Smart & RR

Randy Hecnken randyhencken at
Mon Jul 15 12:37:34 EDT 2002

This note is in response to Eric.
"Has anyone reading this list tried Rational Recovery or SMART and had any 
degree of success with it at all?" He asks.

I've had tremendous success with these programs.  Specifically I used SMART 
recovery because it is not-for-profit and is available in my area.  The 
philosophies of the two are basically the same: take responsibility for 
yourself, find the motivation to change, cope with urges, problem solving 
and making a lifestyle change.

The only thing that can get you to use (whatever substances you don't want 
to use) is allowing yourself to give into your cravings.  Groups and a 
higher power are not going to take away your cravings. I know for myself and 
many others, sitting in the 12 step meetings only caused me to have more 
cravings because I spent so much time talking about doing drugs.  However, 
you alone are in charge of what takes place in your head.  Cravings and 
urges are simply a trap that needs to be avoided.  Perhaps the most 
important things to know about cravings are: 1) they are time limited.  As 
long as you don't fall into the trap the craving will pass. 2) they really 
are not stronger than you.  They are created in your own head, so you can 
eliminate them by vigilantly denying them. 3) the longer you go without 
giving in to the urges the less urges you will have.  Urges/Cravings 
decrease in frequency and intensity over time.  Eventually saying no to your 
urges will become second nature and you will be able to put behind you the 
life when you struggled with substance abuse.

One year ago I got clean with the help of Ibogaine (I was using heroin, 
cocaine and methadone).  For the first three months of my new life I went to 
one SMART recovery meeting a week.  Then I went to one a month for the next 
three months.  I hadn't returned to a meeting until recently when I started 
taking others to the meetings.  I no longer consider myself an addict.  I 
have not exhibited addictive behavior in a year.  I would never call myself 
an addict because I believe that the words you use to describe yourself, 
create who you are.  I think this is a major reason so many 12 steppers fall 
off so hard years after they stopped abusing drugs.  If you constantly 
bombard yourself with "I am an addict and an alcoholic" it will become a 
self fulfilling prophecy.  If anything I say "I used to abuse drugs, but now 
I no longer use them".

Also, if there are not SMART meetings in your area don't worry.  The 
meetings really weren't that important.  It is the skills and philosophies 
of SMART and RR that are important.  So go purchase their literature or any 
non 12-step workbooks.  SMART recovery has on-line meetings, try them.

Lastly, most people get clean on their own.  All SMART and RR are is some 
rough guidelines to  show how those individuals learned to give up the 
negative behavior.  I hope all this will help you Eric and anyone else 
struggling with an unhappy sobriety.


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