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Utilising SMART Recovery

Learn About Smart


A popular alternative just like Alcoholics Anonymous which is a 12 step group is SMART. SMART is also helpful for people were looking forward to overcoming co-occurring disorders like anxiety and depression.

SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, an international organization that offers help for people battling addiction and associated disorders. It helps people to gain control over their addictive behaviour by using the method of focusing on their underlying thoughts and feelings.

People are taught skills and to manage their cravings and urges for the long-term to those who decide to participate in SMART.


SMART continually updates its techniques, which are based on present-day scientific achievements related to recovery from addictions.


SMART is also involved in ongoing efforts to update its methods to provide strategies for researchers that have found them highly effective.

The positive effects of the SMART program have been appreciated even by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Academy of Family Physicians.


Smart And How It Works

SMART works on the premise that it is an empowerment tool in itself unlike the 12 step program that encourages the members to see themselves as helpless. Well-trained voluntary servants help participants examine particular behaviours to find weak spots which need special attention. Then, participants undergo self trust training, which enables them to control their dependence behaviour. Psychology and self motivation is mostly used in the treatment when using SMART program. A 4-point program is taught to aid in mastering these skills.



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The 4 Stage Scheme

The recovery handbook provided by SMART details every step of the 4 point program. The Handbook also contains ideas and exercises to help one keep off the substance abuse.

The 4-points do not constitute a Program. They just need to adhere to all the steps and not necessarily required to follow in step form.

SMART may be just what you need if you or someone else hasn't gained from other programs. If you need to find a SMART group nearby, we can be of help call 0800 246 1509.


  • Building And Maintaining Motivation
  • The most important point is that one must be convinced they want to attain sobriety forever.
  • To help in the decision making, participants can make a list of the pros and cons of using or staying clean.
  • Overcoming The Desires
  • The triggers behind the urge to use is what the second point focuses on.
  • Using distraction techniques and other methods, the participants learn how to deal with their cravings.
  • The myths about the desires to use the drugs are also eliminated.
  • Participants Are Taught About Feelings And Behaviours
  • Point 3 educates participants about the need to prevent relapse by an examination of the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that can lead to drug use.
  • The feeling of loneliness and despair can be contained by the addict themselves.
  • Living A Life That Is Balanced
  • It requires commitment in order for the addict to get back to living a normal kind of life.
  • It is crucial for a successful recovery that the person learns how to live a healthy and sober life.
  • At point four, all participants make a thorough inventory of their priorities.
  • People are taught how to make plans for the future and set realistic goals.

Comparison To The 12 Stage Plans

The SMART 4-Point and the 12-Step programs do share some similar approaches. Overcoming the addiction is the main objective of the two types of programs. The confidentiality of the members is also maintained in both the programs. There are success stories associated with both these programs.

Dissimilar Approaches Between SMART and the 12-Step Programs.

SMART does not consider the participants as addicts or as people with an illness. This is because there is a lot of negativity associated with these title. SMART doesn't see recovery as a lifelong journey which is another major difference. Participants can proceed with their normal lives after 'graduating' from recovery.

The idea of being powerless or having to submit to a higher power is a major reason why some people don't go for 12-step programs. SMART encourages the members to take control of their lives.

There is always help for participants in both the programs. The individual has the option of determining what is best for him or her. In the words written in the SMART Recovery Handbook, "What works for one person in one situation may not work for another in the same situation."


Qualifying For The Programme

The unique feature of SMART is that its participants are able to "graduate" from recovery. SMART doesn't consider relapses an integral part of recovery process, although it accepts that relapse may occur.

In the final stages of recovery participants will begin to experience overall self-control over their lives and will no longer feel tempted to use the drugs again, and this is a belief which is held by SMART.

Once the SMART participants come to the last step, they have all necessary skills to live a sober life.


Is Smart Appropriate For You

SMART helps people with all kinds of substance abuse issues. Besides, it can be beneficial for individuals with other addictive behaviours, like eating disorders and compulsive gambling. Smart is also used to treat underlying mental health problems such as depression.