One of the primary differences between traditional 12-step programs and SMART Recovery is that unlike the traditional programs that require participants to admit powerlessness over their alcohol or drugs, SMART Recovery is a self-empowering program. A trained staff of volunteers helps members examine their specific behaviors to find what needs require the most attention for the individual. The participants are then taught self-reliance to either start or maintain recovery. These skills are learned through a 4-point program comprising:
1. Building and Maintaining Motivation – Having the appropriate willingness to remain sober is an essential part of reaching long-term recovery. The motivation phase allows you to determine which stage of change you are in before you begin the recovery process. If you are still considering the need for change in your life, you are in the pre-contemplation stage and may struggle to see your alcohol or drug use as a problem. If you are engaged in treatment and maintaining your sobriety, you are in the action stage. When you are in the maintenance phase, you’ve sustained changed behavior, and sobriety becomes a normal lifestyle for you.
2. Coping with Urges – SMART Recovery uses REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) to encourage and hope that change is possible if you put in the necessary work. This phase examines what triggers your cravings, and you learn how to address cravings through various methods, such as distraction techniques.
3. Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors – This phase teaches you how to prevent relapse by examining the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that lead to substance abuse.
4. Living a Balanced Life – Deciding to be sober is a dramatic lifestyle change, so learning how to live your life sober is critical for successful addiction recovery. During this phase, you will take an inventory of what is important to you; understanding your values and being aware of the areas you spend too much or too little of your time can change your perspective. You also learn to set realistic goals and how to plan for the future.
SMART Recovery was developed to help anyone suffering from any addiction and people who have addictive behaviors, such as eating disorders or gambling, and people with co-occurring disorders, such as depression. Like traditional support groups, SMART Recovery has meetings that members attend. The meetings may happen online or face-to-face, and they have an online message board and an online chat where members can ask questions, find help, and get support 24/7.
Are you or a loved one struggling with substance abuse and have questions about SMART Recovery? Call us now (844) 978-1524 and we will answer any of your questions.