Episode 007: The Four Essential Quadrants of Recovery

The Journey of Integral Recovery Podcast
Episode 007: The Four Essential Quadrants of Recovery

Why you should listen:
What if scientists developed a magic pill to cure addiction? Integral Recovery redefines, deepens, and expands our ideas of what is necessary for a truly holistic model of treatment. By examining the interdependence of the four quadrants of the AQAL map, we begin to understand why treating the physical disease of addiction is necessary but not sufficient for recovery.
By laying out this simple psychoactive framework, we begin to develop the understanding of why working with each quadrant has a ripple effect that begins to repair addiction’s devastation in every area of our lives. With the radical inclusion of every facet of our lives, we begin a truly holistic daily practice to lift us from the despair of dependence into expanding awareness and new levels of evolution, transcendence, and community.

In this episode:
[1:55] What does “holistic” mean in terms of recovery, and how is Integral Recovery different than other holistic recovery programs?
[5:36] Ken Wilber’s philosophy on breaking out of prison – and addiction is a prison.
[8:26] A psychoactive evolutionary map, changing brain structures, anti-intellectualism, and moving towards an integral perspective
[13:23] An introduction to the four-quadrant model
[14:02] The upper right quadrant: Individual Exterior, the “It” quadrant of empirical, objective, quantifiable science, and the medical model of addiction
[18:40] The upper left quadrant of the individual interior. The “I” quadrant of experience, feelings, psychology, and beliefs
[19:50] The intersection of quadrants and the symbiotic relationships between them
[21:35] Using the objective quadrant as an entry point to recovery for people who reject spirituality
[23:30] A brief overview of the four-quadrant system
[25:36] What if there were a pill to cure addiction?
[26:50] My body, my self, my people, my world
[27:47] Trauma in childhood, chronic unrelieved stress, anxiety, depression, and the relation to the four-quadrant model of addiction
[33:04] Repairing our relationships and finding a support group to lift you up, the wisdom of Thich Naht Hahn, interpersonal neurobiology, and co-regulation
[38:20] The power of community – why we need each other
[40:33] The upcoming Integral Recovery masterclass

Episode Resources:
Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction (SUNY series in Integral Theory)

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04/03/2017, 42:41, 29.31mb (Audio)


  1. Angela on April 8, 2017 at 1:57 am

    Thank you for this episode. It’s wonderful to hear you guys talk on this topic. I was introduced to the 4 quadrants of Integral Theory through Ken Wilbur’s book The Integral Vision. I latched onto the 4 quadrants right away and have been using that part of the map in many parts of life. I agree that if the 4 quadrants were the only part of Integral Theory that people used that would still be revolutionary. I look forward to hearing more about Integral Recovery courses you will be offering in the future.

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