The Journey toward Complete Recovery: Reclaiming Your Emotional, Spiritual and Sexual Wholeness


Founder of the Institute for Staged Recovery in New York City and creator of "Authentic Process Therapy," Picucci is an addictions counselor who bases his methods primarily on personal experience. In this updated edition of his self-published Complete Recovery, Picucci describes a "Stage Two" recovery program for evolving beyond freedom from addictions to "holism," which encompasses joy, bliss, love, empowerment, creativity, respect for all life, and peace. Picucci makes an interesting distinction between ...
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Founder of the Institute for Staged Recovery in New York City and creator of "Authentic Process Therapy," Picucci is an addictions counselor who bases his methods primarily on personal experience. In this updated edition of his self-published Complete Recovery, Picucci describes a "Stage Two" recovery program for evolving beyond freedom from addictions to "holism," which encompasses joy, bliss, love, empowerment, creativity, respect for all life, and peace. Picucci makes an interesting distinction between recovery from addictions and childhood traumas" and "recovery of fulfillment, wisdom, serenity, and emotional, spiritual and sexual wholeness.

Using a structure of 12 stations, which can be visited and revisited in any order as often as needed, he guides readers through six fundamental and six emergent modules of this process for healing the "spiritual-sexual split" and the "cultural pain... of oppressed minorities," and ultimately achieving the "shame-free presentation of self." Picucci says he offers "nothing less than a re-birthing process" through a combination of one-on-one psychotherapy, support groups and spirituality. His own life experiences as a gay man, once married, now HIV positive, surviving AIDS, cancer, a heart attack, triple-bypass surgery and drug and alcohol addictions give him a uniquely credible perspective on healing and wholeness. In his cogent, well-organized handbook, Picucci functions a bit like the gay shamans who had a special place in North American Indian tribes. His compassionate acceptance of diversity will inspire many readers to care to take the next step and seek the help they need.

"An addiction counselor, who has come to terms with his own addiction and traumas, shares his wisdom."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Finally! A book that addresses spirituality as a part of sexuality in terms everyone can understand. I look forward to incorporating the material in this book to add new dimensions to our recovery programs."
-Joseph M. Amico, M.DIV., CAS, Executive Director, Pride Institute, Co-Chair, National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity

"Picucci teaches us how to integrate the mind, body, and spirit and to reclaim our lives, passion, and our humanity. Written with great clarity and compassion, this is a must-read for anyone wishing to recover, to grow, and to love."
-Joyce A. Kovelman, Ph.D., author of Once Upon ASOUL: The Story Continues

