Category Archives: Coping With Urges

Self-Empowered Approach to Addiction Recovery

Posted on August 5, 2014

Self-Empowered Approach to Addiction Recovery
Tom Horvath, President of SMART Recovery, on learning to gain control over urges

Self-Empowered Approach to Addiction Recovery




Tom Horvath, Ph.D., a California licensed and board certified clinical psychologist (ABPP), has been President of SMART Recovery® for well over a decade. He is the founder and president of Practical Recovery, a self-empowering addiction treatment system in San Diego. He is past president of the American Psychological Association’s Society on Addiction Psychology (Division 50), the world’s largest organization of addiction psychologists. He is the author of Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions (listed by the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies as a “Self-Help Book of Merit”). Continue reading

“Am I Going Crazy?!”

Posted on July 29, 2014

PAWS: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
by Bill Abbott & Suzy W., SMART Recovery Meeting Facilitators

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is something that perhaps unfortunately, we haven’t discussed much in SMART Recovery®. It is a not yet widely known problematic syndrome (syndrome is a medical term which describes a grouping of varying symptoms) of addiction recovery. The following scenario can illustrate it:

    You’ve been through detox and all of the withdrawal symptoms and you are doing pretty well for perhaps a month or two. Suddenly, you start to realize that you’re feeling edgy and antsy. You are experiencing mood swings that range from being on a pink cloud to feeling down in the dumps. You find that you can’t concentrate. You are having trouble sleeping, you’re sleeping too much, or you’re having very vivid dreams. “What’s going on?” you wonder. “Am I going crazy?!”

No, you’re not going crazy. You are suffering from what is known as PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). Unfortunately, as noted above, we don’t often hear much about it in the recovery community even though it is an extremely common experience.

We know that recovery progresses in stages. After the initial acute withdrawal, Continue reading

SMART Handbook for Kindle Just Released

Posted on July 22, 2014

Now you can get a Handbook — NOW!

SMART Handbook for Kindle

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
 

Kindle Free App

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

4 Easy Tips for an Awesome Summer in Recovery

Posted on July 15, 2014

Enjoy Summer Without Getting Off Track

Summer in RecoveryFor many people, summer is the best time of the year. Warm weather, days at the beach, vacations… What’s not to love? But when you’re in recovery, especially early recovery, the pool parties and vacations of summer can be major relapse triggers. Here are some tips for enjoying summer without getting off track.

1. Plan ahead—If you know that you will be attending a party, barbecue, or other event that may be triggering, have an exit plan in place. Drive your own car so that you won’t get stuck there longer than you want to, or bring a sober friend along for support. If you are going on vacation, Continue reading

Navigating The Road To Recovery

Posted on May 27, 2014

How can you prevent relapse?
Henry Steinberger, Ph.D.

Relapse prevention is essential in recovery from chemical and behavioral addictions. Why? Because addiction has been found to reoccur more often when steps are not taken to cope with the cravings, urges, peer pressures, situational cues, bodily discomforts, neuro-biological changes, and other factors which pave the way for slips and relapses.

Therefore, we regard relapse as a “normal” (though distinctly undesirable) possibility on the road to recovery. When you choose to view a relapse as a mistake, grist for the mill,  a learning opportunity and a discrete single event rather than viewing it as a total failure and as evidence predictive of failures, then your chances for success increase greatly.

“The person who really thinks, learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” – John Dewey

Top 10 relapse prevention strategies

1. Learn to willingly accept your mind – The first step to preventing relapse is to Continue reading

The Bio-Psycho-Social Model Of Addiction

Posted on May 20, 2014

The Compass Of Pleasure
by David J. Linden
Michael Werner, SMART Recovery® Volunteer Coordinator, Wilmington, NC


CompassDr. Linden is a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and has provided us with an authoritative science-based understanding of addictions: The Compass Of Pleasure.

In past years many models of the causes of addictions have been proffered, but it is only in the past few years that the neuroscience has had new tools to probe how the mind works in real time. We have greatly increased our knowledge of addictions from the study of the neurochemistry and neural pathways of the brain. The body of knowledge to support a bio-psycho-social model of addictions has been greatly supported by the new evidence.

Evolution has given us reward circuits to help us to survive and reproduce. Addictions subvert this normally helpful process and grow stronger over time, as the reward circuits in the brain are high-jacked.  The Compass Of Pleasure explains this new complex understanding clearly, but without dumbing it down.

I highly recommend this book, in fact it is something I think is a “must read” for everyone in SMART interested in a scientific approach to addictions. It is the best book on the biology of addictions I have seen, with a balance of scientific thoroughness presented in a style that makes it accessible by anyone. It is clear, funny, evocative, intellectually stimulating, Continue reading