The Journey of
Recovery: Staying On
the Right Road
Chip Abernathy
The 12 Steps of AA and NA and the
Developmental Model of Recovery
The model of recovery presented here is an
abstinence-based, developmental model
of recovery that is based in 12 Step
philosophy, application and practice.
Step Work
 Many AA and NA members would agree that all
12 Steps should be worked with the help of a
sponsor, in order, and to best of one’s ability,
during early recovery.
 During each stage of recovery, along with other
tasks that need to be accomplished, there is
step work that needs to be done. Not doing that
work prevents progress from one recovery
stage to the next.
Structure
People recovering from addictive disease do well
with structure. Although it seems somewhat
paradoxical, there is freedom with structure.
AA/NA Perspectives On The
Journey Of Recovery
“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has
thoroughly followed our path.”
AA Big Book, p. 58
“We have learned from our group experience that
those who keep coming to our meetings regularly
stay clean.”
NA Basic Text, p. 9
AA/NA Perspectives On The
Journey Of Recovery
“Although we are not responsible for our disease,
we are responsible for our recovery.”
NA Basic Text, p.15
“What we really have is a daily reprieve
contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual
condition.”
AA Big Book, p. 85
Beliefs Upon Which Gorski’s
Developmental Model of Recovery are
Based
1. Recovery is a long-term process that is not easy.
2. Recovery requires total abstinence from alcohol and
other drugs, plus active efforts towards personal
growth.
3. There are underlying principles that govern the
recovery process.
4. The better we understand these principles, the easier
it will be for us to recover.
Beliefs Upon Which Gorski’s DMR are
Based ( Continued)
5. Understanding alone will not promote recovery; the
understanding must be put into action.
6. The actions that are necessary to produce full
recovery can be clearly and accurately described as
recovery tasks.
7. It is normal and natural to periodically get stuck on
the road to recovery. It is not whether you get stuck
that determines success or failure, but it is how you
cope with the stuck point that counts.
Transition
Transition Stage
Develop Motivating Problems
Attempt to Solve Problems
Fail at Attempts to Control Use
Accept Need For Abstinence
and Need for Help
1st Step
Surrender
Step Work Focus During Transition Stage: 1st Step
Stabilization
Stabilization Stage
Recognize Need for Help
Stabilize Thinking,
Feeling and Acting
Manage Post Acute Withdrawal
and Addictive Preoccupation
Find Your Place in AA/NA
Develop Hope
and Motivation
Step Work Focus During Stabilization Stage: Steps 2 & 3
Early
Early Recovery
Internalize Addiction
and Recovery - Work All 12 Steps
Change Associates, Attitude,
and Lifestyle
Develop Identity As Recovering Person
Develop Recovery-Centered
Value System
Step Work Focus During Early Recovery: Steps 1 - 12
Middle
Middle Recovery
Resolve Demoralization Crisis
(Maintain Hope Through Surrender)
Perseverance
Attend To Unfinished Amends
Establish Lifestyle Balance
Find Your Happiness
Step Work Focus During Middle Recovery:
Any Unfinished Work With Steps 8, 9
Late
Late Recovery
Integrate Recovery From Childhood Issues
With Recovery From Addiction
Be Willing To Change Beliefs and Behaviors
Find New Beliefs and Behaviors That Fit
Change Lifestyle As Needed
Step Work Focus During Late Recovery:
Steps 10, 11 & 12
Maintenance
Recovery Maintenance
Maintain A Recovery Program
Through Life Changes and Challenges
Stick With the Basics
Practice Effective Day to Day Coping
Maintain Commitment to Growth
Enjoy Life
Step Work Focus During Maintenance:
Steps 10, 11 & 12 (Especially)
Repeat 12 Steps Regularly, and Practice Principles Daily
The Relapse Process:
Veering Off the Road In the Journey Of
Recovery
Relapse Is A Process, Not An Event
It Isn’t Whether or Not We Have Problems In
Recovery That Counts; What Counts Is How We
Deal With Those Problems
Factors That Contribute To The
Relapse Process
High Risk Factors
 High Risk Lifestyle
 Inadequate Recovery
Program
 Social Conflict or
Change
 Illness
 Isolation
Trigger Events
 Stressful Thoughts
 Stressful Situations
 Painful Memories
 Painful Emotions
 Stressful Interactions
With Other People
Relapse Warning Sign Progression
Good Recovery
Not Using Alcohol/Other Drugs Regular AA/NA
Sponsor Contact
Flexible
Honest, Open-Minded, Willing
Gratitude
Recovering Friends Happiness Step Work
Mgt. COD
Having Fun
Prayer
Asking for Help
Stress Management
Accountable
-----------------------------------------------
Change --------------------------------------------------------
Early Warning
Signs
Evading/Denying ← Stress
(Internal) Problems
Restless, Irritable & Discontent
Core Issues Triggered
(Ex:: Inadequacy, Trust, Abandonment)
P. A. W.
(P.A.W.: Difficulty Thinking Clearly, Managing Emotions, Sleeping, Remembering)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Middle Warning
Easily Angered
Negative Comments
Signs Defensiveness
Avoiding Others Character Defects Increasing
(External)
Compulsive Behaviors/Process Addictions
Recovery Structure Decreasing
Isolation Increasing
Decreased QOL
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Late Warning Conscious Lying Stop AA/NA Altogether Extreme Isolation
Signs
Depression
Obsession, Compulsion, Craving
(Loss of Control)
Self-pity
Suicidal Thoughts
Poor Judgment
Planning Substance Use
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Initial Use of Alcohol/Other Drugs
Progressive Life Deterioration
High Potential for Death
Relapse-Prone Style
of Coping
Evade/Deny
Stress
Compulsive Behaviors/Process Addictions
Avoid Others
Problems Escalate
Evade/Deny New Problems
Relapse-Prone Coping Style:
ESCAPE
Evade/Deny
Problem
Evade/
Stress
Deny New
Problems
Compulsive
Behaviors/
Process
Addictions
Problems
Escalate
Avoid Others
Stopping the Relapse
Process
We Get Out Of The Relapse Process By
Getting Into the Recovery Process
Recovery-Prone Style
of Coping
Recognize Problem Exists
Accept It’s OK to Have Problems
Detach (Do Your Best, and Then Let Go)
Ask for Help
Respond With Action
Recovery-Prone Coping
Style: RADAR
Recognize
Respond
Problem
With
Action
When
Prepared
Accept It’s
OK To
Have
Problems
Ask For Help
Detach – Do Your Best, and
Then Let Go
References
Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed., New York: Alcoholics
Anonymous World Services, 1976.
Gorski, T.T. Passages through recovery: An action plan for preventing relapse. Center
City, MN: Hazelden, 1989.
Gorski, T.T. Staying sober: A guide for relapse prevention. Independence, Missouri:
Independence Press: 1986.
Narcotics Anonymous. Narcotics Anonymous, 5th ed.. Van Nuys, CA: Narcotics
Anonymous World Service Office, Inc., 1988.
Abbreviations Used In Presentation:
AA – Alcoholics Anonymous
NA – Narcotics Anonymous
PAW – Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome: see Gorski, Passages through recovery: An
action plan for preventing relapse, Gorski, Staying sober: A guide for relapse
prevention
COD- Co-Occurring Disorders
QOL – Quality of Life