SMART Recovery is a four-point program created by healthcare specialists who have been in the field for over 30 years. It’s a science-based method that has helped thousands of people recover from addictive behaviors. SMART Recovery uses tools to help individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) change their thinking, emotions, behavior, and lifestyle. The program includes meetings where you can share your experiences with others going through similar difficulties, online support groups, and other resources to keep you on track.
What Is SMART Recovery?
SMART Recovery is a national organization dedicated to helping people overcome addiction with a four-point program. The acronym stands for Self-Management And Recovery Training (SMART); the program is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The SMART Recovery method is based on science and does not focus on spirituality. The SMART Recovery program is one of the most well-researched addiction recovery programs, with a robust scientific foundation.
The Four Point Program
The SMART Recovery four-point program is designed to help you change your thinking, emotions, behavior, and lifestyle. The four points are:
- Building and maintaining the motivation to change
- Coping with urges to use
- Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in an effective way without addictive behaviors
- Living a balanced, positive, and healthy life
SMART Recovery is a multifaceted strategy that guarantees the client receives comprehensive care. It is a well-rounded approach to give each client the best possible chance at Recovery.
How It Works
SMART Recovery is based on the principles of CBT. CBT helps individuals change their behavior by altering their thoughts, feelings, and actions. This approach takes a holistic approach to Recovery, recognizing the connection between physical health, mental health, and addiction.
SMART Recovery is also based on motivational enhancement therapy (MET), which focuses on helping individuals recognize the pros and cons of substance use. A therapist might ask questions such as: “What do you get out of using? What are some downsides?” The goal is to help clients identify a new way of thinking about substance use that can provide healthier alternatives to using substances.
Finally, SMART Recovery incorporates rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), which teaches people how to deal with negative emotions in ways that don’t include self-destructive behaviors. The idea behind this technique is that it’s possible for individuals struggling with co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and depression, or any other kind of mental illness, to create positive changes in their lives.
The Steps of SMART Recovery
There are four steps to the SMART recovery program. These steps promote well-rounded care, whether you struggle with drugs or alcohol, gambling addiction, or other addictions. It can be a vital portion of your treatment to help you become successful in Recovery.
The first step toward Recovery is recognizing that there is a problem. It’s important to understand that drug addiction or alcoholism can be overcome with the right support and that you are in charge of your recovery process. You should know that SMART Recovery offers solutions for overcoming addiction.
The second step of SMART recovery involves developing a list of pros and cons for continuing your current behavior or changing it. This will help you gain insight into your behavior’s advantages, disadvantages, and costs.
- Pro: I can drink whenever I want.
- Con: I have to deal with my hangovers every single time.
- Pro: Alcohol numbs my anxiety and makes me feel good about myself for a few hours.
- Con: The next day, I feel terrible because I drank too much and didn’t eat anything all night long; then, my anxiety comes back tenfold, and so does my depression.
The third step of SMART recovery involves learning how to manage cravings and prevent relapse into old habits and addictions. Cravings are a normal part of the recovery process, but it can be easy to misinterpret them. You may believe yourself to be weak or failing in your sobriety. The more you understand cravings, the easier it is to deal with them in a healthy way, and this is where SMART Recovery comes in.
In SMART Recovery groups, members learn how to deal with their circumstances when they experience cravings for substances. Instead of succumbing to feelings of defeat or guilt when we feel tempted to use, we remember our commitment and use our resources wisely.
Step four is crucial to learning how to maintain balance without falling back into old habits. This is an important part of the SMART recovery program; it helps you fight urges or cravings. It also gives you the tools needed to get through stressful situations and avoid triggers that could lead to relapse.
Learning this skill early on in the process will help prevent relapses later down the road, which can happen when people fall back into old habits or stop practicing self-care.
At Excel Treatment Center, we utilize SMART Recovery because it is a proven approach for overcoming addiction that has been used around the world for nearly 30 years. It’s based on science and does not focus on spirituality. It offers real-world tools to help you change your thinking, emotions, and behavior—and it can even help you recover from relapse. If you or someone in your life needs help recovering from addiction, then SMART Recovery may be the best option. Our commitment when using SMART recovery is to help clients work through their addiction to be able to come out on the other side and live a full life in recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out to us so that we can help you on this challenging journey through treatment and into recovery. To learn more, call us at (877) 331-4114.