I have been attending a really good men’s accountability and recovery small group for the past 4 months. A few people have been asking me what we do when we get together. We pray, we share what’s going in our lives, we study scripture. We also are working through the book Pure Desire by Ted Roberts (as well as the accompanying workbook). In addition, each week we start by talking about “The FASTER Scale” and we end by all answering a list of accountability questions.
The FASTER Scale is adapted from Genesis Process (you can read about it here) and is a tool to talk about where you are the scale from RESTORATION to RELAPSE. It is a recognition that the trip (or fall) from restoration to relapse is rarely a 1-step journey. Rather, it almost always includes steps along the way. If we can learn to identify some warning flags along the path, we can hopefully avoid relapse.
So every week we start our meeting by each person talking about where they are on the FASTER SCALE. If you are interested, here is the scale… I think it can be helpful to a lot of people and in a lot of situations.
THE FASTER SCALE:
Accepting life on God’s terms, with trust, grace, mercy, vulnerability and gratitude.
No current secrets; working to resolving problems, identifying fears and feelings; keeping commitments to meetings, prayer, family, church, people, goals, and self; being open and honest, making eye contact; increasing in relationships with God and others; true accountability.
Restoration is the goal. Each of the steps below (FASTER), left unchecked, can lead us to relapse:
Start believing the present circumstances and moving away from trusting God. Denial, flight, A change in what’s important, How you spend your time, energy, and thoughts.
Secrets; less time/energy for God, meetings, church; avoiding support and accountability people; superficial conversations; sarcasm; isolating; changes in goals; obsessed with relationships; breaking promises & commitments; neglecting family; preoccupation with material things, T.V., computers, entertainment; procrastination; lying; over-confidence; bored; hiding money.
(Forgetting priorities will lead to:)
A growing background noise of undefined fear; getting energy from emotions.
Worry, using profanity, being fearful; being resentful; replaying old, negative thoughts; perfectionism; judging other’s motives; making goals and lists that you can’t complete; mind reading; fantasy, co-dependent rescuing; sleep problems, trouble concentrating, seeking/creating drama; gossip; using over the counter medication for pain, sleep or weight control; flirting.
(Anxiety then leads to:)
Trying to outrun the anxiety which is usually the first sign of depression.
Super busy and always in a hurry (finding good reason to justify the work), workaholic, can’t relax; avoiding slowing down; feeling driven; can’t turn off thoughts; skipping meals; binge eating (usually at night); overspending; can’t identify own feelings/needs; repetitive negative thoughts; irritable; dramatic mood swings; too much caffeine; over exercising; nervousness; difficulty being alone and/or with people; difficulty listening to others; making excuses for having to “do it all”.
(Speeding Up then leads to:)
Getting adrenaline high on anger and aggression.
Procrastination causing crisis in money, work, and relationships; increased sarcasm; black and white (all or nothing) thinking; feeling alone; nobody understands; overreacting, road rage; constant resentments; pushing others away; increasing isolation; blaming; arguing; irrational thinking; can’t take criticism; defensive; people avoiding you; needing to be right; digestive problems; headaches; obsessive (stuck) thoughts; can’t forgive; feeling superior; using intimidation.
(Exhausted then leads to:)
Loss of physical and emotional energy; coming off the adrenaline high and the onset of depression.
Depressed; panicked; confused; hopelessness; sleeping too much or too little; can’t cope; overwhelmed; crying for “no reason”; can’t think; forgetful; pessimistic; helpless; tired; numb; wanting to run; constant cravings for old coping behaviors, thinking of using sex, drugs, or alcohol; seeking old unhealthy people & places; really isolating; people angry with you; self abuse; suicidal thoughts; spontaneous crying; no goals; survival mode; not returning phone calls; missing work, irritability; no appetite.
(Exhausted then leads to:)
Returning to the place you swore you would never go again. Coping with life on your terms. You sitting in the driver’s seat instead of God.
Giving up and giving in; out of control; lost in your addiction; lying to yourself and others; feeling you just can’t manage without your coping behaviors, at least for now. The result is the reinforcement of shame, guilt and condemnation, and feelings of abandonment and being alone.
So that is the FASTER Scale… maybe it will be useful to you as well. I know it has been helpful to me. Tomorrow, I will post our Weekly Accountability Questions if you are interested.