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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.