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Utilising SMART Recovery

Knowing What Smart Is


A well-recognized alternative to twelve-step groups like those of AA is SMART. The feeling of despair can be minimised by using the SMART technique.

SMART, or Self-Management and Recovery Training, is a support program aimed at people who suffer from addictions and conduct disorders. The aim of this program is to help treat addiction by getting people to focus on the thoughts and emotions behind the addiction.

Some of the skills that people learn in SMART are useful in helping them to deal with cravings in the long term.


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


New techniques of getting rid of addiction are always added to this program to make it better.

SMART has received recognition for its effectiveness in overcoming addiction by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Academy of Family Physicians.


How Smart Works

SMART is a self-empowering program which is quite different from the 12-step program where the participants have to admit that they have no power over their addiction. To get to the issues that need attention, volunteers who have been trained help the participants to examine certain behaviours. The recovering users are thereafter shown how to rely on themselves to curb the behaviours that lead to using. Cognitive behavioural techniques and motivational enhancement are some of the methods used in SMART. A 4-point program introduces the recovering users to these methods.



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The 4 Part Programme

Each point of the 4-point program is described in detail in 'The SMART Recovery Handbook'. 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.

If you or a loved one has participated in a 12-step program and found it unhelpful you will find SMART to be a better alternative for you. Contact us to help you identify a SMART facility near you call 0800 246 1509 .


  • Building And Maintaining Motivation
  • Willing to stay sober is an important factor of success in reaching continuous recovery.
  • Participants are encouraged to make a list of priorities and weigh the costs and benefits of using the drugs versus being sober.
  • Dealing With Cravings
  • Point number two addresses cravings and what brings them on.
  • The participants learn to use methods like various distraction techniques to suppress cravings.
  • Also, participants find and cope with irrational visions of urges to use the substance.
  • Controlling Actions, Reactions And Reflections
  • The third point explains how to prevent relapses by studying thoughts, feelings and behaviours that result in use of drugs.
  • The participants study self-acceptance and learn to manage unpleasant feelings such as depression.
  • Living A Good Life
  • It needs a sudden change in lifestyle for a person to stay clean.
  • In order to achieve the goal of a successful recovery it is extremely important for participants to realize how to lead a sober life.
  • Point number four addresses what makes a patient's life valuable
  • Setting up achievable plans is another thing that the addicts are trained to do when in the program.

4 Point Vs 12 Step Programme

Some similarities to the traditional 12-step Program will be visible in SMART. Both aim at helping substance addicted patients quit the habits. The confidentiality of the members is also maintained in both the programs. There are success stories associated with both these programs.

The definition of addiction is perhaps different in the SMART program as compared to the 12-step program.

SMART does not consider the participants as addicts or as people with an illness. SMART believes that assigning labels to participants is both discouraging and counterproductive. A recovery is not an ongoing process, and this is also a belief which is held by SMART and is another difference. After successfully completing the program, members go on to start a new life devoid of addictions and baggage.

People in need of help resist joining a 12-Step program because they do not want to feel helpless or surrender to God. The SMART approach is preferred by some people as it allows them to take control of their lives.

Both SMART and twelve-step programs provide help and support to people. It's up for the particular individual to decide which one will be most helpful for him or her. As it has been wisely pointed out within the SMART Recovery Handbook "a solution which works on an individual in a particular situation may not be suitable to the other in a similar situation."


Finishing Recovery

Graduation from recovery is one of the special aspects of SMART. The chances of a person going back to the drugs is minimal when the are on the SMART program.

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.

It is believed that the participants have what it takes to stay clean once they get to the last stage of the program.


Is Smart Right For You

All types of dependence on drugs can be completely eliminated using this program. People with other compulsive behaviours such as eating disorders and gambling can also benefit from this program. Those with secondary problems stemming from drug or substance abuse such as mental sickness and emotional problems will also find help at a SMART centre.