By Arthur H. Woodard

How is it HELPful to support recoverees and their allies in learning about addiction as suggested in Kathleen O'Connell's Stages of Recovery?
What do you think addiction is?
How do you describe/define addiction to an adolescent?

This HUBLOG provides exposure to a resource developed by Angeles Arrien, PhD that has power-fully informed my way of thinking and teaching addiction and recovery.

Angeles Arrien (1940-2014) was a cultural anthropologist, educator, lecturer and consultant best known for her book The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer and Visionary. Ms. Arrien summarized the lesson of her Four-Fold Way of Living as "walking a spiritual path with practical feet". Her books and lectures have provided me with a wonderfully prACTical framework for prACTicing spiritual principles in my recovery process and in supporting recoverees and their families and allies.

The Way of the Healer/Caretaker as described in Arrien's work involves paying attention to what has heart and meaning, i.e., Love. The "Light Side" of the Way of the Healer/Caretaker is described as opening up to love, gratitude, acknowledgement and validation. The Ways to Wisdom of the Way of the Healer/Caretaker involve attitudes and ACTions that promote an individual's ability to maintain personal health and support the well-being of communities and environments. 

The Way of the Caretaker/Healer suggests that the Power of Love is the most potent healing force in the world. In my humble efforts to learn, live and lead recovery I have experienced the power in others' having loved me well and the power of love in individuals transformation in recovery as a result of turning their lives over to care and love.
I have discovered that this way of the caretaker HELPs to overcome addiction as defined by Craig Nakken, "a love trust relationship with an object or event that changes an individual's mood".

Through an ongoing attention to what has heart and meaning in human relationships versus the relationship in which I loved and trusted alcohol to lift my spirit and change my mood, one day at a time I am overcoming what Angeles Arrien described as the "Shadow Side" of the Way of the Healer/Caretaker, i.e., The Four Human Addictions.

Through my engaging in the prACTice of suggesting that recoverees and their families and allies learn about the four human addictions, individuals report gaining tremendous awareness and insight that HELPs inform their focus on the characteristics of their own addiction and goals and tasks for changing.

The Four Human Addictions as described by Angeles Arrien include,

Addition to Intensity


Addiction to Perfection


Addiction to Being Fixated on what's not working rather than on what is working