Lifestyle balance is critical in preventing relapses. Individuals whose lives are full of unenjoyable activities are likely to relapse back to addiction (which may provide intense, although temporary, satisfaction). We may not enjoy our daily activities if we are too focused on what we “should” do and not enough on what we “want” to do. For example, a person who places too much money into retirement funds ends up having their daily budget tighten, and risks a “binge” of spending that could threaten their savings. If they balanced their budget, rather than putting all their funds in retirement, they would find a better balance.
Lifestyle balance can be considered from a number of perspectives. Continue reading
By Melinda Gaddy, Ph.D.
A SMART Recovery group member at VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System (Dwight D. Eisenhower Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center) stated during their first meeting back after a period of absence from SMART, “The ABCs are so annoying, but they really do work.” We had just finished setting our agenda for the meeting. I believe the individual was speaking not only to a group member newer to SMART, but also to themselves as they settled into a chair, ready to begin again in applying SMART’s well-researched tools to their life circumstances: recently released from the hospital and solemnly resolved to do what was needed to rebuild. I appreciated the statement for a number of reasons. It helped other group members to get focused and ready to dive into the ABC tool, it conveyed hope, and it was a great example of just how good Veterans are at telling it like it is. Opinions and experiences can be offered without need for a “polite filter” since meaningful bonds are formed quickly among Veterans in recovery. This makes facilitating SMART Recovery groups within the VA an incredibly dynamic and rewarding experience.
In recent decades, VA has become increasingly focused on providing military Veterans in the United States with evidence-based treatment programs and recovery tools. Continue reading
Making Something Important
by Hank Robb, Ph.D., ABPP
A person was walking down a street and saw two women sitting with wool yarn and knitting needles. Curious, our observer asked, “What are you doing?”
The first said, “I’m making one stitch after another.”
The second answered, “I’m keeping my child safe and warm from the winter wind.”
Which of these two would you rather be?
Building and maintaining motivation is the first point in SMART Recovery’s 4-Point Program®. Changing your behavior isn’t very likely to happen unless there’s a point to doing so which is the last point in SMART Recovery: building a balanced life. “Giving up something” isn’t much to build a life around. It’s just one stitch after another. As the psychologist Ogden Lindsey once noted, no goal a dead person can accomplish is that great a goal for a living one. Dead people never drink, snort, shoot up or place a bet. “Not doing” is something all dead people “do” quite well. Continue reading
I started practicing meditation about 10 years ago, at the Shambhala Center in Chicago. (Shambhala is an international organization founded by Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan Buddhist – see shambhala.org). I was in early recovery from alcohol, and I decided I wanted to learn how to meditate. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. I’d been told I could show up on a Sunday morning at the Center and ask for someone to show me how, so that’s what I did. After about 15 minutes of instruction, I joined the others who meditate together there on Sunday mornings. Eventually I went on to take some meditation trainings and started reading stuff (anything by Pema Chodron).
I now meditate with a group about once a week and at home daily (more or less; these habits took some effort to instill, and there has been a bit of on-again / off-again over the years). The results show up in daily life as an increasing capacity for clarity and calmness, and for seeing more possibilities in difficult situations. Oh, and things like moments of joy and appreciation. Continue reading
by Jean Greer McCarthy
The concept of powerlessness was perplexing as I contemplated life without alcohol. I was in the awful back and forth of failed attempts, beginning each morning with a vow that “this would be the day” and deciding firmly in late afternoon that due to circumstances x, y or z, it was essential to continue drinking.
The online evaluations I frequented assured me that my drinking pattern was problematic, yet the only solution I knew of seemed to disqualify me with it’s first “step” of declaring powerlessness. I felt there was still a glimmer of empowerment in the decision I made each day, even though it was a decision to drink. Continue reading
Dr. Bill Knaus: On Anxiety
Saturday, August 15, 5:00PM EDT
Presented by Dr. Bill Knaus
Dr. William J. Knaus, Ed.D. will be joining us on August 15, 2015 at 5:00 PM EDT for a new SMART Special Event Webinar: On Anxiety.
Dr. Knaus is the foremost authority in the field of overcoming procrastination, but he is also renowned for his work in practical application of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety and has written extensively on the subject, most recently in his newest revision of: The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-By-Step Program (2014).
Many of those recovering from substance abuse or other addictive disorders experience anxiety and panic. These “are intense emotions, and in the moments that you experience them it may seem like you are powerless, but nothing could be further from the truth.” Dr. Knaus will discuss practical ways to lessen anxiety and continue to build a strong, satisfying life. To paraphrase Joel Block, Ph.D., If getting a better handle on emotions, giving up perfectionism, and defeating social anxiety are your goals, you will hear Bill speaking directly to you. Dr. Knaus will also share a few insights on how to use procrastination technology to reduce anxiety and substance abuse simultaneously.