SMART Recovery for a Better Life

MastHead Outline
September 7, 2017

SMART Recovery can be a smart way to change your life. There are so many different ways to recover, whether it’s from an addiction, injury, or sudden change in your life. The common end goal is to get back to normalcy, but the route to that destination may have quite a few detours. For addiction, SMART Recovery may make that goal more reachable.

What Is SMART Recovery?

SMART Recovery was founded in 1994 with a mission to give support to those who struggle with addiction and teach them to be independent from it. Not only can it be a “smart” way to recover, it stands for “Self-Management and Recovery Training”. Through the meetings, which can be in-person or online, individuals learn how to enhance and maintain motivation to abstain, cope with urges, manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and balance momentary and enduring satisfactions. This form of recovery is based on a secular and scientifically-based background and is recognized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)1.

4-Point Program

With the program being scientifically based, individuals learn how to recover in 4 “points”:

  • Building and Maintaining Motivation
  • Coping with Urges
  • Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Living a Balanced Life

The first point is integral for the recovery to be a success. Whether it is a family member or getting that dream job, motivation is key in order to realize that the addiction is holding them back and it is not worth succumbing to. Through SMART Recovery, individuals identify what motivates them most. This motivation works hand-in-hand with the other three points. The second point helps people learn how to live their day-to-day life. The urge to go back to their addiction can be triggered from numerous things, such as people, time of day, or events. When an urge to use emerges, people learn how to distract themselves from it and use that energy towards something more productive. The third point is important because having a healthy mindset is necessary to move forward with recovery. When negative thoughts pop up, people learn how to think positively and to remember why they are choosing an addiction-free life. This point also teaches people how to be someone that other people can depend on when they are running low on motivation. The fourth and final point teaches people how to live a healthy and balanced life. Too much of one thing is never a good thing, even if it is healthy and good for you. In addition to treatment and counseling, it is important to spend time with family and friends, eat healthy foods, pick up a hobby, and work towards making the community you live in a better place to live. It is beneficial to have many things take up your days, because the more goals you have to achieve, the less likely it is that you will go back to an addiction.

A Recovery Group for Everyone

Recovery groups may be intimidating to some at first, but it is important to know that SMART Recovery is full of supportive people. It also does not discriminate on the type of treatment you are receiving to become addiction-free. SMART Recovery is medication-assisted treatment friendly, which may be hard to find with other groups. Meetings are led by a facilitator that encourages conversation amongst the group with a topic to guide them. Through the conversations, the facilitator introduces SMART-based tools to teach them how to overcome their concerns. Everyone’s time is precious so every person has a chance to speak about their journey. Not only does this allow them to get their thoughts out of their mind, but it also shows the others that they are not alone.

How to participate in SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery meetings can be accessed in person or online. AppleGate Recovery offers meetings at their Plano clinic. If you are not in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the SMART Recovery website has a locator tool to help. Recovery is all about finding support, making life changing decisions that are for the better. Don’t wait to get help; there are so many people out there that are willing to help you start your addiction-free life. 1