The Recovery Zone System™ is a road map for your life in recovery. It divides your recovery journey into three distinct zones (Red, Yellow, and Green), and gives you clear guidance on when and how to address various areas of your life, such as treatment, fellowship activities, relationships, school, health, and more.
Wearing a wristband will help you remember where you are in your journey. Let it be a reminder to stay sober, avoid temptations, and follow your program in cooperation with your sponsor or other advisor.
~~~ The Red Zone: Stop. Activate your recovery. ~~~
For your first eighteen months or more of recovery, you need to focus first and foremost on saving your life. Nothing else is as important. Nothing. School, relationships and other parts of your life will have to wait.
Red Zone Wristband: When you're in the Red Zone, your brain is not yet healed and you may not be thinking very clearly. Let your red wristband remind you to stay sober and avoid anything that could lead to relapse. While you wear it, do not make any decisions on your own; be sure to consult your advisor about everything. And do not take off the wristband until your advisor agrees you are ready to move into the Yellow Zone.
As Dr. Mooney says, “You’ll be much less likely to relapse if you put your decisions and thinking in the hands of someone else for now. So once the Red Zone wristband goes on, you are not allowed to think. Let others guide you. And don’t take the wristband off until someone else (like me, your sponsor, or the judge) gives you permission.”
~~~ The Yellow Zone: Proceed with caution. Build your life. ~~~
Once you have a solid eighteen months or more of sobriety, you’ll move into the Yellow Zone, where you can put energy into rebuilding your life (relationships, jobs, etc.) and making your life more fulfilling.
Yellow Zone Wristband: Life is much better now, but you need to always remember that you are in recovery. Let the Yellow Zone wristband be your reminder.
~~~ The Green Zone: Go. Celebrate your life. ~~~
Once you have a few years of sobriety behind you, and have rebuilt your life, you’ll move into the Green Zone. Then it will be time to celebrate your life. You will focus on what you can do to live as long as you can, and also on helping others find the gift of recovery.
Green Zone Wristband: Life is great now, but you can’t ever forget you are in recovery. Wear the Green Zone wristband as a small reminder to stay sober. And remember, you can always go back to wearing a Red Zone wristband if you feel the need.
~~~ Recovery Zone ReCheck~~~
Once you have a solid recovery underway, and are out of the Red Zone, you’ll still have challenging days. When that happens — maybe you’re facing surgery or divorce, or you’re just feeling vulnerable — put your Red Zone wristband on again. Ramp up your program, return to your Red Zone priorities, consult with your advisor on all decisions, and again, don’t take the wristband off until he agrees you are out of the woods.
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