Powerlessness: Wendy Dossett

I was fascinated by Wendy Dossett’s interview with my colleague Wulf Livingston, in particular the discussions around the 12-Step Fellowship. Her research has provided some important insights into the 12-Step Fellowship. The film below follows on from an earlier one of Wendy’s that I have posted, The Nature of Addiction, where she describes acknowledging her own powerlessness over her addiction.

Wendy describes powerlessness as being a central concept in 12-step fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It is argued that if control of substance use is beyond your own willpower, then there has to be some other power that is going to bring about abstinence. For example, step 1 states ‘We admitted we were powerless over alcohol…’, whilst step 2 states ‘Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.’

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Recovery Voices: Wendy Dossett of the University of Chester

I am really pleased to introduce the fourth of our Recovery Voices, Dr. Wendy Dossett, who is interviewed by my colleague Wulf Livingston. Wendy is a person in recovery who is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Chester, UK, and Director of the Chester Studies of Addiction, Recovery and Spirituality Group.

I have edited Wendy’s fascinating interview into 16 short films totalling 85 minutes and 55 seconds. She describes how she reached out for help 18 years ago at a time when she was in absolute agony due to her drinking problem. She has not had a drink of alcohol since that time. In their fascinating discussion, Wendy and Wulf cover a wide range of topics, including the nature of addiction, a wide variety of aspects related to the 12-Step Fellowship, foundations of recovery, grassroots community, recovery advocacy and the system, and recovery friendly universities.

In the first film, Wendy and Wulf initially discuss how long they have known each other, probably around a decade. Whilst Wendy works in England, she lives in the heart of Snowdonia in Wales. She lived in or near Lampeter in South West Wales for 23 years, before spending the last 12 years in North Wales. She considers herself very lucky to live where she does. Wendy also describes her academic background in religious studies, and her interest in the discourse of religion and spirituality.

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Factors Facilitating Recovery: Involvement in Meaningful Activities

Another important factor facilitating recovery involves the development of valued social roles through involvement in meaningful activities. Through these activities, recovering people gain a sense a purpose and direction in their life—they find a niche in the community. 

These meaningful activities may involve employment or volunteering, engagement in hobbies or other leisure activities, or connecting with other organisations or groups. Employment is a central way in which people can achieve more meaning and purpose in their lives and is therefore a key pathway to recovery. As described in a previous post, impacting on the lives of other people in a positive manner, ‘giving back’ as it is often called, is also important for personal recovery.

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Marion’s Story: My Family, Mother’s Side

Marion’s mother was well-educated and had lived with wealthy white families. She taught her the ‘white’ way of doing things.

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