What Is SMART Recovery?
SMART or Self-Management and Recovery Training is an international, non-profit support program designed for people struggling with drug addiction and behavioral disorders. People often use it as an alternative to 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. In addition, it also helps diagnose and treat underlying mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, that are co-occurring with drug addiction.
Unlike traditional 12-step programs, it is a scientifically-based program that helps people manage their addictive behavior using behavioral and cognitive approaches. It uses the techniques taken from motivational enhancement therapy (MET) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). As scientific knowledge expands, these techniques are continuously updated.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and American Academy of Family Physicians have recognized SMART Recovery as a helpful approach to overcome addiction.
The Goal of a SMART Recovery Program
SMART recovery uses a 4 point program to help people recover from all types of addictions and behavioral issues, including:
- Substance abuse
- Drug addiction or abuse
- Gambling addiction
The program supports individuals who have decided to give up addiction and are in the process of recovery. It helps them stay positive and effectively cope with negative tendencies such as self-defeating thinking, emotions, and actions. It also helps them learn practical techniques to overcome urges and triggers.
How Does SMART Recovery Work?
Unlike 12-step programs that require the addict to admit his helplessness over addiction, SMART Recovery focuses on self-empowerment and self-reliance. The participants learn techniques to empower themselves and effectively treat the behavioral issues that cause addiction.
The volunteers of SMART Recovery help the participants evaluate themselves and pinpoint the fundamental behavioral or psychological problems. The 4 point program is used through the process to teach the participants effective coping techniques and mechanisms.
4 Points of SMART Recovery Program
SMART Recovery program helps participant have the upper hand over their addiction using the following 4 points:
Point 1: Building and Maintaining Motivation
Making the decision to quit the drug or a habit and staying firm on it is the first step towards recovery. The participants are motivated using a scientific approach and techniques from psychotherapies.
Point 2: Coping with Urges
The urge to go back to addictive substances or habits is the reason for most people to relapse. Techniques, including distraction methods, are taught to manage these urges effectively. Point 2 also involves finding out the triggers and teaching the participants how to avoid them.
Point 3: Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors
There are specific thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that lead to a relapse. Point 3 involves finding out such thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and effectively managing them.
Point 4: Living a Balanced Life
Making positive changes in lifestyle can help addicts stay sober. Lack of routine can be a major contributing factor towards the development of addictive behaviors.
Even though the points are given in a sequence, they are not supposed to be followed in the same way. A person can start from anywhere he feels comfortable or revisit any point if need be.
About SMART Recovery Meetings
SMART Recovery offers face-to-face meetings as well as online meetings all over the world. These meetings are free for anyone who wishes to attend. They are not only supportive but also educational. SMART Family & Friends is an online support group started for the concerned significant others (CSO) of those in recovery to help them through their recovery. The SMART recovery program has been proven to be immensely helpful in overcoming addictive behaviors.
SMART Recovery vs. 12-Step Programs
SMART Recovery has got its similarities and differences with 12-step programs.
- Both SMART recovery and 12-step programs require the participants to go through a series of steps to help them overcome their addiction.
- Both programs offer privacy. The identity of any participant is not disclosed beyond the limits of the meeting place.
- SMART recovery program does not consider participants helpless in front of addiction. In fact, it encourages them to take control over themselves and eradicate the addiction.
- SMART recovery program does not label the participants as ‘addicts,’ and the addiction as a ‘disease’ as such terms can be discouraging.
- Recovery is not considered a lifelong process in a SMART recovery program. The participants believe that recovery is gradual, and they will soon be living an addiction-free life.
- SMART recovery does not require the participants to submit to a higher power. They are instead told to believe in themselves.
Both the 12 step program and the SMART recovery program have been proven to be helpful in overcoming addiction. It is entirely on the individual to decide which one will work better for him. What works for one individual may not necessarily work for another.
Learn More at Addiction Rehab Centers
At Addiction Rehab Centers, we’re committed to providing the best possible treatment options for each person. Therefore, we offer both 12-step recovery and SMART recovery programs. Please contact Addiction Rehab Centers today at 844.910.0686 to learn about the benefits of both treatment options.