You Can Learn to Resist Urges
“Self-control is what you build up, develop, create and learn by controlling your behavior repeatedly. ~Hank Robb
Self-control is a skill. It’s not something you’re born with, it is something that requires work and practice. Have you ever said to yourself “I just don’t seem to have any self-control over my drinking, drugging, eating, etc.”? Ask yourself this question: “Am I well practiced at resisting urges and opportunities to drink, or to drug, or to eat in a disordered way?” Chances are your answer will be “No”. In fact, you may be very well practiced at giving in to those urges and opportunities to use. You might even be considered to be skilled at doing so.
How do we acquire any skill? Think back to when you first learned to ride a bicycle. Did riding the bicycle feel like a normal behavior to you? Did you start out as an expert? Or did you spend hours and hours learning to ride without falling? And what was the result of those hours and hours of practice? Over time, you grew comfortable and confident in your new skill.
Results begin at the end of your comfort zone.
Getting control over your urges and opportunities to use is like Continue reading
The Importance of Unconditional Acceptance of Self, Others and Life
by Eric Sudler, M.S.
Independent of what therapeutic orientation you may follow, you will usually find acceptance or some form of acceptance at the center. Acceptance is a major part of life.
Obviously, acceptance is not always an easy pill to swallow. In fact, some may observe that it acts counter to our instinctual behaviors. As humans, we generally strive for control and autonomy. Autonomy entails having a satisfactory degree of control in regards to one’s environment, life, and choices. It’s having perceived control over the decisions that ultimately lead you to reaching, maintaining, and upholding your values and sense of self.
Unfortunately, in a cruel twist of irony, we occupy an existence rife with moments of grief, helplessness, loss, and discomfort. It feels as though we are unable to obtain the very thing we are programmed to seek. How is it possible to live comfortably in a world that seems to go against our natural instincts? Continue reading
What Is the Best Alcohol Treatment?
~A. Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP
There are three myths about alcohol treatment, according to some of the foremost researchers in the area, led by psychologist William R. Miller (Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches: Effective Alternatives, 3rd edition, edited by Hester & Miller, published in 2003 by Allyn & Bacon). The first myth, and possibly the worst, is that there is one and only one effective approach to addiction recovery. If you are seeking treatment and a facility tells you a version of this myth, it would be better to look elsewhere for help. Alcohol treatment research, and addiction treatment research generally, shows there is no single approach that is best for all individuals.
Many paths to addiction recovery
The first principle of the 12 Guiding Principles adopted by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment’s National Summit on Recovery is: There are many pathways to recovery. Their list was generated by leaders in treatment and recovery, and included recovering individuals, treatment providers, researchers, faith-based providers and state and federal officials. A similar document of 10 principles, Continue reading
A Roadmap to Resilience and Recovery
~Julie Myers, Psy.D., MSCP
Recovery from substance abuse is a process unique to each individual. Despite those who believe otherwise, there is no single “right” path to recovery. Instead, each person has a unique set of challenges and must address those challenges uniquely. This is not to say that there are not techniques, tools, or methods that have been shown to be helpful in substance abuse treatment, but rather that because no one person’s history is exactly the same as another’s, no recovery will be exactly the same. Each individual must find their own path.
However, finding that unique path can be overwhelming, particularly because of the amount of information available from differing sources and viewpoints. This can leave an individual confused and sometimes fearful about which path is best for them. Sometimes, friends or family members, therapists, or self-help groups can help guide the individual. But sometimes, what really is needed is simply a roadmap, outlining the options available to an individual in different domains. Donald Meichenbaum has written such a roadmap.
Resiliency — “the capacity to adapt successfully in the presence of risk and adversity” — is at the core of addiction recovery.
Although not intended solely for those in recovery, Meichenbaum’s book, Roadmap to Resilience* remarkably addresses many of the key aspects that form the foundation of most recovery programs, addiction or otherwise. Continue reading
Meditation on Thinking
~ by Philip Tate, Ph.D.
Our society teaches us little about the importance of our mental activity. Regarding our physical health, we learn about medical care, diet, and exercise. Yet on a day-to-day basis, our view of life is equally important in how well we live it.
Most people don’t acknowledge that their way of thinking about frustrating events often affects them more than the events themselves do. People with “road rage,” for example, sometimes stay angry for a long time. Some find it necessary to pull off the road for a while to cool down. Yet they are not aware that it is their beliefs that create their rage (not other drivers).
What if that person had a medical problem or vitamin deficiency that contributed to such behavior? Wouldn’t you recommend he or she do something about it? Continue reading