We lost another one today. A long time member of the sober community went back out (started drinking again) and today lost her battle with the deadly disease of alcoholism. She became one of the ugly statistics we don’t boast about. Nearly two thirds of those who attempt to maintain any kind of long term sobriety don’t make it. Yet, the majority of those who do make it will go on to live happy productive lives. This particular individual had put together eight years of sobriety, gone back to graduate school, obtained her degree, and was on the road to becoming a counselor. For some reason, she decided she could drink again, thereby triggering the allergic reaction and phenomenon of craving that represent the core of the disease of alcoholism.
Science has yet to pinpoint why some who seek recovery maintain it and why some do not. Yet my experience has shown me that those who do maintain any long term sobriety put their recovery first above everything else in their lives. They also work at maintaining their recovery. That means they participate in certain activities on a daily basis that assist them in remaining sober. These activities may include daily prayer and or meditation, motivational and recovery related readings, as well as contact with others in recovery whether that be by telephone, face-to-face contact or 12 step or other kinds of group meetings.
The benefits of a group setting are many. In addition to helping someone early in their journey see that long term sobriety is possible, it also allows people to share their experiences encountered during their journey and how they’ve managed to cope with them. Plus it allows those early in their journey to build a network of people they can reach out to when things get rough, which, my experience has been, they will!
Sagestone has begun offering SMART Recovery. SMART stands for Self Management and Recovery Training. An alternative to 12 step recovery meetings (AA and NA), SMART uses concepts rooted in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). SMART was created with the idea that if thinking dictates the way ones feels and acts, then managing those thoughts and feelings can change the way one acts or reacts to situations.The focus is on present day happenings and the causes of self-destructive behaviors, on what to do about events and behaviors to achieve positive lifestyle changes in the areas of life that are related to drinking or using. When we use the terms “drinking” and “using,” we include any kind of behavior that defines or rules our lives in a destructive way, including disordered eating, gambling, or self-injury.
SMART Recovery emphasizes (1). Enhancing motivation, (2).Refusing to act on the urge to move, (3). Managing the issues of life without substances or other destructive behaviors, and (4). Developing a balanced, positive and healthy lifestyle.
I have been trained and certified as a SMART facilitator, and as such, I conduct meetings as per the SMART Recovery handbook. There is no fee for our meetings, and they usually last about 90 minutes.
As someone in long term recovery, I am well aware of the issues that affect those in early recovery, as well as those that pop up on a daily basis. We at Sagestone are here to assist anyone looking to make positive change in their lives on an ongoing basis. I believe adding SMART Recovery to our list of offerings enhances our opportunity to be of service to others.
Until next time,