What is Mindfulness?
-Don Sheeley, MD, SMART Recovery Facilitator
I 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
by Margaret Speer, SMART Recovery meeting participant
I believe in self-empowerment and the power of choice. I successfully used these techniques to remain mindful and sober. I’ve improved my confidence, self-acceptance, and increased my independent positive decisions. I lived my life too long and blind to the power I hold within myself. Sobriety through self-empowerment was the hardest journey I have ever accomplished. I developed a healthier lifestyle within my daily routine and recovery goals. I know it is going to take my lifetime to maintain my recovery in addiction to alcohol while developing patience for my impulsive behaviors.
Since I was 15 years old, I have experienced complications with my involvement with alcohol. I was consistently battling, and failing with every attempt to stop my chemical use. Finally when I was 30 years old I woke up and removed my blinders – eyes wide open. Continue reading
April 12, 2014, 12:00 noon (edt)
Dr. Michael R. Edelstein, author of Three Minute Therapy will present “How to Overcome Addictions in One Lesson” on Saturday, April 12 2014 at 12:00 noon edt.
This webinar is designed to be helpful for any harmful behavior – drugs, gambling, eating disorders, smoking, self-harm — substance-related or not. Bring your questions! We think you’ll find, as one book reviewer noted, that: “Michael Edelstein cuts through the psychological jargon and makes clear how all of us can effect powerful changes in our psyches, in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones.”
Advance registration is required for this event. Please visit www.smartrecovery.org/events.
Dr. Michael R. Edelstein is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 30 years experience and has a private practice in San Francisco, offering in-person as well as telephone/Skype sessions. He is famous as the author of Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, with David Ramsay Steele, a self-help book for overcoming common emotional and behavioral problems. Most recently, he published Stage Fright, with Mick Berry, Therapy Breakthrough: Why Some Psychotherapies Work Better Than Others, with Richard Kujoth and David Ramsay Steele, and Rational Drinking: How to Live Happily With or Without Alcohol, with Will Ross. He is a long-standing SMART Recovery Volunteer. Continue reading
A Tribute to Albert Ellis
September 27, 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Albert Ellis, founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. REBT is an action-oriented approach for helping people manage their emotions, cognitions, and behaviors. The techniques used in REBT have been found to be helpful for people working on addiction recovery and many have been incorporated into the SMART Recovery 4-Point Program.
Dr. Ellis is generally considered to be one of the originators of the cognitive revolutionary paradigm shift in psychotherapy and the founder of cognitive-behavioral therapies. Based on a 1982 professional survey of USA and Canadian psychologists, he was considered as the second most influential psychotherapist in history (Carl Rogers ranked first in the survey; Sigmund Freud was ranked third). Prior to his death, Psychology Today described him as the “greatest living psychologist.” During his career he authored or co-authored over seventy-five books, including “When AA Doesn’t Work for You: Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol.”
Tom Horvath, Ph.D., President of SMART Recovery, recounts (below) highlights from the memorial that was held for Albert Ellis, Ph.D. at the 2007 annual convention of the American Psychological Association. In contrast to his public reputation as a kind of “Lenny Bruce of therapy”, Ellis was remembered by many for his kindness, courage, wisdom, wit, curiosity, learning, professional contributions, and personal generosity. Continue reading
The Heart Of Addiction
~Lance M. Dodes, M.D.
Reviewed by “Deltafox”, SMART Recovery ® Online Participant
Dodes’ book, The Heart of Addiction, is very compatible with the SMART program and the psychological writings of Dr. Ellis and REBT. Dodes emphasizes the role our beliefs play in addictions. His emphasis is on discovering the driving force behind addictive behaviors. Other treatment modalities deal with the addictive power of the substance or behavior itself, i.e., how the drug or behavior effects an individual and why this occurs in physical terms or how the brain responds. Dodes, like SMART, says that in most cases, this is putting the cart before the horse.
While it may be interesting to see how certain parts of the brain respond to a substance or behavior, it is a mistake to ascribe those reactions as somehow the cause of the behavior. The activating cause or event is not nearly as important as the beliefs associated with that event. The problem is discovering what those beliefs are and learning how to manage the feelings of helplessness that are the real culprits behind real addictive behaviors, whether they involve a substance or not.
The SMART ABC(DE) tool is a perfect example of what both Dodes and Ellis might agree is a way to deal with addictive urges. Continue reading
Discover the “Irrational” Beliefs That Are Creating Your Anger
by Philip Tate, Ph.D.
People often think that the actions of other people create their anger. “They make me so angry!” is a common statement. If that were the case, there would be little you could do about your anger (except to stay away from most people!) Fortunately, others don’t create your anger. In REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) we teach that your own thinking corresponds with your anger, more than the actions of others.
To discover your thinking that is creating your anger, REBT suggests that you look for the event about which you are angry and then look for your belief about that event. Think, “What happened that I’m angry about?” E.g., someone cut you off in traffic, someone failed to follow through on an agreement, or someone treated you with disrespect. Next, ask yourself, “What am I telling myself about (name the event) that gets me to feel angry?”
When asked what they are telling themselves about the event, many people will answer, “Why’d they do that?” with an intense and frustrated tone of voice. That response, however, is a question, and questions do not create anger. You’re probably telling yourself “I don’t like their behavior. They’re mistaken for acting that way.” But, that too doesn’t get you bent out of shape with anger. That just gets you annoyed or disappointed.
So, What’s Really Getting You Upset? Continue reading