The SMART Recovery model brings together like-minded people seeking alternatives to AA.

What Is The SMART Recovery Model?

While many modern treatment centers focus their recovery model on AA and NA, not all recovering addicts and alcoholics find these programs beneficial. Some clients wish to enter addiction treatment at a facility that is willing to provide alternatives to the 12-step model. Different clients may cite different reasons for preferring not to work these programs, but one of the more common critiques revolves around AA’s emphasis on God. Clients looking for alternatives will therefore seek a secular program, and they can find it in the SMART Recovery model.

Those interested in pursuing the SMART Recovery model in treatment may wish to learn more about it beforehand. As with most programs of recovery, there are numerous facets of the program worth learning about. Two, however—the 4-point emphasis and the evolving nature of the program—are particularly worthy of discussion.

The 4-Point SMART Recovery Model

As one might predict by the stylization of the name, SMART is actually an acronym. The full name is Self-Management and Recovery Training, which alludes to the program’s roots in cognitive behavioral therapy. Several therapeutic principles govern the SMART Recovery model, with four points in particular ranking high among them. The SMART Recovery website refers to these points of emphasis as the four key areas of awareness and change. They are:

  •       Enhanced motivation
  •       Refusal to pursue cravings
  •       Sensible, effective and substance-free problem solving
  •       A healthy lifestyle of balance and positivity

To incorporate these areas of awareness into one’s lifestyle, addicts who pursue the SMART Recovery model will need to perform a regular cost-benefit analysis. This means that they regularly ask themselves what they enjoy about their addiction, what they despise about it, what they will like about sobriety and why they might regret giving up their substance use.

Each of these questions, even those that appear to be negative, will help them to focus on the above areas of change. They will learn more about the coping skills they need to remain motivated, defuse cravings, solve problems effectively and maintain balance in their lives. These coping skills will be developed by assessing their hesitations about sobriety and addressing them head-on. In this way, the SMART Recovery model helps addicts and alcoholics to become responsible for their behaviors by realistically assessing the changes they need to make in their thinking.

An Ever-Evolving Recovery Program

The 4-point SMART Recovery model, along with special tools such as the cost-benefit analysis, provides recovering addicts and alcoholics with an effective program based on internal assessment and positive change. Not only that, but members will find that the SMART Recovery model itself is readily adaptable. As it is based on behavioral therapy, the program naturally evolves to reflect new scientific findings. When psychologists and other experts make new discoveries that alter or expand the principles of behavioral therapy, SMART Recovery members will incorporate these new findings into their program.

New findings will not necessarily devalue pre-existing components of the SMART Recovery model. Rather, the program evolves in such a way as to constantly expand. Those who shy away from 12-step programs due to their disagreement with the steps or traditions will find that such disagreements hold less weight in SMART Recovery. They may not agree with every tool presented to them, but they can rest assured that more are in development. Addicts who struggle with relapse prevention due to boredom or frustration with their usual techniques can adopt new prevention methods as they wish. In so doing, they can increase their chances of achieving long-term sobriety.

SMART Recovery with AHN

Aspire Health Network individualizes each client’s treatment plan by allowing our patients to work the program that suits them best. Clients who wish to attend SMART Recovery meetings can do so. Those who like to incorporate multiple programs into their sober lifestyle can attend other meetings as well, whether step-based or otherwise. At a facility such as Oceanview Treatment Center, clients find that the sky is the limit. Your clinical team will be well-educated on the program you choose to utilize and will help you navigate the appropriate recovery principles to achieve success.

For more information on the SMART Recovery model, other support groups or treatment in general, contact us today with any questions you need answered. We will help you find the program that works for you.