ITM Passage Summaries

Module One: Biological Introduction Module One, or the Biological Module, consists of Passages 1-3 and Success Principles 1-6. In this Module you will be introduced to the Bio-Psycho-Social Model (Engel, George L. (1977) of Addiction which we use as a foundation for our Identity Transformation Model (ITM). The ITM will help you to learn about the biological, psychological, and social causes and contributors to your addiction. We have added a fourth category, Spiritual, in an effort to integrate your core issues into your treatment and recovery.

In Passage One, you will learn about the Disease Model of Addiction (DMA), the Bio-Psycho-Social Model (BPS) and the Identity Transformation Model (ITM). You will receive education on the neurobiological component of addiction and treatment, to include the link between brain function and addiction and the stages of addiction. You will receive education about the medical consequences of addiction and relapse and repeated effects of relapse on your emotional state. Through essay writings you will be able to identify and define your own unique Disease Model of Addiction and Dependent Systems. You will be able to offer an honest account of your using/drinking patterns exposing the excuses you have used, and identify others you have blamed or have complained about. In addition, Biological, Psychosocial, Social, Spiritual Consequences will be interpersonally explored. Success Principles 1 and 2 which ask you to “Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life and to “Be Clear Why You’re Here” will help you in evaluating your responses and choices in addiction by identifying your motivation for treatment and recovery. In addition to identifying Biological, Psychological, Social, and Spiritual Goals, you will examine external and internal affective (emotional) and behavioral incentives and glean meaning for recovery. Initial examination of recovery goals will be extrapolated to the larger evaluation of your life’s purpose and passion to sustain recovery.

In Passage Two, you will recognize and redirect biological urges to use drugs and alcohol and receive teachings on genetic predisposition, heritability factors and influences on addiction and treatment. By evaluating your own unique Biological, Psychological, Social or Spiritual urges and craving you will create a thorough relapse prevention awareness plan.  Success Principles 3 and 4, which ask you to “Decide What You Want” and to “Believe It’s Possible”, supports you in distinguishing your expectations (in addiction) from your beliefs (in recovery) for what you want to do, be or have. You will be able to clarify your vision for your sobriety and your life through accessing your inner Global Positioning System (GPS) and through vision exercises.

In Passage Three, you will receive information on the importance of nutrition in recovery, will be screened for other physical addictions (i.e. eating disorders) and introduced to the concept of addiction-interaction. You will examine the ways in which you choose sabotaging physical behaviors and physical destruction over physical construction, and see compulsive behaviors as relational disorders. The Success Principles 4 and 5 which ask you to “Believe in Yourself” and “Use the Law of Attraction” will help you to notice your beliefs as an attitude / choice, in order to reduce your limiting beliefs and assumptions. You will apply The Law of Attraction to increase clarity and contrast the difference between what you want vs. deserve, and between taking vs. receiving.

In Passage Four, you will be assessed for co-morbidity of psychiatric diagnoses: Dual Diagnosis, Behavioral Addictions, and Addiction Interaction. You will be asked to observe your sabotaging physical behaviors and physical destruction in an effort to transition to physical construction. You will write an essay on how you would describe your Compulsive Behaviors as Relational Disorders, and you will be assessed for Anxiety, Depression, Avoidance and Dependence behavioral symptoms and cues. This symptomology will be utilized within the context of affect identification and affect tolerance. Success Principle #7 and #8 which has us “Unleash The Power of Goal Setting” and “Chunk It Down”will help you learn about cognitive processes, thinking styles and errors of perception in addictive thought. You will identify goal setting and develop a corresponding Sobriety Action Plan (SAP) for sustained sobriety.  This passage culminates with your ability to distinguish: receiving vs taking, asking for what you want, and taking action. You will learn to apply the Law of Attraction and gain clarity through contrast. Lastly, you will understand the difference between “belief as attitude” and “belief as choice” by examining your deservability, limiting or erroneous beliefs, and assumptions.

In Passage Five, you will identify your belief systems in addiction with specific emphasis on guilt (“I have done something bad”) vs. shame (“I am bad”) self-talk. In an effort for to master shame resilience and reduction, you will be administered the Test of Self Conscious Affect, Version 3 (TOSCA-3S) Assessment (Tangney, J.P. et al (2000). You will explore origins of negative core beliefs, reframe (disconfirm the negative core belief), and rate each belief for truth. You will be taught shame awareness, resilience, and reduction strategy. These techniques will enable you to restructure and relanguage maladaptive core beliefs and explore your identity transition from the “addict identity” to the “recovery identity”. A Voice Dialogue and Identity Essay, “I am an Alcoholic/Addict”, will serve as a foundation for your Identity Transformation. You will discover how your addiction behaviors have and may sabotage your recovery efforts.  Success Principle #9 and #10  which suggest that “Success Leaves Clues” and asks us to “Release The Breaks”supports your learning to use personal and goal affirmations, and learn how to replace past addiction experience with domain clues and recovery outcomes.

