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About SMART Recovery

Knowing What Smart Is


A well-recognized alternative to twelve-step groups like those of AA is SMART. The feeling of despair can be minimised by using the SMART technique.

Self-Management And Recovery Training [SMART] are a support system for people who are dealing with addictions and behavioural disorders. It helps people to gain control over their addictive behaviour by using the method of focusing on their underlying thoughts and feelings.

SMART also helps their members learn how to handle their strong urges to take the substance of their abuse and control the desire for life.


As new technologies and knowledge emerge, SMART adapts their training techniques accordingly.


SMART is regularly updated to provide strategies researchers find most efficient.

SMART has received recognition for its effectiveness in overcoming addiction by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Academy of Family Physicians.


How Smart Is Utilised

SMART works on the premise that it is an empowerment tool in itself unlike the 12 step program that encourages the members to see themselves as helpless. Well-trained voluntary servants help participants examine particular behaviours to find weak spots which need special attention. Later, these members are trained on how to overcome the behaviour on their own. Cognitive behavioural techniques and motivational enhancement are some of the methods used in SMART. A 4-point program introduces the recovering users to these methods.



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The 4 Stages Of Smart

The 4 point that are followed are clearly outlined in the programs manual. To help the recovering user remain clean, the handbook also contains tips and exercises that can be used.

The 4-point program is not a step-by-step program. Participants have the option of tackling a specific point in any order depending upon the needs they have.

If you or your relative have tried 12-step programs in vain, SMART can be a good alternative. Get the help you need finding a SMART meeting close to you call 0800 246 1509.


  • Getting And Remaining Interested
  • Achieving recovery that lasts will depend on whether or not the recovering addict is willing to remain sober.
  • The participants can compile a list of their priorities and compare the costs and benefits of using the substance versus not using them.
  • Overpowering The Cravings
  • Point two examines the trigger which causes a craving.
  • Using distraction techniques and other methods, the participants learn how to deal with their cravings.
  • The myths about the desires to use the drugs are also eliminated.
  • Controlling Mind, Emotions, And Actions
  • The desires to go back to the drugs can be eliminated by controlling your emotions, feelings and the activities you take part in and this is outlined in the third point.
  • The feeling of loneliness and despair can be contained by the addict themselves.
  • Living A Balanced Life
  • The decision to stay sober can bring about drastic changes in the lifestyles of the participants.
  • It is, therefore, essential that one learns how to live a fulfilling life that is also drug-free.
  • In Point 4 participants are required to make an inventory about the things that are important for them.
  • Setting up achievable plans is another thing that the addicts are trained to do when in the program.

Distinctive Features To 12 Step Programmes

There are certain common areas in SMART and 12-step programs. In both cases, the recovering users try to overcome their addictions by getting past some challenges. Both programs are private in nature and ensure that the identity of the participant remains confidential within the meetings. People attending any of the programs have been able to beat the addictions and stay sober.

The meaning of overdependence on the drugs is what tends to be the contradicting factor between the two set of programs.

SMART doesn't label its participants as "addicts" or as people who have an "illness." Such labels are considered to be discouraging and ineffective. The duration taken for recovering from the addiction is not long in the SMART technique. One can easily stop the addiction when they are ready.

The 12-step program is not considered voluntarily by many people because they do not prefer to believe that they are powerless against their addiction or giving themselves away to a higher power. SMART encourages the members to take control of their lives.

You can find proper support whether you choose SMART or 12-step programs. The individual has the option of determining what is best for him or her. As it has been wisely pointed out within the SMART Recovery Handbook "a solution which works on an individual in a particular situation may not be suitable to the other in a similar situation."


After Recovery

The unique feature of SMART is that its participants are able to "graduate" from recovery. Though some may fall back to addiction, SMART does not look at this as a given in the recovery of individuals.

By the time one is graduating from a SMART program, they are fully confident they can tackle life with no risk of relapsing into drug use.

Participants of SMART when they have reached the final stage will be considered as having the skills needed to maintain a sober life.


Is Smart Appropriate For You

All types of dependence on drugs can be completely eliminated using this program. It also helps those battling behaviour issues such as gambling or eating disorders. Smart is also used to treat underlying mental health problems such as depression.