March 12th, 2013
March 16, 2013, 3pm ET
A discussion with Dr. Tom Horvath, President of SMART Recovery
Embracing reality broadens and enriches our perspective and thus our options in life, freeing us to see clearly and make sound choices. And yet we continue to reject reality: “This is intolerable!” “I can’t stand this!” “It’s just not fair!” “They shouldn’t do this to me!”
What is “unconditional acceptance” of self, others, and life? How can I “accept” unpleasant people and situations that I strongly dislike? Why should I, and is that even possible? What is the role of “unconditional acceptance” in addiction recovery?
Unconditional Acceptance of Self (USA), others, and life, is a core principle taught by SMART Recovery and is based on Dr. Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). Read more »
March 5th, 2013
Can You Still Be Happy?
by Mary Russell, M.S.
Bad things happen – there’s no way around it. Jobs are lost, relationships end, hearts are broken, people fall ill. Traditionally, REBT would encourage us to examine how we’re thinking about these situations. When we label things [in not so many words] as catastrophic we inevitably experience intensely debilitating emotions. Anger, depression, guilt, or anxiety can render us helpless when we tell ourselves that something is so awful we can’t possibly go on. If we can catch ourselves “catastrophizing” it can be helpful to examine the situation and decide if it is truly awful or if it’s more accurately unfortunate, sad, irritating, but merely part of life which is not always fair. While it certainly wouldn’t be realistic nor accurate to label our hardships as “no big deal,” a more accurate description of an adversity would certainly empower us to problem solve and cope in spite of difficult challenges.
But what about events that truly are (at the risk of committing REBT blasphemy)… HORRIBLE? To name a few, wars are fought, people die, natural disasters happen, and innocent people are abused. Sometimes it’s simply not appropriate or helpful to tell someone else or yourself that things “could be worse,” even if this is technically true.
It can be helpful to acknowledge the simple truth that “horrible” things happen and are unfortunately part of life. Read more »
February 19th, 2013
February 22, 2013, 7pm EST
Anne Fletcher is a trusted New York Times bestselling health and medical writer who is known for her skill at weaving together personal experiences with thoroughly researched, cutting edge information about health issues. Anne has appeared on NPR, CNN, and many commercial television “talk news” shows. Her bestselling book Sober for Good is a favorite among SMART Recovery members.
Register today to attend the webinar on February 22 at 7pm est. Please register early, seating is limited. Anne will be discussing her findings regarding the options available for addiction recovery in the United States, as reported in her newly published book, INSIDE REHAB:The Surprising Truth About Addiction Treatment—and How to Get Help That Works.
About “Inside Rehab”
What happens inside drug and alcohol rehab centers and how rehab works has been a mystery to those outside the industry – and sometimes even to those inside it. Anne’s book INSIDE REHAB: The Surprising Truth About Addiction Treatment—and How to Get Help That Works is the first book to give readers a thoughtful and sensitive, yet no-holds-barred, insider’s view of drug and alcohol rehab. Read more »
February 12th, 2013
Practical information about addiction treatment and recovery
~ Anne M. Fletcher, M.S., R.D.
“Consumers have a right to know what goes on in our addiction treatment system.”
For a long time, I’ve been fascinated with how people who have substance abuse problems achieve sobriety. Having written a series of books about people who lost weight and kept it off (the Thin for Life books), I realized that obesity and addiction have common attributes. They both deal with compulsive behavior – and to get to a healthier place, the affected person needs to give up or cut back on substances that are extremely difficult to sacrifice. Both problems stem from physiological, genetic, and environmental causes.
About 12 years ago, as I was writing Sober for Good: New Solutions for Drinking Problems – Advice From Those Who Have Succeeded (Houghton/Harcourt, 2001) – my book about success strategies of people who’d achieved long-term sobriety – I approached Dr. A. Thomas McLellan, CEO of the renowned Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia for information about addiction treatment programs.
Around that time, Dr. McLellan was working on a study of representative addiction treatment programs across the U.S., suggesting that there were serious problems in our system. For instance, he found that most were staffed by under qualified administrators, and many were exceedingly short on medical personnel and mental health professionals.
February 5th, 2013
I Want It, and I Want It Now!
by Alina Boie, M.S.
We live in a world full of instant self-gratification and we have little patience to wait or delay access to our “treats”. Almost everything nowadays is at a click of a button – literally! It is so difficult to say no to those appealing coupons and “must-have-it” deals. Everything around us attempts to help us get what we want faster – instantly, if possible. We want faster cars, faster computers, readily available food, easy access to the movie we want to see, appliances that work without problems, etc. While this may appear as a very appealing benefit of the modern society, it also undermines our ability to manage our frustration, when we do NOT get what we want immediately.
