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MANY ROADS, ONE JOURNEY by Charlotte Davis Kasl


Moving Beyond the Twelve Steps

by Charlotte Davis Kasl

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1992
ISBN: 0-06-055263-8
Publisher: HarperCollins

A 16-step program for overcoming addiction and dependency that speaks to the special needs of women and minorities; by a self-described ``feminist, Quaker, psychologist, healer, peace and social justice activist and a woman on [her] own spiritual journey.'' While acknowledging that AA's 12-step recovery program works for some, Kasl (Women, Sex, and Addiction, 1989) found that its allegedly upper-middle-class, white, male, Christian value system did not meet her own needs. The reaction from hundreds of women to a revised 12-step program that she published in Ms. in 1990 has led to the present book. After analyzing AA, which she sees as too dogmatic and reflective of the patriarchal nature of our society, Kasl examines the approaches of other programs and methods, such as Women for Sobriety, Secular Organization for Sobriety/Save Our Selves, Rational Recovery, and aversion therapy. Taking a holistic approach and adopting a special vocabulary (to Kasl, ``faith'' is a verb, and since ``recovery'' implies ``covering over,'' she prefers ``dis-covery''), the author offers a program designed to build a sense of self and to empower one to take charge of one's life. Those disturbed by references to chakras, mandalas, the sacred spirit, and life- force energy, however, may be made uneasy. And the unity of the book is marred by a curious chapter on chronic yeast infections and diet that reveals Kasl's cynicism about mainstream institutions and her credulity about unscientific claims; in it, she faults the medical profession for failing to acknowledge the significance of Candida albicans and recommends Harvey and Marilyn Diamond's controversial Fit for Life (1985), a questionable source for nutrition advice. Likely to offend those committed to orthodoxy, but offering a strong case for flexibility and diversity in programs for recovery from substance abuse. (Illustrations—not seen.)