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Shari from SMART Recovery Here...

Started by Shari, June 07, 2011, 11:45:44 AM

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Shari

Good Tuesday morning!

I am delighted to be joining you as a guest, and genuinely appreciate the invitation to do so!  (I'm a bit of a message board novice, so if I do anything incorrectly, don't hesitate to advise.)

I very much look forward to sharing information about SMART Recovery with you.  Before doing so, I think I'll focus this first post on the importance of choice in recovery programs.  SMART Recovery believes that individuals should be aware of all of their recovery program choices, then free to select the program that best matches their needs and beliefs.

You're likely aware of the existence of AA/NA.  Both are excellent programs that help many.  In addition, there are several other secular programs, including Women for Sobriety (WFS), Secular Organization for Sobriety (SOS), LifeRing, and SMART Recovery.  Each program has merit and I'd suggest that you do a bit of research as to which program may be best for you.  A rather simple/effective way to learn more about the programs is a fabulous book by Anne Fletcher called Sober for Good:New Solutions for Drinking Problems - Advice from Those Who Have Succeeded.  Each program is featured and has what Anne refers to as a "master" -- someone who has achieved sobriety for 5+ years using the program. It provides an excellent overview of each of the programs.

We are in the midst of a rather severe thunderstorm, so I think I'll get this posted before we have any power issues!  I very much look forward to answering questions, and I'll plan to share more specifically about SMART Recovery in future posts. 

Again, thanks for the invitation to participate, and I very much look forward to our communications.

Shari
SMART Recovery

Assyriankey

Welcome Shari!

We have a members' photo thread somewhere :)
Ignoring composer and wilson is key to understanding the ontological unity of the material world.

JudoChop

Welcome to the forum!

I have a 'friend' that believes AA is the only way to cure Alcoholism as that is how he succeeded himself, he dismisses other methods and has even accused alcoholics that have given up through willpower alone as not being true alcoholics in the first place. Now this is clearly not constructive advice as like you said, different methods suit different people. Do you have a link to some alternative methods for me to send him to perhaps open his horizons? I think this is the only way he'll become fully educated as I believe his advice is quite poisonous.

||thumbs||
Abdullah: You got me wrong, I'm not the Eel, I'm the one trying to prove to you that Eels are not Atheists.

FGOH

What would you say is different about SMART Recovery as compared to the other programs you mention? Do you think you have a Unique Selling Point, as it were?

Edited to add: Welcome, and thank you for your time.  ||smiley||
I'm not signing anything without consulting my lawyer.

rickymooston

Thanks so much for coming here shari.

On this board, dedicated to religion and philosophy we have
- at least one current member who has succeeeded using AA
- several people who have suffered from dealing with alcoholics in their families
- a lot of users who quit addictions cold turkey
- and a few who used "rational recovery" to quit drugs.
- we have several people dealing with a current additiction with varying degrees of success.

One of my best friends is on the brink. He is currently taking medication to make him sick when he drinks. It calms his nerves and his marriage has gone to hell. (In his case, marriage going to hell and him losing his ability to earn income properly occurred first. The drinking to "calm his nerves" came after. Naturally each of the problems feeds into the others. His earning was the reason his wife had concerns and his problem with her fed in to his ability to spend time with his clients and perform as a sales guy, this failure to perform well caused him to get dumped by his company which made things worse with the wife, etc, etc.)
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

Tish

Shari, welcome to the forum!   ||smiley||


I'm interested in the 'definition' of an addict.  I read an interesting article a few years back that suggested an alcoholic was someone who needed to drink, even if it was only one drink a day - if they had to have it, it was an addiction.  How does SMART Recovery define someone who needs their help?
"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill."
Buddha

JudoChop

Would you class alcoholism as a disease? as this seems to be a debatable grey area. If Alcoholism is a disease then wouldn't that make all other forms of addiction diseases too?
Abdullah: You got me wrong, I'm not the Eel, I'm the one trying to prove to you that Eels are not Atheists.

JustMyron

Hi Shari. I'm very glad you have agreed to visit us  ||smiley||

I hear people arguing over the different recovery program available, and sometimes people can become very attached to the one that worked for them. But it seems to me that there must be common ground between the different recovery programs as well - principles that it is agreed are important. If that is the case, could you talk about what some of those principles are?

Shari

Wow, lots of replies already!  Let me try to answer some of the above-noted questions.

I think when someone is successful with a program, they may be of the mindset that "this works for me so it should work for all".  Not sure if you'll be able to change the thinking of the person who believes AA is the only way, but making the person aware that others have benefited equally via other programs is at least a start.  I've had the pleasure to work for SMART Recovery for 17 years.  I've witnessed many changed lives.  I obviously think it's a terrific program.  But it may not be the best fit for everyone out there.

Here are some links to the other groups I mentioned:
Women for Sobriety:  www.womenforsobriety.org
SOS:  www.sossobriety.org
LifeRing: www.lifering.org
SMART Recovery: www.smartrecovery.org

In encourage you to visit each site, as I'm not expert in each of their programs, but I do interact with the Exec. Directors of those organizations to try to collaborate and help the world to become aware of alternatives.

How does SMART Recovery differ, i.e., what's our selling point?  SMART Recovery offers a 4-Point Program:

1 Motivation to Change
2. Coping with Urges
3. Managing Thoughts, Feelings & Behavior (problem solving)
4. Balancing Momentary and Enduring Satisfactions (lifestyle balance)

For each of the points we have a variety of tools.  (I'll get more into the program in later posts.) 

Thanks for the info regarding the readership here -- that's very helpful.  Some of you have recovered without a program, at least one recovered via AA or other programs, etc.  And, some of you may be seeking help on behalf of a loved one.  SMART Recovery has a message board forum for Concerned Significant Others, and we offer an online Family & Friends meeting every Monday night at 9 PM Eastern.  Our program for loved ones shares the SMART Recovery tools, as well as information about CRAFT, as well as using the book Get Your Loved One Sober, Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading and Threatening.  Here's a link to our webpage with a bit more info about our Family & Friends outreach: http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/family.htm

Regarding a definition of an addict, I'm not a treatment professional, but I'm sure that there's a "standard definition" out there somewhere.  We don't use the term addict or alcoholic, but focus on changing an individual's behavior.  So, we anticipate when someone seeks out the SMART Recovery program, that they are aware of the fact that their addictive behavior is creating an issue for them, and we have tools to help them alter their behaviors to attain lifestyle balance.

Is alcoholism a disease?  Ah, that one could be argued for decades! :)  SMART Recovery takes the following position:  "SMART Recovery tools can help you regardless of whether or not you believe addiction is a disease."  We have found that approximately 1/2 of our participants believe it's a disease, the other 1/2 don't, but all need to alter their behavior regardless of their belief regarding disease.

I'm not sure if it would be better to try to reply to individual questions, or to respond to all as I tried to do here? (And if I missed something, holler!)

Shari

Pastafarian

It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Former Believer

#10
Duplicate post.
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

Shari

Just Myron, good question.  What is the common ground?  While programs vary based on the approach to the help offered, I think the common ground lies in the fact that each organization is truly committed to helping people overcome their addictive behaviors.  And I do think people are inclined to believe that what worked for me would work for everyone.  But, the best outcomes are achieved when the individual can select the program that meets their needs and beliefs.  Fortunately, I believe that every program out there is dedicated to helping people, so I think I'd suggest that as the common ground.  I don't view this as a competition, I view it as saving and improving lives, and I know the individuals I work with at the other organizations I mentioned view it that way as well.

Shari

JudoChop

Thanks for the replies, Shari, most interesting.
Abdullah: You got me wrong, I'm not the Eel, I'm the one trying to prove to you that Eels are not Atheists.

Former Believer

Didn't see this thread!  I started another one.  Oh well...carry on!
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

FGOH

Do you think that addicts can successfully  decide to cut down rather than stop completely for the time being (perhaps with a view to stopping completely later on)?

Is it in some cases dangerous to stop abusing a substance suddenly without some form of prescribed drug to assist?
I'm not signing anything without consulting my lawyer.

Former Believer

#15
Duplicate post.
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

Shari

If I posted in the wrong place, my apologies!  It does seem the thread is being found! 

One other interesting tidbit.  There are a number of people who attend both AA and SMART Recovery meetings.  Some might think "no way -- they're too different".  While AA views individuals as powerless, SMART focuses on self-management, and while AA has a large spiritual component, SMART doesn't have a spiritual component to the program, but allows individuals to practice their faith/beliefs as they choose.  So, moral of the story is that while it may seem to some impossible, people attend both and take what they can use from each program.  And that's a beautiful thing!  (Sort of promotes the idea of many roads to recovery.)

Hemingway

 ||welcome|| Shari and thank you for popping in.

Looking forward to reading more of your comments.
"Dont try to fix me, I'm not broken"

Shari

Cutting down vs. stopping completely.  A couple of comments on that.  Many people, when they come to SMART Recovery, are unsure if abstinence is what they are seeking.  A number of tools we use for Point #1, such as a Cost/Benefit Analysis, Hierarchy of Values, and reviewing the Stages of Change can help people determine the best way forward for them.  SMART Recovery is an abstinence based program, so if the person determines that they choose abstinence, it's a great way forward.  However, there's another program that I failed to mention, which is really helpful for those who choose to moderate vs. abstain.  It's called Moderation Management, and can be found here:  http://www.moderation.org/

There are also times when it's highly appropriate for people to seek medical assistance if they're planning to abstain.  As you note, withdrawal can be dangerous. 

Shari

Former Believer, I hope everyone clicks on that link where you provided that wonderful introduction.  Very inspirational!  Thanks so much.

(Glad I admitted up front that I'm a novice message board user.)   ||wink||

nateswift

I'm sure your primary concern in the harmful behavior itself, but how do you point people toward becoming aware of bases for problem behavior that need to be addressed once the person is recovering from the primary problem?
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do-  Kerouac

Former Believer

Quote from: Shari on June 07, 2011, 01:00:16 PM
If I posted in the wrong place, my apologies!  It does seem the thread is being found! 

Yes, and I'm glad you're getting such a terrific response.  Following is the introduction that I provided on the other thread.  I think it gives some context for your visit.  I'll ask that forum management shut that thread down and leave the one that you started open.

Shari Allwood, Executive Director of SMART Recovery for the past 17 years, has agreed to join the forum to discuss SMART's methodology for dealing with substance abuse issues.  SMART is not a 12 step program.  It places responsibility on individuals to make self directed changes in their behaviors and lifestyles.

Substance abuse costs the US economy billions of dollars every year; in fact, according to one recent estimate by former Health, Education, and Welfare Secretary, Joseph Califano, the cost to the US economy is a staggering one trillion dollars per year. 

The economic numbers, however, do not tell the story of the sad loss of lives and potential due to people who struggle with addictions.  I imagine that every member of the forum has at least once close friend or relative who has suffered tremendous harm due to drinking, drugging, or smoking. 

I am one such person. From ages 21-42, I abused alcohol, and during the last 5 years of my abuse, a serious drug.  I was arrested 6 times, racked up an $85,000 debt to the IRS (which I am still paying off).  I lost numerous jobs due to my abuse, was physically assaulted and robbed numerous times, squandered tens of thousands of dollars, was homeless (lived in my car and an office),  destroyed relationships, harmed others, and lost the prime years of my life.  One year, when I made over $90,000, my problem was so bad that I actually would end up begging for quarters so I could by Ramen noodles until my next paycheck.  Which, of course, I would blow.

In 2004, I finally kicked my habit.  I did so with no help whatsoever, other than my own motivation and determination.

However, NHP (No Higher Power) self-help organizations have played a role in my recovery.  Circa 1990, an old girlfriend threatened to end our relationship unless I got help.  I went to an outpatient program in Evanston, IL where attending self help meetings were required as part of the program.  And by self help, they meant AA.  Due to the spirituality of AA, I strongly resisted.  One counselor was adamant that I attend AA, seeing it as more or less the proven way to deal with addictions.  However, the other counselor was more sympathetic to my strong resistance.  She did some research and located a group called Rational Recovery.

When I attended my first meeting, it was as if a tremendous weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.  The people there thought like I did....that' I wasn't powerless over my addiction and that I could choose to take control of my life.  The meetings were more informal and interactive than AA--something that appealed to me as well.  I was given a copy of the Small Book written by Jack Trimpey, the founder of Rational Recovery.  As I read, the words completely resonated with me.  These people and this philosophy were really good fits for me.  I felt free and comfortable.

Circa 1995, the founder of Rational Recovery, Jack Trimpey, abandoned group meetings and REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy based on the teachings of Albert Ellis) in favor of making a one-time commitment to sobriety and the use of AVRT (Addiction Voice Recognition Technique).  SMART Recovery essentially picked up where Trimpey left off. 

There has been a fair deal of discussion on this forum as to how "real alcoholics" can change their behaviors.  Many people are familiar with 12 steps, and certainly we have one strong advocate of that philosophy here on this forum.  My hope is that Shari Allwood's appearance here helps shed some light on some alternative ways of handling substance abuse problems.

With that, I'd like to thank Shari for her gracious willingness to share her expertise with us.  I now open the floor to her to make and introductory statment.  After than, please feel free to ask her anything you like about SMART.
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

Shari

Quote from: nateswift on June 07, 2011, 01:11:58 PM
I'm sure your primary concern in the harmful behavior itself, but how do you point people toward becoming aware of bases for problem behavior that need to be addressed once the person is recovering from the primary problem?

Let me try this "quote" thing, so everyone's aware I'm replying to nateswift.  If I misinterpret your question, don't hesitate to set me straight. I think what you're suggesting is that often there are things in life that led the person to turn to drugs or alcohol, and that simply giving up the drugs/alcohol won't resolve the full issue.  And, you're quite correct.  The SMART Recovery program uses a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, and Motivational Enhancement Techniques.  As the person uses the program and tools, they will be encouraged to change their thinking in order to alter their behavior.  Point 3 of the program, is managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (problem solving).  So, the individual would be encouraged to view those things that they believe caused or allowed them to turn to drink/drug, and rationalize them.  Someone mentioned a friend who turned to drinking based on financial and marital issues.  Simply stopping drinking won't automatically fix those two other issues, which also need to be addressed.  And the program tools would help the individual to do so.  Does that help?

FGOH

Following on from your reply to nateswift, there are also going to be problems that may not have existed before things got out of control. For example someone may now have criminal convictions, money problems, no job, no spouse, estranged family etc etc. As well as encouraging the person to alter their behaviour do you have links with organisations that can provide practical help with things like finding a job? I am supposing that mainstream employers are not necessarily all that keen on taking on a newly recovered addict with criminal convictions but assume that there must be those who are more sympathetic.
I'm not signing anything without consulting my lawyer.

Shari

FGOH, while our primary mission is to help people overcome their addictive behavior, we try to provide some special events with speakers to address specific topics.  In Dec/Jan of last year, we ran a 6-week online employment workshop.  It wasn't specific to match people with existing jobs, but to help people overcome procrastination, deal with the emotional upsets being out of work and experiencing financial distress can bring, etc.  It was very well received, and transcripts of the sessions are available on our message boards.  And, we're in the midst of hosting an online series on "The Anatomy of Emotions".  The first workshop was an overview, and the 2nd was on Fear and Anger.  We have just begun recording and providing podcasts of these series, which are available here:  http://smartrecovery.libsyn.com/

BTW, for those of you who have a friend or loved one struggling with an addiction, check out the podcast with Dr. Robert Meyers where he joined one of the Monday night F&F meetings.

Jay

Quote from: Shari on June 07, 2011, 01:04:34 PM
However, there's another program that I failed to mention, which is really helpful for those who choose to moderate vs. abstain.  It's called Moderation Management, and can be found here:  http://www.moderation.org/

Wow...that is interesting info. Something I never would have guessed. No questions yet, as the ones I was planning on asking have already been asked. :)
I am me, if you dont like it, tough luck!

Shari

This evening (Tuesday, 6/7) at 9 PM Eastern time, Dr. Tom Horvath, President of SMART Recovery will be interviewed on blogtalkradio.  I'm not sure precisely what Monica's questions will be, but you're all invited to join in!  Here's a link that includes the call in number, etc.: http://bit.ly/ijmXTA   (I hope I did that link correctly.)

Mooby the Golden Sock

History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man.--BÖC

Hemingway

I can confirm that the link seems to be working on this side of the pond also!

Huzzah!
"Dont try to fix me, I'm not broken"

Maggie the Opinionated

This is probably a stupid question but do you think morbid obesity falls into (or can fall into) the addictive behavior category? I don't mean people with 15 or 30 or so pounds extra. I mean those who are supersized 300 lbs and more who seem to use food the way others might use alcohol. Needless-to-say I ask because I know someone in that category and have often wondered what might help. I also know 3 people who have had gastric by-pass surgery and, after losing tons of weight, gained it all back because of relentless eating.

Shari

Maggie, that's not at all a stupid question!  While there may be some health-related issues with some individuals who are obese, food can be an addictive behavior as well. (I can relate, as when I'm stressed, it's so easy to head to the fridge!)  We have an eating disorders forum on our message boards, and we have people who participate in the program in order to gain control over their eating behaviors.  (Mind you, in this case, abstinence isn't an option, but moderating the behavior and changing the things that are causing one to overeat are addressed.)  The same question, on the other side of the equation, is binging/purging.  That can be an addictive behavior, as well. So if an over eater or someone who purges attends the program, they use the tools for behavioral change. 

Shari

I'll be away from the computer for a while, but will look forward to continuing the communications, so feel free to post questions.  At the risk of putting you all to sleep, I'm going to share an overview of the SMART Recovery program as I provided it for a newsletter for a treatment facility.  I tried to be concise (no easy task for me with words!), and I think it might be helpful to you to gain a little more insight into the SMART Recovery program.

Are you familiar with SMART Recovery??
by Shari Allwood, Executive Director, SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery? supports individuals who desire to abstain or are considering abstinence from any substance or activity addiction. (The SMART acronym stands for Self-Management And Recovery Training.) Our program utilizes a collection of scientifically-proven techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, as well as some Motivational Enhancement techniques. 

SMART Recovery?s mission is to offer donation-requested, self-empowering, science-based, face-to-face and online support groups for abstaining from any substance or activity addiction.  There are currently over 650 meetings worldwide, daily online meetings, and a 24/7 chat room. 

SMART Recovery provides a 4-Point Program? which includes the following components:

Point #1: Enhancing and maintaining motivation to abstain
Point #2: Coping with urges
Point #3: Managing thoughts, feelings and behavior (problem-solving)
Point #4: Balancing momentary and enduring satisfactions (lifestyle balance)

A variety of tools and techniques are employed for each of the above-noted points.

Our program is abstinence-based.  That being said, quite often, there are times when a person who is new to SMART Recovery may be considering abstinence, but is not yet committed to such a plan.  (This is where Point #1 and its tools can be helpful?an example being a Cost/Benefit Analysis, which can often help individuals determine why they desire to choose an abstinence recovery path.)  These newcomers are invited to attend several SMART Recovery meetings, to gain an understanding of the program and tools, and to enhance their motivation to determine if they choose to pursue abstinence.

In addition to the Cost/Benefit Analysis, program tools include the Change Plan Worksheet, Hierarchy of Values, ABCs of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (for both urge coping and emotional upsets); DISARM (Destructive Images Self-talk Awareness and Refusal Method); Brainstorming; and Role-playing/Rehearsing.

Meetings typically last either 60 or 90 minutes and are designed to be highly interactive.  It?s often been said by facilitators that the meetings which they feel have been most advantageous to the participants are those meetings in which the facilitator seldom had the need to speak.  Participants are encouraged to share their personal experiences during meetings and discuss the tools that (1) help them personally on an ongoing basis and (2) allow them to help a fellow participant who is seeking assistance.
 
SMART Recovery meetings follow an outline, which includes:
?   A welcome to attendees and an opening statement
?   Check-in (personal update)
?   Agenda setting
?   Working Time (focused on the 4-Point Program)
?   Hat passing (financially, SMART Recovery relies primarily on sale of publications and personal donations to survive)
?   Check-out (meeting review and personal plans for the week)
?   Socializing (announcements, publications purchase, Q&A, meeting verification forms, general socializing)

SMART Recovery is almost entirely operated by volunteers, whose primary activities are facilitating face-to-face and online meetings, and providing additional recovery support via the SMART Recovery website message boards and chat room. 

I could go on and on!  But let me conclude by simply saying that I?ve had the honor of working for SMART Recovery for 17 years, and I?ve had the privilege of witnessing so many changed lives! But rather than continue extolling the many virtues of SMART, I?ll instead direct you to the wealth of information available on our website, www.smartrecovery.org.  At the Central Office, both Jodi (our Manager of Network Services) and I will be pleased to assist if you have any questions.

The last sentence in our Mission is:  To support the availability of choices in recovery.  We are grateful for the opportunity to acquaint you with our organization, and we invite you to participate in our online services, face-to-face meetings ? or to volunteer to start a meeting in your community!  We are confident that you will find participation in SMART Recovery to be a most worthwhile and rewarding experience.

Contact information:  SMART Recovery, 7537 Mentor Avenue, Suite 306, Mentor, OH 44060; Phone: 440/951-5357; Toll-free: 866/951-5357; Email: information@smartrecovery.org; Website: www.smartrecovery.org.
***********
I'll be back later! Am thoroughly enjoying these discussions.  Again, don't hesitate to post questions if you have any.

Kiahanie

+1 to you, Shari, for taking the time to visit with us.

I'm one of IGI's recovering alcoholics. AA helped the first couple years until I moved here. I could never deal honestly with that Higher Power thing, couldn't find a local AA group hospitable to an atheist, and never finished the 12 steps. I wish there had been something like SMART here when I arrived, but I was 5 years too early. (Just checked, there still isn't a Smart program here.) 24 years sober.

I am also a recovering nicotine addict. In both cases, I think it was the peer group support aspect that was most beneficial. (I did use the nicotine patch, though -that really helped.)

No questions yet, just checking in and listening and learning.
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

Pastafarian

Hi Shari. Thank you for coming!

This post might ramble a bit but I'll try to keep it succinct and structured!

I've been sober for abbot 9 weeks now, I can't remember exactly the date I quit.
I wasn't too bad, about a half bottle of whiskey every night before bed.
I think I've been successful so far largely due to Rational Recovery's simple message and the encouraging emails I've swapped with Former Believer (FB).

I can remember spending countless nights sitting on my balcony with a VERY smart friend who is struggling with a marijuana addiction trying to get to the root of our addictive behavior/natures. We'd analyze ourselves and eachother to death, with total freedom and a lack of fear but we never really got anywhere. Why do we drink? Is it genetic? What's lacking in our lives? What are we running away from? On and on it went.

(I have a question about this last point later)

Then I heard about Trimpey's "beast" concept and had some chats with FB and BAM! Suddenly it made sense: I simply drank because I liked to get high. I am happily married, have a beautiful 20 month old daughter, I love my job as a musician/producer and have let go of most of my anger and hopelessness I felt upon reconverting from Christianity 5 years ago.
I just liked the feeling of lying in the bath reading, high on alcohol. I get a little pang thinking about that feeling writing this (haven't thought about that in awhile, it's a little scary).

Trimpey's approach really resonates with me. BUT
Like I say, there's that longing from my "beast" (base-instinct seeking pleasure. Impotent except for persuasion but so insistent at times, and LOUD!)

So I looked at the recent SMART article on stages of change (FB is your unsung missionary, good man!) and did a CBA, which I can see can help, my concern is, and here's the question I mentioned ealier: how to put this...

Do you think that there is a danger of getting stuck in self examination, self absorption, with the SMART method? I know so little of the ins and outs of how much SMART followers think about this stuff but I like Trimpey's message to just quit! It's seems ridiculous, I know, but I really believe that's what it boils down to. I'm starting to think though that maybe finding a way to rewire my brain where alcohol was previously involved is what I might need. I'm just afraid of getting lost in introspection and (forgive me! I dunno) bulls**t philosophy and pop psychology. Make sense at all?

Thanks again for your time!
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Pastafarian

ps I'm on a phone so forgive the damn autocorrects! (DEconverted, not reconverted from Christianity)
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Shari

Kiahanie, do keep in mind that if there's not a local SMART Recovery meeting, we have daily online meetings, an active message boards, and the 24/7 chat.  (Keep that in mind for you, not others, as you've got 24 years sober -- good for you!!!)  And, we continue to strive to seek individuals willing to start a meeting in their community, and the number of available meetings continues to increase.  I'm delighted that you found the peer support groups helpful to you!

Quote from: Kiahanie on June 07, 2011, 04:18:32 PM
+1 to you, Shari, for taking the time to visit with us.

I'm one of IGI's recovering alcoholics. AA helped the first couple years until I moved here. I could never deal honestly with that Higher Power thing, couldn't find a local AA group hospitable to an atheist, and never finished the 12 steps. I wish there had been something like SMART here when I arrived, but I was 5 years too early. (Just checked, there still isn't a Smart program here.) 24 years sober.

I am also a recovering nicotine addict. In both cases, I think it was the peer group support aspect that was most beneficial. (I did use the nicotine patch, though -that really helped.)

No questions yet, just checking in and listening and learning.

Shari

Pastafarian, excellent news on the 9 weeks sober!  And the focus on JUST QUIT is a solid one! 

You asked: "Do you think that there is a danger of getting stuck in self examination, self absorption, with the SMART method? I know so little of the ins and outs of how much SMART followers think about this stuff but I like Trimpey's message to just quit! It's seems ridiculous, I know, but I really believe that's what it boils down to. I'm starting to think though that maybe finding a way to rewire my brain where alcohol was previously involved is what I might need. I'm just afraid of getting lost in introspection and (forgive me! I dunno) bulls**t philosophy and pop psychology. Make sense at all?"

I hear what you're saying, for sure.  And it's funny, because as I was reading your post, I was thinking Pastafarian would benefit from a Cost/Benefit Analysis, so I'm delighted that FB has been communicating and making some recommendations, as well!  We've been reviewing the fact that often times there are issues underlying the behavior (or issues that surfaced because of the behavior).  One of the benefits of the SMART Recovery tools is that in addition to helping with recovery-related issues, they're excellent life tools. So, I think that self-examination can be very helpful to setting goals and determining why one wants to cease the addictive behavior. And many of the tools are designed to examine our thoughts/feelings/behaviors (rewiring the brain, so to speak as you note).  And it's also helpful to come up with some what we refer to as Vital Absorbing Creative Interests (VACIs) to replace the time that used to be spent drinking/drugging.  I'm not sure if that's a very helpful answer, but I think self examination is crucial to not only give up the drink/drugs, but to gain a rewarding and fulfilling life.

Here's a fun tool, and perhaps you'll help me out by participating.  (Don't mean to put you on the spot, all may feel free to do this.)  This is what we refer to as the Hierarchy of Values.  Write down the 5 most important things in your life.  Doesn't have to be in exact order of importance, just the things that are most valuable/important to you.  After you've all had some time to think about this, I'll come back and share some more.  (This is almost like homework, eh?!)   ||grin||


Pastafarian

Awwwww moooooom!  ||grin||

Ok.
      Family. (being a good husband and father)
      Creating music
      Entertainment (a fun life. Good TV shows, this forum, the Internet, reading)
      Learning (Chinese, science, music production)
      Discussing life, the Universe and everything with friends.



It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Kiahanie

1.Family
2.Political activity
2.Life in the Spirit
2.Being outdoors
3.Learning about other cultures & times (travel, history, archeology, anthropology)
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

Shari

Pata and Kia, excellent examples.  Now, if you plan to participate in this little exercise, and haven't written down your top 5 values, please do so before reading below.

What's really interesting is that people NEVER (or at least very rarely) ever put "booze" or "drugs" as being highly important, but often those behaviors are controlling their lives!  So, in a gentle manner, we then inquire how are the booze or drugs (or behavior) benefiting the things that you most value in life?  Most often, they don't!  In the case of family, often there are issues based on the drinking/drugging that impact spouse/kids/parents, etc.  Then, if the people carry their list, when an urge strikes, it's another item to take out of your pocket to remember that these are the things that are most important to me, and are not helped by drinking, etc.

Pasta, it would be sort of interesting if you would view drinking as being helpful to your creativity when creating music?  It's rare that the behavior is actually helpful to what we most value, but in that case, you might be able to honestly say "I feel more creative and can create more music if I have a bit of a buzz going?"

Anyway, hopefully that helps to gain a little insight as to how the addiction is impacting the things that are most important in your life.

Pastafarian

Ok. That's cool. A simple list to carry with me (along with the CBA exercise) as ammo. Makes sense.

QuotePasta, it would be sort of interesting if you would view drinking as being helpful to your creativity when creating music?  It's rare that the behavior is actually helpful to what we most value, but in that case, you might be able to honestly say "I feel more creative and can create more music if I have a bit of a buzz going?"

Well, I know that weed enhances my hearing. I can hear the size of the room a snare drum was recorded in with weed but a) similar results can be achieved by hard work and practice b) I hate the feeling marijuana gives me and c) it certainly doesn't make me more creative. I get dumb on the stuff.

Alcohol, I've discovered, makes my reaction time too slow to play well live and when creating in studio it makes me too unfocused and lazy. Lucky me on all counts, I guess  ||runaway||

But loads of great jazz muzos went down this way :/
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Shari

Pasta, that's actually good news that you don't find drinking/drugging to be helpful to your creativity with music.  Sometimes when we do a Cost/Benefit Analysis (CBA) people are surprised that we "admit" that there are perceived benefits of drinking/drugging.  (Hey, people wouldn't do it if there weren't.)  So in case some of you are wondering, what's a CBA, feel free to give this a whirl.

Take a piece of paper and divide it in half using a pen or pencil both vertically and horizontally.  You'll have 4 empty squares on the page.  Top left, put "Benefits".  Top right, put "Costs".  On the left side of the page on the top half, write "Continuing to Use".  Left side bottom of the page write "Quitting".

Then, begin to fill in each of the blocks, being honest with yourself.  There's also a version of this that I'm fond of where the top left side is "Short Term", and the bottom left side is "Long Term".  That tends to help people see rather clearly that some of those short term benefits (such as lubricates socialization, etc.) are outweighed by long term costs (money, health, etc.)

(That's a difficult exercise to describe without the benefit of being able to draw!  Hopefully it made sense.)

JudoChop

Hi Shari, a member has asked me to post his questions here as he can't do it himself at the minute due to being restricted in the forum dungeon for naughty boys and girls. :D He can read your response but can't reply as his privileges have been temporarily removed.

Quote from: David M on June 07, 2011, 01:27:12 PM

First, I would like to say that I applaud any effort to help alcoholics and drug addicts recover, and point out that Alcoholics Anonymous, like Smart Recovery, encourages those who attend to follow their own conscience when choosing the path that will work best for them.  Certainly with the scope of the problem in our society today, other effective alternatives are desperately needed.  Sadly, my experience is that those who want to recover are generally able to do so if they have help, and those who do not are able to find excuses why they cannot or don't need to stop or moderate their addictive behavior.

I have been active in the recovering community in Greater Cleveland for over 25 years now, and this is the first I have ever heard of Smart Recovery, even though your headquarters is in Mentor, just east of Cleveland.  Why do you suppose that is?  Do any treatment centers in our area recommend or offer Smart Recovery as an alternative to AA?  Do any of the courts which frequently send violators to AA and NA meetings permit attendance at Smart Recovery meetings instead?

Finally, I know AA has had a big head start here, but there are over 1000 weekly AA meetings in The Greater Cleveland Area, and just one Smart Recovery meeting, at your headquarters in Mentor.  Why do you think your program is having such a hard time catching on here?
Abdullah: You got me wrong, I'm not the Eel, I'm the one trying to prove to you that Eels are not Atheists.

Shari

Hi, David!  Oh, yes, publicity and PR, i.e., becoming known, has been a challenge for each of the alternative programs, a good bit based on the fact that we don't have large budgets.  But ... I will say that I'm starting to see major progress with SMART Recovery (and other programs) becoming better known.  Much of that is due to therapists becoming familiar with alternatives and recommending them to clients. And, as is the case here, we try to take the opportunity to share information in "free" forums, etc.  But, I'm with you ... we need to determine more ways to get the word out.  AA has 75+ years, whereas most of the alternative groups have 12-20.  And I also think that AA is so well known within the treatment community that it's often the "go to" recommendation.

We did have a meeting for a number of years on the campus of Case, but the facilitator ended up moving.  The meeting in Mentor is actually run by my husband, who grew weary of me lamenting we didn't have a meeting nearby the headquarters.  :)  He took our distance training and started a meeting a bit over 2 years ago. (By the way, he finds the experience tremendously rewarding.)  I'm not familiar with any treatment programs in NE Ohio that recommend or offer meetings, though I have heard from a few folks over time who heard about SMART via the pain management clinic at the Cleveland Clinic. 

The court question is an interesting one! More and more courts seem willing to accept meeting verifications from SMART Recovery (including our online meetings).  It seems a tad hit and miss, and we sometimes send a letter encouraging the person's parole officer or courts to agree to allow for SMART meetings.  Our summer issue of the News & Views newsletter will have an article about courts -- that's due out July 1st.  Here's a link to the spring issue:  http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/Newsletters/Newsletters/Spring2011News&Views.pdf

Interestingly, SMART Recovery is being very well received in the UK and Australia, and we now have SMART Recovery organizations in both locations.  It's been a slow go, but I do see things "picking up", and hopefully in the not-too-distant future, SMART Recovery and the other programs will be known to all.

And I'm in 100% agreement that unless the person is motivated to change, there are all sorts of excuses that can be employed to prevent doing so, regardless of the program.

(Thanks, JudoChop, for posting the questions.)

Shari

I'm soon heading out for a seminar that runs until 8:30 p.m., then I'll be hurrying home to try to catch Dr. Horvath's SMART Recovery interview at 9 p.m. EDT (reminder, all are welcome, info here: http://bit.ly/ijmXTA).  So, if you post a question ... I'm not ignoring you, and I'll very much look forward to responding tomorrow!  It's been a real pleasure "meeting" so many of you today.  A lovely evening to all!

Mooby the Golden Sock

^^ Podcast is still going for those joining in late.
History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man.--BÖC

JustMyron

I caught the latter half of that podcast, and it was really cool.

