SMART Recovery

woman smiling after SMART recovery meeting

While a lot about how to recover from addiction has been learned in the last decade, there is a lot more to learn. That is because addiction is mired in a complicated set of causal factors encompassing the behavioral, cognitive, and physical. That is why the efficacy of new science-based treatments continues to be tested, even as the type of addictive substances on the street changes.

You have heard about 12-step programs for continuing addiction recovery outside of rehab. This article discusses the SMART Recovery program. How does it differ from AA 12-step programs? What can a recovering addict expect in SMART Recovery?

Drug Rehab and SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is a four-step process that teaches people the skills to become self-reliant and overcome their addiction. The program works on addictions, from substance and alcohol to gambling or other activities. It is a science-based alternative to 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

SMART Recovery is used throughout the drug rehab community as a solo treatment or in coordination with other approaches. It supports psychiatric or addiction medications as well as individual beliefs about a higher power.

The SMART Recovery four-point program is used in rehab to help individuals regain control over addiction. It includes four-steps that focus on:

  1. Building and maintaining motivation
  2. Coping with urges
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  4. Living a balanced life

The SMART Recovery website offers free online meetings and training for anyone seeking a better life. These meetings leverage a combination of behavioral and cognitive therapies, all evidenced-based approaches that have long been used effectively in drug rehab facilities.

The goal of the organization is to:

  • Teach self-reliance and human empowerment.
  • Help people recover from addiction and lead more satisfying lives.
  • Provide tools for self-motivated behavioral changes.
  • Offer free online and local educational meetings and group discussions.
  • Advocate for appropriately prescribed supportive medications as part of addiction recovery.

The non-profit organization behind SMART Recovery is made up of volunteer professionals and non-professionals, some formerly addicted, and some not. SMART Recovery is very active in the United States, but it is also a global organization, with a presence in Asia, Australia, Denmark, France, Hungary, and Sweden.

How SMART Recovery Works

The SMART Recovery meetings are facilitated by volunteers who could be in recovery themselves, or the family members of someone in recovery, or even a treatment professional. Each facilitator must complete 30 hours of online training before running a meeting. It should be noted that these facilitators are not clinically trained and cannot provide medical advice.

The meetings typically start with check-ins to ask participants where they stand in their recovery. The discussion portion of the meetings practices some of the tools from the program, such as the cost/benefit analysis. There could be role-playing and brainstorms as a way to problem solve and practice more effective coping behaviors. The program teaches participants to develop outside interests called VACI, or Vital Absorbing Creative Interest as a way to cope with the devastating urge to use their substance of choice.

The SMART Recovery program is another tool for drug rehab professionals to encourage their patients to use. The program exposes the foibles of addiction-laden behaviors and opens the door to a new way of living.

To learn more about SMART Recovery and other programs offered at The Recovery Village Ridgefield, contact a representative today.