Self-Empowered Approach to Addiction Recovery

Self-Empowered Approach to Addiction Recovery
Tom Horvath, President of SMART Recovery, on learning to gain control over urges

Self-Empowered Approach to Addiction Recovery

Tom Horvath, Ph.D., a California licensed and board certified clinical psychologist (ABPP), has been President of SMART Recovery® for over a decade. He is the founder and president of Practical Recovery, a self-empowering addiction treatment system in San Diego. He is past president of the American Psychological Association’s Society on Addiction Psychology (Division 50), the world’s largest organization of addiction psychologists. He is the author of Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions (listed by the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies as a “Self-Help Book of Merit”).

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2 Responses to “Self-Empowered Approach to Addiction Recovery”

  1. Don S says:


    Not knowing any more about you than what you have written in your short comment, it would be impossible to offer any but the most “off the cuff” advice, so I will confine myself to just my reactions to your comments.

    The sense I get of you is that you have quite a bit of anger at those who do not understand the problem of overeating from your viewpoint. Your position, as I understand it, is that overeating is a physical problem not a psychological one and that those suffering from overeating are basically helpless, at this point in time, to correct the true source of their problem.

    I have not read Sex DG&C yet and do not and have not suffered from overeating. I wonder if you see any possibility that your beliefs around your problem and the feelings you adopted could be adjusted in a way that would eliminate your food addictionn?


  2. Fred T. says:

    To compare hunger and food cravings does not make sense to me. As a person who has food issues all my life, these two a so different. The hunger passes, just as you said, but I live with food cravings, 16/7/365, (awake hours) and have all my life. I have been on diets of some kind all my life, and control the eating behavior as best I can.

    Your books Sex DG&C has some new and helpful ideas that do help, but it also shows your limited understanding with food addiction and/or physical chemical imbalance that drives overeating. But we are a small group, usually obese from birth, obese through out childhood, and young adult life. We usually die off early due to obesity… heart, diabetes, NA fatty liver, gastoral bypass, etc. The medical community has been useless in this fight.

    Your program does not discuss directly studying our values, and using our values to defend against use. For example, I have developed a value that I only eat real food, no processed food. All others stuff is just not food.

    I have been studding this problem for the last 40 years part time, and recently retired and am obsessed with finding a solution to my problem, which is part of my solution, which you describe as the “Perfect Addiction.” Obsession with recovery is not often talked about as a solution, and yours is first that I have seen it written about, even though you did not suggest just switching addictions.

    Thank for your help.

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