Safety, Trust & Empowerment
Often, “safety” simply means physical safety. Just as important, though often neglected, is emotional safety. This type of safety is crucial as we seek to establish relationships based on trust. Safety comes before trust, and requires honesty, openness, validation, understanding, and a willingness to empathize. When we are safe in a relationship, we know we will not be used or taken advantage of. When emotional safety is present, our relationships feel secure and we can relax, knowing that the other person has our best interests at heart. When we create safety in relationships, we also have the interests of the other person in our mind and heart.
When we experience relationships which lack safety, the effects of those experiences remain with us in the form of shame until they are properly dealt with. By healing shame and past hurts, we cease to be susceptible to similarly unsafe relationships in the future.
Only when there is safety should trust be given. Trust allows another person to see and experience our vulnerabilities. This kind of sharing is very important and healthy once safety is present. When safety has been violated or is not yet established, trust must not be given wholesale, as this creates a set-up for hurt.
When a relationship is safe, trust is a natural result. When trust exists, deep sharing, vulnerability, validation, and strong bonding can take place. These things lead to a great deal of personal empowerment: love for self and others, realization of great power to do good, and the creation of happiness, joy, satisfaction, and peace.
When we learn and live the characteristics of honor, such as responsibility, honesty, love, etc., we are extremely empowered. We become emotionally safe, trustworthy and capable of building and maintaining safe, trusting, intimate relationships. We develop self-discipline and self-control. As we become worthy of trust, our nature changes, our character improves, and we begin to trust ourselves (and others) more completely. We cease to take situations personally. We enjoy peace.
This section includes:
- 7 “session” (32 pages):
- Emotional Safety
- Personal History & Emotional Safety
- Safety & Boundaries
- The Safety Door
- Trust & Empowerment
- Characteristics of Honor
- 8 homework activities (36 pages)
- Supplemental diagrams (8 pages)
- Total (this section): 76 pages
In this section, you’ll learn:
- What emotional safety is and why it is extremely important to human happiness & development
- Questions to assess whether you are in relationships with safe people
- Characteristics that indicate unsafe relationships
- How to recognize and change your own unsafe behavior
- What to do if you are already in an emotionally unsafe relationship
- Why we become susceptible to unsafe relationships
- How lack of safety is an outgrowth of past experiences and shame
- Examples of how safety, trustworthiness and trust empower us tremendously as individuals and in our relationships
Principles of Recovery
Recovery, whether from physical ailment, addiction, or emotional sickness, is a process. Recovery is always a process. In the cases of addiction and emotional recovery, we choose recovery again and again by living principles of honesty and responsibility. As we do so, the recovery principles revive and renovate our souls. As we change our way of life, our new principles change our very being.
The overriding principle of this course is that of recovery. It is supplemented with five specific topics you need to know: unmanageability, bottom lines, slips, relapse, and white-knuckling.
A large portion of this course is focused on unmanageability. It is the most abstract topic covered in this course. First, unmanageability means that we are literally incapable of controlling our external situation – anything beyond the tips of our noses is outside of our control. In this sense, we have control over only our own feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. The second meaning of unmanageability is that when we do not manage our internal thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, we inevitably seek an external to “manage” them for us. We do so by attempting to control (manage) our external situation, enforce our will on others, etc. This leads to addiction. Again, unmanageability is a large and abstract topic, and it is covered in great detail, with many examples, in this course. When you thoroughly understand and apply the idea of unmanageability, you will have a crucial key that unlocks a lifestyle of recovery.
Four more concepts supplement the principle of unmanageability. Bottom lines are the boundaries we set between ourselves and our addictions. They alert us when our drug of choice is nearby. Slips consist of going through those boundaries we set up to protect ourselves. Slipping does not necessarily mean we have acted out with our drug of choice yet, and slips always put us in extremely dangerous territory – we are close to our drug and we will act out if we don’t “back up” over the line again. Frequent slips and acting-out constitute a relapse.
Relapse means we have ceased living in recovery and are currently living in addiction instead. To get back into recovery, we must recognize the relapse, become responsible and remorseful for the damage we have caused ourselves and others, and change our mindset and our desires. Then we reaffirm our bottom lines.
Finally, the term “white-knuckling” refers to the overly-tight grip we use when doing something nerve-racking, such as public speaking or flying on an airplane. In this course, it means using all (and only) our willpower, and attempting to control our situation. We “hold on” way too tightly, tire ourselves our, and refuse other sources of strength, preferring to “muscle through.” When we white-knuckle, we aim our willpower directly at our drug of choice, rather than addressing the underlying cause of the addiction and engaging principles of honesty, responsibility, integrity and humility. We must learn to recognize slips, relapses, and white-knuckling within ourselves and change direction before they throw us off of our chosen lifestyle of recovery.
These five topics together constitute an “essentials package” for addiction recovery. As you create a lifestyle of recovery and grow into integrity, honesty, responsibility, and humility, you will enjoy the strength, peace, serenity, love, and assurance that accompany such living. You will change from the inside out, which is the only method of true, all-encompassing change.
This section includes:
- 11 “sessions” (48 pages):
- A Lifestyle of Principles
- Unmanageability: Part 1
- Unmanageability: Part 2
- Unmanageability: Part 3
- Bottom Lines
- Powerlessness & Recovery
- Living in Recovery
- Withdrawal (from Chemicals in the Brain)
- 13 homework activities (44 pages)
- Supplemental diagrams (12 pages)
- Total (this section): 104 pages
In this section, you’ll learn:
- Practical principles & keys to overcome addictions
- Why and how we become addicted to things, people, behaviors, attitudes, etc.
- Why we can become addicted to anything in our world
- An extensive examination of the principle of “unmanageability” – what it is, why it is important, and how to apply it positively
- Bottom Lines:
- What they are
- Specific instructions for creating bottom lines around your addiction(s)
- How bottom lines create safety & why they are necessary.
- What slips are and how you can use them as “warning lights” to drive you forward in your recovery process
- How to avoid relapses and how to remedy them when you do relapse
- How and why to engage the principle of powerlessness
- How to avoid cross-addicting
- Steps: How to engage the process of recovery (with an example)
- Why white-knuckling does not work, and how to engage recovery in a holistic way instead.