A survey they mentioned, which has some interesting findings about alcohol dependence in the US population: http://www.spectrum.niaaa.nih.gov/features/alcoholism.aspx

Also, Shari, this reminds me of another question I had. I see on your website, it says that your approach to addiction recovery evolves as evidence-based practices in addiction recovery evolve. So I was wondering, how has the SMART recovery approach changed over time, and what sources of information do you use to guide that change?

Pastafarian

That study is super encouraging. My fellow band members are under 30 and while one of them can't abstain at all another takes 6 weeks off every year. He's an animal the rest of the time. Something besides AA is needed for him, clearly.
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Hemingway

Wow..... here is some information from the link Myron provided that surprised me:

QuoteAbout 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment.

Very interesting......  ||think||
"Dont try to fix me, I'm not broken"

Shari

Good morning from NE Ohio!

I'm so delighted that a few of you were able to catch the blog radio show last night. It was interesting and I think Tom did a great job of answering questions as they arose. 

Thanks much for posting that link, JustMyron! Hemingway, it is rather amazing that as much as 75% of people recover without treatment or programs.  That's referred to as "natural recovery".  When I think about that, I'm even more amazed because of the # of people who attend AA and other meetings.  Lots of people out there with alcohol-related issues, for sure.

About the "science" question. We have a collection of professionals who monitor what's going on in the field of addiction treatment, and if there's a new area that has proven successful, we then review how to best incorporate it into the program (by adding new tools, etc.)  We'll soon be adding some information to the program regarding relaxation and awareness techniques that have been proven to be helpful to those in recovery.  I can't point to any massive changes in the program since its inception, but then I guess science and the treatment of addiction take time to evolve.  As it does, we incorporate what has been researched and proven helpful.

Which reminds me of one other difference about SMART Recovery.  We have a collaborative approach between professionals, peers, and non-peers to facilitate meetings and run the organization.  That's a little different model than other organizations, which are generally 100% peer led.  (That wouldn't necessarily be obvious to a person attending the program, but it is a little different structure.)  Just another little tidbit of info there.   ||cheesy||

Reminder ... if I missed any questions, or misunderstood a question, don't hesitate to let me know.  I am thoroughly enjoying the conversations here.


Former Believer

One of the key differences between AA and approaches like SMART, SOS, and Rational Recovery is that AA emphasizes that one is powerless over alcohol and in need of a deity for sobriety.  How does SMART address these issues?
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

rickymooston

Quote from: Former Believer on June 08, 2011, 12:24:18 PM
One of the key differences between AA and approaches like SMART, SOS, and Rational Recovery is that AA emphasizes that one is powerless over alcohol and in need of a deity for sobriety.  How does SMART address these issues?

higher power doesn't have to be a deity tho, its left undefined.
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

Former Believer

I have found Jack Trimpey's AVRT (Addictive Voice Recognition Technique) to be an extremely helpful tool in combating urges to use.  For those unfamiliar with Trimpey's approach, he basically says that there are two voices within your head.  The first, which is based in your primitive, midbrain, is the "Addictive Voice" or "Beast".  The Beast is fed by one's instinctual biological urges and cares only about getting high.  The other voice is the real "You" which resides in your cerebral cortex and which has ultimate control over whether you drink or use.

Trimpey compares the Beast to a quadriplegic which is completely dependent on "You" to give it what it wants.  All it can do is whine or beg or try to convince you that it is in your best interests to drink or use.  But "You" must give it what it wants. 

Although I haven't seriously contemplated using again in recent years, I do get cravings for beer and drugs (although they almost always relatively mild).  Sometimes when I'm in the grocery store and pass by the beer, I think "Wow, a cold beer sounds good right now".  But then, I identify it as the "Beast" speaking to me and think of it as a pathetic little bastard, sitting in a wheelchair, begging me for a drink.  Two things about this image help me:  First, by externalizing my urge to use as coming from a separate entity, I view the desire to use as coming from an enemy, not me.  "It" wants a drink, not "me".  It is much easier for me to deprive an enemy of something that it wants than to deprive myself.  And secondly, by viewing my enemy as a pathetic, impotent creature constrained to a wheelchair, I realize just how much power I have in refraining from using.  I can't begin to tell you how such thinking mitigates the feelings that one gets that the urge to use is almost too great to resist.  Bottom line is that once I identify the "addictive voice", I remember what it did to destroy my life, see it as a pathetic shriveled up beggar, and dismiss it with a curt little "f---k you".  (Excuse my language, but that terminologyording really works for me.)

Although Trimpey has trademarked the term "AVRT", I was wondering if SMART uses anything similar (not talking about REBT) to AVRT and the concept of the "addictive voice" or "beast"?
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

Shari

Quote from: Former Believer on June 08, 2011, 12:24:18 PM
One of the key differences between AA and approaches like SMART, SOS, and Rational Recovery is that AA emphasizes that one is powerless over alcohol and in need of a deity for sobriety.  How does SMART address these issues?

SMART stands for Self-Management & Recovery Training, and individuals who find the program beneficial generally aren't inclined to feel powerless over their drug of choice, but believe that they can change their behavior.  The SMART program focuses on the individual's ability to use the tools and techniques to overcome the behavior ... so it's more of self-empowerment vs. considering oneself powerless.   SMART Recovery?s Position on Spirituality: We believe that the power to change addictive behaviors resides within each individual and does not depend upon adherence to any spiritual viewpoint. The use of religious or spiritual beliefs and practices in recovery is a personal choice and not a part of our program.  We have people from a variety of spiritual backgrounds -- devout Christians, Buddhists, etc., and we also have folks who are agnostic or atheist.  It doesn't create an issue because spirituality is not part of the program or meeting discussions.

Shari

FB asked:  Although Trimpey has trademarked the term "AVRT", I was wondering if SMART uses anything similar (not talking about REBT) to AVRT and the concept of the "addictive voice" or "beast"?

Excellent question.  One of the SMART Recovery Tools is DISARM (Destructive Images Self-talk Awareness & Refusal Method).  Here's a link to a file with more info.  http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/Tools_and_Homework/Other_Homework/Disarm.pdf.  Hope that helps.

none

read the pdf...
I think you are taking a gamble that people don't die tomorrow.
how long after I type amen do I get the money?
I'm lost, if you see me you are lost also
If Jesus believed in himself he wouldn't have been Jewish.

Former Believer

Quote from: none on June 08, 2011, 01:38:17 PM
read the pdf...
I think you are taking a gamble that people don't die tomorrow.

Not following what you are saying, None.
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

none

people die, and their death doesn't happen tomorrow.
'eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die' was the reference.
I take it to mean if you don't do x,y,z today, tomorrow you will not have a chance.
how long after I type amen do I get the money?
I'm lost, if you see me you are lost also
If Jesus believed in himself he wouldn't have been Jewish.

Shari

Hi, None.  I think I'm following you.  You're referencing this statement: "Indeed, the trouble with a philosophy of 'Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die' is that tomorrow comes and we aren't dead! So, we are wise to first make ourselves aware of our destructive self-talk (thinking that is contrary to our long-term interests) and then refuse to go along with it."

You're correct, it's not impossible that someone will be dead tomorrow! I think that's a little "play on words" to show that our behaviors of today can have long-term impacts, if not immediate ones.  Do you get the broad picture of DISARM, though?  The concept of refusing to go along with destructive self-talk?

none

nope.
I pretty much drink, eat, and be merry all the time.
but now I don't have time to stay online.
I have to go fix a door some crackhead kicked in.
how long after I type amen do I get the money?
I'm lost, if you see me you are lost also
If Jesus believed in himself he wouldn't have been Jewish.

none

maybe I should clarify...
a burglar broke into a house, but I don't know if they do drugs or not.
sorry crackheads....
how long after I type amen do I get the money?
I'm lost, if you see me you are lost also
If Jesus believed in himself he wouldn't have been Jewish.

Shari

Alas, that is indeed a choice you make.  I'm not sure if you've had issues with drinking and you're not motivated to change or if you simply don't drink or are a social drinker.  Regardless, I wish you all the best, and at least you know that there are a variety of programs available to you if you choose to seek a recovery program!

none

yeah thanks, but I like being drunk.
now I got a question.
what is the difference between self-control and lack of desire?
how long after I type amen do I get the money?
I'm lost, if you see me you are lost also
If Jesus believed in himself he wouldn't have been Jewish.

Shari

Quote from: none on June 08, 2011, 03:28:04 PM
what is the difference between self-control and lack of desire?

An interesting question.  I don't think one is inclined to use self control if there's a lack of desire to do so.  You note that you enjoy being drunk, and you don't have any desire or goal to change that.  And that's okay ... I'm not here to tell you what you should or shouldn't do!

At some point, it may become apparent to you (or others ... I'm not picking on you) that drinking is actually getting in the way of enjoying life and achieving goals.  Examples might be marital issues, a DUI, job loss, etc. At present, you find the benefits of drinking outweigh the costs of drinking.  So, I wouldn't anticipate you exhibiting self control unless you chose to change, and became desirous of changing.

Kiahanie

OTOH, self-control is not always about abstinence. I kinda hate to mention it in a thread about recovery, but there are people who use the drug of their choice in moderation, or to the point where they get what they want and no further. That self-regulating also seems to be self control, and most adults seem to have it.

That's one of the things I lost during my drunk years, but eventually recovered, along with the realization that for me, alcohol will always have a seriously corrosive effect on my self-control. (I quit drinking for over a year following a DUI, but felt I was in control and could drink moderately, until sometime later I realized I was no longer in control. Even then, it took another year and half and another DUI to assert myself and quit. Seriously corrosive.)
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

Shari

Kia, no need to not feel free to remind folks that there are people who use their DOC in moderation.  An excellent reminder.  (Don't forget about Moderation Management for drinking.  They don't address other drugs, but it's a really solid program.) 

And it's interesting, because on the SMART Recovery message boards, there are so many like you, who desired to moderate and gave it a whirl (sometimes a few times) but determined it wasn't going to work for them.  Works for some, but not all.  Again, that's why it's so helpful to have a variety of programs available to meet a variety of needs and beliefs. 

Former Believer

Quote from: none on June 08, 2011, 03:28:04 PM
yeah thanks, but I like being drunk.

I did too.  I liked it a lot.  But, at some point, the cons outweighed the pros for me.

Do you perceive drinking as being harmful to you in any way?
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

Former Believer

Quote from: Shari on June 08, 2011, 04:26:29 PM
Kia, no need to not feel free to remind folks that there are people who use their DOC in moderation.  An excellent reminder.  (Don't forget about Moderation Management for drinking.  They don't address other drugs, but it's a really solid program.) 

And it's interesting, because on the SMART Recovery message boards, there are so many like you, who desired to moderate and gave it a whirl (sometimes a few times) but determined it wasn't going to work for them.  Works for some, but not all.  Again, that's why it's so helpful to have a variety of programs available to meet a variety of needs and beliefs.

Interesting discussion.  To be honest with you, I'm not sure that I couldn't drink moderately at this point. 

I actually did for awhile when I was in my early 20s.  I cut back, went to bars, and stopped at two drinks.  But, I felt unsatisfied.  2 drinks was like having an appetizer and being extremely hungry.  Or like having foreplay in sex and then not finishing. 

In addition to drinking moderately not being particularly satisfying, I am cognizant of the fact that drinking impairs your ability to think clearly.  Even after a couple of beers, your judgment is somewhat altered.  Not that I couldn't restrain myself, but I don't want to be in a compromised position.  And, I want to set a good example for my 4 year old son, as well.

I have enough reasons not to drink now...moderately or insanely. 
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

Kiahanie

Quote from: Former Believer on June 08, 2011, 04:33:20 PM
Quote from: Shari on June 08, 2011, 04:26:29 PM
Kia, no need to not feel free to remind folks that there are people who use their DOC in moderation.  An excellent reminder.  (Don't forget about Moderation Management for drinking.  They don't address other drugs, but it's a really solid program.) 

And it's interesting, because on the SMART Recovery message boards, there are so many like you, who desired to moderate and gave it a whirl (sometimes a few times) but determined it wasn't going to work for them.  Works for some, but not all.  Again, that's why it's so helpful to have a variety of programs available to meet a variety of needs and beliefs.

Interesting discussion.  To be honest with you, I'm not sure that I couldn't drink moderately at this point. 

I actually did for awhile when I was in my early 20s.  I cut back, went to bars, and stopped at two drinks.  But, I felt unsatisfied.  2 drinks was like having an appetizer and being extremely hungry.  Or like having foreplay in sex and then not finishing. 

In addition to drinking moderately not being particularly satisfying, I am cognizant of the fact that drinking impairs your ability to think clearly.  Even after a couple of beers, your judgment is somewhat altered.  Not that I couldn't restrain myself, but I don't want to be in a compromised position.  And, I want to set a good example for my 4 year old son, as well.

I have enough reasons not to drink now...moderately or insanely.

Yup to all the above^^^^ except "Not that I couldn't restrain myself" ... I couldn't. All the rest is me, though.
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

Pastafarian

It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

none

Quote from: Former Believer on June 08, 2011, 04:26:59 PM
Quote from: none on June 08, 2011, 03:28:04 PM
yeah thanks, but I like being drunk.

I did too.  I liked it a lot.  But, at some point, the cons outweighed the pros for me.

Do you perceive drinking as being harmful to you in any way?
yeah it kills brain cells, ruins my liver, and gives me a buzz.
how long after I type amen do I get the money?
I'm lost, if you see me you are lost also
If Jesus believed in himself he wouldn't have been Jewish.

Shari

Okay, so, at the risk of potentially offending None (which is not my intent), let me share with you how a facilitator in a meeting would handle this situation (if it occurred in a meeting vs. on these message boards) based on their training.

None, I understand that you are choosing not to abstain, however, we're here to discuss SMART Recovery, and the tools and techniques that can help people achieve their goals.  So, you're invited to stay for the meeting and observe, and see if you find anything that can be helpful to you. You're also welcome to return, but please understand that we're not here to discuss how much fun drinking/drugging, or other activities were to any of us. We're focused on how to cease those activities.  Again, please feel free to stay and observe, and you're welcome to return to the next meeting, if you'd like.  Simply understand that we're not going to turn the focus of the meeting to anything beyond the standard agenda, and what can help those whose goal it is to abstain.

none

nah it's cool, I understand when the party is over.
how long after I type amen do I get the money?
I'm lost, if you see me you are lost also
If Jesus believed in himself he wouldn't have been Jewish.

QuestionMark

SMART sounds like a typical treatment plan for any mental illness.
καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει

none

Quote from: QuestionMark on June 08, 2011, 11:33:30 PM
SMART sounds like a typical treatment plan for any mental illness.
what are you an expert on mental illness now?
true christian and true mentally ill, what a combo.
lets hear the long version.
and don't project, please.
how long after I type amen do I get the money?
I'm lost, if you see me you are lost also
If Jesus believed in himself he wouldn't have been Jewish.

Jay

I am me, if you dont like it, tough luck!

nateswift

Quote from: Shari on June 08, 2011, 10:35:32 PM
Okay, so, at the risk of potentially offending None (which is not my intent), let me share with you how a facilitator in a meeting would handle this situation (if it occurred in a meeting vs. on these message boards) based on their training.

None, I understand that you are choosing not to abstain, however, we're here to discuss SMART Recovery, and the tools and techniques that can help people achieve their goals.  So, you're invited to stay for the meeting and observe, and see if you find anything that can be helpful to you. You're also welcome to return, but please understand that we're not here to discuss how much fun drinking/drugging, or other activities were to any of us. We're focused on how to cease those activities.  Again, please feel free to stay and observe, and you're welcome to return to the next meeting, if you'd like.  Simply understand that we're not going to turn the focus of the meeting to anything beyond the standard agenda, and what can help those whose goal it is to abstain.
Well done, Shari.  In our terms, this is a "thread owner" telling a poster to stop derailing the thread.
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do-  Kerouac

rickymooston

Quote from: QuestionMark on June 08, 2011, 11:33:30 PM
SMART sounds like a typical treatment plan for any mental illness.

Wouldn't work very well for schitzophrenia in my opinion.

I wouldn't call Alcoholims a mental illness per se, even if some do.
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

none

#78
Quote from: nateswift on June 09, 2011, 12:25:09 AM
Quote from: Shari on June 08, 2011, 10:35:32 PM
Okay, so, at the risk of potentially offending None (which is not my intent), let me share with you how a facilitator in a meeting would handle this situation (if it occurred in a meeting vs. on these message boards) based on their training.

None, I understand that you are choosing not to abstain, however, we're here to discuss SMART Recovery, and the tools and techniques that can help people achieve their goals.  So, you're invited to stay for the meeting and observe, and see if you find anything that can be helpful to you. You're also welcome to return, but please understand that we're not here to discuss how much fun drinking/drugging, or other activities were to any of us. We're focused on how to cease those activities.  Again, please feel free to stay and observe, and you're welcome to return to the next meeting, if you'd like.  Simply understand that we're not going to turn the focus of the meeting to anything beyond the standard agenda, and what can help those whose goal it is to abstain.
Well done, Shari.  In our terms, this is a "thread owner" telling a poster to stop derailing the thread.
oh yeah -----------I think your assessment is inaccurate...----------
I didn't bring up MY DRINKING. some other.. well you know... person did.
so if your gonna pass out the karma...
how long after I type amen do I get the money?
I'm lost, if you see me you are lost also
If Jesus believed in himself he wouldn't have been Jewish.

rickymooston

None, Shari had a nice point.

