Category Archives: Lifestyle Balance

Are You Leaving? Or Are You Going?

Posted on August 31, 2015

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

“Mindfulness” and SMART Recovery

Posted on August 25, 2015

Shoreline 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  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

Am I Powerless or Powerful?

Posted on August 17, 2015

by Jean Greer McCarthy

Jean Greer McCarthy is a blogger, podcast host and recovery advocate from Alberta, Canada. She is the author of, a regular contributor to, and co-host of The Bubble Hour podcast.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

On Anxiety

Posted on August 3, 2015

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.
Continue reading

Finding Your Balance

Posted on July 14, 2015

Finding Your Balance

[repost from the Center for Motivation and Change website]

Every wonder what it means to be a balanced person? Does it mean being in control all the time? Being calm all the time? Able to handle anything? Moderate in all things? Able to stay composed when everyone else is falling apart? Being someone who manages to always eat right, work out, spend time with friends and family and manage a work life?

Continue reading

Book Review: “In This Moment. Five Steps to Transcending Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroscience. “

Posted on June 23, 2015

Portrait of pensive womanIn This Moment.   Five Steps to Transcending Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroscience.  2015, New Harbinger, $16.95.   By Kirk Strosahl, PhD and Patti Robinson, PhD.

In SMART, we use Tools to reduce stress and disturbances.   We use the ABC Tool to reduce our self-made cognitive stress, and create more healthy behavior by changing our thoughts.  We use the DISARM Tool to change our relationship to thoughts and bodily sensations, to maintain and regain control over our choices.  Stress reduction can reduce reactive behavior and allow humans to focus and move on toward what they decide is important. Continue reading