Author Archives: SMART Recovery

The Science and History of SMART Recovery

Posted on September 19, 2017

SMART Recovery 2017

Guest Blogger, William L. White 

The growth of secular addiction recovery mutual aid groups is an important landmark within the history of addiction recovery in the United States. In recent years, I have helped catalogue (See HERE) the history of groups such as Women for Sobriety, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, LifeRing Secular Recovery, and SMART Recovery, as well as describe the growth of a secular wing of Alcoholics Anonymous (See HERE and HERE).  A related involvement has been serving on SMART Recovery’s International Advisory Council. Dr. Joe Gerstein, founding President of SMART Recovery, recently shared the following update with members of the International Advisory Council. This communication highlights both the growth of SMART Recovery and its increasing recognition by addiction professional and recovery support specialists. It is shared here with permission.

30 August 2017

Dear Member of the SMART Recovery International Advisory Council:

Those of us who are deeply involved in the development and expansion of the SMART Recovery Program into a worldwide phenomenon greatly appreciate your willingness to lend your name and reputation to our endeavors!

SMART Recovery has now clearly entered into the mainstream of the self-help/mutual aid recovery movement with more than 2,400 weekly meetings in 21 countries. The SMART Recovery Program has been endorsed by NIDA, NIAAA, SAMHSA, NADCP, Federal Bureau of Prisons, ASAM, EAPA, AAFP, NICE (UK) and NCHCQR (Australia). SMART Recovery received three mentions in the landmark U.S. Surgeon General’s Report Facing Addiction (2016). The SMART program for correctional facilities InsideOut, funded by NIDA, is now used in more than 200 prisons worldwide.

The SMART Recovery Handbook is now in its 3rd Edition and has been published in 11 languages Continue reading

Seeing Yourself Sober

Posted on September 12, 2017

Benefits of developing a strong mental image of yourself as a non-drinker

Pete Soderman, author of Powerless No Longer

A few years ago, when I decided to quit smoking following a major heart attack, one of the techniques that made it easier was seeing myself as a nonsmoker. I visualized a person with fresh breath, no little holes in his shirt, no nicotine stains on his fingers, and no pack of smokes in his pocket. A person who could answer the phone, read the paper in the morning, have a cup of coffee, deal with stress, and socialize, all without having a cigarette constantly burning nearby. Not just any person either, it had to be myself in a new role.

To some extent, I used the same technique years before when I quit drinking, but not as consciously as I did with smoking. With drinking, I had to first convince myself that there even was a life without alcohol before I could see myself in it. Once I decided there was, I could imagine myself in all sorts of situations, even attending my daughter’s wedding, without a drink.

Let me make something clear at the beginning. I’m not talking about the “Think and Grow Rich,” “Power of Positive Thinking,” or “The Secret” thing here. What I’m talking about has nothing to do with quantum entanglement, spooky action at a distance, collapsing wave functions, or the “energy field” in the universe. If you’re into that kind of thing, you can find plenty of it elsewhere.

Instead, I’m talking about a way to help you change your way of thinking by making it easier to identify and dispute your irrational beliefs. Let me explain. Continue reading

What’s the first step of habit change? Going off autopilot!

Posted on August 22, 2017

– Carrie Wilkens, Clinical Director of the Center for Motivation and Change

Changing behavior requires self-awareness. Changing a well-worn habit in particular requires that you move it from “automatic” to “conscious” so that you can make other behavioral choices. For example, if you don’t even notice that you are reaching for a cigarette as you get into your car, how are you ever going to decide to resist lighting it up?

Habits are influenced by your environment and are set off by environmental cues, sometimes called triggers. Triggers are the people, situations, locations and emotions associated with any behavior you are trying to change. When it comes to substance use, triggers are the environmental variables that provoke “cravings” or the desire to use or engage in the habit. Neuroscientists have studied the trigger effect in the brain—how an encounter with drug paraphernalia or the smell of a long-frequented pub lights up the part of the brain responsible for emotion and instinct, the “feel good” parts of the brain. As you encounter these cues in your daily life, it’s likely that you are on autopilot and don’t even notice how they are linked to your decision to engage in your habit. Scientists have also found that once these habits are engaged, the brain has a difficult time considering the consequences and risks associated with the behavior. In other words, once you are in your car, smoking the cigarette, it’s not likely that you will have the wherewithal to say “this is really bad for my health, I’m going to throw this cigarette and the rest of the pack away right now.”