If your drinking isn't screwing up your life, its not currently a problem for you. It may be at some point.

Quote from: jay799 on June 09, 2011, 12:09:48 AM
none.....chill out.

+1
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

Shari

A little aside on the concept of "dual diagnosis" or drinking/drugging combined with mental illness.  Actually, it's a very valid topic, as it's not uncommon.

In SMART Recovery, we deal with the "drinking" (or behavioral) issue, but highly recommend that folks who would benefit from mental health counseling seek that in addition to using the SMART Recovery program. 

Here's a link to our "medications position":  http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/postion/medications.pdf

Personal opinion (not speaking on behalf of SMART), I think that when someone is suffering from mental illness and an addictive disorder, it's a bit of a double whammy.  But, the tools and techniques within the program were helpful to a group within a treatment program in AZ, which works with dually-diagnosed people. 

Yet again ... whatever is a comfy fit for the individual will prove the best way forward.

Shari

On another note ... turning off the computer for the night, but will happily rejoin you in the morning.

As a "Guest Speaker" (I'm thinking "Guest Typer" would be a better description) ||wink|| I'm thinking that maybe it would have been helpful for me to have broken up some of the initial info I provided?  I believe I might have provided info overload up front.  But, we can learn together, and I'll ask new readers to this thread to kindly consider starting at the top and reading throughout, if this is at the bottom of what you read.  (And regular readers, do please provide feedback to the Admins as to what might be helpful to future guests.)

Anyway, so far, the two tools I've shared along the way are related to Point #1:  Enhancing and maintaining motivation to abstain.  IF people would like a couple more tools shared/described, I'll be pleased to do so.  (Most, if not all of this info can be found on our website, but it's not always easy to find, and I'll be pleased to discuss in more detail.  Though the next tool I'd regale you with is a little rougher to do in text vs. voice.  But I'll gladly do my best!)

And I will continue to check in on this thread and share more information and answer questions as proves helpful.  I'll also not be offended when the thread has "served its purpose".

Appreciate another day with each of you to be able to share ideas and ways forward for those struggling with addictive behaviors.  Thanks so much, and goodnight.

Former Believer

+1 to Shari for her good nature and all the time she has spent here.
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

Kiahanie

Thanks, Shari. If you have the time, I'd like to hear about more tools.
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

catwixen

Hello Shari and welcome to the forum.  ||smiley||

I am going to spend some time looking in the smart recovery link, I only just got a new computer monitor today after breaking my other one during a binge last week. LOL I was trying to read all this through a few inches gap that survived my drunken attack on previous moniter...it was awkward.

I am bookmarking basically until I can figure out how to phrase a question I have in mind. So hard to just express the problem sometimes. Going to see my counsellor in a few minutes...will ask her again about how to get motivation...I ask her every month in round a bout ways, but her response always seems to be that in doing the action, the motivation will come...then I go home and don't do the action, so the motivation never comes...

Ah I see the sense in action will create energy and motivation comes with energy...I see the sense in many theoretical ways to get better emotionally, to get sober etc...but doing these actions is soooo hard. So much fear, so much boredom, so much wanting instant gratification...

I don't even know what I am trying to say, I saw the first step in your programme is about getting motivation?

See when you asked people about the 5 important things to them...my first thought was alcohol, because without alcohol I have no life outside my house..

Sorry I will rephrase all this into a simple sentence when I get back from my appt.

Very nice of you Shari to spend some time here. Much appreciated.
Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow?

Pastafarian

Thanks Shari. I'd also like to check out some more tools.

I hear ya cat  ||smiley||
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

David M

Cat, you reminded me that I was going to ask Shari a question about you.  Maybe this is the one you are trying to figure out how to phrase.

We have a member here whose social anxiety is so severe that she can't leave her home unless she's had a few drinks, her addiction to alcohol is so severe that it is killing her and she knows it.  What does Smart Recovery have to offer that can help her out of this bind?
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

David M

Quote from: catwixen on June 09, 2011, 03:58:41 AM
... Going to see my counsellor in a few minutes...will ask her again about how to get motivation...I ask her every month in round a bout ways, but her response always seems to be that in doing the action, the motivation will come...then I go home and don't do the action, so the motivation never comes...

Ah I see the sense in action will create energy and motivation comes with energy...I see the sense in many theoretical ways to get better emotionally, to get sober etc...but doing these actions is soooo hard. So much fear, so much boredom, so much wanting instant gratification...

I don't even know what I am trying to say, I saw the first step in your programme is about getting motivation?

See when you asked people about the 5 important things to them...my first thought was alcohol, because without alcohol I have no life outside my house..


Cat, this is a good description for me of the powerlessness that we talk about in AA, and the problem for me was, where do I get the power to do what I have never been able to do on my own before?  And the AA answer is that I must come to believe in a power greater than myself that can restore me to sanity (in your case, enough sanity to leave your house without being "fortified" by alcohol.)

In AA we talk about "fake it till you make it" believing that we can act ourselves in right thinking easier than we can think ourselves into right action.  In other words, if you act as if you believe, you will come to believe as the result of your actions.

I know you say that you don't believe, and I respect that.  But let me ask you this.  You've known me for a little while now.  Do you believe that I believe?  Do you believe that I believe that my belief in God has kept me sober for 26 years, and even though there are still some times when I'm afraid to leave the house, I am running a successful business, active in my community and singing in a choir?

Because if you believe that I believe, that should be enough to get you started on you way.

Maybe Shari has another option for you, but I know that if you follow my suggestion you can make it.  It has worked for millions who were once just as doubtful and hopeless as you and me.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Shari

Quote from: catwixen on June 09, 2011, 03:58:41 AM
Hello Shari and welcome to the forum.  ||smiley||

See when you asked people about the 5 important things to them...my first thought was alcohol, because without alcohol I have no life outside my house..


Catwixen, I think that this is actually very important, because most people aren't aware of the major role that alcohol or their addictive behavior plays in their lives, and it never makes their top 5 list.  So I actually view this as "good news", that you know the impact it has on your life.  Now it's just how you're going to become motivated, and make the changes to cease the behavior. 

I'm also pleased that you're seeing a counselor, as talking through things can be helpful.  Some people recover on their own, others use groups, many use groups and counseling.  So, it seems to me you're on the right track.  You're examining the role alcohol plays in your life (including the fact that you can't face leaving the house without it), and next step is to determine how you're going to change that behavior.

Are you familiar with the Stages of Change?  (This is based on Prochaska, DiClemente and Norcross' book Changing for Good.)  Stage 1 is Precontemplation.  Stage 2 is Contemplation.  Stage 3 is Determination/Preparation.  Stage 4 is Action.  Stage 5 is maintenance. Stage 6 is Termination.  The interesting thing is that people don't necessarily start at Stage 1, and neatly progress through them, but sometimes go back and forth between the stages. I don't want to speak for you, but I'll paste in the first 3 stages, and perhaps you can ascertain where you feel you currently fit.  (You don't have to share that publicly, just trying to share some helpful ideas with you.)

1. Precontemplation(Not yet acknowledging that there is a problem behavior that needs to be changed)
2. Contemplation (Acknowledging that there is a problem but not yet ready or sure of  wanting to make a change)
3. Preparation/Determination (Getting ready to change)

These words of yours also resonated with me:  "So much fear, so much boredom, so much wanting instant gratification..."

Comments similar in nature are posted by people on our message boards every day.  In fact, I would like to see you post on our message boards, and share precisely the feelings you shared here.  You would hear from a variety of folks who had the exact same struggles, and they would then share with you what action they took to get over the fear, the boredom and the desire for instant gratification.  Consider that, as well.

And, keep asking questions/sharing thoughts here.

Shari

David, thanks for sharing your story about how helpful AA has been in your life.  As you note, it has benefited many, many people.  However, like SMART Recovery and all programs, not one program will be a comfortable fit for all. That's why there's a need for a variety of programs, and for people to be aware of them.  My recommendation to Catwixen would be to try AA meetings, try SMART Recovery meetings and online activities, try Women for Sobriety, SOS and LifeRing.  I don't feel comfortable proclaiming which will be the best match for catwixen, but I do feel comfortable proclaiming that she would be warmly welcomed and the participants in each and every program would do their best to reach out to her with helpful ideas and their experiences. 

BTW, David, was it you who previously asked about programs recommending SMART Recovery in the Greater Cleveland area?  Last evening just before 5, I had a call from a counselor at a local treatment facility who was meeting with a client when he called.  He indicated that his client had attended a number of AA meetings, but wasn't comfortable with the program, so they did a little Googling, and found SMART Recovery.  (I gave that counselor lots of credit for trying to find ways to be helpful to his client!)  Anyway, I spoke with his client, and he's going to try some of our online meetings, as well as to attend the Tuesday night face-to-face meeting.  Rod (facilitator) had actually sent a letter to the facility to acquaint them with the SMART Recovery program, but it seems that the letter didn't quite get shared with other staff.  So, Rod's going to meet with the counselor to share more information about the program so that he and hopefully other staff can be aware of program options.  Anyway, I thought that was pretty neat.  :)

Shari

Pasta indicated an interest in having me share another tool or two, and let me share a couple that are related to Point #2: Coping with Urges.  Let's face it, anyone giving up an addictive behavior is going to have urges.  The thing is, urges won't kill you, whereas giving into one might.  But urges can be very uncomfortable when going through them.  Through time, they will lessen and go away.  But it may not seem that way initially, when they're coming at you left and right. It might not seem as if they're diminishing.  So, here's a tool that can be very helpful.  Keep an "Urge Log".  On a piece of paper, write down the following categories across the top:

Date / Time / Intensity Scale (on a 1-10) / How long it lasted / What prompted? / How did you handle? / Reaction to how you handled

Then, fill it out each time an urge strikes.  Not only can this help you to see that over time, the urges are less frequent, but it can also point out to you some potential triggers.  For example, do you get an urge at 5 PM every day on your way home from work?  Do you get an urge every time you drive by the liquor store or the park where you used to buy drugs? You can also begin to see that how you handled the urge, i.e., what's working for you, and employ those techniques when an urge strikes.

Here's another urge coping skill.  We call it "Catch the Wave".  (I'm going to copy this out of our SMART Recovery Handbook and paste it here):

Healthy human brains are blessed with remarkably short attention spans. This becomes clear whenever you try to concentrate on anything for any length of time. Poof! It?s gone, and some other thought is in its place!

Luckily, it?s also difficult to hold on to the thoughts and feelings that you don?t want to experience. Anger, fear, sorrow, pain, and depression will fly through your brain as quickly as pleasure. If you allow yourself to sit with these negative feelings, you?ll find they will pass.

Picture the emotion as a wave, and see yourself on a surfboard:

Ride that wave; Relax into the feeling; Be confident that it can?t last forever; Experience the surge; Wait for the ebb; Stay on top; Keep your balance; Don?t wipe out; If you don?t let it get away from you, it can?t hurt you. Your emotional tsunami will quickly subside to froth on the sand.

Emotion surfing is a powerful way to train yourself to experience the feelings that you want to feel and minimize the feelings that you want to avoid. It?s a lot harder to tell yourself that you can?t stand these destructive feelings when you make yourself realize that they are temporary. Don?t get carried away! Ride those emotions!

catwixen

Quote from: Shari on June 09, 2011, 12:39:04 PM

Are you familiar with the Stages of Change?  (This is based on Prochaska, DiClemente and Norcross' book Changing for Good.)  Stage 1 is Precontemplation.  Stage 2 is Contemplation.  Stage 3 is Determination/Preparation.  Stage 4 is Action.  Stage 5 is maintenance. Stage 6 is Termination.  The interesting thing is that people don't necessarily start at Stage 1, and neatly progress through them, but sometimes go back and forth between the stages. I don't want to speak for you, but I'll paste in the first 3 stages, and perhaps you can ascertain where you feel you currently fit.  (You don't have to share that publicly, just trying to share some helpful ideas with you.)

1. Precontemplation(Not yet acknowledging that there is a problem behavior that needs to be changed)
2. Contemplation (Acknowledging that there is a problem but not yet ready or sure of  wanting to make a change)
3. Preparation/Determination (Getting ready to change)



Ha! My counsellor brought this exact thing up with me today. ||smiley||

It seems what you are doing at SMART recovery is cognitive therapy? You mention a lot of tools and ways of keeping aware of thoughts....very similar to the kind of therapy I have been getting for a while now.

It all makes a lot of sense...as I said the place where I fall is in the "action" stage. I dip my toe in the water, join a club or go to a meeting, then the fear takes over and I generally do not go back.

I am thinking at this point...because my counselling is only once a month, that SMART recovery website and maybe the Womens sobriety website would be a good filler to keep me focused. Couldn't hurt if I am at home on computer all day anyway. LoL.

Thankyou for the links and info...
Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow?

Shari

Hi, Cat!

Yes, much of the SMART Recovery program tools/techniques are based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  (I promise your therapist and I aren't in cahoots!)  ; )  We also use Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (I'll share an ABC tool at some point), and Motivational Enhancement techniques.

I think your idea to utilize the online communities of SMART Recovery and WFS are an excellent way forward.  As you note, you don't have to leave the comfort of home to do so.  I'm actually facilitating tonight's 7:30 Eastern Voice meeting.  (I don't usually facilitate, but our facilitator is recovering from a knee replacement surgery, and I volunteered to do so tonight.)  Feel free to join in!  It's our "accommodations" meeting, which is designed to move a little more slowly. I'm fond of that idea, because I confess I'm not good at multitasking, and when facilitating an online meeting, it's a challenge for me to keep an eye on the text, the people speaking, where we are in the meeting, the issues that have been raised and need to be addressed, etc.  I'll have a meeting helper in the room, and the best thing is that as the facilitator, I simply need to keep things moving forward, and the attendees share tools and help with one another.  :)  Do feel free to join in!  (You'll need to register for our online activities.  The meeting rooms are available via a link on our message boards on the upper left corner of the page.  Tonight's 7:30 meeting will be in The Voice Room.)

I'll be honest and say that those few times I do fill in for a facilitator, I tend to feel a little anxious. I can sometimes place irrational demand on myself, i.e., "this meeting MUST be perfect".  Or worry about "what if I say something stupid, or don't think of a tool I SHOULD have recommended?"  Then when I think about it, the important thing is to open the meeting room, follow the agenda, and allow others to participate and share their tools and experiences.  If it's not a "perfect" meeting, so what?  It will very likely be helpful regardless!

Here's a link to a document on our website about dealing with anxiety about anxiety: http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/Tools_and_Homework/Encyclopedia/Coping_Statements_for_Dealing_With_Anxiety_About_Anxiety.pdf  See if that's at all helpful to you, as well.

catwixen

ahh thankyou ^  ||thumbs||

LOL yes everyone gets nervous sometimes don't they? It's a good thing to remember that.
Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow?

Shari

I'll be away from the computer for a couple of hours.  I noticed that Kia was fond of me sharing a tool (as well as Pasta), so later today or tomorrow at latest I'll share an ABC with you.  (It's a tool related to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy -- it's a fabulous tool for coping with urges AND for dealing with emotional upsets.)

See you later!  Dive in if you have any questions.

Kiahanie

"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

Former Believer

Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

Shari

Yes, kudos to cat for sharing!  Now, who's ready for the ABC tool?  (She hears the roar of the crowd.)   ||cheesy||

The ABC tool is part of Albert Ellis' Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.  The concept is to allow us to examine things that happen to us, our irrational beliefs behind the situation, and come up with more rational/helpful beliefs.  This tool can be used both for a specific recovery-oriented event, or for emotional upsets.  Here's how it works...

A = Activating Event
B = Beliefs
C = Consequences
D = Dispute the irrational beliefs
E =  Effective new beliefs

Let me give an example:

Let's say the Activating Event is you had a very strong Urge to Use.

A = strong urge to use

then we go to C, the consequences

C = it's a very uncomfortable urge, experiencing anxiety that I'll give in to it

then we examine our Beliefs, which may be along the lines of:

B = This urge is unbearable!  I can't stand it!
       This urge is so powerful it will make me use.
      This urge won't go away until I use.
      This urge is driving me crazy!

Now, we want to examine our Beliefs, and determine if they're rational or irrational.  Then we dispute those which are irrational.  In this case, that may look like this:

D = Where's the evidence that this urge is unbearable and I can't stand it? 
       Is there any evidence that an urge makes me use?
       Is there any evidence that this urge won't go away?
       Where's the evidence that this urge is driving me crazy?

Then we move on to the E, or Effective new beliefs (which are rational alternatives, so to speak)

E = There's no evidence the urge is unbearable.  There is evidence that the urge is hard to bear, but not impossible, and 
          there's evidence I don't like it.  But, because I'm standing, I CAN stand it!
       There's no evidence that the urge can make me use.  It's unpleasant, but it doesn't force me to do anything.  Nothing
           makes me use, I can decide not to.
       There's no evidence it won't go away until I use.  It may take a while to go away if I don't use, but nothing says it will
           remain if I don't use.  Urges are time limited and the urge will go away whether or not I decide to use.
       There's no evidence the urge is driving me crazy.  I may drive myself crazy about the urge, but the urge doesn't do it to
           me.  I can choose not to be disturbed by this urge.  I don't have to go crazy about it, I will remain sane while I live
           through it.

Here's another example:

A = Going to a recovery group meeting tonight.

