by Windy Dryden, Ph.D., Dept. of Psychology, Goldsmiths College
I have worked as a counseling psychologist for over ten years. One of the most common problems that people consult me on is anxiety when the source of that anxiety is unclear to them. When people are anxious about specific things in the world, like dogs, spiders or other people’s negative reactions, then at least the person knows what he or she is anxious about. However, a lot of people are anxious about being anxious and this is so common and yet so frequently misunderstood that such lack of knowledge leads to more anxiety.
Anxiety about anxiety occurs when you first experience a fearful reaction, say, while shopping, riding in a lift, driving in a car or even in your home. Having experienced this anxiety (problem 1) you begin to become anxious in case you get anxious again (problem 2). This double-barreled situation is the breeding ground for the development of your vicious circle of anxiety from which you find it so difficult to escape. Understanding this process is the first step to solving the problem.
Let me explain this vicious circle in greater detail. Once you have experienced anxiety “for no good reason,” you then bring an anxious attitude to the prospect of getting anxious. You think something like “Wouldn’t it be terrible if I got anxious.” Thinking in this way actually leads to anxiety. You then notice your anxiety and think something like “Oh my god, I’m getting anxious.” This leads to increased anxiety which triggers a further thought like “Oh my god, I’m losing control. What if I faint (or panic, have a heart attack or act crazily); wouldn’t that be terrible!” Anxiety is again heightened which leads to more anxious “thinking” and so on. Now this pattern occurs incredibly quickly and you probably are only aware of a building sense of panic. In addition, you may be one of a large number of people who “overbreathe” when you get anxious. This means that you take in too much oxygen and feel, paradoxically, that you need to breath in more air, whereas you actually need less. “Overbreathing” leads to such sensations as tingling, faintness, giddiness and heart palpitations. Without knowing this, you may consider that these sensations are evidence that there really is something wrong with you and “that would be awful.” This though leads to more anxiety and the vicious circle continues.
By Jim Williams, SMART Recovery Facilitator from British Columbia, Canada
As it was a holiday Monday, experience had taught me to expect a small crowd at the SMART meeting I facilitated in White Rock. As the clock rolled over to starting time there was just two of us, John and I. John was one of those consistent, zealous types and reliable as hell. He was, I believe, taking the Facilitator’s course at the time and would later become our Regional Coordinator. As John and I were talking shop and deciding how long to wait, a slender bearded man walked in.
“Hi I’m Andrew,” he said, shaking both our hands, “sorry I’m late.”
It turned out Andrew had known about SMART for over a year but had never come to a meeting until today. He’d decided six months before to quit drinking but had recently slipped and had a bad six weeks. That’s when he decided that he needed support and came to our meeting. Continue reading
Guest blog post by Lisa Hann, author of How to Have Fun in Recovery
Every day we’re given countless opportunities to learn. We may not always “get it,” but over time we amass a set of values and skills that guides us through our lives. We go through different stages where we’re met with different challenges in which we get to “practice” the things we’ve learned and to learn even more. Addiction and recovery are stages that offer some of the richest experiences and learning opportunities. Today I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned in recovery.
The first thing I learned is what I’ve already mentioned – that we’re always given opportunities to learn. When you see people making the same mistakes, it’s because they haven’t learned anything from their experiences. I want to improve myself every chance I get, so I actively look for the lesson in every situation. When something bad happens, I ask, “What can I learn so that this doesn’t happen again?” When something good happens, I ask, “What can I learn so that this keeps happening?” The answers aren’t always obvious, but they’re there. Continue reading
Save the Date!
Mark your calendars and plan to join us at the GalleryONE DoubleTree hotel in Ft. Lauderdale on September 22-23rd. The conference opens with Joe Gerstein delivering his President’s address, and the day continues with featured speakers including: Hugh Delaney sharing how he’s growing meetings in inner-city Baltimore, Sarah Zemore with her latest research study results involving SMART Recovery, Reid Hester talking about his CheckUp and Choices app, and much more!
The event will be packed with things to do — whether it’s socializing on a group activity in beautiful Ft. Lauderdale, getting the latest updates on SMART Recovery, or attending break-out sessions specific to your role and interest in SMART — you’re guaranteed to enjoy this conference and destination!
An added benefit is in store with an optional Sunday, September 24th workshop where Dr. Lori Eickleberry, Ph.D., ABPP, Board Certified in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology, and Founder of three clinics including Motivational Institute for Behavioral Health, LLC will be offering a workshop on Motivational Interviewing. “Dr. Lori” has conducted numerous presentations, workshops and professional trainings in Motivational Interviewing for both government and private institutions and is part of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). CEUs will be available for Florida licensed individuals.
Stay tuned for more details and information at www. smartrecovery.org. For information on becoming conference sponsor, please contact Christi Farmer.