We place anything which has become compulsive and destructive for us in the Active Zone. Any substances or processes in this zone we would then abstain from. It is important to acknowledge that the goal of treatment is to become completely free of destructive processes and substances on an ongoing basis. Abstinence is the goal of treatment. However, many people move towards this ultimate goal at a different pace and some people need more help than others. Each client is different with regard to how and when they become abstinent. Also, there may a limited cases where complete abstinence in not possible, for example some clients may need on-going medication to help them with their substance dependence or co-occurring disorders such as depression.
The Danger Zone is where we define behaviours which might lead us back to active addiction.
- Triggers – things which activate us or make us want to behave in an addictive way.
- Negative Self-Talk – Ways we talk negatively to ourselves inside our heads.
- Unmanageable Feeling States – Unnecessary negative feelings like shame and anger.
- Ineffective Behaviours – Things we do which are maladaptive (not good for our survival or well-being).
The Recovery Zone is all the things we need to do to achieve health and well-being. The list of things we can do to achieve this is really any healthy and positive behavior that contributes to you staying in recovery but usually includes things like exercising and eating correctly, attending fellowship and other support meetings, building positive relationships with friends’ and family, actively avoiding triggers and supporting others in recovery.
Mindfulness and The Recovery Zone
Mindfulness is a meditation style which originated in SE Asia but which is now very popular around the world in psychological health settings (link). It has been used widely by health services in the West to treat depression, anxiety and PTSD, and is now gaining ground as an effective treatment for addiction. Mindfulness concentrates on:
- Slowing Down – becoming more aware of our thoughts and our body movements/sensations.
- Urge Surfing – The ability to see through cravings by assimilating the addictive thought into the meditation practice,
- Body Scanning – Also known as progressive relaxation. This is an aspect of mindfulness which greatly aids relaxation and sleep, which aids recovery from addiction.