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SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery, short for Self-Management and Recovery Training, is an international, 4-point support program designed to help members achieve lifelong sobriety. 

Through the program, members learn to manage their respective addictions by changing negative thought patterns and beliefs while focusing on self-empowerment. 

Unlike AA, SMART Recovery isn’t based on 12 steps and doesn’t require members to believe in a higher power. 

Let’s take a closer look at SMART Recovery’s main features, tools, and advantages. 

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More About SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is a transformative addiction treatment program that places power in the hands of members as opposed to a higher power. 

The program was formed to help people struggling with addiction overcome their respective drug dependency issues by gaining control over emotions and negative thought processes. 

SMART equips members with the skills needed to overcome cravings and transform their lives for the better. 

And unlike 12-step methods that are founded on spiritual beliefs in a higher being, SMART is science-based and motivated by principles of self-empowerment

A typical SMART group is led by volunteers and professionals using a combination of experience and science to help members take up healthy, well-balanced lifestyles. 

SMART meetings are offered online or in-person and are available in hundreds of countries across the world. 

It’s also worth noting that SMART Recovery is open to everyone and does not discriminate based on color, religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. 

How SMART Recovery Works

SMART Recovery is based on four main points, as explained below. 

1. Building And Maintaining Motivation

Completing addiction treatment doesn’t mean you won’t have cravings or experience triggers. But with the right motivation, you can overcome temptations and maintain sobriety. 

SMART Recovery understands the importance of motivation and therefore tailors its programs to encourage members to remain committed to their recovery goals. 

As a result, you (or a loved one) will be asked to make a list of your priorities and weigh the pros of sobriety vs. what you gain from giving in to temptation. This will help keep you in touch with your recovery goals and ensure you’re motivated enough to overcome cravings in both the short and long term. 

2. Coping With Urges 

Coping with urges and handling triggers is a crucial part of recovery and, most importantly, relapse prevention. Under the SMART program, patients learn ways to combat cravings using distraction techniques and mindfulness practices. 

By focusing on the causes of triggers, you’ll become better at identifying and avoiding triggers, which is crucial in your pursuit of lifelong sobriety. 

SMART uses the DEADS method to help members cope with cravings, as briefly explained below: 

Delay: Members are taught that urges are momentary and can be overcome through delay. Instead of fighting an urge, you should acknowledge its presence and understand that it’ll fade and pass if you wait patiently without giving in. 

Escape: SMART teaches members that the environment can either catalyze or put off urges. As a result, you’re urged to escape environmental triggers that can make you slip. This means avoiding friends that promote substance use or avoiding spending too much time in solitude. 

Dispute: The SMART program encourages members to practice self-control as they have the ability to overcome cravings. This means you can dispute and rebuke the desire to use the drug as a coping mechanism by staying true to your newfound beliefs. 

Substitute: SMART Recovery teaches that it’s best to take up new activities when cravings kick in. This could be exercising, calling a friend, reading a book– anything to distract your brain. 

3. Managing Thoughts, Behaviors, and Feelings

The third point revolves around thoughts, emotions, and behavior management. With the help of experienced members and professionals, you’ll learn how to identify triggers and how they affect your thought processes. 

Once you get control of your thoughts and behaviors, you’ll be well placed to prevent cravings and manage them when they occur. 

4. Living A Balanced Life 

SMART’s 4th point is based on life balance, which is important for anyone looking to maintain lifelong sobriety. At this stage, you’ll set short and long-term goals in various key life areas like diet, personal relationships, professional goals, and well-being. 

A balanced lifestyle allows you to plan adequately for the future, which keeps you firmly in touch with your recovery goals,effectively eliminating the chances of a relapse. 

Advantages Of The SMART Program 

Relapse Prevention

The SMART Recovery boasts an impressive success rate, with over 68% of members maintaining sobriety for over 10 years since joining the program. 

One of SMART’s greatest advantages is it gives you the tools to cope with triggers. You’ll also learn proven ways to change your thought process and behavior, which sets you perfectly for lifelong sobriety.  

Self Awareness

As you continue with the SMART program, you’ll become increasingly aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll also learn how to identify negative thought patterns, which helps you avoid potentially destructive behaviors before they start. 

Besides being crucial to your recovery journey, self-awareness also plays a huge role in your future relationships as you’ll learn your limits and how to set boundaries. 

Life Skills Development

In addition to teaching you how to set and achieve realistic goals, SMART goals also show you how to track progress, make necessary adjustments and bounce back in the event of failure.

SMART goals give you a solid framework for setting relevant goals that align with your strengths. Over time, you’ll learn how to build resilience, separate needs from wants, and develop the discipline to overcome cravings. 

Relationships Rebuild

SMART helps you understand the anger, frustration, and disappointment that your loved ones might have. 

And even more importantly, SMART Recovery teaches you how to set and respect boundaries. This allows you to mend relationships with people you might have wronged in the past, while setting a good foundation for future relationships. 

Get Help Today

Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

Make a Call

Is SMART Recovery Worth It?

SMART Recovery is an ideal option if you’re looking for an alternative to 12 Step Methods. The program is open to anyone looking to overcome addiction and live drug-free. 

Some rehab facilities also integrate SMART Recovery into their addiction treatment programs. 

And while SMART can work well as a standalone support group, some members prefer combining them with AA or NA meetings. 

Any option can work as it all comes down to your preferences and what works best for you (or a loved one).

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