Jacquelyn Small
"Michael's book is an important statement concerning the evolution of addiction recover, which is the process of self-discovery that underpins all healing approaches. We are moving beyond pathologizing' ourselves which keeps us stuck in the past, and learning to view our symptoms as those of 'birthing a new consciousness.' Michael Picucci's book addresses this shift in perspective that can make us whole." -(Author of Transformers; Awakening in Time; and Becoming a Practical Mystic)
Carolyn Craft
"Recovery takes on new meaning in Dr. Michael Picucci's The Journey Toward Complete Recovery. He expands our hearts and opens our minds to the wonders, the growth and the tremendous rewards of a holistic, ongoing approach in recovering the lost parts of our Self. Anyone touched by the dis-ease of addictions or 'blocked energy,' will be awakened and transformed by this work, as I have. He gives both promise and hope." (Director and Host, Wisdom Channel Radio and Television Network)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Founder of the Institute for Staged Recovery in New York City and creator of "Authentic Process Therapy," Picucci is an addictions counselor who bases his methods primarily on personal experience. In this updated edition of his self-published Complete Recovery, Picucci describes a "Stage Two" recovery program for evolving beyond freedom from addictions to "holism," which encompasses "joy, bliss, love, empowerment, creativity, respect for all life, and peace." Picucci makes an interesting distinction between "`recovery from' addictions and childhood traumas" and "recovery of fulfillment, wisdom, serenity, and emotional, spiritual and sexual wholeness." Using a structure of 12 "stations," which can be visited and revisited in any order as often as needed, he guides readers through six "fundamental" and six "emergent" modules of this process for healing the "spiritual-sexual split" and the "cultural pain... of oppressed minorities," and ultimately achieving the "shame-free presentation of self." Picucci says he offers "nothing less than a re-birthing process" through a combination of one-on-one psychotherapy, support groups and spirituality. His own life experiences--as a gay man, once married, now HIV positive, surviving AIDS, cancer, a heart attack, triple-bypass surgery and drug and alcohol addictions--give him a uniquely credible perspective on healing and wholeness. In his cogent, well-organized handbook, Picucci functions a bit like the gay shamans who had a special place in North American Indian tribes. His compassionate acceptance of diversity will inspire many readers to care to take the next step and seek the help they need. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556432866
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction xv
1. In Search of Holism 5
1. The Possibility of Holism: Envisioning the Reward 5
2. Barriers To Holism: Recognizing the Blindspots 8
3. Steps Toward Complete Recovery: Dissolving
Barriers to Holism 13
2. Stage One Recovery: The Journey Begins 19
The Eleven Stations of Stage One Recovery 19
Celebrating Stage One 23
Stories Help Us Heal 24
Lost Innocence 25
3. Stage Two Recovery: The Path of Community-Based Healing 29
What Is Stage Two Recovery 29
The Evolution of Stage Two 33
Jason's Story 38
4. The Four Powers: Dissolving Barriers to Complete
Recovery 43
1.The Power of Community-Based Healing 43
2. The Power of Shared Intentionality 45
3. The Power of Shared Belief 49
4. The Power of Authentic Process 51
Chris' Story 55
5. Getting Through the Hard Part 59
1. Finding One's Authentic Self: Getting Through the
Mask of Composure 60
2. Cultural Education: Getting Through Cultural Pain 61
3. Psycho-education: Getting Through Isolation 63
4. Grief and Rage: Getting Through Original Pain and
Trauma 64
5. Medication: Getting Through Severe Depression and
/ or Anxiety 65
Edward's Story 66
6. The Six Fundamental Stations 73
Station 1: Finding the Unconscious Through the "Inner
Child" 75
Station 2: Awakening Your Body, Finding Your Grounding 83
Station 3: Exploring the Sexual-Spiritual Split -- A
Milestone on the Journey of Self-Recognition 88
Station 4: Revisiting Adolescent Awkwardness 103
Station 5: Re-Experiencing Original Pain and Trauma 109
Station 6: Grieving Unresolved Losses 117
Connie's Story 122
7. Transformation: The Six Emergent Stations 127
Station 7: Letting Go and the Authentic Presentation
of Self 129
Station 8: Learning More Effective Behavior Through
Corrective Experience 131
Station 9: Separating Adult Needs from Childhood
Needs (Milestone on the Journey to 134
Station 10: Integrating the Shadow Self 138
Station 11: Updating and Re-Tuning the Unconscious 143
Station 12: Experiencing Self-Love and Self-Assertion 148
A Return to Love 152
8. The Fruits of the Tree 157
Holism, the Reward of Recovery 157
How to Recognize the Fruits of the Tree 158
9. Tools for the Inward Journey 185
1. Artistic and Creative Expression 185
2. Journal Writing 186
3. Creative Writing 187
4. Emotional Release Work 188
5. Esteem Work 189
6. Meditation and/or Visualization 190
7. Sense of "Self" Spirituality 191
8. Body Energetics, Bodywork and Body Movement 195
9. Martial Arts and Self-Defense 197
Sandra's Story 198
10. The Uses of Medication in Recovery 201
The Relationship Between "Applied Psychopharmacology"
and Complete Recovery 201
What Is Applied Psychopharmacology 201
11. Moving Forward: Transforming Our World 211
Praying for "The Hundredth Monkey" 211
Moving Forward: A Turn-of-the-Century View 214
The Goals of The Institute for Staged Recovery 217
Closing Words 219
Acknowledgments 221
Resources 223
Bibliography 229
Index 233
About the Author 241
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First Chapter

