LifeStar Recovery Program


3 Phases to Recovery

LifeStar was designed to bring about healing and support to addicts and their families. The recovery process is difficult. The LifeStar program at Family Strong is structured to help you face down your demons and to heal your wounds in 3 phases. 

Phase I

Phase I is a launching pad to help you get started on the road of recovery. Starting recovery can be overwhelming and scary. Phase I provides an opportunity for you to find and feel support and comfort from others experiencing the same struggles. 

What should I expect?

Recovery is hard work! And getting started takes courage. Expect to experience feelings of relief as you find brotherhood with others struggling like you. Come with as little judgment as possible and a willingness to be open and vulnerable. Be prepared to share. Part of recovery is coming out of darkness and entering light. This means that you must be willing to share your pain and struggle. Healing and wholeness come from connecting with others about your wounds. You CANNOT do this alone and that means letting others in. Expect to find brotherhood, strength, support, love and guidance. We believe wholeheartedly in the reality of recovery and we believe wholeheartedly in you.

You are likely having strong emotions rising to the surface. It’s normal to feel apprehensive or uncomfortable. Know that you’re not the only one with these feelings. You will probably find yourself outside of your comfort zone. Good! Growth is often uncomfortable. Your group facilitator knows how to keep the environment of the group safe and healing.

What happens in Phase I?

Education is the primary goal of Phase I. An important fist step in recovery is learning and understanding not only what drives addiction but your addiction. We often explore the question “where are you wounded?” as a way to look at what’s happening on the inside. Gaining insight into what’s underneath the outward expressions of compulsive sexual behavior (wounds) and developing courage to face down those demons are invaluable first steps. Deeper uncovering and healing of wounds occurs in Phase II. Phase I also provides a structure and foundation for long-term, lasting recovery.

How long and what is the format of Phase I?

Phase I lasts 6 weeks with weekly group sessions lasting 1.5-2 hours. Intensives condense the weekly sessions into a day and a half workshop. The groups and intensives are facilitated by a trained counselor or therapist. All participants agree to maintain confidentiality (what happens in group stays in group) so as to support an environment of trust and safety. Groups can be as large as 15 and Phase I intensives with up to 40 participants. 

Do I come alone?

Phase I is for anyone (single or in a relationship, partner or addict) struggling with addiction or its impact. We strongly recommend that your partner attend with you if you have one. If not, then we welcome you as a single individual.

Phase II

The meat of recovery happens in Phase II. This phase is designed to provide the necessary guidelines for recovery work. You must complete Phase I in order to participate in Phase II.    

What should I expect?

Expect to continue regular group and one-on-one therapy. Phase II sets the stage for the deeper, more personal therapeutic work to be done. This includes getting to the driving causes of your addiction, becoming accountable for your behaviors and sobriety, and learning to rely on and connect with other members of your group. For partners, this phase focuses on recovery from the potential impact of years of disconnection and intimacy issues in the relationship as well as from the hurt and confusion learning about the addiction. Just like in Phase I, expect hard work to be pushed out of your comfort zone. This phase is where the real recovery work is done.

What happens in Phase II?

Whereas the work in Phase I is focused primarily on education, Phase II is all about entering the working recovery stage. You’ll be given tasks and assignments and will be encouraged to hold each other accountable. The materials covered in Phase II help to lay the foundation for real, lasting recovery. Topics include diving deep into and confronting denial, the addiction cycle, fantasies and objectification, preventing relapse, and whole, healthy living. Partners are supported while going into their own issues and learn to recognize unhealthy intimacy and relationship behaviors and establish healthy boundaries. 

How long and what is the format of Phase II?

Phase II generally lasts 6-12 months with weekly groups of 90 minutes. You should plan and expect to stay in Phase II until you have established solid sobriety, have a deep and complete understanding of your addiction and cycle, and are effectively and successfully implementing your treatment plan. 

Phase II groups are smaller, typically 4-10 people. Men are combined into all-male groups and women into all-female groups. 

Phase III

Phase III is about builidng on the foundations established in the previous phases and focus on the more delicate wounds needing healing as well as reestablishing patterns of healthy connection in relationships. You must complet both Phase I and Phase II before starting Phase III. 

What should I expect?

By the time you reach Phase III active, regular participation in group should be routine. Work in Phase III builds on the foundation layed in Phase II. The underlying issues of your addiction are addressed, which include areas like trauma, abuse, and core beliefs. Once you’ve been successful in stopping your unwanted and compulsive sexual behaviors, and you’ve addressed and healed the underlying drivers of your addiction you can start to instill and reinforce healthy lifestyle changes. These changes act as the catalysts necessary to become who you really want to be and to break free from the chains of your addiction. They also help to keep you from reengaging or reverting to addiction behaviors and desires. Establishing new patterns of connection with your partner also takes place in this phase. New ways of understanding and relating to each other are set. Deep, lasting, secure bonding (the antidote to addiction) is instilled and strengthened.

What happens in Phase III?   

Solid sobriety from acting out behaviors has been established by the time you’ve reached Phase III. The foundations of understanding your addction, its root causes, being held accountable and learning to seek support and connection enable you to engage in the delicate and tender work of healing shame, attachment and bonding, and other emotional issues that your addiction has kept buried deep inside. The healthy lifestyle changes you have made are reinforced which help you keep the compulsive behaviors from resurfacing in the future. Learning how to improve your relationships is the hallmark of this phase and one of the capstones of your recovery. These relationships extend beyond your intimate partner to include your children, extended family, colleagues and co-workers, and friends.

In Phase III partners have been able to move through the crisis, shock and trauma of the betrayal and have become equipped to focus on healing the trauma, decreasing feelings of shame, and improving healthy emotional expression. Reconnection within the relationship happens and new patterns of relating and communicating are established. Partners in this phase often experience and uncovering of “who they used to be” or “who they really are” and build patterns for sustainable long-term healthy living.

Phase III offers both addicts and partners the opportunity to practice living a life free of negative impacts of addiction, and with new patterns of communication and interaction that foster deep, lasting connection. 

How long and what is the format of Phase III?

Like Phase II, Phase III lasts for about 1 year of weekly 90 minute groups. Participants typically graduate as a group and stay together from Phase II to Phase III. Group size stays at 4-10 people. Partners and family may attend with addicts from time to time but generally men stay in male groups and women in female groups.