Words of wisdom for those in the New Recovery Advocacy Movement
Guest Blogger: William L. White
Of all the experiences I have had as a recovery advocate, none have been more heart-rending than receiving news that a person prominently involved in recovery advocacy efforts has died of a drug overdose. It reminds me once again that personal health and recovery are the foundation of all larger efforts to educate, advocate, and counsel within the alcohol and other drug problems arena.
This is not a new lesson. Consider, for example, the following stories. John Gough got sober in the Washingtonian revival of the early 1840s, but relapsed three times in the early period of his long career as America’s most charismatic temperance reformer. The lawyer Edward Uniac always stated that he was more vulnerable to the call of alcohol during extended periods of rest than when he was moving from town to town giving his temperance lectures. But Uniac suffered repeated drinking episodes and died in 1869 of an overdose of whiskey and opium while on a temperance lecture tour in Massachusetts. Luther Benson tried to use his own personal struggles with alcohol in the temperance lectures he gave across the country. His tales of continued binge drinking while on the lecture circuit were penned while he was residing in the Indiana Asylum for the Insane. His 1896 autobiography was entitled, Fifteen Years in Hell. Benson truly believed that throwing himself into temperance work could quell his own appetite for alcohol. In retrospect, he was forced to admit the following:
“I learned too late that this was the very worst thing I could have done. I was all the time expending the very strength I so much needed for the restoration of my shattered system.”
The stories of Gough, Uniac, and Benson are not unique. Similar tales were told by others who sought to cure themselves on the temperance lecture circuit. However, recovering people did achieve and maintain stable recovery working in the 19th century temperance movement and within treatment institutions of that era. An important lesson emerged out of the 19th century recovery movements: service activity, by itself, does not constitute a solid program for continued sobriety. This lesson was relearned throughout the 20th century, particularly within the modern rise of addiction counseling as a distinct profession.
A New Recovery Advocacy Movement is spreading across America and beyond, Continue reading
Summer Special Event Webinar
Addiction and the Brain: A Focus on Opiates
Dr. Christopher J. Tuell, Presenter
Saturday, June 24, 5:00 PM EDT
This promises to be a fascinating and far-reaching discussion, beginning with a look at today’s opiate epidemic. From there, Dr. Tuell will highlight the relationship between mental health and addiction and how they intersect. We hope the conversation will add to awareness of the ways in which addiction shows itself – in today’s opiate crisis and more broadly.
Most importantly, we hope to carry a message of hope and encouragement; to shine a lens on compassionate and respectful ways to engage when people have trouble dealing with the pressures of our complicated society. Dr. Tuell will respond to questions and the event will be recorded and released as a podcast following the event.
One of the things we appreciate about Dr. Tuell and the Lindner Center is their commitment to choice in recovery which resonates so strongly with SMART– both in making people aware of their choices and in helping to actively provide recovery choices. The Lindner Center has hosted SMART community meetings at their beautiful facility for eight years — thank you, Lindner Center.
As always, all are invited to this FREE Webinar in our Special Events series at SMART Recovery! We are the 2nd largest recovery support group in the world for addiction recovery, and we are happy to continue to encourage thought-provoking, hopeful, practical and compassionate conversations.About our speaker: Prior to joining Lindner Center of HOPE, Dr. Tuell served as Center Director and Director of Employee Assistance Programs for Family Service of the Cincinnati Area, as Clinical Director of the Warren County Juvenile Justice Center, and as a psychotherapist for Community Mental Health Centers of Warren County in Lebanon, Ohio and Mental Health Services West in Cincinnati, Ohio. Currently Dr. Tuell serves as Clinical Director of Addiction Services at Lindner Center of HOPE providing mental health and addiction psychotherapy services to a wide variety of treatment populations. Dr. Tuell is also an Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati ‘s Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience. He is a clinical psychotherapist and a chemical and behavioral addiction specialist with over 30 years of experience in the field of mental health and addictions. Dr. Tuell earned his Doctorate degree from the University of Cincinnati and is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor in the State of Ohio.
We look forward to your participation in the webinar. Register Today!
By Tom Horvath Ph.D., Lorie Hammerstrom, and Brett Saarela, LCSW
SMART Recovery® supports (1) abstinence from any substance or activity addiction and (2) going beyond abstinence to lead a meaningful and satisfying life. Our 4-Point ProgramSM addresses addiction itself (Points 1 and 2) and quality of life (Points 3 and 4). Points 3 and 4 are the primary focus of discussion in many meetings. To remind you, Point 1 focuses on motivation to abstain; Point 2 on coping with craving; Point 3 on problem solving (when practical problems can be resolved) and emotional self-management (when practical problems may not be “solvable”); and Point 4 on building a life of enduring satisfactions (a meaningful and purposeful life).
SMART Recovery® encourages attendance by individuals in any stage of recovery. Those maintaining long-term abstinence will likely be most interested in discussions of Points 3 and 4. Those in early recovery will likely pay more attention to Points 1 and 2. SMART Recovery® recognizes that individuals may be in different stages of change, at any one time, across what is likely to be a range of addictive behaviors. For example, one participant may be ready to stop drinking but not ready to stop smoking. Another participant may be ready to quit cocaine but not ready to quit marijuana. Both participants may be drinking excessive caffeine and overeating, and be unaware that these are also addictive behaviors.
By Robert Parkinson
You made it through recovery treatment. You were doing well. And then one night, a coworker asks you to grab a drink after work. “Just one drink.” It can’t hurt, you tell yourself. That’s the last thing you remember when you wake up in the hospital the next morning.
Relapse is one of the most frustrating, humiliating experiences you can face in recovery. It leaves you feeling guilty, ashamed and tempted to throw in the towel and just keep using. Unfortunately, relapse is also common. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of people who go through addiction treatment programs go on to relapse at least once. In fact, many people relapse multiple times before finally achieving a full recovery. Continue reading
September “Recovery Month” Celebrations
There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate National Recovery Month. They speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share their success stories with their neighbors, friends and colleagues. In doing so, everyone contributes to increased awareness and a greater understanding of addiction and recovery.
National Recovery Month, sponsored by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), is a national observance held every September to celebrate recovery and reinforce the positive messages Continue reading
The “Why” Matters: On Motivation (by Elspeth)
I’ve never crashed a car or received a DUI, never drunk while pregnant, never been fired from a job, never punched someone in a bar, and never set the house on fire. My marriage is long and happy, my daughter excels at school and is socially happy, and I have a successful career in an competitive field. Yet I was also a lush for twenty years, and wine increasingly eroded my productivity as well as my enjoyment of daily life. Most bothersome, wine—drinking it, planning around it, figuring out how to get enough of it, recovering from it—was a squatter on my psychic landscape. Its role in my life had grown too large, but (like many people who drink too much to cope with stress), I found it difficult to moderate. “In for a glass, in for a bottle” was my usual approach. I didn’t identify with the word alcoholic, at least not as a label of who I am, but I knew I needed to quit drinking in order to preserve the other things I am. Still, I found it difficult to maintain the motivation to quit for more than a month-long “liver holiday” now and again.
One of the appealing things about SMART Recovery is that it doesn’t insist you have to hit “rock bottom” to know that your life could be better. Continue reading