Tag Archives: motivation

Having Trouble “Staying Stopped”?

Posted on January 18, 2016

Refuting Your Excuses
by Michael Edelstein, Ph.D.

“It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times.” ~Mark Twain

Excuses Stopping? Easy. “Staying stopped?” Not so much.

Have you ever had thoughts like these?:

“I can start tomorrow”, “I really need a drink”, “I’m too tired”, “I’ll just have one”, “This is how I have fun with my friends, it’s not hurting anybody,” “It’s too hard to quit.”

“Excuses” are statements we sometimes make to ourselves that make our addictive behavior seem reasonable.

In other words, we use excuses to justify behavior that we know is harmful. These excuses are destructive. They block, interfere, or sabotage our goals of addiction recovery and more. We may be so practiced in thinking these excuses that they have become automatic. We may not even be aware that we’re making these excuses unless we pay close attention to our thoughts.

“Refutations” are statements that disprove or weaken an “excuse.”

“Refuting Your Excuses” is an exercise for learning to pay attention to our habitual excuses and to evaluate them logically. Is the excuse true? Does it make good sense? Is it helpful?

How to Refute an Excuse:

1. For a recurring or current excuse you use, Continue reading

Hidden Power of a Recovery Community

Posted on January 13, 2016

Lessons from Geese
-Bill Abbott, SMART Recovery® Facilitator

Lessons from GeeseSMART Recovery is a wonderful program that emphasizes self-management and self-empowerment. For this it offers tools based on sound and often evidence-based science—mostly clinical psychology but some neuroscience as well.

With all the emphasis on “self”—almost a do-it-yourself program—we often lose sight of another powerful feature of SMART—the mutual support groups in which all this is developed and promoted.

We like company, lots of the time—especially with like-minded people, hence the shelter and safety and power of a mutual support group complex. Like-minded people all in a room together discussing a common issue. A place were the afflicted can relax, become honest and open with their issues, without worry of judgment. This is present in both 12-steps groups and in SMART Recovery groups.

In my opinion SMART groups have the added feature of interactive discussion, promoting the feelings of like-mindedness and that “we are all in this together”. We are all united in spirit and intent to find relief for ourselves, and in so doing share that with others. All this falls under the concept of Compassion.

Many state that they go to 12-step meetings for “spirituality“ and attend SMART meetings for the tools and solutions. The implication is that there is no spirituality at SMART. Continue reading

Honoring The Diversity Of Recovery

Posted on October 20, 2015

(originally posted May, 2011)

There are as many types of recovery as there are individuals

diversityIf there are as many ways to recover as there are individuals, then SMART Recovery®, or any approach, group, or treatment, will appeal to, or be helpful to, only some individuals. I hope that no one associated with SMART Recovery ever overlooks the diversity of addiction recovery. Recoveries are diverse because humans are diverse. In this post, we will look at some of the ways that recoveries differ.

1. Degree of natural recovery – Most of those who recover do so without ever attending a self-help group or treatment center, even if the addiction was severe. These individuals often receive substantial support along the way, but it comes from friends and family. (This does not mean that most of those currently addicted will recovery naturally, but rather that most of those who have recovered have done so naturally.)

2. Involvement goal – If an addictive behavior is defined not simply by use or level of involvement, but primarily by the negative consequences it causes, 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.

Private, Convenient, Online Recovery Support

Posted on October 5, 2015

Access addiction recovery support from home
-Dolores Cloward, SMART Recovery® Volunteer

CommunityIf you are looking for help with addiction recovery, whether it’s addiction to substances or addiction to behaviors, SMART Recovery Online is a wonderful place to start. Our program is science-based, incorporating scientific best practices in psychology. Here, you will find a supportive online community (message board forums, 24/7 chat and daily online meetings). We also offer practical tools to help you think your way through what you want for your life and how to go about achieving it. And, like other addiction recovery programs, SMART Recovery Online is free and accessible from home. It may be the only resource you need!


What is SMART Recovery?

Now in its third decade, SMART Recovery is a non-profit organization that offers tools for addiction recovery based on scientific research. In addition to over 1,600 local meetings world-wide, our website is home to an international recovery community Continue reading

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