RAT Theory

Recovery determined by:

Readiness • Abstinence • Tenacity

Recovery determined by:


RAT Theory is a simple formula for finding freedom from addictions.


  • Nothing changes without abstinence.
  • Willingness to do “whatever it takes” is crucial. Until an individual is willing to do “whatever it takes”, he/she isn’t truly ready to move away from addiction and into recovery. Willingness to merely do something to tackle the problem will make little to no difference—lotsa people are willing to do “this” or to do “that”. Only those who are ready and willing to do “whatever it takes” ever truly achieve freedom from addictions.
  • Tenacity is what moves the recovery line up the y axis (“readiness”) and down the x axis (“abstinence”). Tenacity is defined by: persistence, determination, perseverance, doggedness, strength of purpose, tirelessness, indefatigability, resolution, resoluteness, resolve, firmness, patience, purposefulness, staunchness, steadfastness, staying power, endurance, stamina, stubbornness.


Readiness to do “whatever it takes” combined with sustained abstinence moves the recovery line in such a fashion as to make the road to freedom navigable. The “slope” of any line, including RAT Theory’s recovery line, is calculated by rise over run (rise/run). So, if freedom from addictions is ever going to be achieved, we have to get up & start moving—rise and run! When you’re in the pit of despair—in the throes of addiction—just getting up & moving takes some doing. It takes gumption. It takes tenacity!

Tenacity, as defined above, is the dynamic variable that determines success or failure in moving the recovery line. It has been my experience and observation that individuals who suffer from addiction have already demonstrated tenacity as an innate quality. Channeling the same persistent determination required to maintain an addiction into the dogged, steadfast efforts required for recovery is the key. Point is, the “capacity for tenacity” has already been evidenced in the addicted individual.

Recourse…of Course!

Merriam-Webster defines recourse as 1) a turning to someone or something for help or protection and  2) a source of help or strength.

The diagram above illustrates addiction according to RAT Theory. The diagram below, which is introduced in Labratology, is RAT Theory’s model for recovery. Notice the direction of the arrows on the “tenacity wheel.”

Recovery—freedom from addictions—begins with “turning around” and “turning to someone or something for help.” Recourse! (Isaiah 41:10)


Recovery & the Role of Repentance

To repent, as translated from Greek in the New Testament, means simply “to turn around.” It was a military term that described a soldier marching in one direction & then doing an “about-face.” As with any deliberate change, the decision to turn around & head in another direction begins with an intentional “change of mind.” Therefore, an operational definition of repentance as it relates to recovery would look something like this: “to change one’s mind about the direction he/she is heading, turn around, & head in another direction.” In other words, set a new course—recourse!