Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Outpatient Week 1: A Fresh Perspective on Addiction

Conscious Recovery-Handout 1

by TJ Woodward


Conscious Recovery is a groundbreaking and effective approach to viewing and treating addiction. Author, counselor, and spiritual teacher TJ Woodward is changing the conversation about addiction, because he recognizes that underneath all addictive behavior is an Essential Self that is whole and perfect.

TJ Woodward’s Conscious Recovery MethodTM moves beyond simply treating behaviors and symptoms. It focuses on the underlying root causes that drive destructive patterns, while providing clear steps for letting go of core false beliefs that lead to addictive tendencies. Whether it is spiritual disconnection, unresolved trauma, or toxic shame, these challenges need to addressed in order to achieve true and permanent freedom.

The purpose of Conscious Recovery is to offer a spiritual perspective that can assist you in addressing the underlying root causes of your addictive behaviors. It is intended to enhance any program, therapy, or other support system in which you are currently engaged. Its aim is not to provide definitive answers, but to introduce questions that can assist you in accessing your own inner wisdom and rediscover your true nature. You are your own best teacher, and you hold the key to ending your own suffering. Conscious Recovery can assist you in deepening your understanding of addiction, provide you a roadmap toward liberation, and offer tools to assist you in living your most dynamic and connected life.



Download or Print The Client Handout:

Summary: The purpose of this week’s group is to introduce Conscious Recovery and give an overview of its premises and specific areas to be covered in the series.

Materials needed: Flip-chart or whiteboard, markers, handouts Key teaching points:

Key Principles of Conscious Recovery – You will want to address includes the key principles of Conscious Recovery:

  • Underneath all addictive behavior is an Essential Self that is whole and perfect
  • The addiction itself has never been the “problem” but was a strategy that has lostits effectiveness
  • Treating addiction must go beyond addressing symptoms and get down to the underlying root causes of destructive behavior
  • The root causes of addictive behavior are unresolved trauma, spiritual disconnection, and toxic shame, and recovery must address all of these in order to achieve true and permanent freedom.
  • There is a pathway to permanent freedom through the adoption of spiritual practices and principles.
  • The book in organized in 3 parts with 3 chapters in each: The Root Causes of Addiction, Breaking the Cycle of Addiction, and A Return to Wholeness. This is outlined for the group in the handout.
  • Conscious Recovery is a holistic approach that addresses addiction and recovery from 4 “rooms” or areas that include physical, mental, emotional and spiritual and we must address all four of them in order to change addictive behaviors.

1. Wholeness and Perfection – Reading from Conscious Recovery: “Your essential self is perfection. You are essentially one with Source, or love, or light—whatever word you use for divinity. Even before you knew language, you came into this world with absolute connection to the ultimate power of the universe. This is a core truth. It’s the truth we are born with, the truth that makes us whole, gives us a sense of connection, a sense of peace and harmony. But in the process of living we often forget this core truth, and we lose our balance. We lose sight of who and what we truly are.”

2. Addiction is a Brilliant Strategy – Reading from Conscious Recovery: “We often hear addictive behavior described in other terms—as a disease, or as a coping mechanism. Both can seem inherently negative in connotation. They suggest that there’s something wrong that needs to be fixed. ‘I am an addict and that’s what’s wrong.’ In the western medical model, the problem is the disease of addiction, and it’s addressed by treating the symptoms, whether they be physical, social, or emotional. And calling addiction a ‘coping mechanism’ suggests that a person is less able to function than ‘normal’ people and needs the crutch of the addictive behavior to get along in life.”

3. The Four Rooms – Reading from Conscious Recovery: “Everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room, every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”

4. Conscious Recovery is Presented in 3 Parts – Part 1, “The Roots of Addiction,” delves into the three spiritual root causes of addiction and addictive behavior: unresolved trauma in all its various forms, the fragmentation of the self that can generate and develop core false beliefs, and toxic shame, which is a pervasive and corrosive sense of self that further separates you from your true nature.

Part 2, “Breaking the Cycle of Addiction,” introduces the inner work involved in interrupting compulsive patterns, so you can reconnect with your deepest truth. This work includes creating safety through openness, spiritual community, and conscious awareness, unlearning your core false beliefs, habits and points of view, and discovering powerful spiritual principles that, when practiced, can allow you to permanently break free from your addictive tendencies.

Part 3, “A Return to Wholeness,” will explore how you can move your life from power- less to power-full, how you can return to the essential wholeness of your divine nature, and finally, how you can live an awakened and purpose-filled life.

Outpatient: Week 1 Group Outline A Fresh Perspective on Addiction

(10 Minutes) Opening Meditation

(10 Minutes) Check-In:

Everyone states their name and says something about the root causes of their addiction.

Review Shared Agreements

  • One Person Speaks at a Time
  • Confidentiality
  • Share the Air
  • No “Fixing”
  • “I” Statements
  • Feedback Upon Request(15 Minutes) Small Group or Dyad Process: Handout 1
  • Reading from Conscious Recovery (Out loud)
  • Small Group or Dyad Discussion of Reading (10 Minutes) Large Group Discussion:What stood out that wants to be shared with the whole group?

(15 Minutes) Discussion/Brainstorming (Whiteboard or Flip-chart):

What is addiction?

(15 Minutes) Dyads:

Discuss how your addiction was once a brilliant strategy and answer the question: “Is it still working?”

(5 Minutes) Lecture: Handout 2 (Overview of the 12-weeks)

(10 Minutes) Closing Process

Conscious Recovery Week One Handout 2

What is Addiction?


Week 2: THE SPIRITUAL LENS Wholeness and Perfection
The Four Rooms of Existence Viewing Addiction Through the Spiritual Lens Holistic and Integrated Recovery


The Outer Focused Life

Cultural Influences Core False Beliefs Brilliant Strategies

The Root Causes of Addiction

What is Trauma?
The Domestication of the Human Physical/Mental/Emotional/Spiritual/Vicarious Trauma Consequences of Unresolved Trauma

Week 5: SPIRITUAL DISCONNECTION What is Spiritual Disconnection? Attachment Theory Unconscious Patterns
A New Way of Being

Week 6: TOXIC SHAME What is Toxic Shame? Guilt/Shame
Victim Consciousness Bringing Shame into the Light