Chapter One

In Search
of Holism

Have you ever seen a powerful movie, listened to a great piece of music or finished a really good book and, coming away with a feeling of profound happiness, said to yourself, "Everything makes so much sense. I wish life were like that --" only to wonder if perhaps it could be like that if only you could see things a little more clearly? Have you ever felt like everything in your life probably made sense, but you were missing some of the puzzle pieces, and so it remained a mystery to you?

    If the answer is yes, then perhaps you have glimpsed the underlying holism that surrounds us all the time, but which we are so often blinded to by the sorrows that accompany even the happiest life. The quest for this holism can take a lifetime, but it is worth the trip. And whether you are recovering from trauma, incest, sexual abuse, cultural oppression and confusion, or addiction, if you are seeking complete recovery, you are in fact seeking to rediscover the holistic state. They are one and the same. But what exactly is holism?

1. The Possibility of Holism: Envisioning the Reward

Holism is the goal of Authentic Process Therapy (APT). It encompasses not only the feeling of being whole and complete in oneself, but also of being integrated into the cosmos, one with nature, and connected with all humanity. If we are able to envision for ourselves such a state or at least accept that it is possible, we can recognize the need for a complete recovery process which goes beyond healing addictions and compulsions. Holism is a place of great joy, bliss, love, empowerment, creativity, respect for all life, and peace, a place from which we can meet future challenges with grace and wisdom. We come from a new integration, having brought parts of ourselves (physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual) together at the deepest level of inner knowing. This leads to integration and balance with every part having significant value and importance.

    Holism is the understanding that reality is made up of organic and unified wholes that are greater than the simple sum of their parts. At the core of this experience is what I call "shame-free presentation of the self." When we reach a holistic state, we know who we are and no longer feel ashamed or embarrassed by our difficult personal history. Of course we will still be discriminating with regard to when and where we share certain aspects of ourselves, but we will experience and radiate the essence of true empowerment, entitlement and spiritual connectedness, whether we express it verbally or not.

    Authentic Process Therapy is a highly effective way of releasing crippling toxic shame by exploring unconscious material and making it conscious. When this happens, it releases an energy that appears to enhance relationships with others and with the natural world. Carl Jung called this phenomenon "transcendent function." He explained that when unconscious content becomes conscious we experience a sense of clarity, a fuller understanding of ourselves, an experience that goes beyond ordinary, everyday consciousness. I refer to this as a glimpse of holism -- a stroke of our own genius. It's almost like jumping to the top of the World Trade Center!

    In interviews with individuals who experience holism, it is not uncommon to hear someone say, "I am awed," or "I never believed life could be this special." This was certainly the case for me. It was not just a passing euphoric feeling. It became established in my ground-of-being. Once, the awe surrounding my own life experience was so great that I sought out a therapist solely because I needed a safe place to humbly share it. I needed a place where I knew I would be heard and would not be triggering someone else's feelings of deprivation. It was a very special sharing between the therapist and me, and I have since been able to integrate awe and bliss as components of my everyday life. I, too, would never have believed it.

    Recovering people are often embarrassed and reluctant to share blissful feelings because they are afraid they will be misunderstood, or that the feelings will not last. It is vital to find what I call "cultural safety:" safe friends, communities, or professionals with whom to share these feelings. Sharing further enlivens and validates them and makes them a real part of our daily experience. Small, validated experiences of bliss become the foundation for more intense and enriching ones. These loftier experiences, and the recognition of them in others, help create the desire to bring them forth more fully. Knowing that they are realizable motivates us to do the committed work which is part of Stage Two of complete recovery, as you will see in Chapter Three.

