Book review by A.Tom Horvath, Ph.D.
Although harm reduction is commonly used in other countries, this approach to coping with problematic addictive behavior is unfortunately uncommon in the US. The authors are two US harm reduction leaders. They founded the Center for Harm Reduction Therapy in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000. This book is intended for persons considering change. The authors have also written a book for professionals, the acclaimed Practicing Harm Reduction Therapy, now in a 2nd edition.
To provide an overview of this impressive work I will extensively quote it. In response to the question “What is Harm Reduction?” they provide the following three paragraphs (p. 197)
“Harm reduction is a way to help people change their substance use without demanding immediate and lifelong abstinence. It uses many creative strategies to keep people alive and safe while they figure out how to develop a healthier relationship with drugs. For some people, that means abstinence; for others that means moderate or safer use.”
“Harm reduction takes a health perspective rather than a moral or legal perspective, on drug use. Drug use is not bad. It is normal human behavior, and most people don’t get into trouble with it. Drug misuse is a habit that has gotten out of hand, or it is a signal of other co-occurring problems.”
“Harm reduction attends to every aspect of health—physical, mental and emotional, social and economic. It is nonjudgmental, compassionate, and pragmatic—it starts where the person is, stays with the person through the entire process of change, and never ever kicks anyone out.”
Addiction Recovery 101, with Tom Horvath, Ph.D.
“Set your own goals for your life — and for your recovery.” ~ Dr. Tom Horvath
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The 5 Things Series contains footage of Recovery Research Institute interviews with international experts in addiction treatment and recovery.
A. Tom Horvath, Ph.D., is a California licensed clinical psychologist (ABPP), the founder & CEO of Practical Recovery and a long time volunteer for SMART Recovery. 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).
Interview with Dr. Stanton Peele by Dr. Tom Horvath, President, SMART Recovery
Saturday, February 20, 5:00PM EST
To register for this online event, just go to http://www.smartrecovery.org/events/ and hit “Register for this free event.”
This will be a wide-ranging talk about addiction and today’s youth and teens. Dr. Horvath, SMART’s President, will interview Dr. Stanton Peele on what is needed in society, in public policy, for parents, and for those in the caring and justice professions, to better help our young people.And for young adults, we want to show you the power of making your own choices and having solid resources for decision-making readily available, so you can assess what’s best for you and live a life of freedom and power. Continue reading
September 18-20, 2015 Cincinnati, OH
Registration Deadline: September 4, 2015.
Looking for a deeper connection to SMART Recovery?
Interested in networking with other volunteers?
Wanting to learn more about the science behind SMART?
Curious about SMART’s plans for the future?
SMARTCON 2015 offers all this and more!
This year’s conference will be held in Cincinnati, OH. Cincinnati is a beautiful, bustling city with mid-western charm, and a revitalized downtown and waterfront area. It is known for its entrepreneurial and artistic talent — not to mention its chili and ice cream! And…..it’s located in Ohio, home state of SMART Recovery’s Central Office.
Whether you’re a volunteer, a meeting participant, a clinician, or a friend of SMART Recovery, the Annual Conference is your chance to fully experience the energizing and inspiring annual gathering of this international community of people working to help others create positive change in their lives.
May 16, 2015, 5:00 pm (edt)
Webinar: Stanton Peele on Addiction Treatment in the 21st Century
“Recovery is about purpose and meaning in life, not “sobriety” and meetings.” ~ Stanton Peele
Dr. Stanton Peele, author of Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict and Reclaim Your Life with The Life Process Program will return to SMART Recovery to discuss “Recreating Addiction Treatment in the 21st Century” with Dr. Tom Horvath, President of SMART Recovery.
Saturday May 16, 2015 at 5 pm edt.
Advance registration is required for this event. Please visit www.smartrecovery.org/events
Dr. Peele has devoted his career to providing people with facts about addiction, and salient approaches, for both individuals and policy, based on those facts. Dr. Peele’s point of view is global. His revolutionary framework encourages people to look at addiction recovery in the context of their lives, rather than limiting themselves to any single label. Join us on May 16 for a conversation led by Dr. Tom Horvath. Treatment of those with addictions is continually evolving. Choice and empowerment have become accepted wisdom as keys to personal change. This discussion will take a bold look into the future of addiction recovery treatment.
Stanton Peele, Ph.D., J.D. has been a pioneer in applying addiction beyond the area of drugs and alcohol, social-environmental causes of addiction, harm reduction, and self-cure of addiction. Continue reading