What Is SMART Recovery?

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When it comes to meetings and addiction recovery, everyone knows about the 12 steps. Whether it’s AA, NA, OA, or even MA, 12 step meetings are found in every city and small town not only from the east coast to the west, but all around the globe. Yet when it comes to recovery meetings, they’re not the only option for sobriety support.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is an international non-profit that involves self-empowering support groups for those with addiction that are based on scientific research. Unlike many 12 step meetings, SMART Recovery groups focus on all addictions, whether it’s substance abuse, gambling, or internet pornography.

The Four Point Program

At the basis of the SMART Recovery philosophy is the four point program:

  1. Build and maintain motivation
  2. Coping with urges
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  4. Living a balanced life

Through the understanding and development of these four principles, those individuals involved in SMART Recovery groups build the skills necessary to stay motivated and sober, and learn how to apply them in their lives  for long term recovery.

SMART Recovery Meetings

Like other addiction support groups, SMART Recovery involves meetings that its members attend. These meetings can happen in face-to-face or online (online meetings are available 365 days a year).

The SMART Recovery community also offers an online message board and a 24/7 online chat, where members can interact, ask questions, find help, and get the support they need.

What are the SMART Recovery Principles

When it comes to the principles behind the SMART Recovery program, there are somethings that are similar to the traditional 12 step programs and there are things that are different. Here are some of the basics.

  • The underlying principles of SMART Recovery are about self-empowerment, self-reliance, and self-directed change, holding the individual accountable for his or her own recovery.
  • Unlike AA and NA, SMART Recovery supports the legal use of prescription psychiatric and addiction medications, including Suboxone and methadone.
  • At its basics, SMART Recovery wants you to recognize and work to change your maladaptive behaviors.
  • The groups, forum, and chat are designed to teach members the tools and techniques they need to be successful and break from drugs and alcohol.
  • Part of the SMART Recovery work involves recognizing your own negative self talk and perceptions and working to become more aware of them.
  • Because it’s based on scientific research, SMART Recovery is constantly evolving, changing as new research is available and adapted into its culture.