Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Residential Week 9: Balance

Group Objective: To explore what it means to live a balanced life.

Key Teaching Points: This group will explore the “four rooms” of existence (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) and provide tools for living a balanced life, by focusing on recovery in each of the rooms.

Materials Needed: Whiteboard or flipchart, large drawing paper, markers

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.” – Indian Proverb

If you have been in recovery for any length of time, you know that addiction can be considered from any of these rooms. All four: the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual, are present in any addiction, and they can be utilized in your recovery. Most commonly contemplated, perhaps, is the physical approach to recovery, with its attention to the physical symptoms of addiction and physical healing (e.g., the disease model, studying brain chemistry and genetics, considering medications, changing diet and exercise patterns, and so on). People in recovery also spend time in the mental and emotional rooms, with help from therapists, sponsors, and support groups. Living in all four of these rooms can bring us a long way along the road to recovery.

But as the proverb tells us: “Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time.” Often neglected in recovery work is the spiritual room, from which we can consider the spiritual questions involved in recovery: What is the root cause of addiction? What is the underlying condition of fragmentation and disconnection that leads people to addiction and addictive behaviors? How can sitting in the room of Spirit bring us to a place of deeper healing and peace? Of course, the four rooms are not cut off from one another; they are all part of the same house, connected by doorways and hallways. We are integrated beings, and addressing the spiritual aspects of addiction will bring us into the other rooms, especially the rooms of thought and emotion.

Residential: Week 9 Group Outline Balance

(10 minutes) Meditation

(10 minutes) Check-in: Everyone says their name and something about balance.

Review Shared Agreements

  • One Person Speaks at a Time

  • Confidentiality

  • Share the Air

  • No “Fixing”

  • “I” Statements

  • Feedback Upon Request

    (5 minutes) Introduction of Topic: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual: The Buddhists call it the “four rooms.” Here are the key talking points. (You might want to write them on the board):

  • We are like a house with four rooms (P, E, M, S).

  • We need to spend at least some time in each room

  • What does balance look like?

    (15 minutes) Group Brainstorming (Flip-chart): What are some examples from the four rooms? List the attributes and activities for each of them. (For example, exercise lives in the physical room, etc.)

(15 minutes) Group Process: Have clients draw something that represents each of the rooms. (You can have each client create their own drawing with all four, or you can have 4 large pieces of paper hanging on the wall and label each paper with the “four room” titles).

(10 minutes) Group Discussion: Which room do you tend to live in most often? (Have each group member identify which room is their “default” room).

(15 minutes) Group Process (Small Groups): Have people break into small groups based on the predominant room they tend to live in and have them discuss the following points. (You might want to write them on the whiteboard or flipchart for them to see.)

  • Where did this tendency originate?

  • Which room would you like to develop?

  • What are some of the ways/tools you can utilize to develop the

    “new” room?
    (10 minutes) Closing Process