May 21, 2017

by Terence T. Gorski
May 21, 2017

Recovery is a complex and multifaceted process that develops and strengthens over time. It is not the event of stopping.


Addiction, defined here as the repeated act of drinking and drugging that brings undesired pain an problems is not an event. It is a complex and multifaceted process that has one primary purpose — to keep the process going.

Addiction is a complex process with many moving parts and a capacity to self-repair. The goal of addiction is to keep the addictive process going. It does this by using many things, like bad habits that make you hungry, tired, and stressed, that have nothing directly to do drinking and drugging.

Addiction also takes at least partial control of the most powerful computer on earth — the human brain-mind creates and uses non-drug components of the addiction process to put us into events where drinking and drugging seem like a good things. 

The non-drinking/drug parts of the addiction process use parts include things like: 

  • denial,
  • withdrawal,
  • craving,
  • addictive thinking, 
  • addiction-centered lifestyles (hanging around people, places, and things that make it easy to use again by making us miserable. This is often called a dry drunk. 

Remember, the only goal of the addiction process is to keep you in the endless pursuit of creating more drinking and drugging events. 
Unless you have learned about these other parts of the addiction process stay hidden causing you so much pain and problems in recovery that using alcohol and other drugs seems like a good idea. The you can plug the numerous different drinking and drugging events back into the overall addictive process. 

I hope that you can see that just stopping one or even a series of drinking/events won’t permanently stop the addiction process. Stopping the even of drinking and drugging may seem to temporarily interrupt the process, but you can be sure that other hidden parts of the addiction process are at work creating so much pain m, problems, and opportunities that it’s only a matter of time that “the right” and perfectly safe delinking/drugging event presents itself. 

As a result, I believe that stopping drinking and drugging is necessary but insufficient for long-term meaningful recovery. Unfortunately there is much more to to recovery than just “not drinking and drugging. 

Long-term meaningful and comfortable recovery, called sobriety requires three things: 

1. We must understand the entire addiction process, developing skills for managing each part of it. 

2. We must replace the Addiction Process with a RECOVERY PROCESS that allows us to manage pain, solve problems, and finding meaning and purpose in life. The recovery process must become an habitual ways of living that supports abstinence, discourages substance use, and gives us the tools to be physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually.

3. We must learn relapse prevention skills. 


Relapse is the process of becoming dysfunctional in recovery and failing to use our recovery tools to stop the process. 

Relapse often starts with getting stuck in recovery. There is something we need to do to keep our recovery stable, but we don’t do it. Why? 

We either don’t notice what’s going and how dangerous it is. Or else we see what’ happening but for some reason we either can’t we’re not capable), won’t (we refuse to try), or we don’t know how and refuse to learn. 

We go into denial,we use magical and addictive thinking to make ourselves believe it will just go away. Then we experience unmanageable feelings and emotions like anger, shame, guilt and resentment. 

These feelings stat to eat us up on the inside and we start losing our sense of meaning and purpose in recovery. We may start thinking of drinking and activated alcohol and drug craving. 

We want to have some fun by bong around people, places, and things where alcohol and drugs are easy to get. We feel a compulsion, called addiction seeking behaviors, which make us want to to around these high risk situations, and eventually we start using again.

Recovering people can learn to recognize and manage these early warns signs of relapse. They can also learn to recognize and manage high risk situations that activate craving, remove support for recovery, and feeds them false promises that addictive use will make everyone better, at least for awhile. 


This is the false promise of addiction: Addictive use will take away my pain and solve my problems. 

Addictive use can only make us feel better for a little while. It cannot really make anything better. The longer we stay addicted the more we need to drunk and drug to get the feeling we want. 

Our tolerances rises and eventually, there is no way to get the relief we found in the early days of our addiction. We begin needing to drug or use drugs that don’t even make us feel good for a little while. 

We find ourselves trapped once again in our addiction. Why? 

The answer is simple yet painful. It’s because of something that we either did or did’t do that is described in the article above. 

That’s all well and good, but before we can search out what went wrong and fix it, we have to stop drinking and drugging. And to stop may require detox. 

As so often happens in addiction, we went around the circle and did the minimum to get by. Then a big change that causes stress hits us and our old addictive habits and ways of thinking and managing emotions come back. 

We loose our perspective, are to shamed or afraid to ask for help. We pretend everything is OK until suddenly we’re trapped in an addictive crisis that we can’t manage. 

Live Sober – Be Responsible – Live Free 

Permission is granted to repost this picture.

