In this episode I discuss the Stages of Change as developed by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente. While not everyone passes through all of the stages, it still provides at least something of a road map to guide us through the recovery process. Briefly, they are:
To these, I usually add Relapse because although it's not really a "stage" per se, it's certainly common enough to include a discussion of the possibility along with the other stages.
I also refer to a diagram in the free eBook "Thinking Recovery," to discuss choices, and the best (in fact the only) time to make them. This is your life, and it's up to you what you want to do with it.
The leading science-based self-help recovery group in the world, with thousands of face-to-face and online meetings available.
Next week is "Planning for Change." A new planning method suggested by the book "Smart Change" by Art Markman, PhD.
I wrote Thinking Recovery to serve as a companion to this podcast. It contains an overview of the principal cognitive recovery techniques that I explore, and some visual aids to help with understanding.
You can download it for free, simply by clicking on the image to the left. I hope you enjoy it!
This is very much an introductory episode to the Recovery in Chaos podcast. In it, I explain why I named the podcast as I did, and a bit about my background and journey in recovery. I also explain what the word "recovery" means, in a clinical sense.
I forgot to mention in the episode that I have released Thinking Recovery, my new eBook, on this site. Since you're already here, why don't you follow the link on the bottom of the page, and download the book so you'll have it for the next episode.
The episode goes on to discuss cognitive recovery itself, what it is, and how it differs from other recovery methodologies. I also explore the four commonalities present in the recoveries of those who overcame their self-defeating behaviors either without help, or with only minimal assistance.
This post is the first of the “New Era” of this website. I recently gave a talk at a gathering here in Ajijic outlining my plans for a new book, “Recovering in Chaos,” and a podcast of the same name. Below is the text of that talk in its entirety, making this a much longer post than usual. Sorry for that, but here are the reasons that I see for writing the book and doing the podcast.
I wrote Powerless No Longer because I couldn’t not write it. I saw a need to do what I could to spread the word about cognitive recovery in an environment that at the time was overtly hostile to the idea that there might be a better way to approach addiction than the traditional 12-step modality. Today, most of that hostility has dissipated, at least in the professional community, primarily due to hundreds of studies done in the last five years demonstrating the efficacy of cognitive tools.
One result of this is the exponential growth of SMART Recovery, the leading self-help group using evidence-based methodologies. When I became involved with SMART in 2006, there were perhaps 200 meetings in the US and Canada, period. Today, the story is a little different. There are now 2,500 meetings on six continents, and over a hundred scientific peer reviewed papers on various aspects of the SMART program.
This growth is due to several factors, one of the important ones being the acceptance of cognitive methods in the battle against addiction by the professional community, but one of the primary drivers has been the surge in the need for recovery programs of all types due to the significant recent uptick in overdoses and addictive problems in general.
The tentative title of my new book and podcast is Recovering in Chaos. First I’ll explain why I chose the title, then I’m going to try and make the case that the exploding addiction and overdose problems in the US aren’t totally due to the factors we’re told they are. Lastly, I’ll talk about potential solutions, but unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about the possibilities.Continue reading
“Listen closely to yourself and dispute the thoughts that don’t serve you—even if those thoughts are true…. For example, you might think, ‘Writing a novel is hard. Selling a novel is hard.’ Yes, both thoughts are true, but they don’t serve you. The only thought that serves you is, I’m off to write a novel!” (emphasis mine)
We are used to practicing REBT to help us dispute and change our irrational belief systems. The paragraph above jumped out at me because I think we forget sometimes that the beliefs that keep us chained to our addictive behaviors, can actually be true, as in the example above. Of the three main tests that we apply to our beliefs, only one of them has to do with the belief being true or false. To review the tests, they are:
If the belief fails any one of these tests, we should dispute it. In the example above, the writer should dispute the beliefs because they conflict with the goal of finishing a novel. I think that oftentimes we concentrate upon the first test, the “truth” test, and forget that even “true” beliefs can fail to pass one or both of the last two tests. Remember that the goal of the REBT process is to help us deal with life’s problems without resorting to our self-defeating addictive behaviors, and sometimes these behaviors are driven by our belief that the problems we’re facing are insurmountable, when the truth is they are not. Yes, it is hard to write a novel, and it’s also hard to change our behaviors, but that’s no reason to stop trying and give up.