Category Archives: Coping With Urges

Skills to deal with Anxiety, Distress and Cravings

Posted on February 1, 2016

– Reposted from the Center for Motivation & Change blog

Changing your relationship with substances or any compulsive behavior pattern takes time and practice.

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When you first start to reduce or abstain from the behavior you are trying the change, you will likely have lots of “craving” to return to it. These moments of craving will happen when you are triggered by external (places, people, situations) and internal (certain mood or feeling states) cues that are associated with the behavior you are trying to change.

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Having Trouble “Staying Stopped”?

Posted on January 18, 2016

Refuting Your Excuses
by Michael Edelstein, Ph.D.

“It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times.” ~Mark Twain

Excuses Stopping? Easy. “Staying stopped?” Not so much.

Have you ever had thoughts like these?:

“I can start tomorrow”, “I really need a drink”, “I’m too tired”, “I’ll just have one”, “This is how I have fun with my friends, it’s not hurting anybody,” “It’s too hard to quit.”

“Excuses” are statements we sometimes make to ourselves that make our addictive behavior seem reasonable.

In other words, we use excuses to justify behavior that we know is harmful. These excuses are destructive. They block, interfere, or sabotage our goals of addiction recovery and more. We may be so practiced in thinking these excuses that they have become automatic. We may not even be aware that we’re making these excuses unless we pay close attention to our thoughts.

“Refutations” are statements that disprove or weaken an “excuse.”

“Refuting Your Excuses” is an exercise for learning to pay attention to our habitual excuses and to evaluate them logically. Is the excuse true? Does it make good sense? Is it helpful?

How to Refute an Excuse:

1. For a recurring or current excuse you use, Continue reading

Hidden Power of a Recovery Community

Posted on January 13, 2016

Lessons from Geese
-Bill Abbott, SMART Recovery® Facilitator

Lessons from GeeseSMART Recovery is a wonderful program that emphasizes self-management and self-empowerment. For this it offers tools based on sound and often evidence-based science—mostly clinical psychology but some neuroscience as well.

With all the emphasis on “self”—almost a do-it-yourself program—we often lose sight of another powerful feature of SMART—the mutual support groups in which all this is developed and promoted.

We like company, lots of the time—especially with like-minded people, hence the shelter and safety and power of a mutual support group complex. Like-minded people all in a room together discussing a common issue. A place were the afflicted can relax, become honest and open with their issues, without worry of judgment. This is present in both 12-steps groups and in SMART Recovery groups.

In my opinion SMART groups have the added feature of interactive discussion, promoting the feelings of like-mindedness and that “we are all in this together”. We are all united in spirit and intent to find relief for ourselves, and in so doing share that with others. All this falls under the concept of Compassion.

Many state that they go to 12-step meetings for “spirituality“ and attend SMART meetings for the tools and solutions. The implication is that there is no spirituality at SMART. Continue reading

More holiday coping skills

Posted on December 21, 2015

a cute bulldog decorated with reindeer asleep after Christmas dinnerThis is the second in a two-part series on coping skills for the holidays, reprinted from our friends at the Center for Motivation and Change.

Last time, we discussed External Coping Skills, or coping skills that are active by nature. These skills are active by nature, and are very helpful when you have time and space to go do them. However, sometimes you don’t have the ability to go for a run (imagine everyone sitting down for dinner and one person standing up and saying “Mm, dinner looks great, I’m going to go for a short run right now, don’t mind me!” Probably wouldn’t go over too well!). For times like these, we want coping skills that can be done unobtrusively.

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Coping skills for the holidays

Posted on December 15, 2015

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Holidays are a time for family, for celebration, and for increased stress and anxiety!  The increase in family togetherness can bring a lot of joy, and it can also be a very difficult time, especially if you have been struggling with issues and have been identified as the “patient” in the family.  All of the extra pairs of eyes, the questions of how you’re doing, and the increase in support, while well-intentioned, can actually increase stress and anxiety in the moment.

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Celebrating the Holidays with Recovering Family Members and Friends

Posted on November 17, 2015

Peter Gaumond, Chief, ONDCP Recovery Branch

Holidays in RecoveryThis time each year can be stressful for anyone, but the holidays present a special challenge for people recovering from a substance use disorder. Those in long-term recovery typically are adept at navigating the minefield of temptation at holiday social gatherings. But many of those in their first year of recovery, their friends, and family members wonder how best to celebrate the holidays safely, comfortably, and joyously.

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