The Trees of Addiction and Recovery

By TwelveStepAgnostic 02/13/19


Trauma Informed Model of Addiction

At the bottom of the addiction tree is the soil and seeds of addiction, which consists of emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual neglect or abuse. These are combined with innate hereditary factors.  This unhealthy foundation creates the tree’s roots - the very painful feeling of toxic shame and the resulting fear, anger, grief, and loneliness of the lost and rejected self.

The trunk of the addiction tree is the wounded psyche or self, and our sense of emptiness and isolation which we yearn to fulfil. The branches of the tree are an attempt to escape our painful feelings of shame, fear, anger, depression and sadness.

Spiritually, we are also trying to become whole again – attempting to mend our broken heart. These are the components of addiction in its many forms, and why it’s often described as an illness of the mind, body, and soul.

The Recovery Tree


 Cultivated Recovery Environment

The soil and seeds of recovery are a loving and nurturing environment and relationships. This healthy foundation of life creates the roots of security, self-esteem and confidence, gratitude, empathy, unselfishness, self-acceptance and compassion, and the ability to love oneself and others.

The trunk of recovery is a healthy sense of self and emotional sobriety. We feel connected to love and wholeness, and have a sense of spiritual awareness and well-being in our lives.

The fruits of recovery are healthy, meaningful relationships with self, others, and the world. We become increasingly able to live a fulfilling and abundant life. We self-actualise and can now realise our true potential and authentic-self.



About the author:

Steve K. has been a member of AA for the past 27 years and lives in Cheshire, which is in the N. West region of England. He would describe himself as an agnostic, although open to humanistic spirituality. His home group is the Macclesfield Saturday morning AA group. He has a background in advice and counselling work, mainly in the areas of mental health and social welfare law. Steve writes for his blog 12stepphilosophy and regularly keeps fit through hill walking, yoga and swimming. He has self-published a book entitled “The 12 Step Philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous: An Interpretation by Steve K.


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