5 Tips to Enjoy a Sober Holiday Season

Posted on October 20, 2016

Addiction recovery during the Holidays
by Richard Song

Plan For Holiday Triggers

The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for people new to recovery. The number of challenges to your recovery can be daunting, between family gatherings, parties where alcohol is present, and emotional triggers such as stress and sadness related to past memories. You can build resistance to these triggers by preparing a plan. Here are some general tips that can help those recovering from an addiction through the holidays:

1) Be careful about which events you attend. Avoid those that will be highly tempting and that focus around “using” such as wine tastings and cocktail parties. When you arrive at an event, take note of the potential triggers and come up with a plan that will address each of those triggers – for instance, position yourself away from the bar.

2) Have a backup plan in case the temptation is too strong or you feel uncomfortable at an event. Bring a sober friend who will support you and leave with you if you don’t feel comfortable staying. If you feel comfortable doing so, let the hosts know your situation. That way, you won’t feel like you offended them if you decide to leave early. Continue reading

Overcoming Addictive Behavior

Posted on October 12, 2016

Use Logic and Reason to Change Addictive Behavior
Jonathan von Breton, LCMHC, LCDP

There is a very helpful addiction recovery tool that can change the way that you think about drugs and alcohol. It is called the ABC Tool and it is used in SMART Recovery®. The underlying assumption of the ABC Tool is that how we think has a major impact on our emotions and behaviors.

Change our thinking…and then our feelings and actions will change as well.

The ABC Tool is a self-help activity that you can complete any time that you feel like drinking or using, or when you want to stop drinking alcohol** for a month or more. In effect, the ABC Tool helps us unravel our thinking about drugs and alcohol and is the basic way to abstain from any chemical or behavior that negatively impacts our life. But what is the ABC Tool? And how do you put it into action? We review here. Continue reading

Are you leaving? Or are you going?

Posted on October 4, 2016

Making Something Important
by Hank Robb, Ph.D., ABPP

A person was walking down a street and saw two women sitting with wool yarn and knitting needles. Curious, our observer asked, “What are you doing?”

The first said, “I’m making one stitch after another.”

The second answered, “I’m keeping my child safe and warm from the winter wind.”

Which of these two would you rather be?

Building and maintaining motivation is the first point in SMART Recovery’s 4-Point Program®. Changing your behavior isn’t very likely to happen unless there’s a point to doing so which is the last point in SMART Recovery: building a balanced life. “Giving up something” isn’t much to build a life around. It’s just one stitch after another. As the psychologist Ogden Lindsey once noted, no goal a dead person can accomplish is that great a goal for a living one. Dead people never drink, snort, shoot up or place a bet. “Not doing” is something all dead people “do” quite well. Continue reading

Destigmatizing Addiction

Posted on September 29, 2016

What’s In A Name?
~ Brian Sherman, PhD, Center for Motivation and Change

“By continuing to use the term “addict” and “alcoholic,” treatment providers are doing a disservice to their patients and potentially negating progress towards destigmatization and successful long-term treatment.”

The Problem with LabelsWhat’s in a name? Sure, by any other name a rose may smell so sweet, but by any other name would an “addict” feel so stigmatized? Were Shakespeare alive today I would ask that he reconsider his stance. With the gradual pace of change in addiction treatment highlighted by the continued advancement and implementation of evidence-based treatments, why is the field so far behind in not using more clinically appropriate and de-stigmatizing — albeit a bit cumbersome – language such as: “person with a substance use disorder” or “person suffering from addiction”? It has been years now that the field of clinical psychology did away with stigmatizing terms such as “schizophrenic”, “manic-depressive”, or “autistic.” Why then does the field of addiction remain so far behind?

As an addiction psychologist I do not discourage my patients for whom the term “addict” works. If it motivates them to change, fantastic. For many people, the term “addict” is a helpful way of identifying symptoms and issues, and finding a way to connect and bond with others in a healthy way that promotes change. However, when that term creates a prolonged sense of failure or guilt which ultimately may lead to relapse (negative emotions are one of the strongest predictors of relapse) or prevent someone from seeking help in the first place (because they don’t want to accept the label, and the stigma that is associated with it), I question its utility. Continue reading

Ready to Overcome Addiction

Posted on September 20, 2016

by Anne Fields

Knowing When You’re Ready to Overcome Addiction

Knowing when you’re ready to breakthrough your addictive behaviors and overcome your Portrait of a young male labelled as YOU.addiction can be difficult. Many individuals experience an epiphany:  a moment of clarity that their addictive behaviors are problematic and need to change. However for many people that moment of clarity never comes, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t ready to overcome your addiction and start a new life with a new healthier, and more fulfilling, path. Here are just some signs that you’re ready to stop your addictive behaviors, change your life and finally experience true freedom: Continue reading

Stages of Change podcast

Posted on September 6, 2016

This week’s blog post is a ‘plug’ to listen to the excellent podcast with Dr. Carlo DiClemente about the stages of change, which can be found at: http://smartrecovery.libsyn.com/webinar-dr-carlo-diclemente-on-maintaining-change-in-addiction-recovery

Dr. DiClemente is co-creator of the the Stages of Change, or the transtheoretical model of behavior change (TTM), which is foundational to SMART’s approach to supporting people as they change with regard to addictive behavior. Dr. DiClemente is most widely known for his co-authorship of the self-help book, Changing for Good.

Continue reading