SMART Recovery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

SMART Recovery (Self Management and Recovery Training) is an international non-profit organization which provides assistance to individuals seeking abstinence from addictive behaviors. The approach used is secular and scientifically based using non-confrontational motivational, behavioral and cognitive methods. People who participate in SMART Recovery meetings learn recovery methods derived from evidence-based addiction treatments.[1]


SMART Recovery is based on scientific knowledge, and is intended to evolve as scientific knowledge evolves.[2] The program uses principles of motivational interviewing found in Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET),[3] and techniques taken from Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), particularly in the version called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), as well as scientifically validated research on treatment.[4]

The organization's program emphasizes four areas (called the 4-Point Program) in the process of recovery: Building Motivation, Coping with Urges, Problem Solving, and Lifestyle Balance.[5] The "SMART Toolbox" is a collection of various MET, CBT and REBT methods (or "tools") which address the 4 Points.[6]

SMART Recovery can be used as a stand-alone primary recovery support program for those seeking help recovering from addictions, but does not insist on being exclusive. The program does not use the twelve steps which make up the basis of the various "Anonymous" self-help groups (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), etc.) and is generally listed as an "Alternative to AA" or an "Alternative to the Twelve Steps."[7][8][9] SMART Recovery believes that each individual finds his/her own path to recovery. For some participants, that path may include 12-step programs, or other self-empowering groups. Although the SMART Recovery approach differs from each of these approaches in various ways, it does not necessarily exclude them. For those who attend 12-step programs, SMART Recovery is also suggested as a possible "supplement" to twelve-step programs in SMART Recovery's main program publication, The SMART Recovery Handbook.[10]

Stages of change[edit]

SMART Recovery recognizes that participants may be in one or more of various stages of change and that different exercises may be helpful at different stages.[11]

  1. Precontemplation - At this stage, the participant may not realize that they have a problem.[11]
  2. Contemplation - The participant evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of the addiction by performing a cost/benefit analysis.[11]
  3. Determination/Preparation - The participant decides to pursue personal change, and may complete a Change Plan Worksheet.[11]
  4. Action - The participant seeks out new ways of handling their addiction behavior. This can include self-help, the support of addiction help group or professional guidance.[11]
  5. Maintenance - After a few months, the participant's behavior has been changed and now seeks to maintain their gains.[11]
  6. Graduation/Exit - Once a participant has sustained a long period of change, they may choose to move on with their lives and "graduate" from SMART Recovery.[11]

Side event: Relapse - Although not inevitable, relapses are a normal part of the change cycle and if handled well, can serve as a learning experience in overcoming an addiction.[11]


Incorporated in 1992 as the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Self-Help Network (ADASHN), the organization began operating under the SMART Recovery name in 1994.[12][13]

General operations are overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors, which initially included Dr. Marc Kern.[14] Local groups are run by volunteers known as Facilitators with the assistance of volunteer recovery professionals called Volunteer Advisors. A central office is currently maintained in Mentor, Ohio.

SMART Recovery offers its services for free although a donation is requested and its publications are sold.[15]


The meetings are free for all wishing to attend, and are intended to be informational as well as supportive.[16] Over 1500 weekly group meetings led by volunteer facilitators are held worldwide.[17] In addition, the organization provides online resources and support to the volunteers and those attending the groups and one or more daily online meetings.[18]

Meetings are also held in correctional facilities in many states including: Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.[19]

Family & Friends[edit]

SMART Family & Friends is an online or face-to-face support group for Concerned Significant Others (CSOs) of people struggling with addictions. The group was started in September 2010. Its purpose is to address specific issues encountered when a family member or friend tries to reach out and help a loved one [20] and it draws from the work of Robert Meyers' CRAFT Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training program which differs significantly from Al-Anon in that it is a behavioral program which advocates that the CSO can have a positive impact on the substance abuser. Further, the CRAFT program has been demonstrated in Meyers' research to be more effective than the Vernon Johnson type intervention or Al-Anon, with less negative side-effects and better outcomes, whether or not the substance abuser enters treatment.[21][22]

SMART RECOVERY TEEN AND YOUTH PROGRAM: SMART Recovery is a self-help program that offers a place where teens can get together to try to look into and change behaviors that hurts themselves and others like smoking, drinking, fighting and using drugs, to name a few.[23]


