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Taking the Escalator 

Substance Use Therapy Tools

Harm Reduction

12 Step Alternatives      Addiction and Substance Use Resource

      Non 12 Step Motivational Harm Reduction Tools for Substance Use & Mental Health

Taking the Escalator Forum

This page contains regular updates with brief group therapy modules, discussion points, icebreakers, . Unlike the  Group Activities by Topic page, the materials here are for shorter discussions, warm- ups and close outs as part of longer group sessions, as well as occasional articles and other resources from around the web

Past Taking the Escalator Forum Compilations:

Brief Group Module and Icebreaker Collection 1 - October 2020 through March 2021

Brief Group Module and Icebreaker Collection 2 - April 2021 through June 2021

FORUM ENTRIES - (Most recent/newest on top)

8/2/21 - Discussion Article: "6 Little Tips for a Happier Life"

The following article (link below) is very simple and easy to read and discuss in group therapy. In addition the material is practical and easy to understand. Simply read each of the six points as a group and discuss. 

A simple follow up discussion question for each of the six points could be: "How can you specifically apply this in your own life?"

LINK TO ARTICLE: 6 Little Tips for a Happier Life - (By

7/28/21 - Brief Therapy Module – Just Did It

Everyone is familiar with the famous slogan “Just Do It” which is a motivational phrase designed to inspire people to take action toward their goals. For this brief group module, the group will look at successes that already have been accomplished


1. What is one thing (even if it seems small or insignificant) that at one time in life was difficult or felt impossible for you that now you are able to do regularly or whenever needed? – Some examples:

   a. "When I was a kid I was overweight and ate unhealthy but now I am in great shape and I eat right"

   b." I used to be so awkward socially but now I am pretty good at starting conversations with new people"

   c. "When I was younger, I couldn’t focus enough to read but now I read all of the time and I love it!"

2. How did you get to where you are today? (Be specific and consider who or what helped, how did you build and sustain motivation, what kept you from giving up, etc.?)

3. Finally, when it comes to your current issues for being in this group, what positive lessons can you draw from this past accomplishment that you just discussed in questions 1 and 2

7/24/21 - Visual Group Icebreaker - Refocusing the Brain

For this icebreaker simply display and discuss the following picture:

Some suggested questions:

What does this picture say?

Does this apply at times in your own life?

What can people do to change this kind of thinking?

7/19/21 - Brief Group Module: Toxic Statements in Relationships (and Friendships)

Depending upon the context, the following statements are potentially very manipulative and dangerous in relationships including friendships. Review and discuss the following list as a group and discuss if you ever heard any of these statements and what you did (or would do about it if you ever did hear something like this)

 If you really love me (or if you truly are my friend), then you’ll do it

 If you don’t do what I ask I am going to cut you out of my life

 What’s wrong with you, can’t you take a joke?

 You won’t be able to make it without me

 It is all your fault that I did this, not mine

 No one will believe you if you tell them what I did (or said)

Closing questions:

  1. Are there any other potentially toxic statements you have heard or could think of?
  2. Discuss as a group: What should be done when you sense someone may be trying to coerce or manipulate you to do something that you do not feel right about?

7/16/21 - "Same and Changing" Icebreaker

Complete these four sentences about things that seem to stay the same and things that change:

One thing that always seems to stay the same is…

One thing that frequently seems to change is…

Something in my life that I want to stay the same is…

Something in my life that I want to change is…

7/10/21 - Brief Motivational Story for Group Discussion - "The Elephant Rope"

Directions: Click the following link to the brief but thought provoking and motivational story "The Elephant Rope"  then discuss as a group. (Make application to substance use and mental health)


7/7/21 - Icebreaker - "6 Dimensions of Wellness Game"


Directions: One 6 sided die is needed. Below is a picture of the "6 Dimensions of Wellness"  (Copied from )

Group members should take turns rolling the die and then discuss one thing that you can do to make improvement in the dimension of wellness that corresponds to your die roll (1-6)

7/5/21 - Brief Group Module – “Weird”

  • Weird – adj: strange, odd, bizarre

Discuss the following questions:

   1. What is something you think is weird in the world today?

   2. What is something that you think is weird about life?

   3. Is there something about yourself that you would say is weird, in a good way? (Something             that makes you special or unique)