Support for Family & Friends

Posted on March 10, 2015

Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening
Reviewed by Henry Steinberger, Ph.D.

Get Your Loved One SoberTo help people seeking sobriety for their loved ones, Get Your Loved One Sober offers a revolutionary program: The Community Reinforcement And Family Training (CRAFT) intervention. The subtitle, “Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening” more aptly describes what this book is about. Getting a loved one into treatment is not the first goal. Arranging for one’s own safety and finding a happier life independent of the drinker’s situation, takes priority. Getting a loved one to moderate, choose sobriety, or go into treatment, are offered as roads to a better relationship.

Still, CRAFT can boast phenomenal success getting people into treatment. An alternative to Al-Anon’s 12-Step tradition and “detachment” recommendations and the Johnson Institute’s confrontational interventions, the CRAFT program is based on non-confrontational behavioral principles like reinforcement. It gives the reader tools and instructions for changing their interactions with their loved ones, which in turn changes the loved one’s behavior. In repeated clinical trials, CRAFT proved twice as likely as the Johnson Intervention and six times as likely as Al-Anon to get loved ones into treatment.

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Stopping a Slip From Becoming a Relapse

Posted on March 3, 2015

Is Relapse Inevitable in Addiction Recovery?
Julie Myers, Psy.D.


Slip Or RelapseFor many with serious substance abuse problems, any drug or alcohol use can be problematic. These people must abstain. If they drink or drug again, they can slip into full-blown relapse, even after months or years of abstinence. For some, even a brief lapse may generate so much self-doubt, guilt, and a belief about personal failure, that the person gives up and continues to use. This tendency is referred to as the abstinence violation effect.

So does this mean that even a brief lapse must lead to a full-blown relapse? Does it mean a person must continue to drink or drug until the use returns to the initial level? Is spiraling out of control inevitable? Simply put, no. A lapse need not become a relapse. After a slip, you have not unlearned all that you have learned. You have not unchanged all that you have changed in your life to support your recovery. You do not have to start counting again from day one. Continue reading

The Wisdom to Know the Difference

Posted on February 24, 2015

An Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Workbook for Overcoming Substance Abuse
~Kelly Wilson, PhD, and Troy DuFrene
Reviewed by Don Sheeley, SMART Recovery® Facilitator

Saratoga Springs, New York

Purchase Learning about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) this summer, and using this workbook in particular, helped me deepen my recovery and broaden the foundation of safety and health that I am looking for in sobriety. In The Wisdom to Know the Difference: An Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Workbook for Overcoming Substance Abuse, Kelly Wilson opens himself up to the reader using his own experiences as engaging illustrations of the pain of addiction, but also as opportunities for personal growth.

After the first chapter, which helps the reader consider whether abstinence will be their goal, Wilson uses the next six chapters to explore ACT, emphasizing the dynamic behavior called for by this model. The chapter goals are, in my words: being able to choose to be still in the present moment rather than reacting to life in our patterns and automatic behaviors; learning to be more psychologically flexible, rather than rigid, predetermined, or stuck; beginning to identify the permanent “You,” able to accept the emotions that create richness in life. The authors remind us why it’s important to learn to not take our “self-stories” too seriously. Self-stories include our self-talk, self-image, and our internal beliefs. The book prompts us to be the authors of our lives rather than passive readers, and to travel our values highway, getting back on without hesitation if we veer off. Continue reading

Overcoming Addictions – Recovery Web App

Posted on February 17, 2015

Scientifically Supported Recovery Option

Overcoming AddictionsLooking for a personalized, structured plan of attack for making positive changes in support of your addiction recovery?

Overcoming Addictions (OA) is a new alternative in the spectrum of recovery options. It is a confidential and interactive web app that can help you achieve and maintain abstinence from addictions.

OA is an abstinence-oriented, cognitive behavioral, internet application based on the program of SMART Recovery. SMART Recovery is an organization that has adapted empirically supported treatment strategies for use in a mutual help framework with in-person meetings, online meetings, a forum, and other resources. Continue reading

Help for Low Frustration Tolerance

Posted on February 10, 2015

Conquering Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT)
G. L., SMART Recovery Volunteer

“You can’t always get what you want.” – The Rolling Stones

Stress-Busting
Frus•tra•tion:  The feeling one has when reality does not immediately conform to one’s desires. Frustration is a normal part of the human experience. It’s unavoidable. And in fact it can be quite useful if the feeling of frustration leads to self-improvement or motivates you to better your situation. Sometimes, however, you can get in your own way by having low frustration tolerance (LFT).

LFT is a widespread phenomenon among human beings. It can be defined as “the demand that you get what you want quickly and without hassle.” Wishing or hoping for one’s desires to sometimes be fulfilled quickly and easily is healthy. Demanding that they must be is not, as the world will not often grant you your wish.

LFT can manifest itself as a cascade of two activating events according to the ABC model:

 

How do you go from low to high frustration tolerance (HFT)?

By working backwards; start with the awfulizing over being overly-frustrated before working on the demands that lead to over-frustration in the first place.

There are 3 approaches for dealing with LFT:

Cognitive:

1. Dispute (D) the irrational beliefs that you hold concerning your demands and awfulizing to come to effective new philosophies (E). Remember to start at B2 first, which is the awfulizing

2. Reframing: Part of what makes LFT tough is that you focus on the negatives of not getting what you want while ignoring the positives of working to overcome LFT. Make a list of the positives you’ll get out of life if you develop high frustration tolerance (HFT). For example, you’ll have a better chance of getting what you want, although not at the pace you want. Make a list and carry it on a notecard. Whenever you feel frustrated, remind yourself of the goods of overcoming LFT as opposed to giving in to it

3. Distracting techniques: if you find yourself stewing in frustrated thought, try distracting yourself by surfing the web or watching television to cool yourself down. This is especially helpful in the early stages of conquering LFT

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3 Reasons ‘Practice Makes Perfect’

Posted on February 3, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect
Josh King, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change
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“Transforming a habit isn’t necessarily easy or quick. It isn’t always simple but it IS possible.” ~Charles Duhigg

PracticeOften, the process of making lasting change requires trying new and unfamiliar things. Maybe it’s walking to work a different way so you can avoid a tempting or triggering location. Maybe it’s practicing new coping skills in the face of an old problem. Maybe it’s reaching out to other people when you normally would go it alone.

Deliberately practicing new behavior has three effects: 1) you get better at doing it, which increases the odds that you will be successful at it when it matters, 2) you start to replace the old habits with new ones, and 3) you develop the habit of replacing old habits!

First, remember that when you are trying out something new, it is best to practice that skill when the stakes aren’t too high. You wouldn’t want to shoot your first ever free-throw in the NBA finals! Instead, practice a new skill when the pressure is low, so you can get used to it and fine-tune it in relative comfort. Then, you’ll know just what to do when you really need it later.

The second effect, replacing old habits, is a big one. Recent research has shown Continue reading