Author Archives: SMART Recovery

7 Safe Alternatives to Opiates for Those in Recovery

Posted on May 9, 2017

By Gordon Dickler- CAC, ICADC

Opiate painkillers are by far the most prescribed medications in the United States today. According to the recent U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, over 289 million prescriptions are written each year for analgesic pain relievers. And this is just the beginning. Recent studies show that despite making up only five percent of the world’s population, the United States now consumes about 80 percent of the world’s opioid pain medication.

The opiate epidemic is clear, especially as prescription drug addictions continue to lead users into heroin abuse and fatal overdoses. Fortunately, however, more and more people have begun to recognize the dangers associated with prescription drugs. Many, including those in recovery, are now actively looking for alternative pain relieving methods – methods that do not involve highly addictive drugs.

While opiates are undoubtedly effective at relieving pain, these drugs can also stir severe consequences when used repeatedly. A physical addiction, for example, can develop within just four weeks of prescription painkiller use. A psychological dependence to opiates, on the other hand, can develop in as little as two days. And this is just the beginning. Repeated opiate use can lead to chronic respiratory issues, depression, as well as damage to the immune system.

If you are working towards recovery, have addictive tendencies, or simply desire safer pain treatments, know that there are alternatives available that will not disrupt your balanced, substance-free life. Continue reading

5 Warning Signs that Your Child is Abusing Drugs

Posted on May 2, 2017

…and some resources that can help

By Trevor McDonald

Red flags aren’t always glaring, especially when it comes to drug abuse. Are you concerned that your child is using or abusing drugs but aren’t sure what to watch out for? Guidelines such as falling grades or mood swings aren’t necessarily indicative of drug abuse, especially in teenagers when personality and performance shifts are sometimes normal. However, catching problems early is critical because it’s easier, faster and usually more affordable to address issues in earlier stages.

Here are five not-so-common signs that your child might be abusing drugs and what to do about it:

  1. They’ve shifted from introvert to extrovert (or vice versa). Seemingly permanent personality shifts might be the result of drug abuse. On the other hand, it can also simply be a signal that they’re maturing and their personality is naturally shifting. Teenagers are still developing their personality, sometimes “coming out of their shell” or “settling down” into what their organic adult personality will be. However, changes that seem permanent and sudden might be due to a chemical dependency. If drugs are part of the equation, the shifts can seem exceptionally sudden, long-lasting and forced.
  2. They’re going through their finances at a faster clip. Whether it’s an allowance or from a part-time job, if your teen is looking for more disposable income but has nothing to show for their spending, it’s time to for a reconnaissance mission. Even if it’s “their money,” parents have a right to know where their child’s funds are being spent. Helping them develop a budget can reveal discrepancies.
  3. There’s an increase in drug references on social media. Suggesting drug use/abuse on social media (or even stating it outright) doesn’t always reflect reality. It’s very common for everyone, adults included, to exaggerate or even make up lifestyles to impress people on these platforms. However, if you’ve noticed an increase in drug references on your child’s social media, it’s time for a talk. Even if drugs aren’t being abused, presenting such a lifestyle might cause problems in the future. If you’re able to see such comments, future employers and school-related leaders might be able to as well. Of course, tech savvy teens may block their parents from such posts—but that isn’t always the case.
  4. They’ve actually become more driven in school. Using legitimate drugs recreationally, such as Ritalin when they don’t have ADHD, can cause a sudden increase in school performance. The natural assumption is that kids who are abusing drugs will experience failing grades and skip class more, but that’s just one avenue. It’s also possible that your teen is abusing drugs as a means of keeping up with their peers academically. Out-of-the-ordinary study habits and grades, when positive, can encourage praise from parents. Find out the root of this turn of events to ensure it’s a natural part of maturing.
  5. They’ve become more secretive and protective of their space. Like personality shifts, this can certainly just be part of growing up. However, if your teen has turned overprotective, it’s a good idea to pay closer attention to their actions. It doesn’t always present in a negative manner either—perhaps your teen is suddenly quick to do their own laundry or tidy up their room when they know you’d otherwise do it.

Continue reading

The importance of “choice” in recovery

Posted on April 25, 2017

New video from Choice in Recovery, showcasing the many options now available

Click to watch:

From Choice in Recovery’s new website:

Choice in Recovery is an organization that unites the many pathways to recovery in order to educate professionals in the field, and the public, about the existing options; empowering people to CHOOSE the recovery pathway that works for them.

What we’ve found is that many professionals do not know about the many pathways to recovery AND that Choice effectively fills this gap in knowledge.

We are now hosting events in Colorado for professionals in the field.  Educating counselors, therapists, probation officers, and students about the many pathways to recovery; empowering professionals, and those entering the field, to run a client-centered practice.

We are honored to be a part of this project and are grateful to Paul and Spencer, volunteer meeting facilitators,  who represented SMART so well in the video.

