You’ve probably heard of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), but one alternative to these 12-step programs is gaining in popularity.
About SMART Recovery
SMART Recovery, which stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, provides an option for those who aren’t comfortable with the religious or spiritual aspects of traditional 12-step programs. Based on scientific research, this secular program and its methods are updated often as new scientific evidence in the field of addiction recovery emerges.
SMART Recovery is a worldwide, nonprofit, abstinence-based recovery program open to anyone who wants to address and overcome their addiction or harmful habit. The organization includes addiction to drugs and alcohol, as well as behavioral addictions to activities such as gambling, overspending, exercise, eating, sex, and self-injury.
How Does SMART Recovery Work?
SMART Recovery helps members make healthy life choices by using a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and rational emotive behavior therapy, a specific form of cognitive therapy. Individuals in the SMART program do not have sponsors; instead, emphasis and focus are placed on self-empowerment and self-reliance. An essential part of the program are its key areas of awareness and change, known as the 4-point program.
The 4-Point Program
The 4-point program is the basic philosophy of SMART Recovery and is equivalent to The Big Book in Alcoholics Anonymous. The 4 points help members stay motivated as they learn the tools, techniques, and skills they need to achieve their long-term recovery goals. SMART Recovery members are encouraged to work on the 4-points in any order they prefer based on their specific needs.
Point 1 – Building and Maintaining Motivation to Abstain
To be successful in achieving long-lasting sobriety, the person has to be willing to stay sober. In point 1, members are asked to write down a list of their priorities. Then, they are encouraged to consider the costs and benefits of drug use and sobriety in relation to these priorities.
Point 2 – Coping with Urges
For point 2, members determine the triggers for their cravings. By doing this, they are able to identify the irrational beliefs that surround their urges to use. Once they can identify their triggers, members are taught the techniques and tools needed to be able to overcome their urges and suppress their cravings. This is accomplished using many different methods, such as distraction techniques.
Point 3 – Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors
When members work on point 3, they are asked to closely examine how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors played a part in their initial addiction to drugs or alcohol. During this point, individuals learn self-acceptance. They also learn how to manage difficult feelings, such as anxiety or depression. These learned skills are important in preventing a relapse from occurring.
Point 4 – Living a Balanced Life
Deciding to be sober is a life-changing decision. Being willing to make drastic life changes is an important aspect of a successful recovery. During point 4, members are asked to think deeply about what is important to them and make an inventory of those things. They are also shown how to make realistic goals and a positive plan for the future.
The Basic Principles of SMART Recovery
Each person in SMART Recovery is responsible and accountable for their own recovery. The three underlying principles of the program are self-empowerment, self-reliance, and self-directed change.
The following are several additional principles of the SMART Recovery program:
- Members are shown how to recognize their own negative self-talk. They learn how to be more aware of it and how it affects their behavior.
- Self-directed change is essential to success, and members are taught the tools and techniques they need to achieve their goals.
- In 12-Step programs, the legal use of psychiatric and addiction prescription medication is not supported. In SMART Recovery the use of these types of drugs (e.g., Suboxone) is supported.
- All of the meetings are educational and have open discussions.
Finding the Right Program
Finding the right residential treatment facility and post-rehab program is essential for a healthy recovery. Call and speak to a qualified professional at English Mountain Recovery located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. We will be able to answer any questions you may have. The professional staff at English Mountain will guide you through your recovery process and provide the tools you need to live a healthy, clean, and sober life.