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Old 04-23-2013, 03:31 PM
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SMART Recovery

We don't have a thread on SMART yet I know I'm not the only one who uses it so I thought I'd start this thread to discuss our successes, which tools we have gap found to be most helpful and any questions you may have about the tools.

If there is enough interest I may start up a meeting in the chat room again.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:14 PM
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I've done SMART online meetings (and a couple f2f). I've read through all of their stuff, around this time last year when I was starting out. I liked most of it, even if I didn't end up using it in my own recovery.

The one thing I remember being stuck on, in my own head, was the VACI. I don't remember what it stands for exactly (or if I have the initials right). I think it has Vital, Creative Interest in it, Absorbing?? for the A?? Regardless, if I understand it correctly, it has to do with filling your life with an important activity as a means of personal growth, where personal growth is an important part of long term recovery. At least if I remember correctly, it's suppose be something more than just a hobby, to kill time with, but many things that look like simple hobbies, could be a VACI for some people.

Anyway I brought it up as topic a couple times in meetings, but never was really satisfied with the answers. Mainly it just sounded like people spouting off their hobbies. Here is the thing of it too. I'm not Mother Theresa. I don't mind being an OK person, maybe even a borderline good person, but I'm not saint material here. I'm fine with personal growth. To me that is something important to keep working towards. Anyway for the VACI I settled on an activity can be important to you because it is important to be doing something. But it can't be a hobby that you get stuck in a rut with. Just the act of learning something new is an aspect of growth. Once you master something though or it's run it's course you need to move on, add a new aspect or try something different. Always growing and/or learning. I added on no need to rush it or over do it, as a precaution to myself, but that isn't part of the SMART tool. Of course I might be a little far a field of the official meaning anyway. lol.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:57 PM
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I am studying/learning/practicing/playing t'ai chi. It is a very non martial arts kind of t'ai chi, and is more like a moving meditation than anything else. Chinese line dancing is another way to describe it. I feel that it includes the qualities you mentioned, Vital, Absorbing, Creative, Interesting.

It incorporates a mindfulness aspect in that focus and concentration on the moment is essential. Its nature encourages treating the self with acceptance and compassion and these are proving to be a good fit with my life needs now. It is also open ended, with no limit to understanding or competence.

While being treated for depression, I was encouraged to perform an activity that requires and creates mastery, and that definition seems to overlap with VACI, if I understand the concept correctly.

While I don't attend SMART meetings or take instruction, I like many of the ideas and use them anyway.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:08 PM
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I recently joined the SMART board over on their site. I noticed it lives up to its name - it's geared towards a very independent self-starters. Unfortunately it appears that their board is not very active. My first post got a couple of auto-replies telling me to read the material etc.

I like SR forums because the community is really involved and that helps me. What I don't like about SMART on first impression is that you are doing this alone and don't have a lot of feedback on their site - case in point, you are posting for feedback HERE! All in all I am still muddling through the material and haven't had a chance to say one way or the other. I did want to chime in though because I liked your post and I'm glad you brought it up!
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:59 PM
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Thanks Shock for starting this thread. And to the responses from Todd, Fresh, Big (did I miss anyone?)

Fresh, yeah, Tai Chi is really good. I agree with you that it has much of the aspects that Todd discussed. It's very much in the moment - no other way to be, when doing Tai Chi - or any other slow moving physical /mental technique. The slow moving stuff has been great for me over many years. For many, I notice that they want and need to do fairly hard exercise. I totally understand how good that is, for any of us, I just can't do it. Buggered lungs and so forth.

Re SMART - I went to my very first meeting (a tiny group) last Friday. It was great! In that, it was very relaxed, the facilitator - a guy - was cool with helping us (all three of us) to just talk about Life, both with and without alcohol. We ended up having an amazing talk about, mostly, the thing about acceptance and hope, and the bits in between.

As has been noted here and elsewhere, though, the SMART f2f meetings are often few and far between, depending on where you live. I haven't tried the online ones in recent times, though I vaguely recall from some years back that what Big mentioned might be the case: nowhere near as much active engagement and discussion as we get on a site like SR.

It's a bit annoying, frankly. Especially given that alternatives like SMART / LifeRing / Women for Sobriety (called New Life Programme here in Aus) and such like are hardly super-new kids on the block. Here in Aus, well Melbourne/ southern Aus, where I am now, I've found that if I mention such things very rarely to even staff in rehab or AA members, I almost always just get a blank look. I get that too even when I mention SR!!!! Which itself has been around for quite some years now....

Anyway, thanks again Shock for starting this thread, so that the general principles and people's experiences can simply be discussed.
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:04 AM
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Just an FYI: the primary point of SMART Recovery meetings is to learn how to apply the tools.

Nothing more and nothing less.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:13 AM
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Thanks for starting this thread shockozulu I am looking into SMART more now but haven't learnt much about the tools yet. I am able to make a couple of meetings in the next few weeks so hopefully that will give me the motivation to finally look them up on their website and I will be able to participate in this thread. I have only been to two meetings before and the first one we didn't get past the check in...
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:27 AM
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I've spent much time over at SMART. I think it has wonderful tools that can help one look at the reasons why they drank and also ways to cope with urges and such. I particularly like their online meetings. Theyhad a voice meeting on Tuesday evenings called Tool Time that was lead by gruff old goat named Charlie. I really found him helpful and can still hear his laughter.