CHECK OUT: Starting Recovery With Relapse Prevention


August 8, 2015

Earn 44 CEUs, In 5 Days, for $695!
  Instructed By: Terence T. Gorski and Dr. Stephen F. Grinstead

November 9-14, 2015

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Terence T. Gorski’s advanced relapse prevention training has been “a turning point” in both the professional and personal lives of many former participants. The Gorski schools began in 1982 in Chicago, IL. Since that time, over sixty schools have been conducted with over 4,000 people completing the training.

This advanced clinical skills training experience is designed for professional therapists who are good and want to get better. It may be the most challenging and effective training that you have ever attended.

Upon completion of this training, participants will be able to develop comprehensive Relapse Prevention Plans for identifying and managing both high risk situations in early recovery and the core personality and lifestyle problems that lead to relapse in later recovery, after initial stabilization.

The Gorski Relapse Prevention Certification School (RPCS) is continuously updated with the latest research and uses a proven training method that includes:

(1) Brief Lectures that explain the purpose of each technique and why it is important;

(2) Clinical Demonstrations of each RP technique,

(3) Role Play to practice and receive feedback on your use of each technique,

(4) Small Groups to discuss progress, problems, and applications to your personal style;

(5) Discussions of how to apply the techniques in your professional setting.

Do you want to take your current clinical skills and integrate them with new and powerful approaches for identifying and managing the high-risk situations and core personality and life-style patterns that lead to relapse? If you do, this is the training for you!

Important Notice: An optional RPT Competency Certification that requires the completion of a competency portfolio and an additional fee.

Training Fee: The cost of the training is $695 for the five-day training experience (travel, meals, and lodging are not included in this fee).

Florida Location: HYATT REGENCY PIER SIXTY SIX, 2301 SE 17th Street Causeway Fort Lauderdale FL 33316 USA Telephone: 1-954-525-6666 on November 10-14, 2014 (Special hotel rates will be available for those who register early!

For information and Registration:
Tresa Watson at 1-352-596-8000 or



May 10, 2015

By Terence T. Gorski

Here are the key points of the definition of relapse from a wide variety of internet dictionaries :

To experience a relapse means:

1. The return of a disease or illness after partial or full recovery from i

2. To suffer a deterioration in a disease after a period of improvement.

3. To fall back into illness after convalescence or apparent recovery

4. To have a deterioration in health after a temporary improvement.

5. To fall or slide back into a former state of illness or dysfunction.

6. To regress after partial recovery from illness.

7. To slip back into bad habits or self-defeating ways of living; to backslide after a period of progress.

8. To fall back into a former state, especially after apparent improvement.

Origin of the word RELAPSE: the word relapse comes from the Middle English word “relapsen,” and from Latin meaning to to “forswear” (to promise or swear in advance that a change will be made.   A combination of the words: relb or relps-, came to mean to fall back gradually; or to slide back without being able to stop ones self (as could happen when trying to move up a slippery or muddy hill.

The word relapse results from a linguistic process called “nominalization” which means to describe a process (like loving someone or relating to someone) into a thing (like love or relationship).

It is important to do a “cross-walk” between 12-Step language (i.e. dry drunk leading to a wet drunk) and the language of cognitive behavioral therapy (the process of falling back into an illness, condition, or habitual problem behaviors that ends in the act of drinking, drugging, or acting out an addiction or habitual self-defeating behavior.

Using an “addictive release” provided by an addictive drug or behavior is often seen as the start of a “relapse episode,” a single discreet episode of addictive use.

A relapse episode is usually preceded by stressful events (triggers), that raise stress and activate old self-defeating and addictive ways of thinking, feeling, acting, and relating to other people.

Marlatt distinguished between a lapse (a short term and low consequence episode of addictive use) and a relapse (a return to a previous state of out-of-control addictive acting out usually accompanied by a return of secondary problems related to the addiction.

I believe in a Twelve-Step Plus Approach that matches the needs of individual recovering people with a strong recommendation to attend 12-Strep Programs and to participate in other treatment activities (professionally supervised) and recovery activities (peer supported and community based) that meet individual needs, promotes long-term recovery, and uses appropriate relapse prevention methods. There is no wrong door into recovery. There is no wrong treatment or recovery activity if it helps people to live a sober and responsible life filled with meaning and purpose.

Language Programs The Brain,
Focuses The Mind, and
Motivates Behavior.

Think clearly to get results in recovery!

