What Does SMART Mean In Recovery?

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SMART is an acronym that stands for “Self-Management and Recovery Training.” It is theory-based substance abuse and/ or addiction recovery option that differs from the traditional twelve-step recovery model, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). One of the fundamental beliefs of a twelve-step program is that it requires that an individual believes in a higher power, which is not a component of SMART Recovery. For example, according to Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book addiction is a lifelong recovery process that requires one to admit to complete powerlessness over addiction, believe in a power greater than oneself, admit past mistakes, make amends to people that have been harmed through one’s addiction and committing to continue focusing on one’s spiritual path. Unlike AA, SMART Recovery is not based on admitting powerlessness nor are members required to believe in a higher power, but rather SMART Recovery employs behavioral and cognitive therapeutic techniques.

SMART Recovery was originally founded in 1992 and was named Alcohol and Drug Abuse Self-Help Network (ADASHN). The name changed to SMART Recovery in 1994. It is a “global community of mutual-support groups…to help one another resolve problems with any addiction (to drugs or alcohol or to activities such as gambling or over-eating).” The purpose of SMART Recovery, as directly stated by the organization, is for “participants [to] find and develop the power within themselves to change and lead fulfilling and balanced lives guided by our science-based and sensible 4-point program.” These four points include teaching participants how to: 

  1. Enhance and maintain motivation to abstain
  2. Cope with urges
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  4. Balance momentary and enduring satisfactions 

By working through these four steps, an individual will cultivate self-empowerment and learn to overcome addiction and addictive behaviors. SMART Recovery meetings typically last an hour and a half, and they are run by a trained facilitator. Meetings will remain confidential, and as such is an excellent place for individuals to share personal experiences and gain peer support. SMART Recovery meetings are held all over the world, and anyone struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction is welcome to attend. Though members are free to participate in active recovery indefinitely, if they wish, SMART Recovery does not promote recovery from addiction as a lifelong process.

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment-related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com. 

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