Finding a "Lower, Deeper Power" for Women in Recovery

By O'hare-Lavin, Mary Ellen | Counseling and Values, April 2000 | Go to article overview

Finding a "Lower, Deeper Power" for Women in Recovery


O'hare-Lavin, Mary Ellen, Counseling and Values


For decades people have accommodated and adjusted to the direction prescribed by recovery programs. The dominant admonition of recovery programs to find a "higher power" may be appropriate and helpful to many people, but some are beginning to question this direction/or their own individuation processes. Through the use of the ancient Greek myths of Persephone, Psyche, Orpheus/Eurydice, and the ancient Mesopotamian myth of Inanna, readers will be taken in the direction of the underworld to experience an alternative heroic journey motif in search ora "lower, deeper power."

   Psalm 42, Verse 1 As a doe longs for running streams, so longs my soul for
   you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, the God of my life, where shall I go
   to see the face of God?

   First Commandment I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt have no gods before
   me.

In downtown Chicago, there is a marvelous building called The Board of Trade Building. It is here that grain and wheat are traded as commodities. Atop the building is a beautiful art deco statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. It is from her we get the name for cereal. The Greeks had the same goddess image, but they called her Demeter. I prefer to use the Greek name because somehow the name Demeter sounds to me like "the mother." At any rate, when the construction people placed her at the top of this building in the 1930s, she could be admired from afar but no one could see that she was faceless, that is, until recently when tall office buildings began to be constructed around the Board of Trade. Contemporary employees, while looking out from their windows exclaimed, "She has no face!" Indeed, she is senseless. She has no ears, no nose, no eyes, and no mouth. I wondered if this statue might be a metaphor for modern women's lack of connection with the Divine? When the importance of the goddess vanished, did women lose their voices?

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS: AN EXAMPLE OF THE ABSENCE OF THE FEMININE

Recently my spouse and partner gave the keynote talk at a conference on alcoholism at the New York Open Center. (The talk was transcribed and appears in the 1998 Issue 7 of Lapis magazine; see Lavin, 1998.) I satin the audience of counselors, mostly women, listening to the presentations from an all-male panel describing the journeys of recovering alcoholics. The analogous heroic journeys were those of Christ, Buddha, Moses, Icarus, King Arthur, and more. Although valuable and good, these images are solely male images. Although women psychically accommodate, they often are left unmoved and unable to relate to these male images as part of their unique heroic/recovery journeys. Christ and Moses went up the mountain; Icarus flew high up in the sky. Going up is a male image or motif. I thought to myself, "These speakers are talking about journeys in life but they are describing journeying through a male prism." My question at the time was, "Don't women journey? And might their journeys be in a different direction? Where are the stories about women's journeys?"

Since the 1940s, through the implementation of the Twelve Steps, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has helped many recovering people remain sober and find peace by encouraging them to connect with a "higher power." The use of the Twelve Steps has branched out and become useful in other forms of recovery as well. The difficulty is that AA is a predominantly male-oriented path to recovery. The tenets of AA are stereotypically geared toward the way men recover.

I am not dismissing the imagery of AA. I am simply suggesting that women may have other images they rely on. A "higher power" may not necessarily be relevant to the feminine way of recovery. Some women may find descending to align with a "lower, deeper power" more relevant. For example, in an article written for AA Grapevine: Our Meeting in Print (Anonymous, 1996), one female author searched for a "lower power," expressing a desire to go in a direction other than the one prescribed by AA (see Appendix). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Finding a "Lower, Deeper Power" for Women in Recovery
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.