Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Concrete Action Tool for Addiction Recovery

Posted on June 25, 2013

SMART Recovery Activities Scale (SRAS) – Part II
Julie Myers, Psy.D. and Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D.

SRAS ChecklistIn our previous blog post and in our recent podcast , we highlighted some of the important functions that the SRAS checklist can serve and ways that it can be used in the recovery process. In this post, we would like to share some of the feedback that we’ve received from participants, facilitators, and professionals who have used the SRAS. We’ve summarized some of this feedback below:

The SRAS can help guide people in the right direction:

    • The SRAS can serve as “a guide rope – to make sure one is heading in the right direction.”

    • At first, I wasn’t “sure how ‘rating’ my progress like this could help – but I also thought that when I first looked into the SMART tool box.”

The SRAS can help people make plans:

    “Number 7 (recognize and try to reduce my self-destructive behaviors) is an ongoing project for me.”

    • I will “dive back into the tool box and look for something and take a walk and think about it.”

    • The SRAS helped me to “come up with a few action items.” Continue reading

Celebrate Your Victories, No Matter How Small

Posted on June 18, 2013

The Value of Celebrating Victories
~Green-In-MI, SMART Recovery Volunteer

Celebrate Victories

In my experience, progress toward a lifestyle of abstinence at times seems insurmountable; like you’re standing at the bottom of a mountain craning your neck to see a peak that looks impossibly high up and far away. Any given day may be a struggle against urges, old habits, and other potential problems. You look at people who have a month of abstinence and think “that’s a long time…I can barely go a few days”. You look at others who may have a year or more of abstinence and think “that’s so long, I’ll never get there.”

But you keep coming back. Addiction recovery takes work. You keep learning. You keep talking to others. You keep working on the tools. Next thing you know, your work begins to pay off. You have a week, or maybe a month. Maybe you successfully navigate a situation that caused problems in the past.

You come back to a SMART meeting or to chat and report your success, and suddenly a half dozen people congratulate you for your ‘victory’. You’ve successfully climbed part of the way up that impossible mountain. As you top each little rise on the way to the summit Continue reading

My Last Drink Was Fifteen Years Ago

Posted on June 11, 2013

An interview with “Julie” on the subject of addiction recovery.

JulieHow many years have you been sober and how did drinking affect/damage your life?

My last drink was on June 15, 1998.

I began drinking as a young teen – heavily and almost daily, right from the start – which meant that during my formative years I didn’t develop healthy ways of coping with life. As a result, although I was academically and professionally successful, I was emotionally fragile and unable to deal with life without seeking solace in alcohol. Eventually, alcohol became the center of my life.

I was able to muddle through for quite a while, but by my early 30s, my drinking had seriously affected my ability to function. I couldn’t concentrate, suffered from daily panic attacks, and blacked out nearly every night. However, I didn’t want to admit that my drinking was creating these problems, so instead of addressing the issue, I quit working! I was married and had young children, so my decision to quit work wasn’t questioned, but in the resulting isolation my addiction reached full bloom. Those last few years were sheer hell, and at age 36, after drinking for 25 years, I reached the end. I decided to quit drinking and have not taken a drink since I made that decision.

Has recovery been an ongoing struggle and how do you cope with it?

It was very difficult at first, but at this point it isn’t a struggle at all.

I believe this is an important point. Sometimes, in our eagerness to convince people not to backslide, I think we send the message that recovery is not just a process but a never-ending struggle. That is not how it has been for me. I’m not minimizing the work involved, believe me. It took a long time, and it required immense commitment on my part. Continue reading

A Colorful Approach to Addiction Recovery

Posted on June 4, 2013

Creative Arts Therapy
A guest post by Joshua Gordon

Decisions, by Valerie Patterson

Everyone has a favorite song. Mine is “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes. I feel genuinely happy whenever I hear that song and I’m able to hum it or belt it out (when I’m alone, that is — I don’t like subjecting people to torture). While thinking of new approaches to consider for my next article, this song came up on my shuffle. As it filled my apartment with music, I wondered: could listening to certain music help people in recovery? I sprang my laptop open and started searching away. My suspicions were confirmed: Creative Arts Therapy is a form of healing that helps people with substance abuse problems recover through creating art. That sounds pretty awesome to me.

Creative Arts Therapy is holistic in nature and can prove extremely beneficial in one’s recovery and continuing on into long-term sobriety. Art Therapy is accessible to any age, race, gender, and nationality. Personally, I think this sounds pretty fantastic, but I don’t think that means this is a relatively “easy” process. Continue reading