In Passage Six, you will explore your family of origin via a genogram (pictorial representation of your family). You will explore concepts of autonomy and differentiation and write an essay on who you are, independent from your family. You will examine past relapse situations for maladaptive coping and problem-solving strategies. You will assess avoidance (avoidant behaviors) and/or dependence (dependent behaviors) understood as precursors to relapse (Relapse Warning Signs), or as a progression of relapse (Relapse Staircase). You will establish therapeutic and behavioral skill application for past relapse analysis and future relapse prevention. Lastly, Success Principle # 11 and # 12 “See What You Want, Get What You See” and “Act As If” offer you visualization techniques toward having long term, sustained sobriety.

In Passage Seven, you will identify the isolative impact of your addiction on all relationships (i.e. familial, employment, social and communal) and write a reflection essay on Isolation and Loneliness in Addiction and in Recovery. You will learn characteristics of dependent relational systems and codependent people to include caretaking, low self-worth, repression, obsession, control, denial, dependency, poor communication, weak boundaries, lack of trust, anger and sex problems. Through analyzing your dependent and codependent categories and relationships, you will maximize motivation for abstinence by applying a motivational interviewing technique to interview your addiction and recovery and you will understand your primitive and mature defense mechanisms (to include responses of Fight, Flight, Freeze or Fawn) as Relapse Warning Signs. Success Principles #13 and #14 which ask you to “Take Action” and “Just Lean into It” will support you to ask for feedback on your action steps and allow you to ask for help in completing them. You will learn ways to identify your most critical recovery tasks and create an action-oriented recovery “To-Do” and Automatic Action Lists, learning to distinguish “talk” and “intention” from “action”. Lastly, through essay writing you will define “Success”, with “Success” meaning “Sustained Sobriety”.

In Passage Eight, you will learn about Attachment Theory and, through essay writing, you will discover how to identify your primary behavioral and emotional Attachment Style. You will evaluate your obstacles to intimacy, with emphasis on conscious and unconscious patterns and negative imaging. The Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-R) Questionnaire (Fraley et. al., 2000) will offer you examples into your ability and desire for close emotional attachments and relationships. In addition, you will review your History and Feed-back Loops of Pain, Fear and Anger in relation to where your capacity for intimacy may be tested. Success Principles #15 and #16 which ask you to “Experience Your Fear and Take Action Anyway” and “Be Willing to Pay the Price” will support the exploration of your “Experience of Fear” as you learn the techniques of Sentence Completion and “Stop Scaring Yourself”.

In Passage Nine, you will establish sober support networks within your treatment and recovery communities. You will learn and implement strategies for: identifying your need for help; asking for help; receiving help from others and offering help to yourself and others. You will master the practice of “The Daily Outreach List” (DOL) and the “Daily Ask Log” (DAL) to assist you in organizing, evaluating and utilizing your sober social relationships. You will be able to receive help from others and identify supporters of your recovery. Success Principles #17 and #18 which empower you to: “Ask! Ask! Ask!” and to “Reject Rejection” will probe you to ask yourself what you need to ask for (Biologically, Psychologically, Socially and Spiritually) to accomplish your goals. In a review of your multiaxial goals, you will be able to direct your efforts toward “Commitment to the Outcome” and The “Next” Principle.

In Passage Ten, you will be administered several spiritual assessments to assess your relationship with spirituality. This will be done through a comprehensive Spiritual Assessment Interview, The FICA Spiritual Assessment and The HOPE Spiritual Assessment. In an errort to review your religious or or non-religious background, beliefs, spiritual meanings, values and prayer experiences, you will explore the nuanced differences between spirituality and religion-particulatly it’s interface with addiction and recovery. You will dissect your history of addiction as a “spiritual expression” in a refelctive essay: “Addiction as a Spiritual Disorder with a Spiritual Solution’. Success Principles #19 and #20 will probe you to “Use (Spiritual) Feedback to Your Advantage” and  “Commit to Constant and Never-Ending Improvement” of spititual integration and expression. This process will support you in responding to and for feedback while examining these feedbcak patterns on your spiritual thoughts, emotions and beliefs.

In Passage Eleven, you will be introduced to the concept of “Addiction as Suffering”. In an effort to define addiction as suffering (and sobriety as the elimination of suffering) you will learn The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path. To end the suffering and  to integrate the elimination of suffering into sobriety you will engage in the practice of Gratitude, Serenity and Service as key spiritual practices in your sobriety. Success Principles #21 and #22 which ask you to “Keep Score for Success” (“Keep Score for Sobriety”) and “Practice Persistence” will strengthen your commitment to and faith and trust in your sobriety. To this end, a Four-Step Meditation Exercises will be introduced.

In Passage Twelve, you will learn the application of Meditation practice and Mindfulness practice for recovery, with emphasis on Breathing Meditation and Metta (Loving-Kindness) Meditation. Insight and reflection practice, through the Poetry of Mercer, Nelson, Keyes and Oliver will expand your experiences into the nieuaces of spritiual understandings and integration. Success Principles #23 and #24 which ask you to  “Practice the Rule of 5” and “Exceed Expectations” will aid you in this daily spiritual focus and practice.