Top, Bottom, and Middle Lines

Top, Bottom, and Middle Lines is a tool used by addicts to describe and define behaviors that may promote or endanger their sobriety. This tool can also be referred as top, bottom, and middle circles.

  1. Bottom Line Behaviors: Behaviors that when an individual is engaged in, leads to worsening self-destructive consequences. Examples: Playing computer games, watching porn, unmonitored computer use, Internet use after a certain time, etc.
  2. Middle Line Behaviors: Behaviors that are much less detrimental and thus, weaker in intensity. However, these behaviors tend to lead an individual that is addicted to a specific item, back to his or her bottom line. This line represents possible “red-light” behaviors that may or may not be acceptable. Examples: Cross-addicting on caffeine, sugar, board games, or reading.
  3. Top Line Behaviors: Behaviors meant to prevent taking part in an activity or thought that may trigger a slip, relapse, lapse or loss of sobriety. Top line behaviors are considered health and lead the addict away from bottom line behaviors. Example: Exercising, regular sleep schedule, connecting with other people, prayer or meditation, etc.