Power Vs. Competence

Power Vs. Competence

The experience of early sobriety is often wrought with anxiety, stress, and a sense of a lack of control over us and our lives. Because often times we have spent years using drugs and alcohol, we were in no shape to reintegrate ourselves back into world, let alone try to understand how we might most effectively do this. We are sent a lot of confusing messages related to how best we might navigate the terrain of society and culture, and often times this becomes convoluted and leaves individuals in a state of utter confusion; this is true especially in the case of the recovering addict but also true for “normies” as well.

Before we discuss power and competence, let’s establish the framework in which this discussion will take place. Whether we are in a family system, a group of friends, an environment at work, or in the context of school, we will be existing in a hierarchy. This is most easily illustrated in the work setting; the CEO would be atop the hierarchy, below him would be directors, below that managers, and below that would be regular staff. We can think about this on a much grander scale as well and think of all these smaller hierarchies that compose a larger societal hierarchy. Now ascending the occupational, educational, or societal hierarchy’s may not be the goal of all individuals, but in one form or another, it is certainly a construct that we all operate in consciously or not. In whatever domain we enter, achieving success is typically synonymous with making progress up the hierarchy, and this is also where we can begin the discussion of how to best try and move upwards in the pyramid. The reason we are focused on power and competence is because these are generally the primary two strategies used to climb the pyramid. Without going into a deep explanation of each, we can easily begin to see these themes unfold, and we need not look any further than our own personal experiences. Maybe we have experienced the manager who was a good leader because they were interested in making us better at the job we did, and we appreciate them because they teach us new skills and provide insight as to how we might function better within the company. Typically, this type of manager who is actually a leader, achieved their higher status position due to their competence and compassion.


Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.

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