I guess for me it certainly didn't hurt to examine how my distorted thinking rationalized my drinking. But in the end I just had to stop doing it no matter the reasons I had to justify my drinking. Looking back, I think Alan Carr's book really planted the seed that changed how I viewed alcohol. I don't feel deprived that I don't drink that poison. I have escaped the pitcher plant.

Also SMART lead me to Albert Ellis and his REBT work which I found helpful as well.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:42 PM
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I spent a lot of time online at SMART. Tons. I liked some of the concepts, but found it to be a rather compartmentalized approach. At points, it almost felt as if one wasn't entitled to have certain feelings, or reactions, as if they were not valid. Of course holding onto them as baggage is problematic, but I often felt it had a rather cold, clinical feel to it. I like the idea of life-balance and VACIs best. I went to a RL meetings, and liked those much better. I had some good friends online, there, but it got funny after a while, and a drove of people got kicked off, myself included, and for the silliest of reasons. So that even though a lot of time has passed since then, the whole being 'banned forever' still makes me think they don't really practice what they preach, as the fallable human beings they say we are. I try not to have any animosity, but it does pop up, from time to time. I'd still go to an in person meeting, though.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:34 AM
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Old 04-26-2013, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by HuskyPup View Post
I spent a lot of time online at SMART. Tons. I liked some of the concepts, but found it to be a rather compartmentalized approach. At points, it almost felt as if one wasn't entitled to have certain feelings, or reactions, as if they were not valid. Of course holding onto them as baggage is problematic, but I often felt it had a rather cold, clinical feel to it. I like the idea of life-balance and VACIs best. I went to a RL meetings, and liked those much better. I had some good friends online, there, but it got funny after a while, and a drove of people got kicked off, myself included, and for the silliest of reasons. So that even though a lot of time has passed since then, the whole being 'banned forever' still makes me think they don't really practice what they preach, as the fallable human beings they say we are. I try not to have any animosity, but it does pop up, from time to time. I'd still go to an in person meeting, though.
I think that's the part I like too. At least I'd like to think I am heading along that way.
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Old 04-26-2013, 06:56 PM
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I went to a f2f SMART meeting this week. I don't normally do f2f, but wanted to talk to the facilitator afterwards. I am thinking of taking the SMART facilitator training and wanted to talk to her about it. One of the other people at the meeting had just completed it also, so was good to talk with them about it.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:32 PM
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I am also very interested in this. They do not have a f2f meeting in my city, but it is nice to know that they do have online meetings.
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:48 AM
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The SMART online community was instrumental in heading me down the path to addressing my problematic use of alcohol. I looked around for a thread that seemed to fit my personality and needs and was quite happy interacting with that small but constant community.

I appreciated the introduction I got to the tools there, particularily REBT.

The tool I had the most trouble with was the CBA (is that what it's called?). Anyhow, the point was to root out my irrational thoughts and beliefs as a way of accepting myself and getting over them. It sort of felt like - if I have this feeling that's bothering me, and I can't find it to be irrational, then I was failing.

AVRT is a better fit for me, I think. Yes, I have feelings and beliefs that are destructive, but whether they are rational or not is beside the point. I just should not drink regardless of how I "feel."

Maybe I didn't really get it.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:51 PM
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Hey all!!!
I havent been around in a while but still sober, 17+months, and truely enjoying life.
I have a question about SMART.
Is there a required time sober to become a coach/facilitator?
Was just wondering really.
Thanks
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:13 PM
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I found the Work Sheets on the website were really good.... Going to check and see if there still there. Thought it was some really good DIY CBT that would go well with other programs too.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:59 PM
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On the SMART website there is a tab "get started". If you click on that I believe it will have the information you are looking for, ElegantlyWasted.
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Old 04-30-2013, 03:16 PM
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Ive been using SMART to help me cope with all thats been happening since my husbands relapse on coke/alcohol. I have not posted on the forum there, but I met someone here that led me there. I have attended the family meetings and got lost in their toolbox, and articles too. I am reading from the Family Guide, and also the Get Your Loved One Sober book. It has helped me a lot, and made me feel more comfortable. AND OMG the meetings.. I was pretty upset the first one, and it is an audio meeting. The people are so kind, and their voices so soothing. It made me feel right at home. I havent talked to a lot of people about my husband, and this has helped me.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Dts View Post
Hey all!!!
I havent been around in a while but still sober, 17+months, and truely enjoying life.
I have a question about SMART.
Is there a required time sober to become a coach/facilitator?
Was just wondering really.
Thanks
Congrats on 17+ DTS. That's awesome.

I've been thinking about doing the facilitator training, but haven't registered yet. I didn't see anything mentioning required sober time on the registration. I thought I had seen six months before, somewhere though.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Marshmallow View Post
Ive been using SMART to help me cope with all thats been happening since my husbands relapse on coke/alcohol. I have not posted on the forum there, but I met someone here that led me there. I have attended the family meetings and got lost in their toolbox, and articles too. I am reading from the Family Guide, and also the Get Your Loved One Sober book. It has helped me a lot, and made me feel more comfortable. AND OMG the meetings.. I was pretty upset the first one, and it is an audio meeting. The people are so kind, and their voices so soothing. It made me feel right at home. I havent talked to a lot of people about my husband, and this has helped me.
I'm glad things are starting to stabilize a bit for your husband. I hope it keeps going that way, but it can be difficult. Glad to hear the SMART friends & family chat meetings are helpful for you, as well. I wish the best for you.

-Todd
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