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What is smart recovery program?

Enrolling in a SMART recovery program for help with mental health disorders and substance abuse can be greatly beneficial for your recovery.

What Is SMART Recovery Program?

SMART is an acronym that refers to Self-Management and Recovery Training. SMART Recovery is a newer form of treatment for a variety of mental disorders, including substance abuse disorders and addiction.

There have been various studies on the efficacy of SMART Recovery. These studies have compared the SMART program to more traditional routes of treating substance use disorders and addiction, including 12-step programs . 1 Furthermore, rather than focusing solely on the initial stages of recovery, SMART Recovery is designed to offer continuing care for patients after the program itself has ended. 2

SMART Recovery Program

How Long Has SMART Recovery Been Around?

SMART Recovery can trace its roots back to the 1990s. Here, it was first known by the name Alcohol and Drug Abuse Self-Help Network (ADASHN), which was founded by the board of directors of Rational Recovery (RR). The choice to change the name from ADASHN to SMART Recovery came about in 1994.

However, the core principle of SMART Recovery is much older than SMART itself. SMART Recovery is based on motivational interviewing and other types of psychotherapies. One of the main psychotherapies utilized in SMART is cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, which originated in the 1960s and is still heavily used today for substance abuse and mental health recovery programs.

How Does SMART Recovery Work?

The SMART Recovery program works by combining multiple types of effective treatments into a single, unified program. This includes different types of therapy and counseling which work together to help address areas of concern and provide solutions through reinvented perspectives and healthy, safe coping mechanisms. The main focus of SMART, however, is the four-point program. These are four principles that reflect the meaning of self-management and recovery. 3

As for the program itself, SMART Recovery is a science-based program focused on abstinence. This means that the ultimate goal is to completely eliminate substance use and abuse in order to promote recovery. As a result, other than tapering doses for safety reasons, SMART Recovery discourages continued use during treatment.

The Four Point Program

The four-point program is one of the most notable topics covered during SMART Recovery. These four points are designed to create a lasting independence that helps decrease the risk of relapse following drug addiction recovery. These points are to:

  1. Build and maintain motivation
  2. Cope with urges
  3. Manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  4. Live a balanced life

Different Topics Covered in SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is designed to cover a wide variety of topics. This is what allows for it to be a successful method of treatment not only for substance use disorders but also other forms of addiction, such as alcoholism or gambling. Each topic focuses on the two central ideas of SMART: self-management and recovery. The topic of each meeting may vary. However, they will typically revolve around the four points.

SMART Recovery Meetings

SMART Recovery meetings can be conducted either in person or digitally. Although each meeting will cover different topics and aspects of recovery, they generally will have a similar structure each time.

It is important to note that SMART Recovery meetings are not the same as other types of support groups. They are focused on teaching important self-management skills rather than only building community, and they also have a different method that other types of support groups. 4

What to Expect at a SMART Meeting

Although the topics of each SMART meeting can vary, there is a similar schedule that is followed each time. This can help to dispel some of the anxiety you may have about your first meeting, or it may help you to better decide if this may be the right program for you.

Typically, a SMART Recovery meeting will begin with a brief introduction from the group leader of the night as well as to SMART itself. Meetings are typically around ninety minutes long, with a thirty-minute check-in before beginning the main activities. Check-ins are brief updates about your life since the last meeting. This helps to foster community among members and for you to see how other people are coping in their daily life during recovery. After this, you’ll be prompted to discuss certain topics or complete certain activities.

The exact structure of each SMART Recovery meeting may vary based on the leader. As a result, if you attend meetings in different areas, they may look a bit different.

How Can SMART Recovery Meetings Help?

SMART Recovery can be a beneficial way to elevate recovery and continue learning more about your mental health and various coping mechanisms. This includes self-management and other skills necessary for effectively communicating with those around you.

During these meetings, you’ll develop the skills needed to best reconnect with your close loved ones. You will also learn more about respect, both for others and yourself. Addiction can make it difficult to navigate relationships and to connect with the ones you love, but SMART Recovery can help.

SMART Alcohol Program

What Type of Addiction is SMART Recovery Useful For Treating?

SMART Recovery is a beneficial treatment for a wide variety of conditions. The most commonly seen are substance use disorders and addiction. However, these are just a few of the areas where the SMART Recovery program may be recommended. Some of the other types of addiction or mental health disorders that SMART Recovery can be useful in treating include:

  • Alcoholism
  • Mental health disorders
  • Behavioral disorders

How to Get Started with SMART Recovery

The best way to get started with a SMART Recovery program is to find one in your area. Here at Genesis Recovery, not only do you have access to state-of-the-art care founded in science-backed methods paired with holisticity, but you also have access to a wide variety of resources. This includes resources for certain support groups that may be beneficial.

Once you’ve located a SMART Recovery program that you are interested in attending, you can contact them for further information about how to attend meetings. This is the best way to learn how to get started with a SMART Recovery program.


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