What’s In A Name?
~ Brian Sherman, PhD, Center for Motivation and Change
“By continuing to use the term “addict” and “alcoholic,” treatment providers are doing a disservice to their patients and potentially negating progress towards destigmatization and successful long-term treatment.”
What’s in a name? Sure, by any other name a rose may smell so sweet, but by any other name would an “addict” feel so stigmatized? Were Shakespeare alive today I would ask that he reconsider his stance. With the gradual pace of change in addiction treatment highlighted by the continued advancement and implementation of evidence-based treatments, why is the field so far behind in not using more clinically appropriate and de-stigmatizing — albeit a bit cumbersome – language such as: “person with a substance use disorder” or “person suffering from addiction”? It has been years now that the field of clinical psychology did away with stigmatizing terms such as “schizophrenic”, “manic-depressive”, or “autistic.” Why then does the field of addiction remain so far behind?
As an addiction psychologist I do not discourage my patients for whom the term “addict” works. If it motivates them to change, fantastic. For many people, the term “addict” is a helpful way of identifying symptoms and issues, and finding a way to connect and bond with others in a healthy way that promotes change. However, when that term creates a prolonged sense of failure or guilt which ultimately may lead to relapse (negative emotions are one of the strongest predictors of relapse) or prevent someone from seeking help in the first place (because they don’t want to accept the label, and the stigma that is associated with it), I question its utility. Continue reading
by Anne Fields
Knowing When You’re Ready to Overcome Addiction
Knowing when you’re ready to breakthrough your addictive behaviors and overcome your addiction can be difficult. Many individuals experience an epiphany: a moment of clarity that their addictive behaviors are problematic and need to change. However for many people that moment of clarity never comes, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t ready to overcome your addiction and start a new life with a new healthier, and more fulfilling, path. Here are just some signs that you’re ready to stop your addictive behaviors, change your life and finally experience true freedom: Continue reading
September “Recovery Month” Celebrations
There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate National Recovery Month. They speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share their success stories with their neighbors, friends and colleagues. In doing so, everyone contributes to increased awareness and a greater understanding of addiction and recovery.
National Recovery Month, sponsored by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), is a national observance held every September to celebrate recovery and reinforce the positive messages Continue reading
What Happens at a SMART Recovery Meeting?
June 27, 2016 by Anne Giles
A SMART Recovery meeting offers people who want to stop doing something – but find themselves still doing it – an opportunity to meet together with others with similar challenges. The free meeting is chaired by a volunteer trained as either a host or as a facilitator.
A facilitator has completed a 30-hour training. A host has completed a self-paced, online training that takes 4-6 hours. Continue reading
Veterans Enjoy the Comradery of VA-facilitated SMART Recovery Meetings
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
Adjusting to a richer, fuller life experience
~Green-In-MI, SMART Recovery Volunteer
“Getting used to sober life can be a process of adjusting in a number of ways.”
One of the things the SMART community talks about is making changes in your life as part of the process for sustained abstinence from your drug of choice or problem behavior. People share experiences like creating new circles of friends or even moving to new places or cities.
SMART specifically talks about finding one or more VACIs (Vitally Absorbing Creative Interests). A number of us spent an awful lot of time planning on using, using, and recovering from using. For many of us, our drug of choice was the focus of day-to-day life. Without it, many find themselves clear-headed but with nothing planned for the evening and wondering what to do. As you continue to build a new life, you re-engage old friends and pick old hobbies back up. You also find new friends and new activities. These are all good signs of progress.
If you’re like me, you might find yourself very busy all of the sudden. At some point you threw yourself into your life, dominated by your drug of choice. Now you’ve thrown yourself into a new life, a life of addiction recovery. There’s family, work, friends, hobbies, and keeping up with the general demands of day-to-day life, Continue reading