The Trees of Addiction & Recovery

By Steve K.

The Addiction Tree


Trauma Informed Model of Addiction

At the bottom of the addiction tree is the soil and seeds of addiction, which consists of emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual neglect or abuse. These are combined with innate hereditary factors. This unhealthy foundation for life creates the tree’s roots – the very painful feelings of toxic shame and the resulting fear, anger, grief, and loneliness of the lost and rejected self.

The trunk of the addiction tree is the wounded psyche or self, and our sense of emptiness and isolation which we yearn to fulfil. The branches of the tree, our addictions, are an attempt to escape our painful feelings of shame, fear, anger, depression and sadness.

Spiritually, we are also trying to become whole again – attempting to mend our broken heart. These are the components of addiction in its many forms, and why it’s often described as an illness of the mind, body, and soul.

The Recovery Tree


The soil and seeds of recovery are loving, nurturing environments, relationships, and community. This healthy foundation for life creates the roots of security, self-esteem and confidence, gratitude, empathy, unselfishness, self-acceptance and compassion, and the ability to love oneself and others.

The trunk of recovery is a healthy sense of self and emotional sobriety. We feel connected to love and wholeness and have a sense of spiritual awareness and well-being in our lives.

The branches and fruits of recovery are healthy, meaningful relationships with self, others, and the world. We become increasingly able to live a fulfilling and abundant life. We self-actualise and can now realise our true potential and authentic self.

Recommended Reading:

The Roots of Addiction Unmet Needs for Love and Security.  

Short, powerful, and moving video on the affects of Adverse Childhood Experiences:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s