DISARM: Destructive Images and Self-talk Awareness and Refusal Method

DISARM is a tool developed by SMART Recovery-one of the many pathways for addiction treatment- which stands for Destructive Images and Self-talk Awareness and Refusal Method. As its name suggests, DISARM teaches us to define and refute the self-talk—lies, excuses, rationalizations— which tell us to use drugs and/or alcohol. This self-empowering method teaches us to dissociate ourselves from the voice inside of us, which says “it is a good idea to drunk or use.” DISARM can be broken down into four simple steps:

  1. IDENTIFY the specific thoughts which lead you to use.
  2. PERSONIFY the thought. To do this, invent an “enemy” who lives in your mind, and whose only purpose is to get to you. Imagine that this Enemy knows you well, and can alter its form to take advantage of your weakest moments. It may help to give the Enemy a specific name and face to further humanize it.
  3. ATTACK the Enemy with strong counter statements when it appears in your mind. Remember, the Enemy can be persistent in its efforts to convince you to take that first drink or drug; thus, developing an assertive refusal for this enemy is paramount to defeating it and avoiding a recurrence of alcohol or drug use. You can be as aggressive as you'd like with the enemy—after all, it’s trying to attack you.
  4. FOCUS on other thoughts, activities, or images that are consistent with your long-term goals and inconsistent what the Enemy is saying. The Enemy then loses power and gradually fades away.

At Recovery Fusion, our Recovery Support Specialists embrace ALL pathways to recovery, from the traditional 12-Step model to more progressive harm-reduction models, such as SMART Recovery. For more information, give us a call today: (805)689-1256.

For more information about SMART Recovery's DISARM technique: http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/Tools_and_Homework/Other_Homework/disarm.htm

For more information about SMART Recovery's DISARM technique: http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/Tools_and_Homework/Other_Homework/disarm.htm