In this post, I hope to provide two (2) concepts and then give a bit of context as to why these concepts are critical for recovery from an addiction. The two concepts are:
- Psychological Empowerment
- Locus of Control
Psychological Empowerment is the set of four cognitions: Meaning, competence, self-determination, and impact. These four cognitions cannot be separated; only when measured together do they reflect Psychological Empowerment. Also, Psychological Empowerment results in an active, not passive, approach to life that causes individuals to strive toward and feel capable of shaping life roles.
Locus of control is the attribution of the cause or control of events to either themselves or to an external environment. Those who ascribe locus of control to themselves are said to have internal locus of control and are referred to as internals. People who attribute control to outside forces are said to have an external locus of control and are termed externals. Internals percieve greater control and actually seek situations in which control is possible. When it comes to performing a task that requires luck or skill, externals are more likely to choose luck and internals choose skill.
One of the twelve (12) steps AA asks its members to do is to admit that they had become powerless to alcohol or drugs. To me, the reason behind the step is that addiction overwhelms its victims leaving them isolated and oppressed by the need to use.
However, if a person can redefine his or life using his or her own terms, then there is a change that the person can rebuild. In order to develop towards recovery, in my experience, people must find meaning in their life, extend or develop a skill they are competent to do, reclaim their life in their terms, and see results against their addiction. They can gain a sense of psychological empowerment, which will in turn provide a space in which they can regain management of their life.
It’s pretty clear to me how locus pf control works within an addiction. If a person believes that life happens without much involvement on his or her part, then it’s clear that addiction will overwhelm an externally locused individual. However, in mastering skills, a person can, in time, become internally locused. Creative activities are a crucial component of recovery because they provide a means through which a person see that they do have impact on his or her life.
It’s important to use these concepts. Really, even if someone isn’t in recovery, understanding that there is a chance of developing psychological empowerment can help anybody overcome any obstacle he or she may face. Life is meaningful, sometimes we just have to uncover that meaning.