Just as your addiction treatment should be tailored to your needs, so should your recovery. While many find success in 12 Step based support groups, there are alternatives for those who prefer a more science-based approach. SMART Recovery is one of those options.
What is SMART Recovery?
SMART Recovery is a nonprofit organization designed to help people who suffer from all types of addiction, including alcoholism and drug addiction. “SMART” is short for “Self-Management and Recovery Training.”
How Does It Discourage Addiction?
The organization encourages people to achieve their recovery goals by offering support groups, an online discussion board, and publications that advise people on how to manage addictive behavior.
SMART Recovery favors four key components, which are:
- Building and maintaining motivation
- Coping with urges
- Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
- Living a balanced life
Before people can rid themselves of addictive behaviors, they must commit to their recovery and find ways to maintain this momentum. SMART Recovery experts then share strategies for replacing harmful coping mechanisms with positive ones, such as therapeutic activities that exercise the mind and body.
Once people distance themselves from their old habits, they can focus on self-reflection and their emotional growth. Those who find self-awareness and seek positive change are more likely to lead balanced lives that do not center on a substance or behavior.
Where Does the Recovery Program Operate?
SMART Recovery’s services extend to the United States, Canada, Denmark, Australia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The meetings are held in mental health facilities, shelters, and other locations that are accessible to populations in need.
How Does It Differ from 12 Step?
Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), SMART Recovery does not have a 12 Step component. The support group does not use a model that alludes to a higher power providing strength for those in addiction treatment. Instead, it is rooted in science rather than spirituality. The organization also does not have sponsors. SMART Recovery is designed for temporary help (typically lasting several months to years) but may not be suitable for people looking for lifetime assistance.
SMART Recovery or 12 Step?
No program is better than the other. It is important for individuals to explore both and determine which best suits their lifestyle and recovery goals. Some may connect with 12 Step, others with SMART Recovery, and others might enjoy a combination of both.