When we consider treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, we often think about inpatient rehabs or possibly twelve-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. However, there’s actually a variety of different types of addiction treatment, each with its own approach and techniques. With that in mind, let’s go over what’s probably the most well-known of these alternative programs: SMART Recovery.
What is SMART Recovery?
SMART Recovery is a nationwide, non-profit organization that provides free support groups to individuals suffering with any type of addiction. As an acronym for Self-Management and Recovery Training, SMART Recovery uses a 4-point program to encourage recovery from all types of addictive behaviors via daily face-to-face meetings and online meetings.
SMART recovery is a fresh approach to addiction recovery.
What is Addictive Behavior?
Addictive behavior can be defined as an over-involvement with substance abuse. This can mean any type of substance, including nicotine, alcohol, food and eating, illicit drugs, gambling, prescription medications, sexual behavior, relationships, or even exercise.
There are different degrees of addictive behavior, and no two individuals experience addiction the same way.
The SMART Approach
It’s important to note that SMART Recovery is not a 12-step group, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous(NA). Instead, SMART Recovery bases its approach on a scientific foundation where AA and NA are spiritual-based therapies. SMART Recovery meetings are full of discussion, and the leaders encourage attendance for more of a short-term basis compared to a lifetime. There are also no sponsors in SMART Recovery, and the use of the word “addict” is discouraged.
Their approach works by teaching individuals on how to change their self-defeating thinking, emotions, and actions while working towards attaining a long-term quality of life. The main focus of SMART Recovery is to move from a life of addictive behaviors to a positive life with the willingness to change.
The different parts to the SMART approach include:
- Teaching self-empowerment and self-reliance,
- Encouraging recovery and self-discovery,
- Providing tools and actionable techniques for self-directed change,
- Advocating for appropriate use of prescribed medications if they are beneficial to an individual’s treatment plan,
- Daily in-person or online meetings that include open discussions.
As its approach is rooted in science and research, SMART Recovery constantly evolves as the scientific knowledge of addiction recovery progresses.
The 4-Point Program of SMART Recovery
SMART Recovery will help individuals gain independence from their addictive behaviors. This approach is rooted in a 4-point program that teaches participants how to:
- Maintain the motivation to abstain from their addiction.
- Cope with different urges.
- Manage their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
- Find a balance between momentary and enduring satisfaction
To be as successful as possible, the SMART Recovery program provides a variety of tools and techniques to gain freedom from addictive behaviors. Each individual will be given a handful of tools to help them move from one point to another in the program. In addition, participants will learn how each technique changes based on the point they are in and how they can adapt to achieve a personal lifestyle balance.
Some examples of the tools are:
- The Stages of Change,
- Creating cost/benefit analyses,
- ABCs of REBT for Urge Coping,
- ABCs of REBT for Emotional Upsets,
- The Destructive Images and Self-Talk Awareness and Refusal Method (DISARM),
- Creating and learning the Hierarchy of Values,
- Role-playing and rehearsing,
- Unconditional Self- Acceptance (USA).
SMART Recovery and Your Loved Ones
There are SMART recovery resources available for your loved ones if you would like extra help on your journey to wellness. There is a Friends and Family online group and message board for Concerned Significant Others (CSOs).
Additionally, it is recommended that loved ones read the book Get Your Loved One Sober, as well as participating in a CRAFT program. The Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training program is a scientifically based intervention designed to help CSOs engage in treatment-refusing substance abuse users into the right treatment program.
SMART Recovery and Other Addictive Behavior Treatments
There is no one right path to recovery. Each individual is different, and SMART Recovery can simply be a small piece of your recovery puzzle. If you are coping with addictive behaviors and are looking for help getting on a stable path to recovery, your path will look completely different than others. There are plenty of treatment options available, and there is no one answer for you.
For some, SMART Recovery may be all you need to take control of your addictive behavior. But others may require a more individualized form of treatment. If you are looking for wraparound recovery support and a tailored wellness plan, then consider Silicon Beach Behavioral Health. Call us today for more information.