Monthly Archives: November 2012

Power of Perspective

Posted on November 27, 2012

Back Seat Driver!
by Leonard Citron, M.A.

A little perspective goes a long way toward reducing frustration

Low Frustration ToleranceHolidays are supposed to be fun, right? To get away from everything, to explore some place new is said to broaden our mind. But gettng away from it all, can have a downside. For example, when you get out of New York City, you may often find yourself somewhere that necessitates the use of a car. This is certainly the case in the city of stars, Los Angeles, home to ‘carmageddon’ where residents are estimated to spend 4 days of each year stuck in traffic.

On a recent trip there a friend and I tried to sweeten this bitter reality by renting a plush car – a sexy sports car with swanky interior that screamed “I belong here!” It did little, however, to alleviate the stress caused by sitting in traffic forever, or to remedy the frustration and anxiety that comes with jousting with other cars just to change lanes. Nor did it help with calming my nerves or those of my travelling companion. I found my anger going from 0-60 in under three seconds, while our powerful car crawled along with the rest of traffic. Continue reading

SMART Recovery Handbook for Family & Friends

Posted on November 20, 2012

SMART Recovery for People Affected by the Addictive Behavior of a Loved One


Family & Friends HandbookAs anyone who has lived with the addiction of a loved one knows, the impact of addiction on other family members can be substantial, even severe. Family members, often overwhelmed by confusion, shame, guilt, fear or other powerful emotions, may have little sense of what to do or where to turn, particularly if they expect that their addicted family member has little or no interest in the 12-step approach.

As part of an ongoing project to provide support for concerned significant others, SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training) provides weekly online meetings and message board support for people who have a loved one struggling with an addictive behavior. The meetings use a combination of SMART Recovery tools and CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) concepts. Continue reading

Getting From “I Can’t” to “I CAN!”

Posted on November 13, 2012

The Importance of Beliefs in Addiction Recovery
Dr. Philip Tate, author of Alcohol: How to Give It Up and Be Glad You Did


I CAN“I can’t” may be the most debilitating belief you’re likely to have. Not the “I can’t” as in “I can’t jump to the moon,” but as in “I can’t succeed at doing what I want to do” or “I want to quit drinking, but I just can’t.”

The first is true because of physical reality. The others, though, usually aren’t.

What can lead you believe that you can’t? Look for beliefs such as, “I’m no good”, or “Because I have failed, I am a failure“. With these beliefs you can easily go on to think: “There is something especially wrong with me that makes it impossible for me to do what I want to do.” This goes beyond an accurate description of reality. This sort of unhelpful, unrealistic description is known as an irrational belief.

Eliminating this irrational belief is wise, for it clearly keeps you from achieving your goals and easily creates depression and contributes to your low sense of self-worth. In Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), we teach you to challenge your irrational beliefs, including the belief that you can’t. Continue reading

Can You Think Your Way Out of a Drink?

Posted on November 6, 2012

How “decision fatigue” can affect your recovery

Julie Myers, Psy.D., MSCP


Slip Or RelapseRecent research on the topic of willpower shows that we, as human beings, have limited decision making capacity. That is, in any given day, we may simply run-out of the mental energy that is required to make decisions. Researcher Roy Baumeister, PhD calls this depletion of mental energy “decision fatigue.”

Every day, we make hundreds of decisions, from large to small. Even something as simple as eating breakfast may entail many decisions, such as what, where, and how much to eat. We need to make decisions about our personal selves, our work, our relationships, how we move about and relate in the world, and how to resist a temptation. The more decisions we must make, the more mental energy we use up. Making decisions, particularly making good decisions, becomes harder over the course of a day as our mental energy wanes.

So why is this important for recovery from substance abuse? Because the choice to not use is a decision. Much of drinking/using is automatic, that is, we use simply because it is our habit to do so. We step into the house after a long day, we have a drink or we get together with friends, we smoke a joint. It may cross our minds not to use, but to not use requires a decision. To say no, we must think about the consequences. When our mental energy is low, we tend to act impulsively or do nothing different than usual.

We need to give ourselves the best chance at making good decisions, particularly when we are trying to change our relationship with drugs or alcohol. Continue reading