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.
Integrating ‘ACT’ into SMART Recovery
with Dr. Hank Robb
Hank Robb, Ph.D., will present a webinar this Saturday (August 31 at 5pm edt) on the topic of mindfulness and other Acceptance Commitment Therapy strategies, and how they can be helpful in addiction recovery.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT offers powerful alternatives for dealing with difficult thoughts and feelings. Some of the strategies that Dr. Robb will be discussing are: acceptance, mindfulness, cognitive defusion, values, and committed action.
About Dr. Robb
Dr. Robb brings a unique perspective to this topic, as an expert in CBT, REBT, and as an ACT practitioner. He has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Nebraska (1978), and is a Supervisor for the Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy, New York. He is board certified in both Counseling and Behavioral Psychology and is certified in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use.
He previously served as President of the American Board of Counseling Psychology and is listed as an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Trainer. Dr. Robb is a founding member of SMART Recovery and continues to write regularly for the SMART News & Views newsletter on topics related to cognitive behavioral (CBT) and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).
Adjusting to a richer, fuller life experience ~Green-In-MI, SMART Recovery Volunteer
“Getting used to sober life can be a process of adjusting in a number of ways.”
One of the things the SMART community talks about is making changes in your life as part of the process for sustained abstinence from your drug of choice or problem behavior. People share experiences like creating new circles of friends or even moving to new places or cities.
SMART specifically talks about finding one or more VACIs (Vitally Absorbing Creative Interests). A number of us spent an awful lot of time planning on using, using, and recovering from using. For many of us, our drug of choice was the focus of day-to-day life. Without it, many find themselves clear-headed but with nothing planned for the evening and wondering what to do. As you continue to build a new life, you re-engage old friends and pick old hobbies back up. You also find new friends and new activities. These are all good signs of progress.
If you’re like me, you might find yourself very busy all of the sudden. At some point you threw yourself into your life, dominated by your drug of choice. Now you’ve thrown yourself into a new life, a life of addiction recovery. There’s family, work, friends, hobbies, and keeping up with the general demands of day-to-day life, Continue reading →