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SMART Recovery: An Alternative Approach to Addiction Recovery

There are a variety of different types of recovery programs that an individual can engage in to maintain sobriety. One such alternative is SMART Recovery. SMART Recovery makes use of psychological and scientific theories about addiction to help individuals help themselves overcome addiction and live a life of sobriety.

SMART recovery describes itself as “an abstinence-based, not-for-profit organization with a sensible self-help program for people having problems with drinking and using. It includes many ideas and techniques to help you change your life from one that is self-destructive and unhappy to one that is constructive and satisfying.” The program uses “a science-based 4-Point program that focuses on enhancing motivation, refusing to act on urges to use, managing life’s problems without relying on substances, and developing a positive, balanced, and healthy lifestyle.

SMART recovery goes against the traditional beliefs that addiction is an incurable disease and that men and women suffering from addiction are powerless. They explain, “You may believe, for example, that you have an incurable disease, that you have a genetic defect, that you’re powerless, or that after the first drink you have to lose all control.  These beliefs may actually be damaging to you. Some people have additional beliefs.  For example, ‘I’ve tried and failed, so I can’t do it.  I need alcohol to cope’, or ‘Because I’ve tried to quit and failed, I’m no good’.  Those beliefs, and many like them, can’t be justified because the evidence just doesn’t support them.” Instead, they focus on diminishing emotional disturbances, increasing self-acceptance, and encouraging commitment and follow-through.

Rather than focus on acceptance and serenity, SMART Recovery focuses on self-empowering. Dr. Tom Horvath, in a 2012 Huffington Post article entitled If Not AA, Then What? SMART Recovery and the AA Alternatives, explains, “Self-empowering approaches to addiction recovery are well-suited for individuals who have an internal locus of control. Rather than thinking they have lost control of their lives because they have a disease, these individuals want to learn how to build motivation, control craving, resolve their underlying problems, and move on with creating meaningful and purposeful lives.” However, Dr. Horvath also points out, “Many scientific studies show that attending these [Alcoholics Anonymous] meetings is associated with recovery.” SMART Recovery may be an effective alternative for those unwilling or unable to admit powerlessness, accept that they suffer from a disease, or be willing to commit to recovery as a lifelong program requiring meeting attendance.

No matter how far down the scale you have gone, recovery is possible. You can make the decision to embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery by seeking help now. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, is staffed with knowledgeable and compassionate professionals dedicated to helping clients build happy, fulfilling lives in sobriety, free from the chains of addiction. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431