Being a SMARTIE - Worth a watch, with a huge thanks to Leigh for making this video about being involved with the SMART Recovery Programme.
Life is a bit challenging. And, I'm not sure why. I've motivation, I've tools and I've enthuisam (I write this wondering where my enthusiasm is. Perhaps I'm just tired. But, I'm sober.
So I'm off to my SMART meeting today here's a link to meetings where you might be HERE. After a three day stint at work which is very physical and demands a lot of thinking on your feet, its welcomed. Sometimes folks ask me what we do at our meetings so here's last weeks session.
The format is always the same and there's an outline HERE. Meetings are FREE and I think very forward thinking, no dwelling in the past, just working on NOW and the days to come. We walk in, have a cuppa, often say a shy hello to fellow 'smarties' and get settled. Opening statement is read after a few gentle 'rules' of the meeting are put in place, be polite, confidentiality is always respected, that kind of thing. My favourite one is
'no labels, we are first and foremost 'human being's, who just happen to have had an addiction issue in our lives at some point, there are no labels in this room'.
We then settle and check in, say how our week has been, anything that seems relevant like 'managing stress', or 'triggers' is written on a white board. It allows us all to decide the topic we'll discuss each session. I like that its 'our' group and we all decide what to talk about.
Last week we did a wee group discussion about irrational thoughts and trigggers. They called it the 'ABC's' its kind of about why we react the way we do to events that can be 'triggery' for us and make us think about drinking.
ACTION or ACTIVATING EVENT - What happened? Somethings made me upset/angry.
BELIEF (UNHELPFUL or IRRATIONAL) - Drinking will make this better/go away/less stressful.
CONSEQUENCE - Drink is my usual outcome from these types of events. I isolate myself, makes me feel worse, lose credibility with family/friends. Not sure when I'll get a sober day next.
And we try to turn the outcome into a different route that doesn't involve drinking or using.
DISPUTE - Drinking won't make it better, it might numb it for a while but the feelings will still be there and perhaps worse when I'm sober again and I also am dealing with self-loathing and the upsetting event. So actually drinking makes it worse.
EFFECTIVE NEW BELIEF - Drinking isn't better, I should have done something different, had a cup of tea/a bath/taken myself off for a walk. Talked through my upset.
So its been a helpful wee exercise for me. You'll find a worksheet to it here.
My issue and I don't know about yours is that when I'm suddenly faced with a reaction to an event like drinking, this can all go out of my head. The events leading to drinking, I often find myself isolating myself from others. I don't reach out or ask for help. My 'brain' switches off and my 'booze-o-guzzler' switches to full steam ahead.
I think if I reflect on last weeks drinking properly, I still had an emotional response to make me drink. It was a 'happy' event, but still emotional. So my ABC's for last week were.
A - Birthday, a celebration time.
B - One drink won't hurt.
C - One drink 'kindled' (thank you Do!) the fire for many more drinks and I ended up lying to husband and buying more booze to drink in secret.
What I should have done is D and E
Disputed the belief that I had which one drink wouldn't hurt.
Effective new belief is now - one drink does lead to more.
But that's easier said than done sometimes. SO I just need to remind myself I am only human and a person who has addiction issues with alcohol.
Its like my Kyrponite. I know this for sure now.
I can't touch it and be super-sober-girl.
So that was my SMART meeting last week, I'm off to get dressed and head to mine now. Wonder what you thought about it and how you stop that voice isolating you when the urge to drink strikes.