SMART Recovery Program for Addiction

Group therapy session
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As with 12 step groups, the SMART Recovery program can be an excellent resource for many people who are working to overcome addictions. The SMART Recovery Program shares with AA the foundation principles of accessibility, confidentiality, and mutual support, which links you to a worldwide network of help, as often and when you need it. However, the SMART Recovery Program is not as widespread or well-known.

More rigorous in approach than 12 step groups, the SMART Recovery program can provide more safety for participants in its facilitated and standardized approach to overcoming addiction

SMART Recovery's 4-Point Process

  1. Building and maintaining the motivation to change
  2. Coping with urges to use
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in an effective way without addictive behaviors
  4. Living a balanced, positive, healthy life

The meetings follow a standard structure that includes both teaching and participant input. The SMART Recovery Program differs from 12 step groups, but many people choose to be involved in both groups.

SMART Recovery Program Review

The SMART Recovery program is a community-based self-help program, which can be an alternative to, or complement to, 12 step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and Cocaine Anonymous (CA).

Although not as widespread or well-known as 12-step groups, there is a large network of over 500 in-person meetings (available in many countries) as well as online meetings.

This is a boon to people with addictions who require ongoing support: No matter where you go, you can often find a meeting if you want to attend one.

SMART Recovery meetings are facilitated, and the meetings themselves follow a standardized format. This can provide a great advantage over 12 step groups, which can vary greatly and can be dominated by individuals pushing their own agenda.

Smart Recovery
  • Six stages of change

  • No sponsors

  • Psychological approach

  • Run by facilitators

12-Step Programs
  • 12 steps

  • Sponsors

  • Spiritual approach

  • Run by volunteers

Another advantage is that, unlike AA and other 12 step groups, SMART Recovery is based on sound and proven psychological and evidence-based approaches.

Some members also appreciate the fact that SMART Recovery makes no demands of participants to engage in spiritual practices. And particularly important to those with dual diagnoses involving a mental health problem, or a physical health problem requiring psychoactive medications, you will not be faced with individuals suggesting that this is another form of "addiction," which can sometimes happen with extremist 12 step participants. In fact, the SMART Recovery Program states that it supports the appropriate use of medications.

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