What is SMART Recovery – Self-Management and Recovery Training

smart recovery

What is SMART Recovery – Self-Management and Recovery Training

SMART RECOVERY is a nontraditional approach to addiction recovery that emphasizes the importance of identifying and addressing the underlying thoughts and feelings that contribute to addiction, while also learning how to manage cravings and urges to use. The cornerstone of SMART Recovery is self-reliance. Clients who join a SMART recovery program are encouraged to take charge of their lives. They are taught to make meaningful changes in their behavior so they no longer feel tempted to use drugs. If you are facing a destructive substance abuse disorder and think that you need help, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today. Furthermore, if you have tried a 12-Step recovery program and found it ineffective, call  to learn about the benefits of SMART recovery.

SMART Recovery Explained

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is a support program designed to help people with addictions and behavioral disorders learn how to control their addictive behavior. They do this by focusing on the underlying thoughts and feelings that are contributing to their addiction. In SMART Recovery, clients learn the skills and tools they need to effectively manage their cravings and urges for the long term. This improves their chances of maintaining long-term sobriety. SMART also helps clients overcome any mental health problems that occur in conjunction with their addiction disorder, such as depression, anxiety or an eating disorder.

One key difference between SMART recovery and other recovery programs is that clients involved in SMART recovery can “graduate” and begin a healthy new life. While SMART recovery acknowledges and accepts that relapse can happen, the program doesn’t consider relapse a necessary part of the recovery process, nor does it see recovery as a lifelong process.

How Does SMART Work?

SMART recovery has some similarities to traditional 12-Step addiction recovery. However, unlike 12-Step programs that require clients to submit to a higher power and admit that they are powerless over their substance abuse disorder, SMART Recovery is a self-empowering program that teaches clients the importance of self-reliance in addiction recovery. This program uses proven techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) to teach clients to accept and overcome their resistance to change or treatment, in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns. SMART utilizes a four-point program, which clients can complete in any order, depending on their needs.

⦁ Building and maintaining motivation. An important component of long-lasting recovery is the ability to fight cravings, and the willingness to stay sober. This point encourages clients to make a list of their priorities, and then weigh the costs and benefits of using versus being sober.

⦁ Coping with urges. Clients learn how to suppress urges to drink or use drugs through methods such as distraction techniques. BRS encourages clients to identify and overcome irrational thoughts about their urges to use.

⦁ Managing thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. This point teaches clients how to prevent relapse by examining the thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that lead down the path to substance abuse. They learn self-acceptance and how to manage feelings that can seem all-consuming, such as depression.

⦁ Living a balanced life. Overcoming an addiction and choosing to stay sober is a dramatic lifestyle change. The key to a successful recovery is learning how to live a sober life. This point asks clients to consider what is important to them. It teaches them how to set realistic goals and plan for their future.

Benefits of SMART Recovery

The SMART Recovery program is continuously updating to reflect emerging scientific evidence in the field of addiction recovery. This program also wants to ensure that rehab facilities offering this technique implement the strategies that researchers have found most effective. SMART Recovery is the leading self-empowering substance abuse support group. The American Academy of Family Physicians and the National Institute on Drug Abuse recognize SMART recovery as an effective approach for overcoming addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, and you believe SMART may be the right approach to recovery, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to speak to a certified counselor about your options.


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