S.A. Step Two – I CHOOSE.

I choose to be well. I take full responsibility for my choices and
realize the choices I make directly influence the quality of my days.
Many people with schizophrenia don’t realize that they have choices
bearing on their illness. Senior members of SA try to encourage new
members to fully grasp their choices. The primary alternative is a
conscious decision to get better.

To choose to be well may involve cooperating with a psychiatrist or a
psychotherapist, listening to what they say and adhering to their
advice. Another choice maybe to recognize the need to take the
medication that helps so many people with schizophrenia. To choose to
be well may also require the patient to acknowledge that, at some
point during his or her recovery, there may be setbacks and
re-hospitalization may be necessary.

The decision to be well may mean different things to different people.
A person with schizophrenia in the “back wards” of a state psychiatric
hospital is no more responsible for his or her illness than others and
he or she may be so overwhelmed with symptoms (such as voices) that
personal choice is limited.

Yet, SA encourages such a patient to make the best of his or her
circumstances, to make choices that would influence the quality of his
or her days. This might involve avoiding behaviors that would lead to
the patient being placed in seclusion in a locked room or to being
placed in restraints. We encourage behaviors that would lead to
granting of special passes to the patient, such as a grounds card,
enabling the patient to get out of the ward and into the sunlight.

One of the principles of Schizophrenics Anonymous is that, although we
may not be responsible for symptoms, we are responsible for our
responses. For those ready to accept the responsibility, comes the
satisfaction of having increased control on one’s own life and future.

SOURCE S.A. Blue Booklet (program text, first published in 1989)

Disclaimer: Neither SARDAA nor SA, assume any legal liability, responsibility nor does inclusion of articles or comments constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed in the blog.

Stress Management, part #5

Herbert Benson in his Wellness Book references the work of Robert Yerkes and John Dodson of Harvard University, who showed that increases in stress and anxiety produce increases in performance and efficiency, but not indefinitely. And if the increases in stress and anxiety are hiked more and more past a certain point, performance and efficiency decline or are even diminished significantly.

The idea is to develop positive approaches to stress in order to increase the chances to adapt better to it. Susanne Kobasa, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, has shown that some persons are less vulnerable to stress–they have stress-hardy characteristics.

Benson lists four of these stress hardy traits–what he called the Four C’s: control, challenge, commitment, and closeness. Here are elements of stress-hardy people:

Control–the ability to make lasting personal choices and influence personal environment

Challenge–to see stressors as an opportunity to advance something good or for personal growth

Commitment–to feel deeply and personally involved despite the stress-producing activity, enough to keep interested and curious about the activities and the people

Closeness–to have warm relationships and social support

Benson also references the work of Dr Barrie Grieff, who was a psychiatrist at the Harvard Business School. Grieff came up with the Five L’s of Success, which incidentally also help in managing stress.

The Five L’s are: Learn, Labor, Love, Laugh, and Let go. Here they


Learn–be open to new experiences, and absorb new information every day

Labor–work at something that brings meaning to life and satisfaction

 Love–be able to give, recognize others, and receive

 Laugh–chuckle with yourself and others

 Let Go–don’t become too absorbed with things that are outside of your control

Grieff believes that these five things will enable one to be better at managing stress. Maybe they are worth a try. In short–the Four C’s and the Five L’s.


SOURCE: Herbert Benson, M.D. and Eileen Stuart, The Wellness Book.

(New York: Fireside Book, 1992)



Quote of the Week

“Life’s most urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”

 -Martin Luther King, Jr , (1929-1968),  American civil-rights leader


Contributed by John P.

eLetter From John P

Mind-Body Therapies

Parade magazine a couple months ago reported on mind-body therapies that have scientific backing as being helpful. This backing comes by way of scientific studies using the scientific method. Given that 62 percent of Americans use alternative medicine (according to National Institute of Health), that some of these methods have studies backing them up is a source of encouragement.

The Parade article pointed to three of the mind-body therapies that have "passed the litmus test of rigorous medical inquiry." These are:

meditation, biofeedback, and acupuncture. Below is the data given about these methods, often using the article’s words.

* Meditation. Activates the relaxation response and improves

blood pressure and hormonal balance. Can also help with insulin, blood sugar, and heart health. Can improve concentration, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. Makes the brain waves become more calm.

* Biofeedback. Uses a small hand-held machine with sensors that monitor body functions, such as pulse rate or skin temperature. These rates show up on the small screen. By controlling your thoughts, you can learn to control the rates on the screen. According to studies, biofeedback can be used to improve blood pressure, stress, tension headaches, and back pain.

* Acupuncture: A traditional Chinese treatment with small skinny sterile needles placed into the skin. Studies find this method effective in pain reduction for knee arthritis, and also to help against the suffering of post traumatic stress disorder. Western science assumes that acupuncture works by triggering hormone-like chemicals in the nervous system that affect our mood and perception of pain.

SOURCE: Parade (December 14, 2008)


The Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a webpage on Supported Employment that goes along with its general section on employment. The webpage is at this address: