“I got myself into this, and I wanted concrete, practical, science-based,
proven information about how I could get myself out – and for good.”
I just celebrated 3.5 years as a non-drinker with SMART Recovery peer support, particularly SMART Recovery Online.
I drank heavily for decades. I developed a physical addiction to alcohol, where if I didn’t drink for an hour or two, I got shakes, sweats, anxiety. Then, drinking almost took my life. I had a serious fall when drinking, and it resulted in a traumatic brain injury. In ICU I was given a 50-50 chance to live. This caused pain to my husband and family. Thankfully, I made it. But I had to learn to walk again. And I had destroyed my career.
I attended an outpatient treatment center for alcohol and drugs where we were expected to attend one “outside” recovery meeting per week. We were given the choice of attending 12-step or SMART Recovery. And that’s how I learned about SMART.
Those Spooky Old Woods (A True Story) ~Written by ‘fen’, SMART Recovery Volunteer
I have been playing in my woods for several weeks now. When I say playing, I mean I am clearing away years of neglect. My woods are seriously overgrown and difficult to walk through. There are scrub trees. There are trees that have been twisted by vines and are not healthy. There are brambles, small patches and great clumps of them as big around as a car and in some cases they stretch higher than I stand tall. There are vines everywhere, some as big around as my wrist.
When we built our house, over 12 years ago, I knew I needed to do something but I averted my eyes and found other, more pleasurable things to occupy my time. All the while those woods grew more and more tangled. On occasion I would look at them and say to myself that one day I would get around to taking care of them.
So I finally decided to do something. I gathered up my tools, such as they were, and entered the woods. Continue reading →
Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening
Reviewed by Henry Steinberger, Ph.D.
To help people seeking sobriety for their loved ones, Get Your Loved One Sober offers a revolutionary program: The Community Reinforcement And Family Training (CRAFT) intervention. The subtitle, “Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening” more aptly describes what this book is about. Getting a loved one into treatment is not the first goal. Arranging for one’s own safety and finding a happier life independent of the drinker’s situation, takes priority. Getting a loved one to moderate, choose sobriety, or go into treatment, are offered as roads to a better relationship.
Still, CRAFT can boast phenomenal success getting people into treatment. An alternative to Al-Anon’s 12-Step tradition and “detachment” recommendations and the Johnson Institute’s confrontational interventions, the CRAFT program is based on non-confrontational behavioral principles like reinforcement. It gives the reader tools and instructions for changing their interactions with their loved ones, which in turn changes the loved one’s behavior. In repeated clinical trials, CRAFT proved twice as likely as the Johnson Intervention and six times as likely as Al-Anon to get loved ones into treatment.
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
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 →
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. Continue reading →
Addiction recovery during the Holidays by Richard Song
The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for people new to recovery. The number of challenges to your recovery can be daunting, between family gatherings, parties where alcohol is present, and emotional triggers such as stress and sadness related to past memories. You can build resistance to these triggers by preparing a plan. Here are some general tips that can help those recovering from an addiction through the holidays:
1) Be careful about which events you attend. Avoid those that will be highly tempting and that focus around “using” such as wine tastings and cocktail parties. When you arrive at an event, take note of the potential triggers and come up with a plan that will address each of those triggers – for instance, position yourself away from the bar.
2) Have a backup plan in case the temptation is too strong or you feel uncomfortable at an event. Bring a sober friend who will support you and leave with you if you don’t feel comfortable staying. If you feel comfortable doing so, let the hosts know your situation. That way, you won’t feel like you offended them if you decide to leave early. Continue reading →