This time each year can be stressful for anyone, but the holidays present a special challenge for people recovering from a substance use disorder. Those in long-term recovery typically are adept at navigating the minefield of temptation at holiday social gatherings. But many of those in their first year of recovery, their friends, and family members wonder how best to celebrate the holidays safely, comfortably, and joyously.
By Melinda Gaddy, Ph.D.
A SMART Recovery group member at VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System (Dwight D. Eisenhower Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center) stated during their first meeting back after a period of absence from SMART, “The ABCs are so annoying, but they really do work.” We had just finished setting our agenda for the meeting. I believe the individual was speaking not only to a group member newer to SMART, but also to themselves as they settled into a chair, ready to begin again in applying SMART’s well-researched tools to their life circumstances: recently released from the hospital and solemnly resolved to do what was needed to rebuild. I appreciated the statement for a number of reasons. It helped other group members to get focused and ready to dive into the ABC tool, it conveyed hope, and it was a great example of just how good Veterans are at telling it like it is. Opinions and experiences can be offered without need for a “polite filter” since meaningful bonds are formed quickly among Veterans in recovery. This makes facilitating SMART Recovery groups within the VA an incredibly dynamic and rewarding experience.
In recent decades, VA has become increasingly focused on providing military Veterans in the United States with evidence-based treatment programs and recovery tools. Continue reading
Access addiction recovery support from home
-Dolores Cloward, SMART Recovery® Volunteer
If you are looking for help with addiction recovery, whether it’s addiction to substances or addiction to behaviors, SMART Recovery Online is a wonderful place to start. Our program is science-based, incorporating scientific best practices in psychology. Here, you will find a supportive online community (message board forums, 24/7 chat and daily online meetings). We also offer practical tools to help you think your way through what you want for your life and how to go about achieving it. And, like other addiction recovery programs, SMART Recovery Online is free and accessible from home. It may be the only resource you need!
What is SMART Recovery?
Now in its third decade, SMART Recovery is a non-profit organization that offers tools for addiction recovery based on scientific research. In addition to over 1,600 local meetings world-wide, our website is home to an international recovery community Continue reading
Often, the process of making lasting change requires trying new and unfamiliar things. Maybe it’s walking to work a different way so you can avoid a tempting or triggering location. Maybe it’s practicing new coping skills in the face of an old problem. Maybe it’s reaching out to other people when you normally would go it alone.
Deliberately practicing new behavior has three effects: 1) you get better at doing it, which increases the odds that you will be successful at it when it matters, 2) you start to replace the old habits with new ones, and 3) you develop the habit of replacing old habits!
“Gentoo” – SMART Recovery FUNdraising Volunteer
(originally posted 1/28/2014)
“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.
I didn’t want to go to AA Continue reading
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