SMART Recovery is a self-empowerment program for people having problems with addictive behavior. We currently sponsor more than 1300 face-to-face addiction recovery meetings around the world, and 30 online meetings per week. When an individual in crisis seeks out a SMART meeting, or a professional refers someone to a meeting, it can be helpful to know what to expect. This post is intended to be a quick primer on the elements of a SMART meeting so that people who are new to attending meetings – either face-to-face or online – know what to expect.
Two things to know: First, meeting facilitators are trained by SMART. Some are people who have participated in the SMART program, some are professionals (eg. counselors or social workers), some are friends or family of those who have used the SMART program, and some are concerned citizens willing to provide a meeting in their community. Continue reading
Are You a Loser?
People observe their behavior, and evaluate it in terms of how well they like it. If we did not do this, we would have no way of improving how we act. When people seek help in therapy, in self-help groups, or by reading self-help books, they are not merely observing and thinking of their behaviors and deciding how to make adjustments. Typically, their thinking interferes with their ability to adjust and often they’re mainly aware of their misery.
REBT attempts to show you that (1) events do not automatically create your thoughts, (2) events do not cause your emotions, and (3) by changing your thinking, you will see things differently, and then your thoughts and emotions will aid you instead of interfering with your actions.
Let’s say you failed at something important to you. Compare the following two sets of thoughts regarding how they make you feel, how truthful they are, and how well they help you adjust.
1. I failed and that’s bad. Maybe I didn’t pay close enough attention to what was going on to prevent my failure. I regret that.
2. I should not have failed. It’s awful to fail as I did. Because I did fail, I’m a loser; I can’t stand myself.
What is Mindfulness?
-Don Sheeley, MD, SMART Recovery Facilitator
I use the term “Mindfulness” to mean Active Self-Awareness.
We can be aware of our internal thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, and we can be aware of the interaction of ourselves with the external world (sight, sound, touch, taste, feel). We can be aware that we take in sights and sounds, etc. from the external world and process them and apply our internal thoughts and beliefs to them. Then we can become aware that there is someone who is aware of all that, and that guy is Me, the same me who was 12 years old, then 29, and now 62. (Yikes!) That’s it.
So we’re not really “aware of others.” We are aware that we hear what another says and then we are aware of what we think about that and how we feel about that, and maybe we are aware of how we process that.
Similarly, mindfulness is not necessarily placid, comfortable, or relaxed. Continue reading
Now you can get a Handbook — NOW!
The waiting is over! Carry your SMART Handbook with you everywhere, on your smartphone or tablet. Or read it on your personal computer or laptop. Thanks to the talents and persistence of Laurie, one of our dedicated volunteers, the frequently requested ebook option for the Handbook is now a reality. The new Kindle edition contains the entire contents of the SMART Handbook, 3rd. ed., is fully indexed for efficient searching using the Kindle app search feature and is now available for instant download. Cost: $7.99
No Kindle? No Problem!
Anybody can read Kindle books — even without a Kindle device — using the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Order the SMART Handbook for Kindle
Download the FREE Kindle App for smartphones, tablets, computers Continue reading
How to help your potential support system really be helpful
~Josh King, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change
Many people start using substances (often as teens) as a way to engage socially. The reality is that almost all substances with abuse potential initially have a “social lubrication” effect (i.e., they are dis-inhibiting, relaxing, anxiety-reducing, buffers to self-criticism, enhancers of pleasure, etc). The problem? Further down the road (and sometimes right out of the gates), use patterns become much more solitary, withdrawn and isolated. Many have suffered through conflicts with family and friends and, by the time they seek treatment, feel disconnected from potential supporters of change. In addition, to break the destructive patterns that are in place when they seek treatment, they have to distance themselves from current friends who engage in the same behavior (party pals etc). The reality of “loss”…that is the loss of the relationship with the substance and with the people around it…and the awareness of distance from potentially supportive family and friends makes the early stages of change very hard to tolerate at times.
Research has shown time and again that having a robust support network can significantly reduce the odds of relapse Continue reading
Self-Management Begins with Intention
-Charles A., SMART Recovery® Facilitator
SMART Recovery is about actively managing your self and directing your actions. What do you intend to actively do today… or ‘NOW’… to manage your addiction recovery?
We have the power of choice, but in order to realize this power, forming intentions and doing the work of changing our thinking and behaviors is required for success… so…
… what’s your intention for self-management today?
Here are some examples (different addiction examples are included here.)
- Study in my SMART Recovery handbook for 15 minutes
- Attend a meeting
- Take my vitamins
- Work on an item I’ve put off
- Eat sensibly
- Respect myself by examining and rating my thoughts and behaviors… instead of self-rating and self-downing
- Drive home a different way to avoid my old patterns
- Exercise for 10-15 minutes
- Drink water instead of soda at lunch
- Create an urge log
- Practice unconditional acceptance with myself and others
- Set a new boundary
- Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis worksheet
- Spend 10 minutes reading in the online library, and then practicing what I’ve learned
- Stay in the NOW, rather than letting my mind drift to the past or the future
- Make a journal of the ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) I have each day, and work to dispute them
- Spend 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen
………… and so forth.