Sunday, 31 July 2016

Get Smart, fight the urge


I`d like to tell you a little more about SMART recovery, the providers of the group I attend, and the organisation I am training to be a meeting facilitator for.

Here’s a bit of stuff stolen directly from their website, outlining the approach and ethos of the company.

We help people recover from addictive behaviour and lead meaningful and satisfying lives.
Our approach is secular and science based; using motivational, behavioural and cognitive methods.
We run a network of self-help meetings and also partner with care professionals.

• Teaches self-empowerment and self-reliance.
• Provides meetings that are educational, supportive and focussed on open discussions.
• Supports the use of prescribed medications and psychological treatments where appropriate.
• Can be used to tackle any form of addictive behaviour, including drugs and alcohol, gambling
• Evolves as scientific knowledge in addiction recovery evolves.

SMART Recovery (SMART) is a science-based programme to help people manage their recovery from any type of addictive behaviour. This includes addictive behaviour with substances such as alcohol, nicotine or drugs, or compulsive behaviours such as gambling, sex, eating, shopping, self-harming and so on. SMART stands for ‘Self Management And Recovery Training’.
SMART began in 1994 in the United States. It has grown into a worldwide network of self-help meetings, both face-to-face and online, where participants can get help from others in recovery. SMART operates as a non-profit organisation in many countries including the United States, the UK, Canada and Australia.
There is no single approach to recovery that is right for everyone. Research into various recovery methods and therapies suggests that mutual aid can help recovery and so can treatment – a combination of the two is probably even better for many people.
SMART Recovery helps participants decide whether they have a problem, builds up their motivation to change and offers a set of proven tools and techniques to support recovery. This is the SMART Recovery 4-point programme:
Building and maintaining motivation
Coping with urges
Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviours
Living a balanced life
People can stay with SMART as long as they wish. There is no requirement to make a lifetime commitment to the programme, just to their recovery and leading a healthier life.
Many people find that continuing to participate in SMART after they have recovered helps them avoid lapses or relapses. Some will volunteer to train as Facilitators and set up further meetings. Others simply continue to attend meetings and share their experiences with others.
Within SMART, labels are not thought to help with recovery and are avoided. People are not called ‘addicts’, ‘alcoholics’, ’druggies’, ’overeaters’, ’sex addicts’ or other disparaging labels within meetings.
SMART Recovery will not be able to help with every kind of problem, and participants are encouraged to seek professional help when needed.
There are degrees of addictive behaviour and almost everyone will experience this, to some degree, at some point in their life. For some, addictive behaviour will overwhelm their life and SMART Recovery can be an important and effective part of their recovery journey.

Just recently in the SMART group we have been discussing urges and how to deal with them. I still get plenty, varying intensities and triggered by varying things. I generally use a mixture of mindfulness and thoughts about what would happen if I gave in to the urge to keep me on the straight and narrow. Sometimes easy, sometimes hard but so far all manageable. Over the weekend I received a letter bearing bad news. The subject of the news doesn’t matter here, suffice to say it was quite a blow. Stopped me dead in my tracks it did. The first thing that came in to my head was “Christ I need a drink”. It actually took most of the tricks and skills I have been taught so far to fight the urge. Made me realise that I may be over a month dry but there’s still no room for complacency. That urge can turn into a lapse in no time at all. Without the skills I am acquiring from SMART who knows what could have happened. Luckily today I seem to back to “normal” whatever that may be.

In other news we completed week 3 of our couch to 5k today, every time we go out it seems a little easier. Week 4 sees a fairly big step up in running time but neither of us feel at all daunted by this. Bring it on!

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