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SMART Recovery Program

A major support organization for substance use disorder is the SMART Recovery program. Using evidence-based methods, members overcome addiction.

Table of Contents

What is SMART?

SMART is an acronym that stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. SMART Recovery is a group-based addiction recovery approach facilitated by volunteers to help people overcome their addiction and improve their mental health.1
The SMART recovery program is effective for those in rehab for dual diagnosis, anxiety, bipolar disorder, drug addiction, and other addictions and behavioral disorders. There are thousands of SMART Recovery meetings worldwide today, and the number continues to grow.1
SMART Recovery Program

Foundation for Smart Recovery: Stages of Change

There are five stages to the SMART Recovery model. People do not generally proceed through these stages in a linear fashion. Along the line of addiction treatment, you may experience many ups and downs.
However, in general, this is the dynamics of the relationship with the recovery process:
  • Precontemplation Stage: The precontemplation stage is where you feel pressured to visit addiction treatment centers. 
  • Contemplation Stage: The contemplation stage is where the change begins. At this stage, you have acknowledged your problem and have shifted your attitude towards a rewarding outcome.
  • Preparation Stage: The preparation stage is where you have an action plan.
  • Action Stage: The action stage is when you make an effort towards change.
  • Maintenance Stage & Termination: Relapses (which are normal) are common in this stage. People realize the efforts that go into maintaining change.

History of the SMART Recovery Program

SMART Recovery was formerly named Rational Recovery and was established in 1985. It became SMART Recovery in 1994 and was incorporated as a U.S non-profit in 1992. SMART Recovery program runs on three primary sources: donations, advertising, and publication sales.2

SMART Recovery Program

The major objective of the SMART Recovery program is to demonstrate to individuals how to better themselves by altering self-defeating thoughts, feelings, and behaviors using evidence-based principles.

How Does SMART Work?

The SMART Recovery program involves meetings attended by members. At each meeting, members are taught the specific tools and techniques that are required to break free from addiction. SMART Recovery meetings can either be face-to-face or online, in which case it is available all year round.
One of the many advantages of this self-management recovery program is that it continues to evolve as new scientific methods are available. In other words, SMART Recovery continuously updates its methods based on emerging scientific evidence in addiction recovery.3

Similarities and Differences to 12-Step Programs

The SMART Recovery program differs from 12-step programs in approach to treatment. 12-step programs are based on a 12-step model as well as spiritual belief and a higher power.
SMART Recovery, on the other hand, uses scientifically evidence-based approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy to treat addiction. Online meetings, which are available with the SMART Recovery program, are not available for 12-step programs.4

What Can You Expect at a Smart Meeting?

The average length of a Smart Recovery meeting is 60 to 90 minutes. There is a typical format for meetings. The time allocated to each session may change depending on whether the meeting is set for 60 or 90 minutes.

SMART Recovery Meetings

The facilitator handles the first session of the meeting, which lasts for about five minutes. Introductions are made here. Then 10-20 minutes are spent on individual updates or progress. The facilitator spends another five minutes on agenda setting and focuses on SMART Recovery’s 4-point program in the next 40-50 minutes. Donations are made in the next minute, and the meeting is concluded within the next 12-15 minutes.5

SMART Recovery - Self-Management for Addiction Recovery

At SMART Recovery meetings, members support one another in overcoming issues with any addiction. They discover and cultivate the capacity within themselves to transform and lead satisfying, balanced lives while being guided by a logical and scientific 4-Point Plan.

Graduating Recovery

SMART Recovery participants who have graduated from recovery have developed a fruitful and satisfying life away from their previous addictive behaviors. They are engaged in living, helping others, making money, and going about daily activities like other self-actualizing people.

SMART Recovery 4-Point Program

SMART Recovery has created a 4-Point Program that breaks down addiction treatment recovery stages.

What Is the 4-Point Program?

