Tag Archives: Pete Soderman

Crystallization Of Discontent

Posted on March 4, 2014

Motivation For Self-Change
Pete Soderman, SMART Recovery® Facilitator

discontentThree-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

“Powerless No Longer”

Posted on January 14, 2014

Powerless No Longer, by Pete Soderman
Reviewed by Bill Abbott, SMART Recovery Facilitator

Powerless No LongerPete Soderman, a SMART facilitator now living in Mexico, has written an excellent book that is of considerable interest to us all. The topic of recovery is a crowded field, but this book is a story of SMART Recovery, pure and simple.

Pete writes with an easy style that makes it very readable. He has personal experience with recovery. Although he started in a 12-step program, he later found SMART, became enthusiastic, then became a facilitator, first in North Carolina and, after retirement, in a small town in Mexico.

His book starts with an autobiography, then proceeds to a nice discussion of recovery, including natural recovery — doing it on your own without help. Following that is a discussion of some of the science involved.

He writes in detail about how SMART works and how to use the tools in a series of chapters, each devoted to SMART’s 4-Point Program® and the Stages of Change.

This is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the SMART Recovery program, even for those who don’t need it personally. I recommend it for newcomers to SMART as a supplement to the SMART Handbook, but it was even of considerable interest and enjoyment to me, a virtual old timer!


About the Reviewer: Bill Abbott is an active volunteer with SMART Recovery. He facilitates both face-to-face and online recovery meetings, in addition to facilitating SMART meetings for Family & Friends.

About “Powerless No Longer,”: This book is available from Amazon.com in both printed and electronic formats, and will soon be available as an audiobook. Continue reading

Success is a Journey

Posted on November 26, 2013

Why Set Goals?
Peter Soderman, SMART Recovery® Facilitator, Mexico

Powerless No LongerMost people understand that the best way to keep your vehicle headed straight on the highway is to focus your eyes on the furthest point you can see, and let your peripheral vision take care of what’s happening close to you. I was taught that simple trick in High School Driver’s Ed, and had it reinforced in every driving school I have ever attended. The technique has the added benefit of allowing you to see trouble (like brake lights coming on) when it’s still far enough away for you to react in plenty of time. You can easily spot the drivers who aren’t doing this, their cars or trucks are weaving back and forth within, or slightly outside of their lanes, as they fix their gaze right over their hood and try to adjust to a position that is constantly changing.

What has this technique to do with the importance of setting goals, and changing our belief systems? Quite a lot, actually, and that’s the subject of this post. In the early stages of quitting addictions, our gaze is pretty much fixed right over the hood, in the sense that any goals we set are liable to be extremely short-term, and not very complicated. Our early goals might simply be abstaining for a day, a few days, a week, or a month. In the beginning, it’s difficult for us to focus much farther ahead than this, because we’re still discovering that there is a life without our addiction. Continue reading

Avoid the Rating Game

Posted on October 1, 2013

Self-worth Is Not a Variable
Peter Soderman, SMART Recovery® Facilitator, Mexico

Powerless No LongerEven more important to our emotional health than the language we use to describe everyday situations are the terms we use to characterize the most important person in our lives — ourselves. Every single day we use words like jerk, dope, fool, moron, and even worse to define ourselves. Sometimes we use language like this in our heads, and sometimes say it under our breath or even aloud as though we have sentenced ourselves to ongoing perpetual judgment. We create a no-win situation resulting in our going through the day with self-worth rising and falling in relation to how we think our “ideal” self should function. We rate our individual attributes and arbitrary traits, none of which could ever define our intrinsic self-worth, and yet we behave as though they do.

Do you think green is good or bad? You might say something is more or less green, or that green is bad for some purposes, or even that you don’t like green. What you cannot honestly say is that green is intrinsically good or bad. Similarly, we cannot accurately and honestly rate ourselves, our essence as good or bad. We do, though, and cause ourselves great emotional disturbance by doing it.

Do yourself a favor. Refuse to rate yourself. When you catch yourself doing it, chuckle, and correct the internal language to reflect the true situation more accurately. Instead of thinking (or saying): “What did you do that for, you dumb jerk!” Try: “Next time, try to focus more on what you’re doing.” The first remark makes a general statement about your whole persona, while the second merely acknowledges that perhaps you weren’t “there” as much as you should have been. See the difference?

This concept is part of what we call Unconditional Self-Acceptance, or USA, and you will see it referenced in the upcoming chapters. What we shoot for in USA is a complete acceptance of ourselves for no other reason than that we are alive, and we have the capacity to enjoy our existence. We have various traits, and we behave differently depending upon our experiences and how we perceive the situation.

The important thing to remember is we are not our behavior. We can assess our behavior, along with our various traits, but what we cannot honestly do is evaluate something as diverse and complex as our entire selves. We have many traits, and we cannot judge our entire selves based upon any one of them. If we do, we invariably end up causing ourselves emotional upset as a result.

No one else can give us self-acceptance — it can only come from ourselves. The best part is that we are free to choose it at any time.


Source: The forgoing is an excerpt from “Powerless No Longer,” published by Pete Soderman, and is the property of the author.

About the Author: Pete Soderman is a Smart Facilitator, author, and lecturer who co-founded the SMART meeting in Wilmington, NC with Mike Werner, and is currently facilitating a SMART meeting in Ajijic, Jalisco Mexico. He has just published a book about addiction titled: “Powerless No Longer,” which is available from Amazon.com in both printed and electronic formats, and will soon be available as an audiobook. He has been involved in the addiction and treatment field for many years, and has started several addiction recovery meetings.

What We Can Learn, We Can Unlearn

Posted on September 6, 2011

Neuroplasticity And Addiction Recovery
Peter Soderman, SMART Recovery® Facilitator, Mexico

Brain Activity

Our brains have the ability to rewire themselves, changing structurally and functionally, in response to changes in our environment and our experiences. For most of the twentieth century, the general consensus among neuroscientists was that the brain was relatively fixed and immutable after a certain critical period during early childhood. This belief has been challenged by new findings and evidence, especially detailed brain imaging that has conclusively proven that our brains retain a significant ability to change, which is called “plasticity,” into adulthood, and even old-age. This characteristic of the brain, called “Neuroplasticity,” is responsible not only for our ability to learn and unlearn, but also for the ability of some people to recover from serious injuries, strokes, and diseases that disable or disrupt some of their brain functions. Continue reading