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Shari from SMART Recovery Here...

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

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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.