An Internal Problem

AlcoholThe hero’s journey can relate to an internal story as well as to a hero’s adventure. The same steps happen and, of course, they don’t have to be in this order.

Let’s say our hero is an alcoholic.

  1. She has limited awareness of the problem at the beginning (ordinary world)
  2. Increased awareness comes through some means, perhaps her boss. (call to adventure)
  3. It’s too hard to change (reluctance to change)
  4. She meets a mentor, perhaps an AA group (Encouraged by a mentor)
  5. She takes a step toward change, maybe talks to her spouse or significant other. (Crosses the first threshold)
  6. She experiments with the change. Finds support, but also adversity. hero's journeyMany little tests. (Encounters tests, allies and enemies.)
  7. She prepares for a big change, perhaps clearing the house of booze. (Approaches the inmost cave, a serious challenge)
  8. She faces a big challenge and succeeds. Perhaps she goes out with friends and they encourage here to drink. (Endures the supreme ordeal)
  9. She enjoys the consequences of her action. She feels better etc. (Takes possession of the reward)
  10. She has to rededicate herself to this goal again and again (Pursued on the road back to the ordinary world)
  11. Problems at home and at work put her alone with a drink in front of her. She succeeds in this final attempt. She pours the drink down the drain. (Faces a death and resurrection)
  12. She’s won the battle and discovered that she could do it. (Return to the ordinary world with the elixir. )

Here’s the hero’s journey, internal, external and a comparison

Internal External Comparison to adult education
Limited Awareness Ordinary World Dull job
Increase Awareness Call to adventure Called to get new training
Reluctance to change Refusal of the Call Too hard, too expensive
Overcoming Encouraged by a Mentor Spouse encourages
Committing Cross first threshold Signs up
Experimenting Encounter tests, allies, and enemies Starts – many trials, but also friends and enemies
Preparing Approach the inmost cave Getting ready for mid-term
Big Change Endure a supreme ordeal mid-term exam
Consequences Take possession of a reward Did well – feels good
Rededication Pursued on the road back to ordinary world Lots of problems – working and going to school
Final Attempt Face a death and ressurection Final exam
Mastery Return with the elixir Passes. Success

Better job.

Images courtesy of:hero's journey



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