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 →
SMART Recovery is a self-empowerment program for people having problems with addictive behavior. We currently sponsor more than 1300 face-to-face addiction recovery meetings around the world, and 30 online meetings per week. When an individual in crisis seeks out a SMART meeting, or a professional refers someone to a meeting, it can be helpful to know what to expect. This post is intended to be a quick primer on the elements of a SMART meeting so that people who are new to attending meetings – either face-to-face or online – know what to expect.
Two things to know: First, meeting facilitators are trained by SMART. Some are people who have participated in the SMART program, some are professionals (eg. counselors or social workers), some are friends or family of those who have used the SMART program, and some are concerned citizens willing to provide a meeting in their community. Continue reading →
In Epidemics, Hippocrates said, “Make a habit of two things–to help, or at least to do no harm.” How can we apply that idea to helping family and friends with addictions?
When we care about individuals who are trying to overcome addictions, we often face dilemmas in how best to help them. For instance, if I help someone by providing money for some critical need, am I supporting recovery by preventing some degree of “disaster”? Or am I just shielding the person from negative consequences that might motivate lasting behavior change? The latter, of course, is AKA the E word: Enabling. This article will identify some things to consider when you face that kind of decision.
What is support? I suggest that support, at its root, consists of two things: paying attention and active helping. I could pay attention to a friend who wants to quit smoking by listening to her talk about her cravings to smoke and how she copes with these cravings. I could actively help her by informing her of new tobacco cessation products (if she was unfamiliar with them). I could take her to a SMART Recovery® meeting (especially if she felt awkward going alone), or spend a non-smoking evening with her (when her other options were to be alone or be with smokers).
For many people, summer is the best time of the year. Warm weather, days at the beach, vacations… What’s not to love? But when you’re in recovery, especially early recovery, the pool parties and vacations of summer can be major relapse triggers. Here are some tips for enjoying summer without getting off track.
1. Plan ahead—If you know that you will be attending a party, barbecue, or other event that may be triggering, have an exit plan in place. Drive your own car so that you won’t get stuck there longer than you want to, or bring a sober friend along for support. If you are going on vacation, Continue reading →
“Gentoo” – SMART Recovery Online Meeting Facilitator
“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.
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.