~ Terry Gorski Blog:

~ Terry Gorski, via




January 14, 2015

By Edgar Allan Poe

“From childhood’s hour I have not been, as others were—I have not seen
As others saw.” ~ Edgar Allen Poe


From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—

Black or White Thinking

January 14, 2015

By Terence T. Gorski
Author (The Books of Terence T. Gorski)

Black and white thinking, also known as all-or-nothing thinking, is the failure to bring together both positive and negative qualities of the self, other people, and the world into a cohesive and realistic whole.

It is a common defense mechanism used by many people that allows them to lock onto one aspect of things while blocking out others. This can make the world appear more manageable and comprehensible.

In reality, apparent opposites often live together in the real real world. Here are some examples.

The world is both …
– Good and evil;
– Loving and cruel;
– Safe and dangerous;
– Understandable and incomprehensible.

In reality, it is all of these things and much more all at the same time. What we see depends upon where we look and what point of view we choose to take.

Never underestimate our ability to lock onto to some things and block out other things based upon our belief in the truth.

It provides great comfort to shrink the world into something small and manageable. This can work in times of great stability. During times of great and radical change it is important to be able to view reality as it is, not as we would like it to be.

Read more about how black and white thinking can hurt us and what we can do about it.

Learn more about Cognitive Restructuring for Addiction. This is practical workbook and guide making cognitive restructuring tools readily available to both therapists and recovering people.

The Books of Terence T. Gorski)


September 2, 2014


An Evidence-based Program and Practice

By Terence T. Gorski, author,

Find A CRPS Near You

Find a CRPS providing services in your area. Click Here. Most provide a minim of thee services on a fee for service bases:

1. RP Counseling and Therapy:

Direct RP services for recovering people and their families in developing and supervising relapse prevention plans. Some do this in individual sessions and others in groups.

2. Clinical Supervision/Case Consultation:

Clinical supervision in RP for professionals in the community working with relapse prone people. Again, some do this in individual supervision and some use group supervision.

3. Training and Presentations On Relapse Prevention and Related Area:

Many of our Professionals who have earned their CRPS do. Wide variety of training events for professionals and recovering people in the community.

I have found the members of the Association of Relapse Prevention Specialists to be dedicated and competent professionals with big hearts. They are just plain good and trustworthy people.

You can locate a certified Relapse Prevention Specialist near you by visiting the CENAPS Website: Certified Relapse Prevention Specialists (CRPS)


Supervision. Supervision.

The Relapse Prevention Certification school id conducted ever November in Fort Lauderdale FL



Relapse Does Not Mean Failure?

September 1, 2014

The road to long-term recovery Is not always neat and pretty!

By Terence T. Gorski,

Straight Talk About Addiction

This article challenges three mistaken beliefs that often prevent treatment professionals from dealing effectively with relapse prone clients. These beliefs are:

(1) Relapse is self-inflicted;
(2) Relapse is an indication of treatment failure; and
(3) Once relapse occurs the patient will never recover.

I remember touring a large medical-surgical hospital as part of my consultation with the addiction treatment program that was located in the hospital. The administrator was obviously proud of the hospital he helped to build. He personally gave me the tour.

As he showed me each specialty unit I felt like he was showing off his children. He obviously cared about the patients, greeting some by name as we walked through each unit.

As he showed me the cancer, cardiac, and renal dialysis units. He emphatically told me that the hospital was committed to these chronically ill patients. He stated with pride that no matter how sick, how difficult their recovery, or how many times they needed treatment, he wanted the services of the hospital to be there to help them. “That’s my commitment,” he said emphatically. “And I am a man who keeps my word!”

When we went to the chemical dependency unit, he told me, in no uncertain terms, that the unit did not “enable chemical addicts by admitting them for treatment after relapse.” His position was that if chemical addicts wanted to stay sober they would. “Relapse,” he emphasized, “is a self-inflicted condition!” To provide multiple treatments to people who don’t really want to get well is just enabling their disease. They need to hit bottom!”

Unfortunately, this misguided attitude is still very common. We say that addiction is a disease with a tendency to toward relapse. Unfortunately many treatment centers, and even the counselors who for them don’t act like it is. Even more tragically, these misguided policies of refusing multiple treatments to relapse-prone addicts are being mirrored in insurance company and managed care reimbursement policies that often refuse to pay for multiple treatments. There is even talk of refusing alcoholics the opportunity for liver transplants because their liver disease was self-inflicted.

