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SMART Recovery Tool: ABCs of Coping with Urges

  • Point 1: Build and Maintain Motivation
  • Point 2: Cope with Urges
  • Point 3: Manage Thoughts, Behaviors and Feelings
  • Point 4: Live a Balanced Life

The ABC Crash Course

The ABCs are an exercise from Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), which is a form of cognitive therapy that is simple enough and effective enough to be used by anybody and — it works. You can learn to do this straight out of a book, or off the computer screen. We use it to examine the beliefs we have (or the thinking we are doing) as some of this may be causing us problems. The ABCs are an exercise that help stop you from being victimized by your own thinking.

A common example is the issue of someone else’s behavior “making you angry”. This is a very common way of expressing something and we hear it often, but in fact, it distorts the situation it attempts to describe. A more accurate description of “someone making you angry” (as above) is to say that you feel angry about their behavior. They are not making you anything—they are simply behaving in a way that you are getting angry about. You notice their behavior and then become angry. The responsibility for the anger is yours, not theirs. This can sound strange at first, but when dealing with problematic anger and frustration, this is the way it works.

Read the full ABC Crash Course.

Tips & Tools for Recovery that Works!

The ABCs of Coping with Urges

Check out SMART Recovery’s ABC Tool for Coping with Urges. Derived from REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) – this tool invites you to really evaluate what you believe about problems in your life and then test those beliefs to affect better reactions to them.

View this helpful video on YouTube.

Variations of the ABC Tool