Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery) is a nonprofit community of support groups with a global outreach. It was first launched in 1994.
Anyone wanting to work through and overcome addiction -- it can be to drugs or alcohol, or for behaviors such as overeating or gambling -- is welcome to join. Weekly meetings are free, and are held both online and in person.
They’re not just for persons struggling with addiction, however. Family and friends affected by a loved one’s habit, and addicted inmates housed in correctional facilities are also welcome. (The prison outreach is overseen by the National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded InsideOut program.)
SMART Recovery differs from other abstinence-seeking support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and comparable 12-step organizations in that it is secular in nature and its approach is science-based. Its primary focus is on cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing.
There is no bowing to a higher power. The faithful are allowed to join, but faith does not shape the program.
Members are not described as alcoholics or addicts. There is no dwelling on the past, except as something to learn from. (According to this approach, the past can’t be changed, but today and tomorrow can be, so that is where attention is directed.)
As part of the program, members focus on self-empowerment as they work to develop both long-term and short-term coping skills to achieve and hold onto sobriety.
SMART Recovery has a 4-Point Program that frames its meetings:
Build and maintain motivation
- Cope with urges
- Manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
- Lead a balanced life
Meetings are interactive and are either led by a facilitator who has taken a 30-hour course, or by hosts who have taken a shorter training class who conduct a more basic meet-up. Meetings tend to be a mix of education, conversation, and a sharing of accomplishments and challenges.
The program has an app, CheckUp & Choices, that lets users take self-assessments and offers cognitive behavioral and motivational exercises to help people get sober and stay there. Modules on a variety of substances and habits (alcohol, opioids, etc.) are included. (The app comes with three-month and 12-month subscription plans -- three months is $79, and a year runs $149.)
smartrecovery.org - About SMART Recovery
smartrecovery.org - SMART Recovery Fast Facts