SMART Recovery

Recovering from alcohol or drug addiction is challenging, and it is not impossible. Recovery is often more manageable when you connect with one or more support groups that provide a safe environment. One type of recovery may work for some people but may not work for others, so one essential recovery factor is finding a system for treatment and recovery that works the best for you. Some people searching for treatment and recovery support often find programs, such as a 12-step program, challenging because of the program’s spiritual aspect.

Those who prefer a science-based approach to recovery instead of a spiritual path find SMART Recovery to be a beneficial tool for their recovery process.

What is SMART Recovery?

SMART Recovery means Self-Management and Recovery Training, and it is different from the 12-step programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. SMART Recovery is a 4-point science-based program that focuses on self-reliance rather than powerlessness, so there are no sponsors or a focus on a spiritual solution.

There is a common denominator between these programs, helping people discover independence from addiction. The SMART Recovery program is designed to teach people how to control their addictive behavior by focusing on their underlying feelings and thoughts and learning the skills necessary to manage urges and cravings for the long term.

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How Does SMART Recovery Work?

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.