    Nonetheless, for most people, there is a large gap between the deep holistic state and their "ordinary" awareness. With APT, this will lessen in time, but there will always be some feeling of transition between the two. To begin to get a grasp of how profoundly "different" the holistic state can be, it might be helpful to explore what author Stanislav Grof, M.D. calls "non-ordinary" states of consciousness.

    In his Holotropic Breathwork trainings, people are taught to breathe in a very specific manner until they reach a "non-ordinary" state in which they begin to have physical, emotional, and sensory experiences that empower them with a larger view of life. Often they discover repressed traumatic conflicts or unfinished business from the past. These events tend to be very healing, unleashing new energy and clarity.

    Community healing, as discussed later, also produces a non-ordinary state of consciousness. This is where deep healing occurs. When we enter into such a community setting, we leave the everyday world behind -- the world of right and wrong, good and bad, "more thans" and "less thans" -- and we find and integrate our complex, more complete selves. In the holistic perspective, there is no "normal" or "abnormal." We are diverse by design. As the author Jean Houston once said, "A normal person is someone you don't know very well."

    An encounter with the holistic state of being may also bring with it feelings of "non-ordinary" calm and detachment. When we expand our perception of time, we see the impermanence of things and trust that it's okay. My friends who practice Buddhism have been able to articulate to me many of the finer points of nonattachment and impermanence. For me, this has come to mean that as much as I may want to cling to certain things, relationships, or even life itself, deep down in my soul I know that I am okay without them. Somehow, my inner sense of knowing and my experiences of transcendent spiritual calm give me something to fall back on when other realities appear to desert me -- or at least the part of me that wants to hold on. Similarly, in the experience of holism, people report feeling less dependent on the "things" of life to feel whole and content. They relax their sense of "holding on."

    There is a look, or aura, that I perceive in people who have this personal sense of awareness. I see it in some of the elders in the recovery movement. I see it in some of the dynamic teachers and leaders in our society. I see it in depictions of Buddha and Jesus and in the faces of some of the wise people of many cultures. There is a kind of otherworldly respect and knowing in their eyes. They seem content to feel their serenity in privacy, even without verbalization. They have a presence that goes beyond ordinary time and space. Psychologist Christina Grof, in The Thirst for Wholeness, summarizes this beautifully:

As we become freer and more accepting, we awaken to our own wholeness. The word "whole" means healthy, free from wound or injury, healed. Wholeness is also defined as the unity or totality of complex components. This is what we have been thirsting for -- and it is possible to find it in our everyday world. As we experience the spiritual awakening ... we unite with the divine, we retrieve that core of wholeness within. A life of wholeness is a life of health and balance. In the process of healing from our wounds, we begin to harmonize our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts. During our ... spiritual practice and through our action in the world, we more easily integrate the small and the deeper Self. The immanent divine meets the transcendent divine, and we become aware of the miracle of our lives.

2. Barriers to Holism: Recognizing the Blindspots

Once we can envision our personal variation on the holistic state, we can begin to identify areas in which that experience is blocked for us, perhaps because some areas are too painful to examine and bring into connection with the rest of our life. Some of these roadblocks might include a lack of connection with ourselves and the world around us, a lack of community or an inability to communicate with others. Addiction (which is the way most people today cover up emotional pain) is perhaps the most common wedge between us and the truth of things. Stage One recovery, which we will describe later, deals with primary addictions, those which clearly affect all aspects of our life. However, there are countless more subtle forms of addiction most people never notice. They are still roadblocks to holism, because their purpose is to distract us from what's in front of us emotionally.

    The split that we believe exists between spirituality and sexuality not only separates us from our significant others, our spouses and loved ones, but separates us from our bodies and from the natural world as well. It is a major detour on the road to holism. It adds to the repression of the shadow self (the dumping ground for the parts of our personality we disown), and to the separation of the body, mind, and spirit. This can lead to shame, and poor grounding of personal energy, which are roadblocks in themselves.