Continue reading

5 Things You Need To Know About Digital Tools for Recovery

Posted on August 8, 2017

Addiction  Recovery 101, with Reid Hester, Ph.D.

“There are a huge number of digital tools to help people with alcohol and drug problems…..It’s really hard to tell, just on the basis of looking at them, what’s going to help you.”
~ Dr. Reid  Hester

Watch to find out what you need to know to find an effective app:

CheckUp & Choices is a confidential online program, based on the 4-Point Program® of SMART Recovery, designed to enhance your efforts to achieve and maintain abstinence. It offers modules for alcohol, marijuana, opioids, stimulants, as well as compulsive gambling.

The 5 Things Series contains footage of Recovery Research Institute interviews with international experts in addiction treatment and recovery.

Reid K. Hester, Ph.D. is the Director of CheckUp & Choices LLC
For More Information Visit: http://checkupandchoices.com/
Continue reading

Words are Hugely Powerful Mediators of Positive Change

Posted on August 1, 2017

Word Choice and Positive Outcomes

The leading barrier to treatment entry by people abusing substances is fear of stigma.

Words matter. Our beliefs about substance abuse and compulsive behavior problems—and the potential for change—are built into the words we use to speak about them. Maybe more importantly in this case is that words are reflective of culture beliefs, and the conveyors of those beliefs and attitudes.

And beliefs inform behavior. One study found that treatment providers who referred to patients as “addicts” had significantly more negative attitudes towards them when compared to treatment providers who referred to patients as having “substance use disorders.”

Words are an attitude, a belief, and have an impact. The leading barrier to treatment entry by people abusing substances is fear of stigma. Stigma is conveyed by word choice. Continue reading

Powerless? Or PowerFUL? The Choice is Yours!

Posted on July 25, 2017

Challenges of Addiction Recovery
by: Hank Robb, PhD, ABPP

Though unpleasant feelings come and go
You’re always around to run the show!

Everybody has a voice inside his or her head that sometimes says, “How about doing something stupid?” The “stupid thing” varies from time to time, person to person, and place to place, but that voice is always “just around the corner.” You’re not “powerless” you’re just a living human being with the problem faced by all living human beings: that voice that says, “How about doing something stupid?”

“Getting SMART” means learning to recognize that voice and then refusing to go along with it. Because the bad results from the following the “stupid voice” don’t show up right away, staying “SMART” means keeping your eyes on the prize and moving toward what’s really important to you.

You never lose control of your hands, arms, feet, and mouth (unless you have a stroke or a seizure) — that ‘blah, blah, blah’ inside your head can’t make you do anything. You’re in control of you, even if you are not in control of that ‘blah, blah, blah’. You can always refuse to go along with that sometimes oh, so tempting, stupid voice inside your noggin.

When you do refuse, you may have some unpleasant feelings for awhile. Just remember:

Though unpleasant feelings come and go
You’re always around to run the show!

 


 

About the author: Hank Robb received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 1978. He served as Director of Counseling and Associate Professor of Psychology at Lewis Clark State College, Lewiston, Idaho between 1978 and 1986. During this time, he also served as President of the Idaho Psychological Association, and Chair of the Idaho Board of Psychologist Examiners, the state psychology licensing board. Dr. Robb moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon in 1986  In addition to his private psychology practice, Dr. Robb has published over thirty professional articles and book chapters on a wide variety of psychological issues and delivered scores of papers, presentations and workshops at state, national and international meetings. He is an Associate Fellow and Supervisor of the Albert Ellis Institute and a Peer Reviewed Trainer for Acceptance & Commitment Therapy as well as a Fellow of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.

Dr. Robb is board certified in both Counseling Psychology and Cognitive & Behavioral Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology, and a Past-President of the American Board of Counseling Psychology. Additionally, he holds a Certificate of Proficiency in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders from the American Psychological Association’s College of Professional Psychology. He also served eight years as Chair of The Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy’s Religious and Spiritual Issues Special Interest Group and is certified as a Humanist Celebrant by the Humanist Society.
Dr. Robb is a founding board member of SMART Recovery. He has written a column for the SMART Recovery quarterly newsletter News & Views from almost the time the newsletter was established. He returned to the board in 2015 has chaired ad hoc committees since his return. Continue reading