Tag Archives: urges

Webinar: “ACT SMART!”

Posted on January 27, 2015

Does ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) Work With SMART Recovery?
5:00 pm EST, January 31, 2015

Dr. Hank Robb: ACT SMART!
Register Today

Webinar: ACT SMARTAcceptance & Commitment Therapy, or ACT (typically pronounced as the word “act”) is one of several acceptance-based, “newest generation,” cognitive behavioral therapies. ACT has generated considerable empirical research and is showing great promise, clinically. It has much in common with earlier cognitive therapy approaches (e.g., Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)) including a focus on acceptance. Many of our professionals are finding its approach and tools intriguing and highly useful.

Dr. Robb is an expert in both ACT and REBT, and we have asked him to share ways in which some of the insight from ACT might complement the SMART principals and tools of SMART Recovery.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy is a “psychological flexibility model” with 6 key concepts:

1) Self as Context
2) Acceptance
3) Defusion
4) Commitment
5) Values
6) Present Moment Awareness

These six can be captured in the question,

“Given the difference between you and the stuff you are struggling with (thoughts and feelings), are you willing to have that stuff as it is, rather than what it seems to be – monstrous; and right here, right now, act in the service of the Big Picture you choose for your life?”

We are pleased to present this SMART Recovery Webinar, as a free public service. We believe the general public and the SMART community will find the discussion of great interest. Check out the SMART community at www.smartrecovery.org, and please enjoy podcasts of our previous events at: www.smartrecovery.libsyn.com!


Dr. Hank Robb has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Nebraska and is a Supervisor for the Institute for Rational Emotive Therapy, New York. He is board certified in both Counseling Psychology and Behavioral & Cognitive Psychology and is certified in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders. In addition, he is an ACT Trainer. He previously served as President of the American Board of Counseling Psychology. Continue reading

Having Trouble “Staying Stopped”?

Posted on January 13, 2015

Refuting Your Excuses
by Brad Lyman and Michael Edelstein, Ph.D.

“It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times.” ~Mark Twain

Excuses Stopping? Easy. “Staying stopped?” Not so much.

Have you ever had thoughts like these?:

“I can start tomorrow”, “I really need a drink”, “I’m too tired”, “I’ll just have one”, “This is how I have fun with my friends, it’s not hurting anybody,” “It’s too hard to quit.”

“Excuses” are statements we sometimes make to ourselves that make our addictive behavior seem reasonable.

In other words, we use excuses to justify behavior that we know is harmful. These excuses are destructive. They block, interfere, or sabotage our goals of addiction recovery and more. We may be so practiced in thinking these excuses that they have become automatic. We may not even be aware that we’re making these excuses unless we pay close attention to our thoughts.

“Refutations” are statements that disprove or weaken an “excuse.”

“Refuting Your Excuses” is an exercise for learning to pay attention to our habitual excuses and to evaluate them logically. Is the excuse true? Does it make good sense? Is it helpful?

How to Refute an Excuse:

1. For a recurring or current excuse you use, Continue reading

How Do You Turn Down a Drink?

Posted on December 30, 2014

SMART Holiday CelebrationsIs there a social event in your near future that involves alcohol?

For example, you may be planning to celebrate the arrival of the new year with friends or family. If you have an established goal of abstinence and are fairly new to recovery, you may find this event challenging for many reasons, especially if alcohol is being served and your host or other party goers are dead-set on pressing a drink into your hand.

While a simple “no, thank you” is often sufficient for refusing alcohol (or other drugs), it can be helpful to plan ahead for how you will handle the inevitable invitations to drink and other challenges that you may experience.

Here are some things to consider:

Alcohol Refusal Skills

If you know that alcohol will be served at the event, having a plan for how you will respond to any social pressure to drink is important. If you expect to be offered a drink, think about how you will respond, what feels most comfortable for you. Ultimately, you will be looking for a way to refuse alcohol while remaining friendly and respectful.

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Have a convincing refusal ready to use as needed. A convincing refusal is clear, short and to the point (e.g., “No” , or “No, thank you”). Some examples include:

No, thanks… I don’t drink.
No, thanks. I’m not drinking tonight.
No, thank you. I am taking medication that doesn’t mix with alcohol.
Thank you for the offer, but I’d really rather not.

Contrary to what you might expect, Continue reading

5 Tips to Enjoy a Sober Holiday Season

Posted on December 16, 2014

Addiction recovery during the Holidays
by Richard Song

Plan For Holiday Triggers

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

Celebrate the Holidays Safely, Comfortably, Joyously

Posted on November 25, 2014

Celebrating the Holidays with Recovering Family Members and Friends
Peter Gaumond, Chief, ONDCP Recovery Branch

Holidays in RecoveryThis 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.

If your festivities will include someone with a year or more in recovery, you may simply want to ask if there is anything you can do to make the holiday better for them. They may want to bring a friend who’s also in recovery. They may have beverage preferences or want the flexibility to step out for a short while, either to attend a mutual aid meeting (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or SMART Recovery), make a call, or Continue reading

A Key to Lasting Change

Posted on October 14, 2014

Coping Skills Help Make Behavior Change Last
~Carrie Wilkens, Ph.D., Center for Motivation and Change

Dr. Carrie Wilkens CMC Making a change in your life is a pretty big deal. If you’ve moved into the action stage of change, we’d first like to first offer you a huge congratulations! This is a bold move, and one that deserves a lot of praise! Next we’d like to offer you some helpful tips to help make this change a little bit easier, and hopefully a lot more permanent!

Learn a few coping skills

You may have heard this term, coping skills, before and you may not really know what it means. Coping skills are things that you can do to help tolerate a difficult time by using constructive and positive strategies. More specifically, coping skills are what you need to tolerate the difficult moments that come along with making a significant change in your life (like giving up an unhealthy habit, learning a healthy behavior, not giving into impulses, etc.).

When we talk about coping skills, we can break them up into two categories, Continue reading