Currently, most relapse prone patients are unable to get the treatment they need because of three mistaken beliefs:

1. Relapse is self-inflicted;

2. Relapse is an indication
that the Patient Is a failure s who really doesn’t Want to get well. The treatment works, it’s the patient refusing to follow the treatment that causes

3. Once relapse occurs the patient will never recover.

Let’s challenge this triad of mistaken beliefs.

Mistaken Belief #1: Relapse Is Self-Inflicted

Relapse, in most cases, is not self-inflicted. Relapse-prone patients experience a gradual progression of symptoms in sobriety that create so much pain that they become unable to function in sobriety. They turn to addictive use to self-medicate the pain.

These patients can learn to stay sober by recognizing these symptoms as early relapse warning signs, and identifying the self-defeating thoughts, feelings, and actions they use to cope with them, and learning more effective coping responses.

Unfortunately, most relapse-prone patients never receive relapse prevention therapy, either because treatment centers don’t provide it or their insurance or managed care provider won’t pay for it.

Mistaken Belief #2: Relapse Is An Indication That The Patient Is A Failure Who Doesn’t Really Want To Recover!

Relapse is not necessarily a sign thAt the patient or the treatment is inherent entry a failure. It’s more likely that patient is experiencing problems that don’t match the standard package of treatment being offered. Since the problem that is the root cause of the pain in recovery is never addressed, the patient’s risk of relapse goes way up. Look at the statistics.

Between one half and two-thirds of all patients treated for alcohol and drug dependence will relapse, but at least one half of all relapsers will find long-term recovery within five to seven years after their first treatment. The belief that relapse means that both the patent and treatment failed ignores the fact that, for many patients, recovery involves a series of relapse episodes. Each relapse, if properly dealt with in a subsequent treatment, can become the a learning experience which makes the patient less likely to relapse in the future.

Chemically dependent people can be divided into three groups based upon their recovery and relapse history.

– One third of all patients are recovery prone and maintain total abstinence from their first serious attempt.

– Another third are transitionally relapse prone and have a series of short-term and low consequence relapse episodes prior to finding long-term abstinence.

– The final third, the most difficult patients to treat, are chronically relapse-prone patients can’t find long-term sobriety no matter what they do.

Recovery-prone patients in the first group tend to be addicted to a single drug, have higher levels of social and economic stability, and do not have coexisting mental of physical health problems. They are what are often referred to as “garden variety addicts” who have uncomplicated chemical addictions.

Transitionally relapse-prone patients in group two tend to have more severe addictions that are complicated by other problems. They have the capacity, however, to learn from each relapse episode and take steps to alter or modify their recovery programs to avoid future relapses.

Chronically relapse-prone patients in group 3 tend to have many different issues they are struggling with. Here is a list of some of those problems. They may have the primary addiction they are being treated for plus some combination of the following:

– Severe late stage addictions to multiple drugs, especially opiates and methAmphetamine that are powerfully addictive;

– Personality disorders, mental health problems, or physical illness that is no diagnosed or

– Severe post acute withdrawal (PAW) caused by symptoms brain dysfunction caused chronic alcohol and drug poisoning to the brain. These seems become more severe when the person is under high levels of stress.

Many relapse-prone patients fail to recover because these coexisting are not properly diagnosed and treated and they interfere with the primary treatment being given.

Mistaken Belief #3: Once Relapse Occurs The Patient Will Never Recover

Recovery is a process of learning, mostly by trial and error. Almost every recovering alcoholic or drug addict with long-term recover has had one orca short series of relapse episodes. They learned from these experienced and figured out how to put together a meaningful and comfortable long-term recovery.

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Matthew 7:1-3

About the Author
Terence T. Gorski is internationally author, trainer, and consultant who is best recognized for his contributions to Relapse Prevention Therapy. The scope of his work, however, extends far beyond this. He is a skilled cognitive behavioral therapist with extensive training in experiential therapies. Gorski has broad-based experience and expertise in the chemical dependency, behavioral health, and criminal justice fields.

Mr. Gorski holds a B.A. degree in psychology and sociology from Northeastern Illinois University and an M.A. degree from Webster’s College in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a Senior Certified Addiction Counselor In Illinois. He is a prolific author who has published numerous books, pamphlets and articles. Mr. Gorski routinely makes himself available for interviews, public presentations, and consultant. He has presented lectures and conducted workshops in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

For books, audio, and video tapes contact: Herald House –
Terry Gorski and other members of the GORSKI-CENAPS Team:


Straight Talk About Addiction

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