I knew that the way I was living had to stop or I was going to lose everything and, quite possibly, my life as well. After recovering from a 48 hour blackout and totaling my brand new car, I began researching non 12 step inpatient treatment programs with two major goals in mind: 1.) learn how to live without alcohol and prescription drugs and, 2.) reprogram my thinking.
While in treatment, I began to read ‘The Secret’ and was blown away by the message. That alone could be a solid approach to recovery itself. I was actually beginning to be afraid of negative and self defeating thoughts. It taught me to practice gratitude for everything right down to the molecules and atoms that made up my physical body in order to nourish my frequency of love and joy.
I also began practicing mindful meditation which I had always thought was just a bunch of mystical mumbo. I even started journaling, eating a balanced diet and exercising. I was like a sponge for all of the recovery tools that I was being exposed to in treatment; and ya know what… I started to like the man that I saw in the mirror. I began to believe that I was actually capable of living a shiny new holistic life without alcohol or prescription drugs.
Upon leaving treatment, I took a deeper look into SMART Recovery. My case worker in treatment had told me that my recovery plan seemed to be in alignment with SMART, which stands for self management and recovery training. I downloaded their handbook on my Kindle and read it all in two sittings. I was amazed at this approach to recovery and loved how non linear it was.
SMART is based on a 4 point program:
Building and maintaining motivation
Coping with urges
Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors
Living and maintaining a balanced life
Learning to tolerate short-term discomfort, and accepting that urges won’t feel good for seconds to minutes until they fade enables you to control your behavior. Within a relatively short time — a few days or weeks — you learn to accept short-term discomfort as part of living a healthier life. Your addictive behavior will lose its grip on your life. You’ll understand that using is a choice. Just by understanding that using is a choice and not an inevitable reaction to discomfort, you’re already retraining your brain.
Recovery is different for everyone. Yours may be about changing negative thinking patterns. In addition to abstaining from unwanted behaviors, you also may commit to trying new activities that challenge you. You may choose to create more time for your loved ones. Recovery helps you fill the void — once occupied by your addictive behavior — with healthier thoughts, emotions, activities and challenges that lead you to a more balanced and satisfying life.
I recently became a certified SMART Recovery facilitator in order to help others discover the power of choice in my community. http://smartrecoverykc.org
My recovery theme today consists of 20 minutes of meditation every morning, 1 hour workout 5x weekly + massage at Planet Fitness, enhanced diet and nutrition, daily self help reading, weekly SMART meeting along with online mutual support communities, and 7 hours of sleep each night. I’ve also become very active in the local Toastmasters. I find that the holistic recovery approach works best for me. I also find time to earn a living as a local entrepreneur.