What’s your plan?
December is here and opportunities for urges and cravings seem to be everywhere. SMART volunteers have put their heads together to offer some suggestions to help you navigate this month’s challenges.
People who achieve long-term sobriety have three characteristics in common:
They make a firm commitment to abstinence.
They make lifestyle changes to enhance that commitment.
They plan and practice for urges and drinking situations.
Plan, Plan, Plan
The Change Plan Worksheet is an excellent tool to use when preparing for any holiday events that you will be attending over the next few weeks.
Motivation and Commitment
Updating and reviewing your personal Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) and your personal Hierarchy of Values (HOV) prior to an event can serve to remind you of why this plan is important and what you’re trying to accomplish.
The holidays are prime-time for urges. This is a good time Continue reading
Coping Skills Help Make Behavior Change Last
~Carrie Wilkens, Ph.D., Center for Motivation and Change
Making a change in your life is a pretty big deal. If you’ve moved into the action stage of change, we’d first like to first offer you a huge congratulations! This is a bold move, and one that deserves a lot of praise! Next we’d like to offer you some helpful tips to help make this change a little bit easier, and hopefully a lot more permanent!
Learn a few coping skills
You may have heard this term, coping skills, before and you may not really know what it means. Coping skills are things that you can do to help tolerate a difficult time by using constructive and positive strategies. More specifically, coping skills are what you need to tolerate the difficult moments that come along with making a significant change in your life (like giving up an unhealthy habit, learning a healthy behavior, not giving into impulses, etc.).
When we talk about coping skills, we can break them up into two categories, Continue reading
Tom Horvath and Stanton Peele
If you spend some time with Stanton Peele, it won’t take long to realize that he asks a lot of questions! For this event, we are turning the tables, and Dr. Horvath will be the one with the questions.
There are several areas in which SMART’s focus and opinions and those of Dr. Peele differ. For instance, according to W.R. Miller “The best predictors of relapse for people treated for alcohol problems are lack of coping skills and belief in the disease theory of alcoholism.” Tom focuses on the former, Stanton on the latter. Listen to these two colleagues and friends discuss this difference in their focus — and watch the fur fly!
This is an unparalleled opportunity to hear a truly broad-based discussion on addiction between two unsurpassed experts in the context of the latest in research and treatment. We have no doubt that this will be a lively and intriguing discussion, and there will be plenty of time for questions from the audience as well. This is a don’t miss! Continue reading
What is Mindfulness?
-Don Sheeley, MD, SMART Recovery Facilitator
I use the term “Mindfulness” to mean Active Self-Awareness.
We can be aware of our internal thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, and we can be aware of the interaction of ourselves with the external world (sight, sound, touch, taste, feel). We can be aware that we take in sights and sounds, etc. from the external world and process them and apply our internal thoughts and beliefs to them. Then we can become aware that there is someone who is aware of all that, and that guy is Me, the same me who was 12 years old, then 29, and now 62. (Yikes!) That’s it.
So we’re not really “aware of others.” We are aware that we hear what another says and then we are aware of what we think about that and how we feel about that, and maybe we are aware of how we process that.
Similarly, mindfulness is not necessarily placid, comfortable, or relaxed. Continue reading
Enjoy Summer Without Getting Off Track
For 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
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