Tag Archives: urges

Self-Empowered Approach to Addiction Recovery

Posted on August 5, 2014

Self-Empowered Approach to Addiction Recovery
Tom Horvath, President of SMART Recovery, on learning to gain control over urges

Self-Empowered Approach to Addiction Recovery

Tom Horvath, Ph.D., a California licensed and board certified clinical psychologist (ABPP), has been President of SMART Recovery® for well over a decade. He is the founder and president of Practical Recovery, a self-empowering addiction treatment system in San Diego. He is past president of the American Psychological Association’s Society on Addiction Psychology (Division 50), the world’s largest organization of addiction psychologists. He is the author of Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions (listed by the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies as a “Self-Help Book of Merit”). Continue reading

“Am I Going Crazy?!”

Posted on July 29, 2014

PAWS: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
by Bill Abbott & Suzy W., SMART Recovery Meeting Facilitators

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is something that perhaps unfortunately, we haven’t discussed much in SMART Recovery®. It is a not yet widely known problematic syndrome (syndrome is a medical term which describes a grouping of varying symptoms) of addiction recovery. The following scenario can illustrate it:

    You’ve been through detox and all of the withdrawal symptoms and you are doing pretty well for perhaps a month or two. Suddenly, you start to realize that you’re feeling edgy and antsy. You are experiencing mood swings that range from being on a pink cloud to feeling down in the dumps. You find that you can’t concentrate. You are having trouble sleeping, you’re sleeping too much, or you’re having very vivid dreams. “What’s going on?” you wonder. “Am I going crazy?!”

No, you’re not going crazy. You are suffering from what is known as PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). Unfortunately, as noted above, we don’t often hear much about it in the recovery community even though it is an extremely common experience.

We know that recovery progresses in stages. After the initial acute withdrawal, Continue reading

4 Easy Tips for an Awesome Summer in Recovery

Posted on July 15, 2014

Enjoy Summer Without Getting Off Track

Summer in RecoveryFor 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

Rewiring Your Brain

Posted on March 11, 2014

Addiction recovery and your brain

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.”
~Robert Frost

neural pathwaysImagine that you are standing at the edge of a dense forest. You want to go home, which is on the other side to the forest. You see a well-worn path entering the forest, and that path appears to be the easiest way through the trees.

But then, next to the path, you see a sign which reads “This Way to the Party!” An old friend appears and tells you, “Hey, this is a great party! You are missing out! Let’s go!” and he starts to pull you by the arm toward the well-worn path. You are tempted to join him, but on the other hand, you have been thinking lately that going down that well-worn path is not helping you to achieve your goals.

As you are thinking about this, another friend appears, a new friend, and he says, “I’ve got a better idea. Continue reading

Teen & Youth Online Recovery Program

Posted on March 26, 2013

Self-Management for teens and youth

SMART for Teens & YouthSelf-Management and Recovery Training for teens and youth is now being offered via the SMART Recovery website. The program includes strategies for dealing with peer pressure, coping with urges, managing emotional upsets, and more.

SMART for Teens & Youth

    Non 12-step based
    Self-Management means you are in control
    Provides tools for all stages of recovery
    Accepted by many courts as required meeting attendance
    Topic-based meetings, which encourage discussion
    A message board for any questions, issues, or discussions
    Peer support
    Run by trained volunteers who are SMART members themselves
    Supported by professional Volunteer Advisors
    SMART Recovery is recognized by NIDA and other agencies


An online message board forum for has been established for members aged 14-22 and a new Teen & Youth meeting has been added to the meeting schedule (Sunday nights at 8 PM ET). A SMART Handbook for Teens is also available through our online bookstore.

If drugs, alcohol, or other behaviors are getting in the way of what you really want, the Teen & Youth Team is looking forward to introducing you to “the power of choice”.

More information can be found by visiting the Teen & Youth landing page on the SMART Recovery website.


Posted on January 29, 2013

You Can Learn to Resist Urges

        “Self-control is what you build up, develop, create and learn by controlling your behavior repeatedly. ~Hank Robb

      Self Control Self-control is a skill. It’s not something you’re born with, it is something that requires work and practice. Have you ever said to yourself “I just don’t seem to have any self-control over my drinking, drugging, eating, etc.”? Ask yourself this question: “Am I well practiced at resisting urges and opportunities to drink, or to drug, or to eat in a disordered way?” Chances are your answer will be “No”. In fact, you may be very well practiced at giving in to those urges and opportunities to use. You might even be considered to be skilled at doing so.

      How do we acquire any skill? Think back to when you first learned to ride a bicycle. Did riding the bicycle feel like a normal behavior to you? Did you start out as an expert? Or did you spend hours and hours learning to ride without falling? And what was the result of those hours and hours of practice? Over time, you grew comfortable and confident in your new skill.

      Results begin at the end of your comfort zone.

      Getting control over your urges and opportunities to use is like Continue reading