Monthly Archives: October 2013

Recovery Celebration, November 2nd, 2013

Posted on October 29, 2013

Guest Speakers + International Online Auction = FUN!

Handcrafted scarf, made in AustraliaIn celebration of the 15th anniversary of SMART Recovery Online (SROL), SMART Recovery® is hosting an annual fall FUNdraising event, featuring a line-up of outstanding speakers and a fabulous array of auction items donated by SMART Recovery volunteers and participants. Speakers include recovery experts, book authors, professors and therapists. A wide array of addiction recovery topics will be explored throughout the day.

Guest Speakers

Speaker Schedule – November 2, 2013, all times Eastern Daylight

9:00 a.m. – Jonathan vonBreton “Random Rational Ruminations”

10:00 a.m. – Dr. Michael Edelstein,“Self-Esteem and Addictions”

11:00 a.m. – Anne Fletcher,“Discussion of new book Inside Rehab”

12:00 p.m. – Rolf Ankermann,“Discussion of the book The Freedom To Recover”

1:00 p.m. – Dr. Reid Hester, “Overcoming Addictions: A new web app for SMART Recovery”

2:00 p.m. – Dr. Hank Robb, Ph.D., ABPP,“Is There Really ANYONE Who Wants to Live Life Mindlessly?”

3:00 p.m. – Dr. Robert Meyers, author of Get Your Loved One Sober, Dr. Robert Meyers, “Why CRAFT Works”

7:00 p.m. – Final Auction moments…WHO will win WHAT???

8:00 p.m. – Auction Bidding ends at 8:00 p.m.

International FUNdraiser Auction

October 26 – November 2, 2013

The fun started at 10am on Saturday, October 26 when bidding began on our online International FUNdraising auction of items donated by SMART participants. Many of the donations are hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind items and come from a variety of countries. A few of the many items available: designer jewelry, original paintings, ornaments, Australian bush hat, autographed books, handcrafted jewelry, beautiful photography … and more! . The closing events of the FUNdraiser will be from 7 to 8 p.m. EDT on November 2 as final bids are accepted. All bidding ends sharply at 8 p.m. Bidding takes place on the Message Board.

[ Auction FAQs] [Slide show preview of auction items. ]

Please Join Us

Our speakers will be hosted in The SMART Room – one of SMART Recovery Online’s voice chat rooms, November 2, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT. Continue reading

2013 Volunteer Recognition

Posted on October 22, 2013

Annual Conference Recap

2013 Annual ConferenceThe 2013 SMART Annual Conference was held in San Diego this year, at the beautiful Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn. The conference was well attended with many states and many countries represented: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, Scotland and the USA. Attendees included members of the Board of Directors — President Tom Horvath, Elaine Appel, Patrick Garnett, Joe Gerstein, Lorie Hammerstrom, Brett Saarela, Claire Saenz, and Shari Allwood, Executive Director.

Day 1:

Many attendees took advantage of the planned tour of the San Diego area in the afternoon. The official kick-off of the conference began in the evening with a pleasant light dinner, and the hysterically funny SMART Jeopardy game that has become a tradition. Gameplay was spirited and lively.

Day 2:

The following day included a packed schedule of presentations and discussions on recent research findings, mindfulness, regional and international SMART Recovery developments and tool updates. The afternoon was concluded with an address from Tom Horvath, President of SMART Recovery on future growth plans.

The highlight of the evening was a fabulous dinner provided by the Aton Center in San Diego. Conference attendees enjoyed socializing over appetizers on the deck overlooking the marina at the San Diego Bay Club, followed by dinner and the 2nd Annual SMART Recovery Community Awards Recognition Ceremony.

The evening ended with a brief award ceremony in which the following volunteers were recognized:

    2013 Volunteer of the Year: Jim Brastaad
    2013 Volunteer of the Year: Jill O’Neil

    2013 Leadership Award: Darren Ripley

    Joseph Gerstein Award for Exemplary Service: Long-term volunteer Dee Cloward was awarded the The Joseph Gerstein Award for Exemplary Service to SMART Recovery. This award was created in 2012 in honor of SMART Recovery’s Founding President, Dr. Joe Gerstein.

Day 3:

The final day of the conference started with an engaging and thought provoking presentation from Dr. David Saenz on Locus of Control and Empowerment, followed by facilitator presentations and a round table of questions and answers to a panel of Master Facilitators.

The was a valuable opportunity for SMARTies from all over the world to touch base in person to celebrate SMART, talk about the future and make new friends.

