Tag Archives: Julie Myers

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

A Concrete Action Tool for Addiction Recovery

Posted on June 25, 2013

SMART Recovery Activities Scale (SRAS) – Part II
Julie Myers, Psy.D. and Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D.

SRAS ChecklistIn our previous blog post and in our recent podcast , we highlighted some of the important functions that the SRAS checklist can serve and ways that it can be used in the recovery process. In this post, we would like to share some of the feedback that we’ve received from participants, facilitators, and professionals who have used the SRAS. We’ve summarized some of this feedback below:

The SRAS can help guide people in the right direction:

    • The SRAS can serve as “a guide rope – to make sure one is heading in the right direction.”

    • At first, I wasn’t “sure how ‘rating’ my progress like this could help – but I also thought that when I first looked into the SMART tool box.”

The SRAS can help people make plans:

    “Number 7 (recognize and try to reduce my self-destructive behaviors) is an ongoing project for me.”

    • I will “dive back into the tool box and look for something and take a walk and think about it.”

    • The SRAS helped me to “come up with a few action items.” Continue reading

10 Ways to Strengthen Addiction Recovery

Posted on May 28, 2013

The SMART Recovery Activities Scale (SRAS) – Part I
Julie Myers, Psy.D. and Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D.

SRAS ChecklistIn our recent podcast, we discussed the development of the SMART Recovery Activities Scale (SRAS) checklist and some of the ways Dr. Meichenbaum views checklists as part of the recovery process. The ideas presented in that podcast were valuable not only to the SMART Recovery community, but to the larger community of professionals working in the field of addiction recovery.

For those of you not familiar with the SRAS, it is a checklist that can be used by those in recovery to assess where they are in their own recovery process. It is also a tool useful for professionals, who may have clients attending SMART Recovery meetings as part of their treatment plan.

The benefits of using a checklist, such as the SRAS, are many. Below we share with you some of the ways that checklists can be used and some of the important functions that they serve.

Checklists can

1. Facilitate the treatment engagement process and help individuals to collaboratively establish specific, doable, time-limited treatment goals that bolster hope.

2. Encourage a strengths-based treatment approach that highlights a practical “toolbox” of coping skills that can be revisited on demand and that can act as a reminder-list to manage cravings and behaviors. Continue reading

Webinar: Tracking Your Progress

Posted on April 30, 2013

“Checklists for Recovery” with CBT Founder
Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D. and Julie Myers, Psy.D.

Friday, May 10, 2013
5:00 pm EDT

Checklist for Addiction Recovery The SMART Recovery approach to addiction recovery is based on SELF-Management. Effective management includes measuring progress. What better way to assess your personal progress with the SMART tools than to use the newest addition to the SMART Recovery toolbox, the Activities Self-Assessment Checklist.

SMART Recovery will host a webinar featuring Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D. and Julie Myers, Psy.D. on May 10, 2013 at 5 pm EDT.  They will be discussing how checklists, such as the SMART Recovery Activities Self-Assessment (SRAS), can be used by participants, facilitators, and professionals to help guide and assess the recovery process. Dr. Meichenbaum, one of the founders of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), will be sharing with the audience his extensive knowledge and experience with such checklists in both self-help and therapy settings. 

The Activities Self-Assessment Checklist, designed by Dr. Myers and Dr. Meichenbaum, specifically for use by members of SMART Recovery, is a practical and effective tool for navigating through the addiction recovery change process.  Two versions of the recently updated checklist (one for participants and one for professionals) are available on the SMART Recovery website .
Register today for this SMART Webinar.

The webinar will be recorded and may be made available on SMART Recovery’s podcast site. . 

SMART Recovery is pleased to offer free webinars on topics of interest as a public service. Please share with your friends, family and colleagues. 

 Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D.Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D. is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo, Ontario Canada from which he took early retirement 17 years ago to become the Research Director of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention, Miami: www.melissaInstitute.org. He is one of the founders of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. In a survey of clinicians, Dr Meichenbaum was voted ” one of the 10 most influential psychotherapists of the 20th century.” Dr.Meichenbaum recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Clinical Division of the American Psychological Association. He has presented in all 50 U.S. States and internationally. He has published extensively. His most recent book is Roadmap to Resilience www.roadmaptoresilience.org.

Julie Myers, Psy.D., MSCPJulie Myers, Psy.D., MSCP is a clinical Psychologist in San Diego, specializes in teaching self-regulatory strategies for coping with addictive behaviors, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. She is a Master Addiction Counselor, holds a Postdoctoral Masters Degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology, and serves on the California Psychological Association, Psychopharmacology Division Board. Dr. Myers has been a long-time contributor to SMART Recovery and is the co-author with Dr. Meichenbaum of the SMART Recovery Activities Scale (SRAS). You can find her blog and other helpful resources on her website: www.DrJulieMyers.com.  
Continue reading

A Recovery Roadmap

Posted on January 8, 2013

A Roadmap to Resilience and Recovery
~Julie Myers, Psy.D., MSCP

Road to Resilience
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. Continue reading

Can You Think Your Way Out of a Drink?

Posted on November 6, 2012

How “decision fatigue” can affect your recovery

Julie Myers, Psy.D., MSCP

Slip Or RelapseRecent research on the topic of willpower shows that we, as human beings, have limited decision making capacity. That is, in any given day, we may simply run-out of the mental energy that is required to make decisions. Researcher Roy Baumeister, PhD calls this depletion of mental energy “decision fatigue.”

Every day, we make hundreds of decisions, from large to small. Even something as simple as eating breakfast may entail many decisions, such as what, where, and how much to eat. We need to make decisions about our personal selves, our work, our relationships, how we move about and relate in the world, and how to resist a temptation. The more decisions we must make, the more mental energy we use up. Making decisions, particularly making good decisions, becomes harder over the course of a day as our mental energy wanes.

So why is this important for recovery from substance abuse? Because the choice to not use is a decision. Much of drinking/using is automatic, that is, we use simply because it is our habit to do so. We step into the house after a long day, we have a drink or we get together with friends, we smoke a joint. It may cross our minds not to use, but to not use requires a decision. To say no, we must think about the consequences. When our mental energy is low, we tend to act impulsively or do nothing different than usual.

We need to give ourselves the best chance at making good decisions, particularly when we are trying to change our relationship with drugs or alcohol. Continue reading