Labels Get in the Way of Making Values-based Choices ~Sara Suman, LMSW, SMART Recovery Volunteer
“But I’m not an alcoholic!” I cannot count the number of times have I heard this statement. I’ve said it to myself numerous times over the years. I’ve heard it from newbies at SMART Recovery meetings, and I hear it in the groups and individual sessions at the treatment center where I work. I witness people with substantial substance abuse problems wrestle with these words/labels to the point of not being able to start on the journey of recovery. SMART helped me realize that these labels are not necessary. The way I relate now to these loaded words is a reflection of my own process of coming to terms with what it means for me, “to have a problem with drugs and alcohol.”
Without getting hung up on labels, SMART helped me cut to the chase by identifying the most important things in my life through the Hierarchy of Values (HOV) tool*.
This is mine:
1) Family & Friends 2) Health/Mental Health 3) Career 4) Financial Stability 5) Spirituality
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, Continue reading →
Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge, M.D. Patrick Garnett, SMART Recovery® Volunteer Facilitator & Regional Coordinator (IL)
If you are new to recovery you have probably wondered, is it really possible to change? In “The Brain That Changes Itself,” we learn the answer is a resounding yes. Dr. Doidge, a Canadian psychiatrist and award-winning science writer, recounts the accomplishments of neuroscientists involved in neuroplasticity by sharing with us eleven examples demonstrating how the human brain is extremely malleable, well into old age.
Doidge highlights how our brain is a system of processors that process data from our senses and how these processing centers change and adapt based upon the data that enters. We learn how certain brain exercises can offer radical improvement in cognitive functioning in how we learn, think, perceive and remember, and that these improvements are even possible in the elderly.
Changing our behaviors, unlearning a response and learning a new behavior is very possible, Continue reading →
Hank Robb, Ph.D. speaks on Our Psychological Landscape. “As humans we have the opportunity to live our lives as best we can, to choose the directions we go, to be where we are, to do what’s important.”
When traveling, it is nice to have a map of the territory. No matter where you are, it can be useful to know where that place is compared to other possible places to be. Your Psychological Landscape provides a map of any human being’s “psychological territory” so that viewers can have a better sense of where they are when traveling that territory and also a better sense of where they might choose to go.
Dr. Hank Robb, Ph.D., ABPP One of the founding Board Members of SMART Recovery, Hank has continued his involvement with the SMART Recovery organization as a Volunteer Advisor and his regular article contributions to the SMART Recovery News & Views newsletter.