Said one attendee: “I didn’t know what to expect, but I was truly impressed by the quality and “meatiness” of the presentations and the friendliness, warmth and devotion of all the attendees I met. It was great to share and get the perspective of other SMART facilitators and the founders of SMART, which gave me a boost in enthusiasm and pride for what we do.”

Thank you

We appreciate the efforts of all who attended the 2013 conference and are already looking forward to the 2014 Conference.

We are grateful to our sponsors: Aton Center, Muscala Chemical Health Clinic, Practical Recovery, Prominence Treatment and Sunset Malibu, who made this conference possible.

Missed it?

Selected videos and slide-shows from the conference are available online.

You Have the Power to Choose

Posted on October 8, 2013

Change or Continue Suffering: The Choice is up to You
by Hank Robb, PhD, ABPP

Discover the Power of Choice!I think the title of this article is a good description of SMART Recovery®’s philosophy. Individuals can continue as they have been, or they can change, and they get to choose. Perhaps they can change their circumstances, perhaps not. They can always change the way they relate to their circumstances. Even if we cannot immediately change the frequency, intensity, and duration of urges, for example, we can choose not to act on them. As a practical matter of fact, when urges are not acted on, then over time they tend to reduce in frequency, intensity, and duration, such that they may not occur for months or years. So, urges can be changed eventually, if not immediately.

We don’t HAVE TO change. Continuing as we are is a choice the universe allows us to make. This is important because the more we pound ourselves, or others, with HAVE TO, HAVE TO, HAVE TO change, the more we feel like slaves to change rather than people exercising free choice. And, who wants to feel like a slave?! We may not be free to avoid the consequences of our actions, but we are free to choose the actions we take. Continue reading

Avoid the Rating Game

Posted on October 1, 2013

Self-worth Is Not a Variable
Peter Soderman, SMART Recovery® Facilitator, Mexico

Powerless No LongerEven more important to our emotional health than the language we use to describe everyday situations are the terms we use to characterize the most important person in our lives — ourselves. Every single day we use words like jerk, dope, fool, moron, and even worse to define ourselves. Sometimes we use language like this in our heads, and sometimes say it under our breath or even aloud as though we have sentenced ourselves to ongoing perpetual judgment. We create a no-win situation resulting in our going through the day with self-worth rising and falling in relation to how we think our “ideal” self should function. We rate our individual attributes and arbitrary traits, none of which could ever define our intrinsic self-worth, and yet we behave as though they do.

Do you think green is good or bad? You might say something is more or less green, or that green is bad for some purposes, or even that you don’t like green. What you cannot honestly say is that green is intrinsically good or bad. Similarly, we cannot accurately and honestly rate ourselves, our essence as good or bad. We do, though, and cause ourselves great emotional disturbance by doing it.

Do yourself a favor. Refuse to rate yourself. When you catch yourself doing it, chuckle, and correct the internal language to reflect the true situation more accurately. Instead of thinking (or saying): “What did you do that for, you dumb jerk!” Try: “Next time, try to focus more on what you’re doing.” The first remark makes a general statement about your whole persona, while the second merely acknowledges that perhaps you weren’t “there” as much as you should have been. See the difference?

This concept is part of what we call Unconditional Self-Acceptance, or USA, and you will see it referenced in the upcoming chapters. What we shoot for in USA is a complete acceptance of ourselves for no other reason than that we are alive, and we have the capacity to enjoy our existence. We have various traits, and we behave differently depending upon our experiences and how we perceive the situation.

The important thing to remember is we are not our behavior. We can assess our behavior, along with our various traits, but what we cannot honestly do is evaluate something as diverse and complex as our entire selves. We have many traits, and we cannot judge our entire selves based upon any one of them. If we do, we invariably end up causing ourselves emotional upset as a result.

No one else can give us self-acceptance — it can only come from ourselves. The best part is that we are free to choose it at any time.

Source: The forgoing is an excerpt from “Powerless No Longer,” published by Pete Soderman, and is the property of the author.

About the Author: Pete Soderman is a Smart Facilitator, author, and lecturer who co-founded the SMART meeting in Wilmington, NC with Mike Werner, and is currently facilitating a SMART meeting in Ajijic, Jalisco Mexico. He has just published a book about addiction titled: “Powerless No Longer,” which is available from in both printed and electronic formats, and will soon be available as an audiobook. He has been involved in the addiction and treatment field for many years, and has started several addiction recovery meetings.