SMART is recognized by the American Academy of Family Physicians,[24] as well as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)[25] and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).[26] NIDA and NIAAA are agencies of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Religiosity and Participation in Self-Help Groups". The Walsh Group. 2007-10-17. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  2. ^ Steinberger, H. (2004). SMART Recovery Handbook. Mentor Ohio: Alcohol & Drug Abuse Self-Help Network,Inc. pp. Section 1/Page5. ISBN 0-615-13135-2. 
  3. ^ Miller, W.R.; et al. (1995). "Motivational Enhancement Therapy Manual: A Clinical Research Guide for Therapists Treating Individuals With Alcohol Abuse and Dependence.". Project MATCH Monograph Series. National Institute of Health. 
  4. ^ Hester & Miller (2002). Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches: Effective Alternatives. University of Michigan: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 0-205-36064-5. 
  5. ^ Shaw, BR; et al. (2005). Addiction & Recovery for Dummies. Wiley Publishing. pp. 176–177. ISBN 0-7645-7625-9. 
  6. ^ Brooks, A.J.; Penn, P. E. (2003). "Comparing treatments for dual diagnosis: Twelve-Step and Self Management and Recovery Training". American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 29 (2): 359–383. doi:10.1081/ADA-120020519. PMID 12765211. 
  7. ^ Miller, W. R.; Kurtz, E. (1994). "Models of alcoholism used in treatment: Contrasting A.A. and other perspectives with which it is often confused". Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 55 (2): 159–166. PMID 8189736. 
  8. ^ Volpicelli, Joseph; Maia Szalavitz (2000). Recovery Options: The Complete Guide. Wiley Publishing. pp. 149–151. ISBN 0-471-34575-X. 
  9. ^ "SMART Alternative Self-Help Groups Tackle Substance Abuse". Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  10. ^ Steinberger, H. (2004). SMART Recovery Handbook. Mentor Ohio: Alcohol & Drug Abuse Self-Help Network,Inc. pp. Section 1/Page4. ISBN 0-615-13135-2. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Steinberger, H. (2004). SMART Recovery Handbook. Mentor Ohio: Alcohol & Drug Abuse Self-Help Network,Inc. pp. Section 2/Page8. ISBN 0-615-13135-2. 
  12. ^ Lemanski, Michael J. (2000). "Addiction Alternatives for Recovery". The Humanist. University of Michigan Health System. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  13. ^ Humphreys, Keith (2003). Circles of Recovery: Self-help Organizations for Addictions. Cambridge University Press. pp. 82–86. ISBN 0-521-79277-0. 
  14. ^ "Board of Directors 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  15. ^ Hovarth, A. Thomas (2004). SMART Recovery Handbook. Mentor Ohio: Alcohol & Drug Abuse Self-Help Network,Inc. pp. Section 1/Page5. ISBN 0-615-13135-2. 
  16. ^ Shaw, BR; et al. (2005). Addiction & Recovery for Dummies. Wiley Publishing. pp. 176–177. ISBN 0-7645-7625-9. 
  17. ^ "Source SMART Central office. This includes international groups in many countries.". Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  18. ^ "Online Meeting Schedule". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  19. ^ "Source - SMART Central Office". Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  20. ^ For Family & Friends SMART Recovery website. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
  21. ^ Smith, J.E. & Meyers, R.J. (2004)Motivating Substance Abusers to Enter Treatment: Working with Family Members; Guilford Press
  22. ^ Meyers, RJ & Wolfe, B. (2004) Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternative to Nagging, Pleading and Threatening by Meyers, Hazelden Press
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Substance Abuse--How To Recognize It". American Family Physician. 67 (7). 2003-04-01. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  25. ^ "Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide". National Institute on Drug Abuse. Archived from the original on 2007-09-10. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  26. ^ "Alcohol and Drug Information". US Dept of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown JM. (1998) Self-Regulation and the Addictive Behaviors. in Treating Addictive Behaviors, 2nd ed. Miller WR & Heather N. eds. Plenum Press, NY. ISBN 0-306-45852-7
  • Ellis A. & Velten E. (1992) Rational Steps To Quitting Alcohol: When AA Doesn't Work For You. Barricade Books, NY. ISBN 0-942637-53-4
  • Gerstein J. (1998) Rational Recovery, SMART Recovery and non-twelve step recovery programs. In Principles Of Addiction Medicine, 2nd ed. American Society of Addiction Medicine, Chevy Chase ISBN 1-880425-08-4
  • Horvath A.T. (2004) "Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions, 2nd ed." Impact Publishers, CA. ISBN 9781886230552
  • Mattson ME. (1998) Finding the Right Approach. in Miller WR & Heather N. Treating Addictive Behaviors. 2nd ed. Plenum Press, NY. ISBN 0-306-45852-7
  • Myers PL. (2002) Beware of the Man of One Book: Processing Ideology in Addictions Education. J of Teaching in the Addictions. pp 1:69-90
  • Vuchinich RE & Tucker JA. (1998) Choice, Behavioral Economics, and Addictive Behavior Patterns. in Treating Addictive Behaviors ISBN 0-306-45852-7
  • Whittinghill D., et al. The benefits of a self-efficacy approach to substance abuse counseling in the era of managed care. J Addictions & Offender Counseling. 2000; 20:64-74
  • Brooks, A. J., & Penn, P. E. (2003). "Comparing treatments for dual diagnosis: Twelve-step and Self-Management and Recovery Training". American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 29 (2): 359–383. doi:10.1081/ADA-120020519. PMID 12765211. 

External links[edit]