Addiction Recovery

Boundaries – Bottom lines

Lesson 5 Module 1

To maintain your sobriety and fully participate in a 12 Step program, there are minimum boundaries you are agreeing to that include the sobriety definition. These most core to you boundaries are often referred to as bottom lines. Remember boundaries are simply what does or does not work for you that you need to stay sober and to be your best self.

And since these needed boundaries are so core to you and all your addiction, crossing these lines would reset your sobriety (days since acting out in addiction). Because this is a core boundary that resets your sobriety, this is called a bottom line boundary.

Sobriety definition

“Sexual sobriety means having no form of sex with self; not pursuing actions of lust, such as using pornography; and having no form of sex with anyone other than the spouse*. Our goal is to live in recovery, to practice “positive sobriety,” and to choose to actively surrender lust in all its forms to the God of our understanding.”

*The term "spouse" refers to one's partner in a marriage between a man and a woman.

From men's meeting script - Link

Please list the 3 boundaries found in the sobriety definition (also known as bottom line boundaries).

  1. ______________________

  2. ______________________

  3. ______________________

If you cross these particular bottom line boundaries:

  • Reset your sobriety date

  • Notify sponsor, spouse, console, and couches within 24hrs (you do not need to include details to your wife unless your counselor and wife both participate with what needs known.

  • Fill out a relapse analysis within 48hrs - EX relapse analysis form

Side note: I have chosen to add more things to my own bottom lines over time as I realized more what didn’t work for me. For instance, I have examined that taking my phone into a bathroom stall needed to be one of my bottom lines since that never seemed to work for me.

I have also added more things that do work for me over time, but I have chosen to just include them in my general boundaries list not as part of my bottom lines or sobriety. For instance I had to have a night time routine with a bed time since that was the only way I could be at my best.

The 3 sobriety definition bottom lines you wrote out should look something like this, check your own work.

Guidelines bottom lines taken from the sobriety definition

  • No sex with self / no masturbation 

  • No pursuing lustful actions (Pornography, other sexual acting out)

  • No sex outside of marriage (between a husband an wife)

Side note: Many 12 Step programs are loosening up their sobriety definition and ignoring the evidence that doing so only hurts the addict and those around them. I have chosen a high standard that I adhear to here because with substance abuse you can say not using the substance, but with something like Sex addiction there is more to have in your sobriety definition.

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