SMART Recovery’s 4-point program provides a 4-point framework with a scientific foundation that helps people navigate the treatment process. The four phases of the SMART Recovery 4-Point Program include:
  • Building and maintaining the motivation to lead an addiction-free life
  • Managing feelings, thoughts, and behaviors
  • Coping with urges and,
  • Living a balanced and healthy life

SMART Recovery Tools & Techniques

The SMART Recovery program employs tools and techniques to help you self-manage your addiction. They include:6
  • ABC Tools
  • CBA: Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Change-Plan Worksheet
  • DEADs: Deny/Delay, Escape, Avoid/Accept/Attack, Distract; Substitute
  • DIBs: Disputing Irrational Beliefs
  • DISARM: Destructive Images and Self-Talk Awareness and Refusal Method
  • Goal setting
  • HOV: Hierarchy of Values
  • Lifestyle Balance Pie
  • Role-Playing/Rehearsal
  • Urge Log
  • VACI: Vital Absorbing Creative Interest
  • USA: Unconditional Self-Acceptance

Maladaptive Behavior vs. Chronic Disease

SMART Recovery identifies addiction as maladaptive behaviors that can be changed. Instead of viewing alcoholism and addiction as chronic diseases like in 12-step programs, SMART recovery encourages those battling an addiction to see themselves as empowered to change the harmful habits rather than helpless victims.

How Can You Get Started With Smart Recovery?

SMART Recovery methods can be used for addiction treatment in inpatient and outpatient settings. Every phase of your rehabilitation can be incorporated with SMART, which encourages using medically assisted withdrawal when necessary.
When you are stable enough to live independently, SMART can support you through the outpatient recovery phase and even relapse. Meetings might be included in your aftercare strategy.

Is SMART for You?

If you’ve been to meetings for a 12-step program before and found that seeing yourself as a helpless victim and surrendering control of your life to a higher power didn’t sit well with you, SMART might be a better fit.
Also, you may be seeking a support group to go along with your recovery while in treatment or dealing with addiction on your own. SMART Recovery is recommended in this case to help you work from a scientific and analytical standpoint.

What Are Other Non 12-Step Support Groups?

Aside from SMART Recovery, other support groups do not follow the 12-step approach. These include:
  • LifeRing 
  • Women for Sobriety
  • Secular Organization for Sobriety
  • Moderation Management

What Exactly Does This Mean to You?

Joining a SMART Recovery program means that you’ll be able to find support among people going through the same journey as you and develop skills to live an addiction-free life. This support can be available to you all through the year online.

How to Find a SMART Recovery Meeting

Finding a SMART Recovery meeting takes nothing less than five minutes. With an internet connection, you can easily find one near you by searching the web or visiting SMART Recovery’s website to find any close to you using your postcode.

Find The Right Group for You

You’ll have to research and ask questions to find the right group for you. Do not rush into joining any programs. Reflect on what your needs are and choose a group that meets all of them.

Choose Beachside Rehab for SMART Recovery

Beachside Rehab is a treatment center in Florida that offers a SMART Recovery program that incorporates evidence-based support services to help with rehabilitation. At Beachside Rehab, you can rest assured that you’ll be traveling the road of recovery with the skilled company.

How Does SMART Recovery Help?

SMART Recovery helps people by empowering them to take charge of their condition with the hope of becoming better while providing scientifically proven tools to help them self-manage their addiction in the long run.

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Offers a Road to Recovery

The road to recovery might seem impossible at first. But with methods employed in a SMART Recovery program, recovery is achievable. It begins from the individual’s mind. The zeal is then nurtured and encouraged with SMART Recovery.

Does SMART Recovery Work for People Who are Severely Addicted?

SMART Recovery can be incorporated into a treatment plan to help people who are severely addicted. It focuses on rational thinking, making it accessible and beneficial to a broad range of people. To benefit from the program, one must be willing to put in the work.

How SMART Recovery Meetings Help Family Members and Friends

SMART family and friends’ program (F&F) uses the 4-point approach of SMART Recovery and modified them to better serve the needs of the family and friends of people suffering from addiction.
SMART Recovery Program

Learn What Ripple Ranch Has to Offer

Ripple Ranch is a unique addiction treatment center dedicated to helping you or your loved one recover from different addictions and addictive behaviors. Our treatment methods are evidence-based and are specifically tailored to your needs.

Residential Treatment

Ripple Ranch Recovery Center has a team of dedicated professionals in our comfortable and serene residential home that provide 24 hours care for patients to help them focus on their treatment and improve.

MAT Treatment

Over the years, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has been of help to many people suffering from substance use disorder. MAT has helped many people combat withdrawal symptoms.
With our highly skilled professionals at Ripple Ranch, we’re committed to providing the best care and treatment approach to our clients, including using MAT when necessary.

Dual Diagnosis

At Ripple Ranch, we diagnose and design treatment for dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Our primary aim is to help you improve your mental health and help you reach a state where you can find stability and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
To find out more about our services, contact us now.