What is SMART Recovery?

Self-Management and Recovery Training, or SMART Recovery, is a non-profit organization founded in the United States that aims to provide individuals with substance abuse problems with an effective recovery program. By using “non-12-Step” methods and avoiding negative rhetoric that labels the individual as an “addict” or an “alcoholic,” this program builds integrity in the recovering individual and allows them to outgrow self-deprecating views that inhibit true growth and positive change. Taking on a holistic and scientific approach, SMART Recovery allows individuals to achieve successful recovery by leading them away from a self-destructive and dangerous lifestyle to one that is uplifting and fulfilling. Since its creation, this program has helped countless Americans nationwide recover from addictions to alcohol and drugs. 

Based on clinically-sound methods, SMART Recovery encourages self-empowerment in their 4-Point Program: 

1. Finding the motivation to change one’s life and maintaining that motivation

It’s essential for recovering individuals to build a strong foundation of values to rely on as they undertake the journey to abstinence. By identifying exactly what in life makes them determined to live soberly, individuals will find it easier to stay committed and participate in treatment. And by remembering their reasons to recover, individuals will become more motivated to take these steps to change their life.

2. Curtailing the urge to use substances

SMART Recovery teaches individuals how to cope with the urge to return to substances. Although it may seem impossible to harness the willpower to abstain from substances, the truth is that every recovering individual is capable of controlling their impulses. These urges are inevitable and expected, so following the SMART curriculum will equip individuals with the skills and mindset needed to resist the impulse to start using again. 

3. Controlling addictive behavior and switching to a more positive mindset

SMART Recovery utilizes a renowned psychotherapeutic methodology called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, or REBT. This clinical approach focuses on cognitive-behavior and is based on the belief that thought creates emotion, and that emotion in turn creates action. SMART Recovery uses REBT to help the recovering individual unlearn the irrational belief that substance use is the only solution to whatever problems and pain they’re harboring. Furthermore, it institutes positive mindsets that revolutionize the way that recovering individuals act and think. By changing the way that you think and feel, you can break free from unhealthy habits. 

4. Living a healthy and balanced life in recovery

SMART Recovery takes on a holistic approach, meaning that it seeks to restore balance to every aspect of the individual’s life. True recovery is more than just abstinence; In order for the recovering individual to create lasting, impactful changes in the way that they live, they must incorporate changes and good practices in every part of their life. Self-preservation and self-care depend on total wellness, and this program seeks to teach individuals how to maintain this balance for the rest of their lives, even after they’ve achieved sobriety. 

SMART Recovery As Opposed to 12-Step Programs

There’s no denying that popular and well-known 12-Step Programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, have been life-changing for many people. But there are also those who have felt discouraged by 12-Steps; These programs teach participants that they are afflicted with a disease and that they must seek support from a higher power, such as God, to cure themselves of their “illness.” 

SMART Recovery is different. With their 4-Point Program, participants are taught self-empowerment and self-reliance. With SMART Recovery, individuals learn that they are capable of changing their lives and that they are not a “sick addict” by intrinsic nature. You do not have to be spiritual or religious to participate in SMART Recovery, and you will never be made to feel like a lesser being.

SMART Meetings

Even after leaving the Divine House, participants are advised to attend SMART Recovery meetings until they no longer need them. With 12-Step programs, participants are expected to attend 12-Step meetings for the rest of their lives and to continue to engage with other program activities. With SMART, individuals will not feel obligated to attend meetings after they’ve recovered, although they are always welcome to. These meetings are online and face-to-face, offering participants flexibility with their schedules. Meetings are 90 minutes long and focus on addressing problems taking place in the individual’s present; Individuals are not encouraged to look to the past for solutions. All meetings are free, although SMART Recovery is always appreciative of donations. 

Making the Decision to Get Sober With Smart Recovery

The Divine House’s staff is trained and well-versed in the SMART Recovery curriculum. If you would like to know more about this life-changing program or would like to learn how we can help you recover, please feel free to contact us. 

Substance abuse problems are a dire situation for all people involved; the person using, their friends, their family, and their significant other will be inevitably affected by how substances affect the individual. Recovery is not an easy path, but it is a necessary one. By taking these steps to change your life, you are also saving it; in addition to the physical damage that your body suffers due to addiction, substance abuse robs individuals of their ambitions and potential. If you have a substance abuse problem, it’s time to be honest with yourself and seek help. There is no reason to feel ashamed with admitting that you have a problem, and there are whole teams of people here at the Divine House and within the SMART Recovery program who are more than ready to begin working with you. So when you’re ready to begin your path to sobriety, we’ll be here waiting. 

Additional Reading:

About SMART Recovery” by the official SMART Recovery Website