How do you change from a team you’ve supported for a long while?
-HughK, SMART Recovery Facilitator
Imagine you are in a stadium FULL of people. The game is drawn and the outcome hangs in the balance.
One team gets the ball, heads towards their scoring end and the crowd, or half the crowd, starts to cheer!
They score! Half the stadium goes WILD! The other half groans! It is the same actual event that they both see – the emotion and depth of their reactions depends on which side they support, and how intensely emotional they feel about their team.
In addiction recovery I was attempting to change teams from the Addiction NAL (in the National Addiction League), to the Engaged NWL (in the National Wellness League). These two teams constantly played off in the Super Bowl of my life!
Some of my family and some of my friends couldn’t understand WHY I ever supported Addiction NAL. But I had my reasons: Continue reading
Scientifically Supported Recovery Option
Looking for a personalized, structured plan of attack for making positive changes in support of your addiction recovery?
Overcoming Addictions (OA) is a new alternative in the spectrum of recovery options. It is a confidential and interactive web app that can help you achieve and maintain abstinence from addictions.
OA is an abstinence-oriented, cognitive behavioral, internet application based on the program of SMART Recovery. SMART Recovery is an organization that has adapted empirically supported treatment strategies for use in a mutual help framework with in-person meetings, online meetings, a forum, and other resources. Continue reading
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.
A note on “enabling” vs. positive reinforcement
~Jeffrey Foote, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change
“Caring about and staying connected in a helping way with someone dealing
with substances is not only helpful, it’s one of the most powerful motivators for change.”
If you are a partner, parent, or child of someone struggling with substance problems, and you live in America, you’ve probably heard this word “enabling” (possibly many, many times). And you’ve probably heard this described as central to your interactions in helping your loved one. Mostly, you have heard “DON’T DO IT”!, and if you are like most concerned family members, you feel vaguely guilty for doing something you’re not even sure you are doing (but you must be, right?). By way of quick review, “enabling” actually means doing positive things that will end up supporting continued negative behavior, such as providing your child with money so they won’t “go hungry” during the day, knowing they use it to buy pot, or going to talk to the teacher to make sure they don’t get a bad grade, even though their bad test score was due to drinking, or calling your husband’s work to explain he’s sick today, when he’s actually hung over. These are examples of doing something “nice” for your loved one that actually (from a behavioral reinforcement standpoint) might increase the frequency of the negative behavior, not decrease it. The logic: if they act badly, and nothing happens, or something good happens, this behavior is encouraged, even if what you are doing is “nice”. This IS enabling, and this is not helpful in changing behavior in a positive direction.
But everything nice is not enabling! And that’s the quicksand we have developed in our culture. Staying connected, rewarding positive behaviors with positivity, being caring and loving; these things are critical to positive change. So what’s the difference? Continue reading
Anatomy of a Relapse
~Josh King, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change
Relapses (and lapses and slips, whatever you want to call a return to old behavior) are frustrating events. Sometimes it feels like you’re (finally!) on the path you want to be on, and then, out of the blue, you fall off of that path and feel like you are back at the beginning (and that is sometimes what people tell you!). While it can feel like a lapse happens without much warning, it’s best to think of it as a process that happens over time. The reality is that people tend to drift towards a relapse, like a boat that has lost its mooring and is drifting out to sea. The movement can be slow and can go almost unnoticed until you are already adrift. By knowing what is “mooring” you to sobriety, or the changes you want to make, you can be more aware of when the “mooring lines” are getting cut and you are drifting into a lapse to old behavior.
When you change your use of substances Continue reading
Motivation For Self-Change
Pete Soderman, SMART Recovery® Facilitator
Three-quarters of us who have abused or were dependent upon a substance or activity have either self-remitted or moderated to non-abusive levels, either completely on our own, or with minimal help. That we have done so without formal treatment or self-help programs has been well-established by the scientific community in many detailed studies over several decades. In fact, at least 34 studies have indicated that the single most effective treatment method for dependence is a single brief intervention from a trusted health-care provider, such as a family doctor.
In 1999, I was sitting on a hospital bed, waiting to be released, merely five days after a major heart attack, wondering how to convince my wife to stop on the way home for a carton of cigarettes. Before my cardiologist signed the release, she looked me right in the eyes and told me that if I started smoking again, my chances of dying, and doing it quickly, were four times greater than if I didn’t. If that wasn’t enough, my wife told me on the way home that she would leave me, should I ever smoke again, because she couldn’t stay around to watch me die. I have never smoked again! Continue reading