SMART Recovery® Introduction to the ABC's SMART ABC Tutorial • In this tutorial, you’ll learn what the ABC process is and how to use it. • First, we’ll briefly look at REBT theory, the basis for the SMART ABC Tool. • Then, we’ll do an example ABC to help you get started. • You may want to print out an ABC Worksheet to fill in as we go along. What is an ABC? • The ABC process is a method to identify and dispute our irrational beliefs, thoughts and feelings. • By doing so we can come up with new, rational beliefs, thoughts and feelings. • This helps us resist urges and regain control. Basic REBT Principles • There are 3 aspects of human functioning: – Thoughts – Feelings – Behaviors • People or events don’t make us feel good or bad. • It is our perceptions of them that result in our feeling good or bad. • These perceptions influence our behavior. Origins of REBT • REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) was developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in the 1950’s. • His proposal that thinking creates feelings and actions was in direct opposition to his training in and practice of psychoanalysis. The REBT Approach to Addiction • At SMART Recovery we do not label ourselves “alcoholics” or “addicts”. • REBT is supported by research on relapse prevention, motivational enhancement, and behavioral change processes. • REBT emphasizes self-responsibility, self-motivation, and self-discipline as the primary means of stopping substance use. The Basic ABC • A = Activating Event – What do you think happened? – What would a camera see? • B = Beliefs about Activating Event – What did you tell yourself? • C = Consequences – How did you act? – How did you feel? The Basic ABC Diagram Consequenc Activating Belief e Event A B C Example: At a Party • A = Activating Event – I’m at a party. • B = Belief – Parties must be exciting, or I feel left out. – I must have a drink to relax and have fun. – This is awful and I can’t stand being here. – I’m a bad person because I need a drink. • C = Consequences – I feel anxiety. – I have a drink. Four Categories of Irrational Beliefs • Dogmatic demands – Musts, absolutes, shoulds • Awfulizing – It’s awful, terrible, horrible • Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT) – I can’t stand it, I need it • Self/Other Rating – I’m or he/she is bad, worthless Disputing Irrational Beliefs • After identifying A, B and C, we move on to D. • D = Disputing Irrational Beliefs (iB’s) – Where is holding this belief getting me? Is it helpful or self-defeating? – Where is the evidence to support my belief? It is consistent with reality? – Is my belief logical? Does it follow from my preferences? – Is it really awful (as bad as it could be)? – Can I really not stand it? Example: At a Party • D = Dispute Irrational Beliefs (iB’s) – Why is this so terrible? – Where’s the proof that I can’t handle it? – What does it mean when I say I can’t handle it? Will I actually explode? – Must I always get what I want? – Is it in my long-term best interest to believe that I must have a drink? – Is this belief going to lead to my desired behavior? Irrational vs. Rational Beliefs • Irrational beliefs are the result of irrational thoughts. • Irrational beliefs lead to unhealthy feelings and behaviors. • Rational beliefs are reasonable, objective, flexible and constructive. • Rational beliefs lead to survival, happiness and healthy feelings and behaviors. Irrational vs. Rational Diagram Healthy Rational Consequenc Belief e rB C Rational Beliefs lead to healthy feelings & behaviors Activating Event A Irrational Beliefs lead to unhealthy feelings & behaviors Unhealthy Irrational Consequenc Belief e iB C New Effective Beliefs • After Disputing (D), we move on to E. • E = New Effect (New Rational Beliefs) – New healthy negative emotions • Disappointment • Concern • Annoyance • Sadness • Regret • Frustration – New constructive behaviors To Dispute or Not Dispute: Diagram Drink to feel accepted & therefore Activating Irrational Consequenc reduce anxiety Event Belief e A iB C D Dispute iB I’m at a party Parties must be Anxiety and remain exciting, or I abstinent feel left out Example: At a Party • E = New Effect (New Rational Beliefs) – This is difficult, but I can have fun without drinking. – This is uncomfortable, but I can handle being here. – It is in my long-term interest to abstain from using. I want to be a clean and sober person. – While it may be upsetting, it’s not life-threatening. – I may strongly desire a drink, but I can survive without one. – While drinking may bring short-term relaxation, I know from my past that it leads to trouble. Example: At a Party • E = New Effect (New constructive behaviors) – I remain abstinent. – I stay at the party and have fun. – I move closer to my goal of being clean and sober. Summary: ABC Flow Chart Unhealthy Activating Irrational Disputation Effective Consequen Event Belief Change ce (A) (iB) (C) (D) (E) Healthy Rational Consequen Belief ce (rB) (C) The Extended ABC • Some facilitators extend the Basic ABC (with it’s D and E) to include F and G. • F = New Feelings – After disputing irrational beliefs and making them rational, how do you feel? – Annoyed not angry, concerned not anxious, sad not depressed? • G = Goals – How does the E (New Effect) help you reach your goals? – In the short-term? In the long-term? Example: At a Party • F = New Feelings – I feel uncomfortable and frustrated, but those are healthy negative emotions I can handle. – I feel stronger and proud of myself for meeting the challenge. • G = Goals – I met my goal of not drinking today. – I am closer to being the clean and sober person I want to be. – With a clear mind I will be able to achieve my medium- and long-term goals. Example of Goal Setting • Short-term – Why are you at this SMART meeting today? – Because I want to stop drinking. • Medium-term – Why do you want to stop drinking? – So I can finish my bachelor’s/master’s degree. • Long-term – Why do you want to finish your degree? – So I can get married and start a family. • Very long-term – Why do you want to get married and start a family? – So I can live a full, happy and healthy life. The Chained ABC • ABC’s can be chained together to deal with secondary upsets. • The C of the ABC for the secondary upset becomes the A of the ABC for the primary upset. • This is sometimes called “being upset about being upset”. • Ask you meeting facilitator for more details. When to Use the ABC’s • ABC’s are helpful in resisting urges. • When possible, it is best to anticipate those urges and prepare an ABC ahead of time. • With practice, you will be able to remember and apply your ABC in the heat of the moment. • Eventually, applying them will become automatic and you may not even notice you’re doing it. • Urges will weaken over time. The Three P’s • In SMART, we frequently refer to PPP: – Practice – Patience – Persistence • Keep practicing your ABC’s and other tools. They get easier over time. • This is a process. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to learn to apply these new tools. • Persist in pursuing abstinence. If you lapse or relapse, come discuss what happened. What Can I Do Next? • Print out a few copies of an ABC Worksheet. • Think of a few A’s (Activating Events) that frequently lead you to use, and fill out a worksheet for each. • In this way you’ll be better prepared to resist the urge the next time you face those A’s. • Move on to the CBA Tutorial to help build motivation to abstain.
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