What does it mean to lead a balanced life?

Posted on February 9, 2016

Lifestyle balance is critical in preventing relapses. Individuals whose lives are full of balanceunenjoyable activities are likely to relapse back to addiction (which may provide intense, although temporary, satisfaction). We may not enjoy our daily activities if we are too focused on what we “should” do and not enough on what we “want” to do. For example, a person who places too much money into retirement funds ends up having their daily budget tighten, and risks a “binge” of spending that could threaten their savings.  If they balanced their budget, rather than putting all their funds in retirement, they would find a better balance.

Lifestyle balance can be considered from a number of perspectives. Continue reading

Skills to deal with Anxiety, Distress and Cravings

Posted on February 1, 2016

– Reposted from the Center for Motivation & Change blog

Changing your relationship with substances or any compulsive behavior pattern takes time and practice.

storm_smartblog

When you first start to reduce or abstain from the behavior you are trying the change, you will likely have lots of “craving” to return to it. These moments of craving will happen when you are triggered by external (places, people, situations) and internal (certain mood or feeling states) cues that are associated with the behavior you are trying to change.

Continue reading

How To Avoid Conversation Traps

Posted on January 27, 2016

– reposted from the Center for Motivation and Change blog

 

holidaysIf you are someone who would like to help a loved one change their relationship with substances or to make any behavioral change, there are four essential tools you can learn. First, Helping through Understanding or thinking about issues of addiction differently using the science we now have available. Second, Helping by Taking Care of Yourself as you need to be able to survive and thrive while trying to help. Third, Helping through Words or learning positive communication strategies that shift the conversation from negative to positive. And Fourth, Helping with Actions which are usually using positive reinforcement strategies.

Continue reading

Having Trouble “Staying Stopped”?

Posted on January 18, 2016

Refuting Your Excuses
by Michael Edelstein, Ph.D.

“It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times.” ~Mark Twain

Excuses Stopping? Easy. “Staying stopped?” Not so much.

Have you ever had thoughts like these?:

“I can start tomorrow”, “I really need a drink”, “I’m too tired”, “I’ll just have one”, “This is how I have fun with my friends, it’s not hurting anybody,” “It’s too hard to quit.”

“Excuses” are statements we sometimes make to ourselves that make our addictive behavior seem reasonable.

In other words, we use excuses to justify behavior that we know is harmful. These excuses are destructive. They block, interfere, or sabotage our goals of addiction recovery and more. We may be so practiced in thinking these excuses that they have become automatic. We may not even be aware that we’re making these excuses unless we pay close attention to our thoughts.

“Refutations” are statements that disprove or weaken an “excuse.”

“Refuting Your Excuses” is an exercise for learning to pay attention to our habitual excuses and to evaluate them logically. Is the excuse true? Does it make good sense? Is it helpful?

How to Refute an Excuse:

1. For a recurring or current excuse you use, Continue reading

Hidden Power of a Recovery Community

Posted on January 13, 2016

Lessons from Geese
-Bill Abbott, SMART Recovery® Facilitator

Lessons from GeeseSMART Recovery is a wonderful program that emphasizes self-management and self-empowerment. For this it offers tools based on sound and often evidence-based science—mostly clinical psychology but some neuroscience as well.

With all the emphasis on “self”—almost a do-it-yourself program—we often lose sight of another powerful feature of SMART—the mutual support groups in which all this is developed and promoted.

We like company, lots of the time—especially with like-minded people, hence the shelter and safety and power of a mutual support group complex. Like-minded people all in a room together discussing a common issue. A place were the afflicted can relax, become honest and open with their issues, without worry of judgment. This is present in both 12-steps groups and in SMART Recovery groups.

In my opinion SMART groups have the added feature of interactive discussion, promoting the feelings of like-mindedness and that “we are all in this together”. We are all united in spirit and intent to find relief for ourselves, and in so doing share that with others. All this falls under the concept of Compassion.

Many state that they go to 12-step meetings for “spirituality“ and attend SMART meetings for the tools and solutions. The implication is that there is no spirituality at SMART. Continue reading

SMART Recovery® on Prince Edward Island (PEI)

Posted on January 4, 2016

by Rose Barbour, SMART Recovery Facilitator from Prince Edward Island(PEI), Canada

A grunge textured digital illustration of a group of diverse hands reaching together in unity and support.While searching for different programs for my son, who didn’t connect with the 12-steps programs, I stumbled upon SMART Recovery. There were no meetings offered in my area so I signed up for the training with the plan to start one. I was excited about it because I knew that my son wasn’t the only one without a program he could relate to. SMART Recovery would give them a choice. Continue reading