C = Very anxious, nervous, uptight, distressed.

B = If I go to this meeting sober, I'll be a nervous wreck.
      I'll look stupid in the meeting, because everyone will be able to see my anxiety and distress.
      If I have to speak, my voice will probably waver, and I'll look even stupider.
      I'd be better off just staying home and drinking.

D = Does the world care if I'm nervous about attending a meeting?  Would I be the first ever to be nervous when I attend?
      If it's obvious to people that I'm anxious and distressed, might they reach out to me, vs. thinking I look stupid? (And do I
         really care if these people think I look stupid?)
      If I choose to speak in the meeting, I can do so, and if my voice wavers because I'm nervous, the group is probably used
          to hearing from nervous participants.
      If I choose to stay home and drink, is that helping me to achieve my goals?  No. 

E = I'd be better off attending the meeting, risking feeling stupid, but receiving help and input from others.

ABCs take some practice, but boy, they can be so helpful in life.  They can even assist in other situations, such as:

A = A driver just cut me off on the freeway.

C = I'm totally pissed off, angry, and wish I could get even.

B = The idiot should learn how to drive!
      He shouldn't have cut me off!
      The cops should arrest him and his license should be taken away.

D = Whose to say he doesn't know how to drive, and maybe I was in his blind spot or he simply didn't realize how close I
           was.
       Ah, yes, would be nice if he hadn't cut me off, but people do it every day, and I wasn't harmed.
       While he'd do well to practice more safe driving, there's no evidence that he's an idiot and shouldn't be allowed on the
           roads.

E = While I'm still a little shaken up, I'm no longer angry and I won't let that guy ruin my day.

You can see how this process can relieve stress, anxiety, anger, etc. 

I hope those examples help.  If anyone has a real life situation and would like to practice one, go for it!  We won't laugh at you or think you're stupid, and even if we did, would it still not be a valuable experience for you?   ||smiley||
     
     
     
   

David M

Wow, that sounds like a lot of work.  Too much for my ADD brain to handle.  Good thing there are different methods for different people!  In AA we often say, "What keeps you sober might get me drunk, and what keeps me sober might get you drunk."

When I used to get urges, I'd just ask God to remove it, tell myself that if it didn't go away I could always get drunk tomorrow, tell somebody what I'm thinking so I don't start obsessing about the thought, and then turn my thoughts to someone I can help.  Problem solved.

Same formula works today for any negative thought or emotion, like fear, anger, dishonesty or selfishness.

It's kind of funny, because on this forum we've talked a lot about how some people just can't wrap their minds around the God idea as a way of keeping sober.  For me, it is just the opposite.  If I had to rely on stuff like "Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy," or "Cognitive Behavior Therapy,"  I'd go nuts!  It sounds to me like I'm just playing mind games with myself, which is what I used to do to justify drinking in the first place.  But with AA, all I have to do is trust God, clean house, and help others, and the desire to drink just goes away.  I don't have to fight it.

Imagine that.

WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Airyaman

Quote from: David M on June 09, 2011, 11:16:19 PM
It's kind of funny, because on this forum we've talked a lot about how some people just can't wrap their minds around the God idea as a way of keeping sober.

David, it may have something to do with most of our members not believing in any gods?

That is why it is important that there are alternatives such as SMART for those who do not want to have to try to force some type of belief. If an atheist some how made the AA way work for them, how long would they stay sober when they again questioned a belief in a higher being?
Please take a moment to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks in Bowling Green, Atlanta, and Sweden.

Jay

well....its a good thing there are options for different types of people then.  Wouldn't you say so David?
I am me, if you dont like it, tough luck!

QuestionMark

David,
The Bible is filled with reasons and arguments for why we should change our thinking, how we should manage our impulses and feelings. In some cases God is pleased to answer our prayers supernaturally, and in other cases He is pleased to answer them by normative means.
Looking forward,
QM
καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει

David M

Yes, jay, it's a good thing there are options.

But regarding Airyaman's question, about half of the people who come to AA are atheist or agnostic, and most of the rest who believe in God aren't too thrilled with the God they believe in or they don't believe that God can help them stay sober.

What happens, though, is that alcohol has finally beaten us into a state of reasonableness, in which we're willing to try just about anything, even God, because we can see the evidence right in front of us that it is working for the other people in AA.  So, we put one foot in front of the other, take the steps, and, sure enough, it works.

Then, we believe.

Sadly, some alcoholics are so belligerently opposed to the God idea that they would rather die an alcoholic death than live a spiritual life, and for them, AA offers little or no hope.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Jay

Quote from: David M on June 09, 2011, 11:30:00 PM
Yes, jay, it's a good thing there are options.

But regarding Airyaman's question, about half of the people who come to AA are atheist or agnostic, and most of the rest who believe in God aren't too thrilled with the God they believe in or they don't believe that God can help them stay sober.

What happens, though, is that alcohol has finally beaten us into a state of reasonableness, in which we're willing to try just about anything, even God, because we can see the evidence right in front of us that it is working for the other people in AA.  So, we put one foot in front of the other, take the steps, and, sure enough, it works.

Then, we believe.

Sadly, some alcoholics are so belligerently opposed to the God idea that they would rather die an alcoholic death than live a spiritual life, and for them, AA offers little or no hope.
Could it also be....that they are not choosing death over a 'spiritual life', instead....that they simply don't believe?  Therefore that program just can not work for them? 

That AA, while great for some, is not always the 'right' solution for others?  That someone can give up alcohol, or other substances, without 'finding god'?
I am me, if you dont like it, tough luck!

David M

Quote from: jay799 on June 09, 2011, 11:36:49 PM
Quote from: David M on June 09, 2011, 11:30:00 PM
Yes, jay, it's a good thing there are options.

But regarding Airyaman's question, about half of the people who come to AA are atheist or agnostic, and most of the rest who believe in God aren't too thrilled with the God they believe in or they don't believe that God can help them stay sober.

What happens, though, is that alcohol has finally beaten us into a state of reasonableness, in which we're willing to try just about anything, even God, because we can see the evidence right in front of us that it is working for the other people in AA.  So, we put one foot in front of the other, take the steps, and, sure enough, it works.

Then, we believe.

Sadly, some alcoholics are so belligerently opposed to the God idea that they would rather die an alcoholic death than live a spiritual life, and for them, AA offers little or no hope.
Could it also be....that they are not choosing death over a 'spiritual life', instead....that they simply don't believe?  Therefore that program just can not work for them? 

No.  You don't have to believe in God in order to have success with the AA program.  All that is required is a willingness to believe in a power greater than one's self, and to take certain steps.  Nothing more.  So the people who do not have success with AA are not the people who do not believe.  It is the people who will not believe.

Quote
That AA, while great for some, is not always the 'right' solution for others?  That someone can give up alcohol, or other substances, without 'finding god'?

I have already agreed that other alternatives are needed for those who won't try AA.  What more do you want me to say?
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Jay

Quote from: David M on June 09, 2011, 11:44:53 PM
Quote from: jay799 on June 09, 2011, 11:36:49 PM
Quote from: David M on June 09, 2011, 11:30:00 PM
Yes, jay, it's a good thing there are options.

But regarding Airyaman's question, about half of the people who come to AA are atheist or agnostic, and most of the rest who believe in God aren't too thrilled with the God they believe in or they don't believe that God can help them stay sober.

What happens, though, is that alcohol has finally beaten us into a state of reasonableness, in which we're willing to try just about anything, even God, because we can see the evidence right in front of us that it is working for the other people in AA.  So, we put one foot in front of the other, take the steps, and, sure enough, it works.

Then, we believe.

Sadly, some alcoholics are so belligerently opposed to the God idea that they would rather die an alcoholic death than live a spiritual life, and for them, AA offers little or no hope.
Could it also be....that they are not choosing death over a 'spiritual life', instead....that they simply don't believe?  Therefore that program just can not work for them? 

No.  You don't have to believe in God in order to have success with the AA program.  All that is required is a willingness to believe in a power greater than one's self, and to take certain steps.  Nothing more.  So the people who do not have success with AA are not the people who do not believe.  It is the people who will not believe.
That willingness is what I would refer to as a desire to change.  A desire to give up alcohol(in this specific instance). If one doesn't want to give up alcohol, no program can really work.  So, in that aspect, I agree with you.  However, if it was me, I would not be able to believe in a higher power, no matter how much I desired to give up alcohol, simply for the sake of giving up alcohol.  To me....it would always be a lie to myself.  And I would imagine that I am not alone in that thought....


Quote
Quote
That AA, while great for some, is not always the 'right' solution for others?  That someone can give up alcohol, or other substances, without 'finding god'?

I have already agreed that other alternatives are needed for those who won't try AA.  What more do you want me to say?
[/quote]
You dont have to answer my questions....they were only questions.  If it makes you uncomfortable answering them, I apologize for asking them.
I am me, if you dont like it, tough luck!

rickymooston

I'm curious about your answer to cats question

Can't help owndering about the assumptions in
The following statement, "without alcohol there
is no life outside my house"

Reminds me of another statement that "I need
Alcohol to make me sleep" and from another friend
"I need alcohol to stop my hands from shaking"

Shari you mentioned a costs benfits column?

Curious about finding root causes and ways to deal

In cat's case, the root problem seems to be "I
Can't enjoy life outside my house"

Does your method probe deeper becuase my intuition
Is that's where to go.

People look for a silver bullet when in
Fact the have a fully loaded gun inside their
Pocket.

Don't they?
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

Shari

Good evening to all!  I enjoyed facilitating one of our online meetings this evening, so I'm a tad late to this party. :)

Seems we all agree that having choice is important and a good thing for any/all who genuinely seek to overcome an addictive behavior.  And we've got living proof via David that AA can work.  And I have the pleasure of knowing many people who would be living proof that SMART Recovery can work.  And, actually, the Executive Directors at Women for Sobriety, SOS and LifeRing are living proof those programs work. With the # of people in need, I'm not sure that there can be too many programs to meet the variety of needs!

Anyway, Ricky asked:  Shari you mentioned a costs benfits column?  Curious about finding root causes and ways to deal
In cat's case, the root problem seems to be "I Can't enjoy life outside my house" Does your method probe deeper becuase my intuition is that's where to go.

Poor Cat may think we're singling her out here, but that's because she was kind enough to share her situation.  So, yes, Cat would benefit from doing a Cost/Benefit Analysis.  I also think that she'd benefit from an ABC.  In fact, in one of the ABC examples I gave, I sort of tried to use Cat's example of not feeling comfy leaving the house unless she's been drinking. 

The SMART Recovery program helps people review their thoughts and feelings, and how those impact their behavior.  Often times there are irrational thoughts involved.  If we can get rid of the irrational thinking, combined with other tools, there can be a way forward and goal setting and achievement of those goals.  For those who were able to achieve "natural recovery", i.e., no program, no therapy, no treatment ... just made a personal decision and overcame the behavior, four thumbs up!  For others, it requires work of tools.  And yet for others, it's the spiritual component, i.e., prayer, belief that God will see you through it.  Again, regardless of the path, if the end goal is achieved, it's a beautiful thing.

I liked QuestionMark's statement (as a believer): In some cases God is pleased to answer our prayers supernaturally, and in other cases He is pleased to answer them by normative means.

I don't think SMART Recovery "flies in the face" of any religious beliefs one may have.  QM sort of alludes to the fact that if you're a believer, and God gave you a brain, then he's probably not horrified if you use it (along with any guidance you seek from God) to attain your goal.

Anyway, lots of great conversation.  And I confess I'm going to again soon turn off the computer. Started at 7:30 this morning, and am ready for a little time away from the computer.  But, will be back again tomorrow and will look forward to additional ideas/input/questions.

Sleep well, all!

Airyaman

Quote from: Shari on June 10, 2011, 01:43:06 AM
Seems we all agree that having choice is important and a good thing for any/all who genuinely seek to overcome an addictive behavior.  And we've got living proof via David that AA can work.  And I have the pleasure of knowing many people who would be living proof that SMART Recovery can work.  And, actually, the Executive Directors at Women for Sobriety, SOS and LifeRing are living proof those programs work. With the # of people in need, I'm not sure that there can be too many programs to meet the variety of needs!

I think this is an important paragraph. We had a long discussion on here in the past of just how effective AA was. But that should not be the focus, unless a program is obviously a failure and potentially harmful. What we should realize is that any program that is beneficial to some is successful for those people.
Please take a moment to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks in Bowling Green, Atlanta, and Sweden.

SkunkButt

I don't have any substance addictions but reading this thread has opened my eyes to the difficulty one can face with out of control addictions. Wow I don't want to go there.

Keep up the good work.

One question: "Do you face any burnout problems in your job?" If you do how do you cope with it?
That's just my opinion, I could be wrong. 

Dennis Miller

FGOH

I think the ABDCE approach is interesting. I agree with DavidM that it looks at first glance a bit complicated or intimidating when written down. To me, it kind of boils down to asking oneself, in response to the urge:

What is the worst thing (realistically) that can happen if I resist the urge?

So in example 1, to me the worst result would be that the urge hangs around making me feel bad until it goes away

In example 2, to me the worst result would be that I might sound a bit silly at the meeting

In example 3, to me the worst result would be that the idiot driver will drive on, oblivious of his idiocy

Then you think "Is the worst case scenario unlivable with?"

If you are still unconvinced I guess you then go through the worst case scenarios if you give in to the urge, which are likely going to be worse than those involved in resisting the urge.

Have I gone totally off base?
I'm not signing anything without consulting my lawyer.

catwixen

What I like about the cognitive approach is that it is within our own power to be aware and challenge our thoughts.
Feels like we can do something actively with our own recovery...rather than putting it into someone elses hands.
Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow?

David M

The theory of combatting urges with rational thought is a good one, the practical problem with it for most alcoholics is that the urges become so powerful that they overwhelm all rational thought, the insane idea that, "this time it will be different" or "I'll just have a couple to calm my nerves" wins out and we're off and running.  Then, once the drinking starts, mental obsession is replaced by physical compulsion, and we don't stop drinking until we run out, pass out, or hit a brick wall, sometimes literally.  Or, perhaps there is no thought at all, we just begin drinking as casually as if we were drinking lemonade, completely oblivious to the consequences, and the next day we wake up not only hung over but desparately confused, wondering how it happened.

Non-alcoholics who try to reason with us become extremely frustrated trying to understand this behavior, as it makes absolutely no sense to them.  There is no parallel in their own experience for them to compare to it as they lack the same internal triggers the set the ball rolling for those of us who cannot stop drinking based on self-knowledge and will power alone.  On the other hand, when working with other alcoholics, trying to help them achieve or maintain sobriety, the thought of drinking either doesn't occur to us, or if it does, we react to it the same way we would react to the urge to put our hand on a hot stove, and it quickly passes.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

David M

Quote from: catwixen on June 10, 2011, 09:33:11 AM
What I like about the cognitive approach is that it is within our own power to be aware and challenge our thoughts.
Feels like we can do something actively with our own recovery...rather than putting it into someone elses hands.

Cat, I think you and others misunderstand what we mean when we talk about being powerless.  All we are saying is that we have discovered, through bitter trial and error, that at certain times we have no effective mental defense against the first drink and, once we start drinking, no way to predict how much we will drink.  Recovery isn't about putting it in someone else's hands, it is about joining hands with others who have overcome the same problem and engaging in a vigorous course of action that rearranges our thinking automatically so that the drinking idea loses its power to overwhelm our otherwise rational behavior.

It is only at that point, when we have been restored to sanity, that cognitive strategies can be effective in keeping us sober and rebuilding our lives.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Shari

Quote from: SkunkButt on June 10, 2011, 08:05:01 AM
I don't have any substance addictions but reading this thread has opened my eyes to the difficulty one can face with out of control addictions. Wow I don't want to go there.

Keep up the good work.

One question: "Do you face any burnout problems in your job?" If you do how do you cope with it?

Hi, Skunk!  I'm so pleased you've been reading this even though you don't have a substance addiction, because it's likely that through time, you'll encounter someone who does have an addiction, and you'll be able to share some ideas! 

Burnout.  Hmmm.  In my case, I feel it on occasion, but it's mostly related to the amount of time spent working. We're an international organization with 1 3/4 staff members (plus 2 part-time consultants for our online activities).  When I get to feeling that way, I make a concerted effort to simply walk away from the computer for a time and do something that I enjoy.  When I feel a bit refreshed, I return.  But I will admit that I love my job, and witnessing changed lives on a daily basis makes feeling burnout less likely than if I was in, say an accounting position and working lots of hours.  :)

Shari

Quote from: FGOH on June 10, 2011, 08:35:42 AM
I think the ABDCE approach is interesting. I agree with DavidM that it looks at first glance a bit complicated or intimidating when written down. To me, it kind of boils down to asking oneself, in response to the urge:

What is the worst thing (realistically) that can happen if I resist the urge?

So in example 1, to me the worst result would be that the urge hangs around making me feel bad until it goes away

In example 2, to me the worst result would be that I might sound a bit silly at the meeting

In example 3, to me the worst result would be that the idiot driver will drive on, oblivious of his idiocy

Then you think "Is the worst case scenario unlivable with?"

If you are still unconvinced I guess you then go through the worst case scenarios if you give in to the urge, which are likely going to be worse than those involved in resisting the urge.

Have I gone totally off base?

