- File Size: 8559 KB
- Print Length: 94 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Alcohol & Drug Abuse Self-Help Network, Inc., dba SMART Recovery; 3 edition (July 14, 2014)
- Publication Date: July 14, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00LTDKS2W
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,796 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
SMART Recovery Handbook Kindle Edition
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One of the advantages of this over 12-step programs is the fact that, unlike AA, it embraces the idea of full recovery; it doesn't see addiction as a chronic disease that you can control but never cure. In SMART you CAN eventually get to the point where you don't have to do anything special to "maintain." This point'll vary by person obviously, but it's absolutely possible.
I know several people liked this book because it's non-religious. I would like to clarify that this is a perfectly acceptable program for those of us who are religious. In many ways I actually find this more consistent with my Christian values than AA was.
If anything, I think AA as a program is the one that's problematic from a religious perspective. Not to go off on an anti-AA rant, but here it goes: apart from disagreeing with several key ideas behind AA (e.g. the "disease model"), I disliked the implicit subjectivism and, quite frankly, magical thinking involved in AA. If you wanted your "Higher Power" to be a doorknob, that's fine in AA. (Now, obviously, your doorknob isn't a source of actual power, either spiritual or otherwise, but what's that to AA?). In meetings people would often say "well, my Higher Power's like this..." or "my higher power's like that..." The two ideas presented might totally contradict each other and be viewed as, in some sense, "true" as far as the group goes. Half the time the ideas presented are some god the speaker made up and formed in their own image - their "Higher Power" is the god they wished existed, not the one that actually does. What you end up with is smorgasbord religion and what some authors have described as "moralistic therapeutic deism." In any case, I'll stop ranting - my purpose here isn't to bash AA.
The program and handbook also help you "de-claw," normalize, and demythologize the urges. I used to think of urges as completely unbearable, awful, and permanent (i.e. if I don't engage in my compulsive behavior I'll feel 100% bad 100% of the time until I do and I won't be able to stand it). They show instead that having urges is a normal part of early recovery; they aren't awful, permanent (they do, in fact, pass if you let them), or intolerable. Thinking in that way, especially when combined with urge coping skills and the ability to be more accepting of urges (I don't like them and wish I didn't have them but I can live with them while I'm getting away from the addiction), has made a tremendous difference in my ability to cope. I can now see urges and urge-coping as being like muscles - the more I use urge-coping the stronger the rational part of my mind becomes and the more I give in and engage in the behavior the stronger that becomes.
If you like the Rational Recovery books ("The Small Book," "Taming The Feast Beast," etc.), especially the earlier ones where they were still primarily using REBT, you'll love this book. SMART doesn't have concepts that correspond exactly to "the Beast" or AVRT that I've found yet (they're not described in the handbook), but the programs compliment each other well. Yeah, I know RR and Jack Trimpey walked away from support groups, but I still like the combination.
The other thing I like is that this program works for all kinds of addictive and compulsive behavior (or, I imagine, even plain old bad habits; to give away the big secret). Whether you're quitting alcohol, cocaine, bulimia, or gambling, you can apply a lot of the same principals. Granted, there are some differences between quitting bulimia and quitting alcohol - you don't have to drink alcohol but you do have to eat - but a lot of the same ideas work in both cases; things like building and maintaining motivation and the urge coping skills are identical.
My only complaint about the Kindle edition is that it's sometimes a little hard to navigate and if it has page numbers/markings I haven't been able to find them. On the other hand, the nice thing about the Kindle edition is that it's easy to carry around (if I have my Kindle I have the book - I don't need to add another book to my bag) and it's easy to read in public if you don't want to spread around the fact that you're recovering from an addiction. (I take the train to work a lot of days; reading on the Kindle obviously looks just like reading any other book).
I highly recommend this book if you're trying to quit a compulsive behavior. This is a wonderful alternative to 12-step programs.
Almost all rehab centers, whether they be residential, intensive outpatient, or outpatient , will introduce you to AA (really PUSH you into it). AA is the "go to" organization that even drug courts send people to whether or not they're there for a heroin charge or other drugs. It's up to you to decide which program you belong in (they'll of course help you along be it AA/NA/CA/GA/SA and so on ad nauseum. There is evidence that it works - AND it has worked for countless addicts around the world.
In comes Smart Recovery, either as an alternative to AA or to be used in conjunction with AA, that offers recovery without the labels. It also offers recovery without the need to pray to a higher power if that is what puts you off about AA. SMART is a recovery option that allows one to look into their behaviors, modify them, and create new behaviors that will not lead to continued abuse.SMART allows us to come together as what we are; people with an addiction to something and wanting a way out of the cycle. There are tons of folks out there that like some things about AA, but dislike a large part of the rest. There are others who AA is not an option, doesn't appeal to them at all, or have been offended by people in the group.
My advice to you is to go to the smartrecover.org site. Read some literature. Engage in discussions in the chat room open 24/7 with active users. If it isn't for you - no harm no foul. You gave it a shot - you've got nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain. When you're ready, hang out in an online meeting and see what it's all about.
I'm giving the book 4 stars ONLY because it's almost impossible to find face to face meetings. The book itself is awesome and easy to read. Remember - recovery is personal.