There wasn’t a lot to choose from in 2018, when I went looking for an evidence-based program to help me recover from alcohol & drug addictions.

Thankfully, I found an organization founded by doctors and grounded in Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT) called SMART (Self Management And Recovery Training https://smartrecovery.org).

CBT has since exploded into various lines of ‘specialties.’  There’s CBT-E, (for eating disorders), CBT-G (for gambling addictions), CBT-PD (CBT for Personality Disorders) … and the list goes on and on.

We’re all different people who need different tools to get the results we want.  There are hundreds of tools to choose from.  The key is to find the ones that work for you and then use the tools consistently and persistently.

There can be 3 simple solutions to every problem.  We can 1. Accept it 2. Change it or 3. Leave it.  If we can’t accept it, we can potentially change it. If we can’t change it, we can choose to leave it.  It may be simple, but it’s not easy!

Here are 5 steps that can help:

  1. Unconditional Acceptance was a game-changer for me. It’s the hammer in my toolbox.  You can access the SMART playlist here: http://bit.ly/3TTOYix
  2. When I managed to cross the bridge to accept an apology never received and forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, I was suddenly free.  Forgive someone who isn’t sorry, and accept an apology never received.  It can be life transformational.
  3. Self-Care. This was a concept that took some time for me. I was brought up to believe that putting my needs above other’s wants was a selfish act.  I now believe that it’s imperative for me to practice the airplane analogy. When the oxygen mask falls in front of us, we’re instructed to put the mask on ourselves first – even if a child is sitting beside us.  We can’t help anyone, until we FIRST help ourselves.  It’s self-care, not selfish.
  4. A structured schedule of sleeping, eating, and exercising can provide a sense of order and accomplishment.  Plan the work and then work the plan.
  5. Practice the P’s: Knowledge teaches us what to do, and PRACTICE teaches us how to do it. If we want to learn how to do anything (especially building new, healthy habits), it takes PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE.Remember that your direction is more important than your speed.  Set the goal and do the work to stick to it.

Accepting life on life’s terms, accepting people as they are, and accepting ourselves as fallible humans can be a perfect recipe to resolve most of life’s adversities and mental health conditions.

When I learned how to accept my reality (and the emotions that came with that reality) I managed to repair my brain, build my resilience, and start liking myself enough to start caring for myself.

When I started to care for myself, I was finally able to care for others and care about life.  Symptoms of anxiety and depression are no longer debilitating for me and no longer require pharmaceuticals.

Success doesn’t take long.  It takes a persistent willingness to exert consistent efforts to help ourselves.  Practice, Patience, and Persistence will get you where you want to be.  Practice the Ps for Better Mental Health!

Tanya MacIntyre is a Certified CBT Practitioner, Mental Health Professional, and owner/operator of Red Roof Recovery. 

DISCLAIMER: This content is not intended to constitute, or be a substitute for, medical diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard advice from your doctor, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have watched, read, or heard from anyone at Red Roof Recovery.