Power of Positive Reinforcement

Posted on March 24, 2015

A note on “enabling” vs. positive reinforcement
~Jeffrey Foote, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change

“Caring about and staying connected in a helping way with someone dealing
with substances is not only helpful, it’s one of the most powerful motivators for change.”

Positive ReinforcementIf you are a partner, parent, or child of someone struggling with substance problems, and you live in America, you’ve probably heard this word “enabling” (possibly many, many times). And you’ve probably heard this described as central to your interactions in helping your loved one. Mostly, you have heard “DON’T DO IT”!, and if you are like most concerned family members, you feel vaguely guilty for doing something you’re not even sure you are doing (but you must be, right?). By way of quick review, “enabling” actually means doing positive things that will end up supporting continued negative behavior, such as providing your child with money so they won’t “go hungry” during the day, knowing they use it to buy pot, or going to talk to the teacher to make sure they don’t get a bad grade, even though their bad test score was due to drinking, or calling your husband’s work to explain he’s sick today, when he’s actually hung over. These are examples of doing something “nice” for your loved one that actually (from a behavioral reinforcement standpoint) might increase the frequency of the negative behavior, not decrease it. The logic: if they act badly, and nothing happens, or something good happens, this behavior is encouraged, even if what you are doing is “nice”. This IS enabling, and this is not helpful in changing behavior in a positive direction.

But everything nice is not enabling! And that’s the quicksand we have developed in our culture. Staying connected, rewarding positive behaviors with positivity, being caring and loving; these things are critical to positive change. So what’s the difference? Continue reading

Webinar: Helping Loved Ones Get Sober

Posted on March 17, 2015

Dr. Robert Meyers, and Dr. Jeffrey Foote discuss the “CRAFT approach”
Hosted by Dr. Tom Horvath, President, SMART Recovery
Saturday, March 21, 5:00 pm edt
Registration:
www.smartrecovery.org/events

SMART Recovery announces a new Webinar on how the Family & Friends of those with addiction can help those they love, while remaining sane and safe.

The foremost experts in this field today, Robert J. Meyers, Ph.D., creator of CRAFT and Jeffrey Foote, Ph.D., Director, Center for Motivation & Change  will join Tom Horvath, Ph.D., President of SMART Recovery to discuss “The CRAFT approach: How science, combined with compassion, can make a difference”.

As family members or friends, our intimate connection should make us natural allies. However, we often don’t know how to talk with each other or work together when it comes to the emotionally intense issue of addiction.

SMART believes that Family & Friends deserve high-quality, compassionate and optimistic support of their own. We know it is possible to get sober. We believe families are not powerless, that they can help, without becoming codependent, resorting to tough love or enabling. The tools of SMART and CRAFT work beautifully to encourage healthy, productive efforts towards an improved quality of life for all. SMART has been working to create a rich Family & Friends program that includes a vibrant online community, its own Handbook, and both online and face-to-face meetings. We invite you to learn more at http://www.smartrecovery.org/family

Meet the Presenters: Continue reading

Support for Family & Friends

Posted on March 10, 2015

Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening
Reviewed by Henry Steinberger, Ph.D.

Get Your Loved One SoberTo help people seeking sobriety for their loved ones, Get Your Loved One Sober offers a revolutionary program: The Community Reinforcement And Family Training (CRAFT) intervention. The subtitle, “Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening” more aptly describes what this book is about. Getting a loved one into treatment is not the first goal. Arranging for one’s own safety and finding a happier life independent of the drinker’s situation, takes priority. Getting a loved one to moderate, choose sobriety, or go into treatment, are offered as roads to a better relationship.

Still, CRAFT can boast phenomenal success getting people into treatment. An alternative to Al-Anon’s 12-Step tradition and “detachment” recommendations and the Johnson Institute’s confrontational interventions, the CRAFT program is based on non-confrontational behavioral principles like reinforcement. It gives the reader tools and instructions for changing their interactions with their loved ones, which in turn changes the loved one’s behavior. In repeated clinical trials, CRAFT proved twice as likely as the Johnson Intervention and six times as likely as Al-Anon to get loved ones into treatment.

Continue reading

Stopping a Slip From Becoming a Relapse

Posted on March 3, 2015

Is Relapse Inevitable in Addiction Recovery?
Julie Myers, Psy.D.


Slip Or RelapseFor many with serious substance abuse problems, any drug or alcohol use can be problematic. These people must abstain. If they drink or drug again, they can slip into full-blown relapse, even after months or years of abstinence. For some, even a brief lapse may generate so much self-doubt, guilt, and a belief about personal failure, that the person gives up and continues to use. This tendency is referred to as the abstinence violation effect.

So does this mean that even a brief lapse must lead to a full-blown relapse? Does it mean a person must continue to drink or drug until the use returns to the initial level? Is spiraling out of control inevitable? Simply put, no. A lapse need not become a relapse. After a slip, you have not unlearned all that you have learned. You have not unchanged all that you have changed in your life to support your recovery. You do not have to start counting again from day one. Continue reading

The Wisdom to Know the Difference

Posted on February 24, 2015

An Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Workbook for Overcoming Substance Abuse
~Kelly Wilson, PhD, and Troy DuFrene
Reviewed by Don Sheeley, SMART Recovery® Facilitator

Saratoga Springs, New York

Purchase Learning about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) this summer, and using this workbook in particular, helped me deepen my recovery and broaden the foundation of safety and health that I am looking for in sobriety. In The Wisdom to Know the Difference: An Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Workbook for Overcoming Substance Abuse, Kelly Wilson opens himself up to the reader using his own experiences as engaging illustrations of the pain of addiction, but also as opportunities for personal growth.

After the first chapter, which helps the reader consider whether abstinence will be their goal, Wilson uses the next six chapters to explore ACT, emphasizing the dynamic behavior called for by this model. The chapter goals are, in my words: being able to choose to be still in the present moment rather than reacting to life in our patterns and automatic behaviors; learning to be more psychologically flexible, rather than rigid, predetermined, or stuck; beginning to identify the permanent “You,” able to accept the emotions that create richness in life. The authors remind us why it’s important to learn to not take our “self-stories” too seriously. Self-stories include our self-talk, self-image, and our internal beliefs. The book prompts us to be the authors of our lives rather than passive readers, and to travel our values highway, getting back on without hesitation if we veer off. Continue reading

Overcoming Addictions – Recovery Web App

Posted on February 17, 2015

Scientifically Supported Recovery Option

Overcoming AddictionsLooking for a personalized, structured plan of attack for making positive changes in support of your addiction recovery?

Overcoming Addictions (OA) is a new alternative in the spectrum of recovery options. It is a confidential and interactive web app that can help you achieve and maintain abstinence from addictions.

OA is an abstinence-oriented, cognitive behavioral, internet application based on the program of SMART Recovery. SMART Recovery is an organization that has adapted empirically supported treatment strategies for use in a mutual help framework with in-person meetings, online meetings, a forum, and other resources. Continue reading