Community is a concept closely related to unity. It is a sense of feeling connected with other people when prejudice, the need to control, and the need to fix and heal have been put aside.

Stages of Community

Scott Peck (1987) teaches and describes a process he calls “community making.” A group of people together for some reason will go through the following stages:

Pseudocommunity Pseudocommunity is where people avoid disagreement, ignore individual differences, and avoid conflict. There is no honesty, individuality, or intimacy.

Chaos Chaos is when people begin to express their differences openly. Someone will try to get things organized. There is fighting and despair. Leaders emerge and there is struggling. The chaos results from those things members must let go of in the next stage, called emptiness.

Emptiness Emptiness is the stage the group enters in which individuals empty themselves of barriers to community. These barriers are expectations, prejudices, solutions, the need to control, and the need to fix, heal, or convert. This stage requires sacrifice before the group can move into community.

Community Community is where members talk honestly about themselves and allow themselves to be vulnerable. People accept each. other, feel comfortable with their differences, and are free to pursue the task that binds them together. Intimacy is then possible.

Shared Story

A The sense of community in Twelve-Step groups is created by a shared story, by the unity that binds members together. Spirituality involves this sense of connection. A criterion for spirituality is seeking out “the company of saints” in the words of Ignatius (AD 95). By this he meant those who were also seeking spirituality.

Individual also In the same vein, an individual Twelve-Stepper will need to go through a similar process in his or her recovery. By working the Steps one can participate fully and freely in that sense of community. Until you have put aside your prejudice and the need to control and organize, and have shared yourself honestly and openly, it is unlikely that you will benefit from the spiritual sense of community the Twelve-Step fellowships have to offer.

Organization incompatible One reason that some groups do not provide this spirit could be the failure of members to understand the need to give up rules, regulations, and formalities. Addicts often have difficulty giving up their need to organize and control. Peck says, “organization and community are also incompatible.” (1987, p.93)

Community, see also: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Anonymity, History of Twelve-Step groups, Meetings, Service & giving, Spirituality, Step Twelve, Traditions of AA, Unity.

Updated 12 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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