dominators fear sensitivity, because it seems to undermine pride, self-image, self-esteem, or power.
They fear that sensitivity would make them weak or vulnerable to domination by others.
THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE ADDICTIVE PROCESS
Power abuse is every culture's greatest danger from its own power structure and from outside powers.
Power abuse is the most tangibly dangerous of the 3 Addictive Process disorders.
Co-dependence is the most insidious disorder of the 3, which supports power abuse by denial, dependence, etc.
Addictions are among the more visible symptoms of the societal disorder, called the Addictive Process.
Substance abuse is most common among power abusers, as it helps numb fears and guilt.
Most nations are in serious danger from these three disorders of the Addictive Process.
Fear, greed, jealousy, anger and hatred, especially racism and classism, are the worst power abuses.
To grasp the harm these disorders inflict on society, think first of the millions of substance abusers.
There are over 20 million known alcoholics in the U.S. and many more alcohol abusers.
There are several million other substance abusers, and many more abusers of medical substances.
More than any are those with eating disorders. These addictions reduce physical and mental health in the U.S.
Co-dependents number the most of all and they suffer from varying forms and degrees of fear.
Power abusers probably include over 50% of adults, serious abusers maybe 10%.
Co-dependents include over 90% of adults, of which 30% are probably severe.
Substances abusers, not counting eating disorders, include about 20%, with 10% or more being severe.
Eating disorders, common among co-dependents, amount to about 80%, with about 25% being severe.
The TOTAL of the severe cases is then about 40 to 50%, i.e. about HALF of adults in the U.S.
10% are power abusers; 10% are substance abusers; 30% are severe co-dependents.
Eating disorders are common mainly to co-dependents; half of us may have severe eating disorders.
THE SERIOUSNESS OF POWER ABUSE
The public has gradually accepted the reality that spouse abuse and child abuse are common.
When these abuses were first reported in the early 80s, they were widely disbelieved by the public.
People thought: How could there be so much abuse without everyone knowing about it?
Now we know it's possible, because abusers and victims are often in denial, or are naive or deceptive.
Power abuse is widespread, and every major field of human endeavor is corrupted by dominators,
Government, business, health care, science, law, education, and media are seriously corrupt.
How can society function, if there is so much corruption?
It functions because a majority continue to be fairly responsible and honest.
But among the leaders in each field, there is much greater corruption than in lower echelons.
The abusers skim their profits off the top, like the mob does, taking in a few percent.
They know how to keep society functioning despite their thefts, assaults and manslaughters.
The film, JFK, shows very good evidence of high-level corruption behind the murder of JFK.
There was corruption in the murder itself and more corruption in covering up for the real murderers.
Robert Kennedy promised, if elected president in 68, to get to the bottom of his brother's murder.
He was murdered before the election. Martin Luther King was murdered two months earlier.
King's family and friends believe the real murderers of King were also covered up by the government et al.
After Nixon's resignation in 74, Congress investigated the CIA and FBI and found extensive corruption.
Since leaders of other countries are often corrupt, it should not seem absurd to think many of our leaders are too.
Suspicion of widespread corruption should not be taken as an excuse for despair, or fear.
If we look honestly at history, we can see plenty of reason for optimism.
SOME SUCCESSES AGAINST POWER ABUSE IN WESTERN HISTORY
The history of western civilization is checkered with triumphs over power abuse.
Greece was the known source of our civilization, which developed ideas about science and government.
Jesus and Paul promoted government for the common good of all - called agape', or Love thy Neighbor.
St. Augustine, 400 AD, revived and explained the idea of agape'.
Charlemagne, 800, formed a nation independent of church dominion and formed alliances with Muslims.
The Renaissance, 13-1500s, was a movement to revive and increase knowledge to improve people's lives.
Joan of Arc, 1431, inspired the government of France to fight for the common good of its people.
Louis XI, King of France, 1470s, gave possessions of Nobility to the people and favored the common good.
Henry VII, King of England, 1490s, followed some of the example of Louis XI.
Treaty of Westphalia, 1648, established principles for ending and preventing wars.
William Shakespeare, 1590s, inspired the public to wisdom through plays.
Cardinal Nicolas of Cusa, 1600s, promoted principles of science for improving human conditions.
American Colonists, 1600s, established framework for Constitutional government.
Ben Franklin, 1700s, organized Colonists in support of an Independent Republic.
Alexander Hamilton, 1790s, developed economic principles to benefit the common people.
John Quincy Adams, 1840s, opposed U.S. corruption and helped Latin America.
Abraham Lincoln, 1860s, saved the nation from secession and ended slavery.
Czar Alexander II of Russia, 1870s, freed the serfs and instituted policies like those of Lincoln.
Thomas Edison, 1900s, advanced scientific methodology for humanity.
Franklin D Roosevelt, 1930s & 40s saved the world from fascism and advanced humane economics.
Bill Wilson, 1930s to 60s, founded AA, which has led many to recovery from addiction and co-dependence.
Martin L King & John F Kennedy, 1960s, worked to end racism and improve conditions for the oppressed.
Thomas Gordon & Jean Liedloff, 1970s, explained the need for sensitivity in human relations.