I'm quite fond of the way you're looking at this, FGOH.  The point of the ABC is to come to terms with a new effective belief or behavior, after having examined beliefs (some of which are likely irrational).  So, if this "distilled" version works for you, give it a whirl!  And yes, I think I mentioned that the ABCs take practice.  After doing them for a period of time, they start to occur almost automatically, but initially, it takes practice for sure!

Former Believer

Quote from: catwixen on June 10, 2011, 09:33:11 AM
What I like about the cognitive approach is that it is within our own power to be aware and challenge our thoughts.
Feels like we can do something actively with our own recovery...rather than putting it into someone elses hands.

I agree 100 percent, Cat!  I have found this belief to be extremely empowering in overcoming my addictions.
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

Shari

Quote from: catwixen on June 10, 2011, 09:33:11 AM
What I like about the cognitive approach is that it is within our own power to be aware and challenge our thoughts.
Feels like we can do something actively with our own recovery...rather than putting it into someone elses hands.

That's great, Cat!  I'm delighted that the cognitive approach is helpful to you.  May not be to all, but it sure resonates with a lot of people.  And, yes, it does require active participation, for sure.

Former Believer

Quote from: David M on June 10, 2011, 09:43:44 AM
The theory of combatting urges with rational thought is a good one, the practical problem with it for most alcoholics is that the urges become so powerful that they overwhelm all rational thought, the insane idea that, "this time it will be different" or "I'll just have a couple to calm my nerves" wins out and we're off and running.  Then, once the drinking starts, mental obsession is replaced by physical compulsion, and we don't stop drinking until we run out, pass out, or hit a brick wall, sometimes literally.  Or, perhaps there is no thought at all, we just begin drinking as casually as if we were drinking lemonade, completely oblivious to the consequences, and the next day we wake up not only hung over but desparately confused, wondering how it happened.

This has been your contention on more than one occasion, David.  Again, here is my response from one of our previous conversations:

Quote from: Former Believer on January 27, 2010, 10:14:27 PM
Quote from: David M on January 27, 2010, 08:58:14 PM
This is one half of the equation.  The other half, which apparently neither of you has experienced yet, is what we in AA call the "strange mental blank spots" that precede the first drink.  This is, some of us, well adjusted in virtually every other respect, have upon occasion yielded to some trivial excuse to take a drink or not even thought about it at all, until we had already gone way past the green light and into oblivion.

I have experienced what you are talking about--many, many times.  One minute I was thinking "This time I'm really going to keep my vow to never drink again" and then the next minute I was drinking.  When I woke up the next morning, I was baffled by how my firm resolve had dissipated so easily.  It's sort of like when you are talking to someone while driving and are more or less on "autopilot".  You don't think a lot about the green lights and the left turns you made and soon you are somewhere and don't even remember driving there.  This is where Jack Trimpey's concept of Addictive Voice Recognition Technique is a valuable tool.  Until an addict modifies his behavior, it is especially important for an addict to be extra vigiliant in surveying the landscape for boozing opportunities and triggers.  Like an air traffic controller, he must be on the alert for those brief moments in time that can turn a sober day into an intoxicated one. 

In many instances, I think that "strange mental blank spots" is probably a misnomer and mischaracterization for what happens.  Although it almost seems as if one mindlessly picks up a drink, there is a trigger that stimulates a desire to drink and a decision to pick up that drink.  Due to habituation, this decision may be deeply rooted in the subconscious.  However, there is often that "uncomfortable moment", when a drinker feels that tug within him saying "this is a bad idea" that he ignores.  He gives into the urge, essentially "shuts off" the thinking portion of his brain and decides to "screw it, do it".  I'm guessing both you and Pasta know what I'm talking about.

In either case, I don't believe a higher power is needed to remedy the problem.  What is needed is increased awareness of the "addictive voice" (a Trimpey term) and the ability to effectively confront it when temptation presents itself.
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

Shari

Quote from: David M on June 10, 2011, 09:43:44 AM
On the other hand, when working with other alcoholics, trying to help them achieve or maintain sobriety, the thought of drinking either doesn't occur to us, or if it does, we react to it the same way we would react to the urge to put our hand on a hot stove, and it quickly passes.

I like that analogy, David!

rickymooston

Quote from: David M on June 09, 2011, 11:16:19 PM
Too much for my ADD brain to handle.

One's ADD mind is capable of handling complexity, given "buy in"TM1 but perhaps you dislike the way its phrased.  ||think|| Speaking from one ADD mind to another. FGOH's phrasing was interesting. KISS is a good principle.

And thanks for sharing your experience in this thread while acknowledging that of others.

1- Google "hyperfocus". ||666||!!!
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

FGOH

Shari - do you think that alcohol dependency or any form of addictive behaviour is genetic, or is any contention that "it runs in the family" more likely, in your view, to be borne of family members being conditioned in some way rather than having a true predisposition?

I'm interested in this discussion primarily because I had a severely alcoholic boyfriend many years ago, who also took pretty much whatever drugs he could lay his hands on easily. I learnt the hard way that you can't make anyone stop who doesn't want to.

However I'm also interested in this discussion because there is a large number of alcoholics in one branch of my family and whilst I am not anywhere near a stage at which I find the amount I drink is a problem, looked at objectively it is probably more than I should be having (hence this latest question).

Also, I'm interested in this discussion because as you have already said, some of the tools one can use to fight addiction can quite usefully be deployed in other areas of one's life (especially dealing with all the idiot drivers one encounters!)
I'm not signing anything without consulting my lawyer.

Shari

Quote from: FGOH on June 10, 2011, 01:21:29 PM
Shari - do you think that alcohol dependency or any form of addictive behaviour is genetic, or is any contention that "it runs in the family" more likely, in your view, to be borne of family members being conditioned in some way rather than having a true predisposition?

I'm interested in this discussion primarily because I had a severely alcoholic boyfriend many years ago, who also took pretty much whatever drugs he could lay his hands on easily. I learnt the hard way that you can't make anyone stop who doesn't want to.

However I'm also interested in this discussion because there is a large number of alcoholics in one branch of my family and whilst I am not anywhere near a stage at which I find the amount I drink is a problem, looked at objectively it is probably more than I should be having (hence this latest question).

Also, I'm interested in this discussion because as you have already said, some of the tools one can use to fight addiction can quite usefully be deployed in other areas of one's life (especially dealing with all the idiot drivers one encounters!)

FGOH, I confess I'm by no means expert on the genetic science.  Part of it might be learned behavior, and there very well may be a genetic component.  I think the way you're viewing this, i.e., to keep an eye on your drinking to ensure it doesn't create a problem for you is the best way forward.  And, as you note, if that becomes an issue for you (which I don't personally think it automatically will because it "runs in the family") you have places to turn to.  And a BIG YES on the fact that the tools work well as general life skills.  If you were contemplating taking a new job in a new city, doing a Cost/Benefit Analysis would be a great tool to put to use.

Pastafarian

Reading your posts here David I get the sense that it comes down to the same thing no matter which way you choose: make a decision, have support around you and educate yourself regarding possible triggers/thinking and behavior changes you need to make.
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Shari

Thought I'd share another tool, perhaps something for folks to think about over the weekend.

Another tool we use for motivation to abstain is the Change Plan Worksheet.  (Cat, not sure if you've done this with your counselor or not, but it might be helpful to you as you try to segue into the action stage.)

On a piece of paper, document the following ...

The changes I want to make are:

The steps I plan to take in changing are:

The ways other people can help me are:
(Person)              (Possible ways to help me)

I will know that my plan is working if:

Some things that could interfere with my plan are:

Then, using a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being "not at all" and 10 being most important, rate the following questions:

How important is it that I make this change?

How confident am I that I can make this change?

Wishing everyone a terrific weekend! 

QuestionMark

All,
It sounds like David is drawing the distinction of dependence. Not everyone that has an alcohol problem is chemically dependent. I think it's a valid distinction. The way I was taught about dependence, it makes no sense to try to work it out rationally because it becomes like breathing, or eating food. You feel a need for alcohol as badly as you do for any other chemical that your body depends on to survive.

It's almost impossible to reason with someone who is suffocating... breathing comes before everything else.

Shari,
How does someone who is alcohol dependent function in SMART? Sorry if you mentioned this and I missed it.

Looking forward,
QM
καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει

Shari

Quote from: QuestionMark on June 10, 2011, 09:31:20 PM
Shari, How does someone who is alcohol dependent function in SMART? Sorry if you mentioned this and I missed it.
Looking forward,
QM

When people come to SMART Recovery, we don't try to assess "where they are" with alcohol dependence (or other addictive behaviors).  We presume that they're there for a purpose. Sometimes because they recognize they have a problem they wish to resolve, or sometimes because someone else has indicated "you have a problem, you better do something".  They come in all shapes, sizes and forms, from motivated and ready to change, to unsure about change, to attending because of the "you better do something" concept. Regardless of how/why they come, and how "alcohol dependent" they may be, they arrive because they're trying to fulfill something in their life.  (It might even be to not have the locks changed on the house, but to be able to prove they were doing SOMETHING helpful that day, as was the case with a gentleman who attended a meeting I facilitated years ago in Cleveland.) 

SMART Recovery welcomes one and all regardless of where they may be in their motivation, how addicted they may be (including needing liver transplants), etc.  All are provided the tools and techniques to help them determine if and how THEY choose to move forward.  So, I guess in answer to your question "How does someone who is alcohol dependent function in SMART?"  They function as they choose in the meetings or on the message boards, or chat.  They personally determine if they choose to use the program and tools.  The level of their alcohol dependence isn't always known, but the tools and peer support are provided regardless.

Does that sort of answer your question, or did I misinterpret it?

QuestionMark

Quote from: Shari on June 10, 2011, 11:39:24 PM
Does that sort of answer your question, or did I misinterpret it?
Shari,
I was more getting at the medical side of things. I spend a lot of time in hospitals, and drinkers are identified not because of their need to overcome 'alcoholism' but because of the physical and psychological effects of withdrawal. Those who are alcohol dependent respond to therapies(drug and otherwise) differently than non drinkers.

David was talking about the sort of moment where you have no rational way of overcoming the urge, and in medicine they agree with that way of looking at it. Some people are physiologically addicted to alcohol, not just the habit or the effect of drinking on the nervous system.

Does SMART recognize this condition, and do they offer any help to treat it?

Looking forward,
QM
καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει

Shari

Quote from: QuestionMark on June 10, 2011, 11:57:59 PM
Quote from: Shari on June 10, 2011, 11:39:24 PM
Does that sort of answer your question, or did I misinterpret it?
Shari,
I was more getting at the medical side of things. I spend a lot of time in hospitals, and drinkers are identified not because of their need to overcome 'alcoholism' but because of the physical and psychological effects of withdrawal. Those who are alcohol dependent respond to therapies(drug and otherwise) differently than non drinkers.

David was talking about the sort of moment where you have no rational way of overcoming the urge, and in medicine they agree with that way of looking at it. Some people are physiologically addicted to alcohol, not just the habit or the effect of drinking on the nervous system.

Does SMART recognize this condition, and do they offer any help to treat it?

Looking forward,
QM

Our meeting facilitators go through training, and we recently implemented a requirement for our message board and chat volunteers to do so as well.  If our volunteers encounter anyone for whom there's a concern that a sudden stop of the behavior (drinking or drugging) would pose a medical threat, they recommend the individual seek immediate medical attention in addition to attending meetings and using the program.  Our purpose is to help people overcome addictive behaviors. We don't dole out medical advice, but we always suggest that if it seems a medical issue may be at hand, then we suggest medical attention be sought.  The same is true for people who struggle with both mental health and addiction.  We recommend that they seek additional help/treatment with the mental health issues while using the program.

Kiahanie

Quote from: David M[.... ]Recovery isn't about putting it in someone else's hands, it is about joining hands with others who have overcome the same problem and engaging in a vigorous course of action that rearranges our thinking automatically so that the drinking idea loses its power to overwhelm our otherwise rational behavior.
[ ....]
I think this is key to successful programs. For me, it was very helpful to hear that nothing I experienced as a drunk was unique to me. Every shame, every failure, every hidden feeling that I thought was mine was shared over and over by people by people who [were confronting] [had successfully confronted] what I faced. And they added a lot of their own, too.
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

David M

Quote from: Kiahanie on June 11, 2011, 08:00:05 PM
I think this is key to successful programs. For me, it was very helpful to hear that nothing I experienced as a drunk was unique to me. Every shame, every failure, every hidden feeling that I thought was mine was shared over and over by people by people who [were confronting] [had successfully confronted] what I faced. And they added a lot of their own, too.

yeah, my standard excuse for everything before I got to AA was, "But you don't understand."  In AA, I had no excuse, because everyone there understood, many better than I did.  They told me I suffered from, "terminal uniqueness" and until I learned that my case wasn't fundamentally different than everyone else in AA, I wasn't going to have much success with the program.

"Well, AA won't work for me because I don't believe in God" is an example of this condition.  There are plenty of people who don't believe in God when they get to AA, but, fortunately, God still believes in us, and the 12 steps work if you work them.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

David M

Quote from: Shari on June 10, 2011, 12:07:04 PM
Quote from: David M on June 10, 2011, 09:43:44 AM
On the other hand, when working with other alcoholics, trying to help them achieve or maintain sobriety, the thought of drinking either doesn't occur to us, or if it does, we react to it the same way we would react to the urge to put our hand on a hot stove, and it quickly passes.

I like that analogy, David!

Shari, you apparently haven't read the book, "Alcoholics Anonymous", which surprises me.  That analogy, and most of the points I have made in this thread, are stolen directly from that book.

Amazing, isn't it, how much they understood about the disease of alcoholism way back in 1939?  Except for adding forwards and different personal stories, the basic text of the program hasn't needed to be changed in over 70 years.

Imagine that.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Mooby the Golden Sock

David, no need to be condescending. We know that AA worked for you, but Shari really isn't here to talk about AA and doesn't claim to be an expert on the program.

If you would like an AA guest speaker, why not invite one to the forum?
History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man.--BÖC

Shari

Kia, yes, I think that's key to recovery groups -- the opportunity to recognize you're not alone.  So many others have had similar experiences, and are willing to share with one another. 

David, confess I've not read the Big Book.  I've read excerpts through time, and am looking for a document I hope to find that helps show that Bill W was a believer that there's more than one road to recovery.  When I find that, I'll share.  In the meantime, might I suggest the SMART Recovery Handbook to you?  ;)  (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Mooby, thanks for trying to get this thread back on track, and agree it would be fabulous to have a future guest speaker from AA, Women for Sobriety, SOS and LifeRing, if possible. But, for now, let's try to keep it SMART Recovery oriented, again with the understanding that David succeeded via AA, which is a beautiful thing.

David M

Mooby, I wasn't trying to be condescending, I was just pointing out that if she was familiar with the "Alcoholics Anonymous" she would have recognized some of the phrases I use.  As someone who works in the recovery field, I'm sure she's handled more difficult customers than me!

Shari, as for Bill knowing that he didn't have all the answers, the last page of the book says something like, "We realize we know only a little.  God will constantly disclose more to you and to us... See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others.  Abandon yourself to God as you understand God, admit your faults to Him and to your fellows.  Clear away the wreckage of your past.  Give freely of what you find and join us.  We will be with you in the fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the road to happy destiny.  May God bless you and keep you until then."

In another place it says, "There is no treatment with which we are familiar that can make alcoholics of the type we have described drink like normal people.  Science may one day accomplish this, but it hasn't yet.  Therefore, the only solution we have to offer is complete abstainence."

Science still hasn't accomplished it 70 years later, from what I can see.

Anyway, Shari, I do much appreciate your contributions to our forum and hope you were not offended by my remarks.  If you were, I apologize.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Jay

Quote from: David M on June 12, 2011, 12:59:18 AM
Anyway, Shari, I do much appreciate your contributions to our forum and hope you were not offended by my remarks.  If you were, I apologize.
+1 David  ||tip hat||
I am me, if you dont like it, tough luck!

Pastafarian

Hi Shari, thanks for the continued tools.
I really like "catch the wave" as a concept. It's something I've always believed in, from childhood, but it's nicely put in your manual.

The change plan worksheet is also a solid idea IMHO.

The urge log I'm suspect of. Im busy reading Rational Recovery's "new cure for substance addiction" circa mid 90's. I'm 4 chapters in and so far the two main messages ring true for me: 1) I am responsible for my own recovery, it is in my power to quit, I don't believe in "alcoholism" as a disease.
2) why go to support groups constantly if I have decided not to drink again?

The relevance to this thread, for me, is that I can see why I have been reluctant to get involved in meetings of some kind (online included). I just don't think it's healthy to constantly talk about a problem I had (alcohol abuse) if I intend to stay sober... The tricky bit is the rewiring, the urge fighting.
That's why I think some of SMART's tools are great. I get to analyze my behavior and make relevant changes. But writing down urges is to me stepping into AA's minefield of living like an alcoholic, IMHO. The urge fir alcohol is like any other urge, I think. Plus, while I've had NANYANG urges in the 10 weeks I've been sober now, only once was I at the brink. THAT urge came the he'll out if nowhere, no trigger, no reason, just a momentary relaxation of my guard against my base instinct fir pleasure.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that while I value tools that help focus my attempts at modifying my behavior, and while I enjoy discussing those methods with others, I don't want to empower my "beast" (Trimpey again) by writing down it's thoughts and I don't want to hang around with people who talk only of their (past!) addictive behavior.

