Treating addiction is a complex process that involves addressing social, psychological and biological issues that play a part in keeping men sick. While it’s essential to provide therapies that focus on each of these variables independently, it’s also possible — and beneficial — to utilize integrative therapies that work on all three together. These variables are all linked to one critical area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for mood regulation, interpersonal connections, impulse control, forward thinking, morality, empathy and other critical human quality-of-life functions.
In the presence of substance abuse and addiction, the neural pathways in the brain can become weakened and damaged. The prefrontal cortex is one of the areas that can be negatively affected, which can lead to personality changes, risky behaviors and poor understanding of consequences that so often accompany substance abuse. But it’s also possible to repair, rebuild and strengthen the brain by to seeking stimuli that will trigger neurons in weakened areas. Engaging in activities, conversations and exercises that improve self-awareness, empathy and teamwork skills will strengthen the prefrontal cortex in particular. The goal of ABI therapy is to get Tree House Recovery clients involved in these brain-building activities through exciting and enjoyable experiences.
Action Based Induction Therapy
Action Based Induction Therapy, or ABIT, was specifically created to target the prefrontal cortex in substance abuse and addiction recovery clients. Based on the principle of brain plasticity — that is, the brain’s ability to adapt to stimuli by building new neural pathways — ABIT exposes participants to situations that stimulate the prefrontal cortex and encourage restoration and strengthening of the damaged neurons and connections. Think of it as a weight training exercise for the brain: repetitive use of the neural pathways in the prefrontal cortex makes them work faster and more reliably over time, just like repetitive physical exercises strengthen your muscles.
ABI therapies are usually activities that require skills like quick thinking, coolheadedness and moral decision making — for example, a simulated group survival drill or fast-paced sport. These activities require that participants work together, put each others’ well-being ahead of their own and act quickly, all while maintaining an accurate understanding of how their actions will influence their outcomes. After treatment, these skills are vital to succeeding in personal and professional relationships as well as holding oneself accountable for avoiding relapse.
Benefits of ABIT
As an integral piece of our eight-part core curriculum, ABIT serves many purposes in recovery at Tree House. First and foremost, it strengthens the prefrontal cortex and provides another line of defense against the possibility of relapse. Second, it builds crucial life skills that our clients take with them when they leave our programs. These skills can include:
- Decision making
- Emotion regulation
- Interpersonal attunement
- Forward thinking
- Risk assessment
- Consequence recognition
Aside from setting our clients up for success in independent life, ABIT involves team-building exercises that encourage our clients to form a close-knit community during treatment. The men in our programs support one another and build each other up — it’s not a competition or a contest, but a team effort to bring everyone to a better place together. This environment sets Tree House Recovery apart and is something we work hard to foster and maintain.
Our ABI therapies are also often physically demanding, and help the men in our programs heal their bodies as well as their minds. Some activities are based on Navy SEAL training exercises and push participants to challenge themselves and work harder than they knew they could. We want the men in our programs to learn that they don’t need to doubt themselves — that they are capable of anything they put their minds to. ABIT is one of the ways we promote a positive, confident outlook.
ABIT at Tree House Recovery PDX
With our fully equipped, state-of-the-art gym, our primary method of ABIT at our Portland location is regimented mixed martial arts (MMA) techniques. Fight choreography, strict adherence to form and safe sparring require discipline and lightning reflexes, honed over the course of our clients’ stay in our programs. MMA requires on-the-spot problem solving and chess-like strategy skills — underneath the fast-paced surface, every move must be carefully considered and precise. It’s an ideal conduit for ABIT that ties together many of the important functions of the prefrontal cortex and gives the brain a thorough workout.
Our physical director, William Bogynska, leads our MMA exercises. He is a credentialed therapist, Muay Thai instructor and personal trainer with CPR and first aid certifications. Under his expert eye, the men in our programs learn how to practice MMA with an eye for safety and a respect for the technical demands of the sport. ABIT with MMA also blends seamlessly with our fitness, yoga and action treatment modalities for a well-rounded and holistic approach to addiction recovery.
Addiction Treatment for Men in Portland, Oregon
Tree House Recovery PDX is located in the vibrant northwestern city of Portland, Oregon, close to beautiful natural resources and ample modern amenities. Our facilities are contemporary yet homey, made comfortable so our clients can feel safe and relaxed without sacrificing style and ambience. We’ve created an environment you’ll be excited to be a part of; somewhere you’ll find the rest and recovery you need to heal.
Our signature eight-part curriculum includes a range of evidence-based and experiential therapies that aim to heal the body, mind and soul:
If you believe that our community might be the right fit for yourself or your loved one, please reach out to us to learn more. We welcome adult men from the Portland area, the Pacific Northwest and beyond — men who are ready to begin their journey of recovery and commit to a fulfilling sober lifestyle. Call us today with any questions, or to get started with the admissions process. Our team is waiting to help you at 855-969-5181.