Numerous amateur and professional historians, in the 1970s & beyond, explained power abuse among upper classes. Some came to appreciate and promote FDR'S and JFK's ideals regarding the common good..
Anne Schaef, 1980s, explained co-dependence and how it enables power abuse.
Most of these people overcame tremendous opposition to achieve success to improve the human condition.
They are all models on which we can base our own efforts to carry on with further progress.
13. Lesson 13. - ENDING THE ENABLING OF POWER ABUSE
CO-DEPENDENTS MUST STOP "ENABLING" OR ENCOURAGING POWER ABUSE
Nearly everyone suffers from some degree of Co-dependence and Power Abuse.
Substance Abuse often starts as a reaction to those with Co-dependence or Power Abuse disorders.
Co-dependents are emotionally dependent on or submissive to abusers of power or substances.
This dependence tends to "enable" or encourage others to act as authorities, which often leads to power abuse.
All immature authorities tend to become authoritarian, which means power abusing.
Power abuse is trying to control others by unnecessary force, threat, or deception.
A common symptom of co-dependence and power abuse is insensitivity, which is also called denial.
Denial occurs as our fears, or insecurity, move out of our conscious minds into our subconscious.
WE MUST STOP OUR DENIAL
No nation or society is safe from self-destruction until the Addictive Process is overcome.
12 Step programs began the process of societal recovery by teaching recovery from addiction.
Families of addicts later learned to use the same program to recover from co-dependence.
Society has not yet achieved much recovery from power abuse, especially among the upper class.
This is because of persistent denial, which is most common among the most powerful, due to pride.
CodaPlus will try here to help end this denial, so recovery on this front can begin in earnest.
Nearly everyone who is co-dependent also practices some degree of power abuse.
We tend to deny this, because we try to maintain an image of niceness.
But most of us try to control others by deception and this is a type of power abuse.
We also neglect ourselves and others to some degree and this withholding of power is also power abuse.
Neglecting ourselves includes such simple things as holding on to our fears, which neglects our mental health.
Such fears prevent us from learning and doing what's responsible and that's not "nice."
Remember, signs of potential power abuse include frequent insults, criticisms, or anger, pride, grandiosity, controlling, selfishness, jealousy, demands, threats, hatred, and violence.
And remember that actual power abuse is any effort to control others by unnecessary force, threat, or deception. And how many of us have not been guilty of one or more of these behaviors?
WHILE ENDING DENIAL, WATCH FOR FALSE GUILT
It is not power abuse to use power to take care of young kids or others in need.
Power abuse is unnecessarily depriving anyone of freedom, excitement, affection, cooperation, knowledge, or other needs.
We need to be aware of the dangers of the Addictive Process, but we also need to avoid false guilt.
Although power abuse is rampant in society, co-dependence is much more common.
Ending co-dependence must come first, because co-dependence "enables" power abuse.
Co-dependents need to learn the difference between false guilt and real guilt.
We co-dependents must stop tolerating our own abusiveness and then stop tolerating that of others.
To do this, we must stop denying co-dependence and power abuse in ourselves and in society.
HOW TO BUILD ENOUGH COURAGE TO TRIUMPH
How much more could we do for good, if we had courage, instead of fear?
Isn't it obvious that courage would help us to triumph in many situations that otherwise fail?
I stated before that Love is Power; this power is the best source of courage.
This power is by way of supportive friends or loved ones or higher power that encourages us.
Just being accepted in others' company and being shown respect is largely what love means in this case.
12 Step meetings, and the like, can provide this kind of respect, which gradually builds our self-confidence.
One 12 Step member said he was an obedient victim, so when he was told to go to meetings, he did.
This was one case in which obedience paid off, so be like him and obey good advice.
But begin relying less on others to make your decisions for you, as you gain confidence.
HOW TO END POWER ABUSE
Use the 12 Steps to relieve stressful emotions and to end power abuse.
Then carry the 12 Step message to other power abusers who still suffer.
Study literature on Intervention, such as Vernon Johnson's book, I'll Quit Tomorrow.
CodaPlus will work on getting the best available information on intervening in power abuse.
Material on spouse abuse, child abuse and violence prevention should be helpful in the mean time.
Group inventories can also help to end groups' power abuses.
GROUP INVENTORY ADDENDA
See Lesson 7 for pointers on inventory; further ideas for group inventory follow.
Start group inventory by listing from 3 to 10 of the worst current flaws in your group.
List how the group mistreats members and non-members.
Ask other members and non-members to list the flaws they can think of too, without consulting your list.
Meet with willing members et al to discuss the combined lists to determine which are the main flaws.
Determine and list with the main flaws what amends may need to be made.
Present findings to group leaders and request admissions and needed amends, if any, need to be made.
Read the 12 & 12 on Steps 4 through 7 to see what are some advantages of doing group inventory.
THE FOLLOWING GROUPS SHOULD DO GROUP INVENTORY
12 Step Groups -- CodaPlus groups -- Families -- Friends -- Partners -- Religious groups -- Charities -- Businesses and Business groups -- Political Action groups -- Federal, State and Local Government Departments -- Military groups -- Organizations -- Dependents groups
© 2004 Lloyd Kinder