    Other barriers include ignorance of psychospiritual principles, lack of respect for self and/or others, cultural pain, repressed trauma (and the refusal to recognize our original pain and trauma), depression and anxiety, confusing adult and childhood needs, and censoring our own inner voice.

    The Relationship Between Trauma, Addiction, & Holism

    If you're like most people in recovery, you suffered traumas or loss early in life, and received little or no help at the time. In order to survive the pain, you began to dissociate, or cut yourself off from the part of yourself that was in pain. During the time you were dissociating (fantasizing, drinking, taking drugs, drowning your sorrows in any one of a number of addictions or compulsions) you were splitting yourself into safe little compartments, to hide the pain from others and from yourself. We've all done it in some form. You began to fabricate stories around your "shadow" parts to deflect attention from them. You began to create stories around your over-compensating expanded ego too, as a hedge, creating a "mask of composure," a facade that controlled what feelings you let people see -- usually only those manipulative ones leading to personal gain.

    The light and dark sides of your mind became separated, and you began to see every situation in black and white, with little or no shades of gray. If something was not ideal, it was "hopeless." If something was good, you "outlined" it, separated it from all other things, and attached yourself to it as if it was your only hope. In the end, you had lost all concept of what a whole self might be. Your fear had divided and conquered your own being. Naturally, you became separated from the cosmos. You became "disconnected from the stars," which in Latin was expressed as "disastros." This disconnection still spells disaster any way you put it.

    Underlying our disconnection from the stars is disconnection with ourselves. Underlying that dissociation is always pain. Underlying the pain is fear, and underlying the fear is trauma. The trauma happened to us: we didn't cause it, it's done, it's over and we can't undo it. But there is a solution to your situation and to your suffering, one which will dramatically change your life. For simplicity's sake, let's call it applying the principles of Authentic Process Therapy and doing the healing work.

    The antidote to traumatic memory is visualization. Redraw the picture in your mind of your wound. Deep within you is that child that was hurt, still the same age as when it all started. Visualize yourself as an adult going back and helping that child that you were. Love and protect that child that was traumatized. Watch over that child. Let him or her know they are not alone, and that it was not their fault.

    The antidote to fear is skill. Through the techniques and concepts shared in this book and others that fall into your lap, realize that you are learning skills that relate to almost every situation that could come up, and that as you become more adept at handling these situations confidently, fear will disappear by itself.

    Once fear lessens its grip, the pain will lessen as well. Once the pain diminishes, the need to dissociate will fade. Instead of running away in fear, you will begin to look forward to exploring new adventures; small ones at first, perhaps, but growing more and more bold as time heals your wounds. As so many have said, "It is never too late to have a happy childhood."

    The chart on the next page shows in the simplest terms how addiction begins in pain and fear, and how it can be resolved back into a state of complete recovery or holism through learning self-healing and situational skills such as those presented in this book.

    Understanding Repressed Trauma

    As Buddha once said, "No one is free from suffering." Take a straw poll among your friends and you will see that these words are as true today as they were 2,650 years ago.

    We all have repressed traumatic conflicts from childhood and adolescence. Some of us have been exposed to more serious and direct physical, sexual or emotional traumas. Does this mean we have to be in pain all the time? No, but repressing the memory does not eliminate the pain, it merely makes it harder to find, and gives it a life of its own. In Stage Two Recovery we re-engage with forgotten memories in the spirit of healing the pain.

    Trauma is a global human phenomena. It means being wounded. It means enduring an emotional shock that creates substantial and lasting damage to one's psychological and emotional development. Humanity has endured trauma since pre-neolithic times, and it shows no signs of ending any time soon.

    As children we have boundless interest, curiosity, energy, and a feeling of ownership and connectedness with all that is. Our natural instincts would be to let ourselves be molded by the land and the sky, for we are firstly animals imbued with spirit and secondly humans with thinking minds. Spared the influence of our civilization's dualistic thinking, we would naturally have taken on different values such as many indigenous, earthbased cultures have.

