A traditional 12 step recovery program isn’t for everyone. For some, 12 step programs and the rehab centers that follow them aren’t a good fit, and this can actually diminish the chances of a successful recovery. If this sounds familiar, you may need a non 12 step rehab program like SMART recovery. Since its inception, SMART recovery has become the leading support group for addiction recovery and is now used in many rehab treatment centers today. Becoming and staying sober can seem like a daunting challenge, but the strategies you’ll uncover in SMART recovery therapy can help put you on a path to a happy and healthy recovery.
What is SMART Recovery?
Self-Management and Recovery Training, or SMART recovery, is a style of therapy and treatment often used in rehab facilities for people who are suffering from substance addiction abuse and behavioral disorders. SMART recovery takes a science-based approach towards understanding one’s drug or alcohol addiction. Rehab centers across the nation offer SMART recovery as a treatment option, as it teaches its participants about self-empowerment and doesn’t employee the 12 step system so common to rehab and aftercare. The focus of SMART recovery treatment is on training the individual to center their attention on their underlying feelings and emotions in an attempt to control their drug or alcohol addiction. Those who are involved in this recovery program also learn to manage their cravings and urges after they leave rehab through SMART recovery aftercare programs.
The Four-Point System of SMART Recovery
SMART recovery thrives because for many, the 12 step program doesn’t always work. The theoretical framework that is used in SMART recovery treatment instead involves a 4-point system: 1) Develop, enhance, and maintain motivation to stay sober. 2) Create strategies to help cope with drug or alcohol urges and focus on recovery 3) Discover ways to manage thoughts, feeling, and behaviors to stay sober 4) Produce a lifestyle that is proactive in maintaining a balanced life of soberiety Most addiction treatment centers offer SMART treatment as a method for addiction recovery since it allows for their patients to define their treatment and therapy path to become sober, regardless if one’s addiction is drug or alcohol based. The SMART recovery treatment program allows for patients to decide their own focal point, which gives them control over their treatment for drug or alcohol addiction while attending rehab.
REBT Therapy and Evidence-Based Treatment
SMART recovery utilizes different tools such as REBT therapy and other evidence-based treatments to teach patients how to manage their emotions and feelings during recovery. Rehab treatment facilities emphasize tools like this when patients are going through their treatment, and are even more important after treatment. REBT therapy is used as a tool in SMART since it shows patients how to become aware of their triggers. The idea behind REBT therapy is that people’s emotions and behaviors are influenced by how they think. Rehab treatment centers emphasize this therapy for its simple “A-B-C-D-E” system: A = Activate event: Any event that involves a major loss or multiple small events that add up over time. B = Beliefs: How the individual feels after the event. C = Consequences: Anger, drinking, etc. D = Disputes: Dispute, question, or challenge your rational beliefs E = Effective Thoughts: How you manage your feelings. This is the basic structure taught to people using SMART recovery while in rehab, and can help expand on events that may contribute to addiction but are easily overlooked. SMART recovery’s unique approach is part of the reason why it is so successful in treating addiction.
SMART Recovery Meetings
SMART recovery support meetings are a common practice in addiction recovery treatment. It is used inside and outside of rehab, as people usually feel stronger when they are a part of a support group during recovery. Once one has finished their SMART recovery at rehab, it is still vital to go to support meetings. Having a SMART support group can combat the loneliness and alienation many feel when going through addiction recovery. These SMART meetings act as a judgment-free zone where people who are coping with drug or alcohol addiction can talk freely about their journey through rehab and their treatment recovery process.
SMART recovery support meetings are held based on the community. Some are online, others are held face-to-face in rehab, but most are hosted outside of rehab. SMART recovery meetings, allow for people to learn more about the tools used in SMART and how effective they are with others who used SMART recovery while in rehab.
SMART Recovery vs. AA
Substance use disorder affects everyone differently, and there are many programs used in rehab to help one with their recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. SMART recovery treatment is a newer program that has been used in rehabs since the early 90’s. A more well-known recovery program used at addiction rehab centers, Alcoholics Anonymous, has been around since the 30’s. Both SMART recovery and AA are commonly used in addiction recovery rehab centers and both treatments have had successes and failures with keeping people sober. However, the differences between these two forms of treatment are significant, and while one program may work for some, another may not.