Webinar: “ACT SMART!”

Posted on January 27, 2015

Does ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) Work With SMART Recovery?
5:00 pm EST, January 31, 2015

Dr. Hank Robb: ACT SMART!
Register Today

Webinar: ACT SMARTAcceptance & Commitment Therapy, or ACT (typically pronounced as the word “act”) is one of several acceptance-based, “newest generation,” cognitive behavioral therapies. ACT has generated considerable empirical research and is showing great promise, clinically. It has much in common with earlier cognitive therapy approaches (e.g., Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)) including a focus on acceptance. Many of our professionals are finding its approach and tools intriguing and highly useful.

Dr. Robb is an expert in both ACT and REBT, and we have asked him to share ways in which some of the insight from ACT might complement the SMART principals and tools of SMART Recovery.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy is a “psychological flexibility model” with 6 key concepts:

1) Self as Context
2) Acceptance
3) Defusion
4) Commitment
5) Values
6) Present Moment Awareness

These six can be captured in the question,

“Given the difference between you and the stuff you are struggling with (thoughts and feelings), are you willing to have that stuff as it is, rather than what it seems to be – monstrous; and right here, right now, act in the service of the Big Picture you choose for your life?”

We are pleased to present this SMART Recovery Webinar, as a free public service. We believe the general public and the SMART community will find the discussion of great interest. Check out the SMART community at www.smartrecovery.org, and please enjoy podcasts of our previous events at: www.smartrecovery.libsyn.com!


Dr. Hank Robb has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Nebraska and is a Supervisor for the Institute for Rational Emotive Therapy, New York. He is board certified in both Counseling Psychology and Behavioral & Cognitive Psychology and is certified in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders. In addition, he is an ACT Trainer. He previously served as President of the American Board of Counseling Psychology. Continue reading

Addiction Recovery Analogy

Posted on January 20, 2015

The Horse and Buggy of SMART Recovery
by Rev Dr Kim Miller, SMART Recovery Facilitator, Australia

First, a story:

Back in the days of the 1930s depression, which saw many people traveling the countryside looking for work, there was a man walking along a back road from one town to the next. He was carrying his stuff in an old bag over one shoulder and was obviously weighed down by it all. A local farmer in a horse and buggy pulled up beside him.

“Like a lift, buddy? Hop up here.”

So the man got up and sat on the seat next to the farmer, his bag of belongings still over one shoulder. After a while the farmer looked over and said to him, “Why don’t you put your stuff down behind the seat? It looks heavy.”

“Oh, no, I couldn’t do that,” said the man. “You’ve been good enough already, giving me a lift and all. I can’t expect you to carry my stuff as well.”

It’s the story of SMART Recovery.

Getting help comes in all shapes and sizes, and happens at different levels. Walking into a SMART Recovery meeting is where we get up on the seat next to the driver. Getting the load off our shoulder is a different level altogether. Continue reading

Having Trouble “Staying Stopped”?

Posted on January 13, 2015

Refuting Your Excuses
by Brad Lyman and 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

Are You Leaving? Or Are You Going?

Posted on January 6, 2015

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

How Do You Turn Down a Drink?

Posted on December 30, 2014

SMART Holiday CelebrationsIs there a social event in your near future that involves alcohol?

For example, you may be planning to celebrate the arrival of the new year with friends or family. If you have an established goal of abstinence and are fairly new to recovery, you may find this event challenging for many reasons, especially if alcohol is being served and your host or other party goers are dead-set on pressing a drink into your hand.

While a simple “no, thank you” is often sufficient for refusing alcohol (or other drugs), it can be helpful to plan ahead for how you will handle the inevitable invitations to drink and other challenges that you may experience.

Here are some things to consider:

Alcohol Refusal Skills

If you know that alcohol will be served at the event, having a plan for how you will respond to any social pressure to drink is important. If you expect to be offered a drink, think about how you will respond, what feels most comfortable for you. Ultimately, you will be looking for a way to refuse alcohol while remaining friendly and respectful.

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Have a convincing refusal ready to use as needed. A convincing refusal is clear, short and to the point (e.g., “No” , or “No, thank you”). Some examples include:

No, thanks… I don’t drink.
No, thanks. I’m not drinking tonight.
No, thank you. I am taking medication that doesn’t mix with alcohol.
Thank you for the offer, but I’d really rather not.

Contrary to what you might expect, Continue reading

Spend the Holidays with SMART Recovery Online

Posted on December 23, 2014

SMART Holiday CelebrationsWinter holidays can be challenging times for people in recovery; support services are closed, family pressures pile up and for many, the holidays can be pretty lonely. Whether to celebrate with others working on recovery or to get some support during a particularly challenging day, remember that the SMART Recovery USA and SMART Recovery UK online communities are available, 24/7.

Christmas Day Open House (Hosted by SMART UK)

Beginning at 5am USA ET (9pm AUS Canberra) the SMART Recovery UK website will be hosting a fun-filled day including a Christmas music, poetry, meetings, and more! The last event is scheduled to end at 7pm USA ET (11 am AUS on 12/26). All are welcome, including those who have a loved one with an addictive behavior.

Registration on the UK site is not required, Continue reading