Glossary of Commonly Used Terms and Abbreviations

  • RCA- Recovery Coach Academy- a 40hr course for those in recovery and those identifying as a recovery ally, teaching an overview of how to walk with someone struggling with harmful substance use. This is likened to PSS Certification training however it comes from a “Coach” standpoint rather than a peer-to-peer standpoint.
  • PGAM- Problem Gambling Initiative and Ambassador Training. 
  • AA: Alcoholics Anonymous. This is a support group in the 12-Step model made for people with an addiction to alcohol.
  • CA: Cocaine Anonymous. This 12-Step support group is for people with an addiction to cocaine.
  • CoDA: Co-Dependents Anonymous. This 12-Step support group is for people struggling with codependency issues.
  • FAA: Food Addicts Anonymous. This 12-Step support group is for people with binge-type eating disorders.
  • GA: Gamblers Anonymous. This 12-Step support group deals with gambling.
  • HA: Heroin Anonymous. This 12-Step support group is for people addicted to heroin.
  • MA: Marijuana Anonymous. This 12-Step support group is for people with an addiction to marijuana.
  • NA: Narcotics Anonymous. This 12-Step support group is for people with an addiction to narcotics, such as pain pills.
  • PA: Pills Anonymous. This 12-Step support group is for people addicted to pain pills.
  • IOP: intensive outpatient program. People continue to live at home, but they may head to a treatment facility every day.
  • PHP: partial hospitalization program. People live at home, but they head to clinical facilities every day for care.
  • IRF: inpatient rehabilitation facility. People move into the facility to get help around the clock.
  • MAT: Medication Assisted Treatment is the use of FDA-approved medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to treatment of substance use disorders.  
  • RTC: residential treatment center. People live in these facilities, too, but the facilities may have a home-like feeling that sets them apart.
  • ACT: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This form of therapy blends mindfulness and acceptance to deliver relief.
  • CAT: Cognitive Analytic Therapy. This form of therapy brings together Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and psychoanalysis.
  • CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapists and clients pair to understand addiction triggers and develop tools that can be used to avoid or deal with triggers.
  • CFT: Compassion Focused Therapy. This therapy is results-driven and fast. It involves Buddhist principles and evolutionary psychotherapy, to help clients feel supported as they heal.
  • CMT: Concentrative Movement Therapy. This form of therapy uses movement as a metaphor for emotional states.
  • DNMS: Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy. A form of therapy that is designed to help adults resolve emotional wounds formed in childhood.
  • DBT: Dialectical Behavior Therapy. This form of therapy uses questions and answers to heighten consciousness.
  • ECT: Electroconvulsive Therapy. Tiny shocks of electricity delivered to the brain are designed to assist with depression and inappropriate behaviors.
  • EFT: Emotionally Focused Therapy. This is a short-form of therapy made for individuals, couples, or families.
  • EFT: Emotional Freedom Therapy. Clinicians using this therapy suggest that unresolved emotional issues are at the root of most mental health concerns. Therapy is designed to resolve those concerns.
  • EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. In this therapy, people recount a difficult episode while following a bright light, the therapist’s finger, or a mild sound with their eyes.
  • ERP: Exposure and Response Prevention. People with phobias are asked to reacquaint themselves with the issues that cause fear in a gentle, calming manner.
  • FAP: Functional Analytic Psychotherapy. This form of therapy uses the client/therapist relationship to encourage change in a person in need.
  • IBP: Integrative Body Psychotherapy. Clinicians use breath work and poses to help clients deal with difficult memories or emotions.
  • ISTDP: Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. This form of therapy lasts for just a few sessions, but homework and home study helps to make the lessons stick.
  • IFS: Internal Family Systems Model. This therapy supposes that most unusual behavior and emotional misery have their roots in the family system. The whole family tries to change.
  • MBCT: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Mindfulness, or being aware without feeling compelled to act, is paired with CBT in this form of therapy.
  • MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Stress can cause a variety of negative behaviors, including addiction. This technique uses mindfulness to help people deal with stress, so they won’t lean on other substances.
  • MBT: Mentalization-Based Treatment. This form of therapy is made for people who have borderline personality disorder.
  • MDT: Mode Deactivation Therapy. By setting goals and making plans, people move past difficult emotions and behaviors in this form of therapy.
  • MI: Motivational Interviewing. This therapy helps people to prepare to change.
  • PCIT: Parent–Child Interaction Therapy. With this therapy, the relationship of the parent and the child is examined closely.
  • PCT: Person-Centered Therapy. This form of talk therapy is designed to help people examine their feelings, behaviors, and attitudes.
  • PE: Prolonged Exposure Therapy. Spending a great deal of time in the presence of something that causes fear is the focus of this therapy.
  • REBT: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. This is a comprehensive form of therapy made to help resolve emotional and behavioral problems.
  • SFBT: Solution Focused (Brief) Therapy. Rather than examining all of life and all triggers, this form of therapy homes in on just one issue and one solution.
  • SDT: Status Dynamic Psychotherapy. This form of therapy is made to help clients shift status, so their lives will change.
  • TFP: Transference Focused Psychotherapy. This form of therapy is for borderline personality disorder, and it’s based on a two-time-per-week therapy model.

HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired). HALT is a handy acronym for feelings that may prompt you to pay more attention to your mental state. Aside from its meaning, “stop,” HALT stands for the following triggers: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. Being aware of these feelings, what they mean, and the role they play in urges to use substances can be really helpful.

FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real). FEAR is often a component of recovery. People starting to live a life of sobriety often don’t know what to expect, and how to handle unpredictable situations. This is only natural, but sometimes fear can be self-generated. Fear can appear real even though it may have no genuine substance, often arising when we feel threatened or undermined. This can cause one to revert back to old behaviors such as the use of substances. The work here is to recognize fear when it arises and learn to be with it, rather than react to it.   

FINE (Feeling Insecure, Numb, and Empty). When someone asks us how we are feeling and we respond with “fine”, sometimes we are not always fine. In my experience working in recovery, “fine” can mean many things. It can mean “leave me alone”. Fine can also mean “I don’t know how to be vulnerable”, or “being vulnerable isn’t safe or comfortable for me”. FINE is a nice reminder to really work to not disguise what you are feeling and talk about your emotions rather than blunt them by using substances.

SLIP (Sobriety Lost Its Priority). The Slip acronym refers to just that-a slip. Relapse is an expected and often inevitable part of working to live sober. Addiction is generally developed over time, and the impulses to use don’t just disappear in the blink of an eye. When working with people in recovery I often talk to them about working their program. Because staying sober is work. Sometimes a slip or relapse can happen when folks stop making sobriety a priority in their life. They stop attending their programs or support groups. They stop being spiritual and taking care of themselves. Old behaviors emerge and they begin to reminisce and romanticize periods of their substance use. Whatever the reason, SLIP is a helpful acronym to remind folks to keep sobriety a priority. 

DENIAL (Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying). Denial defined by Merriam-Webster is the “Refusal to admit the truth or reality of something”. Denial is often used by people with addictions as a defense mechanism. The use of denial can be intentional as well as unconscious. Denial is often used by folks because they do not want to feel helpless, out of control, or lose the coping mechanism (substances) that they utilize for life stressors. The acronym DENIAL is a good reminder for people to face the actions and behaviors that contribute to their use. Step 1 of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous states that “We admit we are powerless over our addiction and our lives had become unmanageable”. The first step actively works to break through the defense mechanism of denial that can often be a barrier to living sober.

HOW (Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness). HOW refers to how to practice living sober. Frequently, addiction does not lend itself to honesty, open-mindedness, or willingness. The acronym HOW reminds people to work to be honest, stay open to suggestions or new ways of doing things, as well as letting go of reservations, and being willing to engage in the process of recovery.