Tag Archives: cognitive behavior therapy

To Tame An Urge

Posted on November 3, 2015

Magnifying glass on the word Redefine and related terms such as revise, redo, revisit, review, reposition, rethink, reconsider, reinvent, remodel and reevaluate

We all have triggers. It might be a situation or an emotion; a sight, sound or smell; a holiday or a time of day. Something that our brain learned over time to associate with our addictive behavior, and that it needs to unlearn as we start to break that connection. For me, it was cocktail receptions. They weren’t the only situation I associated with drinking – far from it – but they were one of the toughest. At the end of a long day at a conference, having watched what felt like 11,000 nearly-identical presentations in a row (and gulping down way too much coffee in order to stay alert) those clinking glasses and twinkling lights exerted a powerful pull. And the few times I ‘slipped’ after I quit (fortunately, one-drink slips) were at cocktail receptions. After the second time it happened, I knew I had to confront the situation…by avoiding it. Continue reading

Addiction Recovery Analogy

Posted on October 12, 2015

(Originally Posted on January 20, 2015)

The Horse and Buggy of SMART Recovery
by Rev Dr Kim Miller, SMART Recovery Facilitator, Australia

First, a story: Back in the days of the 1930s depression, which saw many people traveling the countryside looking for work, there was a man walking along a back road from one town to the next. He was carrying his stuff in an old bag over one shoulder and was obviously weighed down by it all. A local farmer in a horse and buggy pulled up beside him.

“Like a lift, buddy? Hop up here.”

So the man got up and sat on the seat next to the farmer, his bag of belongings still over one shoulder. After a while the farmer looked over and said to him, “Why don’t you put your stuff down behind the seat? It looks heavy.”

“Oh, no, I couldn’t do that,” said the man. “You’ve been good enough already, giving me a lift and all. I can’t expect you to carry my stuff as well.”

It’s the story of SMART Recovery.

Getting help comes in all shapes and sizes, and happens at different levels. Walking into a SMART Recovery meeting is where we get up on the seat next to the driver. Getting the load off our shoulder is a different level altogether.

It’s possible to sit in a SMART Recovery meeting and say nothing. We have that right and nobody is forced to speak. Most people start slowly because building trust can take time, but long term silence is a different matter.

It’s also possible to speak without saying anything of our own situation. We might find it easier to give advice to another attendee, or speak in generalities or quote other people or use catch-phrases and proverbs that seem to hold a bit of wisdom. There are many ways to talk without saying anything that will promote our recovery.

The important part of SMART Recovery to catch is that at one level we are dealing with our thoughts, feelings and behaviours as an individual – and this is where personal change always happens. At another level, we know that the way into those thoughts, feelings and behaviours is through the guided group conversation of an active SMART Recovery meeting.

When we get up in that farmer’s buggy we can still be carrying our stuff over our shoulder and be reluctant to put it down. Be assured that a SMART Recovery meeting can take the extra weight when we let go our hold of all that stuff.

The irony is that when somebody sits in a SMART Recovery meeting and says little or nothing of their own situation, the other attendees pick up on it. They might not say anything but they notice. And in noticing, they are carrying some part of the weight anyway. Just as when the man sat in the buggy with his stuff over his shoulder, the driver noticed it and the horse up front still felt the weight.

When you walk into a SMART Recovery meeting, give a little thought to the man carrying the bundle of stuff over his shoulder. The story might be enough to encourage you to be a little more open, a little more trusting, and perhaps get you a little further along your road of addiction recovery.

Kim Miller is a departmental prison chaplain in NSW, Australia. He is the department’s only community chaplain, working in a post-release project called Home For Good. The team includes drug and alcohol counselors and Kim joins them in facilitating SMART Recovery meetings. His PhD work involves the psychology of personal growth and transformation and how we become more fully ourselves. Kim enjoys writing and has published several books.

Why “Practice Makes Perfect”

Posted on September 22, 2015

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!

Continue reading

Point 3: Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors

Posted on August 10, 2015

By Elspeth

I recI Am a Work in Progress ently heard an interview with a man who’d quit drinking four years earlier after decades of heavy drinking. “So basically I’m now an emotional 17-year-old, since I started drinking when I was 13.” This feeling of emotional immaturity rings true for many people who have given up addictions. When I quit drinking, I didn’t feel like an adolescent—I’d been successful in many areas of my life even while knocking back too much wine—but neither did I feel quite like a grown-up no matter what my birth certificate or my mirror claimed. Continue reading

On Anxiety

Posted on August 3, 2015

Dr. Bill Knaus: On Anxiety

Saturday, August 15, 5:00PM EDT

Presented by Dr. Bill Knaus

Dr. William J. Knaus, Ed.D. will be joining us on August 15, 2015 at 5:00 PM EDT for a new SMART Special Event Webinar: On Anxiety.

Dr. Knaus is the foremost authority in the field of overcoming procrastination, but he is also renowned for his work in practical application of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety and has written extensively on the subject, most recently in his newest revision of: The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-By-Step Program (2014).

Many of those recovering from substance abuse or other addictive disorders experience anxiety and panic. These “are intense emotions, and in the moments that you experience them it may seem like you are powerless, but nothing could be further from the truth.” Dr. Knaus will discuss practical ways to lessen anxiety and continue to build a strong, satisfying life. To paraphrase Joel Block, Ph.D., If getting a better handle on emotions, giving up perfectionism, and defeating social anxiety are your goals, you will hear Bill speaking directly to you. Dr. Knaus will also share a few insights on how to use procrastination technology to reduce anxiety and substance abuse simultaneously.
Continue reading

1500 Smart Recovery Meetings

Posted on June 30, 2015

1,500th SMART Recovery Meeting Opens as Fast Growth Rate Continues

 The number of SMART Recovery meetings has reached the 1,500 milestone – less than three years after crossing the 1,000 mark – as more people embrace the program’s emphasis on becoming empowered to overcome addictions using science-based tools and peer support.


The 1,500th, a Friday evening weekly meeting, has opened at the Portland Recovery Community Center (PRCC) in Portland, Maine. Niki Curtis, the SMART trained facilitator for the meeting, explains:

“When I first arrived, we didn’t have many non-12 step meetings, so our Program Manager asked if I would be interested in SMART Recovery training. I am so glad that I said yes because since that training two years ago, I have utilized the program’s tools in my own life and shared them with others in meetings. For instance, I found that doing SMART’s Cost/Benefit Analysis helps me with decision-making. The ABC tool helps me deal with my anger around loud neighbors, and I am using SMART’s Urge Log tool to quit smoking.  I have been working at the Center for two years. I love that we offer all types of meetings and that, like SMART, we respect all types of recovery. Continue reading