June 6, 2019

What is SMART Recovery?

Understanding SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is an acronym that stands for “Self-Management and Recovery Training.” According to the SMART Recovery website, the purpose of SMART Recovery is to “support individuals who have chosen to abstain, or are considering abstinence from any type of addictive behaviors (substances or activities), by teaching how to change self-defeating thinking, emotions, and actions; and to work towards long-term satisfaction and quality of life.”

SMART Recovery VS 12 Step

It is important to know that SMART Recovery is not a 12 step program, like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. In fact, there are many marked differences between SMART Recovery and 12 step programs. They include:

  • Progression VS Stages. The 12 step program guides its users through different steps. In order to reach the next step, the previous one needs to be completed in full. Every step is treated the same for each person, no matter where in their recovery process they are. With the SMART Recovery program, your particular phase in your addiction has its own approach and treatment, and you do not move onto the next stage until you are ready. You don’t have to “complete” or “achieve” anything with SMART Recovery.
  • Graduating VS Ongoing Recovery. All 12 step programs believe that addiction is a lifelong disease that needs ongoing care and treatment. Once a person with substance use disorder, always a person with substance use disorder. SMART Recovery avoids using labels and believes people are able to graduate out of the program and live life without their addiction following them around forever.
  • Higher Power VS Locust of Control. 12 step programs believe that its followers need to surrender themselves to a higher power and that their addiction is absolutely out of their own control. However, SMART Recovery believes that each person has the power to shape their own destiny, not a higher power.

SMART Recovery Tools and Techniques

In order to help people gain independence, take control of their addiction and overcome their addictive behaviors, there are many different tools and techniques that SMART Recovery uses. Each tool and technique is unique to each person, depending on where they fall in the Stages of Change or which point in the program they are currently working on.

Some of these tools include:

  • Change Plan Worksheet
  • Cost/Benefit Analysis (Decision Making Worksheet)
  • ABCs of REBT for Urge Coping
  • ABCs of REBT for Emotional Upsets
  • DISARM (Destructive Images and Self-talk Awareness & Refusal Method)
  • Hierarchy of Values
  • Brainstorming
  • Role-playing and Rehearsing
  • USA (Unconditional Self-Acceptance)

The Four Point Program

There are four points to the SMART Recovery program, and each of them has its own tools and techniques.

  • Point 1: Building and Maintaining Motivation
  • Point 2: Coping with Urges
  • Point 3: Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors
  • Point 4: Living a Balanced Life

Through learning each of these four points, individuals will be able to gain independence and control over their addiction and addictive behaviors. They will learn how to get excited about their sobriety, how to navigate their triggers, what to do if one pops up, how to live in sobriety and much more.

The Stages of Change

As mentioned, SMART Recovery progresses people through the six stages of change. This is also known as the Transtheoretical Model, which is based on principles developed from over 35 years of scientific research, intervention development, and scores of empirical studies. The stages include:

  1. Precontemplation – The person suffering from addiction does not yet realize they have an issue with addiction.
  2. Contemplation – Addiction is now realized in this stage, but no action has been taken to help it.
  3. Preparation – A decision has been made to get help for addiction.
  4. Action – Literally, the action is taken to get help by entering treatment, rehab or joining a support group.
  5. Maintenance – The person who suffered from addiction is now seeing the positive change in their life and is working to keep up those personal gains.
  6. Graduation – Once a person has achieved an abundance of personal change, they can choose to graduate from SMART Recovery.

About Cliffside Malibu

If you have already tried 12 step programs or another type of addiction treatment but haven’t been able to maintain consistent, long-term sobriety, it may be time to try something new. Even though the 12 steps have been around for a long time and are the most widely known method, it doesn’t mean it is the only way to be able to successfully recover from a person with substance use disorderion. Finding a treatment program that works for you and that you can click with is essential to recovery, and for you, that just might be the SMART Recovery program.

Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for each and every client. Treatment plans are created based on a client’s current stage of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, or Maintenance. This model helps ensure that all patients receive the best treatment path possible based on their own specific need. Moving our clients through this model to completion successfully is our goal each and every single day.

Cliffside Malibu’s policy is to ensure that all people who choose treatment with us receives the best care possible. We strive to provide a continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program includes not only evidence-based behavioral therapy but family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are designed and structured to be a supportive environment in order to maintain sobriety.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, to meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com

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About Jaclyn Uloth