There is no doubt that an intrinsic component of the recovery process to conquer addictions includes support meetings. Most common are the Alcoholics Anonymous famous 12-step meetings, the program developed in 1935 by founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith of Akron, Ohio. In 1939, the infamous “Big Book,” Alcoholics Anonymous was published and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
The difference between the 12-step program and S.M.A.R.T
Although AA has proven to be effective in offering addicts a safe and accepting environment where a sense of fellowship is fostered, the program is not a fit for everyone. Based on the premise of the existence of a ‘higher power,’ which can defined any way the participant wishes, it presupposes a sense of spiritual hierarchy which some people do not support or relate to.
It is estimated that only a small percentage of those who have addiction problems attend AA, so it is apparent that different approaches to the ongoing fellowship model need to be developed. Some addicts refuse to attend any sort of meeting. They are not open to discussing their disease publicly or participating in a group setting such as AA. Some people simply take offense to the terminology embedded in the 12-step program, especially the concept of being powerless. They object to the notion that there is a higher power and that they must accept a subordinate position to it.
What is S.M.A.R.T. Recovery?
Self Management and Recovery Training (S.M.A.R.T.) takes a different approach, offering an alternative to the 12-step programs. The president of SMART, Tom Horvath, states, “These non-12-step groups can be more positively defined as self-empowering groups. Self-empowering groups encourage individuals to take charge of their lives and leave addiction (and eventually recovery) behind. In contrast to the 12-step approach, self-empowering groups support individuals in taking charge of their lives rather than accepting powerlessness and turning their lives over to a higher power.”
The differing focus, from external control (the higher power) to internal control allows some patients to shape their perspective toward rebuilding their lives, resolving their underlying issues, and controlling craving, rather than thinking they have lost control of their lives because they have a disease.
Based on the self-empowering perspective, SMART Recovery:
- Teaches tools for recovery based on evidence-based addiction treatment
- Does not use the labels “addict” or “alcoholic”
- Encourages participation only for as long as it is perceived to be useful
- Allows for truly anonymous participation via a screen name on the website
- Allows participants their own perspective on whether addiction is a disease
- Teaches tools for recovery that are useful regardless of what the participant believes (or not) about God
- Accepts the validity of appropriately prescribed addiction and psychiatric medication
In contrast to the 12-step program, SMART uses a four-point program. The SMART Recovery four-point program includes the following goals:
- Building and maintaining motivation
- Coping with urges
- Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors
- Living a balanced life
SMART employs a variety of tools and techniques to help participants gain independence from addiction and addictive behaviors. In addition to face-to-face meetings, there is an active online presence with a forum and online meetings. Several tools and techniques exist to help them achieve a lifestyle balance, lead to a fulfilling and healthy life, and eventually to arrive at point four. These tools include:
- Stages of change
- Change plan worksheet
- Cost/benefit analysis (decision making worksheet)
- Urge coping
- Emotional upsets
- Destructive Images and Self-talk Awareness and Refusal Method (D.I.S.A.R.M.)
- Hierarchy of values
- Role-playing and rehearsing
- Unconditional self-acceptance
SMART Recovery is a self-help, abstinence-based program for people who are trying to overcome an addiction or addictive behaviors, such as gambling. Using the self empowerment principles of psychology, individuals help themselves to overcome their addiction, address habit-related personal problems, and prevent relapses. SMART Recovery meetings are open to all who are interested. There are no requirements. Meetings are based on discussion and focus on current problems and challenges that participants are facing. The goals of these meetings are learning how to increase motivation to quit; handling urges without acting on them; developing new ways of coping with problems; and creating a healthy, positive lifestyle. Participation in the discussion is strictly voluntary, and meetings are confidential.
Sovereign Health of Florida
Sovereign Health of Florida offers help for those struggling with substance abuse or addiction. Programs are individualized to each patient and are comprehensive, addressing not only the presenting alcohol or drug abuse but also any co-occurring conditions, such as a mental health disorder. Sovereign Health of Florida specializes in the dual diagnosis treatment program which includes a top notch substance abuse treatment program.
Our drug and alcohol treatment center provides individual and group therapies, biofeedback and a cognitive development program, alternative therapies such as yoga, art, music and a brain wellness program which works to restore overall brain health. Sovereign also offers continuing care treatment, helping patients transition back to daily life and reducing the chance of relapse.
Sovereign Health of Florida will provide transportation to the local SMART meeting in Fort Myers. Some patients will opt to attend both a 12-step program and SMART. Sovereign offers choices to accommodate our patients to find their best path to recovery.
Sovereign accepts most major insurance plans, making treatment affordable. We invite you to call and speak to a member of our team 24/7 at 866-269-2493.