Monday, April 14, 2014

"Beyond Addiction" Book Giveaway: #3 of 4

This is the third of four chances to win your very own copy of the Center for Motivation and Change's fabulous new book, Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change.

While reading this book, I wondered how my situation with my son might've been different if I had even a few of the tools outlined in its pages available to me at the time. Hindsight is 20/20, but I think things in our family--especially early on--would've been much calmer if Beyond Addiction was around seven or eight years ago.

To get in on this week's drawing, send me an email via the "Contact Form" that appears in the column on the right-hand side of my blog (between the "Most Popular Posts" and "Blogs I Follow" sections). Simply tell me you want to be in the drawing. At the end of the week (Sunday evening), I will put the names of all the entrants into a bowl and choose a winner at random.

One more thing: If you entered a previous drawing and didn't win, I will leave your name in the bowl for the next two drawings. But you can also email me again and get an extra entry in the next drawing. It's a little "loyalty bonus."

(Note: I understand that some of you may be reluctant to share your name and email address with me, but it's the only way I can get in touch with you to let you know if you've won. I assure you that I will not share your information with any individuals or organizations.)

Now, on to this week's excerpts from Beyond Addiction.

Today I want to share excerpts from two chapters of the book: Chapter 10--entitled "Reinforcement: The Driver of Change"; and chapter 11--entitled "Consequences." Believe me, there is so much thought-provoking information in this book that it's very difficult to choose what to share. So I'm really just pulling out highlights that I think will give you a taste of what Beyond Addiction is all about. The book goes into way more detail on these topics.

That said, here's some content from the "Reinforcement" chapter:

"Reinforcing constructive, non-substance-related behavior is the core strategy of CRAFT [Community Reinforcement and Family Training]. You can choose to respond to your loved one's positive, nonusing behaviors in a way that will increase the likelihood of these behaviors reoccurring. At the same time, you can choose how to respond to his negative behaviors, including but not limited to substance use, in a way that reinforces it or not.

"The two most powerful things you can do to help promote change are:
  1. Reward your loved one for positive behavior.
  2. Ignore or withdraw a reward for negative behavior."
"Reinforcement is happening between people every second, consciously or unconsciously, planned or unplanned, with more and less positive results. We are social creatures and we influence each other in every interaction we have, whether we mean to or not, and whether or not we succeed in the ways we meant to. . . .If reinforcement is happening all the time anyway, why not harness it to change things for the better?

"Currently, you may find yourself in a cycle of punishment, nagging your loved one to stop using, giving him the silent treatment, slamming things around, yelling, and so on. Unfortunately, these (understandable) responses create a negative reinforcement loop. As you carry your distress around with you and fixate on the problem, you naturally end up nagging, withdrawing, and otherwise punishing . . . even during the times when he is not using. Still mad about the last time he was high, you’re punishing him two days later. The situation often deteriorates to the point where people with substance problems get the same punishing reaction from those who are worried about them whether they are intoxicated or sober, using or not.

"Not only does this pattern not work to decrease the substance use, it can indirectly influence your loved one’s decision to continue using. Seeing that he gets yelled at when he uses and yelled at when he doesn’t use, he may decide to go and use because 'it doesn’t make a difference anyway.' Meanwhile, the substance itself continues to have a powerful reinforcing effect on your loved one and his choice to use. Reinforcement got you into this loop--and it can get you out."

And from the "Consequences" chapter:

"Reinforcement is the currency of behavior change. On one side of the coin is positive reinforcement: rewarding your loved one’s healthy, connected, constructive, and sober behavior--the strategy of the previous chapter. In this chapter we look at the other side, or what to do with the behavior you don’t want. What can you do when there seems to be nothing to reward--when he comes home high, or she sleeps through her alarm, or he turns loud and belligerent after too many drinks at a family dinner?

"You can apply the same principles of reinforcement, but in reverse. That is, just as you paired positive behavior with positive consequences to encourage it, negative behavior paired with negative consequences will discourage it. The combination of these strategies is more powerful than either alone. Negative behaviors don’t simply vanish by themselves; they tend to come up even during the process of positive change. It takes time to learn to stay sober instead of using, to work out instead of stressing out, to go home instead of going all night. Given a mix of behavior that you don’t want and behavior that you do, it helps to learn to work with both to effect change."

"Families that we work with usually fall into one of two camps. Some are reluctant to let their loved one have any negative experience, while others think their loved one is 'getting away' with too much, or 'has it too easy,' and isn’t experiencing negative consequences enough. While both of these perspectives are understandable, neither is particularly accurate or helpful. People learn from negative consequences, and it’s helpful to let them do so (within reason). On the other hand, even if you and others have been insulating your loved one from the negative effects of his behavior, swinging the opposite way to punishment isn’t the best strategy either. You can suppress behavior with punishment, but this doesn’t eliminate it; it usually just goes underground."

Allowing Natural Consequences

"With this strategy for dealing with behavior you don't want, you don't do anything, but just step out of the way and allow it to happen. . . .Allowing natural consequences channels, or rather avoids diverting, any negative consequences to maximize their naturally deterring effects. Even more than withdrawing rewards, allowing consequences helps your loved one understand his behavior as his choice. He learns that changing his behavior is his choice, as opposed to something you are pushing on him all the time.

"Natural consequences are the direct outcomes of your loved one’s substance use that he would experience if no one interfered. They’re the costs he naturally incurs by using. They can be emotional costs, such as depression, anger, shame, or feeling out of control; physical costs such as sleep disruptions, agitation, or injuries; and what we call structural costs: loss of relationships, financial problems, legal problems, and so forth. The costs of using may range in severity from mild headaches or embarrassments to deep shame and major deprivations like getting fired or losing custody of a child.

"For most people, using or overusing substances results in negative consequences that pretty quickly convince them to limit use to moderation or no use at all. For most people, the costs just don't seem worth it. For others, the benefits of using are greater and/or more numerous, and the negative consequences are fewer and/or less--because their brains are more rewarded by a substance, or life feels more painful to them in one way or another that a substance relieves, or their social group uses more heavily, or any of the other reasons people use. But you would not be reading this book if there were not also significant negative consequences to your loved one's use, and the goal here is to let those consequences speak for themselves. In cost-benefit terms, you aim to not get in the way of or prevent the costs from occurring."

Definitely food for thought, right? I wish someone had fed this information to me years ago!

Thanks again to the Center for Motivation and Change for sending me books to give away. If you're interested in winning your own copy, shoot me an email. Good luck!

(Note: Excerpts from Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change are Copyright © 2014 by Psychological Motivation and Change Group, PLLC. All rights reserved.)

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