SMART Recovery
SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery

There’s no doubt that the burden of addiction is considerable. It has a profound and detrimental impact on mortality, health, relationships, families, employment, and quality of life. Alcohol, substances, and behavioral addictions collectively cause an estimated monetary damage of over $28 billion per year.

In the United States, over 22 million individuals live with a substance abuse problem. At any given moment, there are approximately 4.5 million individuals who have a substance abuse disorder.

What Causes Addiction?

Now that we’ve noted its impact, it’s important to understand what causes addiction. Unfortunately, there’s no single answer. However, based on scientific knowledge, we know that the following factors impact addiction:

  • Genetics account for about 40% to 60% of the risk of addiction.
  • Environmental factors can increase a person’s risk of addiction. These may include chaotic home environments, abusive situations, and peer pressure.
  • Age is a factor as teenagers are more at risk for drug use and addiction than other populations.
  • Those who struggle with their mental health also have a higher risk of substance abuse disorders.

What is SMART Recovery?

Drug and alcohol abuse is frightening. Particularly when you’re the one battling an addiction and there doesn’t seem to be a solution. While there are many programs designed to help, we’ll focus on one in particular: SMART Recovery.

History of SMART Recovery

In 1992, the seeds were planted for SMART Recovery. A group of treatment professionals, including Joe Gerstein, decided there was a need for an alternative to traditional 12-step programs. They envisioned a secular, science-based approach to addiction recovery.

It was 1994 when SMART Recovery was formally launched. From the start, its approach has been rooted in cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing techniques. The program treats addiction not as a lifelong disease, but as a series of modifiable behaviors.

Over the years, SMART Recovery has continued to incorporate evidence-based methods and tools from evolving scientific research.

A Stepless Approach To Addiction Treatment

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery is a global abstinence-oriented program bringing people together to assist in resolving addiction. 

The program strives to help participants learn techniques to transition their lives from self-destructive to happy and fulfilling. Many luxury rehab centers, such as Retreat at Sky Ridge, utilize SMART Recovery and its principles.

While SMART Recovery offers mutual support by utilizing support groups, the similarities with 12-step programs beyond that are limited. In addition to the lack of steps, SMART Recovery also doesn’t incorporate spirituality or require belief in a higher power.

Additionally, it doesn’t give participants labels, such as “addict” or “alcoholic”. And even before COVID-19, SMART Recovery has incorporated online meetings, which weren’t found in NA or AA at the time.

SMART Recovery’s 4-Point Program®

SMART Recovery, in contrast to other recovery programs, teaches that those with addictions aren’t powerless in managing and maintaining recovery. A basic tenet is that science does not support helpless, negative beliefs about accountability. 

It also emphasizes teaching participants alternative methods for dealing with negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Participants are encouraged to seek out and engage in activities that replace their addictive behaviors.

SMART Recovery’s 4-Point Program® breaks down the phases of treatment and recovery from addiction.

Point 1: Building and Maintaining Motivation

The SMART Recovery journey begins with the power of motivation. The process requires understanding why one wants to change and maintaining that desire over time.

Key Aspects of SMART Recovery’s Approach:

  • Self-Assessment: Encourages individuals to list the pros and cons of their addictive behavior. This is a type of cost-benefit analysis.
  • Visualization: Imagining the benefits of a life free from addiction can be a potent motivator.
  • Readiness to Change: Recognizing where one stands on the continuum from precontemplation to action and maintaining the push towards progress.
  • Affirmations: Creating positive, empowering statements that reinforce the desire to stay motivated.

Point 2: Coping with Urges 

A cornerstone of SMART Recovery, this point emphasizes strategies to handle cravings and urges without giving in.

Key Aspects of SMART Recovery’s Approach:

  • DEADS Strategy: This stands for Deny the urge, Escape the situation, Avoid the trigger, Distract oneself, and Substitute with a healthier behavior.
  • Urge-Logging: Documenting urges to identify patterns, triggers, and effective coping mechanisms.
  • Mindfulness: Techniques are taught to experience cravings without acting upon them, viewing them as transient feelings.
  • Relapse Prevention: Identifying high-risk situations and developing strategies to manage or avoid them.

Point 3: Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors

SMART Recovery understands that negative patterns of thinking and behavior contribute to addiction. This point emphasizes altering these patterns to support recovery.

Key Aspects of SMART Recovery’s Approach:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Techniques: Challenging and replacing irrational beliefs and behaviors with healthier ones.
  • ABCs of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: A technique to identify the Activating event, Beliefs, and Consequences to disrupt irrational thoughts.
  • Disputing Irrational Beliefs: Actively challenging and replacing beliefs that foster addictive behaviors.
  • Role-playing: Enacting real-life situations to practice responses and behaviors.

Point 4: Living a Balanced Life

The last point of SMART Recovery emphasizes creating a life where addiction has no place.

Key Aspects of SMART Recovery’s Approach:

  • Values Clarification: Identifying what’s truly important to an individual to guide decisions and behaviors.
  • Lifestyle Balance: Recognizing the need for balance between work, leisure, relationships, and self-care to reduce the chances of addictive behaviors.
  • Goal Setting: Establishing short-term and long-term objectives that align with one’s values.
  • Healthy Habits: Promoting routines that support well-being, such as regular exercise, good nutrition, and adequate sleep.

A Dynamic Program For a Balanced Life

The purpose of the SMART Recovery program is to assist those who’ve chosen to abstain from addictive behaviors. This is done by teaching individuals how to modify self-defeating thoughts, emotions, and actions. The ultimate goal is the establishment of long-term satisfaction and quality of life. 

Success in addiction recovery depends in large part on choosing a recovery program that works for the individual. When searching for the right treatment program for you or a loved one, SMART Recovery is certainly worth considering.

For more information on Smart Recovery and other treatment services, please give us a call at (877) 693-6010 or complete the short inquiry form below.

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