After completing addiction treatment, joining a mutual support program is a good way to start building a strong sober network and to keep the lessons you learned in treatment fresh in your mind. 12-step programs like AA are the best known of these groups, but they may not work for everyone. Some people prefer a different approach, like the one found in SMART Recovery. SMART is a program that only uses evidence-based methods. It emphasizes the use of scientifically proven methods to build and maintain motivation to get sober and stay sober. SMART also teaches participants various strategies for emotional regulation. These are mostly drawn from rational emotive behavioral therapy, or REBT, and cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, and are similar to methods used by many therapists and treatment programs. Studies have found that the success rates among SMART participants are similar to those of 12-step participants. Like 12-step meetings, SMART meetings are free and participation is confidential. SMART meetings are relatively small and are run by a trained facilitator. This is different from 12-step groups which may be large or small and are facilitated by a regular member. SMART keeps meetings small so everyone can participate. Meetings typically begin with the facilitator reading a statement about SMART’s philosophy and goals, then new members are asked to introduce themselves and what they want to work on changing. The facilitator then asks how everyone is doing and how everyone’s week went. During discussions, the facilitator will help keep the discussion on track and will sometimes suggest specific tools or ways of thinking about the situation the participant is describing. Another major difference between SMART and AA is that in SMART, conversations are more open and crosstalk is encouraged. Participants do not label themselves as addicts or alcoholics and SMART doesn’t rely on the disease model of addiction. Instead, participants are encouraged to discuss their behavior as something they alone are responsible for. There are currently about 3000 SMART Recovery meetings worldwide. That’s a lot, but it’s not nearly as many as 12-step meetings. You can see if there is a meeting near you by using the meeting finder at smartrecovery.org. Although there are far fewer SMART meetings than 12-step meetings, you can also participate in SMART meetings online. There are several ways to participate. There are several online meetings a day you can join live via voice or text. There are also message boards where you can discuss whatever issues you’re having and ask for feedback. Finally, since much of SMART’s effectiveness is based on proven strategies, you can get a lot of benefit from reading the core materials available for free on the site.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.