If you ever had trouble finishing something, postponing a project that was already overdue, then you might suffer from what Albert Ellis jokingly called “can’t-stand-it-itis”. We all have it! Every time we avoid short-term frustrations such as cleaning a closet, writing a paper, etc., we are actually feeding our frustration intolerance. This may lead to Read more »
January 29th, 2013
You Can Learn to Resist Urges
“Self-control is what you build up, develop, create and learn by controlling your behavior repeatedly. ~Hank Robb
Self-control is a skill. It’s not something you’re born with, it is something that requires work and practice. Have you ever said to yourself “I just don’t seem to have any self-control over my drinking, drugging, eating, etc.”? Ask yourself this question: “Am I well practiced at resisting urges and opportunities to drink, or to drug, or to eat in a disordered way?” Chances are your answer will be “No”. In fact, you may be very well practiced at giving in to those urges and opportunities to use. You might even be considered to be skilled at doing so.
How do we acquire any skill? Think back to when you first learned to ride a bicycle. Did riding the bicycle feel like a normal behavior to you? Did you start out as an expert? Or did you spend hours and hours learning to ride without falling? And what was the result of those hours and hours of practice? Over time, you grew comfortable and confident in your new skill.
Results begin at the end of your comfort zone.
Getting control over your urges and opportunities to use is like Read more »
January 22nd, 2013
The Importance of Unconditional Acceptance of Self, Others and Life
by Eric Sudler, M.S.
Independent of what therapeutic orientation you may follow, you will usually find acceptance or some form of acceptance at the center. Acceptance is a major part of life.
Obviously, acceptance is not always an easy pill to swallow. In fact, some may observe that it acts counter to our instinctual behaviors. As humans, we generally strive for control and autonomy. Autonomy entails having a satisfactory degree of control in regards to one’s environment, life, and choices. It’s having perceived control over the decisions that ultimately lead you to reaching, maintaining, and upholding your values and sense of self.
Unfortunately, in a cruel twist of irony, we occupy an existence rife with moments of grief, helplessness, loss, and discomfort. It feels as though we are unable to obtain the very thing we are programmed to seek. How is it possible to live comfortably in a world that seems to go against our natural instincts? Read more »
January 15th, 2013
What Is the Best Alcohol Treatment?
~A. Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP
There are three myths about alcohol treatment, according to some of the foremost researchers in the area, led by psychologist William R. Miller (Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches: Effective Alternatives, 3rd edition, edited by Hester & Miller, published in 2003 by Allyn & Bacon). The first myth, and possibly the worst, is that there is one and only one effective approach to addiction recovery. If you are seeking treatment and a facility tells you a version of this myth, it would be better to look elsewhere for help. Alcohol treatment research, and addiction treatment research generally, shows there is no single approach that is best for all individuals.
Many paths to addiction recovery
The first principle of the 12 Guiding Principles adopted by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment’s National Summit on Recovery is: There are many pathways to recovery. Their list was generated by leaders in treatment and recovery, and included recovering individuals, treatment providers, researchers, faith-based providers and state and federal officials. A similar document of 10 principles, Read more »
January 8th, 2013
A Roadmap to Resilience and Recovery
~Julie Myers, Psy.D., MSCP
Recovery from substance abuse is a process unique to each individual. Despite those who believe otherwise, there is no single “right” path to recovery. Instead, each person has a unique set of challenges and must address those challenges uniquely. This is not to say that there are not techniques, tools, or methods that have been shown to be helpful in substance abuse treatment, but rather that because no one person’s history is exactly the same as another’s, no recovery will be exactly the same. Each individual must find their own path.
However, finding that unique path can be overwhelming, particularly because of the amount of information available from differing sources and viewpoints. This can leave an individual confused and sometimes fearful about which path is best for them. Sometimes, friends or family members, therapists, or self-help groups can help guide the individual. But sometimes, what really is needed is simply a roadmap, outlining the options available to an individual in different domains. Donald Meichenbaum has written such a roadmap.
Resiliency — “the capacity to adapt successfully in the presence of risk and adversity” — is at the core of addiction recovery.
Although not intended solely for those in recovery, Meichenbaum’s book, Roadmap to Resilience* remarkably addresses many of the key aspects that form the foundation of most recovery programs, addiction or otherwise. Read more »