Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An Outline for Workbook Study

Lloyd E., who just began a Tuesday night workbook study group at the Kaiser CDRP (Chemical Dependency Recovery Program) in Oakland, has drafted a short study outline that I want to pass along, below.  The Recovery by Choice workbook was written mainly for individual study, and the convenor who leads a group through the text needs to select a few issues out of the many that the book contains, or -- experience shows -- it may take a group several years to complete the book.  There are several outlines in existence, and more will probably be created.  Lloyd's outline is short, but it touches on every chapter in the book.  He's based it on a review exercise in the Relapse chapter.  Here it is:

Recovery by Choice
Weekly Topics of Conversation
1.  Decision:          Do we remember why we originally wanted to get clean and sober?  Have we found additional reasons?  How do we make sobriety our priority?
2.  Body:                 Can we make progress in addressing concerns about our bodies and our mental health?
3.  Exposure:        Have we done the best we can to minimize our exposure?  Or are we being reckless about getting into trigger situations and neglecting our reminders?
4.  Activities:         Can we make progress in learning to do life’s activities clean and sober, and in starting up new activities that interest us?  Or are we barely functional or doing very little different from when we were drinking/using?
5.  People:             Have we worked out who are the friends and who are the opponents of our recovery, and can we make progress in improving our relationships?  Or are we spending too much time with people who are a drag on our recovery, and not enough with people who care for us as sober persons?
6.  Feelings:          Can we succeed in building more clean and sober pleasure into our lives.  Can we identify and deal with our trigger feelings, and do we feel better about our emotional lives?  Or are we treating recovery as a punishment or retreating into numbness?
7.  Lifestyle:          Can we pinpoint our major lifestyle issues and can we make progress in repairing damage that addiction did to our lifestyle?  Or have we resigned ourselves to the way things were and given up trying to solve real-life problems?
8:  History:             Have we reviewed our personal history and come to an understanding of what part of our life was us, and what part was our addiction?  Do we have a clearer sense of who we are, where we came from, and where we are going.
9.  Culture:            Can we recognize the sources of support and the problems areas for our recovery within our culture, and have we begun to figure out our roles in it?
10. Treatment:    Have we made the necessary decisions about treatment and support groups, and do we know how to get what we need from these resources.
11.  Relapse:         Do we understand the structures of relapse and do we recognize what might undermine our recovery?  Do we have a better sense of ourselves, .and do we monitor ourselves frequently for early warning signs.   Have we prepared ourselves to eject immediately in case of relapse?
12.  Plans:              How do we develop our Personal Recovery Plans for the short and long term?

My only quibble with this outline is that it has 12 -- count them -- 12 points.  Inevitably people will start to refer to this as the "12 Steps of LifeRing."  (Sigh and groan.)  Apart from that, I think it's a great starting point for a workbook study group.  Initial reviews of the opening session were raves.  It took more than five years of nudging and begging to get a room at this facility for a workbook study meeting, and this one looks like it's going to be a big success story.  Congratulations, Lloyd!

1 comment:

Michael said...


I think it would be wise to add a couple of more if possible. You're right, people will think of the 12 steps and I do not want it to seem like we are using their steps as a format.


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