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SMART Recovery

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SMART Recovery is an acronym that stands for Self Management and Recovery Training which is an international non-profit organization that helps individuals to find ways to maintain abstinence from various addictive behaviors. The SMART Recovery approach to treatment is a secular and science based non-confrontational motivational, behavioral and cognitive method of recovery. Meetings are held for SMART Recovery members in which participants learn the various recovery methods that have been derived from a number of evidence based addiction treatments.

SMART Recovery Stages of Change

SMART Recovery incorporates seven stages of change as a recovery tool. The seven stages are as follows:

  1. Precontemplation – This is the stage in which the participant may not realize that they even have a problem.
  2. Contemplation – This is the stage at which the participant evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of the addiction by performing a cost / benefit analysis.
  3. Determination/Preparation – During this stage of change, the participant completes a Change Plan Worksheet.
  4. Action – The participant begins to actively seek out new ways of handling their addiction behavior. This may include self-help, support of an addiction help group or professional guidance.
  5. Maintenance – A few months after the participant has began the action of seeking new ways of handling addictive behaviors, their behavior has been changed and they must seek to maintain their goals.
  6. Relapse – While relapse is not inevitable, it is a normal part of the change cycle and when handled well it can serve as a learning experience in overcome the addiction.
  7. Termination – Once the participant has sustained a long period of change, they can choose to move on with their lives and effectively graduate from the SMART Recovery program.

SMART Recovery the Alternative to 12-Step Programs

SMART Recovery is not a 12-step treatment program but unlike some non 12-step programs, SMART Recovery can be used in conjunction with a 12-step treatment program such as Alcoholics Anonymous if desired. The SMART Recovery program is often considered the alternative to AA or the alternative to 12-step programs.

The Self-Management And Recovery Training helps people to recovery from a range of addictive behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, sexual addiction and other addictive activities. It is a self-empowering recovery support group that sponsors hundreds of face to face meetings around the world as well as nearly 20 online meetings weekly.

The 4-Point Program and SMART Recovery Tools and Techniques

The SMART Recovery program helps individual to gain independence from addictive behaviors and is based on scientific knowledge. The program evolves as new scientific knowledge related to recovery evolves and provides specific tools and techniques that help with each of the following four points in the 4-Point Program:

Point 1: Enhancing and Maintaining Motivation to Abstain

Point 2: Coping with Urges

Point 3: Problem Solving (Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors)

Point 4: Lifestyle Balance (Balancing momentary and enduring satisfactions)

The tools and techniques provided under SMART Recovery help individuals with their effort to become independent from drugs and alcohol as well as other addictive behaviors. Participants are encouraged to learn how each tool can be used and practiced to help them achieve lifestyle balance and lead a fulfilling and healthy life. The SMART Recovery tools and techniques include:

  • Stages of Change
  • Change Plan Worksheet
  • Cost / Benefit Analysis (Decision Making Worksheet)
  • ABCs of REBT for Urge Coping
  • ABCs of REBT for Emotional Upsets
  • DISARM (Destructive Irrational Self-talk Awareness and Refusal Method)
  • Brainstorming
  • Role-playing and Rehearsing
  • USA (Unconditional Self-Acceptance)