Author Archives: SMART Recovery

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

How to Help a Loved One Find Addiction Recovery

Posted on July 18, 2017

Alternatives for Family & Friends
-Roxanne A., SMART Recovery® Facilitator

depression Chances are you were never taught how to manage a relationship with someone who is struggling with a substance abuse problem. You may find that without the necessary skills, your role as a family member or friend of someone with addiction becomes increasingly stressful as the addiction progresses.

Ignoring the problem or attempting to change it with harsh confrontation often makes the emotional, financial and physiological problems that accompany the substance abuse even worse.

CRAFT: An approach that gets people into treatment

There is an alternate, non-confrontational, scientifically-validated approach to managing the problem. This approach is outlined in the books Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening  and Beyond Addiction, How Science & Kindness Help People Change. Using Community Reinforcement And Family Training (CRAFT) these books teach family members and friends how to improve their own lives while at the same time providing skills for improving their relationship with their loved one. In repeated clinical trials, CRAFT’s approach proved twice as likely Continue reading

SMART Recovery tools to help with acceptance

Posted on July 5, 2017

by Jonathan von Breton, CCMHC

“The greatest sickness known to man or woman is called self-esteem. If you have self-esteem, then you’re sick, sick, sick, because you say: I’m okay because I do well and because people love me, so when I do poorly, which I’m a fallible human and will, and people hate me because they may jealously hate me or they just don’t like me, then back to shithood I go.”  – Albert Ellis, Ph.D.

wearenotThis is number 1 of the 3 basic “musts” that cause human disturbance:

 “I absolutely must perform well on important projects and be approved by significant people or else I am an inadequate and unlovable person!” (Leads to) Feelings of serious depression, anxiety, panic, self-downing. ..… Personally, you can’t always succeed not to mention succeed perfectly. Being a fallible human, you just can’t.”     – Albert Ellis

Yes, rating one’s behavior as opposed to one’s self is much easier said than done. Yes, our society strongly encourages the opposite. In fact, our society has a vested interest in doing so. I still have a hard time with it myself and I’ve had years of practice.

In general, I find it helpful to rate my behaviors as:

Successful, they help me get what I want and avoid what I don’t want.
Unsuccessful, they fail to help me get what I want and avoid what I don’t want.
Effective or Ineffective. This is another way of saying successful/unsuccessful
Consistent with my goals, values, ethics, beliefs.
Inconsistent, counter to, my goals, values, ethics, beliefs.

However, those are all behaviors. They aren’t my ‘self’ (whatever that is).  The behaviors can be measured and rated, at least to a certain degree. The self can’t even be defined, let alone rated. Continue reading

How To Dispute Difficult Thoughts

Posted on June 6, 2017

by Kimberly Winters, SMART Recovery Volunteer Meeting Facilitator

Do you sometimes experience difficult thoughts and emotions…the kind that lead to unwanted behaviors?

Emotional upsets can wreak havoc with addiction recovery. SMART Recovery offers tools for disputing difficult thoughts, by examining those thoughts to see if they are true, helpful, hopeful, flexible and nurturing!

Did you know that having a tangible object for each of those questions can be helpful?  Below are some suggestions for items to help with that!

 All of these items can be found around the house, outdoors or at the craft store!

  1. Is this thought TRUE? Find a nice smooth and heavy rock and write TRUE? on it with a black sharpie.  Put that rock in your hand and hold onto it while you help your thought pass through the truth test.
  1. Is this thought HELPING me?  Find something with a smiley on it like a small yellow ball with a smiley face on it or a sticker or even a little kid toy that looks friendly.

Continue reading

Celebrate Your Victories, No Matter How Small

Posted on May 30, 2017

The Value of Celebrating Victories
~Green-In-MI, SMART Recovery Volunteer

Celebrate Victories

In my experience, progress toward a lifestyle of abstinence at times seems insurmountable; like you’re standing at the bottom of a mountain craning your neck to see a peak that looks impossibly high up and far away. Any given day may be a struggle against urges, old habits, and other potential problems. You look at people who have a month of abstinence and think “that’s a long time…I can barely go a few days”. You look at others who may have a year or more of abstinence and think “that’s so long, I’ll never get there.”

But you keep coming back. Addiction recovery takes work. You keep learning. You keep talking to others. You keep working on the tools. Next thing you know, your work begins to pay off. You have a week, or maybe a month. Maybe you successfully navigate a situation that caused problems in the past.

You come back to a SMART meeting or to chat and report your success, and suddenly a half dozen people congratulate you for your ‘victory’. You’ve successfully climbed part of the way up that impossible mountain. As you top each little rise on the way to the summit Continue reading