This week’s blog post is a ‘plug’ to listen to the excellent podcast with Dr. Carlo DiClemente about the stages of change, which can be found at: http://smartrecovery.libsyn.com/webinar-dr-carlo-diclemente-on-maintaining-change-in-addiction-recovery
Dr. DiClemente is co-creator of the the Stages of Change, or the transtheoretical model of behavior change (TTM), which is foundational to SMART’s approach to supporting people as they change with regard to addictive behavior. Dr. DiClemente is most widely known for his co-authorship of the self-help book, Changing for Good.
I’ve never crashed a car or received a DUI, never drunk while pregnant, never been fired from a job, never punched someone in a bar, and never set the house on fire. My marriage is long and happy, my daughter excels at school and is socially happy, and I have a successful career in an competitive field. Yet I was also a lush for twenty years, and wine increasingly eroded my productivity as well as my enjoyment of daily life. Most bothersome, wine—drinking it, planning around it, figuring out how to get enough of it, recovering from it—was a squatter on my psychic landscape. Its role in my life had grown too large, but (like many people who drink too much to cope with stress), I found it difficult to moderate. “In for a glass, in for a bottle” was my usual approach. I didn’t identify with the word alcoholic, at least not as a label of who I am, but I knew I needed to quit drinking in order to preserve the other things I am. Still, I found it difficult to maintain the motivation to quit for more than a month-long “liver holiday” now and again.
One of the appealing things about SMART Recovery is that it doesn’t insist you have to hit “rock bottom” to know that your life could be better. Continue reading
Anatomy of an Urge
by Farmgirl68 (Connie)
While taking the facilitator training, I watched a video with Joe Gerstein where he showed the ABC relationship with a lapse and how it often involves a belief (B) or a consequence (C) turning into another activating event (A) thus creating a cascade of ABCs. This intrigued me, and putting it together with the way I had noticed my own urge experiences, I realized most of the time there is a basic pattern an urge takes on for me. Being a very visual thinker, I began to formulate on my computer screen a picture of how my urges occur. Continue reading
You have made some pretty big changes in the past few weeks. You’ve cut down or stopped drinking and using substances, you’ve tried to reach out to friends and family to build up a support network, and you’ve worked to align your daily life with your values and goals for yourself. Overall, it’s been a huge success, and you’re feeling great about yourself. That’s when a little voice in your head starts to speak, a little voice that says, “You know what, I have done a great job! Things are so different right now, I could totally go out and drink and not over-do it! I’ve got this all under control!” That little voice is yours; it’s your brain doing a little something called relapse justification, and it’s a normal part of any behavior change process.
When I first stopped drinking I knew that one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome was my own brain – specifically my hard-wired thinking around alcohol.
I knew that after twenty-plus years of drinking I was locked into a mindset that regular consumption of alcohol was a good thing. I deeply believed that alcohol was a vital ingredient in life. I had been introduced to that way of thinking by my society as a teenager and had reinforced those messages to myself through years and years of regular booze consumption.
Does having a cigarette make you feel more energized and focused? Does having a drink make you feel less depressed, less anxious or help wind down tension at the end of a long day? The reality is, people use substances because they have an effect that they appreciate. The problem for some, however, is that the effect of substances is inherently short term. Once the effect has passed, you may find that you want to feel those effects again because the underlying state of being is uncomfortable in some way.