    I am not diminishing the concept of civilization, but when we indoctrinate children into such civilized concepts as dualistic thinking, and make them adapt to what is not natural, we are traumatizing their organic instincts to see and feel things in an intuitive, non-linear manner. In many ways we crush their spirit and sense of wonder. This is an observation, not a judgment. The point is, we all have traumatic losses to heal on our path to wholeness. Addiction to substances and states of being has its early roots in such traumas. While these cultural traumas have now become universal, most of us have additionally suffered traumatic wounds of an individual and personal nature.

    These repressed traumas surface as forgotten physical injuries and abuses, emotional neglect or torment, overt or covert sexual abuse or psychological and emotional wounds. During this work, most people will excavate from their depths an array of mild to serious wounds that shaped their survival defenses. Some recovering people grew up in environments characterized by alcoholism/addiction, emotional instability or mental illness. Others experienced traumatic losses involving death, adoption or divorce. Still others will discover what I refer to as "endurance-trauma." Devastating in its subtlety and continuity, this is a prolonged, day-in and day-out, low-grade threat to a person's sense of safety and security.

    While often stirring up feelings of loss, these surprises from the unconscious also help us understand why we chose to become addicted. It can be an "aha" experience. Some people, in the midst of unblocking repressed trauma, develop their skill of sensory recall to the point where they can even return to the experience of their own birth and to the earliest months and years of their development, which can connect them with a unique holistic experience. People who have not been exposed to this process are bound to be skeptical at first. The only way to understand is to experience it firsthand. It is all wonderfully mysterious, but that does not make it unreal.

3. Steps Toward Complete Recovery: Dissolving Barriers to Holism

In Authentic Process Therapy, the process from addiction, to unfulfilled lives, to total recovery, is broken down into two multi-layered stages. Stage One involves recognizing our disconnected state and our addictions, and addressing them appropriately.

    Stage Two involves the rediscovery of joy and connectedness through dissolving the roadblocks to holism.

    Stage One Recovery: Addressing Primary Addiction

    Addiction has its roots in the human condition. We all share the potential for becoming addicted, either to substances, processes, states, or behaviors. In each case, these addictions cover up the pain which caused us to fall out of grace with the cosmos in the first place. For those of us who have a primary addiction, if we are to achieve wholeness and integration, we need to allow this reality to surface and heal the wound. We cannot do this without addressing the primary addiction (or addictions) which disguise the pain and hide it from ourself and others.

    There are eleven major steps or "stations" to Stage One Recovery:

1. Coming face-to-face with addiction/compulsion
2. Joining self-help groups
3. Finding a higher power and/or a new family of affiliation
4. Making a conscious decision to recover
5. Risking depending on others
6. Discovering new awareness, hope and motivation
7. Seeing support as a life saver
8. Recognizing more diverse feelings
9. Planting seeds for Stage Two work
10. Sharing family and personal secrets
11. Acknowledging and celebrating Stage One triumph

    Stage Two Recovery: Expanding on What Works

    Stage Two of our complete recovery is a community-based individual process by which we learn to dissolve the internal roadblocks to wholeness and holism not addressed by the Stage One healing process.

    In this process, we learn to connect with others and with our environment through community. At the same time we learn to connect with our true self through unwrapping our pain with the facilitation of a therapist or counselor.

    Regaining the holistic state requires both reaching out to others and reaching inward, perhaps at the same time, so that we realize our ultimate goal of holistic interconnectedness with life, as we have envisioned it. The stages within Authentic Process Therapy are experienced differently for each individual. In Chapter Three, we will define and examine the major tenets of Stage Two, and how they can guide us back towards the holistic state.

    From time to time I will use the word "crisis." While it can be a scary word for many, it is also a very positive one. A crisis is a crucial or decisive point or situation; a turning point. Because it includes a change or shift in one's way of being, it sometimes carries with it a feeling of instability. This is why we have community support, education, and facilitation, allowing us to stay grounded while at the same time feeling unstable. The reality is that no real change can occur in our way of being in the world without such crises. They break down the old stagnant energy systems in our bodies, giving birth to a newer sense of ourselves.

