Monthly Archives: September 2013

Albert Ellis, 100th Birthday

Posted on September 24, 2013

A Tribute to Albert Ellis

When AA Doesn’t Work for You: Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol
September 27, 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Albert Ellis, founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. REBT is an action-oriented approach for helping people manage their emotions, cognitions, and behaviors. The techniques used in REBT have been found to be helpful for people working on addiction recovery and many have been incorporated into the SMART Recovery 4-Point Program.

Dr. Ellis is generally considered to be one of the originators of the cognitive revolutionary paradigm shift in psychotherapy and the founder of cognitive-behavioral therapies. Based on a 1982 professional survey of USA and Canadian psychologists, he was considered as the second most influential psychotherapist in history (Carl Rogers ranked first in the survey; Sigmund Freud was ranked third). Prior to his death, Psychology Today described him as the “greatest living psychologist.” During his career he authored or co-authored over seventy-five books, including “When AA Doesn’t Work for You: Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol.”

Tom Horvath, Ph.D., President of SMART Recovery, recounts (below) highlights from the memorial that was held for Albert Ellis, Ph.D. at the 2007 annual convention of the American Psychological Association. In contrast to his public reputation as a kind of “Lenny Bruce of therapy”, Ellis was remembered by many for his kindness, courage, wisdom, wit, curiosity, learning, professional contributions, and personal generosity. Continue reading

Savoring the Benefits of Sobriety

Posted on September 17, 2013

Take a moment and really enjoy sobriety

Stop and smell the rosesI’ve talked about an idea in meetings and implicitly in my last blog post. It’s an idea that has resonated with people, and I’ve been encouraged to post more explicitly about it. That is, as you get some time free of your drug of choice (DOC), take some time and really savor the benefits. This post could be thought of as sort of a counterpoint to my most recent post about everything seeming very busy as you build a sober life. Perhaps one way to think of this idea is “take time to stop and smell the roses.”

As people build time away from their drug of choice it’s not uncommon for the memories of the negatives—hangovers, isolation, detoxing, etc., to recede. Meanwhile, memories of what you perceived as enjoyable about your DOC seem to grow. Those good times start to seem better than they probably really were. You were more social, and not just brainlessly yapping. You were a better dancer, and not just making a spectacle of yourself. You were wise and witty, and not simply boorish. Of course these perceptions were all filtered through your brain which was under the influence of your DOC.

The CBA (Cost Benefit Analysis) can be a big help here. Continue reading


Posted on September 10, 2013

1000 SMART Recovery Meetings Worldwide

1000 SMART Recovery MeetingsOn August 30th, 2013, the total number of SMART Recovery meetings reached 1,000 worldwide, with the addition of a new meeting in Upland, California, facilitated by Mike Massey at the Inland Valley Recovery Center. Mike shares, “I became familiar with SMART Recovery after a 2 week rehab program at Reunion House, which I was attending for treatment of my alcohol and pain pill abuse. I’ve been free from my addictive behavior since February 20th, though I’d had many starts and stops through the years. I began participating in local and online meetings and decided that it’s time for me to help others – I’m a good communicator and I like helping people. I took the July SMART Distance Facilitator Training, and I feel honored to now be offering a meeting in Upland, California.”

Facilitator Training

All SMART Recovery meetings are facilitated by volunteers who have been trained via an interactive online (“distance”) training program. The training allows for both self-study to suit the individual’s schedule along with real-time group work. Information is available on the SMART website regarding resources provided to individuals who wish to start a meeting in their community or treatment facility.

SMART Recovery Meetings

SMART Recovery meetings are interactive discussions focused on solutions, not problems. Continue reading

It’s A Constitutional Right: Choice in Recovery

Posted on September 3, 2013

Mandated attendance at “religion-based” programs found unconstitutional by US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Many Pathways to RecoveryImagine being imprisoned on drug-related charges and then finally being paroled — on the condition that you attend a treatment program that uses a religion-based (12-step) program. If you refuse to attend on the basis of your own personal beliefs which are not consistent with what is being taught in the 12-step program, your parole will be revoked and you will be sent back to prison to serve out your term. That’s exactly what happened to Barry A. Hazle in California.

February, 2007:
Hazle, an atheist, was “forced as a condition of parole to participate in a residential drug treatment program that required him to acknowledge a higher power.” Because of his beliefs, Hazle refused to participate in the 12-step program. As a result, his parole was revoked, and he spent an additional 100 days behind bars. Continue reading