Tag Archives: urges

Mindfulness in Addiction Recovery – Dr. Stanton Peele

Posted on May 5, 2015

“Look beyond the walls of therapy, towards independence and empowerment.” 
—Stanton Peele

Stanton PeeleIn Recover!, Ilse Thompson and I liken your addiction to the noise of the surf that you dive under in the ocean. You then come up fresh on the other side of the wave. That image is an example of a mindfulness exercise or meditation through which you translate your thinking into a concrete image that you can identify with your addiction and manipulate mindfully.

Mindfulness means slightly different things in psychology (à la Ellen Langer) and Buddhism (à la Tara Brach). In Langer’s formulation, mindfulness is the awareness of what impels you to behave as you do, emotionally and situationally. In Buddhism, mindfulness is the acute awareness of your presence in the world, the here-and-now. Langer’s mindfulness allows you to control your environment and yourself; Buddhism’s to experience the world directly and instantly.

The first formulation allows you to feel your agency—that you are directing your life in place of being driven habitually and emotionally. The second allows you to be at peace with yourself—the notion of radical acceptance.

And both types of mindfulness are tools with which to attack addiction. Each of them shows you Continue reading

Private, Convenient, Online Recovery Support

Posted on April 7, 2015

Access addiction recovery support from home
-Dolores Cloward, SMART Recovery® Volunteer

If you are looking for help with addiction recovery, whether it’s addiction to substances or addiction to behaviors, SMART Recovery Online is a wonderful place to start. Our program is science-based, incorporating scientific best practices in psychology. Here, you will find a supportive online community (message board forums, 24/7 chat and daily online meetings). We also offer practical tools to help you think your way through what you want for your life and how to go about achieving it. And, like other addiction recovery programs, SMART Recovery Online is free and accessible from home. It may be the only resource you need!


What is SMART Recovery?

Now in its third decade, SMART Recovery is a non-profit organization that offers tools for addiction recovery based on scientific research. In addition to over 1,600 local meetings world-wide, our website is home to an international recovery community Continue reading

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