 

Irina Bogonolova, Choice’s Founder and CEO, and everyone involved have created a wonderful public service resource with this video.  We applaud their efforts and look forward to seeing their ongoing impact on the recovery community. Continue reading

Get Involved! Help Us Grow!

Posted on April 22, 2017

Training Scholarships Available

Volunteer Training Scholarships

As we are now into our third decade, more and more people are “discovering the power of choice” and are eager to benefit from SMART’s approach to overcoming addiction.

This is great news!

We currently have an incredible team of hard-working volunteers who are providing over 2,000 face-to-face meetings around the world PLUS a menu of online services including daily meetings, a 24/7 chat room, and message board forums. But as you may already know, the demand for SMART’s services continues to grow at a rapid pace.

We set aside the month of April each year to celebrate our amazing volunteers and the work they do and to encourage others to help us start even more meetings to meet the growing demand.

Here’s How You Can Help!

Volunteer: Share in the rewarding experience of volunteering by joining our dedicated team of trained volunteers. [ More Information ]

Scholarships for training are available

All SMART facilitators and online volunteers are required to become thoroughly familiar with the SMART 4-Point Program by participating in our Distance Training Program. Volunteer training scholarships are available during April to cover the cost of the training for those who need financial assistance.


Volunteer Training

 

Support the Volunteer Scholarship Program

During the month of April, you can help someone become a trained volunteer by making a gift to the Volunteer Training Scholarship Fund. Donations of any amount are helpful and welcome — and thanks to generous matching challenges this year, you can double your impact!

UPDATE:

We’ve already received a record number of new volunteer applications this month, far more than we anticipated! Your gift to the Training Scholarship Fund makes it possible for us to provide the training to ready our new volunteers to start new meetings, Thank you for your generous support!

Support Volunteer Training

Partner with us

The rewards of helping others make a difference in their lives are many and long lasting. We invite you to partner with us to grow SMART, either as a volunteer, a donor, or both. You’ll be glad you did! [ More Information ]

Together, we can make more meetings available to those wishing to make positive changes in their lives, and the lives of their loved ones.

Thank you for your support during Volunteer Month.
YouMaketheDifference-med

Handout for Local Facilitators


Local Facilitators
:

Please provide these flyers (click on the image) to interested parties in your meetings.

Your qualified participants can apply for Volunteer Month Training Scholarships!

 




Continue reading

Mindfulness: How to do it

Posted on April 18, 2017

Part two of a three part series
By Bill Abbott, MD

If you paid careful and mindful attention to Part One of this series on Mindful Awareness enough to want to try it, you might be asking, “How do I do it?”

Practice, practice, practice

Mindful Awareness among other things is a practice in the fullest definition of that word. It is an intention that needs to be acted upon repeatedly, that is not just “one and done” – all fixed. As with any other learned behavior or skill, the more you do this, the more the benefits will grow and accrue.

Repetition means near daily practice and it matters less as to the duration of each practice as it does to the frequency of them; better five minutes a day for a week, than 35 minutes on only one day.

Of course, since Mindful Awareness can be many different things as noted in Part One, there are several aspects to these practices; basic – informal versus formal practices.

Informal practice

Informal practices are many and are all based on the single premise of remembering to pay attention, albeit even briefly, to the present experience many times a day. Many people use reminders or cues over the course of the day Continue reading

Mindfulness: What is it?

Posted on April 11, 2017

Part one of a three part series
By Bill Abbott, MD

I’ve heard much talk lately about Mindfulness with many questions about how useful it might be, so it seems timely to write about it here.

First Mindfulness or Mindful Awareness as I like to call it, is not new, in fact, it is over 2500-years-old. It’s part of the teachings of a man in India named Siddhartha Gautama who is also known as the historical Buddha.

However, in the last century the philosophy and psychology of the Buddhist idea have been transferred here into the West to become a pragmatic secular approach to managing the many stresses of modern life – with outcomes or benefits obtained; reported by thousands of people who learned it and tried it.

Although cognitive psychology has predominated psychotherapy for all sorts of mental challenges in the past two decades, it has become increasingly apparent that Mindful Awareness is a possible different path to mental wellness in a new effective psychology. What can be said at this point is that the approach affords us the chance to self-manage emotions, including those with addiction, now not only in one way, but two. Furthermore, there are numerous scientific studies, evidence if you will, that support the idea that this approach is useful for such things as stress, anxiety, depression, and yes, for addiction.

If this has caught your attention – good. It certainly has mine, and I have found its practice for the past five years significantly transformative in my own recovery. So, you ask, what is it?

Mindful Awareness is easy to describe but more difficult to grasp and practice. However, a simple definition might be:

Mindful Awareness is paying attention to what is happening in the present experience; allowing what is here to be present without judgment. This is acceptance of the here and now.

Continue reading