    There are twelve "stations" within Stage Two Recovery, six "fundamental" stations and six "emergent" stations. Each is a healing crisis that most people engaging in this work encounter at some point in time. The Six Fundamental Stations are:

1. Finding the unconscious through the "inner child"
2. Awakening your body: finding your grounding
3. Exploring the sexual-spiritual split: the cornerstone of self-recognition
4. Revisiting "adolescent awkwardness"
5. Re-experiencing original pain and trauma
6. Grieving unresolved losses

The real landmark, or milestone of these fundamental stations is, "Healing the Sexual/Spiritual Split." After the healing crisis stage of the fundamental stations is engaged, we can begin the Six Emergent Stations. These are points of deep realization that occur as the roadblocks to holism start to disappear. They are:

7. Letting go: the authentic presentation of self
8. Corrective experience: learning more effective behavior
9. Separating adult needs from childhood needs
10. Integrating the shadow self
11. Updating and re-tuning the unconscious
12. Experiencing self-love and self-assertion

    The major milestone of the Emergent Stations is "Separating adult needs from childhood needs." These are all defined and described in more detail in Part Two.

    Out of these Emergent Stations comes a growing feeling of integration and wholeness, and a more profound relationship with others, and with all life. Gradually, the process begins to bear fruit. The benefits of the holistic state sometimes become evident before we recognize that we ourselves are in touch with it. These fruits might include a feeling of empowerment, an integration of body, mind and spirit in ways that are suddenly tangible to us, a desire to serve our world, an increasing ability to rely on intuition and inner knowing, hunches, and "nudges," a feeling of accomplishment without self-flagellation or hurtful gloating, feelings of awe and bliss, a feeling of boundless creativity, spiritual intimacy, a sense of respect for the self and for others, an acceptance and consequent awareness of impermanence, a growing sense of serendipity, (combining grace and synchronicity), an awareness of undergoing transpersonal healing, and the ability to present oneself in a shame-free and honest manner.

    The Fruits of the Tree

    The tree diagram (see page 15) is both a flat map and a bird's eye view of the healing journey to complete recovery through Authentic Process Therapy. It becomes a living map with a pulse when we bring our hearts and minds to the process outlined in these page. Like looking at Manhattan Island from atop the World Trade Center, we get to look down on the terrain before going down into it.

    This bird's eye view has several potential effects: It can make the emergence into the healing process less frightening because we know what to expect; we can see that others are sharing this adventure with us, see what the benefits of the adventure are, and when things get tough, we can pull ourselves out, go back to the bird's eye view and reassess our position. Most importantly, we get to refine or acquire new skills. Intuition is our compass; as we begin to trust it, we will be guided to wherever we need to be in the tree. It will also guide us to the people, communities, and processes that we need for our individual journey. This is what brings pulsing, teeming aliveness to the process.

    If you look at the tree you will discover an interesting reality. All twelve of the Stage Two stations end in ing which means they all relate to doing. In other words, earnest effort must be applied. The fruits of the tree, or the rewards of the journey, are all states of being. States of being by their very nature do not require doing anything. They are without negative stress. (Positive stress does accompany the state of pure being and becoming, but its consequence is a feeling of aliveness rather than the depression that accompanies the negative stress of suppression/ oppression.) When you experience the fruits of the tree, there is no conscious effort -- just reward! Imagine reaping rewards for just being and becoming who you really are -- it is really that wonderful.

    You now have a bird's eye view of the living map, looking at the two-stage recovery process from the lofty vantagepoint of the holistic perspective. Now let's go down to street level, and walk around some of these concepts and try to get a handle on what's really going on, using all our imaginative faculties of sense and sight and feeling. Let's begin the journey itself.

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