by Kimberly Winters, SMART Recovery Volunteer Meeting Facilitator
Do you sometimes experience difficult thoughts and emotions…the kind that lead to unwanted behaviors?
Emotional upsets can wreak havoc with addiction recovery. SMART Recovery offers tools for disputing difficult thoughts, by examining those thoughts to see if they are true, helpful, hopeful, flexible and nurturing!
Did you know that having a tangible object for each of those questions can be helpful? Below are some suggestions for items to help with that!
All of these items can be found around the house, outdoors or at the craft store!
- Is this thought TRUE? Find a nice smooth and heavy rock and write TRUE? on it with a black sharpie. Put that rock in your hand and hold onto it while you help your thought pass through the truth test.
- Is this thought HELPING me? Find something with a smiley on it like a small yellow ball with a smiley face on it or a sticker or even a little kid toy that looks friendly.
The Value of Celebrating Victories
~Green-In-MI, SMART Recovery Volunteer
In my experience, progress toward a lifestyle of abstinence at times seems insurmountable; like you’re standing at the bottom of a mountain craning your neck to see a peak that looks impossibly high up and far away. Any given day may be a struggle against urges, old habits, and other potential problems. You look at people who have a month of abstinence and think “that’s a long time…I can barely go a few days”. You look at others who may have a year or more of abstinence and think “that’s so long, I’ll never get there.”
But you keep coming back. Addiction recovery takes work. You keep learning. You keep talking to others. You keep working on the tools. Next thing you know, your work begins to pay off. You have a week, or maybe a month. Maybe you successfully navigate a situation that caused problems in the past.
You come back to a SMART meeting or to chat and report your success, and suddenly a half dozen people congratulate you for your ‘victory’. You’ve successfully climbed part of the way up that impossible mountain. As you top each little rise on the way to the summit Continue reading
By Gordon Dickler- CAC, ICADC
Opiate painkillers are by far the most prescribed medications in the United States today. According to the recent U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, over 289 million prescriptions are written each year for analgesic pain relievers. And this is just the beginning. Recent studies show that despite making up only five percent of the world’s population, the United States now consumes about 80 percent of the world’s opioid pain medication.
The opiate epidemic is clear, especially as prescription drug addictions continue to lead users into heroin abuse and fatal overdoses. Fortunately, however, more and more people have begun to recognize the dangers associated with prescription drugs. Many, including those in recovery, are now actively looking for alternative pain relieving methods – methods that do not involve highly addictive drugs.
While opiates are undoubtedly effective at relieving pain, these drugs can also stir severe consequences when used repeatedly. A physical addiction, for example, can develop within just four weeks of prescription painkiller use. A psychological dependence to opiates, on the other hand, can develop in as little as two days. And this is just the beginning. Repeated opiate use can lead to chronic respiratory issues, depression, as well as damage to the immune system.
If you are working towards recovery, have addictive tendencies, or simply desire safer pain treatments, know that there are alternatives available that will not disrupt your balanced, substance-free life. Continue reading
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
Spend It Wisely: What to Do with Your Newfound Time
By Micah Robbins
It feels like a distant memory: Nights spent in bars and clubs followed by dark days under the covers. Partying used to take up a lot of your time, and now that you’re clean, your schedule is pretty clear. This newfound time can present both opportunity and angst. The secret to success is to spend your free hours wisely, so you can continue down the right path toward the best possible you. 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