Tag Archives: mindfulness

Mindfulness

Posted on September 9, 2014

What is Mindfulness?
-Don Sheeley, MD, SMART Recovery Facilitator

What is MindfulnessI 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

At Risk for Relapse?

Posted on September 2, 2014

7 Risk factors for relapse
-Bill Abbott, SMART Recovery® Facilitator

7 Risks for Relapse

Over the course of time I’ve observed several sets of circumstances that seem to increase the risk of a person with an addictive problem to sustain a relapse – that is, falling back to the former behavior. I must honestly state that this is an observational piece and I am not sure that there is any science behind it. Nevertheless it certainly does make sense that some of these circumstances do heighten the risk for  a temporary or even permanent stepping out of the stages-of-change process which we call addiction recovery.

7 Risk Factors for Relapse

      Fantasy
      Rumination
      Boredom
      Persisting Frustration
      Intense Emotion
      Social Disconnection
      Opportunity

    What follows is a short description of each of these.

    Fantasy By this I mean thinking about a possible future scenario Continue reading

    A Mindful Approach to Addiction Recovery

    Posted on June 24, 2014

    Self-Management Begins with Intention
    -Charles A., SMART Recovery® Facilitator


    SMART Recovery is about actively managing your self and directing your actions. What do you intend to actively do today… or ‘NOW’… to manage your addiction recovery?

    We have the power of choice, but in order to realize this power, forming intentions and doing the work of changing our thinking and behaviors is required for success… so…

    … what’s your intention for self-management today?

    Here are some examples (different addiction examples are included here.)

    • Study in my SMART Recovery handbook for 15 minutes
    • Attend a meeting
    • Take my vitamins
    • Work on an item I’ve put off
    • Eat sensibly
    • Respect myself by examining and rating my thoughts and behaviors… instead of self-rating and self-downing
    • Drive home a different way to avoid my old patterns
    • Exercise for 10-15 minutes
    • Drink water instead of soda at lunch
    • Create an urge log
    • Practice unconditional acceptance with myself and others
    • Set a new boundary
    • Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis worksheet
    • Spend 10 minutes reading in the online library, and then practicing what I’ve learned
    • Stay in the NOW, rather than letting my mind drift to the past or the future
    • Make a journal of the ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) I have each day, and work to dispute them
    • Spend 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen

    ………… and so forth.
    Continue reading

    Navigating The Road To Recovery

    Posted on May 27, 2014

    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

    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

    The Wisdom to Know the Difference

    Posted on October 23, 2012

    An Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Workbook for Overcoming Substance Abuse
    ~Kelly Wilson, PhD, and Troy DuFrene
    Reviewed by Don Sheeley, SMART Recovery ® Facilitator

    Saratoga Springs, New York

    Purchase Learning about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) this summer, and using this workbook in particular, helped me deepen my recovery and broaden the foundation of safety and health that I am looking for in sobriety. In The Wisdom to Know the Difference: An Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Workbook for Overcoming Substance Abuse, Kelly Wilson opens himself up to the reader using his own experiences as engaging illustrations of the pain of addiction, but also as opportunities for personal growth.

    After the first chapter, which helps the reader consider whether abstinence will be their goal, Wilson uses the next six chapters to explore ACT, emphasizing the dynamic behavior called for by this model. The chapter goals are, in my words: being able to choose to be still in the present moment rather than reacting to life in our patterns and automatic behaviors; learning to be more psychologically flexible, rather than rigid, predetermined, or stuck; beginning to identify the permanent “You,” able to accept the emotions that create richness in life. The authors remind us why it’s important to learn to not take our “self-stories” too seriously. Self-stories include our self-talk, self-image, and our internal beliefs. The book prompts us to be the authors of our lives rather than passive readers, and to travel our values highway, getting back on without hesitation if we veer off. Continue reading