Just a long-winded post to smarmy thoughts. Enjoying the thread and cataloguing the tools I want to use, thanks. :)
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Pastafarian

#137
"share my thoughts", not "smarmy thoughts", lol. I can't edit such a long post on my phone so any others... I'm sorry! damnyouautocorrect.com.

EFUT: NANYANG urges??!! Why The Face? MANY urges.

EDIT 2: EDIT, not EFUT, for efut's sake!! AAAARRRGGGHHHH!

I know how this poor soul feels:

It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

David M

Quote from: Pastafarian on June 12, 2011, 05:44:10 AM
1) I am responsible for my own recovery, it is in my power to quit, I don't believe in "alcoholism" as a disease.

The medical community believes that it is a disease.

Quote
2) why go to support groups constantly if I have decided not to drink again?

1.  Because that is a decision I cannot make in my own strength and will, no matter how effective my will power is in other respects.

2.  To help others receive what I have been so freely given - the gift of sobriety

3.  To see my friends and be part of a fellowship of people I really enjoy.

4.  To be inspired by powerful demonstrations of the power of God in the here and now.

5.  To get out of the house for an hour or so, and outside of my own head.

6.  To spend just a little time "taking my medicine" so I don't have to spend all my time fighting urges to drink.

7.  To ogle the pretty woment there.

8.  To learn spiritual principles that are effective tools for living in all my affairs.

9.  To experience all the other things I wouldn't know I was missing if I didn't go.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Pastafarian

Disease:  uh huh. ||deadhorse||

1) this is incongruous with your previous post. It also takes the explanation for why some members of AA are successful and others aren't and trashes it. Whatever the decision (god help me/just stop/whatever) it is the individual's. Religion is pernicious in the way it allows it's adherents to avoid responsibility. The same can be said for calling bad behavior a disease.

2) agreed. Though I got that from FB on here and via email. Also, the nature of our communication: sparse, compared to daily/weekly sessions allows me to develop my own strength and great confidence.

3)agreed. Though I don't want to hang around people who talk about a PAST problem, I'd rather hang out with people who are interested in what I'm interested in NOW. music, art, hiking, computers, film, books, freethought...

4) see 3

5) see 3

6) not sure I understand this. I find talking about the stuff I enjoy doing (and doing it) leaves urges at the door. But whatever works :)

7) :)

8) church? But sure.

9) yeah, I want to experience a whole lot more than overcoming alcohol.
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

FGOH

These two different approaches are very interesting.

It seems to me that if one is inclined to the view that a higher power is necessary to help one, then one is going to be more receptive to and requiring of help on all levels. That seems to be where AA is coming from and the fellowship would seem to be a very necessary part of that approach.

Whereas if one is inclined to the view that "it is my problem and only I can beat it" then one is not necessarily going to find it helpful to attend regular meetings where people might seem to be dwelling on the problem, or be getting in too deep and personal.

I think it boils down to the fact that one size does not fit all, and it is really great that there are different options available so people can find the one that is most helpful for them.
I'm not signing anything without consulting my lawyer.

Pastafarian

Yes that's true. The problem is that at the moment millions of people are forced into one way of thinking, often by the law. I don't really find the meeting constantly a problem, it's the disease concept I think is so dangerous. I felt hopeless before I heard about Rational Recovery. I thought my problem was genetic, some misterious disease I had to live with for the rest of my life.

I wonder what percentage of people who abuse alcohol are chemically dependent, in need of medical attention. And of that, how long would they need medical attention before they can take control of their lives back.
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Shari

I'm really loving this communication because I think it shows how there are about as many pathways to recovery as there are individuals!  We've got Pasta and FB who've found RR to work (their posts bring to my mind the Nike commercials: Just Do IT!); we've got David for whom AA has worked; and Cat seems to be appreciating some of the cognitive behavioral concepts of SMART Recovery.  Plus, we've got folks sort of "mixing things up" and using pieces/parts of programs that resonate for them.  And from my perspective, that's the way it should be!  If you've got a plan that's working for you, don't change.  And if you haven't yet started on a way forward, look into all of the organizations and see which (or which combo) sounds most helpful to you, then move ahead!

Assyriankey

Shari, how did you come to be involved in SMART Recovery?

(my apologies if you've already explained your background, link pls)
Ignoring composer and wilson is key to understanding the ontological unity of the material world.

David M

Quote from: Pastafarian on June 12, 2011, 11:03:37 AM
Yes that's true. The problem is that at the moment millions of people are forced into one way of thinking, often by the law. I don't really find the meeting constantly a problem, it's the disease concept I think is so dangerous. I felt hopeless before I heard about Rational Recovery. I thought my problem was genetic, some misterious disease I had to live with for the rest of my life.

I wonder what percentage of people who abuse alcohol are chemically dependent, in need of medical attention. And of that, how long would they need medical attention before they can take control of their lives back.

Pasta, I know you think I'm trying to force the AA idea on you, but I'm really just trying to confront your misconceptions about how AA and the higher power thing work.  From our perspective, what's dangerous, not to mention devastating to one's ability to "take control of their lives back," is the idea that we should be able to control something which is beyond our ability to control.  That's why the diarrhea analogy is so powerful.  The strongest man in the world is unable to control those urges, and for those of us suffering from the disease of alcoholism, the situation, and the results of trying to control it ourselves, are very similar.

Meanwhile, whatever your experience of God and religion are, you seem to have a terrible notion of what happens when we, "turn our will and our lives over the the care of God as we understand him."  It has actually been the most liberating thing I have ever done in my life, freeing me from worry over the things I cannot control anyway and allowing me to focus my attention on those areas of my life where I really can make a difference.  We don't become puppets on a string of some mysterious force or even of the AA program.  We are just as free in AA to apply what works and discard what doesn't as Shari advocates so well in Smart Recovery.

Many people seem to have an image of God as a Big Meanie in the sky who wants to punish you for being bad.  That's not the higher power we experience in AA at all.  It's more like tapping into a fountain of unconditional love that nourishes our thirsty souls and gives us strength and hope to tackle our problems with dignity and grace and enables us to share our experience with others.  God doesn't control my life, he gives me wisdom to make choices that empower me to manage my life in a way that is more satisfying to me and useful to others.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Assyriankey

Quote from: David M on June 12, 2011, 12:32:01 PM
The strongest man in the world is unable to control those urges, and for those of us suffering from the disease of alcoholism, the situation, and the results of trying to control it ourselves, are very similar.

David, you seem to have grave problems with understanding what other people write.

The sentiment expressed in what I've quoted is actually quite destructive to the cause of abstinence.  This negative aspect has been mentioned above yet out you trot it again.  Sigh.

You do realise that what you say is not true, don't you?  That you're just repeating a mindless mantra?
Ignoring composer and wilson is key to understanding the ontological unity of the material world.

David M

Quote from: Assyriankey on June 12, 2011, 12:41:32 PM

You do realise that what you say is not true, don't you?  That you're just repeating a mindless mantra?

AK, go eat a whole box of EXlax, and try to control your urges.  Then come back here and tell me if what I say in untrue.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Pastafarian

1) what Assy said.
2) I don't view religion or god anything like that. In a "what do you miss about religion" thread I wrote, just the other day, "the comfort of handing my problems over to god in prayer". I went on to say that now I find myself instead trying to find words or actions that can help others when I'm confronted with their pain, for example, because "I'll pray for you" is like wishing, and that is very nice but useless IMHO.
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Pastafarian

Weird. You seem to be doing just fine David. Is there a drug to cure this disease?

"I've so depressed. I was just diagnosed with (insert disease here)."
"have you tried the 12 steps?"
||huh||
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

David M

Quote from: Pastafarian on June 12, 2011, 01:05:39 PM
1) what Assy said.
2) I don't view religion or god anything like that. In a "what do you miss about religion" thread I wrote, just the other day, "the comfort of handing my problems over to god in prayer". I went on to say that now I find myself instead trying to find words or actions that can help others when I'm confronted with their pain, for example, because "I'll pray for you" is like wishing, and that is very nice but useless IMHO.

Well, that's sad, because praying is the most powerful thing we can do.  To consciously bring someone's name and their struggle into the Light of God's love has amazing healing and unifying power which benefits the one praying, the one prayed for, and the Kingdom as well.

I shudder to think where I would be today without those who prayed for me when I was out there running around thinking I had no need or use for God, who kept the line open for me when I was ready to acknowlege it.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Assyriankey

#150
Quote from: David M on June 12, 2011, 01:03:18 PM
AK, go eat a whole box of EXlax, and try to control your urges.  Then come back here and tell me if what I say in untrue.

David, it is simply not true that alcoholics cannot, in and of themselves, totally reform from drinking.  Moreover, your idea, that alcoholics lack the power to do this, is a damaging one and counter-productive.

What you claim is simply not true and this has been pointed out to you many times in the past.  Previously, you have answered by saying that an alcoholic who achieves abstinence was never a real alcoholic in the first place.

Please, make this claim to Shari, that the people who her program helps achieve abstinence, were never real alcoholics.
Ignoring composer and wilson is key to understanding the ontological unity of the material world.

David M

Quote from: Pastafarian on June 12, 2011, 01:10:58 PM
Weird. You seem to be doing just fine David. Is there a drug to cure this disease?

"I've so depressed. I was just diagnosed with (insert disease here)."
"have you tried the 12 steps?"
||huh||

I'm not sure I understand your question, Pastaman.  Are you talking about the disease of alcoholism, or depression?  There are drugs that can sometimes treat the symptoms of depression, but I'm not aware of a medical cure.

As for the effectiveness of the 12 Steps, I believe with all my heart that most of society's ill could be eliminated if everyone chose to apply 12 Step principles to their lives and every organization used the 12 Traditions to guide their practices.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

rickymooston

#152
Shari,
1) In your experience, are there many members who've gone through SMART successfully who have discovered they can't "drink like normal people" and have found for them "abstinence seems to be necessary"?  That is, they wanted to encorporate moderate drinking into their lives but it always backfired?  What tools do you recommend for somebody to determine whether or not they can drink moderately? Do you at least introduce the possibility that that approach doesn't work for some people? That is, is abstinece really a "choice" or does it depend on the person?

2) What about the idea of "occasional drinking with damage control"? Cat has recently shared she tried something like this for a while and it worked for her until she changed soclial workers.

3) How does your program encourage people to "plug into" the medical community. How can members benefit from your program and also look into other aids?  How do you help them eveluate the other aids available to them?

4) I'm unsure if you answered this yet but how did you enter the game? Are you coming into this as a health professional or as a former sufferer? Why did you choose SMART rather than some other program such as rational recovery. What appealed to you the most about SMART? (We've discussed AA already enough but given that you've mentioned 5 other methods ...)

5) What about the alcohol treatment pill? One of the members of this forum shared a very sad story of somebody who died (suicide I believe) using that as his exclusive method. However, have you found that in the context of SMART, some people have used that as a partial solution?
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

David M

Quote from: Assyriankey on June 12, 2011, 01:19:14 PM
Quote from: David M on June 12, 2011, 01:03:18 PM
AK, go eat a whole box of EXlax, and try to control your urges.  Then come back here and tell me if what I say in untrue.

David, it is simply not true that alcoholics cannot, in and of themselves, totally reform from drinking.  Moreover, your idea, that alcoholics lack the power to do this, is a damaging one and counter-productive.

What you claim is is simply not true and this has been pointed out to you many times in the past.  Previously, you have answered by saying that alcoholic who achieves abstinence was never a real alcoholic in the first place.

Please, make this claim to Shari, that the people who her program helps achieve abstinence, were never real alcoholics.
 

AK, it is simply not true that those of us who know about alcoholism, including the vast majority of those in the medical profession who specialize in the treatment of alcoholism, agree with you.  Who has pointed out to me that this is not true?  A few former drinkers on IGI who hate the God idea?  That's hardly convincing evidence.

As for Smart Recovery, I have yet to meet one person in the recovering community in the Cleveland area, of which Mentor, the headquarters of Smart Recovery is a part, who has even heard of Smart Recovery, which has one weekly meeting at its headquarters in Mentor.  Meanwhile, there are over 1000 weekly meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous in our area attended by thousands of recovering alcoholics who you can hear testify every single day that they were simply unable to stop drinking on their own until either they reached out to God and he led them to AA or they went to AA and were led to God.

I have no desire or reason to doubt the effectiveness of Smart Recovery for those who find it helpful.  I don't understand why anyone would, on the one hand, resist the idea of labeling a drinking problem a disease or calling it alcoholism, and then, on the other hand, insist that I call everyone who has a drinking problem an alcoholic.  I don't have to ask Shari that question because she has already said that they don't use the term, "Alcoholic."  Perhaps the reason is because they want to avoid potential legal ramifications of suggesting that alcoholics can recover using their program? 

Don't know.  None of my business.  I'm just here to share my experience, strength and hope, and talk about what works for me and many thousands of other sober people who were once just as hopelessly and helplessly dependent on alcohol as I was.  If Smart Recovery, or any other cognitive method works for anyone else, that's great.  If it doesn't, and they survive,  AA will be there for them when they are ready to admit that they are powerless over alcohol and that their lives have become unmanageable.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Shari

Quote from: Assyriankey on June 12, 2011, 12:11:23 PM
Shari, how did you come to be involved in SMART Recovery?

(my apologies if you've already explained your background, link pls)

I began working part-time for SMART Recovery nearly 18 years ago, initially as an office manager.  I think it was about 5 years that I agreed to the Executive Director role and began working full time for SMART Recovery.

I hope I haven't given the impression that I'm an expert in recovery.  I have no background nor training in recovery or psychology, though I have 17+ years of experience of interacting with individuals who are using the SMART Recovery program.  I also try not to represent other groups, because I'm most definitely not expert in their programs, simply recognize that each of the programs can work for individuals.  I should say I try not to speak on behalf of other groups to represent their specific programs.  I do like to try to represent that a variety of programs exist.  :)

I do find my job incredibly rewarding and fulfilling!

rickymooston

AK, David   I think Mooby has mentioned that, we don't want this thread to be about AA. Therefore, can you try to avoid making it about AA?

AK, Your statement about "powerlessness being counter productive" really involves understanding what AA means by an individual being "powerless". This resulted in a defensive wall of text in response from David. Neither post really discusses SMART.

If you want to discuss "higher powers", please do so in an AA thread. The forum has about 25 of them.
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

Former Believer

Personally, I don't think that David M discussing higher powers in this thread is inappropriate.  SMART Recovery, while it doesn't discourage people from using faith based beliefs as part of their recovery, doesn't believe that higher powers are needed to stop drinking.  This is a fundamental aspect of SMART idealogy, one which differs from 12 step programs and one, which I believe, is worthy of evaluation and discussion.
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

rickymooston

Quote from: Shari on June 12, 2011, 02:04:36 PM
I hope I haven't given the impression that I'm an expert in recovery.  I have no background nor training in recovery or psychology, though I have 17+ years of experience of interacting with individuals who are using the SMART Recovery program.

Based on that 17 years of experience then, have you met alcoholics who found that total abstinence was necessary for their personal recovery?

For the record, my question was only to understand where you come from. Your answers here have been very enlightening. You've explained your program rather well and you've gotten very encouraging feedback in this thread for several people who have either dealt with addiction or who are currently dealing.
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

Shari

Quote from: rickymooston on June 12, 2011, 01:35:05 PM
Shari,
1) In your experience, are there many members who've gone through SMART successfully who have discovered they can't "drink like normal people" and have found for them "abstinence seems to be necessary"?  That is, they wanted to encorporate moderate drinking into their lives but it always backfired?  What tools do you recommend for somebody to determine whether or not they can drink moderately? Do you at least introduce the possibility that that approach doesn't work for some people? That is, is abstinece really a "choice" or does it depend on the person?

I'M NOT YELLING, BUT I'LL TYPE IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE I'M NOT SURE HOW TO BREAK UP A QUOTE. :)  OH, YES, THERE ARE MANY MEMBERS OF SMART RECOVERY WHO HAVE DISCOVERED THAT THEY CAN'T DRINK LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE.  AND MANY STARTED OUT WITH THE HOPE OF DRINKING MODERATELY, BUT THEN DISCOVER IT'S SIMPLY NOT PART OF THE EQUATION FOR THEM TO BE SUCCESSFUL.  LET ME POINT OUT THAT SMART RECOVERY IS AN ABSTINENCE-BASED PROGRAM.  BUT I IMAGINE WHEN PEOPLE FIRST COME TO ANY PROGRAM, IT MAY BE THEIR HOPE OR DESIRE TO BE ABLE TO "DRINK LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE".  WE DON'T ADVISE "OF COURSE YOU CAN'T!"  WE LET PEOPLE DISCOVER FOR THEMSELVES WHAT THEIR PATH NEEDS TO BE.  USUALLY ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK, A NEWCOMER ON OUR MESSAGE BOARDS WILL SHARE THE DESIRE TO DRINK IN MODERATION, AND THEN MANY OF OUR PARTICIPANTS WILL SHARE THAT WAS THEIR DESIRE, AS WELL, BUT IT DIDN'T WORK FOR THEM.  IF SOMEONE MAKES A DETERMINATION THAT MODERATION IS THE WAY THEY CHOOSE TO MOVE FORWARD, WE RECOMMEND MODERATION MANAGEMENT TO THEM. AS FAR AS TOOLS USED TO HELP DETERMINE THAT, I THINK THAT THE CHANGE PLAN WORKSHEET AND A COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS WOULD BOTH BE HELPFUL TO THE INDIVIDUAL TO DECIDE WHAT'S MOST LIKELY TO WORK FOR THEM.

