A Step-Less Approach To Addiction Treatment
SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. A group-based addiction recovery model, SMART Recovery, was designed to support the application of the latest evidence-based treatments to overcome addiction. SMART Recovery helps people dealing with all kinds of addiction, including drugs, alcohol, gambling, overeating, sex addiction, and even compulsive spending.
SMART Recovery is not a 12-step group, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
While the SMART Recovery program is a group-based model with mutual self-help, the similarities beyond that are limited. One similarity between 12-step programs and SMART Recovery is that both programs promote abstinence from substance use.
Key differences are that SMART Recovery does not base its program on a 12-step model, spiritual principles, or a higher power. It instead focuses on evidence-based treatments that incorporate a wide range of interventions, such as CBT. Additionally, it does not give participants labels, such as “addict” or “alcoholic,” and regularly incorporates online meetings, which, before COVID-19, were not found in NA or AA.
SMART Recovery’s 4-Point Program® breaks down the 4 phases of treatment and recovery from addiction.
These 4 phases are:
- Building and Maintaining Motivation: Establishing the resolve to remain sober.
- Coping with Urges: Identifying triggers and establishing the best course of action to reduce them.
- Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors: Learning proven methods of avoiding relapse by finding self-acceptance and dealing with difficult emotions.
- Living a Balanced Life: Setting and managing expectations about a life of sobriety and taking on changes that promote a compelling recovery journey.
A Dynamic Program For A Balanced Life
The purpose of SMART Recovery is to support individuals who have chosen to abstain or are considering abstinence from any addictive behaviors (substances or activities) by teaching them how to modify self-defeating thoughts, emotions, and actions.
Keys to the SMART Recovery approach are:
- Teaching self-empowerment and self-reliance.
- Encouraging individuals to want recovery and live satisfying lives.
- The teaching of tools and techniques that support self-directed change.
- Meetings are educational, open discussions.
- Appropriate use of prescribed medication and psychological treatment.
- As the scientific understanding of addiction evolves, the program must evolve.