Addiction to drugs and alcohol is an ongoing problem in our country. According to some sources, as many as 23.5 million people over the age of twelve (or possibly even more) are dependent on one of these substances in the United States today.
Sadly, only about twelve percent of them receive treatment for their addiction.
Many people continue to use for years, or even decades, and cannot break free no matter how hard they try. This is obviously detrimental to their physical health, but addiction ruins lives in many other ways as well. People suffering from addiction have difficulty keeping jobs, pursuing their dreams, and maintaining relationships with others.
Fortunately, there is help available. There are a wide variety of treatment options for people who want to get clean and sober. One option is the SMART Recovery Program.
What is SMART Recovery?
SMART Recovery is an international non-profit organization that works to help people worldwide with their recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol.
This program began in 1992 and was originally called the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Self-Help Network (ADASHN) before changing its name in 1994.
Although this program is similar in some ways to the twelve-step programs with which you might be familiar, it is in no way connected to groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. In fact, the SMART recovery program is rather different from those popular programs.
How Does SMART Recovery Work?
The focus of SMART Recovery is self-empowerment and self-reliance. Meeting with others for support is a part of the program, but rather than emphasizing the surrender to a higher power for deliverance from addiction, SMART recovery puts the responsibility upon the individual seeking to recover.
SMART Recovery encourages participants to live satisfying lives through the application of tools and techniques for self-directed change.
What is SMART Recovery’s Four-Point Program?
SMART Recovery’s Four-Point Program is the cornerstone of the organization’s teachings.
Proponents of SMART Recovery recognize that there are different stages of recovery, and that each individual is at a different and personal point in these stages. Different techniques and strategies are offered to each person based on where he or she is in the process.
Point One, Building and Maintaining Motivation helps people to break free from their drug and alcohol dependence and motivates them to move forward.
The second point, Coping with Urges, helps them strengthen their resolve and provides participants with tools to combat triggers for possible relapse.
Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors is SMART Recovery’s third point. It adds to the ideas taught in the first two points and builds upon them.
The final point, Living a Balanced Life, helps program participants to look at the long view and the ways they now fit into the greater world as a clean and sober individual.
Each of these steps is helpful in teaching people in recovery how to help themselves get clean and sober and stay that way for the rest of their lives.
How Can I Get Involved in the SMART Recovery Program?
Now that you know what the SMART Recovery Program is, there’s no time like the present to make a change.
Support groups for people interested in SMART Recovery are available in many states. If you prefer to attend from home, SMART Recovery also has an active online community and support groups are available online, as well.
If you live in Northern Illinois, you can participate in one at the Braden Counseling Center. We’d love to help you get started. Please contact us today. We can’t wait to hear from you.