2) What about the idea of "occasional drinking with damage control"? Cat has recently shared she tried something like this for a while and it worked for her until she changed soclial workers.

I BELIEVE IT CAN WORK FOR SOME, AND THAT'S WHY MODERATION MANAGEMENT EXISTS.  IT'S JUST NOT GOING TO BE EFFECTIVE FOR EVERYONE, REGARDLESS OF HOW STRONGLY THEY DESIRE TO MODERATE.

3) How does your program encourage people to "plug into" the medical community. How can members benefit from your program and also look into other aids?  How do you help them eveluate the other aids available to them?

I THINK I MENTIONED BEFORE THAT IF IT'S APPARENT THAT SOMEONE WOULD BE AT RISK MEDICALLY, WE STRONGLY URGE THEM TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE BEFORE SIMPLY STOPPING.  WE ALSO ARE IN FAVOR OF PEOPLE USING PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING/HELP AND TREATMENT PROGRAM SERVICES (INPATIENT AND OUTPATIENT) IN COMBINATION WITH SMART RECOVERY IF THEY FIND THAT HELPFUL TO THEM.  WE DON'T EVALUATE OTHER AIDS, SERVICES, SIMPLY RECOMMEND THAT PARTICIPANTS CHECK INTO ANY/ALL SERVICES THEY FEEL MAY ENHANCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF SUCCESS.

4) I'm unsure if you answered this yet but how did you enter the game? Are you coming into this as a health professional or as a former sufferer? Why did you choose SMART rather than some other program such as rational recovery. What appealed to you the most about SMART? (We've discussed AA already enough but given that you've mentioned 5 other methods ...)

I DID ANSWER MOST OF THIS QUESTION A COUPLE OF MINUTES AGO.  I DIDN'T ACTUALLY CHOOSE SMART RECOVERY AS OPPOSED TO ANY OTHER GROUP, IT WAS SIMPLY A JOB OPPORTUNITY AT THE TIME. :)

5) What about the alcohol treatment pill? One of the members of this forum shared a very sad story of somebody who died (suicide I believe) using that as his exclusive method. However, have you found that in the context of SMART, some people have used that as a partial solution?

WE ARE IN FAVOR OF PEOPLE USING MEDICATIONS IN COMBINATION WITH THE PROGRAM, IF THEY SO CHOOSE, AND IF THEY FIND IT HELPFUL TO THEM.  HERE'S A LINK TO OUR MEDICATIONS POSITION STATEMENT: http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/postion/medications.pdf.  WE ALSO ENCOURAGE THOSE WHO ARE DEALING WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IN ADDITION TO AN ADDICTIVE BEHAVIOR TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP AND UTILIZE PRESCRIBED MEDS FOR THEIR MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. 

Pastafarian

Depression's a disease too?  ||huh||

No David. I meant a disease. Like lupus. Or smallpox.
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

rickymooston

Shari, thanks for your responce.  ||smiley||

Quote from: Pastafarian on June 12, 2011, 02:23:37 PM
Depression's a disease too?  ||huh||

Pasta, the classification of diseases is off  topic but yes there are several diseases referred to by psychiatrists as depression.
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

Shari

Quote from: rickymooston on June 12, 2011, 02:12:54 PM

Based on that 17 years of experience then, have you met alcoholics who found that total abstinence was necessary for their personal recovery?

For the record, my question was only to understand where you come from. Your answers here have been very enlightening. You've explained your program rather well and you've gotten very encouraging feedback in this thread for several people who have either dealt with addiction or who are currently dealing.

Quite honestly, all of the people who decide to move forward with the SMART Recovery program have determined that total abstinence is necessary for their personal recovery.  That said, some arrive with that little spark of hope they'll be able to drink or use or gamble or whatever moderately.  (I don't know if the same is true for other programs, as well, but I'm sort of imagining so.)

And thanks for the kind words.  It's hard to describe a program, and I think that if it sounds at all appealing to anyone, actually trying it out and seeing how the tools are used and how others use them would be more helpful than me trying to describe it!

Shari

Yes, I realize that this link is "AA" oriented, vs. SMART Recovery, but I found it a very interesting and helpful read:  http://www.williamwhitepapers.com/pr/2010%20Bill%20Wilson%20on%20Multiple%20Pathways%20of%20Recovery.pdf

It's entitled: A Message of Tolerance and Celebration: The Portrayal of Multiple Pathways of Recovery in the Writings of Alcoholics Anonymous Co-Founder Bill Wilson.  Give it a read if interested.

Did I miss any questions? I'm not trying to avoid any, so if you've asked a question I've failed to answer, kindly repeat it!

Former Believer

Quote from: Shari on June 12, 2011, 02:48:42 PM
Did I miss any questions? I'm not trying to avoid any, so if you've asked a question I've failed to answer, kindly repeat it!

Yes.  I've asked you three times now, Shari, what the capital of Mongolia is.  I sort of get the feeling you are dodging the question.
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

Shari

Quote from: Former Believer on June 12, 2011, 02:50:46 PM
Quote from: Shari on June 12, 2011, 02:48:42 PM
Did I miss any questions? I'm not trying to avoid any, so if you've asked a question I've failed to answer, kindly repeat it!

Yes.  I've asked you three times now, Shari, what the capital of Mongolia is.  I sort of get the feeling you are dodging the question.

I just knew I'd miss something along the way!  That would be Ulan Bator, and we hope to have a SMART Recovery meeting there soon! ||grin||

Former Believer

Quote from: Shari on June 12, 2011, 02:55:15 PM
Quote from: Former Believer on June 12, 2011, 02:50:46 PM
Quote from: Shari on June 12, 2011, 02:48:42 PM
Did I miss any questions? I'm not trying to avoid any, so if you've asked a question I've failed to answer, kindly repeat it!

Yes.  I've asked you three times now, Shari, what the capital of Mongolia is.  I sort of get the feeling you are dodging the question.

I just knew I'd miss something along the way!  That would be Ulan Bator, and we hope to have a SMART Recovery meeting there soon! ||grin||

Oops!  I goofed up my quote.

Thanks for the answer.  I'm glad you finally "came clean".
Don't sacrifice your mind at the altar of belief

FGOH

Quote from: Shari on June 12, 2011, 02:55:15 PM
I just knew I'd miss something along the way!  That would be Ulan Bator, and we hope to have a SMART Recovery meeting there soon! ||grin||

I'm very glad to hear it. They have a big problem out there with over-consumption of fermented yak's milk.  ||grin||
I'm not signing anything without consulting my lawyer.

David M

Quote from: FGOH on June 12, 2011, 03:00:20 PM
Quote from: Shari on June 12, 2011, 02:55:15 PM
I just knew I'd miss something along the way!  That would be Ulan Bator, and we hope to have a SMART Recovery meeting there soon! ||grin||

I'm very glad to hear it. They have a big problem out there with over-consumption of fermented yak's milk.  ||grin||

AK, tell FGOH that simply is not true!
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Assyriankey

After reading some of Shari's latest PDF link I declare David M to be a "AA - Show off" as identified by AA founder Bill Wilson.
Ignoring composer and wilson is key to understanding the ontological unity of the material world.

Pastafarian

Yup. I've posted that very link in another thread before.
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

David M

Quote from: Pastafarian on June 12, 2011, 02:23:37 PM
Depression's a disease too?  ||huh||

No David. I meant a disease. Like lupus. Or smallpox.

Oh, I understand the question now.  You're questioning the definition of a disease when it isn't related to some type of physical physical cause which science has clearly indentified, like a virus or a genetic defect.

Perhaps you should look into some medical journals on the subject of the classification of diseases, as I'm not an expert.  All I know is that the American Medical Association has classified alcoholism as a disease since 1959, and the Director of Towns Hospital, the nationally renowned center for the treatment of alcoholics who wrote the Doctor's Opinion that is the preface to the book Alcoholics Anonymous, went out on a limb to declare it a disease for which there was then no known treatment or cure with which they were confident, other than complete abstinence, 20 years before for that, when the book was first published in 1939.

Apparently, not much has changed in the public perception of the issue sense then.  Most people still think drunks are just moral weaklings who neglect their responsibilities and abuse their families because they're selfish pricks.

If you'd rather identify with the fallacious public perception, rather than the medical facts, be my guest.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

David M

Quote from: Assyriankey on June 12, 2011, 03:34:41 PM
After reading some of Shari's latest PDF link I declare David M to be a "AA - Show off" as identified by AA founder Bill Wilson.

Yes, Bill knew what he was talking about alright, from the hard earned personal experience of a lifetime of trying to help change the public perception of alcoholism and alcoholics.

The only thing I'm showing off on IGI are my first name, my last initial, my dog, a few facts about alcoholism and AA, and my personal experience of recovery from this devastating illness.

If you want to question my motives for doing so, that is your business, but I don't think there's much here to go on.
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Airyaman

Interesting article, Alcoholism is not a Disease. Too many good points to pull out any particular excerpts.
Please take a moment to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks in Bowling Green, Atlanta, and Sweden.

rickymooston

#173
Needless post
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

rickymooston

#174
delete
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

FGOH

Could we please try to keep the focus on issues we can reasonably ask Shari to give her input on? There's plenty of other places for people to have a ding dong with DavidM about the ins and outs of his promotion of AA.
I'm not signing anything without consulting my lawyer.

Pastafarian

You're right FGOH. Sorry Shari.

Great link though Airy.
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Shari

Good Monday morning to all!

Lots of passion within this discussion, and that's good. We need passionate people helping to spread the news about programs!

I wanted to quickly share a couple of other tools that are used in SMART Recovery meetings, before heading back to work.

SMART Recovery meetings include a lot of brainstorming. They include a lot of communications between the participants.  In fact, our founding President has said that often the best meetings he's facilitated are those where his top lip is touching his bottom lip most of the time, i.e., he doesn't have to say much, but the participants help one another. When someone has shared an issue they're dealing with -- urges, anxiety, a slip, etc. -- the group is asked to brainstorm what tools or techniques might be helpful to the individual and to share what's been helpful to them.  So, you can expect a lot of cross-talk and brainstorming in a SMART Recovery meeting.

And, we use a tool called Role playing/Rehearsing.  An example.  Let's say your sister is getting married, and you know that alcohol will be freely flowing at the reception.  You can't miss the wedding and reception, but it's definitely causing you some anxiety.  This is where role play/rehearsal can be really helpful.  Group attendees would be asked to play a variety of roles, i.e., your best old drinking buddy slapping you on the shoulder and suggesting you head to the bar for a shot in your sister's honor.  A waiter wandering by with a tray of champagne.  How are you going to react/respond?  If you've rehearsed your responses, you'll have a much better chance of successfully turning down the offers.  You might, in the case of the best buddy, be forthright, and state "I'm not drinking anymore, but you get yourself a drink, and let's catch up on what's new."  Or, if that's not comfy try something along the lines of "I'm on some medications and not drinking, as the two don't work well together".  For the waiter, you may try something like "no thanks, I'm going to get a glass of ginger ale", or a response of that nature.  The point is to not be caught off guard, but to be prepared for what situations might arise, and have a response ready to roll off your tongue, vs. nabbing a glass off the tray or heading to the bar with your buddy. 

Wishing each of you a lovely Monday!

David M

"No, thanks, I've had enough," works for me in that situation.  Thing I like best about it is how true it is!
WARNING: Amateur psychiatrists have determined that this poster can be hazardous to your peace of mind.  Do not consume anything written by this poster unless accompanied by adequate doses of salt.

Assyriankey

Shari, where does the bulk of SMART Recovery's funding come from?
Ignoring composer and wilson is key to understanding the ontological unity of the material world.

Shari

Quote from: Assyriankey on June 13, 2011, 12:38:30 PM
Shari, where does the bulk of SMART Recovery's funding come from?

We rely on donations from those who use the program, group donations (we request that groups, once they are able to meet local expenses share some of their hat-passing funds with the Central Office), sale of publications, sponsorships (website and annual conference), and we have links to Amazon, and GoodSearch and I-give, etc. to help bring in a bit of funding, as well.  We have, on occasion, obtained some grant funding from a government agency (SAMHSA), and a few foundations over the years. (In 1996 we received a grant from a foundation that allowed us to create and publish our Facilitator's Manual, Handbook and also host 6 regional training programs).  I confess we don't do as much grant writing as would be beneficial -- that's always a huge task, with unknown outcome, but we're hoping to improve on that in the future.  BTW, the grant from SAMHSA was in 2003 and helped us create videos to train people to start and facilitate meetings.  That's a snapshot of our funding sources.

Assyriankey

Thanks Shari.  Does SMART Recovery fully disclose their activities and results?  I'm aware that AA does not disclose much info in the way of results and I've always considered this non-reporting as somewhat counter-productive.
Ignoring composer and wilson is key to understanding the ontological unity of the material world.

Shari

Quote from: Assyriankey on June 13, 2011, 01:03:42 PM
Thanks Shari.  Does SMART Recovery fully disclose their activities and results?  I'm aware that AA does not disclose much info in the way of results and I've always considered this non-reporting as somewhat counter-productive.

Our 990s (tax return info for non-profits) are posted on GuideStar, and we publish an Annual Report available here on our website: http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/bod.htm  (Scroll down just a tad.)  And, we try to keep people up-to-date on activities and results via our quarterly newsletter, monthly volunteer letters, quarterly emails to those who sign up to receive updates via our website homepage, etc. We don't have any secrets (no time for them), so feel free to ask more questions.  :)

Pastafarian

Hi again.

The last tool you shared above sound very much like what I've done with my friend who is abusing marijuana. I can see how talking like that can help to get a grasp of the situation.

I think Assy was referring more to the success rates of people in your program as opposed to money when he asked about results...
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Which Way?" (1884)

Shari

Quote from: Pastafarian on June 13, 2011, 03:14:15 PM
Hi again.

The last tool you shared above sound very much like what I've done with my friend who is abusing marijuana. I can see how talking like that can help to get a grasp of the situation.

I think Assy was referring more to the success rates of people in your program as opposed to money when he asked about results...

Ah, thank you for that clarification!  I wish that I could say that there's been a lot of research done on SMART Recovery on which to report, but at present, that's not especially true.  There are no studies which directly address the effectiveness of SMART Recovery. However, a number of studies indirectly support the effectiveness of SMART Recovery.

An excellent overview of alcohol treatment effectiveness may be found in RK Hester & WR Miller?s Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches: Effective Alternatives (3rd. edition, 2003). This volume summarizes the result of all the randomized, controlled clinical trials of alcohol treatment available at that time (nearly 400). To summarize their findings, the treatments that work are consistent with the SMART Recovery approach.

Similarly, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has published the Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment (available at nida.nih.gov). SMART Recovery is consistent with these principles.

In the largest psychotherapy study ever conducted to that date, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism?s Project MATCH compared 12-step based treatment, cognitive behavior therapy, and motivational enhancement therapy. In this study these approaches were about equally effective. For more information:
http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/NewsEvents/NewsReleases/match.htm
http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/match.htm

In October 2007, the Walsh Group did a study on religiosity and Mutual-aid Support groups. I have attached the Press Release and it is now in the public domain and available on-line. You can download the article for free. Here is the
link: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2095128

We are trying to move forward on some research (performed by reputable sources), but it will likely be a while until that is completed and the results can be reported.

Kiahanie

Quote from: David M on June 13, 2011, 12:26:11 PM
"No, thanks, I've had enough," works for me in that situation.  Thing I like best about it is how true it is!
||thumbs||
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

davdi

বাদল

Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.

rickymooston

Quote from: Shari on June 13, 2011, 01:49:42 PM
Our 990s (tax return info for non-profits) are posted on GuideStar, and we publish an Annual Report available here on our website: http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/bod.htm  (Scroll down just a tad.)  And, we try to keep people up-to-date on activities and results via our quarterly newsletter, monthly volunteer letters, quarterly emails to those who sign up to receive updates via our website homepage, etc. We don't have any secrets (no time for them), so feel free to ask more questions.  :)

Didn't see success fail stats there tho?
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute

Shari

Hi, Ricky!  Kindly see post #184.  We don't have much in the way of research as yet, nor do other recovery groups for that matter.  And I think it's safe to perhaps suggest that each program will have successes and failures.  The most important thing is for people to be aware of their choices and find the program that best matches their needs and beliefs.  No one program is better than another, some will just be more effective for an individual because the program resonates with them, and they find a way forward.

rickymooston

Quote from: Shari on August 19, 2011, 01:21:28 PM
Hi, Ricky!  Kindly see post #184.

Odd, I hadn't noticed that post; perhaps Pasta's post and those after came while I was posting and I ignored the forum message.  ||think|| Yes, #184 offers a reasonable answer to AK's question whereas your original answer didn't seem to. I'd gone through the trouble read through the annual report.

I like that Smart isn't dogmatic and that the approach is open to using what works.
"Re: Why should any Black man have any respect for any cop?
Your question is racist. If the police behave badly then everyone should lose respect for those policemen.", Happy Evolute